Star of Bethlehem and Christ's Birth

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Mel Miller, Dec 12, 2005.

  1. Mel Miller

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    JESUS’ BIRTHDAY WAS ISRAEL’S NEW YEAR’S DAY IN BC 3-2.
    ;) Published in "Senior Experience", First Baptist
    Church of Norfolk, Va. Nov/Dec.05

    The “Star of Bethlehem” does not tell us when Jesus was born but told the Wise Men where the child would be found. Computer models, however, show when Jupiter and Venus came into conjunction at different times between his birth in BC 3-2 and the time they worshiped Him prior to the death of Herod in BC One. A brilliant visual display developed by the Griffith Observatory may be seen by going to www.askelm.com/star/

    ELM stands for Dr. Ernest L. Martin, whose book on “The Star of Bethlehem, The Star that Astonished the World,” reveals how computer scientists, using the information in Rev.12:1 and Biblical accounts of the Nativity, were able to not only display the various conjunctions of Jupiter and Venus in the Constellation of Leo the Lion, but determined the day on which Jesus was born which was September 11, BC 3 on the Julian Calendar and New Year’s Day, Tishri One of BC 2 on the Hebrew Calendar. A Hebrew Calendar shows the civil year may begin on any one of 19 days from Sep.5 to Oct.4.

    My website www.lastday.net, Biblical Month and God’s Timing, shows Jesus was born in BC 2 to fulfill part of Daniel’s prophecy of 69 “Prophetic” sets of seven. He died (5) days “after” the last day of 68 “Calendar” sets of seven to fulfill Dan.9:26a. He revealed in Luke 19:44 and Luke 21:22-24 that Dan.9:26b would be fulfilled with “desolations” that bridge AD 70 and the end of time. See Dan.9:24-26 for the prophecy of 69 Sevens.

    “When Jesus came near to Jerusalem He beheld the city and wept over it, saying, `If you only knew the Day, even THIS DAY, the things that should bring you peace---but now they are hidden from your eyes.’” Luke 19:42.

    THIS DAY was Palm Sunday. It was the 173,859th day since BC 445 because exactly 68 Calendar sets of seven separated Nisan 30 of that year and the 2nd Sunday of Nisan in AD 32. God chose 68 sets of seven because that is the only number which, by multiplying it x7x365¼ days, produced a whole number of 24-hour days---with the final day being Palm Sunday! Based on 69x7x360 days, the final day of 69 Prophetic sets of seven was the 5th Sunday of that same month in AD 32. He died “after” being hailed as Messiah.

    This means Jesus’ death on Nisan 14 was 16 days before the 69th Anniversary of the decree to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Palm Sunday, Nisan 9, was the last day of the 68th set of Calendar years. Nisan 30 was the final (173,880th) day of 69 Prophetic sets of 7 based on 7x360 days while Nisan 9, Palm Sunday, was the final (173,859th) day of 68 sets of Calendar years. The Prophetic days were not “cut short” but Palm Sunday ended the countdown 3 weeks early because it was the final day of 68 sets of Calendar years.

    The Time of Jesus’ Visitation began three weeks shy of the final day of the 69th Prophetic Seven. The Jews did not know the “appointed time of their visitation” which included His death on Passover. Luke 19:44. Nisan 14 occurred only once every 7 years on a Friday! The week of Nisan 9-14 fulfilled Zech.9:9; Lev.23:5; Dan.9:26a; preserved the original anniversary date to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls and ended the time of visitation on the “Day of Preparation”. Harmony of the Gospels, Robert L.Thomas, Stanley N. Gundry, P.320.

    Jesus distinguished the appointed “time” for His death from THIS DAY (Palm Sunday) because Daniel prophesied Messiah would be “cut off (5 days) after” THIS DAY on which He was hailed King of the Jews. Jesus predicted a day coming when they will truly hail Him as King, saying, “Blessed is He that comes in the Lord’s Name”. Matt.23:39.

    Jesus died in AD 32. Based on 69 sets of 2520-day countdowns, Passover fell on Friday, Nisan 14, only in BC 4, AD 4,11,18,25 and 32. Jesus was 33½ years old in the spring of AD 32. I have shown 63 of 68 sets of 7 spanned 441 years from the spring (Nisan 30) of 445 to the spring of BC 4 (Nisan 30). Then 441+35 (5 more sets) = 476 (63+5=68 sets) that embrace 69 Prophetic sets within 68 Calendar sets. The final day of these 68 sets of seven (476 years; 445-1+32) was Palm Sunday, exactly 3 weeks before the 69th Anniversary of the decree of Neh.2:1, Nisan, 445, fulfilled 483 Prophetic sets (69x7) of 2520 days (7x360).

    At Christmas time hundreds of Planetariums world-wide show the birthday of Jesus was 9/11 of BC 3 on a Julian calendar; the first day of Israel’s New Year which was Tishri 1 of BC 2 on a Hebrew calendar. From Tishri 1 of BC 445 to Tishri 1 in AD 31 when Jesus was 33, it was 475 years (445-1+31=475). That allowed exactly 25 cycles of 19-year changes (25x19=475) on the Hebrew calendar. The full time was 476 years (68 sets of seven). The extra year was made up of about 215 days from His birthday in AD 31 to His death on Nisan 14 in AD.32; plus about 150 days from Nisan 14, BC 445 to New Year's day, Tishri 1 in BC 445. Jesus came in the Fulness of Time. . . to the exact day. Gal.4:4.

    See the following sources recommended by the Griffith Observatory.
    Dr. Ernest L. Martin is author of The Star That Astonished the World, the best reference for information on the star and especially the history of the events surrounding it. Order from: Associates for Scriptural Knowledge, PO Box 25000, Portland, OR 97225-5000. His web site also contains a short web animation at www.askelm.com/video/real/xmas

    Susan Carrol's excellent summary of the history and astronomy, titled THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM: AN ASTRONOMICAL AND HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE, is at http://sciastro.net/portia/articles/thestar.htm

    An excellent article by an astronomer who focuses on the astronomy of the Star is The Star of Bethlehem at http://www.hillsdale.edu/imprimis/1996/Dec96Imprimis.pdf by Craig Chester, President of the Monterey Institute for Research in Astronomy.

    Article on the Star published in the Planetarian, the quarterly journal of the International Planetarium Society, Yet Another Eclipse for Herod by John Pratt in 1990.
    Submitted by Mel Miller
     
  2. Dr. Bob

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    Thanks for sharing. There is so much wrong in the post but it should make good discussion.

    Start with Herod's ordering the babies slain. We all know it. Sometime well after Jesus' birth (bible calls him a teknon-child, not a brephos-nursing baby).

    Article contends Jesus born on New Years Day 3/2 BC.

    Herod died in 4 BC.

    Do the math.

    Like I said, should be fun discussing this.
     
  3. Ransom

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    Is there any reason to accept the assumption that the Star of Bethlehem was a conjunction of Jupiter and Venus?
     
  4. webdog

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    The Bible mentions angels as "stars", also. By the way the "star went before them" would suggest it moved. It is possible it could have been an angel or a comet besides a "star".
     
  5. Helen

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    Dr. Ernest L. Martin and Craig Chester are both exactly correct about the date of Herod's death and if you read Chester's account in the link given above you will see why it could not possibly have been in 4 BC.

    Barry's research agrees exactly with Chester's regarding what happened and why. The only disagreement the two men seem to have is the identity of the 'wise men'. Chester feels they were the Magi and Barry goes with Matthew's original identification of Magoi, an entirely different group of people.

    But they are right on target with each other, both as accomplished astronomers, regarding what the wise men saw and what it meant to them and thus, the exact time of Jesus birth.

    As I have linked before, Barry's work on this is here:
    http://www.setterfield.org/star.htm
     
  6. John of Japan

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    No reason whatsoever. Conjunctions of the planets don't move and hover. Only miraculous stars do.
     
  7. Helen

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    PLEAASE read the articles. The exact house was probably marked by the Shekinah glory cloud, but the star that moved ahead of the wise men was Jupiter. Please don't negate what you have not read, OK?
     
  8. Hope of Glory

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    I have never seen a single secular historian claim that Herod died at any time other than 4 BC. (I'm sure there are some, but not many.) All of the historical evidence points to 4 BC. Now, I've seen some Biblical archaeologists try to claim that Herod died in 1 BC. I can only assume as to why. (My main assumption is so that history is closer to their preconceived theological notions, or perhaps to distance themselves from secular historians.)

    However, since planets are mentioned in the Bible, and they were common knowledge from at least 600 BC, I agree that it was not a planet.
     
  9. Dr. Bob

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    Appreciate Barry's work (read it all and disagree with it) and Helen's defense (as a good wife), but 4 BCE is the historically proven and accepted date of Herod's death. Lunar eclipse, feast within a few weeks, even a proven comet that was a TRUE heavenly phenomenon.

    Also fits that the census was OVER by 3 BCE so a late date for Jesus birth does not relate.

    Birth of Jesus is 1-2 years previous to 4 BCE.

    And Jupiter? Right. Wise men never had seen anything like THAT before. It MUST be a sign!

    Except EVERY year . . .

    Just don't buy a bit of what your selling.
     
  10. Helen

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    HERE is why Herod could not have died in 4 BC, from http://www.hillsdale.edu/imprimis/1996/Dec96Imprimis.pdf

    This is the work of a professional and respected astronomer using his own work and the work of a noted and accepted expert in the field!

    This has NOTHING to do with my support of my husband but with historical FACT!

    ________

    A major key to the chronology is the date of
    the death of Herod the Great, the father
    of another Herod–Herod Antipas, who
    executed John the Baptist and who ruled
    at the time of the Crucifixion. Herod the Great
    was alive when the Star of Bethlehem appeared,
    and the commonly quoted date for his death is 4
    B.C. Thus dates of 7 B.C. through 4 B.C. are
    often given for the birth of Jesus. The political
    events of this period are best known from the
    writings of Josephus Flavius, the Jewish historian who lived from 37 A.D. to about 95 A.D. His testimony has always been considered vital in determining these dates. But the accounts of Josephus and the entire history of this period have been reassessed recently, with important new results, by Ernest Martin, whose book, The Star that Astonished the World (ASK Publications, 1991), has become the authoritative source on the subject.
    According to Josephus, on the night of a lunar
    eclipse Herod executed two rabbis. They were
    accused of inciting some young men to climb up
    on the wall and tear down the golden eagle
    that the king had ordered placed on the gate to the Temple in Jerusalem. This eagle was, of course, an abomination to the Jews because it was a graven image. Soon after this incident, Herod died and was buried. One of his sons inherited his throne shortly before Passover was celebrated.
    It was long believed that the lunar eclipse in
    question occurred on March 13 in 4 B.C. But this
    was only a partial eclipse (40 percent total) and
    fairly hard to detect. And it occurred only 29 days before Passover. Here is what would have had to happen in those 29 days:
    Herod was sick at the time of the execution of
    the rabbis, and his condition worsened almost
    immediately. He was treated for a time by his
    physicians, to no avail. He then decided to pack up the royal household and move to Jericho to take the baths. He tried the baths unsuccessfully for some days and then returned to Jerusalem. Believing that he soon would die, Herod came up with a diabolical plan to insure that all of Israel would mourn his death, in spite of his unpopularity. He commanded the leading men from around the country to come to Jerusalem; there he imprisoned them in the Hippodrome and ordered the army to execute them as soon as he was dead. Israel would indeed mourn, he vowed. (Fortunately, the order was not carried out.)
    In the meantime, word arrived from Rome that Herod finally had the Emperor’s permission
    to execute his rebellious son Antipater, and he
    promptly complied. Five days later Herod died,
    but not before decreeing that his was to be the
    largest funeral ever held in the history of the
    world. His body was embalmed. The army was
    assembled to carry his body in the funeral procession to a burial site some 25 miles away. The soldiers walked in bare feet, as was required
    when in mourning, traveling one mile a day. A
    legate from Rome, where word of Herod’s death
    had been received, arrived to protect the royal
    treasury. Finally, Herod’s son Archelaus was
    crowned king and had time to issue a few decrees
    prior to the celebration of Passover. The 29 days between the eclipse of 4 B.C. and the following Passover simply did not allow enough time for all of this to have happened. A minimum of ten weeks would have been required. But on January 10, 1 B.C., there was a total lunar eclipse visible in Palestine, and it occurred twelve and a half weeks before Passover. As Martin points out, there are other compelling reasons to regard 1 B.C. as the true date of Herod’s death. For example, the War of Varus, known to have followed Herod’s death, can be redated to 1 B.C., where it fits the other known
    facts perfectly. As a clincher, it has recently been discovered that Josephus himself dated Herod’s death to 1 B.C.; a sixteenth century copyist’s error is responsible for the incorrect date, which has been propagated to modern
    editions of Josephus.

    -----------

    Pastor Bob, it doesn't matter whether or not you agree, but that is what happened. That is the historical fact.

    I also doubt sincerely that you have read ALL of Barry's work, as you state. I have not even done that! Your statement that it was 'just Jupiter' indicates that you either have not read the material or that you have purposely misrepresented it.
     
  11. Helen

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    Here is Barry's shorter version:

    The Census order was given by Augustus in 8 BC, but it was implemented province by province. Provincial Italy was taxed in 8/7 BC. Rome itself was taxed in 7/6 BC. As for the province of Judea, Luke records that it was taxed when 'Cyrenius was first Governor of Syria.' Senator P. Sulpicius Quirinius, otherwise known as Cyrenius, was Governor of Syria twice. As Luke states, it was on the first occasion that the world census occurred. Quirinius was Legate (Governor) to Syria an that first occasion for 5 years during the Homonadensian War. He then become Advisor to Gaius Caesar in I BC. Additionally, the Christian historian Tertullian records that the Judean census took place when Sentius Saturninus was Proconsul to Syria, attending to the day to day running of the province, which included Judea. He left early in 2 BC to be replaced by Quinctillius Varus, about a year before the death of Herod, who was the king of Judea. These facts indicate that the census acted on by Joseph and Mary had been completed by late in 3 BC. This is confirmed by the date of Herod's death. According to Matthew, Herod ordered the slaughter of all children two years old and under, according to the time the Star first appeared to the Wise Men. Therefore, if we back-track two years from the date of Herod's death, this will give the latest possible date for the first appearance of the Star and an approximate date for the birth of the Christ-Child.



    Josephus records that Herod died shortly after an eclipse of the Moon seen at Jericho, and sometime before the Feast of Passover. It is this point which has caused much historical. confusion, as we have to select between four Lunar eclipses. There is one key piece of evidence which is often overlooked. The Jewish historian Josephus, records that there was a Jewish holiday celebrating Herod's death on 2nd day of the month Shebat. Significantly, this date is in accord with only one of those 4 eclipses, namely the one an 9th Jan, 1 BC. The 2nd Shebat date fell just 15 days after that eclipse. This means that Herod died 24th January I BC. Consequently, the Christmas star must have appeared throughout 3 and 2 BC. This accords with the census completed by late 3 BC.



    as far as the star of Bethlehem being a comet:

    As we examine Matthew, it becomes apparent that the account requires the star to appear in the eastern sky, move across the starry background, and go before the Magoi to Judea. Only comets, planets, or groupings of planets behave this way. Comets can travel through the background stars at the rate of 1 or 2 degrees per day. They may be visible to the naked eye for 100 days or so. Now a journey to Judea from Persia would take the Wise Men about 6 weeks. Comets would thus be visible long enough for the journey itself. But none last 2 years, and no comets were recorded for the prime dates of 3 and 2 BC. Halley's comet flared in the skies in 11 BC. Another comet swept across the heavens in 4 BC. But both of these were too early. So comets fade as a possibility for the Star.



    This leaves the option of planets. When we examine the night sky with planets in mind, a series of amazing celestial events occurred during this time. On the 1st August 3 BC the drama began to unfold with Jupiter rising in the first rays of dawn. On the 13 August Venus and Jupiter stood very close together in the sunrise. On the 18th, Mercury came out of the solar glare, and on September 1st, Mercury and Venus stood 1/3rd degree apart in the constellation of Leo.



    These were dramatic events. The astronomers who were based at the Sippar Institute would see an astrological significance in these signs. Essentially, Jupiter, the King planet, had left the Sun, the Father of the Gods, to be conjoined with Venus, the Virgin Mother in the constellation of Leo, which is the symbol for the tribe of Judah in Israel.



    Furthermore, Mercury, the Messenger of the Gods, had come from the Sun's presence to stand with Venus the virgin mother in the rays of the dawn.



    Mythology to us, perhaps, but signs in the heavens to them, and God speaks to people in the language they understand.



    On 14th September 3 BC and 17th February and 8th May in 2 BC, Jupiter the King planet stood next to Regulus the brightest star in Leo, which also represented Royalty. Then came a climax to the display. On June 17th 2 BC, Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest planets in the Solar System, appeared to collide. They stood an Incredible 1/50th degree apart and seemed to fuse into one immense ball of Light. This was an unprecedented event. But that was not all. On 27th August in 2 BC there was a grand meeting of the planets In Virgo. Jupiter and Mars were only 1/7th degree apart and close at hand were Mercury and Venus standing together in the glare of the rising sun.



    This dramatic sequence of events ending in Virgo qualified for the Star spoken of by the Zend Avesta. But then Jupiter left the other planets in the dawn, and started to move to the West. This was the sign the Magoi were waiting for. Jupiter the key player in the Christmas star sequence was leading them towards Judea. And so they set out. From that moment in Mid-November, Jupiter the King planet actually went before them in the sky towards Judea. Six weeks later, as the Magoi checked the pre-dawn sky, Jupiter was on the Meridian due south of Jerusalem. It would appear directly over Bethlehem 65 degrees above the southern horizon.



    And just at that time, the final event occurred. Jupiter had reached its furthest point westward, and no longer moved against the background store. It actually 'stood over' where the young Child was. Incredibly, on that same day, the Sun was at its furthest point south for the year, and "stood still" in the heavens (for that is what the word 'solstice' means). Jupiter was again in the constellation Virgo,as the Zend Avesta predicted, when this occurred on 25th December in 2 BC. It was a unique sequence of events that had landed the Magoi at Bethlehem.
     
  12. prophecynut

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    Absoutely no reason to accept any planetary conjunction as the Star of Bethlehem, the planets are separate from one another. It has to be a single star not a group of them together.

    Right on! A heavenly host of angels above Jerusalem would appear as a single star to the Magi in the east. This star seen by the Magi is the same star that directed them to the "house" in Jerusalem. Bethlehem is south of Jerusalem, the star had to travel from north to south contrary to normal stars that travel east to west. So much for the Astrology experts and their Jupiter theory.
     
  13. Johnv

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    It makes sense. The astrologers of the day made no distinction between planets and stars (they didn't even know what a planet was). All points of light in the sky were stars to them. Also, this conjunction would have appeared to them as one point of light.

    Further, Jupiter is the King Star, and I believe Venus was considered the star of fertility or something liek that. A conjunction of Jupiter would have been understood by astologers and mystics to be a sign of the birth of a king.

    Some will surmise that the star was a supernova. unlikely, because Herod was unable to identify the star or its meaning. S supernova would have been seen by all. Yet the Star of Bethlehem only appears to have caught the attention of those who were trained to interpret astrological events. Further, the Chinese at that time were already keeping accurate records of celestial events, and they have no record of supernovas during this time.

    Some will surmise that the star was a comet. But comets were harbingers of doom and gloom, not of good news. They would not have been understood to be a sign of the birth of a king.

    Lastly, the planetary conjunction would have moved across the sky in the direction that the wise men would have travelled, leading them to Bethlehem as described in Luke's account, and even stopping in a position relative to being over bethlehem from the view of a westward traveller.
    Sorry, that's just not so.

    2 Kings is the only place that interprets a phrase as "planet". The Hebrew word here referrs to a constellation or an astrological sign. It does not refer to a planet as we know it.
     
  14. Helen

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    When the planets were so close together from the earth's perspective, they appeared to be one star. That is the first thing.

    And perhaps you missed this:
    Six weeks later, as the Magoi checked the pre-dawn sky, Jupiter was on the Meridian due south of Jerusalem. It would appear directly over Bethlehem 65 degrees above the southern horizon.

    "We have seen His star..." is not a reference to angels, but to a astronomical body.
     
  15. prophecynut

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    Sorry, too late and the wrong direction for your hypothesis.

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:

    "Finally, only five days after Antipater's execution, Herod died at Jericho in the spring of 4 B.C." End of case.
     
  16. prophecynut

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    The NIV Study Bible has this foot note on Mt. 2:2 - "Or star when it rose. Compare to Num. 24:17; 2 Pet. 2:19 and Rev. 22:16. Where did the NIV translators get this, is there another version with the same wording?

    Today's English Version 2:2
    "We saw his star when it came up in the east, and we have come to worship him."

    Jerusalem Bible
    "We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage."

    New English Bible
    "We observed the rising of his star, and we have come to pay him homage."
     
  17. Helen

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    obviously any other research is null and void! If the encyclopedia says something, that is it...forever!
     
  18. Helen

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    Here is from the addendum to Barry's article, which may be of help here:


    _________


    In the Authorized Version, the translation of Matthew 2:2 is not strictly correct. It translates the statement of the Wise Men as "We have seen His Star in the East". In the original Greek "in the east" is in fact "En te anatole" which is the Greek singular. However, elsewhere "the east" is represented by "anatolai", the Greek plural. Dr. Werner Keller, the German archaeologist writes on page 335 of "The Bible As History" (Hodder and Stoughton, 1969) the following comment::


    "The singular form "anatole" has quite a special astronomical significance, in that it implies the observation of the early rising of the star, the so-called heliacal rising. The translators of the Authorised Version could not have known this. When 'en te anatole' is translated properly Matt.2:2 reads as follows: 'We have seen his star appear in the first rays of the dawn.' That would correspond exactly with the astronomical facts."

    The heliacal rising of a prominent star was a defined astronomical phenomenon. The Egyptians noted it, as did other civilizations in the Fertile Crescent and elsewhere. The conclusion is that a very specific 'star' was involved in the heliacal rising.
     
  19. prophecynut

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    In the nine times "east" appears in the NT the Greek anatole is used, never anatolai - if there is such a Greek word.

    "anatole" - 1) a rising (of the sun and stars)
    2) the east (the direction of the sun's rising)

    Matthew identified the Magi in verse one as coming from the east, probably from Persia or Mesopotamia. As strangers in Jerusalem the Magi would of first introduced themselves and then state their reason for coming to Jerusalem, which was to look for the king of the Jews. To state again they were from the east in their question is unlikely. Matthew knew they were from the east, the Magi were aware that the Jews knew who they were. Translating anatole as "east" in the second verse is awkward and repetitious. Makes more sense to translate it "a rising" as the Jerusalem Bible and New English Bible have done.

    JB
    After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of King Herod, some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east. "Where is the infant king of the Jews?" they asked "We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage."

    NEB
    Jesus was born a Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of Herod. After his birth astrologers from the east arrived in Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the child who is born to be king of the Jews? We observed the rising of his star, and we have come to pay him homage.'

    Translators of the NIV and other versions probably chose "east" instead of "rising" because planetary stars do not rise from west to the east. With the star being the Shekinah glory of God or a group of angels ascending to heaven, it could easily rise in the western sky from the east.
     
  20. Ransom

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    Johnv said:

    It makes sense. The astrologers of the day made no distinction between planets and stars (they didn't even know what a planet was).

    They might not have known what it was, but they were well aware that there were a half-dozen or so lights in the sky that moved around relative to the others. The word planet comes from an ancient Greek word meaning "wanderer."

    All points of light in the sky were stars to them. Also, this conjunction would have appeared to them as one point of light.

    But if they were paying such close attention, they would obviously have known that it was, in fact, two lights in close proximity to each other. If they knew it was a planetary conjunction, why wouldn't the Bible say it was one?

    Moreover, conjunctions of Jupiter and Venus aren't particularly rare. They passed closer together on May 17, 2000 than they did in 2 BC. I don't recall any miraculous births happening 5 years ago, do you?

    Lastly, the planetary conjunction would have moved across the sky in the direction that the wise men would have travelled, leading them to Bethlehem as described in Luke's account, and even stopping in a position relative to being over bethlehem from the view of a westward traveller.

    The Bible says more than that: it pointed out the specific house in which the holy family were staying, not merely the general direction of Bethlehem.
     

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