The Star of Bethlehem
Have You Looked at the Amazing Coincidences Surrounding the Star of Bethlehem?
ProLifeCorner- By Larry Plachno
None of this information is new. There are people doing presentations on this in the United States and in foreign countries. However, you will probably not find this in the main stream media because acknowledging these coincidences would tend to suggest the divinity of Jesus Christ. That would support his love of God and love of neighbor admonishments over their own selfishness and choice.
With Christmas quickly approaching, this would be a very appropriate time to ask whether you have looked at the coincidences surrounding the Star of Bethlehem. We sing about the star at Christmas, it is obviously mentioned in the scriptures, and many illustrations showing the birth of baby Jesus have a star in the sky. But, have you taken the time to learn about the Star of Bethlehem and the amazing coincidences surrounding it?
Admittedly, it did take some modern technology to figure out the story behind the Star of Bethlehem. Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) was a German who became the Imperial Mathematician and Astronomer in Prague. With the assistance of observation notes from his predecessor, Tycho Brahe, he was able to develop the laws of Planetary Motion in the early 1600s that we still use today. These laws operate like clockwork and do not change.
Although Kepler had the correct formulas, doing any serious work was laborious and involved a lot of time doing calculations with pen and paper. This was all simplified with the advent of the computer. Today, you can go on the Web to “Starry Night” and purchase programs that run on your computer and will calculate and display the stars and heavens from different locations on different days. You can find out what the sky will look like above your house on your next birthday. Or, you can go back and look at the sky at the time of the birth and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
If you continue reading, I will even tell you where you can buy a fairly inexpensive CD that does a great job of explaining all of this information on the Star of Bethlehem. Once you know when to look it is easy to find what you are looking for.
It would be best to explain two things before starting. One is that the people who lived at the time of Christ were much more familiar with the stars than we are. They had no televisions or iPhones to distract them from looking at the heavens. Moreover in that warm climate, it was not unusual for people to sleep on the roof, watching the stars. Likewise, they had no magazines or newspapers so they were very familiar with the scriptures.
The Magi mentioned in the Bible were probably educated and had good positions. Some people think they may have had a Jewish connection back to the prophet Daniel who was exiled to Babylon and became the chief of the Magi in the court of King Nebuchadnezzar. But what did they see in the sky that caused them to decide it announced the birth of a king of the Jews?
What we today call the Star of Bethlehem was Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. In those days the planets were called “wandering stars.” In September of 3 BC, at the time of the Jewish New Year, the Magi would have seen Jupiter rise in the eastern sky above Babylon and then come in close conjunction with the star Regulus, named after the root where we get the word “regal.” The Roman name for this star was Rex, meaning “king” while the Babylonian name was Sharu, which also means “king.“
Jupiter moved past Regulus but then a strange thing happened. The planets move around the sun in different tracks like lanes on an expressway. Since the Earth moves faster than Jupiter, on occasion Jupiter appears to fall back like passing a car on the expressway. This is called retrograde motion.
After moving past Regulus, Jupiter went into retrograde and went back to Regulus and made a circle around Regulus like crowning a king. Then, after this second pass, Jupiter again went into retrograde and made a third pass above the star of kings.
Equally interesting is that this activity took place with the constellation of Leo the Lion in the background. Since the Jewish tribe of Judah is known as a Lion in the scripture (Genesis Chapter 49), the Magi could easily make the connection with the promised King of the Jews in scripture.
There is more. The next constellation rising in the east is Virgo, the Virgin. As Jupiter and Regulus were meeting, Virgo rose clothed in the sun with a new moon at her feet. This is reflected in the 12th chapter of St. John’s Revelation in the New Testament where he talked about a woman clothed with the sun and with the moon under her feet. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. This marked the incarnation of Jesus Christ when the Archangel Gabriel appeared before the Virgin Mary.
Nine months later, in June of 2 BC, the attention of the Magi was guaranteed when Jupiter moved into conjunction with Venus, the mother planet. These two combined into what was probably the brightest star the Magi had ever seen. This marked the actual birth of Jesus Christ. It was also presumably the event that prompted the Magi to decide to follow Jupiter west to Judea and seek the newborn king of the Jews.
Yes, I know, you are unhappy because I mentioned that the Christ child may have been born in June. But even in the coldest month of January, Bethlehem rarely has much snow. Stick with me and I promise to mention December 25.
Unfortunately, we have no knowledge of the route or schedule of the Magi. Tradition holds that they were riding on camels but travel would have been slow. There were no modern roads although there were trails used for travel and trade. Based on what we now know, the Magi reached Jerusalem in late December of 2 BC and met with King Herod. Herod conferred with his staff and sent them to Bethlehem. He asked the Magi to report back to him with the location of this new king.
Jupiter would have been ahead of them in the sky as the Magi went south from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. Then, on December 25 of 2 BC, Jupiter went into retrograde motion again and “stopped” over Bethlehem indicating the birthplace of Jesus.
By that time the child Jesus was already a few months old. The story, as we know from the Bible, is that the Magi were warned and went back by a different route to avoid Herod. Joseph took Mary and baby Jesus to Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod who ordered the massacre of baby boys in Bethlehem.
Finding the date on which Christ was crucified was not difficult. We know that his suffering and death took place on a Friday that happened to be the preparation day for the forthcoming Passover Festival. Since Passover starts at twilight on the 14th day of the Jewish lunar month of Nisan, it is a simple matter to find the year when Nisan 14 happened to fall on a Friday. The obvious day is April 3 of 33 AD.
While Christ was on the cross, there were earthquakes, the curtain of the temple was torn apart top to bottom, and the sky was darkened. But there also were signs in the heavens. The second chapter of Acts has Peter quoting the prophet Joel saying that the moon will be turned to blood.
For those who may not know, a “blood moon” specifically makes reference to a lunar eclipse. When our moon is in eclipse it is in the shadow of the earth and hence receives no sunlight directly. What light reaches the moon at this time is refracted through the earth’s atmosphere and hence turns red.
A lunar eclipse with a “blood moon” was visible in Jerusalem on April 3, 33 AD. When the moon rose, it was already in eclipse and red. This means that the eclipse started before moonrise. In fact, according to the calculations, at 3 p.m. when Jesus was breathing his last on the cross, the moon was going to blood. Perhaps to complete this series of coincidences in the heavens, when the full moon came up red in color it returned to the foot of the Virgin in the sky. I am sure that there were a lot of frightened people in Jerusalem that night.
Coincidences and Questions
If you do not want to take the time to purchase and use the star software, there is a DVD titled “The Star of Bethlehem” available that explains all of this in an entertaining and moving way. You can purchase it for as little as $10 from www.bethlehemstar.net or from other places including Amazon. This would be an excellent DVD to share with your family or friends prior to Christmas. At one time I even found this available as a video on You Tube. This information is presented in a conservative, casual but scientific fashion that is suitable for all family members. It most certainly will give you new insight into the Bethlehem Star and a real understanding of how the heavens reflected the incarnation, birth and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It also brings up two questions.
The first question is: what are the odds on all of these coincidences in the heavens happening in relation to the time of Jesus Christ on earth? Each coincidence builds on the previous coincidences until the odds reach some astronomical number with hundreds of zeros behind it. We go way beyond where coincidence is left behind and we are in an area that boggles the mind.
But the second question is even more likely to make you stop and think. All of these movements of the planets and stars are regular and do not change. None of these movements of the planets, stars, constellations or moon were unusual or a miracle. They all moved just as they always do. Then, how did all of this happen at these specific times?
There are two options. One is to go back to the first question and agree that this was a series of numerous coincidences way beyond any belief. The second is to accept the fact that the universe was intelligently created by someone we call God who knew way in advance the exact times of the incarnation, birth and death on the cross of Jesus Christ and then set the planets and stars in motion accordingly. Think about it.
Editors Note: Larry Plachno is a successful businessman, publisher, author, and composer of an incalculable number of articles relating to family, life issues and associated problems and solutions. This barely scratches the surface of what Larry really is. His love of God, family and country is inspiring.
For years now Larry has shared his writings with us here at the ProLifeCorner and we are truly humbled by his generosity.
Larry is also an ardent blogger and is a prolific writer. You can follow his work at: www.unselfish.org