It is written in the stars.
By Kevin Probst
It is my habit to awaken long before sunrise and take an early walk while communing with God. I live far enough in the country so that my view of the sky is not polluted with man-made light. It often looks like a spread of black velvet upon which God randomly threw a smattering of star-lit diamonds. The beauty and wonder of it can literally take my breath away. I feel most near to God during those quiet moments shared before the rest of the world awakens.
Stars seem to hold a special place in the revelation of God. He chose to use the revolution of the stars and the rotation of the planets to provide a means for his creatures to precisely measure time. Gen 1:14 "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs and to mark seasons and days and years." Certainly God’s communication with mankind was hampered by sin after the fall of Adam and Eve. There was no written scripture for at least 2500 years after the fall. God certainly could have walked away after men chose to disobey but his love compelled him to continue wooing the heart of the unfaithful. God chose to communicate through his own creation.
Psalm 19:1-4 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” God uses a universal language to reveal himself to mankind through his celestial creation. The Bible is wonderful in its ability to reveal the nature of God but it is not exclusive. Paul declared to the Romans that God also reveals himself through his creation. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)
Keep in mind that the ancients spent a lot more time studying the skies than we do today. They often slept on their rooftops because of the excessive heat. They didn’t have televisions and i-pods to entertain themselves. So, they looked and pondered the skies above.
Scientists have contemplated the number of stars in the universe for thousands of years. It is estimated that the Milky Way galaxy alone has 100 thousand million stars. It is also estimated that there are 100 billion galaxies much like ours. Each of those galaxies has 100 billion stars. With that incomprehensible number in mind, consider the words of Isaiah (40:26) “Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name? Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” Not a single star is out of place. God has positioned and named each one of them.
We are often hesitant to study the stars for a revelation from God. We look upon astrology as an idolatrous substitute for the genuine revelation of God. Satan always attempts to corrupt whatever good thing God provides. When Jesus’ disciples asked him what would be the sign of his return he replied, ““There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars.” (Luke 21:25) It is okay to look for signs in the heavens but it’s not okay to believe those stars control our lives. God’s revelation of himself through the stars was evident in the oldest book of the Bible. God had strong words for Job (38:31-32) “Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades? Can you loose the cords of Orion? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons…?” You can feel Job’s humility and get a sense of the ancient’s knowledge of the heavens when we read the words in Job 9:9 “He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south”
I recently watched Rick Larson’s presentation, “The Star of Bethlehem”. Larson provides a well thought out explanation for the star that guided the wise men to Jesus. When Jesus was born people saw wonderful things happening in the skies. When Jesus was crucified all hell broke out on earth. The earth shook, the veil of the temple was rent. The sky darkened as the sun was obscured and later that night a blood moon, a lunar eclipse, revealed itself as it peaked over the horizon.
John was exiled to the island of Patmos at a very advanced age, perhaps in his eighties or nineties. John received a great revelation of God by looking to the stars. “A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” (Revelation 12:1-5)
John is describing the birth of Jesus as he sees it revealed in the heavens. Larson makes the case that the “woman” is the virgin (virgo) mother of Jesus. She gives birth to a child from the tribe of Judah (leo). The dragon is Satan who attempts to destroy God’s plan to save mankind by destroying the Christ-child. Herod acts as Satan’s tool to accomplish this. God gives us signs so that we will hunger for more truth. He wants us to draw nearer and strive for a fuller revelation.
We who are Christians anticipate the coming of Christ to earth again. We don’t know the day or the hour of his return but it may very well be written somewhere in the stars.
The Star of Bethlehem produced by Stephen McEveety
Rick Larson’s website: http://www.bethlehemstar.net/
Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.