The Epiphany: The Magi and the Christmas Star

Matthew 2:1-2, 9-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”

And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.

The Oxford Dictionaries defines “ephiphany” (with a small “e”) as “a moment of sudden revelation or insight” and “a manifestation of a divine or supernatural being”. The word “Epiphany” (with a capital “E”) refers to “the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi”.

Today is the great feast of the Epiphany, which celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the Magi — an event that had been foretold in Isaiah 60:1-6 some 800 years before the birth of Christ.

Isaiah 60:1-6

Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you….
Nations shall walk by your light,
and kings by your shining radiance.
Raise your eyes and look about;
they all gather and come to you….
Then…the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
Caravans of camels shall fill you,
dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;
all from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.

The Magi were wise men — non-Hebrew pagans from the East. Bearing gifts fit for a king — those of gold, frankincense, and myrrh — their coming to Jerusalem to pay homage to “the king of the Jews” shows that they seek in the messianic light of the Christmas star, the one who will be king of all nations.

It is noteworthy that the first creatures to see the newborn Jesus were his human parents, Mary and Joseph; angels on high; humble farm animals; lowly shepherds; and Gentiles — the Magi.

The Epiphany, therefore, signifies the manifestation of Jesus as Son of God and Savior of the world — not just the Old Testament‘s oft-prophesied messiah of the Jews. God is not a tribal deity, exclusive to only the so-called “chosen people”. Jesus the Christ came for Jews and Gentiles. He came for all of us, no matter our race, gender, language, country, or creed.

As St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians 3:6:

[T]he Gentiles are coheirs,
members of the same body,
and copartners in the promise
in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Noteworthy also is the fact that the Magi, as the first Gentiles to find Jesus, were also the first Gentiles to receive His salvific grace. As recounted in Matthew 2:12:

And having been warned in a dream
not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country
by another way.

By the way, astronomers, using software programs reproducing the night sky exactly as it was thousands of years ago, have determined there really was a Christmas Star or Star of Bethlehem. David Reneke, news editor of Australia’s Sky and Space Magazine, said: “We found out something startling. It looks like the ‘Christmas star’ really did exist.”

It’s generally accepted by most researchers that Christ was born between 3 BC and 1 AD. On 12 August, 3 BC, Jupiter and Venus appeared very close together just before sunrise, appearing as bright morning stars. It would have been visible in the eastern dawn sky of the Middle East from about 3:45 to 5:20 a.m.

But it didn’t stop there. The crowning touch came ten months later, on 17 June 2 BC, Venus and Jupiter joined up again in the constellation Leo. This time the two planets were so close that, without the use of our modern optical aids, they would have looked like one single, brilliant star.

Venus is known as the planet of love; Jupiter as the planet of kings; and Leo denotes royalty and power.

Although 2020 was a terrible year, the world was graced with the reappearance of the Christmas star.

On December 21, 2020, Winter solstice, the shotlrtest day of the year, the two largest planets in our solar system, Jupiter and Saturn, appeared to almost merge in Earth’s night sky — closer than they have in almost 800 years, since 1226 A.D., when Genghis Khan was conquering large swaths of Asia, and Europe was still generations away from the Renaissance. (Astronomy)

During the 2020 “Great Conjunction,” Jupiter and Saturn were just 0.1 degrees apart, or a mere one-fifth the width of the Moon — so close that the two planets were both in the same telescopic field of view. The next Great CConjunction will occur 60 years from now, in 2080.

Below is a picture of the 2020 Christmas star viewed from Jerusalem looking toward Bethlehem (source: Earl Tucker Dickerson):

See these other cases of science confirming Biblical accounts:

May the joy of the Epiphany and the peace and love of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, be with you!

~Eowyn

Please follow and like us:

Share and Enjoy !

0Shares
0 0
 
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
16 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Steven Broiles
2 years ago

Thank you, Dr. Eowyn, for a really great post. Yes, who saw Jesus the Newborn first? His human parents, the angels, the animals, and then, later on, the Magi. Who were these Magi? And where in “the East” were they really from? Who told or inspired them to follow that “star?” All excellent questions, which seem, to me, to be unknown to us. And your mention of the astronomy involved is also important: In a reply to a recent post on FOTM, I said that some have believed that “Jupiter and Saturn may have been in conjunction, appearing to be… Read more »

Auntie Lulu
Auntie Lulu
2 years ago

Thank you Dr Eowyn for this lovely and special lesson. I particularly love the fact that you gave us the dictionary definitions, and when to capitalize the word. Very inciteful both spiritually and temporally.

Maryaha
Maryaha
2 years ago

My family and I talked about this when they were here on Christmas Eve. I believe the Magi were Persians who had studied the prophecies of Daniel, and knew the timing for the Messiah’s birth was getting close. Daniel prophecied that He would be “cut off”, but He had to be born first. The book of Daniel gave the exact date that the Messiah would be declared the King of the Jews, which was Palm Sunday, and He was cut off just days later. The Magi knew the star they saw was the evidence that it was indeed time for… Read more »

Alma
Alma
2 years ago
Reply to  Maryaha

Maryaha, I like to read all your inputs, the one today is sublime, and beautiful and you are a very intelligent gal, worth reading, thanks.

Lophatt
Lophatt
2 years ago
Reply to  Maryaha

I’ve read the same thing. It doesn’t surprise me at all.

TrailDust
Admin
13 days ago
Reply to  Maryaha

Thanks Maryaha for filling in more details about the mysterious Magi. The gaps between the prophets and the coming of the Christ seem perfectly answered by Daniel and the Magi. The more I study the Word the more amazed I am.

CalGirl
CalGirl
2 years ago

Thank You Dr, E….this means so much to me, as my family celebrated the Epiphany as the “true” day of exchanging gifts in the name of the Chist Child…(“Christmas” was something else—the birth of the Christ Child generally observed in church & w/family meal, family gathering, family midnight church ceremony on Eve before SAINT Nicholas threw his gift (historic) down the chimney….or…in the case of other relatives….deposited fruit/nuts(or coal) in our shoes set outside the door)….. But, being as my elders are all deceased now, & the rest of us are spread all over the country….very few in my family… Read more »

William
William
1 year ago

Venus is never far above the horizon and always appears in the East or West. It is known as the morning star as well as the evening star and is so bright that it is sometimes visible in daylight. It is in fact the second brightest object in the night sky after the moon. Jupiter, the third brightest, is sometimes almost as luminous as Venus. Together, in conjunction, they would have been brilliant indeed. As an amateur stargazer/astronomer that would have been something to see

TrailDust
Admin
1 year ago

Thank you, Dr. Eowyn. I am moved by this subject. The magi were descendants of the magicians of Persian rule. They were informed by the teachings of Danial, who became their chief. I never knew this, and learning it made my understanding of the Magi much more rich.

truckjunkie
truckjunkie
1 year ago

There are some posts I’m not inclined to comment on,and this is one. I’m just explaining that some days I’m just more inclined to stay silent,read and try to LEARN from you who post and all who comment. Thank you for the lesson!!
Happy 2020 TRUMP 2020

Auntie Lulu
Auntie Lulu
13 days ago

What a wonderful corroboration of what so many of us already believe. It gladdens my heart to actually read the scientific idea behind the occurrence.

God Bess you Dr Eowyn for your continued efforts to educate and shepherd he FOTM family.

joandarc
Editor
13 days ago

Thank you Dr.Eowyn for this magnificent post! Our family always celebrated Epiphany, which is technically January 6th. I love this Feast that verifies and announces that Our Lord Jesus Christ came for everyone. All of us are the chosen people.

January 6th also happens to be the Birthday of St. Joan of Arc, who I admire, venerate and love.

HAPPY EPIPHANY TO EVERYONE1

TrailDust
Admin
13 days ago

Definition of salvific
having the intent or power to save or redeem
the salvific life and death of Christ
— E. A. Walsh

Thanks for the new word to my vocabulary, Dr. Eowyn.

Bill steamkoch
Bill steamkoch
13 days ago

Oh Lord i needed to hear that today. Message received.

Last edited 13 days ago by Bill steamkoch