STAR OF BETHLEHEM
“For we have seen His Star in the East.” (Matt 2:2)
The Shepherds saw the GLORY of God and an Angel in Bethlehem specifically at the time of Christ’s BIRTH (Luk 2:9), but the Wise-men had seen the STAR of the Messianic King in their Eastern country apparently at the time of Christ’s CONCEPTION.
Babylonian Astrologers and Persian Zoroastrians had known about the prophecy of the birth of Israel’s Messiah since after the time of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Daniel influenced the Eastern Magi with his Faith and Prophecy when he was their colleague (Dan 2:48) and master (Dan 5:11) in Babylon.
The ancient Church believed Christ in His perfection, was conceived (took up flesh) the same date as He died (put off flesh). The time of Christ’s death and resurrection is clearly dated in season (i.e. Passover in March-April) but not clearly dated in year, and the time of His conception and birth could be approximately deduced in season and year from Scriptures.
But what could the STAR of Bethlehem be?
- First, this Messianic STAR IN THE EAST seen by the Magi (Mat 2:2) may be a celestial natural phenomenon like planetary CONJUNCTION. There were two possibilities of this about the time of Christ’s birth.
- We know of the multiple Piscean conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn coming closest on 27-29th May, 27thJuly, 6th October, and 5th December (one Babylonian record points to equivalent dates of September 15 and November 12) which “stood still” changing to retrograde on 1st November in 7 BC. In fact, these two planets spectacularly remained within three degrees in conjunction from April of 7 BC until January of 6 BC! This happened to be the historical period during which Quirinus was delegated by Syrian provincial governor to do the first census registration of the Herod Kingdom under the province of Syria of the Roman Empire (Luk 2:2; Act 15:37). The Roman Empire was known to hold updates of their citizenship archives every 5 years, and according to Caesar Octavian Augustus in his Res Gestae, he held census every 20 years in 28 BC, 8 BC, 14 AD (Res Gestae II.8). Possibly, the Wise-men had seen the STAR of the Messianic King in their Eastern country at the time of Christ’s CONCEPTION in March-April of 7 BC before embarking on the pilgrimage, but saw it again when they arrived Bethlehem at Christ’s NATIVITY in December-January of 6 BC.
- Similar conjunctions of Jupiter and Venus occurred in the constellation Leo (constellation of astrological significance for Jews) closest first in the Eastern dawn of 12th August 3 BC near the bright star Regulus with an encore in the Western dusk of 17th June 2 BC near Regulus! This also happened to be the Caesar Augustus’ silver jubilee period during which He ordered the general registration for oath of allegiance (especially royal lineages) throughout the whole Roman Empire as reported by Josephus; As explained by Augustus himself (Res Gestae VI.35) inscribed at Paphlagonia and later documented by historians like Moses of Khorene and Orosius, the registration was meant to be the basis for Caesar Augustus’ jubilee award as the Fatherhood of the Empire in 2 BC (Luk 2:1, 3-5).
Of the above historical Roman registrations, the first (regular census registration 8-7 BC) has been a popular difficult reference in the past, but with new information today the second (jubilee oath registration 3-2 BC) fits more robustly, documentarily and accurately with the birth of Christ.
(For more details see http://www.askelm.com/star/star014.htm#_edn9).
- Again, this Messianic STAR IN THE EAST seen by the Magi may also be celestial natural phenomenon like a Nova as we know occurred in March 5 BC and 24th April, 4 BC.
- Thirdly, this Messianic STAR IN THE EAST seen by the Magi may be celestial natural phenomenon like Mira (Omicron Ceti) the VARIABLE Star of May 6 BC.
- Fourthly, this Messianic STAR IN THE EAST seen by the Magi could be celestial natural phenomenon like a spectacular COMET of which we have not yet found documentations by ancient Astronomers/Astrologers between 12 BC and 36 AD.
- Recently, some have even added the possibility of early appearances of UFO flying saucers!
- Finally, this STAR of Bethlehem may actually be celestial supernatural angelic manifestation of God’s SHEKINAH similar to that seen by the Shepherds.
Besides, there are biblical deductions and early Church convictions that led to the choice of Christ’s Nativity date thus….
Christ in His perfection, took up flesh at the same date that he put off flesh – March in Autumns, This corresponded to 6months after Zechariah in order of Abijah took his ministerial turn in the Temple (Luk 1:5, 23-31, 36). So, if Christ was conceived in March, He must have been born 9months after that – December in Winter.
None can be watertight sure of the very exact date of Christ’s birth, but it doesn’t really matter, because we can choose any date we agree upon.
But God’s Word is clear that God created all days good, and that all days belong to God alone, but could NEVER belong to godless pagans and their idols.
We, the Church, have for millennia already unanimously agreed on our calendar and universally decided when to celebrate and commemorate Christ’s birth on a date in our own calendar. This has come to stand, even among those outside the Church.