Why The Star?

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Why The Star?

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The verse below is deliberately misquoted. Watch for the revision.


Matt 2:2 . . Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have followed his star from the east

No, they didn't follow Jesus' star from the east; rather, they saw it in the east.

Jerusalem was a logical destination seeing as how it was Israel's capital city. Personally I think the wise men fully expected to find the new king quartered right there in Jerusalem rather than elsewhere; so their inquiry "where is he" was probably not meant for asking directions to another town.


Matt 2:9 . . After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them.

They likely thought they had seen the last of that star back home, so it was very reassuring to see it again; and this time as a guiding light rather than a sign.


Matt 2:10 . . When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.

NOTE: As the earth turns, stars appear to move across the sky from the east towards the west. Here is a star that moved south, and also came to a stop; which should alert planetariums that it wasn't an astronomical object.

Matt 2:9 . . It stopped over the place where the child was.

Normal stars are so far out in space that it is nigh unto impossible to tell the exact spot on earth where one of them is at any given moment without special instruments; so I think we can be reasonably confident that this star was low enough that there was no mistaking the exact house where young Jesus was lodged. In other words; this star wasn't a star, rather, it was a God-given apparition.

Now this is curious. The shepherds were given no guide. They had to conduct a house to house search for baby Jesus; and their target was different too. The shepherds went looking for a savior whereas the wise men were seeking a sovereign. Plus the wise men were educated, whereas the shepherds likely weren't; and the wise men were wealthy and privileged whereas shepherds were just cow pokes; so to speak.
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Re: Why The Star?

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FAQ: Could the wise men's star be the one predicted in the book of Numbers; where it says: "I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a star out of Jacob" (24:17a)

A: The star in that verse isn't astronomical, rather, it's human.

Rev 22:16 . . I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright morning star.

By comparing Isa 14:12, Luke 10:18, and Rev 2:26-28; it can be readily seen that the Bible's morning stars are in positions of political power.


Num 24:17b-19 . . A scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth. Edom will be conquered; Seir, his enemy, will be conquered, but Israel will grow strong. A ruler will come out of Jacob and destroy the survivors of the city.

Ps 2:7-9 . . I will proclaim The Lord's decree. He said to me: You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.
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Re: Why The Star?

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FAQ: There are some excellent astronomical explanations for the wise men's star. What's so bad about Christians buying into them?

A: I really don't think we should go about alleging that God lined up constellations and/or planetary conjunctions in a manner to signal the birth of a king; primarily because it makes Christ's followers appear to be superstitious kooks.

I think most Christians-- and much of the world too --is/are comfortable with regarding the wise men's star as the miraculous appearance of something remarkable and/or unexpected; hung not out in space but instead up in the sky.


FAQ: How did the wise men know their star was associated with the Jews?

A: Matt 2:12 strongly suggests that their entire odyssey was supervised from start to finish so that when the men spotted the star back home in the east, they were at the same time informed by God as to its purpose and urged to pack up and head for the land of Israel; specifically the city of Jerusalem because that's always been a sort of Washington DC for David's dynasty.

FAQ: Does't Luke 21:25 prove that Jesus condoned astrology; at least to some extent?

A: That passage speaks of unusual activity in the stars as signs relative to Christ's return, which at first glance appear to be astrological signs, but when we examine those activities as they are spelled out in Isa 13:9-13 and Matt 24:29, it's readily seen that Luke 21:25 actually depicts real-life calamities rather than astrological sign language and/or mystic messages. I suspect that the unusual activity planned for the stars will both frighten and fluster professional astrologers because they probably won't have a clue how to chart them.

NOTE: Back in Jesus' time, the planets were stars too, a.k.a. wandering stars, so they're included in Luke 21:25.
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Re: Why The Star?

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It's sometimes suggested that the wise men's star was an angel.

That's a reasonable possibility. Angels are depicted as stars at Job 38:7, and when it's taken into consideration the amount of angelic activity relative to Christ's appearance-- e.g. Zacharias, Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds --then it shouldn't surprise anybody that the glowing object guiding the wise men was an angel too.

Angels have interacted with people in a variety of forms, e.g. human, wind, fire, voices, and smoke.
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Re: Why The Star?

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I took an interest in astronomy back in 1971 and anon began grinding a 10" mirror intending it for a home-made reflecting telescope; and along with the mirror a Léon Foucault device for testing it. But had to abandon the project for certain reasons.

I picked up on retrograde motion almost right away. I also picked up on parallax, refraction, sidereal time, hour angle, right ascension and declination, and even taught myself some rudimentary spherical trigonometry so I could calculate the best times to view my favorite celestial objects. The math came in handy when I took an interest in the use of a sextant.

This was all prior to hand held calculators, personal computers, and astronomy aps like Starry Night. I did all the heavy math with a Frederick Post Co. versalog slide rule. In point of fact, I still have that very slide rule. Of course it's obsolete now; just a sentimental curio retained from a bygone era.

Anyway, some night, when the moon is clearly visible; raise your arm and point at it while an associate positioned some distance away to your left or your right does the same. Your friend will appear to be pointing in the wrong direction; in fact your arm and his will seem aimed at two different moons instead of the same one and that's because the distance to the moon is so great that your respective lines of sight are virtually parallel.

You can also try walking with the moon to your left or right. You'll notice that the moon appears to be moving with you instead of staying back where it was when you began walking. This is really noticeable from a car. No matter how fast it goes, the moon easily keeps up.

The reason for this phenomenon is that the moon is so far away that the angle it subtends between two nearby locations on the ground is too small to detect without instruments. This is true of all objects lying at great distances; especially stars. Ergo: had the wise men's star been millions of miles out in space instead of close enough to the ground to be easily seen right above Jesus' house, the men would've had to knock on every door in Bethlehem.
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