Dear Brethren,

Christians who are Chinese had just celebrated our lunar new year. The Bible does not forbid us to celebrate our new year and in fact, the new year is a good occasion for evangelism to our loved ones and relatives. The article below is reproduced from True Life BP Church weekly dated 9 February 2014 written by Dr Jeffrey Khoo which will teach us sound biblical teaching with regards to the chinese zodiac and a right perspective in understanding the year of the horse.



A church member last Sunday raised a concern that the pastor had given “favourable publicity” to the Chinese Zodiac and by so doing gave a degree of “respectability” to it. It must be my referring to 2014 as the “year of the horse” in the Church Weekly and in my sermon.

This member said that the Chinese Zodiac has deep roots in Taoism and paganism and as such should not be mentioned in the worship service in “an easy going and non-critical manner”. I am grateful to this church member for warning against the religious and pagan roots of the Chinese Zodiac. Indeed, the Chinese Zodiac has led to many superstitious beliefs and practices among the Chinese. For instance, it is believed that it is good fortune for babies to be born in the “auspicious” year of the dragon. However, if you are a “tiger”, it is bad luck to marry another “tiger”. Two “tigers” do not a happy marriage make!

First, let me say that no Christian should believe in the Chinese Zodiac or use it to determine the divine will. It is idolatry. It is dangerous. Fortune telling through astrology (Zodiac and Horoscope) or by any other worldly or occult means is something God hates and strictly forbids. God commanded Israel, “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God” (Deuteronomy 18:10-13). This command is still applicable today. May none of us as children of God go to the Taoist medium, the bomoh, palm reader, fengshui master or any other kind of fortune tellers for a prediction or for counsel. If we want to know the future, we should study biblical prophecy or eschatology (doctrine of the end times) from God’s Word—the Holy Scriptures.

Second, it is not right to judge that I had shown favour to the Chinese Zodiac just because I referred to 2014 as the year of the horse. That this Lunar New Year is the year of the horse is common knowledge. But how should we as Christians look at this “year of the horse”? In the Lunar New Year Weekly last Sunday, the headlines read, “In the Year of the Horse, Remember the Lord”, quoting Psalm 20:7, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God”.

The heathen trust in the Zodiac or the Horoscope, but we as Christians trust in the only living and true God, even our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Since the symbol of the horse is common this year and found in many an Angpow (did you use a “horse” Angpow?), I preached on the topic, “Not Horsepower but God’s Power” using for my text Psalm 20:7, and Proverbs 21:31 which says, “The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.” (The sermon is reproduced in full below.) Is this not a warning against the Zodiac as well?

Third, if it is wrong to mention “the year of the horse” just because the horse is a Zodiac sign and is pagan, then the use of the Roman calendar is equally taboo. Know that each day of the week (except Saturday) in the Roman calendar is linked to a pagan deity: Sunday (to the Sun god), Monday (to the Moon god), Tuesday (to Tiw a one-handed god associated with single combat and pledges), Wednesday (to Wodan a god who guides the soul after death), Thursday (to the god Thor who has become a comic-book hero), Friday (to the goddess Frige or Venus). Surely, it cannot be that when we say, “See you on Thursday”, we have become worshippers of Thor. Now, there are Christians who refuse to have anything to do with “Christmas” because of its pagan origins. The pagan “Christmas” is a “Christmas” celebrated by the world. But, we commemorate Christmas not because of the “day” but the event when God became Man 2000 years ago to save us from our sins. We also do not celebrate Christmas the way the world does. Anyway, some Christians who leave Christmas out miss out on a golden opportunity to evangelise the lost. I used the year of the horse to teach wisdom: It is foolishness to trust in horses and chariots and not the Lord our God who alone is worthy of our trust for He alone is powerful to save.

Make no mistake about it, I am against the Chinese Zodiac, but is there any law against using the “horse” in “the year of the horse” to teach against trusting the “horse” and not in God? I trust not.


“The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD” Proverbs 21:31

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God” Psalm 20:7

Horses are very strong animals and have been used for labour, for transport, for war. In time, the horse became a measurement of power. How much power can one horse produce? In the 18th century, James Watt developed the concept of horsepower. He said that one horsepower is the power needed for one horse to pull 330 pounds of weight for 100 feet in one minute. So, an Airbus A380 has four Rolls Royce engines, each capable of producing 28,000 horsepower.

What kind of power should we as Christians depend on? Horsepower or God’s power?

Not Horsepower

It is tempting for us to trust in carnal or material power, in things we can see. Man sees power in money or machine. Using money power or machine power, man gets things done and gets what he wants. In ancient days, when people want to flex their muscles, they show their power in terms of horses and chariots. Horsepower and firepower often determines whether you win or lose a war.

This is how the world thinks today as well. To the world, it is not “Right Is Might”, but “Might Is Right”. It is all about muscle power. The bigger your muscles, the more say you have. This may be the case when it is man versus man. However, if it is a case of man versus God, such power is useless. One good example is the case of Egypt versus Israel (read Exodus 14:8-9, 13-14, 21-28).

God wants His people to trust not in the might of the world but in Him. Israel was no match against the Egyptians. Israel had no soldiers, no swords, no spears, no horses, no chariots. But they had God and God was with them. No man can fight God and win. If it is a case of man versus man, the more powerful man is usually victorious. But when it is man versus God, you might as well throw eggs against a rock.

God may bless His children with material wealth and power. If we are wealthy and powerful, we should never use our wealth and power to bully others. However, if we are poor and bullied, we can always turn to God for help. God is on the side of the poor and oppressed. Proverbs 22:22-23 says, “Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.” Proverbs 23:10-11, “Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless: For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.”

But God’s Power

Israel was a small nation, had a relatively small piece of land, and did not have a large population. It was vulnerable, and the temptation was great for Israel to accumulate horsepower and firepower for themselves. So God had to tell Israel not to trust in horses and chariots but to trust in Him 100%.

Safety is in the Lord. Remember His Name. What is His Name? Israel knows it. On Mount Sinai, Moses asked God, “Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:13-14). Remember the Name of the God who delivered you out of Egypt. Remember the 10 plagues, remember the Red Sea, remember the protective pillar of cloud and pillar of fire, remember the water from the rock, remember how He fought for you in Canaan and gave you the land of promise.

That was why the Lord commanded Israel that their kings should never multiply horses. “When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that  way” (Deuteronomy17:14-16).

What was important for the king was to know and obey God’s Word. “And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them” (Deuteronomy17:18-19).

When you are on God’s side and God is on your side, you need not be afraid. No matter how powerful or potent your enemy may be, God is there to help you overcome and defeat him (e.g. David versus Goliath in 1 Samuel 17). Saul with all his army and armoury could not stand against Goliath, but David a teenager, a shepherd boy defeated Goliath with just a sling and a stone. David was a man after God’s own heart, and God was with him.

It takes great faith to trust in the One who is invisible. We often want to trust in things we can see. Christians are told to do the opposite, to trust in the living and true God who cannot be seen, who works powerfully and wonderfully.

Trust Not the Horse but Its Rider

This is the year of the horse, but do not trust the horse, but the Rider of the horse—the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus Christ will come again as King of kings and the Lord of lords riding on a white horse to save all who trust in Him (Reveleation 19:11-16). Remember, it is all about God’s power, not horsepower.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” Acts 16:31

Elder John Leong