The Youth’s Instructor


October 19, 1899

“We Have Seen His Star”

Part 3.


While the magi were studying the heavens, a luminous star, entirely new to them, made its appearance. As they stood gazing at it, they were impressed that it was the herald of some great event. They decided to investigate the matter, hoping that they would be rewarded by a knowledge of the promised Messiah. The Lord encouraged them to go forward; and as the pillar of cloud moved before the children of Israel through the wilderness, so the star guided the wise men as they journeyed toward Jerusalem. When they drew near Jerusalem, it no longer went before them, but was enshrouded in darkness. Entering Jerusalem, the magi made the eager inquiry, “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.” They knew that the Messiah had been born. The star that had guided them thus far was an outward evidence, and the Spirit of God was kindling ardent hopes in their hearts. They expected to see and worship the King. YI October 19, 1899, par. 1

The people of Jerusalem looked upon the magi with astonishment; for no one had seen anything peculiar in the heavens, no one had heard anything about the birth of the King. The very people over whom this King was to rule had not been favored with any special token; for they had no knowledge that anything unusual had taken place. The minds of the wise men were filled with astonishment. Could it be that in the city of Jerusalem, the people knew nothing of the birth of him who was to rule over Israel? Had they themselves read the prophecy incorrectly? The magi had thought to find all Jerusalem filled with anxious expectancy. As they related their experience, they were surprised at the jealousy shown by the scribes and Pharisees. Surely the Lord, whom they had been seeking, had suddenly come to his temple! YI October 19, 1899, par. 2

The tidings of the Messiah's birth reached the ears of Herod. He was startled. His jealousy was roused. Had One been born who had a better right than he to rule? Was he to be superseded? Why had he not heard of this wonderful event? Looking into the past, he reviewed the terrible conflicts through which he passed in order to gain the throne, and the murders he committed to secure his position. He has disposed of every rival in his way, and he determines that he will not rest until this new king, if there be one, is searched out and slain. YI October 19, 1899, par. 3

Herod was troubled by the tidings brought by the wise men, “and all Jerusalem with him.” It was in harmony with Herod's jealous nature to be troubled over news of this character; but why should the leading men among the Jews be so perplexed and terrified? Had they studied and explained the Scriptures in vain? Why were they not intelligent in regard to this great event foretold by prophecy, which meant so much to them? They had traced down the chronology, and knew that this was the time when the Messiah should appear. Why, then, were they so alarmed? They had read the words: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.... O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom.” Why, then, were the priests and rulers, those in high position, so alarmed at the news of his coming? YI October 19, 1899, par. 4

The Jewish rulers were in ignorance of the coming of the Just One, because they had not been making ready for him. They had been separating from God by wicked works. The positions in the service of the priesthood were filled by men wholly unfitted for the work,—men who had not hesitated to stoop to falsehood and even murder to gain the coveted honor. They were not ready for Christ's coming. They had not heard the angel's message, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy.” They had not heard the song of the heavenly host, because they were estranged from God. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. The Lord could not enlighten them; for so great was the darkness surrounding them that they would not have made a right use of the light. YI October 19, 1899, par. 5

The priests and rulers began to ask themselves what these things meant. The shepherds had borne witness regarding the visit of the angels; now men from the far East bore the tidings, “We have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” Men of another nation and faith were the first to herald the advent of the Messiah. If the report of the wise men were true, they, the rulers, stood in an unenviable position before their own people; for they had been passed by, while strangers were enlightened. YI October 19, 1899, par. 6

Herod was surprised that the Jewish rabbis—men looking upon themselves as favored above all other people—should apparently be in darkness, while those they termed heathen had received a sign from heaven that the King had been born. He was filled with perplexity. Why had the wise men made the long journey to Jerusalem with the inquiry, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” Had a king been born? Making an effort to appear gratified by the news, though his heart burned with jealousy at the mention of a rival, Herod gathered the chief priests and scribes together, and demanded of them where Christ should be born. “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they answered; “for thus it is written by the prophet: And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda; for out of thee shall come a Governor that shall rule my people Israel.” YI October 19, 1899, par. 7

Calling the wise men to him, Herod “inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 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. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.” YI October 19, 1899, par. 8

Mrs. E. G. White