MATTHEW 2:2—Why does the Bible commend the Magi for following the star, when it condemns astrology?
PROBLEM: The Bible condemns the use of astrology (see Lev. 19:26; Deut. 18:10; Isa. 8:19), yet God blessed the wise men (Magi) for using a star to indicate the birth of Christ.
SOLUTION: First, we need to ask what astrology is. Astrology is a belief that the study of the arrangement and movement of the stars can enable one to foretell events—whether they will be good or bad.
Second, the star used in the biblical account was to announce the birth of Christ, not to foretell this event. God gave the star to the Magi to proclaim to them that the child had already been born. We know the child was already born, because in Matthew 2:16, Herod gives a command to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and vicinity that are two years old or younger in accordance with “the time which he had ascertained from the Magi” (nasb).
Third, there are other cases in the Bible in which the stars and planets are used by God to reveal His desires. Psalm 19:1–6 affirms that the heavens declare God’s glory, and Romans 1:18–20 teaches that creation reveals God’s existence. Christ refers to what will happen to the sun, moon, and stars in connection with His second coming (Matt 24:29–30), as did the prophet Joel (2:31–32). The star guiding the Magi was not used to predict, but to proclaim the birth of Christ.
Geisler, N. L., & Howe, T. A. (1992). When critics ask : A popular handbook on Bible difficulties (326). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.