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Climax Tunnel Area

New Climax Tunnel repairs

 

This stone is behind the new addition.

 

Always go towards the light…

Last weekend was a cold and breezy day. However, Laurie and I walked some along the Redbank Valley trail bordering Redbank Creek. I wanted to check on a Bald Eagle nest, as well.

We crossed out of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania at the small community of Climax. The one lane bridge over the creek is a rather new bridge. I remember some time back when this bridge was a metal bridge. Once we crossed the bridge to park for a trail hike we were in Clarion County.

Beaver cuttings

The Climax Tunnel, or the original name of Anthony Loup Tunnel,  goes through a rocky hillside. the tunnel was an old railroad passage many years ago.  The

Mergansers

Anthony Loup on Redbank is an amazing waterways for the waters goes way out, maybe a mile or so before turning back sharply making for an area possibly separated with only a couple of hundred yards of land mass at one point.

The tunnel has recently been renovated and improved by the Redbank  Valley Trails organization. Water leaking through the stones along with freeze/thaw cycles had an effect on the ceiling areas. the tunnel had been closed for quite some time for hikers for fear of injury. the tunnel is 520 feet in length. The tunnel was built between 1878 and 1877.

The eagle nest didn’t appear to be complete. High winds over the last few months must have blown much of the bulk down. However, after going through the tunnel and looking high in a White Pine I could see a huge nest. This nest was across Redbank Creek and about halfway up the slope. Could this be the new nest of the Bald eagles?

We walked along the trail for a time seeing five Mergansers on the creek.

 

 

Light at the end of the tunnel.

 

Probable Bald Eagle Nest

 

Redbank Creek

 

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Ken Crummett helping me hold a gobbler.

The friendship between Ken Crummett and myself is a story of interest. Many years ago I had a painting used on the cover of TURKEY CALL magazine. (TURKEY CALL is the magazine presented by the National Wild Turley Federation bases out of Edgefield, South Carolina.) With this cover I had an ad within the pages offering the painting as a print. The painting is, “SPRINGTIME MAJESTY.”

Sometime after the ad came out I received a phone call from a man from Crummett Mountain, West Virginia.  His family had lived on the mountain even before the Civil War. Ken had located me through a mutual friend from Arkansas, His name was “Wingbone” Cryer. Wingbone was in the mid-eighties at this time.  he looked me up and had stopped here in Pennsylvania after hunting gobblers in New York. He met with Ken Crummett while traveling back home giving Ken my phone number. Ken ordered a print.

This exchange occurred in the early 1990 time frame. Ken and I talked those many years periodically. In fact the calls were common as to every month or so.

  In recent years Ken and another turkey hunting friend named Galen Braddy from North Carolina would get together for a few days to pursue gobblers locally in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. Another mutual friend Kip Feroce graciously allowed us to spend time at his camp.

Ken, also, in recent years had two strokes. the second one interfered with his speech some. He lost his ability to walk well, too. With that in mind, Kip would set up a ground blind near fields  within sight of his camp. Last year I helped ken to the blind and sat with him until light. I asked him if he cared if I ventured around the back side of the round top where we were set up. Of course, ken told me to definitely go. I was to circle around and check on him from time to time.

I heard a gobbler on the roost directly behind the ground blind. The turkey went off before I could get set up. I returned to check on ken and would sneak back a little later on. I called and received some far off gobbling. I worked the side of the steep hill following the gobbler.  Finally I got above him and bagged the tom.

I went back to the ground blind and told the story to Ken. he was so delighted on my success. We sat I the blind for a time talking and laughing. Ken became tired and we walked back to the camp. he said he wasn’t going out anymore this morning so we enjoyed quality time waiting for Kip and Galen’s return.

Galen, Kip, Ken and myself

Ken and I talked often since that last hunt together. I called him just last week and gave him a rough time. I enjoyed hearing his life and that West Virginia drawl. I am going to miss talking with my friend.

Out In The Snow

Bald Eagle

Once the morning gloom dissipated I elected to get out in the snowy day and enjoy some woodland time. Snow fell all day, but never very hard. Also, any snow falling would remain on the light side. Rural roads, however, had some slick areas in spots.

I arrived at my destination near Cochran’s Mill to walk along the old Baker trail near the lower end of Cherry Run. I didn’t walk the trail exclusively   due to drainage issues of water and mud. Also, plenty of big trees were down across the trail throughout.  That was just fine since the area along the creek is much more attractive to gaze upon.

While walking I became a little down with my thoughts. I began thinking about the many areas I used to tramp upon and hunt that are now posted and/or developed. That made me sad. I find I am become increasingly discouraged with hunting due to such issues.

Nature seems to often find away to help clear such thoughts. Instinctively, I guess, I looked up to see a mature Bald Eagle coming up the hollow at treetop level. The beautiful bird turned and circled again and flew over allowing for one quick photo in an opening. The eagle seemed to telling me to not be down as the wings carried it up the hollow.

I would see three deer feeding along a field’s edge. Also, I saw a darkened mass in a cut corn field only to see a flock of Wild Turkeys. I managed a half a dozen pics.

 

Cherry Run

Later while moving along Cherry Run I noticed a brown ball of energy going upstream. The brown mass was a mink. I took two quick photos, but they were both hazy. The mink eventually went among a root system. I always enjoy seeing a mink in the wild. It is rare. I did get a good photo of a Mink  several years or so about half a mile upstream.

 

THE TRUTH ABOUT THE SECOND AMENDMENT
Larry A, Smail

The Constitution of the United States has been facing actions to dismantle the truth of the words for many years. I often refer to these actions as a “chipping away” process, bit by bit. This process happens due to politicians eager to force their ideologues and agenda upon all Americans. Another example is the Freedom of Speech. This Right is well on its way out because of the politically correct society America has become. The Freedom of Religion has drifted far from its original intent, as well. However, this writing is dealing with the Second Amendment and the truth about the Founder’s concept.

There are people of America today actively and vocally demanding the repeal of this precious Right guaranteed through the writings of our Bill of Rights. Many others are pushing for more restrictive laws to slowly erode the Right, but these people are destroying the value with a subtler attack. These individuals are trying to hide their true plans to ensure votes. We are engulfed within some very sad times.

Socialist ideals and subtle communism plans are becoming even more popular with a populace lost from knowledge of our history and the world history. The leftists have grown in numbers and have become much emboldened over the years. The last twelve years, or so, this momentum has spread far and wide across this great nation.

The educational system has been infiltrated by the same groups listed above. This has been happening for many years. Each teaching year has more pronounced indoctrination being the result. Like I said…little by little with a chipping away technique. Another reality are those calling themselves Americans, yet their agendas are to promote the mind-set of a Constitution being obsolete on old faded paper.

THE SECOND AMENDMENT
“A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

 

WHY WAS THE SECOND AMENDMENT SUCH A BIG DEAL?

During the years prior to the independence of the thirteen colonies, in other words, the years before the forming of the United States of America, the colonists had witnessed forms of tyranny. This tyranny was being delivered from the European-styles of governing in England. The king in position was King George III. The people living in the New World had first hand knowledge of the ways of Europe. Most colonists of these times remembered England or had heard stories from parents and/or grandparents as to why this land had become occupied. Religious persecution was a primary reason to leave the motherlands. So most people born in the colonies were not very far-removed from the times mentioned above.
The mid 1750 era had brought about what was known here as the French and Indian war. This war was fought between England and France with the colonists on the side of Britain. England won the war but had acquired a huge debt. The king and Parliament began placing tariffs and taxes upon the colonists to pay for the war. Some taxes and acts became known as the Sugar tax, Townshend Act, Stamp Act and the Tea tax. A cry of the day was No Taxation Without Representation. This became reality for the colonists were not included in the representation in the English Parliament. The heat was simmering!

England was wanting more from the colonies. In a sense the Brits believed the colonies owed the homeland a stronger allegiance because of the French and Indian War results. The taxations and the thoughts of tyranny intensified. Physical encounters grew and shots would be fired. The conflict known as the Boston massacre was one result. England began with attempts to disarm the colonists. Such actions were viewed by many as the prelude to war with England. The Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. That war would be reality! That war was the Revolutionary War.

Once the war was victorious over England new problems erupted. The colonies now needed their own working government. This new government led by a group known as the Founding fathers created a Constitution and Bill of Rights. This once ratified would become the guideline, or the contract, as to how this new United States of America was to be governed.

The Founders understanding tyranny in government wished to avoid such a government in the future. Part of that control over tyranny in government was the SECOND AMENDMENT. The Founders understood tyranny in government easily creeps into reality. They wished to avoid tyranny for the future.

The Thirteen States all issued similar words of the Second Amendment within their own State Constitutions. I live in Pennsylvania and the words for Second Amendment are: Section 21.:
THE RIGHT OF THE CITIZENS TO BEAR ARMS IN DEFENSE OF THEMSELVES AND THE STATE SHALL NOT BE QUESTIONED.”

These words can not be any plainer to understand!

A BREAKDOWN OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT

Today, the left-leaning media, Hollywood elitists and progressive, liberal politicians look upon the Second Amendment as a curse. They wish this “Freedom Right” could be greatly curtailed or eliminated completely. We are in a dangerous time in America.

The above-mentioned people view the “Militia” as a bunch of red-necked kooks, dressed in camo stockpiling firearms and ammunition in preparation of taking over the government through a force. The “MILITIA” at the time of the Bill of Rights and founding of the United states consisted of all able-bodied men. These men were to be prepared to take up arms to defend their families, their communities and their state and their country whenever evil threats became reality.

These groups were to be “WELL-REGULATED”. In other words, these men were to be prepared to defend. Many communities would, actually, have a leader or “captain” to oversee the training. Often times in these early years the defense may be against Indian raids. However, this preparation was, also, to be organized against any attacks concerning any foreign and domestic threats against America’s way of life. This threat included any American tyrannical government of the future.

This is the “SECURITY OF A FREE STATE” thinking behind the Second Amendment. Note the Founders added “Necessary.” They wrote: “NECESSARY TO THE SECURITY OF A FREE STATE.” These men understood actions to defend their free state may be “necessary” sometime in the future. These men knew evil was real and the Second amendment was added within the Bill of Rights as a safeguard against such future evil intents.

Those next words of the Second Amendment include, “THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS.” The people are those of America needed to defend and keep evil and tyranny out of government and families, communities and states. Is this so difficult to grasp?

The Founders wrote next to the right of the people the words: “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.” Their words didn’t say possibly not be infringed. The word “SHALL” means exactly wat it says.

You may hate the Second Amendment, you may try to twist and distort what the founders meant through their wording, but you would be incorrect and falling into the mindset of the leftist progressives. Your personal ideologue doesn’t change the reality of the Second Amendment.

HOW DO WE KNOW THE FOUNDER’S ORIGINAL INTENT?

The Founders, and justices of the times, and after, left behind many, many written words and rulings pertaining to the Second Amendment. Space would not allow to record many for this narrative. They are available to read to anyone not afraid to be educated to their words.

ISSUES OF TODAY
Therein allows for another issue of failings. The educational system, both schools and colleges, have become so progressive in thought that words of wisdom concerning the Founding of America and the freedoms bestowed for us are not being taught or worse being distorted to fit political agendas. Today, we see an ignorance of knowledge of history. We are seeing socialism creeping into all walks of America. Again, this fact is due to the educational system failings in teaching and an acceptance blindness to truth or a stupor. Add an unwillingness to question the educators and following like sheep to slaughter and we have a recipe for disaster approaching this country. The narrative of America has been a cleverly created utopia potential with a pre-World War 2 mindset similar to Nazi propaganda.

We in America are facing an America I never believed I would see in my life.
Today we live in a time where there are no absolutes.
God help us all!

Bald Eagles

One of, at least, four illegal bucks I saw while hunting with my flintlock named, Old Jacob.

I have been very neglectful of my journal entries. There has been much going on between my step-father’s accident and a pulled calf muscle on my right leg. I did get some flintlock hunting in, but failed to connect. I never have had the blunders I had this past flintlock season. I “flubbed” ten shots. Most shots would have been down deer in the past, but for some reason, or reasons, I just didn’t fill a freezer. I came up with a thought late and that idea was to have prescription glasses made for distance and not these “progressive” lenses I currently have. maybe that will do the trick.

  One day I went out leaving my priming powder in another coat. I used the 2F powder from my primary loading horn. It is a coarser black powder. I

Notice the strutting gobblers.

eased up onto a feeding doe only to have a hang fire. The powder in the pan went off, but slower than normal. I actually witnessed the barrel move as the gun went off. One happy doe there my friends! I sense I may be having difficulty judging depth perceptions. I am getting older ya know.

I had two unbelievable mishaps this season. I came down over a steep high-wall onto a sphagnum moss area. This is the moss used in making peat moss. It is usually spongy to walk on. Suddenly I was up to my belt in muck and old moss. Either I, instinctively, leaned forward or naturally fell that way. Regardless I was stuck for a few moments and, to be honest, somewhat scared for a brief time. Eventually, I freed my left leg followed by my right leg. I was soaked. My arms were soaked too from falling forward. Of course, I used my flinter to aid in getting out by throwing it ahead to use as support.  Later, I had difficulty getting it to go off, but luckily managed to get enough dry powder moved around in the breech to shoot. My “possibles” bag was completely soaked including patching and such.  Luckily my camera in my shoulder bag didn’t get soaked for the fabric was somewhat water resistant, plus I always keep a plastic bag at the bottom of the shoulder bag.

Another incident occurred while being above another old strip mine. I was easing down at the mine’s edge to seek out a deer when my left leg suddenly went down into a fifteen to eighteen inch diameter hole.  I quickly removed my leg only to see where an old coal mine had shifted allowing for a hole to form hidden under goldenrods and grasses. Lucky me for I didn’t break anything.

  Now let’s get back to the title of this journal entry… Bald Eagles. A friend, Bob “Slim” Bowser contacted me about walking. I told him I was free on Tuesday (January 15, 2019.)and we planned a walk to Crooked Creek to  see if any Bald eagles could be viewed. We lucked out. We saw two mature Bald eagles and, at least, three immature ones on this dark and gloomy morning hike.

We even managed to get some photos of a pair of eagles settled onto an old snag. I met up with another photographer friend named, Craig Remaley. he takes great photos!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eagle track and wing marks in the snow.

 

Immature Eagle

 

 

Cherry Run Photos

 


Crooked Creek Time

I visited mom’s house early to do a few things in preparation of my step-father, Bob returning home from the hospital. He is believing he’ll be coming home soon. We will see!

Upon returning to my abode I decided to visit Crooked Creek Dam area to see how many Bald Eagles I could view.

I elected to walk a trail along the creek just below the dam’s outlet area. The water is high at the dam and those involved with water control were allowing a swift flow exploding from the outflow. I saw one eagle flying over me and away, but I didn’t get any photos.

 

Seed pods from a Sycamore Tree.

My next stop was to park in the park and walk to the partly flooded beach area. I would see three more Bald Eagles during this walk and watch    adventure. None of these majestic birds offered any good photos, so I simply enjoyed watching.

Also, on the lake were Common Mergansers. I fact there were quite a few  of these birds. I would see three deer today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boulder Fern

 

 

 

NOTES ON CHRIST’S BIRTH

By Larry A. Smail

This is a rather long study, but worth the time to read and ponder.

The accounts of Christ’s birth in scripture actually give very little details. Only a handful of verses within a couple books of the New Testament give any information of his actual birth. However, there are words in Old Testament prophecies that, also, affirm the New Testament accounts.

I believe this fact of little detail was by design. Perhaps, the infinite wisdom of God knew mankind would create rituals around Christ’s birth that would greatly lesson the importance of the reasons as to why the God of heaven would come to earth as a baby only to sacrifice his earthly life for mankind. Thankfully for us this same man would arise from the grave and death giving us all the opportunity for eternal salvation. (Gospel of Grace)

Before we dive into this study of Christ’s birth, I believe, some study needs addressed from Old Testament prophecies to learn why, and how, Christ’s birth came to be.
The Jews from antiquity knew they were destined to be a great nation. After all God had made covenant promises with the Jews’ fathers of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob… Other promises insured they were to be a special and holy nation of priests to take God’s message to the Gentiles if they only were obedient. (Exodus 19: 5-6 Also, see 1 Peter 2:9 and Isaiah 42: 6.)

In an early prophecy of Genesis 49: 8-10, the patriarch, Jacob told his twelve sons they would praise his one son named, Judah. He, also, added the scepter shall not depart from Judah. (A scepter is a ceremonial staff held by an imperial authority such as a king. This individual would be over a royal kingdom. This prophecy indicates the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah. Remember, Jesus has been known in scripture as the Lion of Judah. See Revelation 5:5.)

In 2 Samuel 7 beginning with verse 12, the prophet Nathan told King David prophetically that after his death his offspring would establish a kingdom or a royal house. These shows a King and Spiritual kingdom would be established through David’s lineage. This natural, or earthly, kingdom (Israel) would be corrected as needed, but God would NOT remove his steadfast love and promises. (This is why Israel became a nation again in 1948. Those promises will be coming soon.)

Nathan continued that this royal house of David or kingdom shall be forever as well as the throne. (This will happen at the Second Advent of Christ.)
Israel and Judah would be greatly chastened with falling into Gentile control. This happened over 500 years before Christ beginning with King Nebuchadnezzar of the Chaldeans. However, during much of this Gentile control, Israel’s prophets continually told of a coming kingdom and King despite Israel’s failings.

Words from Isaiah’s prophecies regarding the future King and kingdom are often heard during the Christmas season. Take note: These words were written by a Jewish prophet to the Jews. Isaiah 9: 6- 7states: “For unto us is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore.”

This King will, also, to be known as the Promised One, the Messiah and the Anointed One for the Jews. That King would be Christ! He will be King over Israel and set upon the throne of David. (Paul in Romans 15:8-12 stated: Christ came to earth to be a minster, or servant, to the Jews to confirm God’s covenant promises. This would allow the Gentiles to receive mercy and glorify God. Notice how everything fits together. Remember the scriptural verses mentioned earlier.) We know the Jews rejected Christ and they have been greatly chastised.
Micah 5: 2 tells us this ruler of Israel would come from Bethlehem. This man’s origin is from of old, from ancient of days. (This is Christ. John: 1-5 calls Christ the Word who was from the beginning.)
Matthew 1shows Christ’s genealogy and begins with Jesus Christ, the son of David. Joseph, who would be the husband of Mary, is shown to be of the seed of David, too. Mary would be the young woman to give birth to Christ. (Luke 3 appears to give Mary’s lineage, but there has been debate on this. Luke wrote of
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the ancestors of Christ beginning with Joseph, but then uses other names that do not fit with Matthew’s genealogy account. This can be explained for under Jewish culture the lineage is through the father. Luke, to stay within this cultural demand, appears to be using Mary’s lineage. However, after writing Mary’s father’s name Luke added Joseph’s name. This indicates both, Mary and Joseph are in David’s lineage.)

GABRIEL’S APPEARANCE TO MARY
As stated, Israel had been under Gentile control for over 500 years by this time in their history. The Lord knew the timing was right to move with the delivery of Israel’s King to fulfill prophecy. He sent an angel named Gabriel to visit a young Jewish virgin. Her name was Mary. (Mari) This visit was sometime within August and September. (See writings in Luke 1: 26-38.)The Bible records this happened in the sixth month. (The Jewish calendar and new year begin with Nisan. (Abib) Nisan1 varies within our March-April time frame.)
Mary, upon seeing this angel was troubled. Gabriel told her to not be fearful for she had found favor of God. Mary was told she was to deliver a son named Jesus. This baby would be called the Son of the Most High and receive the throne of David. This son would rule forever over the House of Israel and his kingdom would never end. (Remember the prophecies mentioned above from 2 Samuel and Isaiah.)

Of course, Mary couldn’t understand how she would have a son since she had not been married. Gabriel told her she would conceive through actions of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Most High. The child would be called holy (Set apart) and the Son of God! Mary was faithful and agreed to do whatever was required of the Lord. (How soon did this supernatural conception take place? It is impossible to know, but I suspect this all occurred quickly.)

JOSEPH’S ISSUE
Mary and Joseph were betrothed. (Engaged) Joseph learned of Mary’s pregnancy and was to divorce her privately to avoid public shame and scandal. (Remember Joseph and Mary had not any relationship that would have led to her pregnancy.)
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One can see Joseph was a man of integrity. (Under Jewish law a man could divorce a wife, or betrothed, simply by a formal act from the man with a certificate of divorce.)
However, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream explaining Mary’s pregnancy was the result of the Holy Spirit. The child, he was informed, would be called Jesus and he would save his people from their sins. Joseph was satisfied and the marriage would happen. (The story of Joseph is in Matthew 1: 18-25.)

A decree from Caesar Augustus (Reign 27 B.C.-14 A.D.) was issued for the Jews to be counted. (Luke 2: 1-5) Joseph and Mary were living in Nazareth, so they would be traveling to Bethlehem, known as the city of David. This town was his hometown. Mary was very well on her way by this time to give birth. However, they headed for Bethlehem. (The distance between Nazareth and Bethlehem is approximately 70-80 miles depending on the route they chose to use.)

NOTE: This trip would have been organized with others in the area since traveling alone for such a distance would have been extremely dangerous. Also, remember Joseph was a carpenter. He would have had wagons of some sort to carry tools and materials. Joseph would have used such a wagon to travel to Bethlehem with supplies, needed belongings and a place to sleep.

In Luke 2: 6-7, we see Mary would give birth while in Bethlehem. (This birth would have happened sometime in May or June depending on when she conceived through the Holy Spirit and assuming that supernatural event occurred quickly after the visitation of Gabriel.) This satisfied ancient prophecies. Jesus was born, wrapped with swaddling clothing and he would sleep in a manger until a better place would be had. (Placing swaddling clothes on a baby was customary. The baby was wrapped and this method seemed to be positive for a baby. This act was to have the baby feel secure as he was in the womb and to cut down on possible scratches as the baby moved his arms around. Mangers could have been made from wood or hewn-out stones. The livestock would feed from a manger.)

NOTE: Scripture states there was no room in the inn. Jesus was born elsewhere. Christmas traditions usually use a stable or barn. Some suggest a cave. However,
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many places had the living quarters upstairs and the livestock below. Jesus could have actually been born on the lower floor of some family members or friend’s abode. We simply can’t say from scripture except he wasn’t born at an inn.

THE SHEPHERDS
There were shepherds in a field watching over their livestock at night. The livestock were, probably, sheep. (This would need to be in warmer time of the year. Spring is lambing season.) An angel of the Lord appeared to them and they were fearful as the glory of the Lord shone around them. The angel told them to not be afraid because this appearing to them was to bring about good news. That good news was of the Savior, Christ the Lord’s birth in the city of David. (Bethlehem) They would find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
A heavenly host sung praises before their eyes. They searched out this baby. These men told the news to everyone they met. (See Luke 2: 8-20.)

NOTE: I wondered about this supernatural appearing to the shepherds and if there was any significance to this. Then I thought of the men commonly referred to as the wise men. Did the Lord use the lowly shepherds to indicate all common men would, now, have hope? Shepherds were considered to be at the “bottom of the heap.” The wise men of wealth and position in society were on their way to see this King. I believe these two groups of classes were supernaturally approached by the Lord to demonstrate that this baby would cover the sins of the world regardless of cultural standings and classes of people?

THE STAR
At some time during this event of Christ’s birth a “Star” appeared. This star probably made its debut much prior to the actual birth. Much speculation and theories have been used to find out exactly what this star was in those ancient skies. One thing for certain the star was an event known or recognized by only a few. The star wasn’t something that impressed most of the people of the area. People educated in astronomy, or the study of the stars, saw the star. Apparently, some who knew enough of prophecies recognized this star as something very
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important. Perhaps, they had visions from an angel of the Lord. Scripturally, we can’t know how their knowledge came to be. Regardless, these men began the quest to find the King of the Jews. More on the star shortly.

THE “WISE” MEN
Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea during the reign of King Herod. Men, some- times called Magi, from the east came to Jerusalem seeking information on a new King of the Jews. They, added, they had seen “HIS STAR” in the east and came to worship him. (Nowhere in scripture does it state there were three wise men. All we can know there were, at least, two men because of the plurality in scripture. Of course, they would have had their servants along with supplies needed to travel. They were not “kings” as per common Christian songs, but rather learned and educated men, possibly, in a study of the heavenly stars and various religious cultures. This study of stars is astronomy. They may have been priests of Zoroaster from eastern lands near Persia which is present-day Iran or Iraq. They were, most likely Gentiles, but they could have been Jews since many Jews had lived in these areas. Remember, the Jews had been carried off hundreds of years ago. Some remained in these countries to live their lives. Personally, I lean towards these men being Gentiles and practiced the ancient religion of Persia known as Zoroaster. Somehow they knew of the promise of a Messiah to the Jews. Did an angel of the Lord appear to them with words of this coming King? Did they see this from dreams? Were they to arrive in Bethlehem representing the Gentiles?) The story of the “wise men” is in Matthew 2: 1-12.

KING HEROD
Herod was king over Judea. He was a Roman appointee who was an Arab that had converted to Judaism. These educated “wise” men came to Jerusalem to inquire as to where this King would be born. These people of Jerusalem were not aware of any star apparently, or at the least, didn’t think anything special from the appearance. This Star was not the bright illuminating star featured in Nativity images and Christmas cards. The Star was only special to those educated with such knowledge of the heavenly stars. Herod called his priests and such and was told the prophecies exclaimed the King would be born in Bethlehem. Herod wanted to
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know when the star first appeared and told the “wise” men to return once this King was found so he too could go and worship him. (This proves even King Herod wasn’t aware of anything all that unusual in the night sky. Herod’s story is in Matthew 2:1-19.)

The men headed to Bethlehem. The Star appeared to them and led them to where the child was living. (Notice this time a Star led them to where the baby was staying. This star mentioned here, I believe, was an angelic-style star. Many times in scripture the word “Star” was used to indicate an angel. It seems a heavenly star was viewed by these men with heavenly knowledge. It indicated to them a King was born. But, note this star, now, went before them as a guide and stood over where the baby was. I do not see this to be the same heavenly star. This star, apparently, was for their guide only.) The men worshiped the King and gave gifts. They found the Christ in a “house.” (Some time may have elapsed since the star’s first appearance until these men first saw the star, realized the importance of it, planned to go to Judah, traveled and found the Christ. Jesus and Mary were still in Bethlehem at this time. This was, probably, the time of waiting for the eight days for circumcision and rest for Mary.) The men realized through dreams they were not to return to Herod. The wise men may have arrived about this time of circumcision for Matthew 2: 13 states after the Magi had gone Joseph was told to go and take the child to Egypt. (It is six miles between Bethlehem and Jerusalem.)

Herod was angry when he realized the “wise” men were not coming back and ordered the murder of all male babies from two years old and younger. He, apparently, through the wise men’s description as to when the original star appeared wanted to make sure that King would not live. He ordered all male babies from two years and under to be killed. Herod wanted to be thorough so he added a two year time span. (Matthew 2: 16-18)

Herod, according to the Jewish historian, Josephus, died in 4 B.C. shortly before Passover of April 9-11 in the year of 4 B.C. (My research has three dates of possible Passover for that year.)This date would mean that Christ had to have been born prior to Herod’s death. Remember Herod ordered male babies murdered from two years and under. This may indicate the star witnessed by the educated
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astronomers from the east actually appeared and stayed in the sky for a period of time prior to Christ’s birth. (More details below.)
Jesus’ parents would have had him circumcised on the eighth day. (Luke 2:21) Since the travel would take time to get back to Nazareth and Mary would need to gain some strength, Jesus may have been circumcised in Bethlehem. According to Jewish law Mary would be required to go through the “Rite of Purification” This rite is found in Leviticus 12: 1-8. This purification for having a male child lasts 40 days. These facts indicate Jesus was, probably, born in early 4.B.C. shortly before Herod’s death. A 5 B.C. date could only work if the birth was very later into that year as in March 30 or the last day of the year 3757. Some claim the birth was 2 or 3 B.C. as the year of Christ’s birth. I can’t see how considering Herod’s death of 4 B.C.
By adding these known dates, I believe quickly after the eight days since the birth of Christ, Joseph and Mary headed to Egypt. Herod ordered all male babies of Bethlehem murdered. Herod died shortly thereafter and the family returned from Egypt, at the proper time to Jerusalem, to make an offering for Mary’s purification completion. (Luke 2: 22) At this time, while in Jerusalem, scripture states of a man named, Simeon who realized the baby was the Messiah.

Upon the completion of the circumcision; the escape to Egypt; the return to Jerusalem for the purification rite to be fulfilled as per Jewish law, the family returned to Nazareth. It seems apparent that the family left quickly after the circumcision to Egypt and once Herod died they returned to Jerusalem immediately.

Although, many of the traditional ideas of the Christmas season do not fit into the reality of those times, it is important to realize his birth is what truly is important. The world would have a Savior and an opportunity to see salvation if they believe that Jesus died for their sins was buried and rose from the grave.

One needs to believe Jesus died for their sins to have forgiveness of sins. One, also, has to believe Jesus rose from the grave to receive salvation.
THIS IS GRACE.
8.

THE BIRTH OF CHRIST IN BRIEF
1. The prophetic time was right for the King of the Gentile-controlled nation of Israel. Mary was approached by the angel Gabriel to announce she would give birth of the Messiah. Daniel’s 490 year prophecy dictated when the birth would need to be. (Found in Daniel 9.)
2. Joseph was told the same information through a dream and they married.
3. The STAR has, probably, had already been in the heavenly nights with only a few understanding the significance of the appearing.
4. Joseph and Mary began the trek to their hometown of Bethlehem as commanded by law for a census.
5. Mary gave birth while in Bethlehem. This fulfilled prophecy.
6. Shepherds came that night due to the appearance of a heavenly host of angels with an announcement of the birth of a Savior.
7. The Magi show up sometime around the eight day law pertaining to circumcision. The Star led them to the house where the baby was now living. Joseph, via a dream, learned of Jesus’ peril and immediately moved the family to Egypt after the Magi had left. Herod placed an order for all males of Bethlehem two years old, and younger, to be murdered.
8. Herod died shortly after and Joseph traveled to Jerusalem to complete the forty day Purification Law of the Jews for Mary’s birth of a male child. The notes here of 7 and 8, above, would require all of these events to fall within a forty day time period. This would include the birth of Jesus; the eight day until circumcision; the wise men visiting; Joseph’s dream to go to Egypt; Herod’s death, the travel to Jerusalem to complete the offering and forty day time of Mary’s purification. That is a lot happening in a short time.
9. The family moved back to Nazareth to await the ministry of Christ at thirty years of age.