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 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…

Abraham Lincoln Quoted by Jesus! Mark 3

Mark records a curious event in his third chapter (link). If you look at Mark 3:25, you'll see that Jesus quotes the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. After all, one of the highlights of the Lincoln years is his famous speech regarding slavery in the United States where he used the phrase that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." This speech was given in 1858 when he accepted the nomination to run against Stephen A. Douglas for Senate, but is still remembered as the defining speech regarding slaveholding in the United States. I recall being taught in school how brilliant and groundbreaking the speech was, how Lincoln had used such wise words to convey his thought. Yet the idea was not original to Lincoln. Rather, it was embedded in Lincoln from his time reading the Bible. Now, I have read varying reports about Lincoln's personal religious beliefs: some place him as a nearly completely committed Christian while others have him somewh…

Independence Day 2017

I don’t know if Thomas Paine will be aggrieved that I paste his thoughts from Common Sense here, from the electronic edition. It’s a Public Domain work at this point, so hopefully none will be bothered that I am not paying for it...I think there is value in seeing the underlying reasons of Independence. I find a couple of things noteworthy in his introduction:First, he speaks of those who disagree and, while calling those out, holds the strength of his affirmative argument will be enough to straighten them out. We could do well to think more like that.Second, his final sentence should be a required view: the influence of reason and principle. Not self-interest masquerading as principle. Not party propaganda disguised as reason.That being said, not everything Paine said is right. If he and I lived at the same time, we’d argue religion over a great deal. However, the idea of “natural rights of man” follows from the idea of humanity as a special creation—that all are created equal and en…