How could the wise men or magi from the East have seen Jesus' birth from a star if astrology is evil?

Does this condone the practice of looking to the stars for prophetic direction?

Matthew 2:1 - 10

ESV - 1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem. 2 Saying, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.

Clarify Share Report Asked October 26 2015 Mapungubwe hill Richard Young

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
The Bible condemns astrology (or interpreting the motion of the stars and planets as influencing human behavior or predicting/determining future events), as well as those who practice it, in multiple passages, such as Leviticus 19:26; Deuteronomy 18:10-12; Isaiah 47:13-14; Jeremiah 10:2; and Zephaniah 1:4-5.

However, this condemnation does not extend to astronomy, or the legitimate scientific study of heavenly bodies themselves, which, in fact, declare God's glory, as noted in Psalm 19:1. 

The Old Testament also contained prophecies (such as those in Daniel 9) that spoke of specific time frames connecting various events with the appearance of the Messiah. (The wise men themselves may have become familiar with these prophecies as a consequence of Judah's exile in Babylon.) 

In addition, God has power over natural phenomena to use them to further His will, as He did when He lengthened the day (with none of the catastrophic resulting effects that might be expected from a natural standpoint) in Joshua 10:12-14.

There was apparently such an unusual astronomical occurrence at the time of Jesus' birth, since Matthew's gospel mentions not only the wise men being prompted to journey from their country of origin to Jerusalem by it (Matthew 2:2), but also speaks of this phenomenon leading them directly to the exact place where the Messiah was located (Matthew 2:9). This would suggest that God intended this phenomenon (whatever it may in fact have been) specifically for this purpose.

This interpretation would be further reinforced by Matthew's gospel noting that God communicated with the wise men in a dream, warning them not to return to Herod (as Herod had requested or commanded them to do) after the wise men had found and worshiped the Messiah. This would strongly suggest that God Himself prompted the visit of the wise men for His purposes.

Based on all these considerations. I think that the Biblical record as a whole makes it clear that, whatever the practices were in which the wise men may have been engaged, they did not consist of the types of activities that God specifically condemns elsewhere in Scripture.

October 27 2015 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Billy P Eldred
Timothy has done a fine job of answering the question. I would only add a suggestion that you watch the video "The Star of Bethlehem" which deals in depth with your question. 

There is a big difference in divination of astrology and recognizing God's Majesty through astronomy.

October 27 2015 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Kenneth Heck
Since these men were called Magi, they must have been involved in some practice that would qualify themselves as "wise men." Astrology is involved in constructing horoscopes which requires making calculations about planetary and star positions in the sky. There is no real evidence the Magi were actually astrologers. 

It is much more likely they were "stargazers" (Isa. 47:13) who looked to the stars (including planets) for revelations, since each star was believed to be associated with an angel. This is a very ancient belief predating astrology and even the Bible associates stars with angels in Rev 1:20. In line with this is the dream of Joseph of the sun, moon, and 11 stars in Gen 37:9.

The star the Magi saw may not have been an actual light in the sky observable by anyone on earth, They may have only seen a vision of a star, in accordance with their religion, which could not be seen by anyone else. Certainly, there were no new stars in the sky recorded at that time by anyone.

"Looking to the stars for prophetic direction" cannot save anyone from disaster, or the wrath of the true God, as the scriptures say more than once. Likewise, angel worship is equally ineffective. Real salvation can only be obtained from the true God, as the Bible tells us at its center of gravity, (in my opinion) in the stories of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abedego in the fiery furnace, and Daniel in the Lion's den.

October 27 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Philip medium Philip Davies
Sometimes God brings good out of evil things. There are many examples of this. 

Many have spoken about the difference between astrology and astronomy but I am not at all persuaded the Magi were pure astronomers. That is not really the case because they didn't just observe the stars, they interpreted them, they used them as signs of what is happening in the world. That is something that astronomers don't do, but something these Magi clearly did.

So how can you find a positive description of astrologers in the Bible? It's a good question because it points to a deeper truth. There are lots of things that are wrong in this world, but they don't always turn out badly. Sometimes God takes wrong things and graciously makes something good out of them. That's not to encourage wrong things but to make sure we don't always come off badly. God is gracious to us and can use even our foolishness to his glory. 


June 21 2024 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
This is an interesting question, Richard Young! I have a personal interest in people who dabble in astrology because my mom was so into that and horoscopes. Man, she watched those newspapers, and did she ever know and follow her astrological sign! But I myself could NOT go along with any of it. God holds our future, not the stars!

Regarding the biblical wise men, "Astrology is a belief that the study of the arrangement and movement of the stars can enable one to foretell events—whether they will be good or bad.

Also, the star used in the biblical account was to announce the birth of Christ, not to foretell this event." —Geisler & Howe

December 26 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
Only in Matthew 2:1-12 is mentioned the “wise men,” which in Greek is, “magi.” In the Septuagint, the Greek word is also found for astrologers of Babylon in Daniel 1:20, 2:2, 10, 27, 4:7, 5:7, 11, 15.

They were not astrologers in the modern sense, who forecast how planets and stars influence people. Instead, it was an ancient form called “mundane astrology,” the name coming from the Latin “mundus” meaning “world.” It dealt with nations and their kings. These astrologers observed and analyzed the planets’ orbits and conjunctions and saw how they connected to historical events.

As an example, in 63 BC, Romans noted the position of planets, which pointed to the birth of the King of the Romans – later to be revealed as the first emperor Augustus. Because of this the Roman Senate in that year ordered all boy babies to be killed.

The scene is reminiscent of the magi, the star and the birth of Jesus Christ. The question arises as to what the star was that the wise men saw. Some think it was a supernatural star which is not likely. Floyd Nolen Jones wrote in “The Christmas Star,” that it could not have been a supernova or a comet because Herod and all the officials would have noticed those and would not need to ask when it appeared. As Magi studied the normal movements of the sun, moon, planets, and stars it had to be a natural explanation. “Star” can mean any point of light, whether star or planet (Greek, “wandering star”).

Ernest L. Martin, author of “The Star of Bethlehem,” wrote that there was the conjunction of Jupiter and star Regulus in September, 3 BC, the year Jesus was born. Jupiter is known as the “king of the planets,” and Regulus the “king star,” in the constellation of Leo, the lion, the symbol of Judah, Genesis 49:9-10. The Magi appropriately saw this as the announcement of the birth of the King of the Jews and acted accordingly, making a long journey to Jerusalem to worship Him and present Him gifts.

At the end of 2 BC, Jupiter, the morning star, moved westward, went through a retrograde loop and then became stationary in the constellation of Virgo, the Virgin. This could explain how when the magi visited the child Jesus, the star appeared, disappeared and then reappeared and finally stood over the place.

To Herod what the Magi had told him was a very serious matter, and he determined to kill all babies in the Bethlehem area that were two years old and under, Matthew 2:16.

Genesis 1:14 says one purpose of the lights in the expanse of the heavens are for “signs.” In Luke 21:16 the Lord predicted signs before His coming. In Revelation 12:1-5, God uses celestial signs to show the great conflict between the woman, Israel, and the dragon, Satan. Likewise, the wise men were able to see the star of the King of the Jews that announced His birth.

January 23 2024 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Profile pic Mark Vestal Proud of nothing of myself. Freed by Christ who did it all!
Prophetic signs (found in God's Word) are one thing, but beyond that would be where the evil lies, I believe.

Gen 1:14
"And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:"

I would add that we today are not to look to the stars for prophetic signs. We walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7).

January 23 2024 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Img 5726 Leslie Coutinho
Matthew 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."

The wise men who came from the east to Jerusalem saw the bright star after sunset in the evening and they followed the star all night which brought them to Jerusalem early in the morning. As the people rose and moved around during the day they inquired where was he born the King of the Jews. When King Herod heard all these things, he was troubled and gathered all the priests and scribes together and demanded to know where Christ should be born. And they said unto him in Bethlehem in the land of Judea as written by the prophets, he then called the wise men and asked them what time the star appeared to them. (Mat 2:1-8)

The wise men were then sent to Bethlehem to search for the child diligently, and by the time they departed, that would be before sunset when the star reappeared unto them till it came and stood over where the young child was born. (Mat 2:9-10) The shepherds who were abiding in the field keeping a watch over their flock in the night, a bright glory of the Lord shone about them, and the angel said unto them in the city of David that a Savior which is Christ the Lord is born. It came to pass as soon as the angels were gone the shepherds went to see the child that was born lying in a manger. (Lk 2:8-15) 

Lord Jesus was a light given to the Gentiles that they mayest be His salvation unto the end of the earth. For all who arise and worship the Lord the Holy One of Israel, the Lord that is faithful, He shall choose thee. (Isa 49:7-8) For this bright light that appeared as a star where the angels of the Lord appeared to the shepherds (Lk 2:9) so shall be as our Lord Jesus has said when the rapture comes to pass, (1 Thess 4:15-17) For He shall be as a lightning that lightened out of one part under heaven, and shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day of coming. (Luke 17:24)

Luke 17:24: For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.

January 24 2024 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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