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The star of Bethlehem and the 25th of December

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posted on Dec, 5 2005 @ 11:51 AM
The Jewish Historian Josephus, in Antiquities of the Jews, in book 17 chapter 6 writes that there was an eclipse very near the end of Herod’s life. Josephus sees this as God's seal, condemning Herod's interference with the Temple priesthood, as well as his purchase of the Judean throne from Antony. The fact that Josephus describes Herod as dying from and infestation of "maggots in the testicles," indicates metaphorically the end of Herod's dream of a truly Herodian dynasty.

There was an extremely rare “sunrise eclipse” in 2 BC, which was visible in the Parthian and Eastern Roman Empires.

Looking at the account in Matthew 2 (the only reference to the “star of Bethlehem” in scripture) I notice the following:

“wise men from the east” ( lit. “magioi” in Greek; i.e. magicians) are the only persons who can see the star in question. The implication for first century audiences would be that the wise ones were from Chaldaea/Babylon, the ancient seat of astrology. Until the Middle Ages, the Jewish epithet for astrology was “the Chaldean Science.” This was also the location of the Jewish captivity under Cyrus the Great, known for his patronage of astrology.

Herod cannot see the star, and asks the wise ones when it first appeared.

The eclipse of 2 BC took place at the beginning of Rosh Hashannah, the Jewish New Year. This would be a logical calendrical moment for the Messiah to appear.

Ancient sky-watchers had seen Venus “disappear” in the sunset earlier in the Spring. One can imagine that they would use the sunrise eclipse of 2 BC to attempt to track Venus’ progress in its motion near the sun. The darkness would allow naked-eye astronomers a rare glimpse of Venus during its invisible period.

Imagine the amazement of astrologers during the eclipse, when they looked up, and saw that venus was conjucted with Jupiter, the planet of royalty, as well as with Mars, the god of revolution and overthrow.

Even more surprising from an astrological viewpoint, this conjunction occurred with the Star Regulus, in the Constellation of Leo. Leo is of course, the patron constellation of the tribe of Judah, traditional kings of Israel. Regulus (Latin, “King star) is located in front of the lion in the constellation, and was known as The Paw of the Lion of Judah

The possibility of an astrological event explains why ordinary viewers couldn’t “see the star.” It also offers insight into Matthew’s account, where the Magi say “for we have seen his star in the east.” The Greek word for “east” is actually “anatolonay,” which literally means sunrise. The word implied the direction of sunrise, (giving it’s name to the Turkish peninsula-Anatolia), but could also be taken literally, so that Matthew 2: could be translated, “Because we have seen his star in the sunrise.”

After the eclipse of 2 BC, Jupiter began a retrograde motion (backwards) into the preceding Zodiacal sign, Virgo. Jupiter continued to move deeper into Virgo for more than a year as it passed through the Virgin’s midsection, i.e., the “Virgin’s Womb.”

The date at which this retrograde motion ceased, the day on which Jupiter would have begun its normal motion would have been of critical importance.

They date on the Julian calendar, when Jupiter halted its backward motion, was December 25, 1 BC.

“The star which they had seen in the east (sunrise) went before them, until it came and stood/stopped over the house where the child was.”

If Virgo was seen as a celestial map of ancient Israel, the perhaps the geographical analogue to the completion of Jupiter’s retrograde motion would be Bethlehem, ~ 10 km south of Jerusalem, the virgin’s heart????

No ancient religion celebrated December 25 as a Holy Day until 300 years after the alleged birth of Christ. As pointed out in another thread, December 17 was Saturnalia, and the Mithraic birth of the Sun was not acknowledged until after what is the modern new year.

The idea that “Christmas was moved to December 25 to compete with pagan festivals” comes solely from Edward Gibbon, the anti-Christian author of “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire,” a romanophile who blamed the collapse of Rome upon the decadent pacifism of Christianity.

The religion of “Sol Invictus” was invented in the 3rd century AD by the priestly classes in Rome, who were threatened by the popularity of Christianity. Julian (“the Apostate”) the successor to Constantine, tried to make the worship of Sol Invictus an official religion of the Empire, and set it up to mimic the practices of Christianity. “Sol” was never seen as a Roman god during the classical age; Sol was merely the physical manifestation of Helios, the sun's disc. While this certainly does not “prove” that Christmas has historical roots on Dec. 25, it certainly explains the meager evidence as well as Edward Gibbon did.

In this view, the Magi would not have visited Jesus until he was more than a year old, again consonant with the Matthean account.

Interestingly, Mithraism, the main competitor-faith in the western empire was a religion filled with astrological imagery. Mithra was not a god of physical phenomena, but was the god behind reality. His attributes were a starry cape, and the scorpion (scorpio), ram (aries), crow (Corvus) and lion (Leo). Mithraists believed he was invisible, but his guiding hand could be seen in the movements of the stars. One of the unexplained facets of the rise of Christianity is the degree to which followers of Mithra seem to have deserted en masse in favor of Christianity. Perhaps, the early church offered a more compelling cosmology--perhaps even giving a better explanation of the meaning "behind" recent astrological events. Certainly, Christianity rapidly replaced Mithraism in the West. Paul's sermon at the Areopagus on the "altar to an unknown god" certainly reflects an intellectual climate where Christians believed that other religions were "on the right track," but who lacked the "special insight" that the early church owned.

I used “Starry Night” software to study the positions of the eclipse as seen from Jerusalem in 2 BC. That software was originally freeware, but is now proprietary; nonetheless, interested persons can use any good planetarium software and check the above dates for themselves.

Footnote: there are definite parallels between the astrological imagery of the eclipse of 2 BC, and the final degree of blue loge masonry. Interested masons are welcome to u2u me.

posted on Dec, 7 2005 @ 05:24 PM
Very nice read. I was facinated and then i hit the paragraph with the word saturnalia and I thought you might find this interesting:
Adam Cohen writing in the New York Times
qoute: The Puritans considered Christmasun-Christian, and hoped to keep it out of America. They could not find Dec. 25 in the Bilbe, their sole source of religious guidance, and insisted that the date derived from Saturnalia, the Roman heathens' wintertime celebration. On their first Dec. 25 in the New world, in 1620, the Puritans worked on building projects and ostentatiously ignored the holiday. From 1659 to 1681 Massahusetts went further, making celebrating Christmas "by forbearing of labor, feasting or any other way" a crime.
He also states that in 1855 New York newspapers reported the Christian churches were closed Dec. 25 because "they do not accept the day as a Holy one."
He also says that the retail industry pretty much took it over in the 1920's.

Again thanks for the thread.
love everyone

posted on Dec, 7 2005 @ 08:21 PM
Yes, I was mentioning in another thread that the Puritans "outlawed christmas" once Cromwell became "Protector of the Realm" of England in 1640-something or other.

The Protestant stance has been that the "original church" was the pure form, and that Christians should return to it, get rid of all "Human Tradition." They were comfortable with the idea that all tradition is evil and man-made.

Protestants believed that "the Bible created the early church"

Catholics taught that "the early church created the Bible."

My point with the speculation about the star of Bethlehem is that ALL tradition had an origin sometime, by people who thought it was important.

posted on Dec, 7 2005 @ 09:00 PM
I took your advice and used my astronomy software. I use Hallo Northern and Cartes du Ciel. man that was fun.
came out rihgt in both.
love everyone

posted on Dec, 7 2005 @ 09:53 PM
not long after I posted the above I noticed that my TV was tuned to the newest episode of Law & Order. It appears to be about a guy named Daniel who is involved in a plot to get a synagogue(sic) evicted from a building to benefit some other criminal. a commercial they showed was about a program titled: the book of Daniel. but first i read the New York Times article and then this thread and this program which is to air on Jan 6 which is my B'day and also the 12th day of Christmas and is called Epiphany in the Greek Orthodox religion.
man a what a day.
My Name is Earl
love everyone

posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 01:49 AM
Epiphany is the single "oldest" Christian holiday.

If I remember correctly, I think the Bishop Irenaeus of Antioch wrote a letter to his congregation that was snuck out of jail before he was killed in the arena. (Lions, torture, combat, etc.)

I think he told his flock something like "and don't forget, epiphany, the visit of the wisemen, is on January 6!!!" Maybe not quite that plainly, but along those lines. Maybe 125 AD or so . . .?

Of course, Jews in that period would sometimes refer to the first month of their year as "January;" to follow the Roman standard, or he may have said the "6th day of the new year." (I honestly don't know which he said. I think I read it in English rather than Greek anyway.)

Which, if you are counting the new year from the moment of solstice would give you Dec 26/27 is St. John's Eve. (One of the patrons of Freemasonry, by the way).

Of the seven "original" churches, different ones celebrated Easter on different days. Some celebrated it on the 3rd day of passover whenever that fell. Others celebrated it on the eve of the first full moon of Spring (part of how passover is calculated). Others picked the first Sunday in Spring, etc.

The rule didn't get established until Christianity was legalized. Even then, not everyone followed the pattern of the Alexandrian Church. Easter in the west follows the Church in Rome, since Europe was cut off from the other 7 churches, or they were overrun by the Muslim Empire.

And of course, the right date for Christmas has been debated ever since the church was legalized and could debate in public.

I never bothered to look at Jupiter or Venus' activity for Jan 6, 1 AD. wouldn't be surprised if that it when Venus went back to being the morning
star, after a year and a half of being first the evening, and then invisible.

So yeah, January 6 as the date for Epiphany is, in my grandmother's terminology . . . "Older than Christmas."

posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 07:32 PM
Hey that was great, but do you know what Epiphany actually means? I've heard many different interpretations and I'd be interested to hear yours.
Btw in another thread that concerned odd happenings in 2006 i made mention of the fact that Jan. 6 '06 could possibly relate to the mark of the beast as in old Hebrew that mark would have been 616 instead of 666. And written in Euro style Jan. 6 '06 would be 6-1-06. Any thoughts?

posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 08:22 PM

Jesus was not virgin born???

this whole virgin born thing has to do with the stars???

i am confused...

posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 08:30 PM
1. "Phanien" is Greek for showing. "Epi" is sort of an intensive or a prepositions meaning "around" or near."

Epiphanaea is a manifestation, usually meaning a Divine one.

The Tyrant Antiochus IV, who forbade the Jews to worship their God, called himself "Deus Epiphanes," meaning "God made Manifest." Ever since his time ( mid-2nd Cent BC), epiphany came to be connected with the manifestation of some divine being.

The more common Greek term for their view of human-divinity was "apotheosis," which represented the elevation of a mortal (i.e., Hercules) to divine status. This was a term used of the Caesars sometimes.

2. Hmmm.

Jan 6, 2006 is actually Tevet 6, 5766 on the Jewish Calendar. Tevet is the 10th month, so that might throw your calculations off a bit.

I've said in other threads, and will say it here. The search for "the beast" in ordinary numbers in life (social security numbers, license plates, dates, etc.) is a total waste of time.

Some of the oldest manuscripts of Revelation have the number 616 as the number of the beast, rather than the familiar 666:

manuscripts with 616

Numbers in Hebrew mean things. Elsewhere, I have argued that the author of Revelation was clearly thinking in a Semitic language, and then translating into Greek (sometimes poorly) as we wrote his text out. Which is more evidence that Revelation was written by someone other than the author of the rest of the Johannine corpus, which presents excellent Greek.

The number 6 represents humanity: created on the sixth day, and just one short of perfection. (Seven (Sheva) means completion in hebrew).

Three represents spiritual and divine things. The "Number of the Beast" simply shows that it will present itself as divine, and yet will be "human, all to human."

But again, that's a horse of a different color.

[edit on 8-12-2005 by dr_strangecraft]

posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 08:31 PM

Originally posted by they see ALL

Jesus was not virgin born???

this whole virgin born thing has to do with the stars???

i am confused...

I certainly never said that. I said that the astrological imagery of Jupiter retrograding through the constellation Virgo could be emblematic of the Virgin's womb.

posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 09:49 PM
I'm not bein silly but.........theres no chance that my bein born on Jan. 6 would have any relevance what so ever? or the fact that i bear an uncanny resemblance JC(as pictured in most artistic works) and also have a tattoo that i have no idea why i got it, but it is a cross with a hook and under it are the words- I'm no angel. so I wouldn't be a divine manifestation? btw i turn 49 this 1-6-06.
also i like reading your posts.

love everyone

posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 04:58 PM
I think that it has been accepted that Jesus was born on 6th January and that due to the young Christianity belief having some problems in establishing itself in Europe, the churches were placed on Ley-line junctions and the birth event was moved to encompass the winter soltice.
The story of the nativity is fiction, there is no record of anyone having to travel to register in their original regions, nor if their was, Joseph and Mary DID register.
The tale smacks of humility and hope, an ideal that threads it's way through the
books of the bible and also may have some vague references in it that are used later in Jesus's life.
The sheep and shepherds, the conection with royalty and wisdom, are all subjects used to translate the Essenne beliefs to the ignorant masses.

Oh! the latest '666' theory is that it translates to www.
So beware!

posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 06:47 PM

Originally posted by IronMan
I think that it has been accepted that Jesus was born on 6th January and that due to the young Christianity belief having some problems in establishing itself in Europe, the churches were placed on Ley-line junctions and the birth event was moved to encompass the winter soltice.

Well, I've never heard of any group of christians or historians claiming that Jesus was born on december 6. I'd love to see that, if you have a source . . .

Originally posted by IronMan
The story of the nativity is fiction

Even if it is entirely fiction, it claims to be factual. It would be important to learn about the historical setting, regardless of whether you personally believe it or not.

To say it is ENTIRELY fiction is saying quite a lot. Even works of Fiction are not completely false, from one end to the other. So you are saying that NOTHING has any historical value in the gospels; i.e. Caesar, Herod, John the Baptist, none of those people ever lived????

See, even if it is a novel, it shows how those people were presented in the first century or two AD, and so that still makes the Bible valuable from a historical standpoint, even as fiction.

Henry IV is a fictional play by William Shakespeare. But you can learn a great deal about how battles were fought in his day, how commoners related to royalty, etc.

Originally posted by IronMan
there is no record of anyone having to travel to register in their original regions, nor if their was, Joseph and Mary DID register.

First, your thinking of the Lukan account; the census doesn't appear in the Gospel of Matthew, where the story of the star of Bethlehem is.

Second, there is so evidence of people in that period having to travel to their original regions to be taxed.

Here's what Flavius Josephus writes in Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, Chapter 1:

Now Cyrenius, a Roman Senator, and one who had gone through other magistracies, and had passed through them all til he had been made Consul, and who, by other accounts, was of great dignity, came at this time into Syria, with a few others, being sent by Caesar to be a judge of tht nation, and take account of their substance . . . . but the Jews, although at they beginning they took the report of a taxation heinously, yet did they leave off any further opposition to it, by the persuasion of Joazar, who was the sone of Boethus, the High Priest.

Basically until the end of the Middle Ages, all people had to return to their home-towns to pay any national taxes levied. So it's hardly inconsistent to image such a circumstance, especially for artisans who moved from town to town. Jesus' purported father Joseph was such an artisan; a tekton, which is usually translated "carpenter" although it actually means a worker in stone.

Originally posted by IronMan
The sheep and shepherds, the conection with royalty and wisdom, are all subjects used to translate the Essenne beliefs to the ignorant masses.

That's saying quite a bit, given that we know very little about what the Essenes believed. Despite the popular misconception, no one has ever proven that the Essenses wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls. The only way we know anything about them is . . . what Flavius Josephus tells us! (Surprise, surprise.)

If you're in such a hurry to dismiss the whole story as a pack of bad lies, then you are welcome to your presumptions. I posted this thread because I'm still looking for enough evidence to reach a conclusion I can be confident in.

If you are interested in the Lukan account, just google "Quirinius + Census" I got more than 10 pages of hits on that one, from all sorts of websites, from historians of Josephus to Jewish, Christian, and Athiest websites. Everyone has an answer.


posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 12:26 PM
If I've offended you in my presumtions dr_strangecraft, then I apologise.
You're correct, I was merely using 'factoids' gleaned from certain books
and websites that tend to lend weight to my opinion of the event.
Make no mistake, I hold the bible in high regard and have no intention
of ridiculing it.
It is true that the winter soltice in England in 25th December.

posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 12:55 PM

Originally posted by dr_strangecraft
I certainly never said that. I said that the astrological imagery of Jupiter retrograding through the constellation Virgo could be emblematic of the Virgin's womb.


this is some serious stuff though...

i am still confused...

but, i will read up...


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