I have recently been working on the pericope on the visit of the Magi in Matthew 2:1-12 and some surprising themes have emerged. In verses 1-3 the Magi arrive with great fanfare following a star and commentators have commonly thought their source of information is biblical prophecies gleaned from the Jewish exilic community in Babylon. In particular Numbers 24:17:
"I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth."
Interestingly this prophecy was given by the gentile Balaam. Notice how prominent Jacob is in it but if you plumb this prophecy further you notice another historic figure emerging, Edom or Esau. Numbers 24:18-19 continues:
"Edom shall be dispossessed; Seir also, his enemies, shall be disposessed. Israel is doing valiently. And one from Jacob shall exercise dominion and destroy surviors of cities!"
Herod was an Edomite and as such, a descendant of Esau. Christ of course is the promised one from Jacob or Israel. It would seem that this pericope from Matthew is a titanic reduplication of the struggle between Esau and Jacob.
In a coalescence of thought, several books I have recently been reading have brought together some tentative thoughts on the War on Terror and the response of the Western Christian community. This is not ultimately a clash between civilization and terror but a titanic struggle between Christianity and a parasite kingdom, Islam. Before you dismiss this as too dark an assessment you might want to check out Marvin Olasky's article on this subject from last year. The Anatolian church of the Middle Ages certainly saw this struggle for what it actually is and so will we in time. However, nothing...nothing will stand in the way of Christus Victor!