Babylonian Bookends

sstock_113250211Merry Christmas from Bully’s Blog

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 saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him… (Matthew 2:1-2)

The arrival of the wise men from the East signalled the beginning of the end for Old Covenant Israel. These men were influenced by the prophet Daniel, one of the Jewish captives who was taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar half a millennium earlier.

Daniel and his friends were to be trained by the Chaldeans as wise men, but instead they challenged the power of the king and his wise men, just as Moses and Aaron had challenged Pharaoh and his magicians. Daniel not only trumped their skill but ended up ruling over the wise men. He had been taken captive to be taught, but rather than seeking their power, he humbled himself before God and became their teacher.

Daniel redeemed the wise men of the East from pagan astrology, a practice condemned by God because only He can interpret the stars, and He does so only to His prophets (Genesis 15:5; 22:17; 37:9, Deuteronomy 1:10; 4:19; 28:62, Judges 5:20; Isaiah 14:13; Jude 1:13; Revelation 1:16).

Daniel was such a prophet, and he led these Gentiles to the truth concerning the stars: They are signs of the sons of God, those destined to ascend and rule the heavens (Daniel 12:3-4). Instead of seeking wisdom from the created heavens, the wise men now understood that “there is a God in heaven” who reveals such secrets (Daniel 2:27-28).

Thanks to Daniel, the wise men who sought Jesus were not like the wise men who had served King Nebuchadnezzar:

The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king’s demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” (Daniel 2:10-11)

Now that they worshipped the God of heaven, He was not only pleased to speak to them in dreams as He did to Daniel, He was pleased to meet them in person, as a man on earth, a God who now dwelt in flesh.

This is an edited version of an article which can be found here.

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