As humans, we tend to “naturalize” events described in the Bible. For example, frequently the destructive events described in the Revelation are attributed to a nuclear weapon. But the Word of God is filled with supernatural events: the birth of Jesus to a virgin, floating ax heads, water turned into wine, fire from heaven that devoured the sacrifice and the altar upon which it was laid.
Many times in the Bible angels are spoken of as stars. In the introduction of the Revelation, the Lord Jesus is described as having seven stars in His right hand. He then clearly says that the seven stars are seven angels. (Revelation 1:20) Later, the Apostle John saw a star fall from Heaven. “And to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.” (Revelation 9:1) The star from Heaven was an angel.
Much time and ink has been spent attempting to explain the star that led the wise men to the baby Lord Jesus. These attempts have all been natural in composition. Suggestions have ranged from a cluster of stars, a conjunction of planets, comets, et cetera.
Why do we overlook the supernatural power of the Lord Jehovah, the Creator of all things? If He can create the earth by spoken word, surely He can arrange for a bright angelic being to perform the task of leading the (two or more) wise men. We are told that they came from the east and they saw the star while they were there, in the east.
The story of the star and the wise men is found solely in Matthew chapter two.
“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled …” – Matthew 2:1-3aThis was a special star. This “star” may have been an angel of the Lord leading the men to the Lord Jesus. Based on the assumption that the wise men were from Persia or Parthia, they first saw the “star” in what we know today as Iran. At that time travelers followed trade routes to avoid the great Arabian desert. They would have followed the customary trade routes west to Damascus (because there was water there), and then south to Jerusalem. This angelic “star” led them west and then south down the coastal trade route through Israel to Jerusalem. Celestial bodies do not change course by going west and then south.
As an aside, Herod, who was not a Jew, was “troubled” when the wise men asked for the location of “He who is born King of the Jews.” Herod, an Edomite, had obtained his position from the Romans by political connections and bribery. He was not born King of the Jews. He was very jealous of his position. Herod even had his own son killed to eliminate the possibility that the son would usurp his father’s throne.
The wise men first went to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. We are not told that the star led them there. But there they inquired as to where Jesus was to be born, and were informed the place was Bethlehem. We are told that the star then continued to lead the wise men, and then it stopped and stood over the house where the child was. (Matthew 2:9)
How can you tell where a normal star is pointing? Find a very bright star on a clear and moonless night. Can you tell if it is standing over your house? Not even the Moon, as large and bright as it is, can differentiate one house from another. In order for the Moon, or any celestial body, to indicate a specific building, it would have to descend over the building. Celestial bodies do not do this.
The “star” had to have descended and stood over the house. Mary and Joseph were no longer in a stable (or the Tower of the Flock – Please click HERE.) The Bible does not say that the “star” led them to Bethlehem. The wise men found Mary and the young child (paidion – Strong's G3813 – young child, little boy or girl) in a house. By the time of the wise men’s visit Mary and Joseph may have returned to Nazareth, which is north of Jerusalem. A strange meandering course for a celestial body, but not for an angel.
There is another indication of a lapse of time from the birth of Jesus until the visit by the wise men. When Jesus was born, the angels directed the shepherds to Bethlehem where they would find the baby (brephos – Strong's G1025 – baby, infant) lying in a manger. (Luke 2:12) The wise men found Mary and the young child, as noted above.
The account of the Birth of the Lord Jesus contains many supernatural events:
The Lord, our Heavenly Father, deserves all honor and praise and recognition for His wonderful grace, power and abilities. Praise His name, always!