The Star – part 2

 Matthew has highlighted the prophetic riddle of the Old Testament so much so, that we are barely into chapter 2 and had to skip over much of chapter 1 to get here. He is excited to share the prophetic riddle. This is important as the Star of Bethlehem is examined closely. In Matthew’s genre of riddle, does he intend to tell us that there is a literal star? or does he use it as a figure as well?

Not a literal star?

If the star was a normal star in a constellation, then it wouldn’t hover over a single point such as Bethlehem. It would move in a arc like the rest of he stars save Polaris, which hovers over the north pole. In order to use it to get to Bethlehem you would need:

To know its path precisely, through the sky
The precise time
A clean horizon
Altitude above sea level or a floating mirror
An accurate measure of angle from the horizon


Since no one know s what star it was, it is unlikely they knew the precise path of it. Others have been well known for millennia.
Accurate time pieces did not exist
As strangers, even if they could see the Mediterranean sea for a horizon, it is unlikely they knew their altitude for the adjustment.
The distance from Jerusalem to Bethlehem is less than 5 nautical miles. To navigate with this precision would require a measurement of angle from the horizon to the star with an accuracy of 5 minutes of a degree.

It is improbable that it was a normal celestial star.

Not an asteroid

If the star was an asteroid it would need to be in a nearly Geo-stationary orbit.

Why did no one else see it?
Why didn’t the wise men show it to Herod?

Not a ball of lightning?

If the star was a special phenomenon, a ball of light, which literally led them step by step to Bethlehem, then:

Why didn’t anyone else see it and follow it?
Why did they stop to see Herod, when it was leading them to Bethlehem?
Why didn’t they point it out to Herod and say, “See! We’re just following this thing.”
When the children were being killed, why didn’t the parents point to Joseph and Mary and say “They are the ones with the special beacon!”

It is improbable that it was a special ball of light.

Why did they rejoice?

Mt 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

If they had been following a literal light why does it now appear that they have seen it for the first time?

It is not the Star of David

The six pointed star called the Star of David does not originate from the Star of Bethlehem. It is a late invention and is the Mogen David; the Shield of David… not star.

What does the scripture SAY?

Matthew is showing how the mystery, which has been hidden from the beginning, is made known in Christ Jesus.

Mt 2:1 ¶ Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
Mt 2:2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east (ancient), and are come to worship him.
Mt 2:3 When Herod the king had heard [these things], he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
Mt 2:4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
Mt 2:5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
Mt 2:6 And thou Bethlehem, [in] the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
Mt 2:7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
Mt 2:8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found [him], bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
Mt 2:9 ¶ When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
Mt 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

The prophecy says

Nu 24:17 [given to Balak of Moab through Balaam] I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

The prophecy of Balaam does not indicate a literal star. How would a star come out of David? Once we recognize that it isn’t literal, we are set free to understand the mystery.

I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not near

The prophecy calls for a man in the future, who is at a distance from Moab.

there shall come a Star out of Jacob

Using the name Jacob rather than Israel is a hint that the revelation is speaking of the flesh of the man.
Star – כוכב ‘the Son of God made distinct (clarified) כו as the Son of God כ revealed to man ב’
Jacob – יעקב ‘his flesh יע in resurrection ק revealed to man ב’

a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel

Now using Israel, his spiritual purpose is revealed:
Sceptre – שׁבט ‘shebet’ tribe, rod. Since the prophecy calls for a man, referred to as “he”, he will be the leader of captain of the tribe; a ruler. This is why Herod was worried.
Israel – ישׂראל man ישׂ joined to God אל by the revelation ר. Remember that the first name of God, Elohim, means God separated from man by a lack of understanding.
But the sceptre shabet שׁבט sounds like shabbat שׁבת sabbath which means ‘rest’. The wise men from the east; from Moab, enemies of Israel, were not afraid to come to the newborn king because they knew he was a king of peace. This also was a clue that Herod would not be a king of peace. What need would there be for peace if Herod had already accomplished it. The prophecy warns them against Herod.

shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth

smite – wound. Consider the limping side of Christ; the bruised heal, the withered thigh. He wounded his flesh to be obedient in the spirit.
corners – the corners of the field represent the Gentiles. They were not to be harvested by Israel, but by the Gentiles and sojourners.
Moab – מואב ‘those of the covenant of the father מ who are separated ו from the father אב’ (Moab is east of Israel… it is where the wise men came from.)
Sheth – שׁת buttocks, 6th (as in the 6th day).
He shall make them obedient (smite the flesh), the gentiles who are of the covenant but separated from God. And destroy all the children of Adam (of the flesh).

The wise men saw that the peace offered by the new king was in the conquering of the flesh and joining all men as new creations, no longer children of Adam.

Isa 9:2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

The great light is the holiness of God poured out on men.

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