First published in December of 2020. A great study!
By Bob Barney
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea when Herod was king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who is born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him." When Herod the king heard it, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he asked them where the Christ would be born. They said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written through the prophet, 'You Bethlehem, land of Judah, are in no way least among the princes of Judah: For out of you shall come forth a governor, Who shall shepherd my people, Israel'". Micah 5:2
Then Herod secretly called the wise men and learned from them exactly what time the star appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem, and said, "Go and search diligently for the young child. When you have found him, bring me word, so that I also may come and worship him."
They, having heard the king, went on their way; and all at once they saw that the star, which they followed from the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the young child was.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. They came into the house and saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Opening their treasures, they offered to him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Notice these wise men (and we do not know the number) came to a house to visit the baby Jesus, not to the manger. They were not present when he was born, but came upward to 2 years later! Notice that in verse 16, Herod orders all children two years and under to be killed!
The wise men (Magi) were probably scientists and came presumably from Babylon, but possibly from Assyria or Chaldea. Scientists of this day were also considered religious figures as the ancients rightly knew that science and God go together, unlike today. When Daniel was in captivity in Babylon, he eventually became the leader and the teacher of a group known as Magi... It can be assumed, since Daniel knew the future, he instructed his students to look for signs of the coming Messiah.
At about the sixth century Catholic tradition changed the Magi into Kings and their number was fixed at three because of the threefold nature of their gift's gold, frankincense and myrrh (but six Kings in the eastern tradition), yet the Bible nowhere mentions their number. It could have been two, three, four or forty!
The star was not very bright, and everyone knew this, but the star still must have held astrological significance. Also, it must have been a fairly long-lasting phenomenon. Possibly Daniel knew that this astrological phenomenon would occur!
It was only in medieval times that the star got to be depicted as very bright and with a tail, suggesting as a comet or a meteorite, but again, the Bible makes no such statement! In fact, there is a possibility that the “star” was actually an angel, as the Bible refers to angels as “stars!”
Still, we may wonder what has perpetuated the story and where the information originated on the alleged birth date of Christ.
After many years of research, I have come to the conclusion that the star was actually the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter! Something celestial by the way, is going to happen this December 21st2020.
We know from the Bible that Jesus was born during the reign of King Herod. Herod died sometime around a lunar eclipse seen from Jericho and around Passover time, so probably the eclipse of March 12, 4 BC. We also know it was during the time of the census, which Augustus proclaimed in 8 BC! Reasonably, Christ was born between these years....
The famed German astronomer Johannes Kepler observed the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 1603-04, which caused him to calculate back in time and to suggest that the star in 7 BC was the star of Bethlehem. I believe he was right. Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) was one of the great mathematical minds of human history. As Arthur Koestler wrote in The Sleepwalkers, “Kepler and Galileo were the two giants on whose shoulders Newton stood.”
In the ancient world planets were symbols. Jupiter was the planet of Kings, Saturn was the planet of the priestly class, and happening in the constellation of Pisces, being representative of the Jewish people. So, this meant to the Magi taught by Daniel, the King of the Jews was to be born and this King would be the priestly Messiah!
The Conjunction occurred 3 times over the course of a year. The year was probably 6 BC, but some argue 7 BC. Both years would fit...It occurred over a period of time---which would cover the period of Christ's conception and the Magi's journey to Bethlehem, as recounted in Matthew 2:9–10. The first was May 29th which is Pentecost and probably the day John the Baptists was born. The next conjuncture was at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles and Atonement. THIS IS WHEN JESUS WAS BORN! Remember the Magi did NOT visit Jesus in the manger! That is paganism! The Bible clearly shows they visited Jesus in a HOUSE! Herod himself, when meeting the Magi, ordered all male children in Bethlehem to be murdered up to 2 years old, showing you that the Magi knew the child was no longer an infant in a manger! The third conjuncture happened in December (like this year) around the 21st, when they found the baby Jesus in a home! He was either 3 months old, or possibly 15 months old, depending on possible calendar error.
It is clear the Christ was not born in December. The flocks were still in the field, and in December in Israel, flocks are in barns. Luke 2:8 provides the first indication, as flocks were still in the fields at night. The flocks were brought in for the winter season of mid-October to mid-March.
The next proof is the fact that Jesus was born six months after John the Baptist (Luke 1:24-26, 36). When was John the Baptist born? May 29th! Because Zacharias’ (his Father) performed his priestly functions during the 7th Month Feast of Tabernacles, which starts Sept 29th. This was when he was told he would have a child, and nine months later would be as late as May 29th, when the same “STAR” appeared. It makes sense it was more likely during Passover time as he was six months older than Jesus. Therefore, Christ’s birth had to be in early autumn or during the feast
Logical math is that Jesus Christ was probably born on either the Day of Atonement or during the Feast of Tabernacles (First or Last Great Day?). The Magi got to the house much later, during December, leading to the false Christmas manger scene we see today during the pagan XMAS celebration. Christ was not born December 25th, but tradition holds that the Lucifer (Satan) was created on that day! This is an opportunity to just stop and think about that for a moment.
Present day, the next great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn will be on the day of the solstice: December 21, 2020. Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions happen every 20 years; the last one was in the year 2000 but wasn't visible during the daytime. The 2020 great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn will be the closest since 1623 and the closest observable since 1226! On December 21, 2020, Jupiter and Saturn will be only 0.1 degree apart. Some say the pair will look like an “elongated star” on that date. Will they? We will have to look and see! They’ll surely be an appealing and mind-expanding sight. This extra-close Jupiter-Saturn conjunction won’t be matched again until the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of March 15, 2080.
What you will probably see this solstice will be similar to what the Magi's saw over 2000 years ago on the same day! A “star” leading to the baby Jesus. Not Jesus' birthday, but their visit!