Traditional, but wrong, points in the story of Jesus’ birth

Discussion in 'Forum for Polls' started by Alcott, Dec 9, 2010.

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Which of these traditional points is definitely or inherently wrong?

  1. Mary rode a donkey on the journey to Bethlehem

    10 vote(s)
    40.0%
  2. Jesus was born in a stable

    9 vote(s)
    36.0%
  3. It was a cold winter’s night that Jesus was born

    22 vote(s)
    88.0%
  4. As a baby, Jesus did not cry

    21 vote(s)
    84.0%
  5. The shepherds heard the angels’ message and that same night saw the child

    4 vote(s)
    16.0%
  6. There were 3 wise men who came from the east (any others with them were not magi)

    17 vote(s)
    68.0%
  7. The wise men followed the star to Bethlehem from their own country

    8 vote(s)
    32.0%
  8. The wise men were kings

    20 vote(s)
    80.0%
  9. The wise men worshipped Jesus as He was still cradled in a manger

    23 vote(s)
    92.0%
  10. It was actually a star that stood over where Jesus was, to guide the wise men

    6 vote(s)
    24.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Alcott

    Alcott
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    There seem to be 2 major ways to do this poll, which concerns the wrong or questionable images, from either dogma or the arts, associated with the birth of Jesus Christ. That is, by listing the not-all-inclusive points and the polltaker checks the ones which are inherently wrong; or listing the same and checking that option means the polltaker thinks it is at least possible, perhaps likely. Either way (among other methods), this poll program is really not adequate. Perhaps there will be 2 or more polls, but this one will be the former choice—listing the extrabiblical traditional beliefs and checking means it is definitely or inherently wrong. In the questions, “wise [learned] men” = “magi,” just for customary identifications.
     
  2. David Lamb

    David Lamb
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    I would say that on the basis of what the bible tells us, just two of those things are correct. "The shepherds heard the angels’ message and that same night saw the child" and "It was actually a star that stood over where Jesus was, to guide the wise men." Luke tells us that the shepherds hurried straight away down into Bethlehem. Matthew says that the wise men followed the star from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, where it "stood over where the young Child was".

    The rest fall into two groups. There are things which might be true, but we cannot know, because we are not told. Mary's donkey-riding, and the number of wise men are in that group.

    Then there are things that are just plain wrong. The wise men didn't follow the star from their home, nor did the see the child Jesus in the manger.
     
  3. Alcott

    Alcott
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    I find it a little puzzling, so far, that 8 of 10 have said it is definitely or inherantly wrong that "There were 3 wise men who came from the east (any others with them were not magi)." While we don't know that there were 3 of them, we don't know that there were not 3. So how are some of you that certain that it's definitely or inherantly wrong to say that there were 3 of them?
     
  4. Gabriel Elijah

    Gabriel Elijah
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    There is a lot of opinionated inaccuracies on this poll! Some are possible we just don’t know-for example it could have been a stable (or a cave, ect) but all we know is Jesus was in a manger. Could have been 3 wise men—but text never says only uses magoi (plural). Mary could have rode a donkey—but Bible never says. Could have been a star—but could have been a supernova, planet alignment, comet, or God’s glory—I COULD go on-but u get tha picture.
     
  5. annsni

    annsni
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    Another thing I thought of the other day - were Mary and Joseph poor? Was Jesus raised in a poor family? That's another common thing and I am not sure that's in the Bible. Is it? (it could very well be but with this cough, the cough medicines, the lack of sleep from said cough all could contribute to "mush brain" - LOL)
     
  6. Jerome

    Jerome
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    ...two turtledoves...

    Luke 2:22-24
    And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

    John Gill:
     
  7. Alcott

    Alcott
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    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    It might make a nice Christmas card, but the unknown number of 'wise men' and the shepherds would not have visited the baby/child at the same time; at least not the biblical accounts thereof. Another point is that in so many images, it shows 3 wise men riding camels toward a focal point over which there is a star with a long tail pointing down. We also don't know that those guys rode camels; and while we also don't know that they were rich enough to have their own attendants, that seems likely, considering the valuable gifts.

    As for the star, I think a supernova is out. That would have been so bright and noticeable that there should be many accounts from many parts of the world. There are accounts of planetary conjunctions, including the inherantly impressive Venus/Jupiter coming together; but that one is outside the most probable time scale-- 2 b.c., when Herod is supposed to have died in 4 b.c.

    But if it was anything like that, how could that point out such a specific location? Sure, they could test to see if the phenomenom was directly overhead-- for one method, they could just hang a weighted string and lie down under it to check if the 'star' is in a direct line with the earth's gravity. But as the earth rotated, there would have been little chance to do that very often. So it seems it was some kind of phenomenon not from planets millions of miles away, or stars light years away, but some special light actually quite low, and probably quite temporary, as it was not far from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, the latter being just a village.
     
  8. David Lamb

    David Lamb
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    I agree with what you wrote about the location of the manger, the number of wise men, and whether or not Mary rode to Bethlehem on a donkey.

    But your last example, about what it was the wise men followed, is different. The bible says it was a star. For example, Matthew 2.9-10:

    When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they say the star they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.
    So it is surely wrong to say, "The bible never says" about that one.
     
  9. Gabriel Elijah

    Gabriel Elijah
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    Yes sir my dear brother the term “star” is used in the English & with its Greek equivalent. But how the star moved & then settled in one place (Matt 2:9) has led many to understand this as no ordinary star (simply b/c a star does not by normal standards perform this kind of action). Further the Greeks often referred to various astrological phenomena by the term “star”—such as comets, meteors, ect. Origen (Against Celsus I 58) makes note of this in his discussion on what the star of Bethlehem was. Thus, what this “star” really was is open for discussion & has led many theologians to see it as the Shekinah glory of God guiding the magoi to the promised Messiah. But you are correct—I should have worded this statement better & said in the Greek the term "star" is not limited to the modern understanding, but can simply be a light in the sky related to various astrological (or even possibly supernatural) events.
     
    #9 Gabriel Elijah, Dec 16, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2010
  10. David Lamb

    David Lamb
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    All I meant was that while the bible doesn't tell us where the manger was, how many wise men there were, or whether Mary travelled from Nazareth to Bethlehem on a donkey, it does tell us that the wise men saw a star in the East, where they lived, then saw it again, and followed it, from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.

    I did not mention whether it was a star in the sense that we use that word, but I believe we need to be very careful in saying things such as, "A star does not by normal standards perform this kind of action," because we are talking about an Almighty God here. By normal standards the sun does not stand still, iron does not float, a virgin cannot give birth, five loaves and two fish don't feed a crowd of five thousand men, plus women and children, yet according to the bible, God caused all those things to happen.
     
  11. Alcott

    Alcott
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    There is surely nothing wrong with saying "A star does not by normal standards perform this kind of action." That is simply a fact. And whatever the flourescent phenomenon really was, it was indeed 'not by normal standards' that it showed the location of the house. Incidentally, when it was the 'same country' shepherds who earlier had come to see the newborn (possibly or probably the same night they saw the angels), how did they know just where he was other than "in the city of David-- which more often in scripture refers to Jerusalem? Perhaps it was just one of those details that is not included, such as what they did about the sheep they watched over as they left them.
     
  12. David Lamb

    David Lamb
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    I agree, but what I meant to question was the idea of applying "normal standards" to God's miraculous actions. Sorry if that wasn't clear in my earlier post.
     
  13. Gabriel Elijah

    Gabriel Elijah
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    David—no 1 is questioning if the event was miraculous or not. But when u say u question the idea of applying “normal standards” to God’s miraculous actions—the fact is what by definition what makes something miraculous is that it does not fit the category of “normal standards”. How in any way does this question if God is miraculous or not? Even if it was a star (in the our understanding of the word) or comet, or even something more supernatural (like His Shekinah glory), or a special star He created just for the purpose of the wise to follow— using the phrase “normal standard” does not counteract the idea that the Almighty God was involved. No disrespect, but I really don’t see where your question or problem comes in.
     
  14. David Lamb

    David Lamb
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    Any misunderstanding is entirely my fault - sorry! I should have left it with my earlier post (#8 in this thread), because that was my main point - simply that (unlike your other examples) the bible does mention the star. Whether it was an "ordinary" star or something different is another matter, and by mentioning it, I seem to have just muddied the waters.

    Lastly, let me assure you that I didn't take any of your posts as disrespectful. (I hope you didn't think any of mine were; that certainly wasn't my intention.)
     
  15. Gabriel Elijah

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    No sir—no disrespect taken—nice postn with ya—God bless!
     
  16. Alcott

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    Does anyone know much about trying to publish a song? In this case a "Christmas song," but one that arguably should not be considered only seasonal, like "Joy to the World" and "Immanuel;" but a Christmas song because that's just when any events about Jesus as a baby or a young child are considered appropriate. But perhaps more the point, I am a non-musician, have never studied music, unless you count a year of piano lessons, and I don't play any instrument with any competence at all except the harmonica, by ear.

    The song is another one about the visit of the "magi" [wise men], but unlike the classical "We Three Kings," this is longer, more scriptural, and has a hard-hitting melody that just seemed to come to me as I was thinking about the subject of this thread.
    Sample:

    (v.1)
    In the land whence we come we were counted among the wise.
    We spent most all of our night gazing high up into the skies.
    But never had we seen before
    This light untold in all our lore.
    But we knew of a scroll we consulted that raised our eyes.

    (chorus)
    We travel long and beladen with gifts that are fit for a king.
    We journey far to the west toward the Great One, his praise to bring.
    We come just once in our quest for the Keeper of Peace,
    Who will reign so that conflict within us will cease.
    To the God of us all, may we ever his praises sing!

    I did write another song years ago, in which I was able to figure out the chords on a keyboard, and I am just literate enough musically to write out the notes, rests, et al, if it would be necessary. But has anyone ever published a song before and knows some of the ropes?
     
  17. Alcott

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    32% say it is definitely or inherantly wrong that: "The wise men followed the star to Bethlehem from their own country." So most think that is true, or at least palpable. Maybe that is misleading one. But scripture does not say they "followed" the star they had seen from their own country to Bethlehem; rather just that they saw the star "in the east" [presumably in their home region], and after meeting with Herod and getting word that the place of birth was Bethlehem-- it seems likely they did not know if he was (still) there or not-- only then did they see 'the' star, whatever it really was, that pointed out to them the place. So unquestionably the did not follow the star "to Bethlehem from their own country," but any following was when they were already in the Bethlehem surrounding.
     
  18. David Lamb

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    I agree if you include Jerusalem in your term "the Bethlehem surrounding"; it was only about 7 miles away, I understand. Certainly Matthew 2.9 seems to indicate that they followed the star from Jerusalem to Bethlehem:

    When they had heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the east went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.
     

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