Rare ‘Christmas Star’ to Appear Dec. 21: Here’s What Astronomy Says About the Biblical ‘Star of Bethlehem’
12-04-2020 CBN News
Later this month, you can witness a rare event in the night sky that has not been seen in almost eight centuries.
The two largest planets in our solar system, Jupiter and Saturn, will align on Dec. 21 to create what’s sometimes referred to as the “Christmas Star” or the “Star of Bethlehem.”
When the planets line up on the day marking the start of the winter solstice, they will appear to form a double planet. It’s a rare event and one that hasn’t been seen since the Middle Ages, according to Forbes.com. But in reality, the planets won’t be close at all. It will just look like that to viewers on Earth.
Theories About the ‘Star of Bethlehem’
As CBN News has reported, while there have been many theories about the identity of the biblical star of Bethlehem that appeared at Christ’s birth, a combination of historical research, astronomical insight, and biblical understanding has come together to present a plausible explanation that is both miraculous and understandable.
This theory finds the planet Jupiter to be part of that star. In the ancient world, all heavenly bodies were considered “stars”.
The Magi or the three wise men were, most likely, court advisers to Babylon who used the stars to give guidance to the ruler. Why would God guide astrologers, of all people, to the King of Kings? This example, according to some writers, was Christ’s first human ministry to unbelievers.
Who Exactly Were the Magi?
But who were these mysterious wise men? One ancient Jewish writer Philo speaks of them.
Star of Bethlehem expert Rick Larson once told CBN News that Philo “describes a particular school of Magi, calls it the Eastern school, and these Magi he praises. He says these guys understood the natural order and are able to explain the natural order to others. And they were, according to Philo, probably what we might call proto-scientists.”
Early church historians had been giving a date of around 3 BC for Christ’s birth, though other scholars had been saying 7 BC because of what appears to be a misunderstanding of King Herod’s death in between those two dates.
What the Magi likely saw were five astronomical conjunctions that took place over a span of time from August of 3 BC to June of 2 BC. When one planet passes another and, as seen from earth, they line up – that would have been of great significance to these astrologer-advisers.
We now know what these conjunctions meant to these Magi as they would have observed from their far-off land. The conjunctions involved the constellation Leo the Lion, the planet Venus, the planet Jupiter and the star Regulus.
To the Babylonians, the lion represented Israel. Venus was motherhood. Jupiter stood for fatherhood or kingship. And Regulus symbolized royalty.
Put these together in the Babylonian mindset and what do you get? A clear and repeated message that a grand king had been born in Israel.
Larson used computerized astronomical tools to track the convergence of these heavenly signs involving Jupiter, Venus, Leo, and Regulus, back to when they would have occurred.
“Nine months after that first conjunction – nine months – the gestation period of a human. We see Jupiter and Venus come together to form the brightest star anyone had ever seen,” Larson said.
That would have been in mid-June of 2 BC – again near Regulus in Leo. Eventually, Larson traces it all to a conclusion on Dec. 25, in 2 BC.
“Of course, they didn’t use our calendar – you know December 25th meant nothing to them. They never heard of December, but to us, it could be a sign and it is interesting that the gifting did occur on December 25th,” he said.
The Heavens Declare the Glory of God
With today’s telescopes, the grandeur of the skies is more visible than ever before. Yet even with the naked eye, the Psalmist proclaimed “the heavens declare the glory of God.”
How can he do that? Could the Star of Bethlehem be an example in announcing the Messiah? Or is this some kind of misguided astrology?
“The Bible comes down extremely hard on astrology. Reverence for the stars, the idea that stars order your life or guide you or whatever – did you know it was a killing offense in the Old Testament?” Larson said.
But the Bible also says that God put signs in the sky. Perhaps the Star of Bethlehem was like a thermometer.
“A thermometer can tell you if it’s hot or cold but it can’t make you hot or cold – because it’s not an active agent. Stars are like that. According to the Bible, they can tell you things; they can be signs from a higher power, from God on high. But they can’t make you do anything, they’re burning balls of gas, you know,” Larson said.
The Romans Thought the Star Was About Them — Instead, It Announced the King of Kings
Of course, the Romans who ruled most of the known world at the time thought the star was about them and they even put the star on one of their coins with an image of Caesar Augustus, which represents how impressive the star was. A sort of Star of Rome rather than the Star of Bethlehem. And that’s probably what made the Magi ride toward Israel.
While the mortal Augustus has long passed from history, Jesus is worshipped by millions around the world as the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, The Eternal One Who created the heavens and the signs of His own coming – who said that one day he would also return.
So the Magi went looking for this infant king to the capital city of the Jews, Jerusalem, and the Jews sent them into Bethlehem, a place from which the Jewish scriptures prophesied a king would come. The rest is history.
Editor’s Note: Much of the material for this story was originally researched and written by Gailon Totheroh nearly two decades ago.
Seven (7) References to ‘BE WATCHING or WATCHFUL.’
Matthew 24:42; Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
Matthew 25:13; Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Mark 13:35; Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning.
Luke 21:36; Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man
Luke 12:37-39; Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
1 Thessalonians 5:2-4; For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (Be Watching).
John 13:19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.
John 14:29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
Luke 21:31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
Mark 13:29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
‘Increasing Like Labor Pains.’ ‘Fearful Sights.’ ‘Perilous Times.’ ‘Men’s hearts failing with fear.’ Great Convergence of Signs.’ REDEMPTION IMMINENT.
In His Service,
Night Watchman Ministries
Make Your Decision for Christ NOW!!!!!!! Time is Up!!!!!!!
Jesus Christ’s Offer of Salvation:
The ABCs of Salvation through Jesus Christ (the Lamb)
A. Admit/Acknowledge/Accept that you are sinner. Ask God’s forgiveness and repent of your sins.
. . . “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).
. . . “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10).
. . . “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8).
B. Believe Jesus is Lord. Believe that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be; that He was both fully God and fully man and that we are saved through His death, burial, and resurrection. Put your trust in Him as your only hope of salvation. Become a son or daughter of God by receiving Christ.
. . . “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:15-17). For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13).
C. Call upon His name, Confess with your heart and with your lips that Jesus is your Lord and Savior.
. . . “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10).
. . . “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (John 1:8-10).
. . . “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (John 2:2).
. . . “In this was manifested the love of god toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:9, 14-15).
. . . “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:8-10).
. . . “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).
. . . “Jesus saith unto them, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6).
. . . “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” (Romans 1:16).
. . . “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts: 4:12).
. . . “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth for there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:4-6).
. . . “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
. . . “But as many as received him, to them gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12).
True Church / Bride of Christ Spared from God’s Wrath:
Romans 5:8-10. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
Romans 12:19. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 1:10. And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
1 Thessalonians 5:9. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Romans 8:35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Jeremiah 30:7. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.
Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.