The Star, the Wise men and the Child
Matt 2:1-13: “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 have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 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. So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: '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.' “Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way. Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”
The Scripture tells us that the Wise Men were led to Jesus by the appearance of a star in the heavens.
Various misinterpretations have led to some bad conclusions. Some have said this was an alignment of the planets, some have said it was a UFO, still others have used this to validate astrology.
The Wise Men saw the star when Jesus was born and began to travel to Jerusalem. When they arrived there they did not visit him in the manger, it was in a home. Matthews account depicts him as a child (not a newborn baby) being as much as two years old, he is called “the young Child.” Matthew 2:1: “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.”
The three Wise Men is a tradition or a myth. This conclusion is arrived at because of the number of gifts presented to him (gold, frankincense and myrrh). Matthew does not tell us the number of them or that they were kings, though we are sure they were at least two because it is plural.
They are called Magi, the Greek word “magoy” means “wise men,” known as “astrologers,” which were students of the heavens (also astronomers). The area of Mesopotamia, ancient Babylon and Assyria were noted for magi or astrologers and other occult arts.
When the Jews were captive in Babylon Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah they served before the king. (Dan 1:19). Dan 2:2: “Then the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.” We can see these are put in different categories according to their abilities. We see in Dan. 4:7,5:7 That they were all unable to interpret the Kings of Babylon’s dream.
Dan 5:11-12 Nebuchadnezzar is reminded of a man (Daniel) whose father “made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers. “Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.” Dan 5:15 Now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not give the interpretation of the thing.”
The star appears in the sky as an announcement of his birth, bearing witness as to who has come into the world. The Wise Men knew of his birth not by their star gazing or astrology alone, (they were astronomers) but by the revelation of God found in the Scriptures through the prophecies of Balaam and Daniel. Remember, Israel was captive in Babylon for 70 years, and while Babylon influenced Israel, those who kept faithful, like Daniel, influenced Babylon. Daniel certainly impacted by interpreting Nebuchadnezzar's dream correctly and probably prompted some to worship the God of Israel.
They wise-men enter Jerusalem asking the question, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” They traveled all this way to worship this new born king? After hearing why they came Herod “gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet and quote Micah 5:2. They were well aware of the event taking place.
This star does not stand still in the heavens, so it cannot be the planets aligning as some surmise. It was also seen the whole time of there traveling. It appears and disappears, the star moves from east to west and moves more than once. After being led to Jerusalem, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, and finally ed them as it stood still over the house in Bethlehem where the child king resided.
This cannot be a star as we know it. This star is called “his” star, a specific star to identify the newborn “King of the Jews.. The Greek word for “star” means “radiance” or “brilliance.” It is none other than the same appearance of the Shechinah Glory, a visible manifestation of God's presence as it appeared in the Old Testament. Just as there was light in Genesis before the stars where made on the 4th day. When God became visible in the Old Testament this manifestation (the Shechinah Glory) was often in the form of light, fire, or a cloud. God used this radiance in the sky that look like a star to attract those in Babylon as a sign of this event. The Wise Men that looked at the night sky saw God’s Glory and knew something special had taken place and deduced from the Scripture the King of the Jews had been born. It is Balaam's prophecy in Numbers 24:17 that emphasizes this: “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nigh: There shall come forth a star out of Jacob, And a scepter shall rise out of Israel, And shall smite through the corners of Moab, And break down all the sons of tumult.”
“a sceptre shall rise out of Israel.” The term “sceptre” is a symbol of royalty or kingship. Gen 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people. Shilo is symbolic of Messiah.
The star, Hebrew-kowkab (in the sense of blazing); a star (as round or as shining); figuratively, a prince: (Strong’s Concordance)
The three gifts given by the Wise-men are called “treasures,” and find their significance in the Old Testament. Obviously the men were students of the word.
Gold is the symbol of royalty or depicting Jesus is a king (the most valuable mineral in the Old Testament. Exod.25:17 the mercy seat, nearly everything in the Holy place had gold.
Frankincense was burned on the altar of incense and within the holy place. It symbolized prayers going up to God (Lev.2:2, 16) and a symbol of deity.
Myrrh represents death and embalming in the Old Testament. Jesus was born in a cave (where the mangers were) and will be put in a tomb wrapped in the same swaddling cloths with myrrh and aloe (Jn.19:39).
“Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
After they found the child and worshipped HIM, they did not show up again to tell Herod where he is. Herod proceeds to kill all the children under two to in the area make sure he got rid of this new born king. But Joseph and Mary were warned in a dream to flee to Egypt to stay to be safe until Herod died. Herod Fulfilled Jer.31:15
Matt 2:18: “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” Rachel representing the mother of the children of Israel.