Now that we are in the Christmas season, I thought I’d share a few things that I am learning. I recently read an article in a newsletter from Ariel Ministeries called, “How Did the Wisemen Know.” I found it fascinating.
The article says that the star was not an ordinary star. It is referred to as “the King of the Jew’s star” in a way that other stars cannot be, it appeared and disappeared, it moved unlike any other star, and it hovered over the one house in Bethlehem where the Messiah was. Any literal star that hovered over only one single house would destroy this entire planet. So what was it?
In the Old Testament, the Shechinah Glory is the visible manifestation of God’s presence. In most cases, the Shechinah Glory came in the form of a light, fire, cloud, or some combination of these three things. In Babylon, when this light, a brilliance, a radiance, first appeared, it might have looked like a star from a distance, yet its actions demonstrated that it was no ordinary star. What these Magi actually saw was the Shechinah Glory. Wen they saw this Shechinah Glory, this unusual brilliance, they deduced that it was a signal that the King of the Jews, the Messiah, had finally been born.”
When I consider that the Shechinah Glory of God led the Israelites through the wilderness and rested over the most Holy Place, where the Presence of God was, it makes perfect sense to me that the “star” that led the wisemen and hovered over where the Incarnate God lay was also the Shechinah Glory. Interesting, don’t you think?
Another question the article asked was how the wisemen knew anything about a Jewish king, and why they would care about THIS Jewish king. It said that the only place in the Old Testament that mentioned the timing of the coming of the King was in Daniel, who mentioned the seventy seven weeks. When King Nebuchadnezzar had his unusual dream and his astrologers were unable to interpret it, he was going to put them all to death–including Daniel and his three friends. From the perspective of the Babylonians, Daniel ad his friends were part of the Babylonian School of Astrology and, therefore, were to be executed. However, Daniel interpreted the dream and spared his life, the lives of his friends, and the lives of the other astrologers. Afterwards Nebuchadnezzar made Daniel head of all the astrologers of Babylon. It was in this environment and in this company that Daniel penned his book, revealing the time of the messiah’s coming. Since Daniel saved their lives a well as becoming their head, there is little doubt that he was able to lead many of them to a saving knowledge of the God of Israel. A number of these astrologers turned away from the worship of the star to the worship of the God of Israel who made the stars. So a line of Babylonian astrologers from generations to generation worshiped the true God and, having Daniel’s prophecy, looked forward to the coming of the King of the Jews. From the Book of Daniel, then, one can conclude that Babylonian astrologers did know about what time the Messiah was to be born.
You can find this entire article at the Ariel Ministries website.