Monday, July 21, 2008

Matthew 2 Recap (part two)

There are a lot of different opinions on exactly who the Magi were and what the Bethlehem Star was. There is also some debate regarding the dating of Jesus’ birth. Let me make a couple comments and then point you to some links for further reading. Most scholars date Jesus’ birth at around 6 BC because the majority hold that Herod died in 4 BC (the Magi came and went before Herod’s death and would have needed about two years to travel). The problem with this dating is that Luke 2:2 records Quirinius (a Roman politician) as governor of Syria at the time of Jesus’ birth. Quirinius governed sometime between 4 BC and 1 BC/ AD so that would put a wrinkle in the dating of Herod’s death at BC since he was alive at the time of Jesus’ birth.

Rick Larson argues in his documentary on the Bethlehem Star that Jesus’ birth was in 1 BC/ AD and produces some interesting conclusions about the Magi and the Star. Here is a link to his website called The Bethlehem Star. Here is a link to a good counter-point article. Was the Star a miraculous astronomical event or was it part of God’s mapping of the stars at the Creation? Larson argues the latter, “If the star was part of the natural order, and our solar system and the universe is like a great clock -- mathematically precise and predictable -- then that means that the star was a clockwork star, and that of course means that God built the star into the structure of the solar system in the universe from the beginning of time.” Either way, the most important thing is that we understand God was at work to bring glory to His Son when Jesus was sent to be the Messiah King to redeem sinners.

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