What Happened to the Star of Bethlehem?
By Ricardo E. Perez
Last December 21, 2020, my wife and I had the privilege to join other sky watchers around the world point our 7X50 binoculars to the heavens on that especially clear night on our roof deck to see for ourselves what the mainstream media all around the world was trumpeting to be a “Once in a Life time event.”
How significant was this event? Let me quote a portion of the article published by “The Horn News” to which I am subscribed. The Title of the story speaks for itself. Actual “Christmas Star” returns to night sky. It was datelined December 20, 2020.
“Earthlings are in for a rare treat as the two largest planets in the solar system lined up for a sight that hasn’t been seen in nearly eight centuries. And the union between Jupiter and Saturn is happening just in time for Christmas – leading to its inspiring nickname: The Christmas Star. The Great Conjunction, as it’s also called, is really just a function of how the two planets orbit and where we are in relation to them.”
“You can imagine the solar system to be a race track, with each of the planets as a runner in their own lane and the Earth toward the center of the stadium,” NASA astronomer Henry Throop said in a news release. “From our vantage point, we’ll be able to see Jupiter on the inside lane, approaching Saturn all the month and finally overtaking it on December 21.”
“While the two line up roughly every 20 years, the last event in 2000 was closer to the sun, so we couldn’t actually see it without specialized equipment. This means, it’s been at least 40 years since the last conjunction…but this one is even rarer than that.”
“The two will appear much closer together –and no human alive today has seen them this close. In fact, the last time Jupiter and Saturn were this close together in our sky AND observable was 1226. So, how do you see it? The two are visible any night this week, but will be at their closest on December 21, when you’ll see them in the southwest, low in the sky – about two fists above the horizon- roughly an hour after sunset. As long as the sky’s clear and you have an unobstructed view, you can’t miss ‘em.”
The Daily Mail, referring to the same event added that “German astronomer, Johannes Kepler, wrote in 1614 that he believed the ‘star of Bethlehem’ in the nativity story could have been the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. The star guided the three wise men to meet baby Jesus.”
As a Christian and a believer of the veracity, truthfulness and accuracy of the Holy scriptures, I have often wondered about the events that transpired two thousand plus years ago in the Holy land, particularly in the small town/village of Bethlehem. No Christmas tree or Christmas Belen (nativity scene) put up on display anywhere in our country would ever be complete without the “star” to adorn the set up. This then brings up the question of what is the nature or character of this unusual star in the sky that announced the birth of our savior? Is it also possible that this star could be used as a basis for determining the possible actual date of the birth of Christ? Can the science of Astronomy or the study of Astrology lend a helping hand toward discovering or pinpointing with relative accuracy the events described in the Bible? Is the Star of Bethlehem a “ONE TIME BIG TIME EVENT” NEVER TO BE REPEATED AGAIN FOR ALL ETERNITY? Is it the Shekinah glory of God or a messenger Angel sent to herald the coming of the savior of humanity? Is it an actual historical event that could be repeated or reproduced in a scientific or observable laboratory setting?
I hope to add a little effort to this quest for answer to my own questions by scouring our wealth of knowledge and information accumulated with the aid of modern technology. This study must of necessity go back to the Bible as the ultimate source of information and the correct starting point. What happened to the Star of Bethlehem? Let us analyze the word star as used in Matthew 2: 1-2 “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, saying, “where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and had come to worship Him.” (CSB).
Webster’s dictionary provides us this definition of a star: 1. A natural luminous body visible in the sky especially at night. 2. A planet or a configuration of the planets that is held in astrology to influence one’s destiny or fortune – usually used in plural.
Smith’s Bible Dictionary (1970 edition) does not contain an entry on the word star but instead refer the reader to the word Magi where a portion of the article or explanation contain this interesting comment: “It only remains for us to be content with the obvious explanation that some new luminary, whether meteoric or celestial, was made to appear, in a manner distinct enough to the eyes of practiced astronomers, expressly to guide the sages on their way. Their arrival and inquiry threw Jerusalem into commotion.”
The Bible mention the word star many times, the very first in Genesis 1:16 as part of the creation account: “God made the two great lights – the greater light to have dominion over the day and the lesser light to have dominion over the night – as well as the stars.” There are of course arguably, metaphors used in the scripture that refer to stars as angels (created beings) as in the case of Job 38:7 and Isaiah 14:12. There is no doubt then, that an ordinary layman’s understanding of the word star would be that of heavenly bodies.
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) of the United Kingdom came out with a special feature on the Star of Bethlehem as a Christmas program some time ago. It was titled “BBC The Sky at Night, The Real star of Bethlehem” (An Astronomy Show). It was hosted by Chris Lintott and Maggie Aderin-Pocock. It tried to present within its hour long program six alternative possibilities on the identity of the star of Bethlehem. 1. A bright new star in the form of a supernova explosion. 2. Alignment of Planets or planetary conjunction. 3. Heliacal rising of regularly occurring stars or star clusters. 4. Two meteors and their fireballs 5. Comet 6. Nova. Three of the six theories capitalize on the Chinese astronomers’ records and observation thousands of years ago but espousing their own interpretation. The program hosts finally settled for a comet as their Bethlehem Star.
JESUS birth in 4 B.C.? I have a copy of a KJV bible containing a synchronized calendar year date where the publishers utilized the data provided by Archbishop James Ussher, the famous Archbishop of Ireland in the seventeenth century. In it, the creation of the world according to Ussher occurred on October 23, 4004 B.C. “One of Ussher’s many projects was to write a complete history of the world in Latin, covering every major event from the time of creation to A.D. 70. He published this 1,600-page volume in 1650. An English translation entitled The Annals of the World was first published in 1658, two years after his death. The complete work is fascinating. It has recently been translated into modern English and republished.” (Larry Pierce, April 28, 2006, Answers in Genesis).
I count it a privilege to have secured/obtained an electronic copy of this monumental work. Archbishop Ussher’s dating system will play an important role when we try to reconcile problems encountered by Astronomers searching the heavens for a sign hoping to find and fix the day that our savior was born. Another significant historical work that will tie in to the search for the star is a book written by Flavius Josephus, (born Josephus ben Matthias) a Jewish priest and scholar who lived almost contemporarily with Jesus. The complete work of Josephus is a treasure worth having in any library. Another important person of history is a Christian scientist and astronomer Johannes Keppler who formulated the “Three Laws of Planetary Motion.” While it may sound a little too technical, I wish to include it here because these laws are the foundations of modern astronomy and which as we shall see later, has a lot to do with our search for the star.
“All planets move about the sun in elliptical orbits, having the sun as one of the foci.”
“A radius vector joining any planet to the sun sweeps out equal areas in equal amounts of time.”
“The squares of the sidereal periods (of revolution) of the planets are directly proportional to the cubes of their mean distances from the sun.”
“Knowledge of these laws, especially the second law (the law of areas), proved crucial to Sir Isaac Newton in 1864-85, when he formulated his famous law of gravitation between Earth and the Moon and between the sun and the planets, postulated by him to have validity for all objects anywhere in the universe. Newton showed that the motion subject to central gravitational force need not always follow the elliptical orbits specified by the first law of Kepler but can take paths defined by other, open conic curves; the motion can be parabolic or hyperbolic orbits, depending on the total energy of the body. Thus, an object of sufficient energy – e.g., a comet can enter the solar system and leave again without returning. From Kepler’s second law, it may be observed further that the angular momentum of any planet about an axis through the Sun and perpendicular to the orbital plane is unchanging. The usefulness of Kepler’s laws extends to the motions of natural and artificial satellites as well as to stellar systems and extra solar planets.” ( Encyclopaedia Brittanica).
Josephus, the Complete Works, is a single volume English translation of the works of Flavius Josephus that included “The Antiquities of the Jews, The War of the Jews, Against Apion, Discourse to the Greeks Concerning Hades and 7 Dissertations. It was translated in 1737 by William Whiston, a Mathematician, philosopher and theologian. How important is the work of Josephus in our study? Let this entry in Wikipedia emphasize the connection.
“If the story of the Star of Bethlehem described an actual event, it might identify the year Jesus was born. The Gospel of Matthew describes the birth of Jesus as taking place when Herod was King. According to Josephus, Herod died after a lunar eclipse and before a Passover Feast. The eclipse is usually identified as the eclipse of March 13, 4 B.C. Other scholars suggested dates in 5 B.C, because it allows seven months for the events Josephus documented between the lunar eclipse and the Passover rather than 29 days allowed by lunar eclipse in 4 B.C. Others suggest it was an eclipse in 1 B.C. The narrative implies that the Star of Bethlehem appeared within the preceding two years. Some scholars date the birth of Jesus as 6-4 BC, while others suggest Jesus’ birth was in 3-2 BC.
“The Gospel of Luke says the census from Caesar Augustus took place when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Tipler suggests this took place in AD 6, nine years after the death of Herod, and that the family of Jesus left Bethlehem shortly after the birth. Some scholars explained the apparent disparity as an error on the part of the author of the Gospel of Luke, concluding that he was more concerned with creating a symbolic narrative rather than a historical account, and was either unaware of, or indifferent to, the chronological difficulty.
“However, there is some debate among bible translators about the correct reading of Luke 2:2. Instead of translating the registration as taking place “when” Quirinius was governor of Syria, some versions translate it as “before” as an alternative, which Harold Hoehner, F.F. Bruce, Ben Witherington and others have suggested may be the correct translation. While not in agreement, Emil Schurer also acknowledged that such a translation can be justified grammatically. According to Josephus, the tax census conducted by the Roman senator Quirinius particularly irritated the Jews, and was one of the causes of the Zealot movement of armed resistance to Rome. From this perspective, Luke may have been trying to differentiate the census at the time of Jesus’ birth from the tax census mentioned in Acts 5:37 that took place under Quirinius at a later time. One ancient writer identified the census at Jesus’ birth, not with taxes, but with the universal pledge of allegiance to the emperor.
“Jack Finegan noted some early writers’ reckoning of the regnal years of Augustus are the equivalent to 3/2 BC, or 2 BC or later for the birth of Jesus, including Irenaeus (3/2 BC), Clement of Alexandria (3/2 BC), Tertullian (3/2 BC), Julius africanus (3/2 BC), Hippolytus of Rome (3/2 BC), Hippolytus of Thebes (3/2 BC), Origen (3/2 BC), Eusebius of Caesarea (3/2 BC), Epiphanius of salamis (3/2 BC), Cassiodorus Senator (3 BC), Paulus Orosius (2 BC), Dionysus Exiguus (1 BC), and Chronographer of the year 354 (AD 1). Finegan places the death of Herod in 1 BC, and says that if Jesus was born two years or less before Herod the Great died, the birth of Jesus would have been in 3 or 2 BC. Finegan also notes the Alogi reckoned Christ’s birth with the equivalent 4 BC or AD 9.”
Jack Finegan authored one of the best authoritative and scholarly work on ancient history entitled “Handbook of Biblical Chronology: Principles of Time Reckoning in the ancient World and Problems of Chronology in the Bible.” Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1998. Pp. 279-92, 289-90,301).
When viewed from the perspective of conflicting dates and years regarding Jesus Christ’s actual day of birth by learned men of long ago, and our modern scholarship, one has to recognize that information and basic facts can be viewed by each individual looking at the same data or records and still come to a different conclusion. This is especially true with respect to the information provided in the writings of Josephus and the astronomical signs in the heavens which were utilized by each author to formulate their own interpretation. This reality will remain a wall we need to face every time, dates of historical significance relating to Jesus come upon us. Thankfully, science has come to the rescue and with the advancements made in the field of computer technology, much progress has been made to narrowing our search for the Star of Bethlehem.
It will be noted that in majority of the textual references made on the birth of our savior, the common denominator is the word B.C. All are in agreement that this means BEFORE CHRIST and AD means Anno Domini or in the year of our Lord. This divide our world history into two segments, those that took place or happened before the birth of Christ and those that occurred after His birth at least as far as I could recall our encounter with the phrase. “The Anno Domini dating system was devised in 525 by Dionysius Exiguus to enumerate the years in his Easter table. His system was to replace the Diocletian era that had been used in an old Easter table because he did not wish to continue the memory of a tyrant who persecuted Christians.” This dating system finally found its way into our current usage through the Gregorian calendar. What has this observation to do with our search for the star of Bethlehem? Our current calendar system, the writings of Josephus, the year of creation up to the destructiion of Jerusalem in AD 70 as championed by archbishop Ussher, the laws of planetary motion promulgated by Johannes Kepler are all interconnected in this story. What is fact, is that the Gregorian Calendar system is the most widely used calendar today. For decades, it has been the unofficial global standard, adopted in the pragmatic interests of international communication, transportation and commercial integration and recognized by international institutions such as the United Nations.
Johannes Kepler, after years of meticulous observation and computation finally promulgated the astronomical laws of planetary motion, and as a devout Christian scientist, turned his attention to the sky once more to search for evidence for what he believed to be the literal star of Bethlehem. Using the foundational premise that the time frame to search for the star would be in the range of years mentioned by Josephus citing the eclipse that occurred during Herod’s time. His notes are carefully preserved in the library of the Royal Astronomical Society of England. His observations in the year 1604 was preserved in a report printed in 1606 and sent to an adviser in the court of Rodolf II. In it he wrote of his observation of the heavens that… “the star that led the Magi to Christ might have some relations to our star.” As earlier reported in the Daily Mail, this was the conjunction of the planet Jupiter and Saturn that was visibly observed during his time. The book/report was titled “Stella Nova En Pede Serpentari” or in English “The New Star at the Foot of the Serpent,” of the constellation Apiucus using his own star map with the various constellations drawn in.
Is this the same “star” that appeared during the time of Christ and was seen by Kepler? Could there have been other similar but even more glorious heavenly manifestations preserved in our historical records of the distant past? The Chinese people can lay claim to the honor of having preserved its written history for almost 4,000 years and it is no surprise therefore that in their ancient documents, mentions were made of observations recorded by their own sky watchers and astronomers. These records help formed the thesis presented by one of our modern (20th century) scholars/researchers.
Colin Humpreys in his extensively documented article published in the magazine “Science and Christian Belief,” volume 5, (October 1995): 83-101, The Star of Bethlehem argues that “ If an astronomical object can be identified with the characteristics described in Matthew and other ancient manuscripts, this information may throw light on the long standing problem of the date of the Nativity.”
This is how the entire presentation is summarized: “Evidence from the Bible and astronomy suggests that the Star of Bethlehem was a comet visible in 5 BC, and described in ancient Chinese records. A comet uniquely fits the description in Matthew of a star which newly appeared, which travelled slowly through the sky against the star background and which ‘stood over‘ Bethlehem. The evidence points to Jesus being born in the period 9 March -4 May, 5 BC, probably around Passover time; 13-27 April 5 BC. Birth in the spring is consistent with the account in Luke that there were shepherds living out nearby keeping watch over their flocks by night. Birth in 5 BC also throws light upon the problem of the census of Caesar Augustus. A new chronology of the life of Christ is given which is consistent with the available evidence. This chronology suggests that Christ died close to his 37th birthday.”
Characteristics of the star of Bethlehem. “There are several characteristics of the Star of Bethlehem recorded in Matthew’s gospel which, if accepted, allow the type of astronomical object to be identified uniquely. The characteristics are as follows: (i) It was a star which had newly appeared. (ii) It travelled slowly through the sky against the star background. (iii) The star ‘stood over’ Bethlehem.
Three signs in the sky. “Why should this particular comet have caused the Magi to make their journey? It is suggested that a combination of three historical events was involved: First, there was a triple conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in the constellation Pisces in 7 BC. Such an event occurs only every 800 years. The probable astrological significance of this event to the Magi was that, a divine king would be born in Israel. Second, in 6 BC there was a massing of the three planets Mars, Saturn and Jupiter in Pisces. Such a massing only occurs every 800 years (and very much more infrequently in Pisces) and it would have confirmed to the Magi that the king to be born in Israel would be a mighty king. Third, a comet appeared in 5 BC in the east in the constellation Capricornus. In the astrology of the times, a comet in the east signified a rapidly approaching event. The comet was therefore, the third and final sign which caused the Magi to set off on their journey. The eight century AD Astrological world history ‘On Conjunctions, Religions and Peoples’ by Masha’allah was based on an earlier Babylonian theory that important religious and political changes are predicted by conjunctions of the planets Saturn and Jupiter.”
A New Chronology of the Life of Christ:
Date in Julian Calendar Event
9 March -4 May, 5 BC birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Matthew 2:1, Luke 2:1-7
(13 -27 April, 5 BC)
9 March -4 May 5 BC Visits of the Shepherds Luke 2: 8-20
(13 -27 April, 5 BC) Circumcision on the eight day (counting inclusively) Luke 2:21
16 March -11 May 5 BC presentation of Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem after 40 days from birth. Luke 2:22
(20 April -4 May, 5 BC Visit of the Magi. Matthew 2:2 -12.
(24 May -8 June, 5 BC)
Late april/mid June, 5 BC Flight to Egypt from Bethlehem. Matthew 2: 13-15
(late May/mid June 5 BC)
~ end March, 4 BC Death of Herod. Matthew 2: 20-23
? March, 3 BC Return from Egypt to Nazareth, Matthew 2: 20
? Autumn AD 29 Baptism of Jesus when he was 33.
Friday, 3 April, AD 33 Crucifixion on 14 Nisan when Jesus was near his 37th birthday.
All four Gospels.
(Note: the dates given in brackets are narrower date ranges based on Jesus being born around Passover time).
As far as this research go, it would seem to lean in favor of the proposition that the Star of Bethlehem is indeed, an astronomical event that occurred in the heavens as viewed by the magi from their place of origin. There are however, many conflicting dates proposed for its appearance, the type of substance or composition of the star, its direction or movement in the sky. None of our Bible scholars and experts in history and Astronomy can lay claim with absolute certainty as to the actual date of Christ’s birth. The accounts in the gospel simply provide background information but no specific details. Like modern day detectives and investigators, we can only make educated guesses or assumptions based on what circumstantial evidence we could piece together. Nevertheless, sophisticated computer programs based on the principles laid out by Johannes Kepler can come to our aid in narrowing our choices.
Our last candidate for the Star of Bethlehem came from a non- scientist but a lawyer and professor of law. Frederick Anthony Heep “Rick” Larson earned his Juris Doctor degree at the University of California Law Center. He became a filmmaker after he investigated the Star of Bethlehem and became a travelling speaker on the topic; then made his first documentary film The Star of Bethlehem about his findings in 2007. In an interview on CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network), he claimed that the documentary became the top selling documentary in the world. In March 2019, Larson released his second film, the documentary The Christ Quake, which had been in production since 2013.
There are two important additional elements introduced by Rick Larson in his research on the Star of Bethlehem. The first is his contention that contrary to most dating done of the time of Herod the Great and his death as written about by Josephus, there was a copying error regarding the original manuscripts of Josephus’ writings kept in storage in our historical libraries. Research Larson did bring out a new point of understanding as to the date of Herod’s death. Old manuscripts of Josephus dated before 1554 are consistently indicative of Herod dying in 1 BC. This discrepancy of three years which could have been the result of a copying or printing error opens up new possibilities heretofore never considered in studying the movement of the stars during 3-2 BC period. Most scholars concentrate their search on the time frame of 7-4 BC using Josephus as an inferential source for dating the birth of Christ.
The second important element introduced in Larson’s search for the star is his extensive use of the “Starry Night” astronomy software program that can be downloaded into our computers. With such a tool using and incorporating the three laws of planetary motion developed by Kepler and with the addition and incorporation of more information and discovery in the field of astronomy such as the perturbation of stars, the program enables a researcher to accurately reproduce the position and movement of planets and other heavenly objects with astonishing accuracy. Thanks to the trailblazing effort of Johannes Kepler. This same knowledge of planetary motion enables NASA personnel to accurately and exactly plan for the proper launch time, speed, trajectory and even landing sites of unmanned space vehicles careening over empty space billions of miles from earth. The operative principle could be stated in layman’s terms that the solar system operates like a clock with such uncanny precision, and once properly understood, would help us understand better the inner workings of the entire solar system.
Going back to Rick Larson’s the Star of Bethlehem documentary. Like Colin Humprey’s Comet theory, Larson also identify certain characteristics of the Biblical star that would perfectly answer the qualification requirements. Instead of three, he proposes nine identifying points: 1. It signified birth. 2. It signified kingship. 3.It had a connection with the Jewish nation. 4. It rose in the east, like other stars. 5. It appeared at a precise time. 6. Herod didn’t know when it appeared. 7. It endured over time. 8. It was ahead of the Magi as they went south from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. 9. It stopped over Bethlehem.
Larson propose that the nine identifying elements for the star of Bethlehem is properly met by the planet Jupiter during the time frame of 3-2 BC. Here is his explanation of how he came to believe and conclude this to be true using the aid of the astronomy program Stellarium and recreating the heavenly view in that time period. “…Jupiter has been known from ages –old to the present as the King planet. This greatest of planet is “a gas giant,” approximately eleven times the size of the Earth and over 300 times more massive. It circles the sun far beyond earth, in an orbit of about twelve years’ duration. In ancient times, planets like Jupiter were considered “wandering stars.” Since humans have assigned kingly qualities to this giant wanderer for dozens of centuries, might it have something to do with our star announcing the birth of a king? That will be our working theory.
“It is not enough to have a kingly name and reputation, of course. To be Matthew’s star, Jupiter as viewed from Earth would have to do peculiar things. More precisely, as considered by a magus viewing from the Middle East during the years 3 and 2 BC, Jupiter’s movement would have to satisfy all nine identifying characteristics of the Star. In September of 3 BC at the time of the Jewish New Year, Rosh ha-Shanah, Jupiter began to do just that.
…”In 3/2 BC, Jupiter’s retrograde wandering would have called for our Magus’ full attention. After Jupiter and Regulus had their kingly encounter, Jupiter continued on its path through the star field. But then it entered retrograde. It “changed its mind” and headed back towards Regulus for a second conjunction. After this second pass, it reversed course again for yet a third rendezvous with Regulus, a triple conjunction. A triple pass like this is more rare. Over a period of months, our watching magus would have seen the planet of Kings dance out a halo above the Star of Kings, A coronation.
“By the following June, Jupiter had finished crowning Regulus. The planet of Kings travelled on through the star field toward another spectacular rendezvous, this time with Venus, the Mother Planet. This conjunction was so close and so bright that it is today displayed in hundreds of planetaria around the world by scientists who may know nothing of Messiah. They do it because what Jupiter did make such a great planetarium show. Jupiter appeared to join Venus. The planets could not be distinguished with the naked eye.
…”No one alive had ever seen such a conjunction…The Magi presumably described the timing of events starting in September of 3 BC and continuing through June of 2 BC. Herod sent them to Bethlehem in search of the child with orders that they return to tell where he was. To qualify as the Star, Jupiter would have to have been ahead of the Magi as they trekked South from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. Sure enough, in December of 2 BC If the Magi, looked south in the wee hours, there hung the King of planets over the city of Messiah’s birth.
“All but one of the nine biblical qualifications for the Star have now been plausibly satisfied: 1. The first conjunction signified birth by its association to the day with Virgo “birthing” the new moon. Some may argue that the unusual triple conjunction by itself could be taken to indicate a new king. 2. The Planet of King’s coronation of the Star of Kings signified kingship. 3. The triple conjunction began with the Jewish New Year and took place within Leo, showing a connection with the Jewish tribe of Judah (and prophecies of the Jewish Messiah). 4. Jupiter rises in the east. 5. The conjunctions appeared at precise identifiable times. 6. Herod was unaware of these things; they were astronomical events which had significance only when explained by experts. 8. The events took place over a span of time sufficient for the Magi to see them both from the east and upon their arrival in Jerusalem. 8. Jupiter was ahead of the Magi as they travelled south from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. But the ninth qualification would require that Jupiter stop over Bethlehem. How could a planet do that? And did Jupiter do it?
To stop a Star. “The problem with a planet stopping is not what you might think. The problem is not that planets can’t stop. Just the opposite. The problem is that all planets are always stopped to the eye of the human observer. The sky moves above earth at half the speed of the hour hand on a common clock. Its movement is imperceptible to the naked eye. So, if all stars are always stopped, what can Matthew have meant? Perhaps you have already anticipated the key to this final mystery: retrograde motion. An astronomer tracking the movement of planets through the star field watches not so much on the scale of days, weeks and months. On this scale of time, Jupiter did stop. On December 25 of 2 BC as it entered retrograde, Jupiter reached full stop in its travel through the fixed stars. Magi viewing from Jerusalem would have seen it stopped in the sky above the little town of Bethlehem.”
“The Star of Bethlehem” documentary by Rick Larson maybe viewed for free on You tube. I came across this material while doing research five years ago. It is still available. It provides more detail which we cannot adequately cover in this presentation. One interesting nugget of information that could be gleaned from this work is that, it proposed that September 1, 3 BC was the Conception of Christ and that he was born on June 17, 2 BC lining up perfectly with the movements of the stars in the sky. December 25 when Jupiter appear to stop over Bethlehem was the first Christmas in history with the Magi presenting their gifts to King of the Jews. Other Bible scholars have their own views on the birth date of our Savior. In God’s own time, this truth will finally be revealed. There are always disagreements even among the best minds. I wish to recommend for viewing likewise, a new You tube video entitled “The Star of Bethlehem – A Mystery Unlocked-Dennis Strickland-12/09/2020. This is a highly visual confirmation of this research.
Let us go back to the title of this article, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM? If as proposed in this fascinating, intriguing and thoroughly researched study of the star of Bethlehem, that the observations, the astronomical signs and other documentary evidence were to be believed, then the Planet Jupiter and other heavenly hosts were just orchestrated by the great creator to put on a show for us at the perfect time required to help us better understand the majesty of His plan for mankind. Perhaps there will yet be another starry spectacle in the future, during our own lifetime, to fulfill a prophetic event that will change the world. Was the December 21, 2020 event a small preview of things to come? The planets are all following their own ordained paths in the sky from the Mighty Hand that stretched the heavens according to His purpose.