The Star of Bethlehem - Astronomical and Scientific Facts that Point to this Amazing Prophetic Phenomenon
BCN Exclusive by Aimee Herd : Dec 9, 2005
One winter day some time ago, Fredrick (Rick) Larson was helping his daughter with Christmas decorations, when she asked about the star that led the wise men to the baby Jesus lying in a manger in Bethlehem. That simple question would prove to be the beginning of an amazing journey for Rick, one of discovery, fact and evidence of the hand of God moving.
Rick Larson's educational experience is diverse and extensive, studying for a time under the late Francis Schaeffer in Switzerland and later receiving a B.A. degree in Philosophy and his Juris Doctor degree from the USC Law Center.
Rick begins laying out the evidence of the reality of the "Star" that he has gathered and extensively researched, by sharing three important factors that have made this rediscovery possible at this point in history. He lists them as: Johannes Kepler's discovery of how the solar system works, improvements in our knowledge of first century history and the spread of computers.
Pointing out that this is scientific, astronomical fact, NOT astrology; Larson gives nine qualifications of the Star phenomenon.
Working from the Biblical account in Matthew, unpacking it verse by verse, we can compile a list of nine qualities which must be present before any celestial phenomena could be considered to be the Biblical Star of Bethlehem. If any qualification is missing, then we will assume we haven't found our Star.
Larson describes who the Magi (Wise Men) really were and how they tie into the qualifications of the Star.
"Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?'"
The Magis' question gives us three points for our list of qualifications for the Star. Whatever happened in the sky indicated 1) birth, 2) kingship and 3) Jews.
(The verse continues,) "We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
When the wise men said "we saw his star in the east," they didn't mean "we saw his star while we were in the East." The Greek text here says the Star was "en anatole," meaning they saw his star rising in the east. That's what all but polar stars do, because of the rotation of the Earth. Stars rise in the east, but not all celestial objects do that. So, that's another qualification for the Star: 4) it must rise in the east like most other stars.
In setting the stage for his Star evidence, Larson continues to list the prerequisites derived from the text in Matthew . . .
"Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared."
Another qualification for the Star: 5) It appeared at an exact time. And yet another qualification: 6) Herod didn't know when it appeared. He had to ask.
"He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." 9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was."
And now we have the last three qualifications for the Star: 7) it endured over a considerable period of time. The Magi saw it, perhaps from Babylon, traveled to Judea and saw it still. 8) It went ahead of them as they traveled from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. You might not realize that this doesn't mean the Star was needed to guide the travelers to Bethlehem. Bethlehem was (and is) just five miles south of Jerusalem on the main road. They couldn't miss it. No, the Star appears ahead of them as they trek south not so much as a guide as a further confirmation of the signs they had seen. Lastly, 9) the Star stopped! Can a star do that? Yes, it can, as we shall see.
Using these nine factors as a guide, Larson then articulately walks through what the celestial phenomenon can and cannot be, arriving at the surprising conclusion that the Bethlehem Star was actually the extraordinary movements and convergence of two of the planets in our own solar system. The prophetic significance and symbolism surrounding these planets and their movement in this case is truly miraculous and has the "signature of God" all over it!
For not only did planetary events foretell and declare the Messiah's birth, but also the exact day of His death. After sharing all the evidence of this, Rick Larson then gives a heartfelt conclusion to his message . . . (More...)
The Bible says the stars can carry messages from God on high. If that is true, then behind any other message, the fundamental meaning of these events is that God is there. The stars were part of his communication to those living in the Magi's day. Through our understanding of what happened in the sky, he continues to speak to us today.
When God called Moses into closer relationship with himself, he used a startling event in the natural world. A bush burned, but it was not consumed by the flames. The burning bush was God's invitation to Moses, an invitation to draw near and to hear a fuller message. When the Magi saw signs in the heavens, they responded as did Moses. They drew near to learn more. The Star of Bethlehem is an invitation for people who see it today, including you. A natural response when you see a sign is to draw near. To want to know more. To seek the fuller message.
. . . The fuller message of the Star is good news. That Christ, the Messiah has come. The Messiah has paid the penalty for our sins. It is possible to have the relationship with God that so many desire. There have probably been times when you have thought about God and the possibility of knowing him. That is true of most of us. Through Jesus the Christ, God is inviting you into relationship. But you must decide and act. If you accept the invitation, Jesus promises to come and be with you.
. . . If the Star wasn't magic or a special miracle from outside of the natural order, then it was something even more startling. It was a Clockwork Star. And that is overwhelming. The movement of the heavenly bodies is regular, like a great clock. The Clockwork Star finally means that from the very instant at which God flung the universe into existence, he also knew the moment he would enter human history in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. He marked it in the stars. And from before the beginning of time as we experience it, God knew the very moment when Messiah would breathe his last on the cross.
Rick Larson is available to give a presentation on the "Bethlehem Star," and may soon be collaborating with some well-known producers in putting together a movie based on his research. His website is well worth taking the time to read through. For more information, log onto www.starofbethlehem.net or follow the link below.