The Star of Bethlehem

Credible historians tell us that Mary, Joseph, and Jesus stayed in Bethlehem for two years and moved into a house where Joseph found work and community (perhaps for the protection of Mary from the customs of the day).

The visit of the Magi or the Wise Men, arrived from 40 days to two years after Jesus’s birth. Thus they were not at the cave at the birth as we often see in our manger sets.

It is reasonable to assume that there were three Wise Men because they present Jesus with three gifts.  Their number, nationality and country are unknown; some speculate they were from present day Iraq or Iran.  If so that would easily be a two year trip to Bethlehem.

They were of a priestly hereditary caste that uttered prophecies, explained omens, interpreted dreams and practiced divination (see Daniel 2:2, 48, and 4:9).  These Wise Men were people held in high regard by all the Kings and Rulers of the time; they were also well versed in the prophesies of the era. 

They followed a star that eventually brought them to the house where Mary, Joseph, and the two year old Jesus lived.  They made a brief stop to enquire of King Herod.  (See the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew).

The star was supernatural and cannot be logically or astronomically explained.  Many people much smarter than I have tried: astronomers, scientist, theologians.  It is speculated to be perhaps a supernova, a comet, a conjunction of planets.  None of these stay in the sky as long as this star needed to.  In Matthew 2:9 the scripture states, “…and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the young child was“.

Have you ever heard of a star simply appearing, lasting from 40 days to two years and actually moving as a guide?  I want to offer you a theory I received (I believe) from the Holy Spirit a few years ago.

It is recorded in all four Gospels that angels were involved in the announcement of the birth of Jesus and all though out the Bible they are associated with the delivery of messages from God to man, and many other activities in the Spirit Realm. 

I did a study of angels a few years ago.  They are mentioned almost 300 times.  They all have different jobs…only some are messengers.  Some are called seraphim, cherubim, the Hose of Heaven and (among other names) Stars.  I present you the Star of Bethlehem, a Spirit Being assigned to herald the birth of the greatest man ever, the son of God.  So large and so bright he was seen as a celestial object and brought the Magi from a great distance.  This beautiful being shown over the stable and moved with the Christ and His family until they went to Egypt to escape the army of Herod.

Herod, so afraid of the new “King” that he ordered the death of all the Jewish boys from new born to two years old.  It is totally possible these Wise Men provided the funds for Joseph to take his small family to Egypt to avoid this slaughter.

The Weapons of Our Warfare

I believe there is a Creator God.  A God Who loves us so unconditionally that we do not have the capacity to understand it, let alone completely receive it.

As much as I believe that, I also believe that there is a devil, who hates God and His creation at a level far more passionately intensive than we could ever understand.

There is warfare going on in a realm around us that we cannot see, but are a part of whether we want to be or not.  This hater of God has sent powers and principalities in this realm around us to bring great division and it is working. 

So, Beloved, what do we do about it?  How do we stand against it?  Our weapons are not weapons of this realm, but weapons of the Spirit realm. There are many, but today my focus is on one of the most powerful.  King David of Israel used this weapon; Paul the Apostle, used this weapon, Abraham Lincoln used it as did Martin Luther King, Jr. 

IT IS GRATITUDE.  The real thing.  Not a ritualistic activity, not a feast with family, but a humble heart of gratefulness for God’s goodness, mercy and faithfulness right in the middle of the battle. . . because

HIS STEADFAST LOVE ENDURES FOREVER

A psalm of thanksgiving (Psalm 100 NLT)

Shout with joy to the Lord , all the earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.

Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation. 

From Paul to the Philippian Church  (Philippians 4:6-8 NLT)
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 

Proclamation of Thanksgiving

Washington, D.C. October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward, Secretary of State

 

Solar Eclipse

A solar eclipse is when the moon moves between the earth and sun. It only lasts a few minutes (not THREE hours) but does not darken the whole world. The Crucifixion darkness is an episode in three of the Canonical Gospels in which the sky becomes dark in daytime during the crucifixion of Jesus for a full three hours, “…all over the earth.”. . . “And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.  And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.”  (Luke 23: 44-46 KJV)

darknessThe Darkness…

Ancient and medieval Christian writers treated this as a miracle, and believed it to be one of the few episodes from the New Testament which were confirmed by non-Christian sources. Pagan commentators of the Roman era explained it as an eclipse, although Christian writers pointed out that an eclipse during Passover, when the crucifixion took place, would have been impossible; a solar eclipse occurs only during a new moon, while a lunar eclipse occurs only during a full moon. Modern scholarship, noting the way in which similar accounts were associated in ancient times with the deaths of notable figures, tends to look upon this phenomenon as a literary invention… Naturally, I do not believe there are any, “Literary Inventions” in Scripture.  Further, two non-Biblical historians of the day wrote about it, Thallus and Africanus.

angel2A Legion

Here is another possibility (hypothesis) one I honestly believe is credible although not mentioned in Biblical text. Angels, Spirit Beings, Seraphim, Cherubim and those called by other names are mentioned almost 300 times in the Bible.  They are all different looking because they are created for different jobs and (I believe, perhaps they can change forms, as needed) they all look different, just like God’s natural creation here on earth.  (Refer to my blog in the archives called The Star of Bethlehem — December, 2014).  Jesus, himself, referred to the activity of Angels at His disposal, “Do you suppose that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will immediately provide Me with more than twelve legions [more than 80,000] of angels?”  (Matthew 26:53 AMP)

angel1A depiction of a Seraphim

Instead of an actual eclipse, as theorized by modern science, I give you one very large one or a legion of angels, who under orders from God stood between the light of the sun and earth as God grieved the natural death of His Son, Jesus and turned His back on the sin Jesus took on in our place.

angel3

Yes, this is yet another form of a Spirit Being, A wheel within a wheel seen by Isaiah.