When Jesus was Born - The Celestial Signs

When was Jesus born? How do know when he was born? Does this even matter? If so, what is there we should know beyond just the correct date? If you've asked these kinds of questions and not had a satisfactory answer, keep reading and you will be blessed to discover some remarkable evidence that should address many such questions you've had. If you have already studied these matters and seem to be satisfied, but are not convinced that our Lord Jesus Christ was born on the holy day Rosh HaShanah (Yom Teruah) on September 29 in 2 BC, again, keep reading! It is an established fact of history that certain men known as the Magi knew when Jesus had been born. We will be looking into how they knew, what they saw and what it means today.

The second chapter of Matthew is a familiar record to many of us because it's traditionally taught at Christmas time as the record of the wise men and the star of Bethlehem. In the account of our Lord's birth, we learn of two distinct groups of people who were knowledgeable about the timing of this very significant event (excepting Mary, Joseph and a few others). The shepherds of Luke 2:8 were told of the birth while they were in the fields near Bethlehem by the angel Gabriel. Men from the east known as Magi acquired the knowledge through God's celestial messaging system!

Note: Before reading this page it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you read and understand Celestial Signs and the Basis for Biblical Astronomy.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, "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." 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: 6 "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'" 7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 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. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. 13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." 14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son." 16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

Matthew 2:1-16

You may have been taught that there were three wise men, or kings, who visited the baby Jesus. Tradition probably derived "three Kings" from the three types of gifts they offered to Jesus. These men were astronomers called Magi, and there were very likely many more than three of them. In those days, three wealthy men would have been easy prey for bandits. People traveled in caravans for safety. These men, however many there were, arrived in Bethlehem when the child was perhaps around 15 months old. If these Magi had been idolatrous astrologers, as tradition might lead us to suspect, we then have to ask, "Why were they given the privilege of visiting God's only begotten son?" How did they know where and when to find the child? Let's look at their background. Exactly who were these men?

They were Medes and Persians that had been taught by a man named Zoroaster. After Zoroaster died, the Magi split into sects. Some basically adhered to their former religion; nature and sun worship. From the activities of this sect of the Magi, we have derived the words "magic" and "magician." they were astrologers and false seers. The Magi who visited the Christ child would have been followers of another sect, "biblical astronomers," if you will, who continued to follow a more pure form of doctrine.

In around 537 BC, the Medes and Persians conquered Babylon. At that time, many Israelites were in Babylon as captives. They remained captive in Babylon for a time until they were released by the Medes and Persians to return to their land. During this period of time, the prophet Daniel was in Babylon. His position is noted below. Consider how these Magi might have become so well informed about the coming King.

Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men.

Daniel 2:48

These Magi must have loved to learn. When they met up with Daniel, they probably had quite an exciting time comparing notes.

I've already presented evidence that Abram understood the message of the heavens. I submit to you that Daniel also understood the celestial teaching and that the Magi were his faithful students. These Magi would have passed along their knowledge to successive generations of scholars resulting in the faithful remnant of the Magi recognizing the announcement of the King at the time of His birth. These Magi were presented with the proclamation of the first coming of the son of God via celestial signs - and they understood!

The star the magi had seen in the East and that that went before them as they traveled from Jerusalem to Bethlehem was very special. It was not a natural phenomena, but supernatural, angelic, as I show in this writing called What Was it That is Called the Star of Bethlehem. There was, in addition to the role "his star" played, numerous celestial signs involving the lights of a more commonly seen nature.

What were the signs that convinced the Magi it was time to go find the child? From the evidence available to us now, it seems that there were at least two celestial signs, one general and one specific. Additionally, I think they may have had another clue as to the time of Christ's appearance, a clue from scripture itself. It seems likely that these Magi would have been aware of Daniel's prophecies, even and especially those found recorded in the book of Daniel.

Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. {26} After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing.

Daniel 9:25-26a

The Magi would certainly have been able to note the date of the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. It wouldn't have been too difficult for them to count the years from that time. The Magi might possibly have had more information than what is recorded in the book of Daniel - we just don't know. Confusion reigns still today when it comes to interpreting this prophecy. A question of no small importance that comes to mind is this, "If the information given in the prophecy recorded in Daniel 9:25 and 26 were all that was necessary, why didn't anyone else beside the Magi show up to honor the Christ child?" Good question, isn't it? Further information must have been required. Why were the Magi, these Persian astronomers, the only ones to have this information or the only ones to understand it? I believe the answer to that question gives us a commentary on our time as well. The men who have been responsible to teach about God's message in the heavens have not been faithful. The Magi were the only people of their time who were faithful watchmen of the heavens. They recognized the revelation of God's Son's appearance and were allowed the privilege of visiting Jesus as a child. Those whom we might think should have known, who had the religious positions and credentials of the day didn't know when the King should be born. Recall the record of Matthew 2.

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. {4} When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.
{5} "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: {6} 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.' {7} Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.

Matthew 2:3-7

See, Herod didn't inquire about the exact time from the chief priests and teachers of the law. He called the Magi secretly. Herod was convinced that the Magi knew what they were talking about, convinced enough to decree that all male children in and around Bethlehem under 2 years old should be killed. Of course, Herod was only acting out the will of Satan who, since he failed at preventing Jesus' appearance, would now seek to murder him. The general sign I mentioned relates to what Bullinger called a "traditional prophecy, well-known in the East." it states that "a new star would appear in this sign when He whom it foretold should be born." Bullinger suggests that the sign in which the new star was located is the constellation "Coma," a decan of (constellation associated with) Virgo.

The appearance of a star at that time is well supported by the historical evidence. The Chinese recorded the appearance of a new bright star at that time. Hipparchus was inspired to produce his catalogue of stars upon the sudden appearance of this star in about 125 BC. It was visible for perhaps just over 275 years, being almost to dim to be distinguishable by the time of Ptolemy, 150 years after Christ. A Christian writer, Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch in AD 69, is quoted as saying, "At the appearance of the Lord a star shone forth brighter than all the other stars." Ignatius might not have been speaking of his first hand experience, but certainly, in 69 AD, the star would yet have been visible in the sky and a significant body of evidence would have existed to substantiate his comment about its Visibility at the time of the birth of Christ.

It could be that this star which attended the birth of Christ appeared in fulfillment of Balaam's oracle (or, prophecy) recorded in Numbers 24.

I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth.

Numbers 24:17

The appearance of a new bright star in the head of Coma would have spoken loudly to the Magi. They had probably been growing in anticipation of further signs to be given since its appearance in about 125 BC.

The Star of Bethlehem - The head of Comah

The ancient name of the constellation Coma is spelled "Comah." It is a Hebrew word which means "the desired," or "longed for." The word is found translated that way in Haggai.

I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,' says the Lord almighty.

Haggai 2:7

The association with Y'shua is obvious!

About this constellation, an Arabian astronomer named Albumazar (eighth century AD) is quoted as saying; "There arises in the first Decan(which means: "part," or, "associated constellation") as the Persians, Chaldeans, and Egyptians, and the two Hermes and Ascalius teach, a young woman, whose Persian name denotes a pure virgin, sitting on a throne, nourishing an infant boy, having a Hebrew name, by some nations called IHESU, with the signification IEZA, which in Greek is called Christos." The boy in the virgin's lap is widely recognized as symbolic of Christos - the anointed, the Messiah!

The evidence suggests very strongly that this bright star was a sign for the Magi, but at best, being a star which remains fixed in its position in the heavens, would not likely have been as specific a sign as would have been necessary for them to show up in the time frame they did. There were more specific signs given, signs that would have convinced the Magi it was finally time to depart on their pilgrimage to Israel to find the one born King. The celestial signs of his coming that the Magi had to have seen are easily discovered by making use of astronomy software. Turning back the clock about 2000 years allows us to see the night sky represented as those ancient Magians saw it, revealing a remarkable series of celestial configurations. Knowing what they saw and how one particular sign that marked our Lord's birth is actually described in detail in the holy scriptures is exciting, but really, to see how the whole matter set the precedent for the way the signs of the return of the King would be presented - and then to see a similar sign appear in the heavens with a similar scriptural description, well, what can I say!

Are the Magi of the last days paying attention?

A Great and Wondrous Sign

Now that the concept of dating by the celestial heavens has been introduced and evidence has been presented to establish the fact that there have indeed been those who understood the testimony of the heavens, there are two instances of divine revelation I would like to address in particular. These two may be considered as lessons for the instruction of the latter day Magi. By such examples from the past, we are given grace to develop the language skills necessary in the present to interpret the signs of our times! These signs from our Lord's first advent set the precedent for the signs that accompany His coming again. The first sign reveals when Jesus was born.

The exact time of Y'shua's birth was declared in the heavens. This information had been concealed very cleverly for many centuries, and though lately revealed, it is still largely unknown!

A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. {2} She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. {3} Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. {4} his tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. {5} She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.

Revelation 12:1-5

The dominant theme of this passage is that of the birth of a son to the woman. Because the son will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. we know he is Y'shua (Psalms 2:9, Revelation 2:27 and 19:15) and the mother is then Mary. She was in the royal lineage of David as suggested by the crown that was seen on the woman's head. But, was Mary ever seen in heaven clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head? Probably not. If this is symbolic, how do we interpret the symbols? with the foundation i've already laid in this study, the answer should be obvious.

The Greek word for "sign" is the word which appears in the Greek secular literature for the signs of the Zodiac. These signs (constellations) appear in heaven. Of the twelve Zodiacal signs, Virgo is the only one pictured as a woman. The Hebrew name for the sign is "Bethulah," which means "virgin." Mary was a virgin when Y'shua was conceived so you can see a very obvious connection. Virgo is the fixed background located on the ecliptic, against which other celestial bodies appear to move. The sun, moon and crown pass through Virgo at Various times, marking time like hands across the face of an analog clock. In the same way time is read on a clock, you can read time on a constellation by noting the position of the bodies. You just need learn how to interpret the configurations to know what is being signified. Although there may be other purposes for this passage in Revelation 12, one thing it does is establish an absolute date for the Lord's birth accurately to the day, month and year. it is important to know exactly when Y'shua was born. It was a major event on the Lord the Lord's schedule of appointments with man and much is predicated upon it. It may have been one of the signs the Magi had been specifically informed about, I can't say.

The first two of the three moving components of the sign are familiar celestial bodies; the sun and the moon. The third is represented symbolically as a crown of 12 stars. This symbolic reference is no less a chronological indicator than the sun and moon. It is unfortunate that the discoverer of the sign's celestial interpretation got it only part right. The late Dr. Ernest Martin, along with almost all who have become familiar with his work in the last two decades fail to see that the third component is as much a chronological indicator as the first two. I had missed it myself until J.R. Church called me one day back in 1992 and asked if I would check something with my computer astronomy program. he had a brilliant insight I hadn't considered, possibly because I had assumed dr. Martin had gotten it right. i'll get into more detail about that shortly. First, a basic astronomy lesson.

There are twelve signs of the Zodiac. These constellations are the ones the sun appears to pass through when viewed from earth. Each year the sun appears to move a full circuit through the Zodiac because, by definition, the annual cycle is based upon the revolution of the earth about the sun. Now, because the number of signs through which the sun must pass each year is twelve, each sign is "clothed with the sun" for one twelfth of the year. We have now learned something about how to read time on the celestial clock because the son's birth to Virgo/Mary took place when Virgo was clothed with the sun. This means he was born around the month of Tishri, or September. If that's all the detail we had about the configuration, we would know which twelfth part of the annual cycle Y'shua was born in but still know nothing about the day or year. Since we also know the relative position of the moon to the sun, we can recognize the configuration as a biblical new moon. According to biblical accounting, the months are linked to the lunar cycle and it is the sighting of a new moon that signals the first day of a new month. So, with the first two indicators in the configuration of Revelation 1, the sun and the moon, we know which month and which day of the month. Actually, we know the time of day as well because the sighting of a new moon takes place right around nightfall. In Biblical accounting, one day ends at nightfall and another begins, so the time being marked out is the very beginning of the first day of Tishri. this is all very good to know, but not yet enough.

In what year was Y'shua born?

Here is where the third component of the timepiece is required. Those who neglect to interpret the crown of twelve stars on Virgo's head as celestial body like unto the sun and moon that also makes its passage through the constellation miss out on this necessary third indicator. Dr. Martin interpreted the crown of twelve stars on Virgo's head as a fixed attribute of Virgo herself, a further identification of Virgo as the sign in the Zodiacal circle which is at the head of the twelve signs. She is indeed at the head of the twelve, but to interpret the crown as a fixed attribute is not consistent with the language of the verse.

A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.

Revelation 12:1

The position of the sun is given, Then the position of the moon is given. Then the position of the crown of 12 stars is given. They are all of the same kind: Celestial bodies in motion through the constellation Virgo seen in a moment of time. Although the identities of the sun and moon are obvious, being known by these exact names, the identity of the crown of twelve stars is not because it is a symbolic reference.

What celestial body may be seen passing through the region of Virgo's head that is symbolized as a crown of twelve stars? jupiter! How is the crown of twelve stars the planet Jupiter? A crown is a symbol of a king, or, the authority to rule. Jupiter has long been known as the King planet, the ruling planet. the King planet revolves about the sun once every 12 earth years, marking it Very obviously with the number 12. Since there are 12 signs of the Zodiac and Jupiter requires 12 years for one full circuit, it may be seen in each of the zodiacal constellations for one year at a time. This is precisely the kind of information we need to be able to tell time from the celestial configuration in Revelation 12:1! Now we know which year Y'shua was born because it is in only one year in twelve that the King planet may be observed in the region of Virgo's head! with this information, even given the broad range historians suggest as they disagree on the dating of this event, it leaves us only one year as a possible candidate: 2 BC. I have one final observation to make about Jupiter as represented by a crown of twelve stars. As Jupiter traces a path through the ecliptic, its progression is marked by elliptical retrograde motion. This means that, in each year-long Visit to a constellation, it traces an elliptical figure like a crown. It had just finished tracing such a crown over the head of Virgo (in Leo) at the birth of our Lord in the fall of 2 BC!

The Author's use of symbolism helped obscure the nature of this celestial prophecy for a Very long time, and the misinterpretation of the symbol has further kept the year from being properly identified. like I mentioned earlier, I had made the same mistake in misinterpreting the meaning of the crown until J.R. Church called me one day way back in 1992 asking about when Jupiter would have been seen in Virgo's head. When I checked and saw Virgo clothed with the sun, the moon beneath her feet and jupiter on her head in Tishri 2 BC, I realized the significance of his insight! Jupiter was indeed the crown of 12 stars, and the interpretation of the three indicators was consistent! Dr. Martin had a tremendous revelation, but erred in his conclusion because he missed a significant detail. Although J.R. Church had the insight into this last important detail, it is an unfortunate fact that he has since turned to adopt the View of Dr. Martin in concluding that the designated year is 3 BC. What difference does it make what year Y'shua was born? Does it really matter whether it was one year or the other? Yes! It is the difference between truth and error. Every scheduled event and every detail of it has a purpose.

Although no one else I know who is teaching about the celestial sign of Revelation 12:1 varies from Dr. Martin's conclusion, there are those who have, like myself, determined that 2 BC is the correct year and september 29 the day by the reckoning of the Western calendar. Three of note are Stephen E. Jones, Chuck Missler and Stewart Best. Another gentleman, a physicist by the name of John Zajac has recently determined the same by close examination of the Great Pyramid at Giza. (See http://www.europa.com/~edge/giza.html) his conclusion about the date of our Lord's crucifixion is in agreement with what I have determined by correlating celestial and scriptural revelation. a Web page you can read online with some historical references that point to September 29, 2 BC as the day of our Lords' birth is http://144000.net/birth.htm.

Rosh HaShanah: The Feast of Trumpets

The Lord's calendar is a lunar calendar. According to its reckoning, a month begins in Israel at sunset when a new moon has been sighted by two or three witnesses. The moon which appeared under the woman's feet while she was clothed with the sun would have been a new moon, the first visible crescent marking the beginning of a new month. Since the sun clothed Virgo, the month was Tishri. Now, every new moon was a holy day, but Tishri's new moon was that special one to which all the others seem to point. I believe that a new moon is a symbol that speaks of the appearance of the Messiah in his first advent and that a "new" Sun appearing at dawn speaks of the appearance of the Messiah in his second advent. The very day of the Messiah's birth was apparently the very event to which all the new moons pointed and therefore, particularly that new moon which announces the coming of Yom Teruah. At the very time when the moon would have become visible beneath Bethulah's feet as the sun clothing her set below the horizon, the day of sounding the shofar began! This celebration is variously known as rosh haShanah, "head of the year" or Yom Teruah, the "day of trumpets," or "feast of trumpets."

That the son of God should be brought forth on a day He commanded to be celebrated was no coincidence. An event so important as the birth of God's only begotten son could not have been ignored in the prophetic calendar of Jewish Holy Days. Remember, God commanded these to be kept as cryptic prophecies about what Christ would be and do. If you've ever recognized the logic in God's creation you have to conclude that God is not a random God, or a God who changes the rules as He goes along to throw everyone off track. He is a God of logic, precision, symmetry and consistency. Sometimes the things He does are complex, but when He reveals the keys, lifting the veil that obscures them, His prophecies can then be understood and their perfection noted. It is a well established fact of history that God fulfills the Holy Days and Feasts on anniversaries of the days they were commanded to be observed. He keeps His appointments! september 29, 2 BC was such a moed, an appointment, a Jewish holy Day in which can be found the signification of Christ's birth!

About this new moon festival, Jewish Christian scholar Alfred Edersheim noted that "...the blowing of the priest's trumpets and the special sacrifices brought, would summon, as it were, the Lord's host to offer their tribute unto their exalted King, and thus bring themselves into 'remembrance' before Him." Isn't that something? Although this great celebration was taking place at the very time the King Y'shua was born, Israel was unaware of the awesome verity that the blowing of the trumpets was at that very time paying tribute to the great Messianic King and summoning all heaven and earth to pay tribute to him! The sound of a trumpet represents a voice speaking for God as an important proclamation is made. On that day, trumpets were blown all day long in celebration of the sovereignty of God. Further signification of the trumpet blowing celebration can be noted from the following passage.

Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! 2 Begin the music, strike the tambourine, play the melodious harp and lyre. 3 Sound the ram's horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full, on the day of our Feast; 4 this is a decree for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob. 5 He established it as a statute for joseph when he went out against Egypt, where we heard a language we did not understand. 6 He says, "I removed the burden from their shoulders; their hands were set free from the basket.

Psalm 81:1-6

Isn't this musical accompaniment to the New Moon likened to Joseph's voice in Genesis 42:23 as he spoke to his brothers in a language they did not understand? The language of Egypt, which is to say, the language of Heaven is that which is trumpeted. It would seem that trumpeting of the New Moons and of the Feast of Trumpets is very much related to the angelic host's praise and proclamation on the night our Lord was born. luke so wonderfully recorded what was witnessed by the shepherds as they were receiving the testimony of their Messiah's birth.

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.

Luke 2:13-14

This Holy Day is also the day from which the reign of the kings was accounted. No matter what day of the year a king in Israel began to reign, it was accounted from Tishri 1 to Tishri 1. The son of the Almighty god, born of a virgin on that day would become the King of every and all kings, reigning forever!

This Feast is a very joyful celebration which begins the accounting of a new civil year on the Jewish calendar. As it marked the transition into a new "year," a time such as the world had never known had finally arrived! The civil year relates specifically to government, and so it may be noted what was written for our benefit by the prophet Isaiah.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

I find it quite interesting that, even today on Rosh HaShanah, the tradition of the Jews is to read Genesis 21. This is the record of the birth of Isaac, a clearly defined type of Christ. If you remember from my study of the Hebrew word moed, the usage of this word for appointed times can be viewed as binding together the birth of Isaac, the Feasts and the celestial signs. I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised to find just how it was that God was faithful to His promise to announce His son's appearance on a Holy Day via celestial signs!

So, when was Jesus born? Our Lord Jesus Christ was born on the holy day Rosh HaShanah (Yom Teruah) on September 29 in 2 BC. How do know when he was born? Some know by a careful historic study, like Chuck Missler has done. Others know by careful study of the Great Pyramid at Giza. Others know by the wisdom of the ancients regarding what has come to us through the biblical and celestial records. Does any of this even matter? Oh yes, Absolutely! This is the basis for knowledge about the Son of God's return. It is a precedent. Are you paying attention, friend?

Collateral Studies

When Jesus was Baptized - The Celestial Signs
When REALLY was Jesus Born? - by Dr. Stephen E. Jones