Was It Really A Star That Lead The Wise Men?

We all know the “Christmas story” of how the wise men followed a “star” when Jesus was born, but was it really a “star”, in the sense of what we normally consider a “star”, being a physical ball of burning gas floating around in outer space.

We also know from various scriptures that the term “star’ was often used to describe angels, e.g. “And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.” Revelations 9:1

The following is a statement from John Chysostom, 349 AD– ca. 407AD, the archbishop of Constantinople. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, and for his teachings against abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders. He was also known as John the (of the) Golden mouth/ed. What is of particular note is that John Chrysostom lived prior to the schisms that fragmented the once unified Body Of Christ and as such was still part of that One Body holding to the original One faith as it was in the beginning.

John Chrysostom says:

"My brothers, we urgently need long watching and many prayers in order to be able to answer these questions, and to know who are those wise men? and where did they come from?

Because Satan suggested to the enemies of the truth to say: "When Christ was born, His star appeared: Is this not a sign which proves that astrology is a true industry?

If He was born in this manner, why did He eradicate astrology, fortune-telling, and magic, and did he render the devils to silence?!

Let us then examine what was that star: was it one of the numerous stars? Or was it an alien to them, from another nature than their nature? Or was it that only the person who looked at it, that thought it was a star?

If we know the answer to these questions, we shall know the other matters with greater facility.

That star was not one of the numerous stars; and it is more convenient to say, according to what I think, that it was not a star. But it was one of the invisible powers, and was transformed to that aspect.

The evidence is clear:

Firstly: from the way of its movement: Because there is no star which can possibly move in that manner. If you consider the other stars, you will find that their movement is from West to East. But this star went in its course from the North to the South, because that is the direction from the countries of Persia to Palestine.

Secondly: as regards the time of its appearance: because it did not appear by night, but rather in the daytime when the sun has risen. And this appearance is neither due to the strength of a star, nor to the strength of the moon, nor was it due to all these astral bodies which hide and set down when the sun rays appear. But this star had overcome the sun rays by the abundance of its brilliancy, and was more visible and more glittering than all of them.

Thirdly: this truth becomes obvious from that the star appeared for some time and then disappeared for some other time. Because it appeared in order to show them the way to Palestine. When they came to Jerusalem, it hided itself. And when they left Herod after he had questioned them, and intended to walk to Bethlehem, the star reappeared to them again. This appearance and disappearance does not happen in the movement of an ordinary star, but it is due to a power which is, above measure, different from others.

Because it did not march in a special way. But when it was necessary that they would march, it marched. And when they needed to stop, it stopped, thus controlling all the conditions of their march according to what was convenient for them.

It was like the column of clouds in its conduct of the Jewish people. When they entered Jerusalem, the star was hidden from them, so that having lost their guide, they were compelled to ask the Jews, in order that the matter would become notorious and well-known to everybody……. Thus the appearance and the disappearance brought a determined providence that had a special wisdom.

Fourthly: by its descending downwards: The meditator must in an obvious manner, necessarily find out another characteristic from the guidance of the wise men by the star. Because it was not possible to show them the way while it was high over them, but it achieved that action by coming downwards. Because while it was high over them, it could not determine precisely a narrow place like a hut where a small baby is lying down.

We can know this from the example of the moon, which appears greater than many stars, and how it appears to all the inhabitants of the world in all its vastness, and everyone thinks that the moon is near to him.

Tell me how would the star have shown them a small place like a hut and a manger, if it had not left this high place, and gone downwards till it stopped over the head of the child. That is what the evangelist indicated saying: "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." (Matt. 2:9).

When the star recognized the Child, it stopped, and its stopping there, while it was descending downwards, is a great testimony. It had a great influence upon the wise men and guided them to the worship of the Child. They did not worship Him as an ordinary human being. That is obvious from the gifts which they presented to Him, and which are not convenient for a small child in its swaddling clothes….. Did you see with what arguments, it has been shown that this star was not one of the ordinary stars?……”

It is something to think about.

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