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Author Topic: Christ's Nativity  (Read 4006 times)

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Olde Tymer

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Re: Christ's Nativity
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2018, 10:58:14 am »
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Matt 2:1 . . Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem.

The koiné Greek word for these particular wise men is magos (mag'-os) which roughly indicates scientists; but can also indicate magicians; viz: sorcerers (Acts 13:6-8). Judging by their interest in the cosmos; I'd say these particular magos were astrologers.


NOTE: Back then, there was not yet a distinct division between astrologers and astronomers like there is now, so we probably shouldn't assume those guys were mystics.

Matt 2:2 . . Saying: where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Now before we assume that these guys were all ethnic Persians we need to be aware that the Jews and their converts were spread out all over the world at this time; for example on the day of Pentecost:

"Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. A crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard [the disciples] speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs-- we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" (Acts 2:5-11)

I think it's pretty safe to assume that ethnic Persians would not be interested in the Jews' religion so I posit that the wise guys were either Jewish men or converts; and thus knowledgeable of the prophecies predicting a very important successor to David's throne.

So; how did those travelers know to follow the star? Well; first off we have to realize that their star wasn't a celestial object because it was low enough in the sky to direct people to the exact house were baby Jesus was lodged (Matt 2:9). In other words: their star was an apparition.

But how did they know their star was related to the newborn king? Well; according to Matt 2:12, they were in contact with God. In other words: the men weren't acting on their own initiative: they were on a mission; directed and supervised by divine oversight.
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« Last Edit: December 22, 2018, 11:14:39 am by Olde Tymer »
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Olde Tymer

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Re: Christ's Nativity
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2018, 07:56:19 am »
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Matt 2:3-4 . . And when Herod the king heard it, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he began to inquire of them where the Christ was to be born.

The Greek word for "Christ" basically refers to anointing; which is how Jewish kings were installed back in the Old Testament; for example David (1Sam 16:1-13). So then, calling someone "the Christ" is all the same as calling them a king; regardless of their ethnic identity. For example: the Old Testament equivalent of Christ is mashiyach (maw-shee'-akh) which is applied to a Persian king named Cyrus. (Isa 45:1)

Right about here I got a bit curious. Why would Herod think that the king the wise men sought was predicted in the Bible? It seems to me that in order for Herod to be thinking that way, he'd have to be aware of Daniel's famous seventy-week prophecy. (Dan 9:24-27)

Well, after a bit of checking, I discovered that Herod favored the Jews' religion and was somewhat learned in it. In point of fact, Herod at this time was upgrading the Temple.

The chief priests and scribes, being Old Testament experts, were for sure aware of Daniel's prophecy and I'll just bet that they and their forbearers had been keeping track of Daniel's timeline all along and thus probably not all that surprised when rumors of a Christ started cropping up in their day.

Well; anyway, Herod asked the wrong question. According to Matt 2:2, baby Jesus was already born; in fact, born even before the wise men left their country. So then, knowing where Israel's new king was to be born was a long shot that he'd still be there. The question Herod should have asked is: Where might the boy be now?


NOTE: Jesus' hometown Nazareth was predicted by the prophets (Matt 2:23) but not recorded by the prophets; which alerts us to the fact that the prophets didn't put everything down in writing. That was fortunate because sure enough Herod's death squads would've swept that area too had he known.
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« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 08:11:25 am by Olde Tymer »
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Olde Tymer

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Re: Christ's Nativity
« Reply #15 on: December 24, 2018, 08:58:50 am »
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This time of year, planetariums here and there put on shows that theorize the wise men's star. They typically neglect to take into account that stars, in their normal daily motions, never move to the north or to the south; they always move from the east to the west. Well, Bethlehem is south of Jerusalem and Nazareth is north.

Plus, they seem to always forget that that the wise men's star stood right over the place where little Jesus was lodged. Well; stars in their motions never take a time-out to hover; and even if one were to do so, they are so high in the sky that it's nigh unto impossible without special instruments to tell the exact spot where any one star is directly over something.

After an audience with Herod, the wise men departed; still guided by their star.

Matt 2:9 . . After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them.

And then it stood right over the very place where Jesus was lodged.

Matt 2:9 . . It stopped over the place where the child was.

The place was a house rather than a stable.

Matt 2:11a . . On coming to the house

It's difficult to calculate the boy's age when the wise men arrived; however one thing we know for sure it was their understanding that the king they sought was already born even before they left home to seek him.

Matt 2:2 . . Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east.

There's no telling how long after Jesus' birth that the men departed their country to search for him. Plus, there were no motorized conveyances back then; and people normally didn't travel at night because their artificial lighting was pretty much limited to torches, candles, and oil-fired lanterns.

Matt 2:11b . . They saw the child with his mother

The language describing the boy changed. When he was lodged in the stable, the Greek word for his age is brephos (bref'-os); an infant. In the house, the word for his age is paidion (pahee-dee'-on); which refers to any underage kid from infancy to adolescence but usually always refers to young children rather than infants.

I won't hazard a guess as to Jesus' age by the time the men arrived to see him, but I'm thinking he was at the very least no longer in a bassinet.
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