What Was it That is Called the Star of Bethlehem

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

Matthew 2:1-2

What people refer to as the star of Bethlehem is, in the Bible, referred to as "his star" and "the star," but never "the star of Bethlehem." It's identified with Bethlehem because that's where the magi were when this celestial guide came to stop over the place where the child was. Why do I begin by making such a distinction? To get your attention right from the start, to make the point that we can't be sloppy about what we read and expect to have discernment. Chances are, you, like myself, have been subject to traditional teaching about the birth of our lord Y'shua and we need a fresh look. What did the magi see on their way from Jerusalem to Bethlehem?

Like most students of the Bible, I didn't understand about this because I had a hard time accepting that the star could have been other than some peculiar astronomical event. I have to admit I had neglected to seriously consider that it was actually a common instance of symbolic language.

Let me present the biblical account of the visit of the magi to refresh your memory.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2) and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." 3) When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4) When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5) "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: 6) " 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'" 7) Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8) He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." 9) After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10) When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11) On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12) And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Matthew 2:1-12

The star was observed appearing in the east at an "exact" time. Of itself, the sudden appearance of a new star is not an uncommon astronomical event. The time was directly related to the birth of Christ and known to be so related. Those facts reveal that the appearance of this star was unusual and very special. The magi arrived in Jerusalem and asked where to find the one who has been born king of the Jews. By that, we know they didn't follow a guiding star directly to Bethlehem. Whether the star had led them to Jerusalem we are not told. Leaving Jerusalem, as they went on their way, that same star they had seen in the east went ahead of them. The text says the star went ahead of them and that must be what happened. Natural stars like Polaris or Regulus don't go ahead of people. They don't go and they don't stop; as we are told it stopped over the place where the child was. Here's the feature that really should speak to us about this star being something pretty special. The NIV underplays the language of verse 10 so here is the KJV rendering which better reflects the extreme emphasis of the Greek text.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

Matthew 2:10 (KJV)

These magi already knew the child was in Bethlehem and they were on their way there. You might think that, since they knew they were about to discover the object of their worship, any rejoicing "with exceeding great joy" would be for that reason, but, either these were the village idiots on the loose or there was something about having seen the star we may have overlooked! What kind of star was this? And, why should we care?

image from www.mara.org.uk/Halewood_LITS.htm

The short answer? The magi saw the angel of the Lord in his heavenly vehicle. We should care what they saw because the reappearance of the Lord's angel and others of his kind is at hand, and, because we need discernment in the presence of the counterfeit with its attendant antichrist disinformation. The Old Testament passage quoted in Matthew 2:6 is Micah 5:2, which is very obviously in an end time last days context.

A few years ago I wrote about Heaven's Vehicles. It's a brief writing you might want to read if you haven't already.

Angels are commonly referred to as stars in biblical writing. Why might that be? Angels appear as men but they also appear as lights in the sky that resemble the natural stars. When you see angels manifested in this way, they may only by distinguishable from natural stars by their movement, color, or by knowledge that there is no natural star in the position occupied. To illustrate this, consider a picture of such stars taken in England on November 8, 2002 by a security camera at Halewood train station. While the stars in the security camera image are most likely fallen angels, the star that went ahead of the magi was like them in nature, angelic, yet, in contrast, it was his, the Lord's, star!

The magi first saw his star in the east at the time Y'shua was born. We know this because of the report given to Herod and what happened afterwards. What is called "his star" is, in other words, "his angel," the Lord's angel. According to the biblical record, it's easily noted that an angel of the Lord was actively involved in the accounts given in both Matthew 2 and Luke 2.

"The Madonna with Saint Giovannino"
Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-1494)
Loeser collection, Palazzo Vecchio

Mary, baby Jesus and the angel of the Lord?

Consider the record of the angelic presentation before some shepherds living out in the fields nearby the manger in Bethlehem on the very night Christ the Lord was born.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9) An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10) But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11) Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12) This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 13) Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14) "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." 15) When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

Luke 2:8-15

Did you notice from that passage how that, when the angel appeared, the glory of the Lord shone around them? How do you suppose it looked when the angels left them and went into heaven? Can you picture these like stars disappearing into the sky? Did you also notice how the shepherds received the message as being told them by the Lord? Hmmmm. Makes you think, doesn't it?

Such light is a common feature when angels appear. At a distance, they appear as points of light like stars. Closer up, they may appear as described in 2 Kings 2:11 and 6:17, as horses and chariots of fire. Or they may be described as in Matthew 2, or simply as men, as celestial beings, or even as in the detailed report of Ezekiel 1 and 10. They are also referred to as the "heavenly host" or the "host of heaven." Today, you more commonly find reference to them in other ways. These are of a kind; heaven's vehicles, the chariots of the gods, UFOs, aliens, flying saucers or angelic craft. These supernatural beings are one of only two kinds; either those of the sovereign God and His servants or those of His enemies, allied with the fallen angel Satan.

"The Madonna with Saint Giovannino"

Expanded detail of this artistic rendering of one of Heaven's vehicles

In closing. I pray your eyes are open to see the reality of the supernatural beings as they manifest themselves in this natural realm today. For yet a brief season you can dismiss the reality of their appearance as I present it from the biblical record, and, you can deny their presence and interaction in this natural realm. Let me leave you with these words as a warning. The day is almost upon us when the cost of denial will be paid. In that day, if you haven't already sought the truth about these matters and found it, you'll find yourself paying the price for allowing yourself to be deceived! I love you and so I warn you now. If you see as I do, spread the Word, friend!

Here's some scriptures to consider.


The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lamp stands are the seven churches.

Revelation 1:20b

while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?

Job 38:7

Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him.

Revelation 9:1 NASB

This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; 11) yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord.

2 Peter 2:10-11

In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. 9) But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"

Jude 1:8-9

In the book of Enoch, (referenced in Jude 1:14 - read the whole book) angelic beings are frequently referred to as stars.

6) And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day 12) These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; 13) wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever. 14) It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, 15) to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."

Jude 6,12-15

Read 1 Enoch 18 and the surrounding chapters that are well known to be those referenced by Jude for further insight.

I saw there seven stars like great burning mountains, and to me, when I inquired regarding them, 14. The angel said: 'This place is the end of heaven and earth: this has become a prison for the stars and the host of heaven. 15. And the stars which roll over the fire are they which have transgressed the commandment of the Lord in the beginning of their rising, because they did not come forth at their appointed times. 16. And He was wroth with them, and bound them till the time when their guilt should be consummated (even) ?for ten thousand years?.'

1 Enoch 18:13-16

His angel at work

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,

Revelation 1:1

Then Peter came to himself and said, "Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod's clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating."

Acts 12:11

His angel at work here too, where the stars had fought from heaven!

"The kings came and fought;
Then fought the kings of Canaan
At Taanach near the waters of Megiddo;
They took no plunder in silver.
20) "The stars fought from heaven,
From their courses they fought against Sisera.
21) "The torrent of Kishon swept them away,
The ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon.
O my soul, march on with strength.
22) "Then the horses' hoofs beat
From the dashing, the dashing of his valiant steeds.
23) 'Curse Meroz,' said the angel of the LORD,
'Utterly curse its inhabitants;
Because they did not come to the help of the LORD,
To the help of the LORD against the warriors.'

Judges 5:19-24

For Further Study

Solving the Riddle of Ezekiel’s Wheels - by Frank E. Carlisle

The Book of Enoch

Heaven's Vehicles

art through history with ufo / angelic appearance theme

art with UFO's In Earth's History