Joe Butta & Steve Daskal
Genesis: Chapter 1
14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night. They will serve as signs for the appointed times and for days and years.15 They will be lights in the expanse of the sky to provide light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made the two great lights—the greater light to have dominion over the day and the lesser light to have dominion over the night—as well as the stars. 17 God placed them in the expanse of the sky to provide light on the earth, 18 to dominate the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 Evening came and then morning: the fourth day. — Genesis 1:14-19 (HCSB)
The earth in which we live was draped in darkness until the light was made to shine upon it. The lights in the sky are to serve as signs for appointed times, days and years. The greater light [sun] dominates day, stars are visible at night while a full moon would dominate the night.
In a biblical day, the evening comes first and then the morning follows. Darkness precedes the light. With the fall of mankind, a long period of spiritual darkness followed so deep that God had no choice but to destroy everything save a tiny remnant. Eventually we had glimpses of light with Abraham, who left the pagan darkness of Mesopotamia and settled in the Promised Land, and his covenant-bearing descendants Isaac, Jacob, and his sons – particularly Joseph and Judah. Another period of trials – some four hundred years of darkness in another pagan land – was thrust upon God’s covenant people, during which they grew from a small clan into a great people, millions strong. God then worked through the Israelite deliverer Moses who led them out of Egypt and gave them the Torah, a beacon of light to the Israelites that directed them to be a light in the darkness, set apart in holiness from the pagan darkness around them. Though the earth remained a dark place, lights in the darkness could now be viewed through the Torah. Israel repeatedly stumbled, seeking “to be like the other peoples” in self-indulgent darkness instead of bearing the burdens [and blessings] of holiness, but God repeatedly called them back to the Light, as recorded in the Histories, Writings [Wisdom books], and the Prophets. Some of the Israelite tribes were so stubbornly resistant to the Light that God eventually purged them from history, with only a tiny remnant to be restored at the end of the age.
Like the stars that illuminated the dark expanse of the night sky, these literary lights would help God’s people navigate through the ever-present darkness. Eventually the Jews would identify themselves being associated with a 6-pointed star. The star was given the name of Israel’s greatest King, David. The allegorical stars, found in the Tenakh, are points of light in the darkness. When we follow these stars, they will guide us to David’s star, and from his star to the brightest star in our sky that dominates the day, our sun.
Which star then is truly David’s star?
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After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”
When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah would be born.
“In Bethlehem of Judea,” they told him, “because this is what was written by the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the leaders of Judah:
because out of you will come a leader
who will shepherd My people Israel.”
Then Herod secretly summoned the wise men and asked them the exact time the star appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you find Him, report back to me so that I too can go and worship Him.”
After hearing the king, they went on their way. And there it was—the star they had seen in the east! It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed beyond measure.
— Matthew 2:1-10
In verses 1 and 2 the wise men or magi come from east of Judea. They were not Jews, but rather were most likely Zoroastrian priests from the Persian Empire. They were astrologers who sought to identify and find meaning in celestial bodies, their arrangement, and movement. They had their own holy book known as the Avesta. Within the Avesta was their most revered book the Gathas which were supposedly created by Zoroaster their prophet [who probably lived in the 7th-6th century B.C.]. They believed in one supreme deity known as Ahura Mazda. It is possible that they were influenced by Jewish scholar-officials who became part of the Persian government after the defeat of Babylon in 536 B.C. One of their beliefs stated in the Avesta reads: “The final savior of the world, Saoshyant, will be born to a virgin impregnated by the seed of Zoroaster while bathing in a lake. Saoshyant will raise the dead – including those in both heaven and hell – for final judgment, returning the wicked to hell to be purged of bodily sin.”
As men who came from the east [they were headed west] they had to first notice the star or bright light in the night sky behind them. It would have had to rise in the early evening then through the night seeming to reach the western horizon before dawn. After reaching Jerusalem they again noticed the star that rose in the east to their immediate south [since Bethlehem is 6 miles south of Jerusalem]. This would most likely have been a large comet, given its brilliance, sudden appearance, and movement over what appeared to be Bethlehem. That extensive and rapid a movement could have been a planet [from the Greek for “wandering star”] but most likely a comet orbiting our own sun. That extensive a movement in a single night would be astronomically impossible for a “true” star. Comets have highly eccentric orbits, and are not permanent to the degree that stars and planets are. A comet on its final orbit of the sun would be at its brightest, and ultimately melt or break up, which would explain why it never appeared again.
The star was fixated over “the City of David” to herald the fulfillment of not only Micah 5:1-2 but Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6-7. This star is the true Star of David because its purpose was to point others to the Messiah, Son of David. David literally did this in many of his Psalms [ 2:1-2,7; 16:8-11; 22:1,7-8, 15-18; 27:12; 31:5; 34:20; 35:11,19; 38:11; 40:7-8; 41:9; 45:1-7; 49:15; 55:12-14; 68:18; 69:4,8-9, 20-22; 72:10-14; 78:2; 86:13; 88:18; 89:3-4, 27; 102:24-27; 110:1, 4;109:4,7-8; 118:22-23].
As the stars provide distant light in the darkness and coldness of space give way to the brilliance and warmth of our closet star… the sun, so too the points of light throughout the Tenakh [Old Testament] indicate the coming of God’s redemption as revealed in the good news of the Brit Hadashah [New Testament]. With the birth of the Son of David in David’s city and his subsequent ministry preaching liberty to those in captivity to sin [Isaiah 61:1-2], the Light had entered the world. Yeshua said this of Himself; “I am the light of the world, Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12, HCSB) When the sun appears all darkness disappears — it is the physical light of this world. Without it in just the right place life is impossible. This does not mean that we can feel its warmth every day, but each day above the clouds it shines. There may be cloudy or gloomy days, rainy or stormy days, or cold and snowy days, but above it all the sun still shines. So it is with the Messiah. Though we may experience gloomy, stormy and days when we feel no warmth, the Messiah Jesus still reigns above it all. Those days are necessary so that we can grow and measure our growth. In our fallen world if there were no clouds and no precipitation we, as blades of grass, would eventually burn up. The sun is there to remind us of the Son of God. Rain will come and storms will come but just wait, just be patient for the Son will appear in our lives in His time so that we will grow and be able to bear much fruit. Darkness cannot exist in the presence of light.
As we have seen the stars in the heavens and our sun produces light and warmth. In faith this is the same light that we can experience through the Tenakh [Jewish Bible] and the New Covenant.
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Just as the biblical day starts with evening or darkness so there is another body in the heavens that appears to give light in the darkness. It is the moon [Luna].
The moon is a natural satellite that orbits the earth as the earth orbits the sun and the sun moves through galactic space. It is 223,000 to 238,000 miles away, depending upon whether it is at perigee or apogee. From the earth’s surface, the moon appears to progress through phases as its illumination from the sun is partially cut off by the shadow of the earth. The first phase is the new or dark moon. It occurs when the moon and sun are present in the day sky at the same time. Since the sun shines on the back side of the moon not the side that faces earth, the moon is not viewable in the day sky. The light of the sun blocks it out.
In the second phase the sun rises in the east first. When the moon rises it cannot be seen, but at sunset the moon becomes viewable. The quarter of the moon oriented to the west appears as the setting sun shines on it as the rest of the moon stays in darkened by the earth’s shadow.
The third phase is a half moon with the setting sun shining on the half of the moon oriented to the west.
The fourth phase is a full moon. The sun has set and the sky is dark then the full moon rises in the east and crosses the night sky until it can no longer be seen at sunrise the next morning.
The fifth phase is a half moon oriented towards the east. In this phase, half the moon is illuminated by the sun that has not yet risen in the east.
The final or sixth phase of the moon is the crescent moon. It rises first in the eastern sky. In this phase the quarter of the moon oriented towards the east is illuminated while three-quarters of the moon remains in darkness. Following this phase the moon once again enters the dark or new moon phase where it is blocked out by the sun.
The Bible records 6000 years of history. From the earliest days after the fall of mankind, pagan peoples worshiped the moon as the great light in the night sky. The Torah explicitly forbids worshiping any of the created celestial lights. “And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.” (Deut. 4:19, NIV84)
In the 6th and 7th century A.D. an Arab prophet – Mohammed — adopted the crescent moon, the last phase of the moon cycle, to represent his religion and the one and only true god Allah. The crescent moon of Islam comes 4,500 years after the beginning of biblical history or after three-quarters of this history has already transpired. The light of Islam is displayed as a crescent rising in the east. This gives the appearance of Islam in ascent. In reality the crescent moon is not the source of any light. The moon can only reflect light from the sun. So it is with Islam. The light reflected in its crescent can only come from the Tenakh and New Covenant to the extent Islam portrays Moses, the Prophets and Jesus accurately. While the crescent moon reflects light, more than three-quarters of it is in darkness. The darkness in Islam is inherent in its teaching of Abrogation, Dissimulation, Jihad, Dhimmitude of Christians and Jews, Damnation of non-Muslims, Eternal Reward through Martyrdom, and Subjugation of women, including sexual slavery. While the crescent can give the appearance of being in ascent what Islam actually adopted is quite prophetic — it adopted the moon in its final phase. For when the sun rises and the Son of God comes as He has promised, Islam will no longer be visible.
Over the past 1500 years, there have been times when the moon of Islam has eclipsed the sun or faith in the Son of God. While this results in darkness, the corona of the sun is still visible [though not with the naked eye]. Even during this brief period of darkness, the sun still shines and as the moon and earth shift, the sun shines again and the moon fades from view. Jesus is the Light of this world. He is always there for us, even if temporarily we cannot feel His presence or see His brilliance. Know that He will be present in our lives to the extent that we pray and trust in Him as Messiah, Savior and Lord.