The Wise Mens' Star

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WebersHome
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The Wise Mens' Star

Post #1

Post by WebersHome »

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Matt 2:8-9a . . And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said: Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

. . .When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them,

A star that moves from the east towards the west is normal. But a star that moves from the north to the south, is unheard of.


Matt 2:9b . . It came and stood over where the young child was.

I have been outside at night on many occasions during my 76 years on this planet and have never been able to tell which of the stars in the sky was directly over my neighbor's house. And if I move this way or that way, the stars move with me; which makes the task all that more difficult. The problem is, normal stars, and planets too, are so far away that the angle of their parallax is much too small for the naked eye to detect.

So then, in order for that star to direct the wise men to the precise location where the child was housed, it would have to be very low in the sky; for sure at least in the atmosphere rather than out in the void.

Plus: people, as a rule, didn't travel at night back in that day due to insufficient means of illumination; so the men very likely followed the star in broad daylight. Well; as most people are aware, the stars are near to impossible for the naked eye to see in broad daylight due to the sun's brilliance.

So then, I must conclude that the star that led the men wasn't a celestial object, rather, it was a special apparition instead.

The question often arises: How did the men know to follow the star?

Well; that's not too difficult to sleuth. According to Matt 2:12 I'm pretty sure that we may safely assume the men had been in touch with God the entire expedition from first to last.
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Re: The Wise Mens' Star

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WebersHome wrote: Sat Dec 19, 2020 7:05 pm
So then, I must conclude that the star that led the men wasn't a celestial object, rather, it was a special apparition instead.
How about a total fabrication, or perhaps a tale lifted and reworked from some ancient mythology or religion?

". . . Anders Hultgård concluded that the Gospel story of the Magi was influenced by an Iranian legend concerning magi and a star, which was connected with Persian beliefs in the rise of a star predicting the birth of a ruler and with myths describing the manifestation of a divine figure in fire and light.

A model for the homage of the Magi might have been provided, it has been suggested, by the journey to Rome of King Tiridates I of Armenia, with his magi, to pay homage to the Emperor Nero, which took place in AD 66, a few years before the date assigned to the composition of the Gospel of Matthew
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Source: Wikipedia


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Re: The Wise Mens' Star

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Matt 2:11 . . .They entered the house where the child and his mother, Mary, were, and they fell down before him and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

With enough imagination, just about anything can be forced to be symbolic. Personally, I tend to be a bit more practical.

In those days gold was real money, and frankincense and myrrh were valuable commodities. I suggest that the men simply offered the ordinary kinds of tributes that royalty was accustomed to receiving in those days from visiting dignitaries; in other words: what the men did was just normal protocol because it was their understanding that Jesus was a king. (Matt 2:2)

The tributes were providential too because very soon Joseph would be needing something of value to finance his family's temporary residence in Egypt.
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Re: The Wise Mens' Star

Post #4

Post by WebersHome »

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The two-year time frame related to Herod's Holocaust wasn't referenced from the day that the magi spoke with him. Herod marked the beginning with the day the magi first saw the apparition back in their homeland.


Matt 2:2 . .We have seen his star in the east

Matt 2:7 . . Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

Matt 2:16 . . Herod gave orders to kill all the boys in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

It's commonly assumed the magi set out on their journey the very day that they spotted the apparition in their homeland; but I don't think we can be certain that they did.

Plus, it appears from Matt 2:12 that the apparition alone wasn't their only guide. In other words: I think it reasonable to believe that the magi learned the meaning of this curious object from God rather than from books, and began preparing an expedition only after He instructed them to rather than on their own initiative.
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Re: The Wise Mens' Star

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For a long time, I supposed, like most people living in the West (and some other places) that the Gospel story was broadly accurate, give or take a few tall tales or misunderstandings.

Thus, I never doubted that Jesus really was born in Bethlehem, and there had been some Talk about his parentage. I found the story about the Shepherds and Magi unbelievable and the 'Star' did not make sense.

As pointed out above, you cannot 'follow' a star anywhere, other than on a general compass -heading. The star will always go ahead and can never indicate a particular town, let alone a house.

There were one or two astronomical experts who tried to explain it metaphorically. That is, it was an unusual astronomical event like a Nova showing up or a particularly unusual astronomical conjunction. I could not believe it. True, there might have been such an astronomical event. It might even have been commemorated (as one Authority claimed in a book a year or so ago) on a coin of the time, but what I could not buy is that it would prompt wise magi with astronomical or astrological knowledge to come to the conclusion that this signified a Royal birth, not in Chaldea or some other part of the Parthian or Roman empire, but in Judea. Even if they had, the idea that these pagan astrologers would feel compelled to take a trip to Jerusalem where, they supposed, they would find the new - born royal ruler to pay homage to him, is not really credible.

As I say, the idea that any astronomical event could lead there wise men anywhere but in a direction is unfeasible. But let's suppose for sake of argument, that they had worked out a royal Judean birth from the star -charts or observing a Nova and, after a trip (as correctly noted above, this seems to be in the region of a two - year trip), they arrive in Jerusalem. tethering their camels outside Herod's palace, and leaving the star hovering patiently overhead, they get in to see King Herod, who is greatly perturbed by all this talk of a Royal birth.

The first thing he asks is when the star appeared. That's a bit of an odd question, but there's a reason. He wants to know how old the kid will be as he already intends to wipe him out. So how does he intend to find him? Does he instigate a palace investigation to find any likely youngster of a noble or military high -ranker that might challenge his rule? Nope, he calls in some experts in scripture to tell him.

What does scripture tell them about a Royal birth? Well, the most famous Royal was king David, so his ancestral city is surely where a royal pretender would be born. Accordingly, Herod reports back to the wise men. 'Bethlehem is where you should head for'. Ah. so that's where the star is leading them. Not Jerusalem after all.

"Well, when you find him, come back and tell me, as I want to go and pay my respects, too."

"Sure thing, O puissant one" they reply, suavely, resolving not to do any such thing.

Now Herod, even if he was in the last stages of his appalling disease, would have had smarts enough to have his men shadow the magi as they follow the star east to nearby Bethlehem and as soon as they had entered the house over which this glowing light no more than fifty feet up was hovering, they'd report back to Herod who would have his men surround the house, grab the infant and bring it to Jerusalem to see it smothered in his presence.

But he doesn't. Instead, he waits patiently for the magi to come back and say where this Royal Pretender was living. Eventually, he twiggs that he's been had.

Smashing the furniture, he orders his armed guards to go and slaughter all the male kids up to age two - which is what he knew he'd have to do, because that's why he asked when the star appeared.

Of course that makes no sense, but is a plot device by Matthew, who is making all this up. You hadn't worked it out already?

Matthew didn't need the magi to ask directions. They would do what they did - follow the star until it hovered over the house where Joseph lived. Oh yes, they lived there. It was their own house. They hadn't come from Nazareth to sign on for any tax. They had lived in Bethlehem (or Judea at any rate) for years, and the story makes that clear.

Because when Herod's guard arrive and start slaughtering babies, they are too late. Joseph and family, warned (by the suspicious magi, if not by angelic dreams) have upped sticks and escaped to Egypt. There they stay until news comes (possibly in the ever - handy plot device of a dream) that Herod has finally popped his clogs and it's safe to return to their home in Bethlehem.

Yes, folks, that's what Joseph plans to do - return to his home in Bethlehem, Judea, not Bethlehem Philadelphia, because that's where he lived and always had. But as though it wasn't common knowledge - even in Heaven, apparently - that Herod's son Archaelaus would take over the rule of Judea, an angelic dream comes to Joseph, warning him not to go back to Judea. "They said, Galilaea is a safer place than 'Beth'. So they loaded up the cart and they moved to Nazareth"

Yes, after looking in the estate agents' lists, Joseph picks Nazareth (which for sake of argument, we will say existed in large enough form in the 1st c. A.D to have its' own synagogue, as Jesus will need to preach there, later on) as a desirable residence and that is why, Matthew proclaims triumphantly, Jesus was called a Nazarene. Trying to make it look as much like a fulfilled prophecy as he can.

Because that's Matthew's story and purpose. The reference to scripture is because Matthew knows (as does Luke and John - but not Mark, apparently) that is must show that the messiah (not just a Ruler in the Jewish sense, but a divine being, in the Christian sense) ought, according to scripture, to be born in Bethlehem (see John 7.42).

But Jesus was Galilean - a Nazarene - and everyone knew he was. So both Luke and Matthew have to explain how Jesus - though a Nazarene - was Really born in Bethlehem, Matthew having Joseph a Judean who moved to Nazareth to avoid a threat against Jesus, and Luke having Joseph a Nazarene who just spent a few weeks or a month in Bethlehem though this Lucan plot - device of a tax -census. And they went back home after the circumcision, and forget about Egypt or the magi rolling up at Bethlehem a year of so after they'd gone back to Galilee. And of course, we can all forget about that absurd star.

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Re: The Wise Mens' Star

Post #6

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TRANSPONDER wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 8:23 am Now Herod, even if he was in the last stages of his appalling disease, would have had smarts enough to have his men shadow the magi
(chuckle) No doubt Mr. Herod eventually came to the same realization; and when he did, demanded of himself: What was I thinking??!!

Disappointment in his own better judgment would've likely compounded his anger. Poor guy; Herod was probably just as mad at himself as he was the Magi.
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