December 22, 2022 | Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | Ted N.C. Wilson, President, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Ted Wilson (TW): Hello, friends! During this special time of year, Nancy and I send our warmest greetings to you, along with a special message pointing to the guiding star that still brightens our path today.
Nancy Wilson (NW): The night was dark and clear. Stars sparkled high above the hills of Bethlehem, where for centuries shepherds watched their sheep. This night seemed no different as they “talked together of the promised Saviour, and prayed for the coming of the King to David’s throne” (The Desire of Ages, p. 47).
TW: Suddenly, the still night was broken with a flash of heavenly light! We read in Luke 2:9—”And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.” Seeking to calm their fears, the angel said, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (vss. 10, 11).
NW: After the angel explained how to find this precious Babe, “wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger” (vs. 12), it was as if heaven itself could no longer contain its joy as thousands upon thousands of angels sang: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (vs. 14).
TW: The shepherds were not the only ones who beheld the supernatural light radiating from the heavenly host that night. Far to the east, in the land of Mesopotamia, wise men, known as “magi,” noticed an unusual star in the night sky.
These wise men belonged to a wealthy and influential class of nobles, honored for their integrity and wisdom. Ellen White tells us, “As these magi studied the starry heavens, and sought to fathom the mystery hidden in their bright paths, they beheld the glory of the Creator. Seeking clearer knowledge, they turned to the Hebrew Scriptures” (The Desire of Ages, p. 59). They were familiar with the prophecy of Balaam, who himself was from Mesopotamia, and had centuries earlier declared: “A Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel” (Num. 24:17).
NW: “Could this be the Star?” the wise men wondered. As they studied the prophecies of Isaiah, Daniel, Micah and more, they became convinced of the unusual star’s significance and were determined to learn more. Ellen White explains: “The magi had welcomed the light of heaven-sent truth; now it was shed upon them in brighter rays. Through dreams they were instructed to go in search of the newborn Prince” (The Desire of Ages, p. 60).
TW: With precious gifts in hand, the magi mounted their camels and followed the mysterious star. Traveling by night, they reminded one another of what they had studied, and “at every pause for rest they searched the prophecies; and the conviction deepened that they were divinely guided. While they had the star before them as an outward sign, they had also the inward evidence of the Holy Spirit, which was impressing their hearts, and inspiring them with hope” (The Desire of Ages, p. 60).
NW: After traveling for several weeks, the wise men arrived in Jerusalem. They eagerly inquired, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him” (Matt. 2:2). But to their surprise, their questions were met with fear and astonishment. No one seemed to be aware of the newborn King.
TW: Even the religious leaders were unable to provide answers. Rather than embracing the inquiries from these Eastern visitors, the priests simply rehearsed their longstanding traditions, turning away in contempt that Gentiles would presume to understand the Hebrew Scriptures better than they.
Before long, word reached Herod’s Palace and the magi were invited to meet with the jealous king. “Go and search carefully for the young Child,” said Herod deceptively, “and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also” (Matt. 2:8).
NW: Leaving the palace somewhat deflated, the Magis’ spirits rose again at the sight of the Star. Eagerly, they followed this guiding light to the Christ Child. Through their study of Bible prophecy, and the insight of the Holy Spirit, these men were able to look beyond humble appearances and in Jesus “recognize the presence of Divinity. They gave their hearts to Him as their Saviour, and then poured out their gifts” (The Desire of Ages, p. 63).
TW: Friends, today we still have the guiding light of Bible prophecy. The Apostle Peter assures us: “And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19, NASB).
NW: And yet today, just as in the time of Christ, there are those who doubt His soon return. “Where is the promise of His coming?” they scoff. “For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:4). But they are willfully ignorant, not recognizing that his coming “is near, even at the door” (Matt. 24:33).
TW: “Wise” men and women are studying the prophecies today. These inspired writings reveal the past, the present, and the future. By seeing their exact fulfillment in the past, we can be confident that what is yet to be will take place, exactly as the prophecies predict. Let’s follow this guiding star. “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith” (Hebrews 10:37, 38a).
I invite you to pray with us just now. Father in heaven, we thank You for the way You intervened in the lives of the magi, helping them to understand more fully the prophecies which they were reading. We understand also that You were asking us today to be wise individuals, to understand what we are reading, not only to through our own efforts, but most importantly, through the leading of the holly spirit in our research, our study of the holly word of God. Help us to realize that soon Jesus will come, the second time, and He’ll take us to a place where we can sit at His feet and He’ll share with us words of truth, just as He did through scripture, and now we’ll hear it from His own lips. So Lord, guide us in every way, help us to be wise, not in our own efforts, but leaning completely upon You. And we thank You for hearing us, in Jesus name. Amen.