“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, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Matthew 2-11
In my series on Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s Kosher Jesus, the author explains that one of the primary reasons Jews refuse to accept Jesus of Nazareth as the promised messiah, was his failed attempt at liberating his people from the oppression of the Roman Empire.
However, in ancient times, not everyone used Boteach’s litmus test.
Some looked for the sign of the coming messiah in the stars. The story goes that three “wise men” came from the east bringing gifts, following a star to worship a new king. And so it goes, the rich historical account of the birth of Christ is watered down to a manger scene, reenacted every year by Sunday school children and illuminated in plastic on lawns everywhere.
But what if we read the book of Matthew as an accurate historical document? What, if anything, actually happened on December 25th?
Using Matthew as his guide, indisputable historical facts and today’s technology, one man did just that– what he found will astound you.
Johannes Kepler unlocked the math that winds the heavens with precision. Although Kepler himself used his discovery to formulate a search for the star, he failed to find it. What do we have that Kepler didn’t?
It’s now possible to animate the ancient skies over the Mid East and see the birth announcement that the God of the universe wrote into the heavens for the magi, and all of creation. What else, but the promised Christ child, would compel them to mount camels and ride 700 miles.
In the DVD The Star of Bethlehem, produced by Stephen McEveety (The Passion of the Christ) Frederick A Larson unfolds his exhaustive research, and solves the mystery of the star. The magi, he believes were scholarly decedents of Daniel.
“Magi were often court astronomers who were consulted by the rulers of the day for guidance in affairs of state. This was also true in much earlier times. For example, during the Babylonian captivity of the Jews, some 500 years earlier, King Nebuchadnezar kept a stable of court magi. Nebuchadnezer made the Jewish prophet Daniel Chief Magus of his court when Daniel was able to interpret a dream the other magi could not (1).
There were magi of various schools, and some were more respected than others. We know something of a particularly prestigious school of magi from the writings of Philo. Philo was a Jewish philosopher and contemporary of Jesus who lived in the large Jewish community of Alexandria, Egypt. Philo wrote in praise of an Eastern school of magi and their great learning and understanding of the natural world (2). This school may have descended from the Babylonian magi of Daniel’s day.”
Who else from the east would be looking for a Jewish king?
Lawson concluded that the star they saw must have revealed birth, kingship and Jews. Also noted, the star rose in the east, and it sustained for a long period of time–then it STOPPED.
Can a star do that?
Did a star do that?
If so, care to guess when it happened?
Photo credit: Shutterstock Kim D. French