God made the stars...for signs and times and seasons. (Genesis 1:14-16). There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel. (Numbers 24:17) He telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names. (Psalm 147:4)
And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising... they shall bring gold and incense. (Isaiah 60;3,6)
I am the bright and morning star. (Rev. 22:16)
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea 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...and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. (Matthew 2:1,2,9)
Surely the most appropriate time in universal history for the Creator to use celestial bodies, as a "sign" would be when God Himself became man, incarnate in human flesh, for the redemption of mankind. Scripture condemns the principles of astrology and Matthew was not endorsing such practices. While the Magi were astrologers (with its inherent potential for misinterpretation), they were astronomers (with word-leading scientific observation of the heavens) who had been influenced by Daniel and other Old Testament prophets.
Since the nineteenth century the majority of theologians have placed the birth of Jesus before the Spring of 4 B.C., in spite of the fact that most of the church fathers within the early centuries placed his birth from 3 B.C. to 1 B.C. This pre-4 B.C. placement was due to a reference in Josephus that King Herod died shortly after an eclipse of the moon and before a Springtime Passover of the Jews. Astronomers in the last century informed theologians that an eclipse of the moon, which could be seen in Palestine, occurred on the evening of March 13, 4 B.C. Herod's death was arbitrarily placed within the 29 days from that eclipse until the Passover. Thus, theologians and astronomers have looked for celestial displays as candidates for the Star before that date. However, Ernest Martin builds a convincing case showing that the proper eclipse occurred on January 10, 1 B.C.
Called Quirinius in Rome historical documents, this qualified leader had experience in Syria by administering the census Tertullian referred to in 3/2 B.C. Martin demonstrates that Cyrenius received special Roman commands throughout his career, especially in census-taking events, and acted as procurator. This special census was one of the most important in history.
This census (or registration) in 3/2 B.C. was actually an oath of allegiance demanded by Augustus Caesar and proclaimed during the summer of 3 B.C. Since both Joseph and Mary were descendants of David, and could both be considered legitimate claimants of the throne of Israel, both could be required to make the trip to Bethlehem. On February 5, 2 B.C., Augustus was given the title Pater Patriae (Father of the Country) by decree of the Senate and the people of Rome. The festivities coincided with his 25the jubilee year of being emperor of Rome and the 750the year of the founding of Rome.
In 1605 astronomers Johann Kepler suggested that a conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars was the Star of Bethlehem. To Persian Magi Saturn represented Jerusalem and Jupiter represented royalty. Pisces and Virgo both represented the Hebrews.
On May 29, 7 B.C. a conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter occurred in Pisces. On October 3, 7 B.C. the same thing happened.
This normally occurs once in 804 years. In the spring of 6 B.C. they conjuncted again with Mars joining! This is the only historical occasion when a planetary "massing" has occurred at the same time as a "triple" conjunction. Certainly a celestial message was being sent!
Supernovas have been suggested as candidates for the Star. Visible supernovas have been reported in A.D. 1054 (the Chinese star), A.D. 1572 (Tycho's star), and A.D. 1604 (Kepler's star). On a date corresponding to July 5 B.C., the Chinese astronomical records report a "guest star", a nova in the constellation Aquilla.
An excavated Roman garden wall, dating to the time of Augustus Caesar, shows a painting of a tree with fruit clustered in the configuration of the star constellations. An "extra" fruit is shown where this "nova" occurred. It is of interest to note that this "nova" (X-1 Cygnus) appeared in the Northern Cross, with star Deneb (meaning "The Lord Comes") at the head of the cross. Stars Altair ("The Wounding") and Vega ("He Shall be Exalted") are nearby. Our entire Solar System is moving toward star Vega. A celestial announcement card anticipating the birth of a king is again being displayed!
On August 12, 3 B.C. Jupiter and Venus united as a "morning star", then displayed an "evening star" reunion 10 months later... On September 14, 3 B.C. Jupiter (the royal planet star) came into union with Regulus (the royal fixed star of the first magnitude) in the constellation of Leo, the Lion. Regulus is situated between the feet of Leo (the Royal constellation). After this first conjunction Jupiter continued on its normal course in the heavens. Then, on December 1, 3 B.C., the planet stopped its motion through the fixed stars and began its annual retrogression. As it did so, it once again headed toward the star Regulus. On February 17, 2 B.C. the two were reunited.
Jupiter continued this backward, retrogressive motion another 40 days and then reverted to its normal motion through the stars. This movement placed the planet once again into a third conjunction with Rugulus on May 8, 2 B.C. To an appropriate observer, it would appear that Jupiter was making a circling "crown" effect over and around Regulus. With each of these apparent changes in direction, the Planet briefly becomes "stationary" within the background of the fixed stars. On December 25 th, 2 B.C. Jupiter came to a normal stationary position DIRECTLY OVER BETHLEHEM, as viewed from Jerusalem! At precisely this time the planet "stopped" in the middle of the constellation Virgo, the Virgin. The Sun was also "standing still" in its usual Winter Solstice.
To the secular world devoid of spiritual conscience, particularly to those in Rome, it seemed like heaven itself was giving approval for the emperorship of Augustus and that Roman government had the divine right to world sovereignty. This was in spite of the fact that they were aware of the prophecies made by Daniel. Suetonius and Tacitus confirmed that Rome knew of the belief that the empire of the world would be given to someone from Judea.
Martin aptly notes that the spectacular astronomical signs from May, 3 B.C. to December 2 B.C. would have caused wonderful interpretations, by astrologers, on behalf of Augustus and the Roman Empire, but the Magi decided instead to go to Jerusalem with gifts to a newborn Jewish king. On August 12, 3 B.C., Jupiter rose as a morning star, which soon came into conjunction with Venus. That started Jupiter off on a journey in which six conjunctions with other planets and the star Regulus took place. The final planetary union was the massing of the planets, which occurred with Mars, Venus, and Mercury on August 27, 2 B.C., Jupiter then became "stationary" for a brief time over Bethlehem on December 25, 2 B.C. At the inception of this scenario, here was Jupiter (the King Planet), which had just united with Venus (the Mother), now joining itself with the King star Regulus (the star of the Jewish Messiah) in Leo (the constellation of Judah), while the Sun (the Supreme Father of Ruler) was then located in Virgo (the Virgin).
1) Joseph and Mary began their journey to Bethlehem for the "census" at the close of the Jewish civil year in 3 B.C.
2) Near this time on August 12, 3 B.C. Jupiter and Venus united as a "morning star", then Jupiter continued its phenomenal progression through the starry heavens.
3) Jesus was born in a stable on the twilight period of September 11, 3 B.C., the Day of Trumpets.
4) On September 14, 3 B.C. Jupiter came into union with Regulus and began the circling "crown" effect, which took place during the early months of Jesus' infancy.
5) Fifteen months later, when Jesus was a "young child" in a house the Magi arrived on December 25, 2 B.C., when the King planet Jupiter came to its stationary point in mid-Virgo, the Virgin. The star would have been seen as "stopped" over Bethlehem, as viewed from Jerusalem.
One conclusion that can be drawn is that that star in the east, which that Magi saw was this progression of Jupiter through the heavens. Thus, the star was not "standing" over the manger at the time of Jesus' birth (even though it was already in its divinely-appointed historic progression), but instead, at the appropriate time "stood" over Bethlehem at the time the Magi arrived to visit in the house.
1. Isaiah 47:13, Daniel 1:20; 2:27
2. Daniel 5:11, Numbers 24:17
3. Earnest L. Martin, The Star that Astonished the World, 121
4. Josephs, Antiquities XVII. 218
5. Martin, ibid.
6. Ibid., 183
7. D. Ronald Allen, The Stars of His Coming, 15
8. Robert Faid, A Scientific Approach to Biblical Mysteries, 62, 63
9. Genesis 49:10
10. Martin, ibid., 14
11. Ibid., 26
12. Ibid., 47-51
13. Matthew 2:9
II Kings 21: King Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah so sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.
Jeremiah 36:30: As a result his descendent Jehoikim would have none to sit upon the throne of David.
Matthew 1: Lists the kingly line from Abraham, David, Solomon, Manasses (v. 10), Jechonias (v.11), Joseph (v.16), to Jesus. This was the BLOOD LINE THROUGH JOSEPH. While this was the primary, official bloodline, descendents could NOT SIT ON THE THRONE according to the commandment of God. And, Joseph was NOT THE FATHER OF JESUS!
Luke 3:23-38: Gives the true lineage of Jesus from Mary, her father Heli, back to Nathan (David's son), back to David, back to Judah, back to Jacob, back to Isaac, back to Abraham, back to Shem, back to Noah, back to Seth, back to Adam, back to God.
He will sit on the throne of David as a rightful human heir, and is the Son of God by virgin birth and by divine offspring!
WHERE WAS JESUS BORN AT BETHLEHEM?
Micah 5:2: "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."
Micah 4:8: "And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem."
Genesis 35: Jacob came to Bethlehem, where Rachel bore Benjamin as she died. She called him Benoni (Son of my sorrow), but Jacob called him Benjamin (Son of my right hand). He is a double type of Christ.
Then Jacob traveled beyond the tower of the flock, the place where Benjamin was born.
Numbers 24:17-19: "A star out of Jacob, and a Scepter out of Israel" shall have dominion.
In ancient times this was a military tower to view into the valley near Bethlehem. Near the time of Jesus' birth it became the tower of the flock, where the priests examined newborn lambs, which were designated for sacrifice at the temple in Jerusalem.
Luke 2: The angel said, "This shall be a sign unto you, ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger." Only in the shelter of this particular tower did the temple priests clean the lambs with swaddling clothes as they examined them for temple sacrifice! The shepherds knew exactly where to go!
Jesus was born in the shelter of the tower of the flock, just outside Bethlehem; because there was no room for them in the inn…
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