By the following June, Jupiter had finished crowning Regulus. The Planet of Kings traveled on through the star field toward another spectacular rendezvous, this time with Venus, the Mother Planet. This conjunction was so close and so bright that it is today displayed in hundreds of planetaria around the world by scientists who may know nothing of Messiah. They do it because what Jupiter did makes such a great planetarium show. Jupiter appeared to join Venus. The planets could not be distinguished with the naked eye. If our magus had had a telescope, he could have seen that the planets sat one atop the other, like a figure eight. Each contributed its full brightness to what became the most brilliant star our man had ever seen. Jupiter completed this step of the starry dance as it was setting in the west. That evening, our Babylonian magus would have seen the spectacle of his career while facing toward Judea.
No one alive had ever seen such a conjunction. If the Magi only began their travel plans in September, when they saw this sight nine months later, someone may have shouted “What are we waiting for? Mount up!” At the end of their travel, which may have taken weeks or months, these experts arrived in Jerusalem. They told their tale, and “all Jerusalem was disturbed.” Herod wanted to know two things: when the Star had appeared, and where this baby was. The Magi presumably described the timing of events starting in September of 3 BC and continuing through June of 2 BC. Herod sent them to Bethlehem in search of the child with orders that they return to tell where he was.
To qualify as the Star, Jupiter would have to have been ahead of the Magi as they trekked South from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. Sure enough, in December of 2 BC if the Magi looked south in the wee hours, there hung the Planet of Kings over the city of Messiah’s birth.
All but one of the nine Biblical qualifications for the Star have now been plausibly satisfied:
- The first conjunction signified birth by its association to the day with Virgo “birthing” the new moon. Some might argue that the unusual triple conjunction by itself could be taken to indicate a new king.
- The Planet of King’s coronation of the Star of Kings signified kingship.
- The triple conjunction began with the Jewish New Year and took place within Leo, showing a connection with the Jewish tribe of Judah (and prophecies of the Jewish Messiah).
- Jupiter rises in the east.
- The conjunctions appeared at precise, identifiable times.
- Herod was unaware of these things; they were astronomical events which had significance only when explained by experts.
- The events took place over a span of time sufficient for the Magi to see them both from the East and upon their arrival in Jerusalem.
- Jupiter was ahead of the Magi as they traveled south from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.
But the ninth qualification would require that Jupiter stop over Bethlehem. How could a planet do that? And did Jupiter do it?
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