THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM
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The Biblical account of the Star of Bethlehem has very definite doctrinal points in the worldwide congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. Here is the entire biblical account as it reads in their Bible at Matthew 2:1-12:

(1) After Jesus had been born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, look! Astrologers from the eastern parts came to Jerusalem, (2) saying: "Where is the one born king of the Jews? For we saw his star [when we were] in the east, and we have come to do him obeisance." (3) At hearing this King Herod was agitated, and all Jerusalem along with him, (4) and on gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people he began to inquire of them where the Christ was to be born. (5) They said to him: "In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is how it has been written through the prophet, (6) 'And you, O Bethlehem of the land of Judah, are by no means the most insignificant [city] among the governors of Judah; for out of you will come forth a governing one, who will shepherd my people, Israel.'" (7) Then Herod secretly summoned the astrologers and carefully ascertained from them the time of the star's appearing; (8) and, when sending them to Bethlehem he said: "Go make a careful search for the young child, and when you have found it report back to me, that I too may go and do it obeisance." (9) When they had heard the king, they went their way; and, look! the star they had seen [when they were] in the east went ahead of them, until it came to a stop above where the young child was. (10) On seeing the star they rejoiced very much indeed. (11) And when they went into the house they saw the young child with Mary its mother, and, falling down, they did obeisance to it. They also opened their treasures and presented it with gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. (12) However, because they were given divine warning in a dream not to return to Herod, they withdrew to their country by another way.

Many people notice that the New World Translation describes the men as “astrologers” instead of “magi.” In the original Greek language, the word used was “magos” -- something the Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures, 1969 edition, agrees with. According to Strong's Concordance,magos” is defined as follows:

#3097 "Of foreign origin [H7248]; a Magian, that is, Oriental scientist; by implication a magician: - sorcerer, wise man.

Since the definition does not specifically include the word “astrologer” the we searched Strong's for the Greek word correlating to “astrologer” in the Greek Scriptures ("New Testament") Interestingly, a Greek word for “astrologer” simply does not exist in the Strong's, meaning that a specific word for “astrologer” is not in the Greek Scriptures. So, did astrologers exist in during time in which the Greek Scriptures span? Most likely they did, since astrology is closely linked to magic and sorcery. However, many find it curious that the writers of the New World Translation chose a specific discipline of magic – astrology – to describe these men, since the original Greek word doesn't actually translate in such a specific way.


WATCHTOWER SOCIETY VIEWPOINT

The most unique belief that the Watchtower Society teaches regarding this biblical account is that the Star of Bethlehem was a product of Satan the Devil, not a provision from Jehovah God. The Watchtower Society teaches that this star had to come from the adversary because The Star led them first to Jerusalem, to evil king Herod, who wanted to kill Jesus. And, since this star indirectly led to the slaughter of many innocent children as well, it is concluded that this star originated from Satan (Awake, July 8, 1994, pp.6-7).

Although the above referenced article states that the Star led the magi to Jerusalem, the actual Bible account says no such thing. If you re-read the Bible passage that we posted above, you can see the Bible shows the magi as saying we saw his star [when we were] in the east, and we have come to do him obeisance.” They only saw his star and then came – the Bible doesn't say that they followed this star to Jerusalem. In other words, it marked a starting point for the men to begin their search. This can be likened to being in a raft in the ocean, and seeing the beacon of a lighthouse; the lighthouse marks the shoreline, and you paddle towards it. The beacon didn't lead you to the shore, it simply marked it for you as a starting point for finding your way. Likewise, this star didn't lead the men specifically to Jerusalem, it simply marked a starting point (Judah) for the men to begin their search.

The reality of the situation is, as the Scriptural passages says, they recognized the Star as a sign of Christ's birth as a Jewish King. Since the Star was evidently positioned west of their location (which is why they came in from the east), it is logical that they'd assume they should go to Jerusalem because Jerusalem was the place in which the Jewish kings lived (David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Jehoshaphat, Mattaniah/Zedekiah, Ahab, Jehoram, etc.). In other words, if you were looking for a Jewish king then the first place you'd look would be Jerusalem. Since the Star seemed to be in that direction, that's where they started. In other words, their pilgrimage to Jerusalem was a case of human error due to their own presumptions, not a clever scheme executed by Satan. It is also notable that the Bible doesn't speak of the Star as actually leading them until it was time to show them to the house in Bethlehem in which Jesus was staying.

Okay, so the Star didn't actually “lead” the magi to Jerusalem. Could it still have been a product of Satan? According to the Watchtower Society, Their condemned practice of astrology and the adverse results of their visit, placing in danger the life of the future Messiah, certainly allow for, and even make advisable, the consideration of their having been directed by a source adverse to God’s purposes as relating to the promised Messiah....It is also notable that only these pagan astrologers “saw” the star (Insight On the Scriptures, 1988, Vol.2 p.1033).

Because these “astrologers” were the only ones who are mentioned as seeing The Star, and because astrology is known to be a Biblically condemned practice (Isaiah 47:12-14), the Watchtower Society assumes this to be further evidence of The Star having satanic origins. Interestingly, though, they forget that there have been times when Jehovah Himself actually used pagan non-believers to accomplish His will as well:

1. Jehovah used King Cyrus of Persia to begin the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1-2)
2. Jehovah used King Darius of Persia to praise His holy Name throughout Persia (Daniel 6:16-27)
3. Jehovah used King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon to chasten His errant nation (Jeremiah 27:8)
4. Jehovah used one of the Pharaohs to settle Israel into the land of Canaan (Genesis 45:17-21)
5. Jehovah used Balaam to turn a curse into a blessing three different times (Numbers 22:4-24-10)
6. Jehovah used Rahab, a pagan harlot, in the human lineage of Jesus Christ (Joshua 2:1-6, Matthew 1:5)
7. And, it is possible that Jehovah used these three “astrologers” to give expensive gifts to the Christ child; gifts which would help finance their subsequent stay in Egypt (Matthew 2:11-14) (Remember, Joseph and Mary were poor, as evidenced by their offering of turtledoves -- Luke 2:24 compared with Leviticus 12:8)

Jehovah, the God who knows everything, already knew that Herod was going to try and kill the Christ child soon after his birth as evidenced by prior prophecies (Compare Matthew 2:17-18 with Jeremiah 31:15-16). Jehovah would also have already known the low financial position of Joseph and Mary since He handpicked them as Christ's human parents Himself (Luke 1:26-31). Keeping in mind that Jehovah knows the things a person needs and will provide them (Matthew 6:26-33), He would have ensured that they would have the financial means to get through their stay in Egypt – quite possibly by sending these men with expensive gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

So now the question is yours to consider: Was the Star of Bethlehem a crafty device used by Satan in an attempt to assassinate Jesus Christ, or was it a loving provision from God to ensure Joseph and Mary would be financially secure enough to take care of Jesus as refugees in Egypt?