BE A STAR
By Jeannette Haley
“…there shall come a Star out of Jacob,
and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel…” Nu. 24:17c
In our culture only certain people are referred to as “stars.” They even have their names artfully emblazoned in “stars,” some of which are set in pedestrian walks for all to ogle over. There are movie stars, music hall of fame stars, sports stars and porn stars. Webster’s defines stardom as, “the state of being a very famous performer.” In the estimation of the human mindset being a “star performer” is the ultimate, or another way of putting it, “just about as good as you can get.” After all, the stars of heaven are as high as our limited sight and imagination can go so why not compare our idols to them and call them “stars?”
Ancient man looked toward the heavens and esteemed the myriad of stars there as the ultimate height of unattainable grandeur. Today modern man, that is, the majority of people caught up with all their technological gadgets and distractions, rarely take the time to gaze in awe and wonder at the stars. However, there are always those (besides NASA) who do scan the heavens, marvel at the vastness of it all, and appreciate the power of God. The truth is no thinking person can observe the stars for any length of time without coming to the conclusion that we are all very small and insignificant indeed in the scheme of things.
In 1971 the rock opera musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” made its Broadway debut. In 1973 a film adaptation was made of it. Of course the whole production is unscriptural, and has another spirit behind it. The “Star” coming out of Jacob is the “great light” that would come into a world of spiritual darkness, giving light to the people. Matthew 4:16 says, “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.” Calling Jesus a “Superstar” is a dangerous denial of all that He is, the reason why He came in the flesh, the true meaning of the cross, the power and glory of His resurrection, the fact of His ascension into Heaven, and His soon return to rule and reign over the earth with a rod of iron. Jesus was no mere “superstar” but He is the Creator of the host of heaven. “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” Psalm 33:6. “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made” John 1:3.
So, just what is a “superstar”? Superstar is defined as (in dictionary.com) “a person, as a performer or athlete, who enjoys wide recognition, is esteemed for exceptional talent, and is eagerly sought after for his or her services.” Does this describe the Lord Jesus Christ, God incarnate, the Son of God, the Savior of the world? Not hardly! Jesus Christ was not a “performer” of anything, and never will be. According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, “star” in Hebrew is kowkab, and can mean “in the sense of rolling, or in the sense of blazing; a star (as round or as shining); fig. a prince.” Christians know that the Star coming out of Jacob is a prince: the Prince of Peace.
In Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 2 verses 1-3 we read, “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” There is an abundance of opinions concerning the wise men from the east, but such speculation generally comes out of ignorance. A little research into history and culture coupled with a study of the Book of Daniel reveals that the Magi were highly esteemed astronomers (and astrologers) who knew that there would be a king born to the Jews. From cuttingedge.org we read this interesting fact, “The fact that Daniel was a high official of the royal government is highly significant in our study, because only high government officials or high religious leaders had access to books. There was no printing press at that time. The three Wise Men were scholars and therefore had access to the writings of Daniel. Further, the three Wise Men were Magi, which was an order of the Pagan Medo-Persian religious order of Zoroaster. The Magi were ancient interpreters of dreams and were astrologers (monthly prognosticators). We see them in the Bible in the court of the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar.”
The chief priests and scribes of the people at the time of Herod were “troubled” because, according to Cutting Edge Org., “Several hundred years before Christ was born, Jewish leaders began to believe and propagate two erroneous teachings. First, they taught that the sacred Scriptures could not be taken literally because they were not totally inspired by God, and thus contained errors. Secondly, they taught that prophecies were not to be taken literally, but spiritually. Prophetic books such as Daniel were not even taught anymore because they contained so much prophecy. After several generations had come and gone, each believing this nonsense, spiritual leaders of Jesus’ day were completely unaware of this prophecy. Thus, they were unaware of the “time of their visitation”. I can’t resist adding: Just like the professing, traditions-of-men, institutional, man-centered, perverted and watered-down, Alexandrian Gnostic bible believing churches of today.” Gnosticism was a real problem for Jesus’ disciples, and it is still with us today as a powerful tool in the hands of Satan to undermine and destroy the preserved Words of God. The sad thing is, most people, just like Israel when Jesus was born into this world, are completely unaware of how far truth has “fallen into the street.” This is a fulfillment of Isaiah 59:14 which states, “And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.”
I am in complete agreement with this indictment by Cutting Edge: “The significance of this study to today is both simple and obvious. The same wrong teaching concerning inspiration of the Bible and its inerrancy is occurring throughout this nation. Most people today are unaware that all 300+ prophecies concerning Jesus’ Second Coming are coming to pass or have already occurred. These people are unaware that this has never occurred before. Therefore, many people will miss Jesus’ Second Visitation, to their eternal peril.” Wake up, Church! Wake up, America! “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God” 1 Peter 4:17?
But the wise men of the east were awake, alert and aware, and they were watching when His star rose in the east. Their wisdom was demonstrated because they knew that His star was a sign from God, and they also knew that the child they sought was no ordinary king because when they found Him, they “fell down, and worshipped him” Matthew 2:11a. Only God is to be worshipped; therefore they knew, and believed, that Jesus was God incarnate. (Matthew 14:33; 28:9; Luke 24:52; Hebrews 1:61 Peter 3:22; Revelation 5:8). They also brought gold which represents deity; frankincense which represents righteousness and myrrh His death and burial. No wonder these men were called wise! They understood and believed that which the Jews should have recognized from their own Scriptures. Truly, “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not” John 1:10, 11. Thank God, there is a “but.” “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” John 1:12.
Today roughly only 6 out of 10 professing Christians believe that Jesus is God incarnate, and that number drops significantly with Millennials. In my mind there can be no doubt that the erosion of the revealed Word of God (KJV) by Gnostic “bibles” (modern versions from spurious Alexandrian manuscripts) has resulted in a weak presentation of the Gospel, and introduced “another Jesus,” as well as subtlety redefined what true Christianity is all about. Our nation is reaping the consequences of the church’s failure to obey Jesus’ commission to make disciples (students) and followers of Him; failure to come out and be separate from the world, and failure to be the “salt and the light.” On top of that, in nearly every church you will find that people are dazzled and caught up with certain “stars” and “superstars” such as false prophet Beth Moore, heretics Joel Osteen and Rick Warren, and occult writers such as William Young, Sarah Young, A. J. Russell, Roma Downey, etc.
The sad truth is the undiscerning sheep are spiritually starving to death. Victims of compromising shepherds, they, like goats, chase after and gobble up any scrap of unscriptural garbage offered to them by the “superstars” who are in realty ravening wolves fulfilling 2 Peter 2:1-3 which states, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”
If we would have the wisdom of the wise men, then we must begin by worshipping Jesus, know His Word and apply it to our hearts, ask for wisdom and walk in obedience. Here again is the promise: “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” Daniel 12:3. Think about that for a while. Can you even begin to imagine what it would be like to shine as the stars for ever and ever? This is the kind of “star” that I want to be! And, just think, no two are alike. 1 Corinthians 15:41 tell us, “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.”
Humanly speaking, most of us start out wanting to be the one and only bright and shiny attraction to our parents, family, friends or those around us. From babes to toddlers to teens and beyond most of us naturally think we’re the star that the whole Universe revolves around. It’s called “being the center of attention” and if maturity is not soon developed in us through proper discipline, instruction, correction, and experience, then we will remain “fallen stars” that are in competition with the true Star who alone is worthy of all worship, glory and adoration. “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” Revelation 4:11.
To me the biblical account of the star of Bethlehem is both beautiful and fascinating. There are many different theories that have been presented about the Christmas Star, but the Bible declares that it was a star. It wasn’t a supernova, an eclipse, a comet, or UFO. Why do we try to explain away the majesty and power of God? Psalm 147:4, 5 tells us, “He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.” Isaiah 40:26 says, “Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.” What a great God we serve! He numbers not only the stars, but the very hairs on our heads. His eye sees the sparrow when it falls, and He knows before we ask what we have need of. Therefore, for God to set a star in the heavens as a sign that the king of the Jews was to be born in the city of Bethlehem of a virgin in fulfillment of hundreds of prophecies is no impossible feat.
Now, according to USCB Science Line, “There are about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in space, or about 10 raised to the 21 (10 to the 21 power, roughly.) This amount is about equal to the number of grains of sand on ALL of the beaches on planet Earth!!! That is a lot!! Our galaxy, the Milky Way, has approximately 100 billion stars in it, but the Milky Way is not the only galaxy in the universe…there are about 10 billion galaxies in the observable universe! The number of stars in a galaxy varies, but assuming an average of 100 billion stars per galaxy means that there are about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (that’s 1 billion trillion) stars in the observable universe!”
Can you come up with one billion trillion names? Me either! Yet, our Lord walks among the stars, and calls them all by both number and name. “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable” Psalm 145:3. “Is any thing too hard for the LORD” Genesis 18:14a? Therefore, why is it so hard for some to believe that Almighty God created and directed a certain star, which He set in the heavens as a sign for all who would see and understand? In the fourth day of creation “God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good” Genesis 1:14:18. No wonder King David sang, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him” Psalm 8:3, 4?
To be a “star” in God’s kingdom means that your life reflects the glory of Jesus to a lost world. In order to become a reflection of His glory we need to go back to the One that the star of Bethlehem led the wise men to. “When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy” Matthew 2:9, 10. The purpose of this special star was to point the way to the Christ child, the Promised One of Isaiah 9:6, 7: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”
The star led the wise men to the young child, and Jesus likewise points those who would be “great” or superstars, to young children, “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” Matthew 18:3-6.
On more than one occasion I have a stated that children are the most important people in the church, and the most overlooked. (After all, they don’t have money to give.) If the children are generally ignored, overlooked, separated from their parents, and shut away out of sight to be entertained half to death how are they ever going to learn from example how to revere God? How are they going to learn what real worship and intercession is? How are they going to develop a reverence for what is holy? How are they going to be brought up feeling secure as a part of the Body of Christ, knowing how to function as part of that body, so that someday they will know and fulfill God’s calling on their own lives? The answer is, they won’t and when they hit 18, they are going to walk out through the church doors and probably never look back. Children are the future of the church, and the future of America! This is a point that is taken very seriously by the socialists and communists, but not so much by the social-club, powerless churches of today that have nothing to offer in the way of spiritual meat to disenfranchised youth.
Jesus said, “…unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3. [Emphasis added.] In response to this Scripture, Oswald Chambers wrote “These words of our Lord refer to our initial conversion, but we should continue to turn to God as children, being continuously converted every day of our lives. If we trust in our own abilities, instead of God’s, we produce consequences for which God will hold us responsible. When God through His sovereignty brings us into new situations, we should immediately make sure that our natural life submits to the spiritual, obeying the orders of the Spirit of God. Just because we have responded properly in the past is no guarantee that we will do so again. The response of the natural to the spiritual should be continuous conversion, but this is where we so often refuse to be obedient. No matter what our situation is, the Spirit of God remains unchanged and His salvation unaltered. But we must “put on the new man…” (Ephesians 4:24). God holds us accountable every time we refuse to convert ourselves, and He sees our refusal as willful disobedience. Our natural life must not rule— God must rule in us.
“To refuse to be continuously converted puts a stumbling block in the growth of our spiritual life. There are areas of self-will in our lives where our pride pours contempt on the throne of God and says, ‘I won’t submit.’ We deify our independence and self-will and call them by the wrong name. What God sees as stubborn weakness, we call strength. There are whole areas of our lives that have not yet been brought into submission, and this can only be done by this continuous conversion. Slowly but surely we can claim the whole territory for the Spirit of God.”
I don’t know about you, but to me this verse in Daniel 12:3, “they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” is not only beautiful, lofty, and glorious but it stirs my spirit up in greater ways to set my affection on things above, while causing my heart to rejoice in the beauty and goodness of the Lord. It is a challenge to come higher, dig deeper, go farther, and reach out to others with the Gospel.
In my lifetime I’ve experienced being the likes of a shooting star, a falling star and a dead star. You can compare that to plenty of zeal without knowledge; falling because of sin and pride, and being a burned out dud. But, the Lord is merciful! His promises are true, for it is written, (after the angels gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity) “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” Matthew 13:43.
Therefore, as we meditate on that night so long ago and journey in our hearts with the wise men that followed His star until they found Him, may we too fall before Him in worship and adoration, for truly He is the “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS”.