Zoroastrianism (also called Mazdaism and Magianism), is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster. It is thought to have been one of the world's largest religions in the ancient world.
The most important texts of the religion are those of the Avesta, of which a significant portion has been lost, and mostly only the liturgies of which have survived. The lost portions are known of only through references and brief quotations in the later works, primarily from the 9th to 11th centuries.
Some of the ancient texts identify Zoroaster with Balaam. In the "Bar 'Ali", Balaam is referred to as Zardosht, the diviner of the Magians. [Gottheil, References to Zoroaster in Syriac and Aribic Lit]
The 17th century writer George Hornius actually confuses Zoroaster with Moses, listing several accounts where the stories of Zoroaster agree with the biblical stories of Moses.
The Magi were Chaldaens. Chaldaea, another name for Babylon, is where Western astrology was invented. At the time of the birth of Jesus, the religion of the Magi was the dominant religion in Babylon. These Magi are believed to have descended from the teachings of not only Zoroaster, but also Balaam.
The children of Israel came in contact with many from this ancient pagan religion, and their teaching was so influential that Deuteronomy mentions it in the Law of Moses.
And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.
and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have forbidden
Though these two religions were entirely separate -- one pagan idolatry and one serving Yahweh -- the two eventually did merge together as one. ...in the message of William Branham.
Balaam, anointed with the same Spirit that was upon Moses. What was the difference? The teaching of Moses was perfect.
But there was a star that passed through the land. And three men followed that star, and no one else saw it but them, for they were looking for it. They were looking for the Star of Jacob to rise. See? They were down in the country there where Balaam, the prophet, had spoke that this Star of Jacob would rise. Now, you look for Him. Believe Him with all your heart.
Some Magis, astrologers, come over, and stargazers. And they seen the star that passed right over every observatory. Nobody said--seen it at all. The Magis saw it. Why? They were looking for it: the Star of Jacob. According to their prophet, Balaam, he said, "The Star of Jacob would rise." And they were watching it. And it passed right by the people that was stargazers, and didn't see it. But they followed the star.
I believe they saw a star. What do you think about it? The observatories didn't see it, but the Magis saw it.
Now, let's turn to Simeon just for a few moments as we close. Reading of him as in the days of the birth of Jesus. They didn't have the press like we got now. And they didn't have television, and telephones, and so forth. The only way they carried message was from lip to ear, and maybe a runner packed a letter.
But the news didn't spread out too well. Well, there was three Magi had been watching for the--the star to appear. The... Balaam had prophesied there would be a... Those eastern oriental people had... He'd prophesied that there'd be a star rise out of Jacob. They'd watched for that for years, and they followed it and found Jesus.
Then we notice again, a way back in the East some magis, or stargazers... I believe they'd noticed the prophecy of Balaam, that a Star of Jacob would rise. And they would... they was watching for that star to arise. And we're told by historians that the three magi... They come from different parts, not followed one star, as the Christian tradition has it, but they followed three different stars.
And as it was with Jesus, so was the morning star a sign to the wise men that came from the East. They had heard that there would be a Star of Jacob rise. Balaam, the prophet, prophesied of it. And they knew that there would be a star arise. And this star would be the sign that there'd be a King borned on the earth, that would be a Saviour to all the nations. And when they seen this star arise, it was a sign to them to get ready, that the redemption was at hand.
Look, do you believe they actually followed a star? The Bible said they did. Now, it come over very... They kept time then by stars. And no observatory, no scientist, all the people standing up on the watches, looking at every star moving, to see what time moving, to see what time it was, in the night, and so forth, stargazers. There wasn't anyone seen that Angel, or that star, but these Magis, for they was expecting to see it. They had read God's prophecy when He spoke through Balaam back there, and said, "There'd be a star out of Jacob rise," and they were looking for it. So that's the reason tonight the American people are not expecting, they're not looking for a great Holy Ghost pouring out revival. And that's the reason they're not receiving It, while It's poured out; they're not expecting It. That's all. They're looking to see a reformation in the church, and the people come back and join church and live on out in the world. And that, it's not that age. It's the time where God is filling His people, and baptizing them into the Body of the Lord Jesus Christ. And that's the reason they're not expecting it; they're not seeing it is going on.
So the wise men was watching, because the Bible said, the prophet Balaam, he said, "There will come a star out of Jacob." And they were watching for that star. Now, they found it. After they'd looked for twenty--about twenty-five hundred years, generation after generation, finally there it appeared. And they started towards Jerusalem. And look at the trip they had: deserts, valleys, mountains. And how did they go? They never went by a compass; they go--and they didn't go in a scientific way; they followed God's directions by His sign. And they was led directly to Jesus Christ.
The red--Nobody else seen it, because no one was expecting it but them. They got what they expected. They was watching for the star where Balaam said, their prophet, that there'd be a Star of Jacob rise, and they was looking for it. And so they followed the star and found the Christ.
One day there was somebody expecting to see something else happen, way back in the east, in the land of India. I was there a couple of years ago, and it hasn't changed a bit since that day: still just as primitive as it was. They had the wise men. And they were watching the stars, for they know Balaam, the prophet, said that a star shall rise out of Jacob. And they were watching for that star. And they knew according to the Scriptures it was just about time for it to happen.
And as we watch, we find, night after night, they watched It. They discussed It. They looked at the Scriptures. And in searching I can see one coming, and say, "Here is another Hebrew writing. It comes from one of their prophets, by the name of Balaam. And he said, 'There shall rise a star to Jacob.'" And they seen the Scriptures being fulfilled. Oh, how their hearts rejoiced.
And how it should make our hearts rejoice to know that in this evil day that we're now living, to see God's holy Writ being fulfilled and revealed to us as a great searching Light over our being.
It must have been about the time that they picked up the Scroll of Daniel, and was reading in Daniel. Because he must've conversed with them. Daniel 2 said that he was their chief. And so, they must've conversed with him. And they picked up a Scroll where Daniel had prophesied that there'd come a time when there'd be a Stone cut out of the mountain without hands, and it would tear down the kingdoms of the world. They must've been reading that. And then at... They'd had some of the Hebrew scolls--or Scrolls, of back in Numbers, where that Balaam said there would be a Star of Jacob rise.
Now, they knowed of the Scriptures, 'cause Daniel was their chief. You know that. Second chapter of Daniel tells us that he was made chief over them, so he taught them. No doubt, one night they was setting there, reading in the Scriptures about... "And Daniel said, as he beheld all these kingdoms, till finally they become into what they was, each, the Medes-o-Persians and on down till it come into Rome. And then finally he saw a Stone cut out of a mountain, without hands." And they said, "It must be about that time." Then they remembered the rehearsal of--of way back in before that time, way back in the days of the journey of Israel, when they come up and heard Balaam say, when he seen Israel, he said, "There'll rise a Star out of Jacob." Amen. It must've been about that time when they was thinking about those things, that the new Visitor appeared.
Now, we find that the--the wise man, the wise man of the Old, followed the God-given substance. They followed the Word of God, to the Light, because it was the Word that brought Life. Now you say, "How did they follow?" Well, they were, kinda, magis, we understand.
And then we find out that Balaam, the prophet, back in Numbers 24:17, Balaam was kind of a magi himself. He was a prophet, truly, and he prophesied here and said a Star would rise out of Jacob.