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The Star of Bethlehem

 

The Star Of Bethlehem

Have you ever wondered about the star of Bethlehem?  Was it a miracle or a myth or a natural phenomenon?  Plain Talk would like to share with you a view presented by Risto Santala in his book, The Messiah In The New Testament In The Light Of Rabbinical Writings.

 

Why is it remarkable that Matthew alone records the account of the Star?

The gospel of Matthew is considered one of the “most Jewish” of the gospels yet the Jews were prohibited to worship the moon and stars as many ancient people did.

 

What prophecy do we find about Bethlehem?

Butt as for you Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah.  From you One will go forth for Me to be a ruler of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.  His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.  (Micah 5: 2)

 

How does the Old Testament connect a star with the coming Messiah?

I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; a star shall come forth from Jacob, and a scepter shall rise from Israel; and shall crush through the forehead of Moab, and tear down all the sons of Sheth.  (Numbers 24: 17)

 

How would the wise men of Babylon be familiar with these Jewish prophecies?

In 586 BC the nation of the Jews were carried off into 70 years of captivity into Babylon and the movement of the stars have been chartered for thousands of years in the East.

 

What was the expectation of the Jews in regard to the Messiah?

A star would appear in the east two years before the birth of the Messiah.  They believed that a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn occurred in Pisces, three years before the birth of Moses the deliverer and similarly a conjunction of these two planets would occur two years before the second Moses.

 

Was there a conjunction?

In 7 BC, two years before the birth of Christ, a conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter did occur in Pisces.  “This coniunctio magna lasted for nine months. In the first phase from the 12 Of April to the beginning of June, the planets drew gradually nearer to each other.  A new conjunction began in the middle of July, fusing into a great brilliant star for ten days in the first weeks of October; perhaps at it’s brightest on the 3rd, the Great Day of Atonement.  The third phase, in which the two planets receded from one another, began in the middle of November and lasted until the beginning of December.”

 

How does the expectations correlate with the slaughter of the innocents?

Herod had all the male babies, less than two years of age, born in Bethlehem killed.  This would appear to tie in with the expectation that the conjunction would appear two years before the birth of the Deliverer.

For a more detailed account please refer to the book, pages 78 – 85.

God bless

Arland  Pafford  

 

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Last Update   09/26/12