Editor - Robert Scott Wadsworth <> P.O. Box 5772, Oregon City, OR 97045-8272
Phone (503) 655-7430 <> e-mail - email@example.com <> website - www.atlbible.org/astronomy.htm
DECEMBER 25, 2 B.C.
Though Jesus Christ was most likely born on September 11, 3 B.C., the Magi (wise men) did not arrive in Bethlehem to present their gifts to the Lord until late December, 2 B.C. When the shepherds found Jesus shortly after his birth, he was a babe lying in a manger (Luke 2:16). When the Magi found Jesus, he was a young child in a house (Matthew 2:11). Herod inquired of the Magi diligently what time the star first appeared to them. Later Herod "sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men." The Lord was 1 year and 3 months old at this time or in his 2nd year.
The following is from Ernest L. Martin's book "The Star That Astonished The World", Second Edition, pp. 59, 60:
"We are told in the New Testament that Jesus was born of a virgin. And precisely on December 25, 2 B.C., Jupiter "stopped" in the abdomen region of Virgo, the Virgin (in the middle of the constellation). This position was right where a woman carries a child in pregnancy. On that day the "King planet" stopped its lateral motion through the stars and remained stationary for about six days. During those days it did not move longitudinally more than on fortieth of the Moon's diameter from its December 25th position. To an observer on earth it appeared completely stationary in the midst of Virgo. This would have appeared significant to astrologers. They looked on the Winter Solstice period as the beginning of the new Sun. This period signified to many Gentile astrologers as the time for showing the birth of the Sun. It was celebrated in most areas of the world as the nativity of the "Ruler" of the heavens. And the "King planet" (Jupiter) was now stationary in the central region of Virgo, the Virgin.
Be this as it may, how was it possible for Jupiter to be stationary over the village of Bethlehem at that time? There is not the slightest problem for it to do so. The Bible says the Magi saw the star come to a stop while they were in Jerusalem. And on December 25, 2 B.C., at the ordinary time for the Magi's pre-dawn observations, Jupiter would have been seen in the meridian position (directly over Bethlehem) at an elevation of 68 degrees above the southern horizon. This precise position would show the planet shining directly down on Bethlehem while it was stationary among the stars. What a remarkable coincidence this was. And though this period has nothing to do with the actual birth of Jesus, as we will show later in this book, it may have been the time when the Magi presented their gifts to Jesus. This could be the reason why people in the later Christian Church said that December 25 was a day associated with the Magi presenting their costly and royal gifts to the newborn Jesus."
Now it was at this time that Joseph was told by an angel of the Lord to take Jesus and Mary and flee into Egypt (which included the Sinai). They stayed in Egypt until the death of Herod (Matt. 2:13-23). There is reference by the historian Josephus that King Herod died not long after an eclipse of the moon. Ernest L. Martin shows in his book The Star that Astonished the World that Herod died about four weeks after the total lunar eclipse which occurred around 1:00 a.m. (Jerusalem Time) on January 10, 1 B.C.The Star that Astonished the World is available for $15.00 from:
MAIL LIST CRASH
While attempting to make a backup for the Biblical Astronomy mailing list in November, the system crashed and I lost the whole list. Fortunately, I kept all the hardcopy orders, but had to retype the addresses in. That is one reason why the November newsletters are late. I do not know if I got all the address changes. Please check the address on your envelope and let me know if it is not correct. Sorry for the inconvenience.
UNIQUE PLANETARY LINE-UP
There is a unique planetary line-up occurring between December 1 and 8, 1997, that is getting a lot of media attention. It is the line-up of eight planets and the moon which spread across about two thirds of the observable sky (if you include Saturn, which is quite some distance from Jupiter compared to the other planets in the line). All planets except for Saturn are shown on Chart 43. This type of line-up occurs about once per century. I do not know of what Biblical significance this is, but find it interesting since it is another rare event in the midst of all the other events occurring between 1996 and 2004. Also at this time, Venus is at its brightest, shining at a magnitude of -4.7 as an evening star in the constellation Capricornus (December 7-21, peaking on Dec. 11). It only gets this bright about every three to five years. Actually, Venus is on an eight year cycle. The last time Venus was at magnitude -4.7 was in early December, 1994. At that time it was a morning star in the constellation Virgo. The next time Venus will shine at magnitude -4.7 will be in early December, 2002, when it will again be a morning star in Virgo. Venus shines at its brightest magnitude (-4.7) as a morning star in Virgo every eight years in early December. Venus will again shine at its brightest magnitude as an evening star in the constellation Capricornus in early December, 2005, eight years from now. Venus shines at its brightest magnitude (-4.7) as an evening star in Capricornus every eight years in early December. In recent history at least (looks like another massive research project), the only times that Venus shines at its brightest is in these eight year cycles and (at least in the last 35 years) always in the constellation Virgo as a morning star, and in Capricornus as an evening star, and always from early to the third week in December. Again, these are the only times that Venus displays its maximum brightness.
What is interesting about the constellations that this occurs in is that it is the sign Virgo which is the major sign that portrays the birth of Jesus Christ, and that it is the sign Capricornus which is the major sign that portrays the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I just came upon this discovery as I was writing this newsletter. I plan to do further research on this in the near future.
Another interesting planetary line-up occurs on January 1, 1998 in the sign Capricornus. This is displayed on Chart 44. In the early December alignment, the planets seen on this chart were spread over two constellations, here they are all in the constellation Capricornus. A crescent Moon will also be seen with this alignment. The first crescent of the new moon will most likely be visible from Jerusalem on January 1, 1998. The moon will be 4% illuminated at that time. It will only be 1% illuminated on December 31, as seen from Israel. However, from the west coast of the United States, the moon will be 2% illuminated on December 31 and close to Venus which will still be very bright. It should be a wonderful celestial sight to lay eyes on after sunset on New Year's Eve (weather permitting). The crescent moon will be next to Jupiter as seen from the U.S. after sunset on January 1.
Chart 45 displays the conjunction of Venus and Mars that will occur on December 22, 1997 in the constellation Capricornus (The goat of atonement slain for the redeemed). This is the second time these two planets have come into conjunction in less than two months. Venus will be going into a retrograde loop, allowing Mars to catch up to it. This loop is shown in Chart 46 which displays the paths of Jupiter and Venus from December 1, 1997 to April 23, 1998, when Venus will rendezvous with Jupiter. There will be more on the April 23rd conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in the March or April, 1998 newsletter (Lord willing).