Evidence For The Historical Jesus of Nazareth Pt. II – The Star Of Bethlehem May 10, 2010Posted by The Prodigal Son in Uncategorized.
Tags: Astronomy, Eastern Orthodoxy, Jesus Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, Orthodox Christianity, Star of Bethlehem
“The heavens declare the glory of God;
The firmament shows the creation of His hands.
Day to night utters speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor language
Where their voices are not heard.
Their proclamation went forth into all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.
Psalm 18 (Septuagint)
For the second part on the evidence for Jesus’ existence, I’m going to examine the story of the Star of Bethlehem… Many people (including Christians) don’t seem to think much about the Star… or even know about it at all. This Star is mentioned clearly in the Bible – in the book of Matthew, Chapter 2, but for some reason – no one really talks about it much. I don’t understand why, because to me – the Star of Bethlehem is one of the best ways to prove the reality of Jesus the Christ to skeptics.
This is because many times, those who seem to have an aversion to belief in Jesus Christ (or indeed – a belief in God at all) are instead much more interested in the study of science and the wonders of the heavens. So rather than requiring a leap of faith – or a referral to ancient writings that people feel could have been forged or simply made-up (which is a tad ridiculous if you ask me, but these are the kind of things which people bring up), a study of a REAL STAR… something that can absolutely be proven scientifically – can be the best way to approach these types of people.
Many Christians are at first adverse to this kind of thing – because they are familiar with the admonitions in the Bible for people NOT to practice astrology… But these people must realize and understand that there is a clear difference between astrology and ASTRONOMY.
Astrology is defined as: “…a form of divination based on the theory that the movement of the celestial bodies—the stars, the planets, the sun and the moon—influence human affairs and determine the course of events.”
So astrology presupposes that celestial bodies have a form of power, and that they exert some sort of force on mankind… with some even going so far as to believe that stars influence their destiny or personality (as in the study of Horoscopes).
But astronomy is completely different… being defined as: “The branch of physics that studies celestial bodies and the universe as a whole.”… Rather than ‘divination’ it is the practice of simple observation.
The Bible makes a surprising number of references to signs in the heavens. Both Old and New Testaments assume that what happens up there matters. If we are interested in following the counsel of the Bible, we must hold a distinction in mind.
Astrology assumes that stars are the CAUSE of earthly events, while the Bible asserts that astronomy can show HEAVENLY MESSAGES about earthly events. It may be useful to think of this as a thermometer distinction.
A thermometer can tell you if it’s hot or cold, but it can’t make you hot or cold. There is a big difference between a sign and an active agent. This is the difference between “astrology” and what the Bible holds forth.
In the verse from the Psalms above at the top of this article, David tells us that the heavens are in fact – communicating to us the glory of God!
And Jesus Christ Himself, in the Book of Luke, Chapter 21, verse 25 tells us: “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars”…
So let’s go over the account in Matthew Ch. 2…
“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.'”
Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.
And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” – Matthew 2:1-11
So just from the preceding eleven verses – we are shown at least nine characteristics of the Star from 2,000 years ago… They are:
- It signified birth.
- It signified kingship.
- It had a connection with the Judahite nation.
- It rose in the east, like other stars.
- It appeared at a precise time.
- Herod didn’t know when it appeared.
- It endured over time.
- It was ahead of the Magi as they went south from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.
- It stopped over Bethlehem.
So what exactly did the Eastern Magi see?
It’s really quite amazing – and I don’t understand why it’s not more well known. (Well actually I have a pretty good idea – but that’s another story.) Anyhow here’s the account of the celestial announcement of the birth of the Saviour of the world; the King of Kings; Jesus Christ:
Jupiter was not only the greatest ‘god’ of ancient Roman mythology, it is also the name given to the largest planet in our solar system. At the onset of what is now called the ‘common era’, 2,000 years ago planets were known as ‘wandering stars’… and the wandering star known as Jupiter was also called ‘The King planet’.
At around the time of the Israelite New Year in September of the year 3 BC, the King planet began to communicate to the Magi astronomers… Here’s how:
The Magi saw Jupiter move so close to another star that they seemed to touch each other… this is called a conjunction. The star which Jupiter had this close conjunction with is called Regulus (which is coincidentally also the name of the theme of this website, as seen at the bottom of this page.)
The star Regulus takes its name from the root word ‘Regal’, meaning:
1) Of or pertaining to a king; royal: the regal power.
2) Befitting or resembling a king.
3) Stately; splendid.
In Babylon (where the Magi may well have come from) the star we now call Regulus was known as ‘Sharu’, meaning ‘King’ and likewise in Rome – the star was called ‘Rex’… also meaning ‘King’!
Now this conjunction alone is not that strange, and these two celestial bodies actually pass by each other once every 12 years (the amount of time it takes for the King planet to orbit the sun)… but this meeting of stars was not over yet.
Once Jupiter had passed by Regulus heading east – it then did something a little less ordinary… it reversed direction! It had been heading East away from Regulus, but then it began to move back through the star field towards Regulus again! (This is called ‘retrograde motion’.)
So once again Jupiter made another close conjunction with the King star, passing close by it again seeming to head West. Then the King planet again reversed its direction and passed in close proximity to Regulus a THIRD TIME. This is called a ‘triple conjunction’.
So the Magi astronomers would have watched the King planet circle around the King star in what was a virtual halo… They witnessed a symbolic celestial coronation! The King crowning the King! But there’s more!
The pre-Christian nation of Israel was composed of twelve tribes. Old Testament prophecy clearly states that the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah. Judah was associated with the lion:
“Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.”
– Genesis 49:9-10
So what does this have to do with what the Magi saw? The Messiah (Shiloh) was connected with Judah, and Judah has a connection to the Lion… The triple conjunction – the King coronating the King happened within the constellation of Leo – the Lion!
But wait – there’s still more! The book of Revelation is full of cryptic references to objects in the night sky. Revelation was authored by the apostle John during his exile on the Greek island of Patmos in his elder years… Check out this passage:
“Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.
And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth.
And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child Who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.”
– Revelation 12:1-5
Now the male Child to rule all nations is obviously Jesus – the Messiah referenced in Genesis above… The woman who was in labor; who gave birth was of course – the Theotokos; Blessed Mary the mother of God incarnate…
And the dragon who wished to devour the Child as soon as it was born was certainly Satan, working through one of his Edomite children – King Herod. (Recall that Herod ordered the murder of all children aged 2 and under in Bethlehem when he had heard of the Messiah’s birth…)
“Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.”
– Matthew 2:16
So how does all of this relate to the star? Well, as the King was performing the coronation of the King – rising in the East was – wait for it… the constellation of Virgo! Virgo is of course – the Virgin!
When the Kings were first meeting for their coronation in the night sky – the Virgin rose, clothed in the Sun, and just as Revelation describes… a new moon was birthed at her feet! Apparently this signalled the new earthly King’s conception… and so the real show began 9 months later:
When Jupiter had completed its crowning of Regulus, it continued along through the star field for another really amazing conjunction… Only now the King planet met up with Venus – AKA the Mother planet!
Only this particular meeting of stars was so close and so bright that it is still to this day displayed in hundreds of planetaria around the world by scientists, most of whom probably know nothing about the Saviour of the world – Jesus Christ.
It’s still shown today because what Jupiter & Venus did makes such a great planetarium show… Jupiter (the King) actually looked like it had become one with Venus (the Mother). The two planets literally could not be seen individually with the naked eye!
If the Eastern Magi would have had a telescope, they would have seen that the planets sat one atop the other, like the number eight. Each contributed full brightness (without overlapping to block the other) to what became the most brilliant star those Magi astronomers had ever gazed upon!
In fact – no one alive had ever seen such a thing… and it was this that brought the Magi to Judea, and to King Herod. Again the star went into retrograde and actually appeared to stop.
So, going back to the nine qualifying points… we shall see that we have fulfilled them all:
- The first conjunction signified birth by its association to the day with Virgo “birthing” the new moon. Some might argue that the unusual triple conjunction by itself could be taken to indicate a new king.
- The King planet’s coronation of the Star of Kings signified kingship.
- The triple conjunction began with the Israelite New Year and took place within Leo, showing a connection with the tribe of Judah (and prophecies of the Judahite Messiah).
- Jupiter rises in the East.
- The conjunctions appeared at precise, identifiable times.
- The Edomite King Herod was unaware of these things; they were astronomical events which had significance only when explained by experts.
- The events took place over a span of time sufficient for the Magi to see them both from the East and upon their arrival in Jerusalem.
- Jupiter was ahead of the Magi as they traveled South from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.
- Jupiter entered into full retrograde and appeared to come to a stop.
With today’s technology, a computer and the right software… anyone can virtually go back in time in order to view all of these things for themselves. Kepler’s laws of planetary motion are scientifically proven and allow for perfectly accurate predictions as to the future locations of the planets.
But the laws also allow for going back in time and accurately determining where the planets were at a given time, in any given place! Thus it is 100% scientifically verifiable that the events described above actually took place in the skies at the turn of the first millenium as viewed from the Middle East.
Scientific verification of the events surrounding the birth (and incidentally also the death) of the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth as described in the Bible? Amazing!
(Excerpts taken from, story continued & expanded HERE … Full animation on DVD available.)
Also see the book entitled ‘The Star Of Bethlehem: The Star That Astonished The World’ written by Ernest L. Martin…