Thursday, December 23, 2010

The wise men and the star

The wise men are considered to be astronomers and priests.   They studied the skies and the planets long before we had the technology of today.  During this time period they found something very interesting in the sky.  A huge star indicating the King of the Jews was to be born.  The likely place to find out where this would happen was the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.  It is important to note that the wise men were not Jewish. God loves and can use anyone for His will.
Matt 2:1-8
2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him."
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
5 So they said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
6 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.'" (Micah 5:2)
From these verses we can see that people believed the prophecies before the birth of Christ.  And even knew them by heart.  Sadly Herod did not know, and he was the current King of the Jews.  All of Jerusalem was troubled.  You would think the coming of the Christ would be a good thing in the temple- that it wouldn't be a huge surprise.  It took wise men from the east to point this out, they were the ones who worshiped Jesus.  This shows the deterioration taking place in the Jewish leaders since the time of King David.  David did everything for the glory of God.  When he sinned, he was forgiven, and went on to bring God glory again.

7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also."
Herod was a wicked King.  His desire was to destroy the competition, it was all about his glory.  So he lied telling the wise men he wanted to worship Jesus. 

Here's how God worked it out with the wise men:
Matt 2:12
12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.

One of my hobbies is astronomy.  You can imagine how excited I got when astronomers wrote they had figured out the star over Bethlehem in my "Astronomy Magazine".  It is documented that a very rare and unusual incident happened during this time period where Venus and Jupiter were in the constellation Leo.  Here is a quote from 
"Perhaps the signal for their star was to be a sign in the constellation of Leo, the Lion.
To the early Israelites, Leo was a constellation of great astrological significance and considered a sacred part of the sky. A very close conjunction of Venus and Jupiter would have been visible in the eastern dawn sky of the Middle East from about 3:45 to 5:20 a.m. on Aug. 12, 3 BC.
When they first emerged above the eastern horizon, the two planets were separated by only about two-fifths of the Moons apparent diameter or 12 minutes of arc. As a comparison, the separation of the stars Mizar and Alcor in the handle of the Big Dipper is also 12 minutes. Planets this close are very striking, if they don't differ too much in brightness.
Incidentally, St. Matthew wrote that the Magi stated in their meeting with King Herod: "We have seen his Star in the East and have come to worship him." It has never been clear if they saw the star in the eastern sky, or if they saw it from the East. The fact that the Aug. 12, 3 BC conjunction of Venus and Jupiter occurred in the eastern sky and may have also started the Magi on the journey (from the East) to Bethlehem means that both bases are covered with their statement -- reported by St. Matthew -- to King Herod.
Venus ultimately vanished into the glare of the Sun, but Jupiter and Leo remained in the night sky during the next ten months. During this time a number of additional planetary conjunctions took place, all of which would have been of great importance to the priest-astrologers of the time."  Full Article

Here is another exciting archeological find.  If Jupiter truly did reverse itself, this could only be the hand of God.  It's important to note that these sources aren't from Christian publications.  I wanted to see what the scientists have found, unbiased.
Ancient Roman Coin

I read in my research that this phenomenon has never occurred again in over 2000 years.  One of the proofs that God exists is the orderliness of the universe.  There have been many theories, over the years, as to how the universe will end.  However no one can truly explain how it has lasted this long.  The constellations we see in the sky today, are the same as when Jesus walked the earth.  The earth has changed through war, storms, earthquakes etc.  But the constellations have not.  What a grand entry for the Son of God!  When we are in Heaven we'll know the truth.  For now, we know nothing is impossible for God.


  1. :) I think this account is really interesting when you step back and look at all of the pieces (of which you did a very nice job of breaking down). I won't go into the "wise men" but wanted to bring something up about the star that you may have never considered. In the account we see that the star led the wise men. First it led them to Herod (who wanted Jesus dead) and then to Jesus. Did you notice that the scripture said that the star "went ahead of them, until it came to a stop above where the young child was." That is very interesting and something to really think about. This was no ordinary star, as you mentioned. Could there be someone else, other than God, behind the star? Who else would potentially gain, besides Herod, from Jesus' death? Satan the Devil would. After all, it was Satan that challenged God's right to rule in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-5), and man’s inability to remain faithful to God at Job 2:1-5. Since salvation of the human race was on Jesus' shoulders as well as the ultimate reply of faithfulness to God, Satan would have the most to gain from his premature death. (Proverbs 27:11) He also had the ability. (2 Thessalonians 2:9) Of course, as you mentioned, it didn't work. God warned the wise men not to return to Herod and to Joseph to flee with Jesus.

    When Jesus was here on earth, in order to provide a ransom, he had to remain faithful to death. A perfect man without sin would provide a "corresponding ransom" for a perfect man who did fall to sin and cause the entire human race to suffer the consequences. (1 Timothy 2:6) And, as you know, it is by means of this ransom that we have the opportunity to have salvation. So, Jesus birth was an important and miraculous event. It was so vital that God sent an angel to nearby shepherds to announce the birth of his Son. (Luke 2:8-20) It is very unlikely that God would have used a star to lead men to Jesus years later. Not only because his birth had already been announced, but also because God would not use a form of divination to lead anyone to his Son. (De 18:10-12)

    I know this is different and probably something you have never considered, but thought I would share what I have learned though my research and study. :)

  2. I agree. Satan would have the most to gain. And Herod's slaughter of all the babies in Bethlehem was pure evil- didn't want to include this in the Christmas story... The interesting thing with the wise men is they wanted to "worship" the baby Jesus. That fascinates me because they weren't Jewish and said they were looking for the King of the Jews. Some say they were astrological mystics, some say they were astronomers. This piece is all very interesting. The angels are tomorrow, and the birth on Christmas morning. :) Thanks again for your insightful comments and kindness. I really appreciate our friendship :) The star is fascinating I'm not sure how it will all pan out in the end- when we know the truth. Interesting perspective for sure.

  3. After I read your comment I looked back at the passage and realized, it wasn't only Herod that was upset by this- but all of Jerusalem. It's like God is telling them, since you fell asleep I sent in strangers from the east to worship Him. But things were so bad by this time they probably would've missed that entirely. Interesting.