Skip to main content

January 3rd

Today as I was reading Matthew chapter 2 in the New Testament, I got side-tracked looking up the word 'anatole.' Which, basically, can mean either 'rising' or 'east' or even 'morning.' Why? Well, I'm no expert, but my guess would be that the word was used originally to refer to the rising of the sun, and then also the direction the sun rose from, and occasionally, the time when the sun rises. See the connection?

Anyway, if you have a modern English translation, Matthew 2:2 has a footnote on it. If you have NIV, the main text says 'saw His star in the east' and footnotes: or when it rose and the NLT main text reverses that, putting 'saw his star as it rose' and footnoting 'saw his star in the east.'

I'm not going to criticize either translation, because, on my own, I think either one could be right. What I want to focus on is what I consider the alternate, "saw his star when it rose." Why would I call that alternate? It's not the King James, which means it's not what most of us have heard our whole lives...

So, what about it? Well, we've all probably heard the Christmas story that the Wise Men, or Magi, came, after seeing the Christmas Star in the East. Well, the tradition has the Magi in the East, and moving west to see the Christ. Not an invalid thought. After all, Persia had a class of scholar/astronomers called 'Magi' so they fit the idea of ones who would watch and respond to the star. However, let's imagine the 'Magi' as a less specific application. For example, think of the modern word 'GEEK.' Now, if you don't know how to set up your computer, you could use the help of a computer geek. While Best Buy does have technicians labeled 'The Geek Squad,' that's not the only geeks available. There are people with all of the qualifications, but not official Geek Squad people (please note, Geek Squad is trademarked or copyrighted or something). So, you could be a geek, without being a 'Geek Squad.'

So it could be with 'Magi.' This label would definitely apply to a group of Persian scholars, but could have been used by the Greeks to refer to scholars from any non-Greek part of the world. (Everyone that wasn't Greek was a barbarian, but perhaps the Greeks respected a few barbarian scholars, and group-labeled them 'Magi').

Okay, now, this is not a major-league history effort. But I see in the translation of 'star when it rose' the idea that Magi, scholars/religious leaders, from all of the non-Jewish parts of the world coming to worship Christ. Not just from Persia, but from Europe, Asia, Africa. I see here a hint of the gathering of nations to worship Christ, of the time when 'Every knee will bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the Father!' (Phil 2:10-11) And how did they know to come? They all saw the star when it rose and came. I imagine Magi running into other Magi, asking "Why are you here?" "Why am I here? Did you not see that star? Why are you here?" "Um, same star...."

I see a hint of the ingathering of those who follow Christ. I see the Gospel, even at the beginning, going out to all the world. Do I see all the world following Christ? No, because not all will. But I see His glory going forth!

May we never think of ourselves as the sole owners of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or as the gatekeepers that will decide who may come in and who may not. The Gospel belongs to the Lord, who commands we preach it! And the decision belongs to the empowering of the Holy Spirit, that God unblinds the eyes of people that they may see His truth, and believe in Jesus.


Popular posts from this blog

Book: By the Waters of Babylon

Worship. It is what the church does as we strive to honor God with our lips and our lives. And then, many churches argue about worship. I have about a half-dozen books on my shelf about worship, but adding Scott Aniol’s By the Waters of Babylon to the shelf has been excellent.

First of all, Aniol’s work is not based on solving a musical debate. While that branch of worship is often the most troublesome in the local church, By the Waters of Babylon takes a broader view. The starting point is the place of the church. That place is a parallel of Psalm 137, where the people of God, Israel, found themselves in a strange land. The people of God, again, find themselves in a strange land.
Second, in summary, the book works logically to the text of Scripture, primarily Psalm 137 but well-filled with other passages. Then it works outward from how the text addresses the problems submitted in the first chapter into how worship, specifically corporate worship, should look in the 21st century Weste…

Put Down That Tablet! Exodus 35

Moses assembles the people of Israel at Sinai one last time before they set out into the wilderness, headed for the Promised Land. He gives them a reminder of some portions of the commands of God and emphasizes the construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 35 link).He also gives the one Biblical mention of tablet-type mobile devices in Exodus 35:3, where the command is given not to use your Kindle Fire on the Sabbath Day. Some of you just groaned. Some of you skipped the one-liner, and others just missed it. I’ll address you all in turn, but first let us address the person who thought this might be the hidden meaning of that command. After all, we are so easily distracted from our worship and commitment by all of the digital noise around us, why would we not take this text in this manner?The quite simple answer is: because it is not about digital devices. In total, the command to focus the day on Yahweh, Covenant God of Israel and all of Creation, and if your device subtracts from your f…

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…