Thursday, December 30, 2010

“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, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’” (Matthew 2:1,2 NKJV)

Fifteen hundred years before Christ, a Mesopotamian prophet named Balaam, whose history and prophecies are mentioned in the Book of Numbers in the Bible, spoke these words: “There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel.”

His additional words explained that this Star and Scepter referred to a future great leader of Israel. The Jews considered this prophecy a major teaching about the coming of the Messiah.

At the time of Christ’s birth, wise men of Mesopotamia were trained in the ancient Scriptures, and were aware of the prophecies by Balaam and Daniel. They noted the unusual star in the heavens, appearing exactly at the time Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventy Weeks of Years was being fulfilled, and they followed the star to Bethlehem, after taking care of the protocol for foreigners entering Jerusalem.

People who desire divine guidance must be students of Holy Scripture. The Apostle Paul wrote young Timothy, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2nd Timothy 21:15 KJV).

We have a great advantage over the ancient scribes and prophets, for today we have the entire body of Scriptures to study. Of course, knowledge brings with it responsibility. Once we know something, we never again can plead ignorance, and we will be held accountable for bringing our actions in line with what we know to be true. The Bible refers to this as “walking in the light.”

Stars have been used for navigation for thousands of years. In Navy boot camp, they taught us the basics of celestial navigation.

I remember the first time that my ship was scheduled to cross the equator into the Southern Hemisphere. As we sailed south from the Philippines, a cross-shaped constellation appeared above the horizon, and I thought I was seeing the famous Southern Cross that is used for celestial navigation south of the equator. An old sailor set me straight. He warned that the cross I was looking at was the False Cross. The True Cross would soon appear, and two bright stars known as The Pointer would indicate which of the two crosses was the True Cross. It turned out just as he said.

It’s important that we focus our lives on Christ, the Light of the World, and upon the cross where he offered up his innocent life for us, the guilty ones. Jesus said, “I have come to seek and to save that which was lost.” He said, “I have come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly.

We also have the wonderful privilege of pointing others to the True Cross where the Savior died for our sins, that we might have hope of eternal life.

Now walk in the light!

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