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An Astronomer's Explanation For The Star Of Bethlehem
Scientific Blogging ^ | December 25th 2008

Posted on 12/25/2008 9:15:43 AM PST by CE2949BB

According to the Bible, when Jesus was born three Magi saw a star in the East that signaled the birth of a new king. But just what was it, from an astronomical point or view, that the Magi actually saw?

Fred Grosse, a professor of physics and astronomy at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa., says there are several popular theories that may answer this question.

(Excerpt) Read more at scientificblogging.com ...


TOPICS: Astronomy; History; Science
KEYWORDS: archaeoastronomy; astronomy; bethlehem; bible; christmas; fredgrosse; godsgravesglyphs; johanneskepler; miracle; starofbethlehem; staroftheeast

1 posted on 12/25/2008 9:15:44 AM PST by CE2949BB
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To: CE2949BB

I have my own explanation for the star over Bethlehem...GOD...no other explaination needed.


2 posted on 12/25/2008 9:29:21 AM PST by democratsaremyenemy
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To: CE2949BB

I have my own explanation for the star over Bethlehem...GOD...no other explaination needed.


3 posted on 12/25/2008 9:29:21 AM PST by democratsaremyenemy
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To: CE2949BB

http://www.bethlehemstar.net/


4 posted on 12/25/2008 9:31:29 AM PST by GulfWar1Vet
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To: CE2949BB

http://lucis.net/stuff/clarke/star_clarke.html


5 posted on 12/25/2008 9:38:16 AM PST by Cyber Ninja (His legacy is a stain on the dress.)
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To: CE2949BB

I watched a special on cable . . . not sure which station . . . where they picked apart every little detail of Christ’s birthday, right down to the virgin birth and found it so amusing that secular humanists (atheists) could be so void of common sense and a warm heart to reject faith in Jesus Christ . . . If this would have happened then “that” could have happened . . . and on and on.

Heck, if frogs had wings, they wouldn’t bump their ass . . . so who gives a fig?


6 posted on 12/25/2008 9:41:22 AM PST by laweeks
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To: CE2949BB

Get back to me when they’ve decided whether or not Pluto is a planet.


7 posted on 12/25/2008 9:45:02 AM PST by Texas Eagle (Who'll save the world from those who think only they can save it?. -- Ashleigh Brilliant)
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To: Texas Eagle
Get back to me when they’ve decided whether or not Pluto is a planet.

Pluto is a planet - plus it was discovered by Americans, so we need to make sure it keeps its planet designation.

8 posted on 12/25/2008 9:49:58 AM PST by Hacksaw
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To: CE2949BB

Some think that these magi were the remnants of those who are left from the time of Daniel and had carried on what Daniel would have taught them at that time. Daniel was given knowledge of the future by prophecies that God gave him. We have those that are written down and they are accurate. Daniel could have also been given prophetic events that would have signaled the coming of the Messiah, and that this was the remnant from the time of Daniel, of those who were to “keep watch” for that coming time.

The magi were recognized and known as “king-makers” in that they often had a part in the recognition of new kings. When they would travel, they wouldn’t be a lonely and solitary group of guys traveling all alone out there. They would have traveled with an “army” or military garrison, having the full authority of the state.

Herod and Jerusalem were quite disturbed at their coming, because this could spell a lot of trouble for Israel. If another king was “to be made” (according to the magi, known as “king-makers”) — then Herod and those others in his employ and associated with Herod were in trouble. Their “status-quo” was threatened.

Herod received them because they were foreign emissaries from that adjoining country (but were not necessarily friends with Israel). This would have been a big delegation and a significant one — one big enough and important enough to be able to command an audience with King Herod.

So, Herod was very cautious about them and they were very cautious about Herod (and having been warned to not return to Herod). They also came long after Jesus was born. Jesus was in a residence by the time they arrived. And, the fact that Herod went to kill all newborns from two years and under tells us the maximum time period that they arrived, later...

These were all events that happened according to the plan of God and according to His wisdom in bringing Jesus, the Messiah of Israel, into the world for the salvation of mankind, all who accept Him as the Savior of the world...


9 posted on 12/25/2008 9:52:46 AM PST by Star Traveler
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To: Hacksaw
Pluto is a planet

Well, it's a dwarf planet anyway.

10 posted on 12/25/2008 10:07:53 AM PST by GL of Sector 2814
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To: OnTheDress

Thank you - I’ve always loved that story.


11 posted on 12/25/2008 10:12:38 AM PST by Tennessee_Bob (They're illegal aliens, not immigrants - there is a difference!)
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To: GL of Sector 2814
Well, it's a dwarf planet anyway

Hey, hey, we gotta be P.C. Its a little person planet. ;^)

12 posted on 12/25/2008 10:16:52 AM PST by fhayek
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To: CE2949BB

Where in the Bible does it say THREE Magi saw the star?


13 posted on 12/25/2008 10:27:40 AM PST by MrLee (Sha'alu Shalom Yerushalyim!! God bless Eretz Israel.)
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To: Tennessee_Bob
and this one

http://www.geocities.com/rojodos/docs/9000000000.htm

14 posted on 12/25/2008 10:29:42 AM PST by Cyber Ninja (His legacy is a stain on the dress.)
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To: OnTheDress

http://www.geocities.com/rojodos/docs/9000000000.htm


15 posted on 12/25/2008 10:30:39 AM PST by Cyber Ninja (His legacy is a stain on the dress.)
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To: laweeks

I’ve seen that documentary, I think. It’s a gentleman giving the presentation, with the night sky behind him, right? He is able to backtrack using computer program that positions the stars/planets as they would have been on specific dates. Very interesting documentary. I’ve watched it with my kids, and they were actually interested in it...with no Disney script or pop star!


16 posted on 12/25/2008 10:30:55 AM PST by I'm ALL Right! (When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.)
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To: fhayek

And, of course, the star witnessed was merely the result of an excess of swamp gas and mass hysteria.


17 posted on 12/25/2008 11:08:07 AM PST by DPMD (~)
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To: fhayek
Hey, hey, we gotta be P.C. Its a little person planet. ;^)

Differently sized planet...

18 posted on 12/25/2008 11:17:33 AM PST by GL of Sector 2814
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To: CE2949BB
If I were trying to understand what this star was I would first look at what purpose it served and to whom from the Scriptures.

First the Magi were astrologers, Zoroastrians, from whence we obtain the term “Magician”.
But God had condemned such practices (Deut. 18:9-14) so these Magi were not serving God in their quest.

Next, how did God announce the birth of His son? Luke 2:8-14 says angels announced it to shepherds, telling where to find the infant and it was the shepherds, not the Magi astrologers, who saw the newborn Jesus.
Matt.2:11 says the astrologers only saw Jesus when in a house as much as a year later.

The Magi first came to Jerusalem and contacted Herod as the star they saw didn't lead them to Bethlehem at first.(Matt. 2:1).
It was Herod who gave them information about where to find Jesus and only then did the star lead them to Bethlehem.(Matt. 2:7-9)
Whose purpose was this so-called star serving? Herod's for the purpose of finding and destroying Jesus not God's.

The Magi were ready to return to Herod with the information they had gathered, (even if unwittingly), when now a divine dream warns them away from returning to Herod. And it was an angel, not some star that warned Joseph's family to flee to Egypt and tells them it is safe to return.

So who did this star serve? A murderous Herod and pagan astrologers.
What purpose did it serve? To lead Herod to Jesus, by way of the astrologers, so Herod could kill him.
Did God use this star to announce Jesus’ birth? No, He used angels and a divine dream to to give information to those He wanted informed.

From the Bible's account we can conclude that whatever this “star” was, it was not from God. Further we can see that it served Satan's purpose to have Herod kill the future messiah.

19 posted on 12/25/2008 11:23:53 AM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: count-your-change

Herod had a choice when he heard about the Christ child.

He could have sought him out but he chose to kill him.


20 posted on 12/25/2008 11:41:46 AM PST by Eagle Eye (Libs- If you don't have to play the rules then neither do we...THINK ABOUT IT!)
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Comment #21 Removed by Moderator

To: CE2949BB

The Bible says otherwise

Look it up. :)


22 posted on 12/25/2008 12:15:04 PM PST by RaceBannon (We have sown the wind, but we will reap the whirlwind. NObama. Not my president.)
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To: count-your-change

great post


23 posted on 12/25/2008 12:16:47 PM PST by RaceBannon (We have sown the wind, but we will reap the whirlwind. NObama. Not my president.)
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To: count-your-change
thank you for saving me alot of typing with a severe hangover.
24 posted on 12/25/2008 12:22:09 PM PST by mad_as_he$$ (Nemo me impune lacessit.)
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To: Star Traveler

“Daniel was given knowledge of the future by prophecies that God gave him.”

This is what confuses me. While God gave people prophetic abilities, it’s the same with Lucifer who caused women to be possessed by demons and given the ability of divination. It’s so unnerving.

I know that the prophecies Daniel had are of Christ and St. John was given the ability to write Revelations, I wonder if Lucifer had similar prophets who revealed demonic visions of the future, ie, those who would perform demonic acts within the framework of God’s will.

“And, the fact that Herod went to kill all newborns from two years and under tells us the maximum time period that they arrived, later”

So maybe they the Magi arrived when Jesus was around one or two years old instead of right after he was born. I think in that case we would have to change the nativity scene.

As for the scientific case of the Star, it reminds me of how they attempted to explain the ten plagues of Egypt.


25 posted on 12/25/2008 12:42:09 PM PST by Niuhuru (I'm A Racist and Proud Of It!)
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To: Niuhuru

Okay..., you were saying — “This is what confuses me. While God gave people prophetic abilities, it’s the same with Lucifer who caused women to be possessed by demons and given the ability of divination. It’s so unnerving.”

Well, first of all, to set this whole thing in the proper context, you have to know and realize that it’s only God, Himself, who knows the “end from the beginning”. No one else does. And that’s “absolute” — in that no one else does. Only God, Himself, is “outside of time”. Being “outside of time” (for God) means being outside the “very construct” of time, itself. Not being constrained by a “sequence of events”. Only created beings are constrained by a sequence of events. God sees it all, as if it’s “today” — all at once. So, with God, it’s not “seeing the future” because He *is* the future, in that He lives in the past, present and future — all at the very same time, immediately. To continue with that idea, God existed before even the very concept of “time” was ever made. And today, physicists tells us that the parameter of “time” cannot exist without “matter” existing at the very same moment. They all (time and matter) *must* come into existence at the very same moment for any of it to be there, at all. If there is “no time” then there is no universe and no matter. If there is no matter and no universe, then there is no such thing as “time”. That’s how it works. Time does not exist “above and outside” of God. God exists above and outside of the parameter of “time”. He is not constrained or existent within it. All created beings *are constrained* and dependent upon “time”.

So..., God, “existed” prior to matter or time or space or dimensions or whatever you can imagine (which is hard to imagine all by itself... LOL..).

All others are created beings (including the angels and Satan, who is an angel) and they are created with limited abilities and absolutely no ability to tell the end from the beginning. God is the one who proclaims that He, alone, is the One who has that ability. All created beings are *constrained* to being in the “flow of time” as a part of being “created” and being part of the existence of matter and the universe. They’re *stuck in time* without any choice of their own.

Now, along with that, we must also realize that Satan and his evil angels (and/or the other angels who do God’s bidding) — are smart and they also have the ability to observe a lot of things. They’ve had a very long time to observe people, to hear and understand God’s word (even the evil angels and Satan knows God’s word). So, with their enhanced intelligence, abilities at observing very many things, it’s entirely possible for them to put “2 plus 2” together and come up with “predictions” for the future. But, they only have “predictions” and are not always right. Only God is *absolutely* right. God is always right, because He is the One that is actually *there* (at any moment) in the past, present and future, besides the fact that God also *causes* things to happen, according to His will.

What you have with Satan and the evil angels is “divination” which is something that is not the same as God has. It’s a hoax and a deceit and something designed to mislead people. When some things come true, it’s from some “knowledge” that they have, something that normal people could not access, but it’s not true “seeing the future” as God sees it. Satan is the father of lies and he deceives. That’s his main goal in gaining control over people is to deceive.

So, don’t be fooled that it’s the same thing as God is, by God being “outside of time” and being able to see all things, in the same way that we see things “today”. With God, it simply “is”. With Satan and the evil angels, it’s deception.

And then you were saying — “I know that the prophecies Daniel had are of Christ and St. John was given the ability to write Revelations, I wonder if Lucifer had similar prophets who revealed demonic visions of the future, ie, those who would perform demonic acts within the framework of God’s will.”

With Daniel, God sent an angel to instruct Daniel. Daniel didn’t gain prophetic abilities to “see things” for himself. No, not at all. God sent the angel to give Daniel what he needed to know, in order for God’s Word to be put down in the book of Daniel (and, keeping in mind that Daniel was also an instrument of God to write as God would have Him do, under the direct and divine guidance of the Holy Spirit, in order to be inerrant and infallible, what God wanted him to write).

But, notice that Daniel did not understand these things. The angel had to explain it to Daniel. It overwhelmed him. And there were still things that Daniel did not understand and the angel told him to basically “forget it” (i.e., forget getting the explanation of it) because the matter was “sealed” until the time of the end. So, you see, Daniel didn’t have any special “seer” abilities. He only received from God, by the angel that God sent to him, what he was supposed to know and write down. Likewise with the dream of Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel made it clear that it was not him that made known the dream to the King, but that God was the one who let Daniel know. So, there are no special abilities for “seeing the future”. Only God tells people (in His word) what that is.

And sure, Satan has his “prophets” — but they are incapable of knowing the future, any more than Satan has access to know and what superior intellect he has. I’m sure if you had “access” and “abilities” and were able to go around wherever you wanted and could observe for thousands of years — you would “know” a lot, too. Yes, they are “demonic visions” — but they are false visions. And they are visions that lead to destruction. And, God does allow Satan to do his evil will. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that Satan can also perform God’s judgement upon people, by God allowing him to do what is unrighteous and unjust. In the end times, it’s clear that God allows a “delusion” to be perpetrated upon the people (all over the world), a false delusion that leads them away from God and not towards His truth — and this delusion that God allows to come about, is perpetrated by Satan, upon the world, which is actually God’s judgement on the people for rejecting God. So, yes, God allows Satan to do things which are God’s judgement upon the people.

Satan is nothing but lies, deceit, destruction and death — even if he pretends to be an “angel of light” in order to deceive.

When people reject God’s word, when they reject what God would have them do, when they “listen” to the lies of Satan (and this “world’ that we’re in, is under the control of Satan in all that it “infuses” us with everyday) — then God will “hand them over” to Satan for him to do with them, whatever he will.

So, stick to God’s word (but one has to “know” God’s word... :-) ...) and reject the lies of Satan and you will do well.

One more thing — about the Revelation of Jesus Christ (to the Apostle John). This was not the Apostle John exercising “seer abilities” to be a “Jean Dixon” of his time and “tell the future”. No, not at all. This was John being *shown* and *told* things that he was supposed to write down, it being the “Revelation of Jesus Christ”. So, John faithfully wrote down what he was brought to “see and hear”. And we can see that these things confused him, too (just as it did Daniel). He asked a question or two during that time. Things were also *explained* to the Apostle John, during that time. This was Jesus Christ’s *final revelation* to the church and to the world, prior to His return to set up the Kingdom of God upon this earth with Him ruling and reigning over the nations of the world on the Throne of David, in Jerusalem.

And finally — “So maybe they the Magi arrived when Jesus was around one or two years old instead of right after he was born. I think in that case we would have to change the nativity scene.”

Yes, the nativity scene is more like an “icon” than a “history lesson”. It’s a “summary” of the story, designed to include all the elements, even if they are out of sequence. It’s an “artistic device” you might say — but it’s *not accurate*. As long as one keeps in mind that it’s an “artistic piece” and/or an “icon” — then that’s fine. But if one thinks it represents “history” — then they’re off base.

Keep in mind how this would have come about. Would people keep a “sequence” of scenes showing a historical progression of events which depicted what happened? Well, they could, but your table would have to take up a room and be very unwieldy. So, I would imagine, that over a period of time, several sequential events became “compressed” into one artistic device, or the “icon” of the manger scene, in order to see it all in one place. That’s all it is. But, it has become such an ingrained part of our society that people have forgotten the *truth* of it (which is right there in the Bible) and have started believing the artistic device (instead of the Bible)...

As far as the “timing” of the magi, I would imagine it was around one year after Christ’s birth. You’ll notice that Herod inquired, insistently, as to *when* they saw the star. He wanted to make sure (as the “wheels” were already “turning” in his head) that he knew exactly “what age” he was going to have to kill — in order to eliminate the right candidate. That’s why Herod wanted them to return to them so that he could *supposedly* worship the new-born King. Sure... he did... LOL...

He wanted no more than to kill Him, the first chance he got. When he discovered that the magi had fooled him and had not come back to his royal court to inform him of all the details, he was very angry and made sure that he killed all the infants of the right age, giving it a “range” or “margin of error” so that he would be sure to “get Him”. But, as we know, Joseph and Mary were warned and they fled, immediately to Egypt, out of the jurisdiction of Herod.

And also, keep in mind that it was the gifts of the magi that provided the financial abililty for Joseph and Mary to flee to Egypt and sustain themselves there. God provided the “means” to do what they had to do.

Now, keeping in mind that Satan (and his evil angels) are all about destroying God’s plan of salvation (which includes Jesus being born, growing up and then going to the cross to pay the penalty for sin) — they have tried to thwart that plan of God by any means at their disposal. However, since it’s *only* God who *knows* the future and who can “see all things” (past, present and future) — that’s why Satan fails in his attempts, because Satan has only limited abilities and limited deductive powers. He knows certain things from God’s word, but God’s Word is also meant to keep Satan away from being able to thwart God’s plan, in addition to God’s Word showing itself to *accurately predict* the future — something which no other writing in history has been able to do, 100% of the time.

Satan knows certain things are going to happen, merely by reading God’s Word, but he doesn’t know exactly how they are going to come about, ahead of time. God doesn’t provide him (or us) with all that detail — but just enough to let us know that it’s God who knows the end from the beginning. And usually we don’t know before things happen *exactly how* they are going to happen — only that they *will happen*. And that “thwarts” Satan’s plans, because he’s just as much in the dark as we are about some of those things...

God is “playing Satan” just like a fiddle... LOL... It must drive him crazy...

Well..., that’s about it, for what you were saying. I hope that all makes sense.

Merry Christmas and remember that Jesus is coming again, to set up His Kingdom on this earth and rule and reign over all the nations of the world. And He is coming very soon...


26 posted on 12/25/2008 1:48:08 PM PST by Star Traveler
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To: Eagle Eye

Herod always reminded me of a mafia don, willing to kill anyone, friend or foe, to protect his position.

Choice? Yeah, he did but as Jesus later said, some had the Devil as their father and so would do his will.


27 posted on 12/25/2008 1:52:58 PM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: count-your-change
Herod always reminded me of a mafia don, willing to kill anyone, friend or foe, to protect his position.

Or a Nachadoces cheerleader mom!

28 posted on 12/25/2008 1:56:52 PM PST by Eagle Eye (Libs- If you don't have to play the rules then neither do we...THINK ABOUT IT!)
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To: Niuhuru
the ten plagues of Egypt

The Nile used to turn to blood often until the Aswan High Dam was installed so they don't flood anymore.

29 posted on 12/25/2008 1:57:07 PM PST by RightWhale (We were so young two years ago and the DJIA was 12,000)
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To: democratsaremyenemy
I have my own explanation for the star over Bethlehem...GOD...no other explaination needed.


30 posted on 12/25/2008 1:57:49 PM PST by Maceman (If you're not getting a tax cut, you're getting a pay cut.)
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To: mad_as_he$$

I’ve heard hangovers are caused by a lack of drink. Or that drinking is like marriage, it’s easier to start than stop and nearly always feels worse for a long time.


31 posted on 12/25/2008 1:59:17 PM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: CE2949BB

It might or might not be worthy of mention that most astronomers have no idea how to read the signs in the sky and are leaping considerably to find some planet conjunction or supernova or whatever that would be in the west and come to rest over anywhere.


32 posted on 12/25/2008 2:04:38 PM PST by RightWhale (We were so young two years ago and the DJIA was 12,000)
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To: CE2949BB
God said, "I sent you two boats and a helicopter."

He doesn't have to make things happen with sparkles & twinkles or by appearing out of thin air.

33 posted on 12/25/2008 2:06:16 PM PST by bannie
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To: Eagle Eye

I don’t know that one, what kind of mom is that?


34 posted on 12/25/2008 2:12:04 PM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: RaceBannon

thnk you.


35 posted on 12/25/2008 2:15:07 PM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: count-your-change
lol. I started again about an hour ago to see if hair of the dog helps. One of my employees brought over a bottle of homemade hooch last night. After I get pretty far into it he tells me that the unique flavor is because he made this batch out of fruit not the normal corn and barley. Might be the problem.
36 posted on 12/25/2008 2:37:05 PM PST by mad_as_he$$ (Nemo me impune lacessit.)
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To: mad_as_he$$
Homemade stuff always scared me. Never knew what poisons are formed from amateur hour brewers and distillers.

Hair of the dog is one thing but don't swallow the whole snapping, growling pack!

37 posted on 12/25/2008 2:56:54 PM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: Star Traveler

I love this forum and I deeply appreciate your explanation. PM me sometime.


38 posted on 12/25/2008 6:35:56 PM PST by Niuhuru (I'm A Racist and Proud Of It!)
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To: bannie

He doesn’t have to make things happen with sparkles & twinkles or by appearing out of thin air.

Reading this reminded me of one of Billy Graham’s sermons many years ago.
He was explaing the plan of salvation was to except the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart and mind. He stated if you were waiting for bells and whistles and Angels singing in your ears you would be waisting your time. He explained that receiving Christ as our savior had to be a determination on our selves led by the Holy Spirit.

We don’t all come to Christ in the same manner so, I have always agreed with Mr. Gram’s sermon, no bells, whistles, and Angels singing at the time off conversion?


39 posted on 12/26/2008 6:37:55 AM PST by buck61
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To: Star Traveler

I enjoyed reading that post. The connection between Daniel and the Magis’ visit has fascinated me for some time. To me it is amazing how God can put a person in a position that seems hopeless at some points but can eventually alter history. Joseph in Egypt is another example.

About foreknowledge and predections, someone once said it to me this way: God saw the movie before He wrote the book!


40 posted on 12/26/2008 7:04:59 AM PST by Eagle Eye (Libs- If you don't have to play the rules then neither do we...THINK ABOUT IT!)
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To: Eagle Eye

Thanks for your comments. I appreciate that.

God works in “real life” with us, and puts the “facts on the ground” in what He does in this world...


41 posted on 12/26/2008 7:25:48 AM PST by Star Traveler
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To: buck61

We agree, Buck. Have you heard the old, well-circulated joke to which I was alluding? It’s one of my favorite:

As the result of a flood, Max was stranded on his roof, sorrounded by rushing, rising water. A neighbor in a boat passing buy shouted to Max to join him in his boat; but Max called out, “No thanks! The Lord will save me!”

Later, a police boat passed by, and the policeman called out to Max to climb aboard. Again, Max declined the offer, calling out that he didn’t need the help because God would save him.

Eventually, in the increasingly dangerous situation, a helicopter rescuer approached him from a dangling cage, and tried to get him to climb aboard. AGAIN, Max declined with the old familiar, “No thanks! God will save me!”

Finally, ol’ Max was washed away and died in the flood. When he passed through the Golden Gates, he whined to the Lord, “Why didn’t you save me, Lord?”

The Lord answered, “What were you waiting for? I sent you two boats and a helicopter!”


42 posted on 12/26/2008 6:01:54 PM PST by bannie
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Note: this topic is from Christmas Day 2008.

Blast from the Past.

Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.

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43 posted on 11/30/2010 6:29:00 PM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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