Liturgical Holidays

“We saw his star as it rose…” Matthew 2:2

I see him, but not here and now. I perceive him but far in the distant future. A star will rise from Jacob; a scepter will emerge from Israel. Numbers 24:17.

Jesus chastised the Pharisees for asking for a sign. He told them that the only sign they will get is the sign they already know: the sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:39-41).

That is, the sign of the resurrection. The sign of baptism (1 Peter 3:20-21; Romans 6:3-4).

The Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead. In fact, it was one of the essential creeds that the Sanhedrin existed to protect– they could put people on trial for blaspheming the sign of the resurrection.

So, why, if Jews weren’t supposed to ask for a sign, why was there a sign in the sky when Jesus was born? 

Why did an astrological anomaly lead magicians, astrologers, sages from distant lands to little Bethlehem? 

This dazzling sign compelled them to bring sacred offerings to an unknown god-man at an unforeseen altar. Who was this sign intended for?

It was not intended for the chosen people.

Herod, the king of Judea, had no knowledge of the star, nor any anticipation of the star until the wise men accidentally told him about it.

In fact, Herod was so illiterate on the subject of the Messiah, that he had to call in a special delegation of religious leaders and priests to ask what prophecy said concerning the birth of the Messiah.

The sign of the star rattled Herod. After hearing about this sign, a man previously unconcerned about prophecy, not only instantly believed the prophecies, but was suddenly highly motivated to kill the Messiah of Israel while He was still a vulnerable child.

This weak, petulant, and pampered puppet-king over Judea was perfectly fine to allow Rome to rule over him. 

His only ambition was his own hedonism— yet, he could not abide the idea that a “righteous descendant from King David’s line” would supersede him as King of Israel and Judah.

He took the star as a sign. The star was a sign for the wise men, and it was a sign for Herod. 

Herod was not a Jew. Herod was an Edomite, a descendant of Esau. Not of the line of Israel, let alone the line of Jesse, he had no place of inheritance in Israel, especially not to sit on the Throne of David.**

The Messiah was not just a rightful heir, he was the rightful heir— a dynastic threat to this impotent leader, Herod. 

The Sanhedrin’s religious leaders also became privy to the revelation of this star when Herod called them in as prophecy consultants.

The Pharisees and Sadducees had little need of a sign. They had thousands of years of well articulated prophecies, laws, and sabbatical days— all delivered just for them— to prepare God’s people for the Messiah’s incarnation. 

Herod was an illegitimate king on a politically toothless throne. Likewise, the Sanhedrin had also seated itself with illegitimate authority and a position of pageantry.

The Sanhedrin was made up of religious experts, lawyers, and influential families of good reputation.***

They set themselves up as judges over the people on matters of the Torah. They were the keepers of the Sabbatical calendar. They gathered tithes for the Temple. They were watchdogs, safeguarding Jewish tradition during Roman rule and Hellenistic influence.

And the Romans gladly humored the Sanhedrin’s pretend jurisdiction over the religious lives of the Jews. 

But these religious leaders weren’t Levites. They were not chosen by God to be priests. They were not set up as the intermediaries between God and man.

About 200 years before Jesus’ birth, the Sanhedrin ousted the Levitical high priest as their leader and installed in that position a man from the tribe of Judah. 

This man was named Hillel. He was not in line to be high priest, but was in fact, from the line of David; he was a candidate to be Israel’s king. 

From 191 BCE until the Sanhedrin’s disbandment, the leader of the Sanhedrin was always from Hillel’s family, part of the royal blood line, a relative of Jesus, anointed to be a king, but not a priest.

The book of Hebrews gives chapters of rabbinical reasoning as to why being a king and a priest was a role especially prepared just for Jesus, and it was a dual-anointing completely unheard of in the law of Moses.*

So, Jesus’ ministry on earth didn’t just offend the Pharisees’ religious spirit; He threatened their delusions of being, themselves, Messianic. 

The wise men’s news of a star over Bethlehem rocked a kingdom ruled by Anti-Christs. 

An Edomite on David’s throne. A class of kings with Messiah complexes– whom Jesus said were not among the children of Abraham but were children of their father the devil (John 8:44).

This kingdom was in complete anarchy against the order God established for Israel.

God had appointed, anointed and arranged for all details of governance and ministry within His chosen nation.

Hellenistic Israel had devolved into a system built to glorify the entitlement of people doing whatever they wanted; being whoever they wanted to be. 

And apparently they all wanted to be Jesus Christ. 

The wicked Old Testament prophet, Balaam, saw a star from far off. 

I see him, but not here and now. I perceive him but far in the distant future. A star will rise from Jacob; a scepter will emerge from Israel. Numbers 24:17.

It was the gentile prophet Balaam who saw Jesus from far off. He is the only prophet who calls Jesus a star. And with the vision of Jesus, Balaam gives a chilling warning to the nations regarding their coming judgments. 

Yet, Balaam, still chose to sabotage the children of Israel from whom Jesus would come, which he knew! Jesus was the star and scepter of Balaam’s own vision. 

By threatening the Israelites, he was actively and knowingly threatening Jesus. 

The Moabite king, Balak, had offered him money if he could successfully curse the Israelites. 

Balaam was well versed in the principles of the heavenly kingdom. He knew all the rules of covenant and God’s favor. He knew the heavenly physics so well, he could even advise Balak on how to game the system and bring Israel out from under God’s protection, and maybe they could even destroy Israel!

Just like Herod and the Sanhedrin, Balaam operated under the shelter of a false king, against the interests of the Jewish people, in purposeful opposition to God, with a murderous spirit toward Christ, wholly for selfish gain. 

The sign of the star was for Herod, for the Sanhedrin, and for Balaam, so they would know that Christ had come despite millennia of opposition. 

And in the second Advent as with the first, a star will be seen. Jesus will appear as the brightest star in the morning sky. With that sign every magi who is truly wise will know that, Satan– who is known as the Day Star or Son of the Dawn– no longer has preeminence on earth.

A brighter star has risen and it will be time to go to the Priestly-King and worship Him. (Revelation 22:16; Isaiah 14:12; Matthew 2:2.)

 

 

 

 

*Melchizedek was a king-priest; but he preceded even Abraham in the faith. He is also considered a pre-incarnation of Christ by many.

**Source: National Geographic

***Source: Sanhedrin

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