I have lots of questions about the Christmas story in the bible. Not that I doubt it, but it challenges me to seriously seek truth more in the bible and to know Jesus deeper. Like the star the wise men saw in the east. Just seeing it made them conclude the king of the Jews was born somewhere in their land, and that they had to go visit the child and give him gifts to worship him. Worship him? They knew that God was “born” and took on human form by just seeing the star?
The Star Told Them Accurately about Jesus
How did they arrive at that conclusion by merely looking at the star? They weren’t God’s prophets or bible believers or Jews. Yet they knew accurately what was going on. I mean, we understand that you can only know about Jesus if you study and believe the bible. But these guys knew about him by just watching the star. It’s even possible to say, they knew about Jesus through astronomy (or worse, astrology). And my guess is, they were indeed astrologers.
The term “wise men from the east” often denoted people who were experts in astrology and occultism. The prophet Daniel in the Old Testament was trained in Babylon as “chief of magicians” and called exactly that by Nebuchadnezzar. And Daniel never protested being called thus. By the way, I also wonder about that. Daniel didn’t like to eat the food that came from the king’s table because it would defile him (so he became vegan), but it was okay for him to be called “chief of the magicians” and be named after a Babylonian god. Hmm.
I said, “Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, and no mystery is too difficult for you. Here is my dream; interpret it for me. [Daniel 4]
So most likely, the wise men were also occult magicians and astrologers, especially when they based their conclusions solely by studying a star. Nothing was said about them consulting the Scriptures. And the wonder of it all was that, they found the boy Jesus accurately (zooming in on Jesus’ very house as if using GPS) and the strictly bible-based people (Herod and his bible scholars) didn’t. These bible-wielding guys, supposed to be the chosen people of God, failed to locate where the boy Jesus was. You have any explanation on this? Anyone?
Herod Didn’t See the Star
The wise men said they saw Jesus’ star. Aha! Herod could have just gone with them and find the child and kill him. Yet, he didn’t go with them. Why? Here’s my guess—when they told him there was a prominent star in the sky pointing to where the holy child was, he didn’t see it. He and his minions (the bible scholars and all Jerusalem with him) looked at the night sky but found no such star.
Yeah, there were millions of little twinkling stars, but which one? So, he probably decided the wise men were nuts, not so wise after all. And he didn’t want to be seen walking with scatterbrained people—not he, King Herod. It would be bad publicity, not good for his image. So he just told them to notify him if they find the child.
You can be a bible-wielding church person (always active in church and decorated with titles and theological degrees) claiming to be among God’s chosen and yet not really know anything accurate about Jesus Christ.
The Star “Traveled”
A traveling star? We all know stars do not move. They just seem to twinkle. Each star is really a sun with planets circling around it. Imagine if a star (or sun) with its planetary system, moved from its place and traveled across the universe! Imagine if it bumped against other stars! Stars cannot travel in the sky like a plane.
But this star traveled. It went ahead of the wise men. Some smart Alecks suggested it was really a meteorite or comet they saw. Probably, but do meteorites or comets stop at a certain spot in the sky? Well, this star stopped right above the house where the boy Jesus was. I haven’t heard of meteorites stopping and just staying on a certain spot. And comets don’t stop over a specific house. Matthew says:
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen, when it rose, went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.
The Wise Men Knew the Boy was God
The religious leaders in Israel at the time doubted that Jesus was God. They even discussed lengthily about this and were often offended by Jesus’ claim to the Messiahship, though they were experts of the Old Testament. In the end, they crucified him. To think that they were bible experts.
But these wise men knew at once, without a shadow of a doubt, that the boy Jesus was God. That’s why they came “to worship him.” And they knew about it by just watching the star. Psalm does say that the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmaments show his power. But these wise men got not just a declaration of God’s glory but accurate details about Jesus. Nothing is impossible with God, even if all you have is the sight of a star.
By just showing them the star, God was able to communicate with them accurately that:
- The boy born was King of the Jews.
- The boy was God.
- They ought to go and worship him.
- Their worship should be accompanied with costly gifts.
- By following the star they would pinpoint the place where the boy was, so precise like GPS.
I’m not endorsing astrology or magic here. Studying and meditating the Word of God in the bible daily is the only important thing. However, if it is his will, God can speak volumes of his truth and mystery to you by just making you look up the sky and watch a star, or something similar to that. And it can be something no theologian, no matter how smart, has ever heard or known.