Undergroundchurch Blog

Preparing the Church for the future

12 Days of Christmas Correction – The Star

Posted by undergroundchurch on December 24, 2009


Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him. – Matthew 2:2

The “Star of Bethlehem” as it has become known has produced much conjecture over the centuries.  Is it a real star, a celestial event or something supernatural.

To be completely honest, it really doesn’t matter what the star was, but that it “was” and that the people who needed to see it saw it and their encounter is recorded in Matthew.

Many times throughout Scripture, God uses the natural things of this world in a supernatural wa to accomplish a particular task.  God brought water from a rock through Moses, 9 of the 10 plagues on Egypt were natural occurrences, and even some of the miracles of Jesus, though not explainable through natural means, were accomplished using natural methods (e.g. putting mud on eyes to heal them).

It’s easy to write off the star as a supernatural event, but that brings several things into question:

  • They why was it that Magi, who were trained astronomers/astrologers the only ones to see it?
  • Why didn’t anyone else see it?
  • Why did it guide them to the region of Judea, but not directly to the place where Jesus was until they got more information from the Jews about where Jesus was to be born?

Over the years, many people have tried to discover the celestial event that may have been the event that the Magi followed, but to no real avail.  There are many possibilities from comets to exploding stars, but nothing really showed three key things about the Magi :

  • This event was all that was needed to define for the Magi that a King was born in Judea
  • This event was something that would fit their understanding of the stars
  • This visit was not blown off by Herod (he believed it credible enough to slaughter the boys in Bethlehem)

Recently, an interesting hypothesis was brought up based on an archeological finding.  A coin was found dating to the first century A.D. that shows Aries (the ancient constellation symbol for Judea), the moon and a star (Jupiter).  The representation of them together had to do with the annunciation of a king that was born. The event represented by the coin occurred on April 17, 6 B.C.

This date fits with biblical accounts.  King Herod died in 4 B.C.  He was king when Jesus was born, so Jesus would have had to been born before that date.  Since the Magi visited him when he was close to 2 years old, and Jesus family fled to Egypt at this time, that puts the date to at least 6 B.C.  This, and the fact that the Bible says Herod dies, and so Jesus come back from Egypt, tells us that his birth was most certainly at least in 6 B.C.

The Star, according to the researcher, was the eclipse of Jupiter and the Moon while it travelled through the constellation of Aries.  This would explain why nobody else saw it, how it could lead the Magi East and why it was Magi that followed the star in the first place.

Just a thought. Merry Christmas!

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