Sunday, January 8, 2012

The star of Bethlehem

Information summarized below comes courtesy the DVD, played in today's Bible study, by Rick Larson.

Important people for understanding the star of Bethlehem:
  • Kepler - laws of planetary motion let us calculate reliably what the sky was like on any given date in history
  • Newton - refined Kepler's laws to account for planetary "perturbations"
  • Josephus - when correctly interpreted, gives the date of Herod's death
Background texts:
  • Job 36:31-32 - God controls the skies
  • Isaiah 40:26 - God names each star! Each is always where it belongs!
  • Psalm 19:1-4 (v. 4 quoted by Paul) - God told of Jesus through the stars; the Bethlehem Star is historical. Stars are "thermometers" (i.e. truthful but otherwise inactive agents)
Characteristics of the star, per Matthew:
  • Rose from the east
  • Appeared at an exact time (September of 3 B. C.)
  • Went ahead of the magi (moved due south en route from Jerusalem to Bethlehem)
  • Endured over time (from Christ's conception onward)
  • Stopped over where Jesus was (December 25, 2 B. C.! - after His birth)
  • Herod had to ask about it (phenomenon not striking to all observers)
  • Signified birth (Revelation 12:1-3 - Virgo, with the sun and moon, rose behind Regulus)
  • Signified Judah/Israel (Jupiter drew a "halo" within the Leo constellation)
  • Signified kingship (Jupiter, the king planet, circled Regulus, the king star)
In Larson's terms, the celestial "poem" spanned Jesus Christ's earthly life:
  • Joel (quoted in Acts) - "blood moon" is the ancient terminology for a lunar eclipse
  • The Friday (Day of Preparation for the Passover) coincided with the 14th day of Nisan the year Jesus was crucified
  • Pilate and Herod were ruling, confirming the year A. D. 33
  • Darkness 12-3pm, earthquakes, and other signs accompanied a full moon, again at the "feet" of Virgo (see again Revelation 12:1-3)
Curious? Investigate the site!

Soli Deo gloria.