The Star of Bethlehem

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Aaron, Dec 16, 2007.

  1. Aaron

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    This documentary was a surprise! I just stumbled by it at Sam's Club a couple nights ago for eight bucks. I read the back and thought, "I can chance it for eight bucks." I highly recommend it to everyone especially at this time of the season. [​IMG]

    http://thestarofbethlehemmovie.com/
     
  2. Aaron

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  3. tinytim

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    It looks like the same information Barry Setterfield, (Helen's husband) set forth in his DVD... http://www.setterfield.org/order.html

    We have used his DVD recently for Bible Study...

    Very informational...
    I too think it was natural, and miraculous...
    Of course since God created the natural, even nature is a miracle.
     
  4. standingfirminChrist

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    I got my copy of "The Star of Bethlehem" yesterday. It was very informative. Fredrick Larson used a program called 'Starry Night' to discover what the star was that declared the birth of a King so many years ago.

    He explained the star stopping over where the Lord Jesus lay in that lowly stable.

    A definite must see.
     
  5. Aaron

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    I've been reading The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy of the Magi by Michael R. Molnar. It was recommended by critics of Larson's interpretations. I haven't finished it, but it is interesting too.

    Molnar begins with the premise that to correctly discern what the Magi saw as Messiah's star, one must look at the skies with the same assumptions and methods of interpretation of Greek astrologers. He bases this premise on the fact that Babylonian culture was hellenized after the Alexandrian conquest, so the Babylonian astrologers in the first century would be using Greek methods.

    Anyway...more on that when I finish the book.
     
  6. John of Japan

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    Used to be only liberals spoke of a conjunction of the planets in conjunction with the star of Bethlehem. :(

    The star moved + the star hovered over a particular house = miracle
     
  7. standingfirminChrist

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    The star moved, yes.
    The star stopped, yes.

    I am conservative, but I did find the video fascinating to say the least.

    Especially when it showed the star was precisely with the constellation many call Virgo (virgin) at the time of birth. According to the Mac program 'Starry Night," that star was named Regulus... meaning "King"

    The King born to the Virgin!

    The heavens declare God's handiwork.
     
  8. Rex77

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    Came across this in some notes, food for thought.
    ---------------------------------

    How Did the Wise Men Know? or Is Astrology Valid?

    Though this event is widely known by many - believers and non believers in Messiah alike -several misconceptions have arisen based on this passage. In fact, because the Scriptures tell us that the Wise Men were led to Yeshua by the appearance of a star, some Christians have actually ascribed validity to astrology. Some have even attempted to develop a doctrine of biblical astrology.


    Let us first focus our attention on the issue of the star... certainly, no ordinary star. It is referred to as "his" star, the "King of the Jews" star, in a way that cannot apply to other stars, this star appears and disappears. This star moves from east to west. This star moves from north to south. This star hovers over one single house in Bethlehem, pointing out the exact location of the Messiah. It is very evident that this cannot be a literal star, as we know that any such star hovering over a single house would, in fact, destroy the entire planet.

    Obviously, this star is something different, but what? The Greek word for "star" simply means "radiance" or "brilliance." With this star coming in the form of a light, we have the appearance of the Shechinah Glory - the visible manifestation of God's presence. Whenever God became visible in the Old Testament, such a manifestation was referred to as the Shechinah Glory. This manifested most often in the form of a light, fire, cloud or some combination of these three things. And, so, in Babylon appears a light, a brilliance, a radiance that may look from a distance like a star but has actions and characteristics that no star can or does. What these Wise Men actually saw was the Shechinah Glory, and they deduced that it was a signal that the King of the Jews had finally been born.

    Still the issue remains, how did the Wise Men know? For this, we must look to the Old Testament. We must note first that the only passage in the Old Testament dating the Messiah's coming is found in the famous 70 weeks of Daniel 9. The Book of Daniel was written not in Israel, but in Babylon, much of it in Aramaic, the language of the Babylonian empire.

    There is more. Daniel was always associated with Babylonian astrologers (Daniel 1:19-20; 1-13, 47; 4:7-9; 5:11-12). Nebuchadnezzar, not realizing that the source of Daniel's ability was not the stars of the heavens but the God of Heaven, made Daniel the head of all the astrologers of Babylon. As Daniel eventually also saved the lives of these astrologers by
    interpreting Nebuchadnezzar's dream - there is little doubt that he was able to lead many of them to turn away from the worship of the stars to begin worshipping the God of Israel.

    So then, a line of Babylonian astrologers spanning generations worshipped the true God, and having Daniel's prophecy, looked forward to the coming of the King of the Jews. We can conclude from the Book of Daniel, then, that Babylonian astrologers did know the time Messiah was to be born. However, Daniel says nothing about a star that would herald Messiah's birth. Again, how did the Wise Men know?

    To find the answer, we must go back even earlier in the Old Testament to the prophecies of Balaam. Balaam was hired by the king of Moab to curse the Jews. He attempted to do so four times and each time God took control of his mouth so that he ended up blessing the Jews instead. In the course of these blessings, he sets forth four key Messianic prophecies. One of is found in
    Numbers 24:17:
    I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nigh: There shall come forth a star out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel,and shall smite through the corners of Moab, And break down all the sons of tumult.

    Much to his own regret, Balaam was forced by God to prophesy of the coming of the Jewish Messiah, which he related to a "star." But this is not a literal star, because it says, "And a sceptre shall rise out of Israel." The star and the sceptre in this text are one and the same. We know this because the prophecy is in the form of Hebrew poetry, which is not based on rhythm or rhyme but on parallelism.) And the term "sceptre" is a symbol of royalty or kingship. This star that would rise out of Jacob, is himself a king.


    Furthermore, Balaam's occupation was that of an astrologer. Even more significant is that he came from Pethor, a city on the banks of the Euphrates River in Babylonia (Numbers 22:5; Deuteronomy 23:4). With the Book of Daniel and the prophecy of Balaam, we have a double Babylonian connection here. Hence, the revelation of a star in relation to Messiah's birth via a Babylonian astrologer who, no doubt, passed the information down to his colleagues. Centuries later, Daniel was able to expound to the Babylonian astrologers as to the time that "the star of Jacob" would come.


    How did the Wise Men know? Not by gazing at the stars through the pseudoscience of astrology, but by revelation of God as contained in the Scriptures through the prophecies of Balaam and Daniel. The story of the Wise Men gives no validity to astrology whatsoever.


     
  9. John of Japan

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    That's all very interesting, but it doesn't seem at all convincing to me. By "the star" do they mean the alignment of planets? Then it isn't a star (singular), but several stars lined up. (The Greek word aster for star meant both planets and stars to them, just as the Japanse word hoshi does to Japanese in modern times.)
     
  10. standingfirminChrist

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    it was not just prophecy that told of Christ's birth, but the Star itself.

    Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His Star in the East.

    The Star proclaimed that the fulfillment of prophecy.
     
    #10 standingfirminChrist, Dec 25, 2007
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2007
  11. standingfirminChrist

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    There were two stars lined up that Wonderful night. The star many know as the planet Jupiter, and the Star Regulus... the King.

    I reckon you would have to watch the video to understand it fully.

    One can find out a lot of what is in the video at www.bethlehemstar.net
     
  12. Aaron

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    I think the Magi knew when to look for the star because of Daniel's prophecies. (Dispensational Premillennialists will not agree.) Molnar is presumptuous to assert that because Babylonian society was Hellenized that all people of all disciplines were necessarily Greek in their thinking. It's like saying that because American society is Darwinistic that all scientists believe in Evolution.

    We do know this for certain. The Magi saw the star and they knew the interpretation (which is a form of astrology, like it or not).
     
  13. Baptist Believer

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    Exactly. I remain unconvinced by the speculation regarding alignment of planets, etc...

    They were able to follow the star (the star seemed to lead them like the pillar of fire by night) all the way to Bethlehem and seemed to hover over a specific house. I can't imagine how an alignment of planets or stars could do that.
     
  14. webdog

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    Planets aligning would not stop over a house, leading one to a particular house. If there was a special star in the sky, it would appear to be over many houses depending on where you were standing.

    Wasn't angel and star from the same root word?
     
  15. Allan

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    That shows your limited understanding of Disp. Premil's. That is what they specifically teach, except that they would know to look for 'a star' as the sign. There is nothing in the weeks of Daniel which gives any mention of 'a star' to look for. Did I miss something?
     
    #15 Allan, Dec 25, 2007
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  16. Allan

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    I agree.
    And not only that, it was did not consistantly show up at the same time nor did it lead them directly to Christ once they began following it because they came to Jerusalem instead of Bethleham.

    We find in Matthew 2 this:
    This word is not specifically refering to a time or hour of night but encompasses both the hour and length of days. IOW - how long they have been following this star and when it typically was seen so they 'could' follow it.

    I will come back to that in a moment, but with due regard for the star not leading the wise men 'directly' to Bethlehem first where Jesus was but indeed took them first to Jerusalem. For that is where they ended up by following the star thus far. That is why they came first to Jerusalem and was asking both the Jewish people about where the King of the Jews was born and Herod and was the reason scripture states that troubled everyone with their news as we see in the passage below.
    Now back to the time issue. It was not something that appeared every night at a certain time, but at different times, leading them much a kin to the glory of the Lord in the OT with the Children of Israel. We know it was not something consistantly appearing every night like the alignment of the planets would have been for a couple of reasons.

    1. The star moved and came to rest over Jesus home.
    Any formulation made to concoct a theory about planetary alignments as a way to explain the events does not take neither the scientific data nor the biblical data into account. Stars don't move, nor can they be used to show an exact local positioning on the earth over which the star stops, while at the same time appearing and disappearing having no consistant pattern associated with planetary alignments and fixed star structures.


    2. It was not a consistant phenominon since the Magi were excited to see the star after visiting Herod (thus they journey was indeed not finished). If they were following this star, why did they come to Jeruselam and then to Herod if the star in fact did not first lead them there? If the star was a consistant thing each night as it any planetary alignment would be, why were they so happy to see it again? And why were they journeying for appoxiamely 2 years (we will see this one in #3)?
    The star was no longer visible when they went in search of the King of the Jews in Jerusalem, in fact they didn't know where to even specifically look. Thus they went throughout Jerusalem asking where their King has been born and on up to Herod (the most logical place) to ask him where this new born King is. The star apparently was visable and lead them and then disappeared for a time as well, which is why they 'thought' their journey had ended in Jerusalem.


    3. They had been on this journey for appoximately 2 YEARS since we don't know exactly when the left. I'm sure this one caught some. Yet their leaving would have to have been a short time after seeing and then identifying it's significance, especially since they of all people would know that any astrological occurance would be limited to days or weeks (but mostly days)
    But look at the two texts and you will see what I mean about the 'time' issue:
    Herod sent out the decree to kill all children two years and under according to the 'time' which he diligently enquired of the wise. This time encompasses not only the time of night but also how long they had been following the star.

    The whole thing was supernatural event. And while a natural event might have been what God used to draw the Magi's attention, it was a supernatural working that kept their attention on and toward the new born King.
     
    #16 Allan, Dec 25, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 25, 2007
  17. Aaron

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    The star could have been a miracle, but that's simply one conclusion itself based on a host of unsubstantiated assumptions. The Scriptures don't say it was a miracle. Neither do they say the Magi knew anything of Daniel's prophecies. This we do know. The magi were looking for Messiah's star, and when they saw it, they knew what it meant.

    For one to say that astronomers could not tell whether a star/planet was directly overhead or not (stood over the place) is to say one knows better math than the magi did, which itself is presumptuous to say the least. One benefit of hellenization was the incorporation of trigonometry into the Babylonian methods of calculating star positions. (Yes, the Greeks knew the earth was a sphere.)

    Planets do not move in the sky like stars. They can rise and set in seemingly strange places, can stop and even move backwards. They're called "wandering stars." The word planet itself comes from a root meaning "to wander."

    I don't say this to say that either Molnar or Larson are correct, but it is to say they make compelling cases based on better evidence than what I've seen thus far in this thread.
     
  18. John of Japan

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    The Bible doesn't say the virgin birth is a miracle either. :rolleyes: And the conclusion that this is a miracle is based on a host of unsubstantiated assumptions? Such as, "the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was"? This is where it absolutely has to be a miracle, according to the Scripture.

    The Greek word used for "stood" here is histemi. From Thayer's definition, note specifically:
    "2) to stand
    2a) to stand by or near
    2a1) to stop, stand still, to stand immovable, stand firm
    2a1a) of the foundation of a building"

    So the star moved, and then it stopped and was immovable. It was a miracle.
    What does math have to do with it? They saw the star over where Jesus was, they didn't calculate it! And they saw it "stand over" where the child was. There is a Greek word for "calculate," and it is not used here.
     
  19. standingfirminChrist

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    histemi can also mean continued. If what Starry Night software shows to be what happened is true, that the star did not stop, but rather changed directions and circled back it would have appeared to have stood over Bethlehem for a time to the Magi... and yet continued on its journey through the sky
     
  20. John of Japan

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    Sorry, that won't work in this place. Histemi is in the aorist tense here. For the star to have continued without stopping it would have had to be in the imperfect or present active indicative.

    Another point from the Greek grammar in v. 9, made by venerable Matthew commentator John Broadus: "Went before them, literally, led them forward, and the Greek has the imperfect, naturally suggesting that as they moved forward it moved also. It appears to have indicated to them not merely the wown--showing that the scribes were right--but the quarter of the town, if not the very house" (Matthew, p. 20).

    Another commentary on the Greek text says, "Both verse 7 ("appeared") and a comparison ov verses 9 and 9 ("have seen" and "lo") show that the Wise Men had seen the star in their own country and that they saw it again as they left Jerusalem. In other words, they did not follow the star from their country to Jerusalem, but they did follow it from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. The fact they were able to do so shows it was no ordinary star but a divine revelation of light which now moved ahead of them and guided them to the exact spot where they found the little boy" (The Complete Biblical Library, Stanley M. Horton, ed., Matthew, p. 38).

    The great Greek scholar A. T. Robertson agrees that it was a miracle:
    "So the star . . . went before them. This language implies a miraculous appearance, like a star, which guided the steps of the wise men. Such a view is no less probable than that a pillar of fire should have guided Israel. This luminous appearance stood over where the young child was. Either over Bethlehem, or over the house where the young child was sheltered" (comments on Matt. 2:9, emphases are by ATR).
     

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