The Point of the Christmas Star

Virgo Sun Moon header

The most influential Christian theologian of all time was the Jewish scholar, the Apostle Paul.  His brilliant mind was sharpened by the best education of his day and his theology was radically shaped by personal encounters with Jesus.

The Creation Declared the King!

One of Paul’s frustrations was the refusal of so many of his own people to recognize Jesus as their God in the flesh, despite many rational and supernatural proofs.

In his message to Roman believers, Paul said:

“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? … So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for

Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.” 1

(I’ll explain why “their voice” is in bold below). Paul quotes the Greek translation of Psalm 19:4. Let’s look at the first 4 verses, here translated from Hebrew:

The heavens are telling the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims the work of his hands.

Every day, they pour forth speech, and every night they tell knowledge.

There is no speech and there are no words; their sound is inaudible.

Yet in all the world their line goes out, and their words to the end of the world…

(I’ll explain why “their line” is in bold below). While many want to use this and similar passages to defend astrology and others want to look at it symbolically, this poetry does not reflect symbolism or a defense of astrology.

A Note on Astrology

The Ancient Hebrews shared the zodiac with other ancient peoples. It was a clear tool to tell the months and seasons, but they also believed God could communicate what he was doing through the heavens. Here is an image of the Hebrew zodiac taken from the ancient world.

Hebrew Zodiac

 

Astrology, however, is different. Astrology is the notion that the destiny of individuals, families, and nations is determined by cosmic powers in the heavens. I dealt with astrology in a podcast sometime ago, where I explain that astrologists tried gaining credibility through linking their occultism to science, but it ultimately leads to a collosal denial of free will by adherents and is rather dangerous. Check out the podcast on this here 

or watch the video, which is just the podcast with slides.

Psalm 19 and other similar biblical passages do not defend or support astrology.  Instead, they suppose that, since God made the heavens, he can use the heavens to communicate things to us.

Back to Paul: The Heavens Proved Jesus was King

Paul indicates that the stars preach the truth that Jesus was the divine king who came to Israel, and yet most Jews rejected him. Paul went on to quote Isaiah:

“I have been found by those who did not seek me;
I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”

What is Paul thinking about in this passage? To whom did the stars preach the truth that God emptied himself to become human and came to earth to inaugurate the Kingdom of God?

Since most Jews missed it, who saw it? The Magi, perhaps?

The Heavenly Signs of Christmas

John tells us in Revelation 12, describing the birth of Jesus.

And a great sign appeared in heaven:a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.

And another sign appeared in heaven:behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth.

And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.

She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days. 2

Above, I bolded from Paul’s quotation of Psalm 19, “the voice” and the same word in Hebrew, “the line.”

In the ancient world (and also ours), this refers to the ecliptic, the imaginary line astronomers use to track the constellations of the zodiac used by God to speak mysteries to those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

The constellation Virgo (the Virgin) is crowned with twelve stars. Being clothed with the sun (being in the constellation) and the moon at her feet looked like this:

Virgo Sun moonThis occurred once for about a 20 day window.

Notice, during this 20 day window, the co-joining of Jupiter and Regulus above Virgo. In the First Century, Jupiter was known as the “King Planet”, because it was the brightest planet, and Regulus was known as the “King Star”, because it was the brightest star.  To the human viewer, this co-joining would look like a very large and bright star.

When Virgo was clothed with the sun and the moon at her feet, this very bright star appeared for about 80 minutes coincidentally (as it’s called) in the constellation Leo, which to the Hebrews meant the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

Virgo Sun Moon header

But then, maybe they weren’t coincidences and, as Psalms 19 declares, God can communicate through his creation.

In the ancient world, the two constellations at Virgo’s feet, were considered a single constellation: a scorpion creature with claws called The Dragon. Coincidentally, as it’s called, another dragon is off the line a bit, also at her feet.

Virgo Sun Moon Jupiter Regula

The time that these conditions occurred was 3 B.C on September 11.

9-11 3 BC

Coincidentally, as its called, September 11 is, in the Hebrews’ civil calendar (when the year number changes), Tishri 1: the Jewish New Year.

It’s also the Day of Trumpets, when the Hebrews would inaugurate a new king.

Perhaps the Magi and other astronomers noted this. The Magi packed their bags and came looking for the King of the tribe of Judah. As mentioned here, they came in force and set the whole region in spasms of fear.

Of course, there’s more.

There’s more to this which I won’t get into here, related to linking Jesus to the beginning of the Great Flood, Noah’s birthday, giants and wickedness and the fallen sons of God and the destruction of evil.

It’s also linked to when Jesus sent out 70 or 72 (depending on your translation) disciples to begin the reclamation of the nations from the powers of darkness, the war in Heaven, and Satan being cast down to earth like lightning (Luke 10:17-20 and the parallel passage Rev 12: 7-17).

But I don’t have time to go deeper today. Subscribe if you like this content and want more.

I didn’t come up with any of this and it’s not the majority view but so what? Most of what we discuss here isn’t the majority view!

Listen to bible scholar Dr. Heiser’s presentations and review the slides here. He discusses this in the third presentation, but don’t skip the first two because they set up the context.

The Point of the Christmas Star

The point is this: for those who had the eyes to see, the heavens declared that the Divine King had come to earth to destroy the powers of darkness forever by establishing God’s ever-expanding Kingdom.

The Christmas Star proclaimed it. So go, tell it on the mountains, over the hills and everywhere, that Jesus Christ is born!

And then prove it.

Notes:

  1. Romans 10:14-18 ESV
  2. Revelation 12:1-5

Comments

  1. Great article, Doug! Just FYI – the link on this page to Mike. Heiser’s talk doesn’t seem to be working – at least not when I click it on my mobile devices. I did find Mike Heiser’s talks by using search but I thought you’d want to know.

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