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What was the “star in the east” that the Magi saw? Only God knows for sure, but that hasn’t stopped scholars and devotees from speculating. Here are two theories:

It was an angel. Elsewhere in Scripture, angels are described as beings of light (Acts 12:7; 2 Corinthians 11:14). Thus some think the “star in the east” was actually an angel (or choir of angels) shining brightly down from the heavens to announce Christ’s birth.

It was an explainable celestial phenomenon. Modern astronomers calculate that several possibilities like this could have happened. Jupiter and Saturn are believed to have aligned around 7 B.C., and could have “created a star of unusual brightness.” An alignment of Venus and Saturn around 3 B.C. could have also been unexpectedly bright, as well as other planetary configurations in 3 and 2 B.C… Even a comet passing earth is seen as a plausible explanation.

Regardless of what the star actually was, it signified to readers of Matthew’s gospel the fulfillment of another messianic prophecy, found in Numbers 24:17: “A star will come out of Jacob…”

Matthew 2:1-12

Works Cited:

[MAT, 52-53]

 

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