The Magi (wise men) who followed the star belonged to an ancient caste of star gazers, researchers and sages from Babylon. Their arrival in Jerusalem caused a stir. When questioned about their business, they said – “We’ve seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”
Their enquiry led to an appointment with King Herod and a handful of Jewish scholars. The scholars told the Magi that their prophets said the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, a small town eight kilometers south of Jerusalem.
A brutal and cunning despot, Herod pressed the visitors for more information and learned the star they were following had appeared almost two years prior. (This bit of information later led to the slaughter of thousands of Jewish babies, all under two.) After promising Herod they’d tell him what they learned about this mysterious Messiah, The Magi travelled to Bethlehem.
Why did these mysterious strangers follow the star?
The answer can be traced to a Jew taken captive by the Babylonians six centuries earlier – Daniel (see Daniel 2). He became a leader in Babylon and a member of the Magi. He taught that the twelve constellations of the zodiac encircling the sky like an open scroll told the story of God and that . . .
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows and proclaims His handiwork. Day after day pours forth speech, and night after night shows forth knowledge. There is no speech nor spoken word from the stars; their voice is not heard. Yet their voice in evidence goes out through all the earth. . .” Psalm 91:1-4 (AMP)
We know from Johanne Kepler, a seventeenth century mathematician and astronomer, that in the year preceding Christ’s birth, Saturn and Jupiter aligned in the constellation of Pisces, also known as The House of the Messiah, three times. Since this phenomenon only occurs once every 800 years, the Magi knew something big was about to happen.
That something big was the appearance of a new star.
Ignatius, Bishop of the church at Antioch (AD69) wrote: “At the appearance of the Lord a star shone forth brighter than all the others.”
This new star arose in Coma, a small constellation in Virgo. The stars in Coma present the outline of a male child on his mother’s lap. A prophecy, traditionally attributed to Daniel, foretold that a new star would appear in Coma when the One it represented was born. Shakespeare referred to Coma when he wrote “shooting an arrow up to the good boy in Virgo’s lap.”
The star led the Magi to the exact house where Jesus lived with his parents. Their search ended when their silk robes brushed the dust at the toddler Messiah’s feet. When God warned them in a dream not to report back to Herod, the wise men slipped away by another route, choosing to obey God rather than a Roman ruler.
Daniel, a boy when he was kidnapped and taken to a foreign land, Babylon, was elevated to a high position by the kings he served. One of those positions was as scholar and ‘wise man,’ teacher of the Magi. The teachings he left in the hands of his captors remained long after he was gone.
Take heart. Be faithful to God today. He will take your faithfulness and make it matter to future generations.
Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is the faithful God who for a thousand generations keeps his promises and constantly loves those who love him and who obey his commands. Deuteronomy 7:9
If this subject of God’s message revealed in the heavens fascinates you, read the book, The Heavens Declare, by William D. Banks.
Rose McCormick Brandon’s books are available here.