The Wise Men, and The Star, Then And Now
One of the most interesting accounts of Christianity in the Bible is the account of the birth of Jesus. We read in the scriptures how God brought about this event quietly and secretly, not like some great news worthy announcement with a lot of fanfare. The kings presented Jesus with three kinds of gifts but the traditional teaching is that there were three Kings which is not scriptural. Scripture mentions the three gifts but not the number of wise men.
Matthew 2:1, And when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King, behold, there came wise men from the east of Jerusalem, 2, saying, “where is He that is born King of the Jews”? For we have seen His star in the east, and have come to worship Him”.
These wise men were from the east, and were motivated by following a star as this verse and other verses state. The journey was enacted by those who were not even a religious people but by a miraculous event in their lives and the leading of a star. They were heathen or gentile kings who didn’t know the scriptures, except by hearsay or word of mouth. They evidently, because of having a soulish or fleshly mind, stopped following the star. They then inquired in and around Jerusalem to those who should have known the scriptures or the prophetic events concerning a virgin birth, but no one seemed that interested.
Matthew 2:3, When Herod the King had heard of these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
You would think that all these people would have rejoiced and welcomed the good news, but they did not. Verse three says that they were troubled.
Matthew 2:4, And when He (Herod) had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, He demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5, and they said unto Him, “In Bethlehem of Judea: for it is written (Micah 5:2) by the prophets”.
Then Herod, when he had privily (in secret) called the wise men, and enquired of them, what time the star appeared.
Notice the questioning was privately done. Herod wanted to know what the wise men knew. This birth was a threat not only to Herod but also to the religious leaders in Jerusalem. God does not like religion. Religion is man’s concept in how we are to worship God and not from the teachings of the Holy Scriptures
In the Gospels, Jesus, when He healed someone, He would tell them not to tell anyone. He had the same private conversations with His disciples. The wise men were not into religion, they were just following a star. Whenever someone gets into religion, he or she misses the star. But when you leave religion, the star will then re-appear to you. These wise men had a living, Godly guidance leading them. How can we find Christ? By the knowledge of knowing His name, and we can also experience a living vision, knowing something different is going on in our life.
Matthew 2:12, And being warned by God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, and departed into their country another way.
The words “another way” are important to us. Once we have been led down the wrong way by the traditions of men, we will never return to that way again. We need to find another way, the right way, by the Holy Scriptures and the leading of the Spirit of God. Jesus said that He would build His church. He also gave warning to the church who are made up of the true believers, bought by the redemptive blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 11:12, And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence (the violence is caused by different denominations and teachings in and among churches) and the violent take it by force.
Violent here comes from the Greek word “bia” and doesn’t necessarily mean physical force. It can mean through the idea of vital activity.
The word of God gives us a sampling of wise men following a miraculous event like a star. What would it take to find the Lord, Jesus Christ, God, or Allah? As wise men , we need to look to the word of God, the Bible, as the only source of true wisdom. The Bible is the only writing known to men which has a foundation. Other traditions and beliefs start sometime after mans timeline and can be built twenty or even fifty feet above the ground, where there is no foundation.
The first covenant was made by God and included Abraham and his descendants. The children of Abraham were to be numbered as the stars of heaven. (Genesis 15:5).
Numbers 24:17, I shall see Him, but not now. I shall behold Him, but not nigh: there shall come a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel.
The wise men knew who they were looking for but weren’t wise enough as yet to know not to inquire among religious people, and in a religious place like Jerusalem. We as they, need to not get ourselves tangled up in the religious teachings of men. Notice what had happened when they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod or Jerusalem.
Matthew 2:9, When they had heard the King, they departed; and lo, the star that they saw in the east, went before them, and stood over where the young child was.
As soon as they had left Herod and the religious leaders, and Jerusalem, the star continued to lead them. They found the infant Jesus three months later, not in a manger where He was laid at His birth, but in a house in Nazareth. (Matthew 2:23).
Matthew 2:11, and when they had come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him: and they opened their treasures, and they presented unto Him gifts, gold frankincense, and myrrh.
We can all be like wise men seeking Jesus. But we need to be careful not to allow any religious organization to interrupt the following of our star like the wise men did. Although they were called wise men, they had not of yet had all the wisdom necessary not to cause a problem for Herod as King, and the religious leaders as priests, because of what we read in Matthew 2:16.
Matthew 2:16, Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked by the wise men, was exceedingly wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he diligently enquired of the wise men.
The entanglement of the wise men, with a king and religious people actually delayed the stars leading purpose. The wise men arrived three months later than they could have.
The Christ child was to become King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Herod and the religious leaders were afraid that they would have their power taken away from them. They didn’t have any willingness to visit the birth of the Christ child in Bethlehem themselves. They knew of the scriptures but instead wanted to hold on to their power and would kill anyone who might take their power away.
There are many places in the Bible where stars are mentioned but the Apostle Peter says it with the most clarity.
2nd Peter 1:19, We have also the sure word of prophesy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.
In this verse, the Apostle Peter uses both items, word of prophesy and day star.
Did you ever try to follow a star in the night sky? That can’t be done. Peter is telling us, after day dawn, when light has come into the world, and He draws us to Himself, and we know that whether it is light or dark out, He is our star. It is His Spirit which we follow, not someone else’s religion.
There is a leading within the heart and also a leading of the vision. These are motivating factors. This was the driving force with the wise men and this is how God works with us today. The mistake we can make is that as soon as God draws and enlighten us as individuals, we unsuspecting entangle ourselves into somebodies religious organization. It would be a blessing if that were not the case but it often happens. As a babe in Christ, we don’t realize that all the “lovers of God” aren’t all going in the same direction. There are many who are called wandering stars. The book of Jude sheds some light on these wandering stars.
Jude 12, These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear; clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withered, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots. 13, Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
There are many warnings in the bible. The wise men were warned in a dream, but we might not be as fortunate. They at first followed the star. Then they asked questions among those who should know. They then, after asking questions among those who should know, were warned not to return to Jerusalem, and went back home another way. This is an example of what Jesus meant in John 8:31.
John 8:31, Then said Jesus unto the Jews which believed on Him, “If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed”.
Even if we are distracted for a length of time, we should always remember to follow our hearts, vision, and the leading of the star, God’s Holy Spirit, and stay in His word, the Bible. He will bring us to the end of the journey, and to our rightful home.