ANSWER: Yes. It is true. Here are some reasons why we ought to accept it as truth.
When Jesus was born an angel, accompanied by a choir of angels hovering in mid-heaven, announced the birth to some lowly shepherds who were watching over their flocks in the night. The angels gave the Israelite shepherds specific directions on where to find the child. They immediately went to the town where the angel said he was and they found Jesus shortly after he had been born.
Then 40 days after his birth Joseph and Mary went up to temple in Jerusalem to present the newborn male to Jehovah, in accord with the Law. On that occasion the holy spirit revealed to two reverent Jews, Simeon and Anna by name, that the child was the promised Savior, and they both made public declarations to that fact.
These three instances are consistent with the fact that Jesus was sent exclusively to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and it was to the faithful Jews that God revealed the identity of his newborn son.
Thinking persons aware of this truth would do well to consider a few questions. First, and foremost, since God had long-before condemned all forms of divination – punishable by death, which included the fortune-telling practice of astrology and stargazing, why would God then violate his own law by leading demon-worshipping magi by a wandering star? Consistent with God’s hatred of divination, at Isaiah 2:6 the prophet stated that God had abandoned the house of Jacob because they had “become full of what is from the East.” And to be sure, the gospel of Matthew reveals that the magi came from the East, which is a reference to Persia. (Modern Iran)
Furthermore, the astrologers declared that they were following “his star.” * (See footnote) So, again, since Jehovah had already condemned Israel for practicing the dark arts of the Easterners, why would God employ a star that diviners perceived as “his star”? And why would God even invite men who were not part of his covenanted people to share in the arrival of the long-awaited Savior of Israel? And, for that matter, if God wished to inform Herod of the birth of Jesus why would he use foreigners and not Israelite prophets or priests?
Here are some more questions to consider: If we assume for a moment that God did intend to invite the magi from a faraway land to do honor to his infant son, why didn’t he simply lead them directly to where the child was in Bethlehem? For that matter, why not just have an angel tell them or reveal it in a dream? After all, the angel who announced the birth to the shepherds told them to go to the city of David, to Bethlehem. But the magi were not led there. They were first led to Jerusalem – to wicked King Herod, thereby alerting him to the birth of a potential rival, or so he imagined. But why would God do that? Why would God lead pagan astrologers from faraway Persia to Jerusalem, to an enemy who had the power and the will to destroy Jesus? And why would God then have to take swift action to preserve his Son from being killed by a course of action that he himself had set into motion? Does God have to correct his own blunders?
Something else to consider, is the fact that the magi did not arrive in Bethlehem for the birth event. When they arrived from their long journey the child was in a house, not in the manger. And if Jesus was still a newborn why did Herod, after carefully ascertaining the time “his star” appeared, order all the male children under two years of age to be slaughtered? Obviously, the star appeared as a reaction to either the conception or actual birth of Jesus and it took some months for the magi to be maneuvered there to alert Herod.
What is more, while some theologians have attempted to explain the wandering star scientifically, claiming it may have been a planetary conjunction or a supernova, the fact is the star could not have been a real celestial body. It certainly did not behave like one. No heavenly body starts and stops and appears here, then changes course and appears there. Yet after the “star” led the magi from the East to Jerusalem, it then appeared to the magi again and they followed it until it stopped, apparently hovering right over the house where Jesus was. But for a fact, no single star in the firmament could be used to navigate to a specific coordinate anywhere on earth.
The fact is Satan has superhuman powers. And God has allowed him to use those powers for evil. For example, during the Ten Plagues upon Egypt pharaoh’s magic-practicing priests were able to duplicate several of the miracles that Moses was empowered to preform. And in the case of Job, the Devil caused fire to fall from heaven, perhaps as lightening bolts or even as literal fire. So, it would be no great feat for the Deceiver to conjure up what stargazers would have perceived as a “star” in order to use them as unwitting pawns in a scheme to murder Jehovah’s infant son in his cradle.
The Insight on the Scriptures has some interesting information on the topic of astrology.
* The magi were probably Persian practicers of Zoroastrianism, who themselves were called magi. (See Wikipedia) The reference to “his star” may be the result of the Persian astrologers having some exposure to the messianic hope of the Jews, since the Jews became captives in Persia at the time Cyrus overthrew Babylon. For whatever reason, many of the Jews, including the aged Daniel, remained behind in Persia after Cyrus allowed them to return to Jerusalem. Zoroastrian theology also contains the belief of a coming messiah, called Saoshyant. The extended Jewish influence upon the Persian magi in the centuries leading up to the birth of Jesus, intermingled with their own religious concepts which were tied to the movements of the stars and planets, may have predisposed them to eagerly follow “his star” to the sacred city and focus of Jewish messianism with which they would have undoubtedly been familiar.
Of interest too, the fact that the visiting astrologers gained instant access to King Herod may be an indication that they were received as high-ranking Persian dignitaries. That would be in keeping with the fact that magic-practicing priests were advisers to the kings of Babylon and Persia. And lastly, the gospel record does not specify how many astrologers came to Jerusalem. There may have been an entourage of stargazers and priests and their attendants, which may have been why Matthew stated that ‘all of Jerusalem was set into commotion’ by their presence.