Could the declaration of the heavens have been any louder at Messiah’s birth?

By John Holbrook Jr.
A Biblical View, posted December 25, 2016

 According to my chronology, Messiah was crucified during Passover on Nisan 14 (Thursday, March 31/Friday, April 1) in 33 AD, in the middle of His fourth year of ministry, which places the start of His ministry around the end of September 29 AD. Since His 30th birthday occurred prior to the start of His ministry, His birth day must have fallen in August or September 2 BC. I was struggling to pinpoint the exact date when I discovered Ernest Martin’s The Birth of Christ Recalculated, Foundation for Biblical Research, Pasadena, CA, 1980. It identifies the following astronomical events as having occurred in the period between August 3 BC and December 29, 1 BC (page locations follow EM in the citations below). It also suggests that Messiah was born on Tishri 1 (the Feast of Trumpets = Rosh-ha-shanna).    

On August 12, 3 BC, after leaving the vicinity of the Sun, Jupiter (the Father) conjoined with Venus (the Mother), and together they rose as an unusually bright morning star. Jupiter was often associated with the birth of kings, and this event would have been regarded as a harbinger of the birth of a king. Meanwhile, the sun (the Supreme Father), the Moon (also a mother), and Mercury (the Messenger of the gods), congregated in the constellation Leo (the Lion) – not only was Leo Judah’s natal sign, but Messiah was called “the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.” (EM pp.13-14)

During the next twenty days, Mercury moved toward Venus in the constellation Leo (their conjunction occurred circa September 1, 3BC), while the Sun moved out of the constellation Leo and into the constellation Virgo (the Virgin) and Jupiter entered the constellation Leo. These events appear to echo some of the themes surrounding Messiah’s first advent, when a Messenger, John-the-Baptist, would announce the coming of a prince (Gabriel’s term for Messiah in the vision he gave to Daniel), who would be born as the Son of God-the-Father and Miriam (a virgin mother) and would reign over all as King-of-kings and Lord-of-lords. (EM pp.13-14)

On September 14, 3 BC, Jupiter conjoined with Regulus (the King, a star of the first magnitude and the chief star of the constellation Leo). (EM p.15)

On February 17, 2 BC, Jupiter again conjoined with Regulus. They were joined by the Moon. (EM p.16)

On May 8, 2 BC, Jupiter again conjoined with Regulus. (EM p.16)

On June 17, 2 BC, after continuing its westward passage across the sky, Jupiter conjoined with Venus in the constellation Leo at the exact time of a full Moon. The two planets were so close that they would have appeared as one gigantic star in a marriage union. (EM p.16)

On August 27, 2 BC, Jupiter and Mars (the Warrior) conjoined, with Mercury and Venus nearby. Together the four stars constituted what in astrological circles is known as a “massing” in the constellation Leo. At the same time, the Sun was entering the constellation Virgo. (EM p.17)

The next day was Saturday, August 28, 2BC, which was both the Sabbath and Tishri 1 (the Feast of Trumpets = Rosh-ha-shanna) – the perfect day for the birth of Messiah.

On December 25, 2 BC, after leaving the company of Mercury, Mars, and Venus and travelling westward for four months, Jupiter stopped in the sky – having reached a stationary point between its progression and regression with respect to Earth. It would have appeared motionless in the sky for a period of six days centered on that date. From the perspective of Jerusalem at dawn, the normal time for astronomical observations, Jupiter would have been located in the meridian position at an elevation of 68 degrees above the southern horizon, which would have put it in the abdomen of Virgo (the Virgin) and directly over Bethlehem, toward which the Magi were traveling. In addition, the Sun reached the Winter Solstice on December 21/22 and therefore was also standing still in the sky. (EM pp.21-22) [1]

On December 29, 1 BC, an eclipse of the moon occurred which would have been visible throughout Palestine. This was undoubtedly the day on which Herod had a man named Matthias executed and another man named Matthias deprived of the position of High Priest. (EM pp.21-22)

While he was creating Universe, God said,

“Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years.” [2]

Three millennia later, King David wrote,

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handywork. Day upon day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their sound is gone forth through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath He set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom [3] coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. [4]

One millennium after that, Luke wrote,

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” [5]

© 2016 John Holbrook Jr.


[1] Perhaps the Magi arrived in Bethlehem on December 25th, and their paying homage to and bearing gifts for the infant Jesus marked the beginning of celebrating Christmas on that day, which has always been associated with the worshipping of the Lord and the giving and receiving of gifts.

[2] KJ21 Genesis 1:14.

[3] According to the Scriptures, Messiah came to earth to save His bride.

[4] KJ21 Psalms 19:1-6.

[5] KJ21 Luke 2:8-14.


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