“Those Signs and Wonders Which They Had Seen”

Alan C. Miner

In the Book of Mormon, "a new star" along with other "signs and wonders" in the heavens were used to divine the time of Christ's birth (3 Nephi 1:21-22). The Book of Mormon also speaks of other signs and wonders in the heavens (for example, see 2 Nephi 26:8; 23:10; 25:3; Alma 18:30-32; 30:44; Helaman 12:14-15).

Richardson, Richardson and Bentley write that critics who dismiss the Book of Mormon as occultic literature simply because it mentions prophets of God looking for signs of divine guidance should consult their own Bible. The following passages demonstrate that men of God believed in such forms of divination in biblical times. For an example of biblical aeromancy (seeking for signs in the skies) we can look to the book of Genesis:

And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud . . . and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. . . . And I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant. (Genesis 9:12-17)

We also find the following in the book of Matthew:

"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." (Matthew 2:1-2)

[Allen H. Richardson, David E. Richardson and Anthony E. Bentley, 1000 Evidences for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Part Two-A Voice from the Dust: 500 Evidences in Support of the Book of Mormon, pp. 208-209]

Note* In the same manner as Noah's "bow," was the "new star" considered a "token" of God's covenant with the people of the earth that God would send his Son as a Redeemer for them? [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes] [For commentary on seeking answers by casting lots, see the commentary on 1 Nephi 3:11]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary