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Christmas Date Made Simple

Question: I read your theory that the Star of Bethlehem was two planets that combined in June 17th of 2 B.C. But, how could the two planets still be combined six months later when the Magi arrived? Would they not have moved apart by then? Just asking.

Here is a brief overview of the dates concerning the conception, birth and crucifixion of Jesus including the date of the arrival of the magi according to the science of astronomy.

John saw a great vision involving a pregnant woman in the heavens with 12 stars over her head giving birth to a male child (Revelation 12:1). This astronomical scene actually appeared in the skies over Judah or Israel on September 11th of 3B.C. This then was the conception of Jesus during the Holy feast of Yom Kippur when the Jews pray for salvation from God.

Star of Bethlehem as Seen By Magi

If we fast forward 9 months to June 17th 2 B.C., we see the planets Jupiter and Venus stack on top of each other. This produced the brightest light ever seen  in human history. This then was the birth date of Jesus. The two planets then passed each other and the “Star” was now gone. However, the Magi of Babylonia saw the Star in the constellation of Leo the Lion and decided it was a sign from the God of Daniel that the world’s Messiah was born (Daniel 2:48; Daniel 9:24-27). So, they started making plans for the 900 mile trip to Judah or Israel.

Magi Leave For Judah Following A Traveling Star

The Magi left the Kingdom of Babylon heading due west in late September or early October (Matthew 2:1). They were three hundred miles into their nine hundred mile trip when they noticed that Jupiter, then referred to as a traveling star, made a sudden retrograde {stopped} on October 30th 2 B.C. We can now verify this actually happened on this exact date through the science of astronomy. The Magi were six hundred miles into their trip when they noted that Jupiter made a second and extremely rare retrograde on November 25th 2 B.C. Again, this can and has been scientifically verified. Then, thirty days later and from Herod’s palace, they observed Jupiter making an extraordinary third and final retrograde. It was then that Jupiter literally “came” {traveled} and “stood” {retrograded or stopped} over Jerusalem (Matthew 2:9). Again, this event has been verified by modern astronomy to have actually happened on theses dates.

So, at this point in time, the original Star {Venus & Jupiter} they saw six months earlier in Babylonia that heralded the birth of Jesus was gone. Now they were following a wandering star that today we know as Jupiter which was showing them where Jesus could be found.

Magi Find Jesus as a Six Month Old Living In A House With His Parents (Matt 2:11)

It was then that the magi wondered how could they ever locate the child in a city the size of Jerusalem? However, the Magi learned from Herod’s chief priests and scribes of a prophecy that the Messiah would come from Ephrata which is the ancient name of Bethlehem (Matthew 2:4). This was a small village located three miles south of Jerusalem and the home of King David (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:6-8). The Magi immediately went to Bethlehem, and on December 25th, 2 B.C. they found Jesus, now a six month old {referred to as a “young child”} and his parents living in a "home" (Matthew 2:11). This then was the first celebration of the birth of Jesus by wise men.

We have writings that show Christians were celebrating the birth of Christ circa 150 A.D. but no exact date is given. Clement of Alexandria wrote circa 200 A.D. that the date being celebrated was December 25th. In 336 A.D. this date was made the official time to celebrate the birth of Christ. The church then held a Mass in honor of this date and referred to it as the Christ Mass from which we get the name Christmas. Thus, we continue this tradition of celebrating His birth on this date.

The Gospel of Matthew literal states that the Magi arrived “after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judah” and that they saw the star {Jupiter} “stop” over Bethlehem where Jesus was living in a “house” (Matthew 2:9). Modern astronomy can now scientifically verify for a fact that what is stated in Matthew concerning the Wondering Star {Jupiter} actually happened and the exact date it happened. Therefore, the conception and birth dates of Jesus are now certain. And, the arrival date of the magi six months later is now known. These dates are no longer a mystery nor are the events unprovable theories. They are now firmly grounded in irrefutable astronomical fact. Fortunately for us, God permanently fixed the stars and planets in the firmament for “signs” of things that have been and are to come (Genesis 1:14-17).

Big Bang

On a closing note, think about this. God created the Big Bang knowing that Jesus would be born in the future to bring salvation to mankind. He wanted the birth and death of His only begotten biological Son to be permanently remembered in the heavens. This means that from the Big Bang on, a tremendous grand and unfathomably complex clock was now ticking. Then, 13.8 billion years later, two planets would converge exactly when they were supposed to on June 17th, 2 B.C. and herald the birth of His Son to those wise enough to be looking for a sign. Then, 33 years later on April 3rd, 33A.D., the death of His son would be marked by the appearance of a Blood Moon rising over His tomb. And, although this moon rose over Judea at sunset, according to astronomical calculations, it turned red three hours earlier while below the Judean horizon. It actually turned red at 3:00 P.M. the exact same time Jesus died on the cross (Matthew 27:45). But it was seen rising over Judah at sundown when Jesus was being put in His tomb! And all these events were put in motion 13.8 billion years earlier. How incredible to consider the span of these timelines. And, more importantly, how great is our God, who purposefully set these timelines in motion before the foundations of the world (Matthew 13:35; John 17:24; I Peter 1:20).

It is obvious we should continue to look to the skies in anticipation of what is to come in this final Age of the Rule of Mankind on earth. In the words of the Apostle Luke, “Look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28).

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