One of the great mysteries of the narrative is the star. What was this star a miracle some kind of natural phenomena? Yes is the answer.

Before we dig into it lets look at some scriptures that reference Jesus with a star that may tie into the star story.

Balaam a prophet requested by a king to curse Israel ends up blessings them every time here is part of his prophecy Numbers 24:17

I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult.

David fits this prophecy as he quite literally crushed the Moabites and many other enemies of Israel as the star references a King and the scepter power. But as with many prophecies, it is believed that this has a double affect in the it represents Jesus returning in power to destruction all the evil on the earth.

Peter is recalling the star as he proclaims Jesus to be as that star 2 Peter 1:19

Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts.

Jesus references His resurrection of the dead as a promise of God to the church of Thyatira Revelation 2:28

They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star!

Jesus calls himself the bright morning star Revelation 22:16

16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne. I am the bright morning star.”

The Psalmist simply wrote about God’s glory in the heavens…Psalm 19:1

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.

So am I saying Jesus was himself the star the Magi followed? No, but my first explanation of the star is simply a clear direct sign from God

Moses saw a bush on fire but did not burn Exodus 3: 1-3 that light led to the freedom of Israelites from bondage

Then the nation was lead for 40 years to the promised land, their place of freedom by a fire by night and a pillar of smoke by day Exodus 13:21

With these two examples, I don’t put it past God to simply do a miracle in the sky, a one-time event of an angel or simply a fire in the sky that will lead these wisemen back and forth to where they need to go. Ultimately guiding the whole world to freedom, it could have been something only they could see.

This is the hyper-miraculous explanation and is as plausible as the next one.

The star could very well have been a natural event that the Lord planned and established for this perfect time. Let’s read the narrative again so we place it in order..

Matthew 2:1-10

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”

3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. 4 He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”

5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:

6 ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,

are not least among the ruling cities of Judah,

for a ruler will come from you

who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. 8 Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”

9 After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!

First let’s look at the Greek word used for star…it of course means star but it also could mean planet, asteroid, meteor any of these celestial bodies could be the meaning of the word star…astronomers tell us beginning in 3 BC an event happened that is a once in a lifetime event that may explain what the wise men saw and followed to Bethlehem.

We need to recognize whatever this star was it was obviously easy to miss unless you were looking for it, otherwise the leadership in both Judea and Rome would have been talking about it or would have at least been aware. Herod had to ask when the “star” appeared

In Babylonian astronomic lore, the planet Jupiter is known and the King planet. As these wise men where the King makers they were often guided by the stars to make their decisions. You need to understand this is not something that God sanctions and often the king makers did not choose wisely being led by the stars rather than the Holy Spirit. However, God knew this was the way to reach them so this is what He used….God often meets us where we are in order to reach us with His message foe us. They knew from Daniel’s prophecy that this was about the time so they did what they knew to do, look to the heavens for their answers. So God may have done a bit of a light show for them.

This star had to endure for a long period of time, most likely taking them anywhere from 6 months to 1 and ½ years to get there…so a natural phenomenon, like a comet or meteor, are out of the question

In 3 BC the King planet Jupiter enter a kind of weird orbit with the King star Regulus (today we know that Regulus is actually a group of four stars but to the naked eye in ancient times it appeared as one star. Every 12 years Jupiter passes Regulus and generally they both go on their merry way. In 3 BC Jupiter passed Regulus  then came back around it, then came back around it for a third time creating a crown. So in effect the King Planet drew a crown around the King star. (photo of the orbit)

This event is such a rare occurrence that no astronomer would have ever seen it in their lifetime. To these early wisemen it was a very significant but how would they know this King was related to the Jews and Israel why didn’t they assume it was something for Babylon? The constellation that this took place in was the constellation of the Lion. From Judah’s early beginnings they were known as the Lion tribe..Jacob’s prophecy over his son Judah, and the chosen one coming from his line

Genesis 49:9,10

Judah, my son, is a young lion

that has finished eating its prey.

Like a lion he crouches and lies down;

like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?

10 The scepter will not depart from Judah,

nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants,

until the coming of the one to whom it belongs,

the one whom all nations will honor.

To this day, the flag for the city of Jerusalem has the lion of the tribe of Judah on it. (photo Jerusalem flag)

This event took place on Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) September 10, 3BC

 There was a conjunction of Jupiter and Venus which would have signified to these early astronomers a Kingly birth on June 2, 2BC according to those who study such things that is when the wisemen would have begun their trek 

Could this “star” Jupiter lead the way for the wise men, backward from Jerusalem to Bethlehem 5 miles away? Is it possible for a star to reverse its course?

Based on the length of time it would have taken the wise men to travel with their company from Babylon to Jerusalem they would have arrived in Jerusalem in December of 2 BC. On December 25, 2 BC because of the rotation of the earth, Jupiter appear to be in retrograde motion (going in reverse). In other words, it gave the appearance of Jupiter traveling backward and stopping over Bethlehem on the day that we celebrate Christmas, December 25th.

You can buy some pretty expensive software and check it out for yourself? This explanation is plausible as well. It correlates with the timing that most believe Jesus was born (problems with Pope Gregory’s calendar no withstanding)

Whatever way God did it, we know he did it so these wise men and all of Israel could know their chosen and anointed one had been born.

It is God who has control over the heavens…Psalms


The heavens proclaim the glory of God.

The skies display his craftsmanship.

2 Day after day they continue to speak;

night after night they make him known.

3 They speak without a sound or word;

their voice is never heard.

4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,

and their words to all the world.

Perhaps this was a prophecy of exactly what I just explained, actually either explanation could fulfill this prophecy.

I am not sure what way God did it but we have a miraculous solution either way one proven by science and one that is simply the finger of God.

What do you think he can do for you? How can he meet your needs, guide you, direct you if he can do either of these things in the heavens. This is the God we serve and I hope both of these explanation help you to see him bigger than what you have before, beginning to

Some egghead stuff if you want to find this information for yourself (God have mercy on your soul

This iterative process works, but can be tedious. Since planetary positions are semi-well-behaved, you’d think there would be a faster, non-iterative method. Well…

However, this also uses an iterative method, as the long description of the “step” parameter indicates:

“step must be short enough for a search using step to locate the time intervals where the specified angular separation function is monotone increasing or decreasing. However, step must not be too short, or the search will take an unreasonable amount of time”

By experimentation, I found that a step size of 6 days does not find all Mercury/Venus minimal separations, although a step size of 1 day does find these. In other words, reducing the step size from 6 days to 1 day found additional conjunctions, but reducing the step size to well below 1 day did not produce any additional conjunctions.