Why the title?

"Pioneers take the arrows"

Oh, wait. I should be upbeat and taking arrows doesn't sound like an upbeat thing to say.

So, let me amend that statement.

It was courage and vision that led the pioneers to leave behind a comfortable, settled life and trek West to begin a new life in a new place. Many of those from the East that went West found a strength within themselves that they didn't see while they were in their old life. Instead of being one of those that just kind of went along with the others in the old life, they became leaders and visionaries in their new lives.

The sentiments of that last paragraph come from a favorite author, Louis L'Amour, in many of his books. So, I can't really say that it is an original thought from me. However, what he said is truthful.

Welcome to being a pioneer. Look ahead and ignore the "barking dogs" that give you negative opinions and comments. Louis L'Amour also spoke of the barking dogs.

In some of his stories, it was usually a father or older man telling a young boy how it was that when the Westward bound Conestoga wagons rolled through towns, the dogs came out to bark at them. His character then told the young listener that the barking didn't stop the wagons from going on to their destinations.

Following the advice of the Louis L'Amour characters, may we all forge ahead with our plans, after carefully considering all consequences and leave the "barkers" behind.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Bethlehem Star Comment Follow Up

Today, I received a comment for my blog posting on January 28, which was about the astronomical events regarding the Messiah. Ken asked me a question, which unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to answer his question without adding more questions to the mix. Here is Ken’s comment and a link to that blog entry:

“Terry, I hope you can 'splain me something. In my Bible, it says the wise men came from the East. Also, it says there was a bright shining star in the East that proclaimed the birth of our Lord, Jesus. Now to the explanation, how did the wise men from the East follow a star in the East and arrive where God had pointed them?
My only guess is that due to oral history as practiced in those times, a bit of misinformation got added in. We must remember, that during the time of Jesus' birth, maybe 2 percent of the people were literate.”


Now, in answer to his question, the “supposed” Bethlehem star acts just like most stars. Most stars, with Pole stars being an exception, rise in the East due to the rotation of the Earth. So, the wise men, or Magi, would have seen that “star” rise in the East and they would have followed it in its travel toward the West.

Now, I’m going to add some information from the website of “The Star of Bethlehem,” which will be of interest in that it raises more questions. The list below is the characteristics of the Star of Bethlehem which are gleaned from the 2nd chapter of Matthew.

What was the Star?
We now know much about the Star.

  1. It signified birth.
  2. It signified kingship.
  3. It had a connection with the Jewish nation.
  4. It rose in the east, like other stars.
  5. It appeared at a precise time.
  6. Herod didn't know when it appeared.
  7. It endured over time.
  8. It was ahead of the Magi as they went south from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.
  9. It stopped over Bethlehem.”

(Whoa!!! Did you catch those last two characteristics? Also, just to toss this into the mix, the video “The Star of Bethlehem” explains how all 9 of the characteristics above came to be true of the astronomical event.)

Even though the Magi followed the star from the East, possibly from Babylon, and then after meeting with Herod, they followed the star towards the South to Bethlehem and the star stopped over Bethlehem.

Now, Bethlehem is only 5 or 6 miles south of Jerusalem, so it is possible that while the star was over Bethlehem and appeared to have stopped, it wouldn’t be hard to “follow” the star for that short distance. Keep in mind, until I have more of an understanding of the phenomena, I am merely speculating here.

Now, are you ready for another question? The following is also from the 2nd chapter of Matthew:

10 And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

11 And they came into the house and saw the young child with Mary his mother; and they fell down and worshipped him; and opening their treasures they offered unto him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.”

I would like you to notice in verse 11 where it says “they came into the house and saw the young child.” There is no mention of a stable or manger, and it refers to “young child” and not “a baby.” There is speculation that the arrival of the Magi may have been months after his birth because Greek translations refer to Jesus at this time as a “toddler.”

Now, for clarification purposes, I should mention that my Bible translation of choice is the American Standard Version of 1901 because it is the closest literal translation of the original languages of the Bible’s authors. When attempting to clarify something in the ASV, I tend to go to the New American Standard Version and then the New International Version.

I spend a fair amount of time on the website “Bible Gateway,” where one can choose to read in numerous translations, including the American Standard Version. As far as I can tell, the ASV is only published by Star Bibles. I happened to get my copy at A&D Bookstore in Amarillo, Texas back a few years ago. A&D Bookstore is a Christian bookstore with tons of literature and aids for Bible studies for all ages. Love the place.

So, I must now apologize to Ken that I’m not able to fully answer his questions and that I may have even added more to his thoughts. Perhaps as I study more, I can better answer. Until then, I can only suggest going to “The Star of Bethlehem” website and read the headings listed under “How to Use this Site.”


The text in those four major categories does a lot to explain more about the astronomical aspects of this whole story.  Also, I should note that the author provides a lot of footnotes. May it be that you enjoy your research as much as I am enjoying mine. 


  1. Hi Terry, me again. When I posed the question about the star, it was to generate thought and comment. I find the most important thing about Church and Sunday School is the discussion that most texts raise. I see most of the "lessons" as someone's opinion, of which I have a few myself.
    We had a lesson about the birth of Jesus in Sunday School and when I posed the question to them, I got the "deer in the headlights" look, or as my pastor says, "like a cow at a new gate". That analogy is only relevant if there is a cattle background. Them city dwellers just miss the whole point.
    Like you, I am more a student than a accolyte. I put my belief system within my own value programming.

  2. Thanks, Ken. That clears up a bit for me. On occasion, a question posed for further thought is like trying to determine if a written comment is sarcastic or not. It is kind of hard to determine when one can't see the questioner's eyes and facial expressions.

    Like you, I am still a student and likely will be until the day I die. Then, if given the blessing of Heaven as a home, I'll try to learn more from all the greats that preceded me, and of course, Jesus Christ himself.

    The first question to Him would be, "Didn't you ever listen to some of the things I said?" I certainly hope he "gets" humor and sarcasm.


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