“Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking,“
The term “wise men” is our English transliteration of the Greek word, “magos” which can mean astrologers, seers, interpreters of dreams, priests, spiritual advisors. As officials coming from the East, (most likely the region of Mesopotamia) these leaders would have served as personal advisors to the king. They were wealthy, and would have traveled with an entourage for protection. We typically picture only three of them because the Bible records the three gifts given, but no one really knows how many wise men, or magi there were.
If you’re familiar with the story of the prophet Daniel, he was given the title of “Chief of the Magio” or chief of the astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers, by King Nebuchadnezzar some 500+ years earlier. Daniel operated in the same gifting as these “wise men”. He had the gift of revelation and was well versed in the same knowledge and understanding of the signs in the stars and the heavens and what it all meant.
However, having a personal relationship with God, Daniel’s knowledge, understanding and ability to interpret far surpassed the interpreters of his time. He didn’t give the heavens or the stars a higher place than they deserved, neither did he worship them. He saw them as a language, a method of communication that pointed to a greater reality. To God.
Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years. Genesis 1:14 NLT
Because Daniel knew the One who had placed the stars in the heavens, and had a relationship with the One from whom all knowledge and revelation flows, Daniel didn’t just operate in this gifting. He walked in the authority of it. And it is probable that these “magi” who came to see Jesus, were descendants of those who had been taught and led by Daniel several years earlier.
I remember as a little girl – especially at Christmastime – being drawn with such curiosity and wonder whenever I’d hear about the “star” and how it led these wise men to where Jesus was. Unfortunately, due to bad teaching, that wonder was quenched and I was told that I should never be “looking into the stars” and that it was all connected to divination and that the Bible strictly forbade it. My wonder was soon turned to fear and I became frightened of the night. Especially the moon. I also began to see anyone who showed interest in those things as “darkened”. Until I came to know the Truth:
The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display His craftsmanship. God’s splendor is a tale that is told; His testament is written in the stars. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known. Space itself speaks His story every day through the marvels of the heavens. His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky, showing His skill in creation’s craftsmanship. Psalm 19:1 TPT & NLT
The heavens proclaim. The heavens speak, they communicate, and point to the reality of a great God. Of course, there is nothing worthy of our worship aside from God Himself. And to assume that the stars and planets are capable of exerting any influence on human destiny (a basic view of astrology) is a false and limited belief. Trying to use the stars and the heavens apart from God to come up with horoscopes, or see into the future – I get it. I get why people are drawn to do that. There’s something within us that knows there’s more. There’s something within us that is drawn to wonder. But the key to operating in truth in this area is to remain anchored in God. The stars should awaken our wonder at God’s power, wisdom, and infinitude. They should remind us of God’s faithful, covenant-keeping nature. And if we are drawn to learn and grow in this area, we must use the Word of God as our guide.
This Christmas, I want to encourage you to take a step outside. Gaze into the starry night sky and let the child-like wonder captivate you. Even if you look at the canvas and don’t understand what it all means, consider it a majestic piece of art, placed there by the Creator as a gift to you and I.
“Ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature.” Romans 1:20a NLT