The Star of Bethlehem
– was it just a fairytale? Or did the wise men experience the real thing?
Modern computer programs show that there was a ‘Star of Bethlehem’ at the birth of Jesus. When the King Planet Jupiter united with the planet for the mother goddess of Venus in the constellation of Leo, astrologers from East knew that they should travel to Jerusalem.
In the western world of reason, we are tempted to think that religion is antiquated. But Jesus is actually the most important thing that has happened in the history of the world. He was even predicted in the stars, where a very special conjunction marked His birth!
In the West, things are often presented as though it’s barely known if Jesus lived.
But the life and significance of Jesus are attested to in more than 24,000 ancient manuscripts! Of these, there are 5000 complete manuscripts of the New Testament in Greek and 10,000 in Latin, as well as 9300 in other languages from the first ca. 300 years A.D.
In comparison, there are only 30 copies of the writings of Plato, 9 of Josephus’ The Wars of the Jews, and 8 copies of the manuscripts of Herodotus. Caesars Galician Wars, which is recognized by any historian, is only known from 10 copies….
But the New Testament is a credible source. And completely unique in the entire history of the world. Any claim that Jesus never lived or that the books of the New Testaments are supposed to be fake doesn’t hold water.
By the way, Jesus is also mentioned in writings by historian Flavius Josephus.
Even the stars tell of Jesus: It was no accident that the “wise men” from the Orient showed up in the tiny town of Bethlehem.
The strange star described in the Gospel of Matthew in connection with the birth of Jesus is more than a fairytale.
You see, with computer programs we can now turn back the stars in the sky and see that precisely around the birth of Jesus, there were a whole series of special conjunctions (meaning two or more planets got close to each other – seen from earth).
There are several theories about which of these conjunctions was the Star of Bethlehem.
Today, most researchers agree that the large star must have been when Venus, Jupiter, and Regulus several times around 3-2 B.C. were close enough together to appear as one giant star. (When it wasn’t year 0, this is because the calendar system later got a little screwed up.)
This would have been such a huge astronomic event that it blew the turbans right off the astrologers of the time in the Orient!
The fact that it took place in the constellation of Leo explains why “the wise men” show up in the land of the Jews, rather than in Rome.
Leo is the constellation of Judah. (Judah Lion – see, e.g. Genesis 49:9 or Hosea 5:13).
The tribe of Judah was living in the southern part of Israel, where Jerusalem is located. From there, the wise men where guided by scribes further on to nearby Bethlehem – because this was where the Messiah would be born according to the Old Testament. (See Mikah 5:1-8).
The wise men of the Orient were astrologically knowledgeable, it appears, wherefore they would also have known about the clues to a Messiah figure that is found in all the old constellations.
Unfortunately, we can’t describe all the details here. But what is rather noteworthy is the extent to which the symbols of the constellations and their names are similar to Biblical prophecy. There is no way it could be coincidental. (All the clues from the constellations to the Bible are described in my book, “Jesus in the Stars”.)
The “wise men” from the Orient were so-called magi, people who knew about astrology. They may have been Zarathustra priests from Iran. It would have a special significance for them that the two brightest planets, Jupiter and Venus, were the ones that met near Regulus in the constellation of Leo. Why?
This is because Jupiter from ancient times was considered the Planet of Kings (God of gods) because of its size seen from earth.
Venus is called the bright and morning star in the Bible, and in astrology it is connected to the mother goddess – Isthar for the Babylonians, Isis for the Egyptians, Freja of the North, the Greek Aphrodite, etc. Meaning a very important star/goddess for everyone – probably modeled after Eve or Noah’s wife who both became mothers of all peoples.
For astrologers of the time, the meeting of Jupiter and Venus meant that the God of gods would unite with the Queen of heaven – and that the Virgin would be with child.
And according to the constellations, this special child was supposed to be both God and human. In the constellations, there is a hero who saves a chained woman from a monster by himself being wounded and having his heel cut … All of these images are known from the ancient zodiac signs from before astrology went off the track.
Astronomy computer programs show that Jupiter and Venus met for the first time on August 12, 3 B.C. Next, Jupiter was in conjunction with Regulus, another king star, on September 14. After this, Jupiter continued past Regulus, but stopped – and “stood over where the young Child was,” writes Matthew (2:9) – after which it went back and passed Regulus again on February 17, 2 B.C., and finally a third time on May 8m 2 B.C.
A very remarkable bow-shaped movement!
And then comes the main attraction when both Jupiter, Venus, and Regulus meet again with minimal distance (meaning 3/60 degrees – by comparison the diameter of the moon is ½ degree). This happens at exactly 8:02 pm on June 17, 2 B.C.
The two planets would have looked like one giant shining star in the night sky. If the wise men were on their way from Jerusalem east of Bethlehem, when the triple star showed up in the western night sky, it may have looked literally as though the star was standing over the town and over the stable where the virgin Mary gave birth to the Christ child!
“When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy “, writes Matthew (2:10). You can’t blame them. That was the experience and confirmation of a lifetime.
The wise astrologers were able to return home satisfied and talk about a new world ruler – and a few generations later, faith in Jesus had come to their own countries as well – Iraq, Iran, or India.
The movements of the stars, which prompted the heathen astrologers from the Orient to search for Jesus Christ, are a wonderful example of God reaching out to everyone.
God is not just a local God for the Jews, even though they were His chosen people and had entered into covenant with God. No: “I was sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me,” it says in chapter 65 of the book of Isaiah.
The Bible warns against astrology as religion. And there is good reason for that, because the Canaanites and others sacrificed small children in their astrology.
Stars should not be worshipped – nor should they control our lives through horoscopes. They are merely signs according to the Bible.
The star of Bethlehem was fixed in the orbits of the stars from the beginning of time as sign. In “the fullness of time,” it would also confirm that Jesus was the savior of the world.
He was the Lion of Judah, and He was also the child in the constellation of the Virgin.
Yes, al the zodiac signs tell Biblical stories about Jesus – even though they were already known at the time of Job – probably more than 2000 years before Christ. Incredible but true.
Al this shows us that Jesus was more than a great prophet and philosopher. He had, in fact, been predicted for thousands of years. Not just in the writings of the Old Testament, but also in the writings of other people and in zodiac signs that were common to all the old cultures.
Jesus is the most important thing to happen in world history. This is why it says year 2018 on the calendar – to mark that Jesus was born. Even time calculations were based on this landmark event. All other historic markers became less significant because Jesus entered the world.
And this is why all churches chime their bells on Christmas.
They proclaim that Jesus is God’s answer to those who ask about the meaning of life in our materialistic and atheist times. That He is “the way, the truth, and the life”.
The gospel of Jesus spread in the span of a few generations to the entire world as it was known at the time – and caused the brutal Roman empire to collapse.
Regardless how many totalitarian regimes have persecuted Christians since then, they have never succeeded in annihilating faith. On the contrary – the more Christians are persecuted, the more there are!
Nor is Christianity in decline as we often believe in the West. Even in communist China, about 10% are now Christian believers – in spite of persecution.
About 33% of the world population of just over 7 billion people are Christians. But today, 75% of the world’s Christians live in Africa, Asia, South and Central America.
In Europe, which has been blessed with Christian culture for a thousand years, short-sighted politicians are busy getting rid of Christianity.
But, of course, it makes no sense to want to get rid of God – if He exists.
No human can change what was established by the Creator – even in the stars.
Henri Nissen – December 2018
Master and Doctorate in Religious Studies.