The Christmas Star

22 12 2013

It’s Advent, the season in which many people all over the world celebrate Christmas. Even those who aren’t Christian can’t ignore the season completely because it’s so popular. Indeed, many non-Christians participate anyway because the holiday has become so famous as well as festive. (Consider the observance of Christmas in Japan, for example.) 

A hallmark of Christmas is the giving of gifts, and that’s not just an inheritance from the legends of Saint Nicholas of Myra, who was later morphed into the fantasy figure Santa Claus. Much earlier, the Magi brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the infant Jesus on that first Christmas. 

First Christmas? Wait a minute. Didn’t the Church two or three centuries after the birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus establish a holy day called Christ’s Mass on December 25th in order to preempt, if not redeem, celebrations either of the Roman bruma (the southern solstice) or the Roman solar holiday Dies Natalis Solis Invicti? The history of the Christian holiday is a fascinating study. Still more fascinating, however, is the prospect that the Magi may truly have visited Joseph, Mary, and Jesus in Bethlehem on the day we now designate (using the Roman name, not the Jewish) December 25th.

To read more about it, go to www.bethlehemstar.net. There, you can consider the 21st-century historical and astronomical research conducted by F.A. Larson in solving the riddle posed by the Biblical account: 

Matthew 2:1-11, taken from the American Standard Version (ASV).

1  Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, Wise-men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying,Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we saw his star in the east, and are come to worship him.And when Herod the king heard it, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ should be born.And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written through the prophet,And thou Bethlehem, land of Judah, Art in no wise least among the princes of Judah: For out of thee shall come forth a governor, Who shall be shepherd of my people Israel.Then Herod privily called the Wise-men, and learned of them exactly what time the star appeared.And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search out exactly concerning the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word, that I also may come and worship him.And they, having heard the king, went their way; and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.10 And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.11 And they came into the house and saw the young child with Mary his mother; and they fell down and worshipped him; and opening their treasures they offered unto him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

Larson has employed Kepler’s three laws of planetary motion to look back, with the aid of modern computers, and identify what astrophysical phenomena fulfilled all nine of the details of the star presented in the Biblical account. His charts reveal the triple conjunction (think Trinity) of Jupiter, the planet of kings, with Regulus, the star of kings, in the constellation Leo the Lion (think Lion of the Tribe of Judah) between September of 3 BC and June of 2 BC. His charts reveal the constellation Virgo rising in the sun with the moon at her feet that same June. His charts reveal Jupiter coming to a full retrograde stop in the sky south of Jerusalem and, as it were, over Bethlehem on December 25, 2 BC. Larson explains the meaning and significance of all this in non-technical language.

The deduction?

  1. Jesus may have been conceived in the early autumn of 3 BC. (Could it be this occurred on the Feast of Tabernacles? Consider 2 Corinthians 5:1-3 with Revelation 21:3 and John 2:19.)
  2. Jesus may have been born in the late spring or early summer of 2 BC.  (Could it be this occurred on Pentecost, the Feast of First Fruits? Consider Revelation 1:5, 1 Corinthians 15:19-24, and James 1:18.)  
  3. Jesus may have been visited by the Magi in the early winter of 2 BC (what became Christmas).

Larson provides plenty of details, to include a refutation of the commonly-reported year of Herod’s death in 4 BC. Larson gives evidence that Herod died in 1 BC.

This Advent season, try following the star yourself and see where it leads!    IMG_0791

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3 responses

22 12 2013
Heidi Viars

Thanks so much for this educational and thought-provoking post~ wishing you a wonderful Christmas, friend!

22 12 2013
D. Raymond-Wryhte

You’re welcome! Merry Christmas.

22 12 2013
Morgan

Wonderfully Beautiful. Happy Christmas with Many Blessings and Peace~

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