Hippolytus’s statue, made in the 3rd century CE, indicates that Jesus was born and died during Passover. It includes Passover dates with the scripture "Genesis of Christ" next to one. Remember the Talmud states the prophets were born and died during the Passover month of Nissan. In 4 days, I will post what I believe to be the real Star of Bethlehem and the date of the Nativity based on ancient sources, help from NASA and the US Navy, and the Talmud. For more on Hippolytus read my book The Essence of Perfection. Until then, GO WITH GOD.
Here is a preview of what I plan to show on December 24. By the end of the presentation you will know what the Star of Bethlehem was and what date the Nativity occurred on. Until then, GO WITH GOD!
On Dec. 24, I will have a very special blog in the form of a slide show about the Star of the Bethlehem. I will release what I believe to be the real Star and my date for Christmas. Once again I would like to thank everyone who supports me on this website and twitter. You inspire me to put important time into this project. Remember the Talmud says that the prophets were born in Nissan and died in Nissan. Half of this narrative will be presented on Christmas eve. Until then, as always GO WITH GOD!
Reminder, on Dec. 24th I will announce my choice for the Star of Bethlehem along with ample reasons why. Last week I blogged about the relationship between Parthia and Rome. I believe this to be significant in finding the real Star of Bethlehem. If the Magi came from Parthia they would have not had the astrological skills of the Babylonians. In fact they may be a little overrated. History has been very favorable to them. They are considered "wise men" who were the first Gentiles to worship Jesus. But, they were more likely ambassadors to kings or rulers, not rulers themselves. They probably consulted with Jewish rabbis before leaving, the smart thing to do, and were told of Old Testament prophecy and the Oral Law of the Talmud (the Talmud was still in its original oral form at that time). Remember the Talmud informs us that Jewish profits were born in Nissan around the time of Passover, and Issac, often compared to Jesus was born and died on Passover. From The Essence of Perfection:
When Marco Polo made his epic 24-year journey through the Middle East to China in 1271, he passed through what is modern-day Iran. During this time, he was greeted by the citizens of Sabā. He was told that their town had been the point of origin of the Magi. A. V. Williams Jackson notes the following:
It has long been recognized that the names “Saba” and “Ava” of Marco Polo are probably to be identified with Savah, some 50 miles southwest of Tehran, and with Avah, a village about 16 miles southwest of Savah. The third city, called “Cala Ataperistan” by the Venetian traveler and said to be “three days’ journey” from Sabā, has not identified, although Marco Polo is correct in his statement that the name means ‘Castle of the Fire-Worshippers,’ for it represents the Persian Kalah-i Atasparastan.
Thus, more than one town claimed to have some connection to the Magi’s narrative, which may contribute to the theory that three Magi did, in fact, make their epic journey. Marco Polo, in his book The Travels of Marco Polo, writes about visiting this region of Iran while traveling to China:
In Persia, there is the city which is called Saba, from whence were the three Magi who came to adore Christ in Bethlehem; and the three are buried in that city in a fair sepulcher, and they are all three entire with their beards and hair. One was called Baldasar, the second Gaspar, and the third Belchior. Marco inquired often in that city concerning the three Magi, and nobody could tell him anything about them except that the three Magi were buried there in an-cient times. After three days’ journey you come to a castle which is called Palasata, which means the castle of the fire-worshippers; and it is true that the inhabitants of that castle worship fire, and this is given as the reason.
It is intriguing that there exists evidence from Iran that the Magi did travel from that location to pay homage to Jesus. Polo later even references the Magi’s gifts of gold, frank-incense, and myrrh. Thus, the inhabitants of the region were at least aware of the narrative. Polo also gives an account of an unusual gift that Jesus gave the Magi when they left:
When they went away, the infant gave them a closed box, which they carried with them for several days, and then becoming curious to see what he had given them, they opened the box and found in it a stone, which was intended for a sign that they should remain as firm as a stone in the faith they received from him. When, however, they saw the stone, they marveled, and thinking themselves deluded, they threw the stone into a certain pit, and instantly fire burst forth in the pit.
Although the Magi were at first disgusted by the gift from Jesus, they soon found out it was more than a stone. The stone transforming itself is, of course, a metaphor for a simple carpenter who turns out to be a Messiah. It also proves that Jesus was respected by some in Iran well into the thirteenth century. Marco Polo reports that the Magi brought some of the fire with them back to their Church, where they worshiped it as a god by offering it sacrifices. Marco Polo believed this to be the reason the inhabitants of Persia worshiped fire. His account, therefore, points to somewhere in first-century Parthia as the best choice for the origin of the Magi, even though this source is one thousand years after the birth of Jesus. It also indicates that the Magi were more than likely aware of Jewish prophecy and religion, since they were in close proximity to the Jewish community in Babylonia.
If the Magi came from Persia or Babylon, they were more than likely well-adept astrologers, astronomers, and philosophers. This required them to spend many hours each day learning from ancient manuscripts and experienced teachers and ample amounts of time in the evenings observing the sky. They managed their own astrological charts over the centuries; unfortunately, none survive today. The charts documented when the planets and celestial bodies rose and the paths they followed. Celestial bodies were the subjects of intensely serious study by these wise men. Their proficiency in astronomy required them to watch the movements and alignments of the celestial bodies to predict important events. According to Mark Kidger, in his book The Star of Bethlehem: An Astronomer's View,
If the Magi did indeed come from Babylonia, as is tacitly accepted by many people, then the distance they would have had to travel to get to Jerusalem was around 550 miles. . . The journey would have been made in a camel train, or possibly, on horseback . . . If the camel train traveled at around two miles per hour and for around eight hours per day, the journey would have taken close to a month and a half.
From Persia, where the Magi may have originated, to Jerusalem was a journey of between 1000 and 1200 miles. Such a distance may have taken anywhere between 3 and 12 months by camel. Besides the time of travel, there were probably many weeks of preparation, which would include gathering the gifts and readying the animals for the journey. Depending on how hostile the area was, they may have needed guides and bodyguards.
If the Magi were Zoroastrians from Persia, they would have been intrigued by the Jewish idea of a savior bringing justice and happiness to the world. The linkage between a new star and a savior went far back into the Zoroastrian past. They would have known of Balaam, who in Numbers 24:15–19 is described as living in the Mesopotamian city of Pethor and being ordered by the king of Moab to curse the Israelites. Instead, tongue-tied by God, he blessed them and prophesied the coming of a great king out of Israel. Balaam said that there shall be seen a star out of Jacob and a scepter shall rise out of Israel. Zoroaster predicted the advent of a savior known as the Saosyant, who would bring justice and happiness to the world. Thus, the Saosyant and the Star out of Jacob work together as evidence.
According to Carter, the Saosyant denotes a figure who is a combination of priest, deliverer, and saint. Carter writes from the ancient text of Zoroastrianism:
The victorious Saoshyant with his helpers shall restore the world, which henceforth never will grow old and never die, never decaying and never rotting, ever living and ever increasing, and master of its wish, when the dead will rise, when life and immortality will come, and the world will be restored at its wish . . . In bringing to pass the wonderful and happy future, Saoshyant will be assisted by 15 men and 15 damsels. Together they perform a final sacrifice, the virtue of which will bring about the resurrection and the blessings of immortality. There will be a long conflict with evil but Saoshyant will be victorious.
Maneckji Nusservanji Dhalla noted in his book Zoroastrian Theology that Persian rulers, guided most likely by political expediency, often built or restored the temples of conquered people, including built temples honoring Jewish, Egyptian, Babylonian, and Greek divinities:
He notes, “Their empire was made up of various nationalities of diverse faith, and the Achaemenian rulers were always tolerant toward the religions of these subject races. . . . Cyrus ordered the restoration of the temple at Jerusalem, and Darius, the devout worshipper of Auramazda, favored its rebuilding as decreed by Cyrus.
Carter further noted, it was even proclaimed on an ancient cylinder inscription that, “Cyrus was the shepherd and the anointed of Yahweh in Judea.”
Congratulations to the five winners of the Twitter contest posted on twitter! They won a free copy of my book The Essence of Perfection.
Next week on Friday I will be exploring who the Magi were, and where they most likely came from. Believe it or not Marco Polo actually plays a major rule in this.
On December 24th, I will be blogging what I believe to be the actual Star of Bethlehem. Once again thanks to everyone following me on twitter and my blog! As always, GO WITH GOD!
The Nation of Parthia becomes an important player in the story of the Magi because if they came from Babylonia or Persia they were under the rule of Parthia. Parthia was Rome's greatest threat in the East, and both wanted to control Israel as a buffer zone between the two Empires. Next week I will explore the Magi more, but this week I wanted to examine the relationship between Rome and Parthia. From The Essence of Perfection:
When the Roman general Pompey (106–48 BCE) conquered Jerusalem in 63 BCE, he had two goals in mind— establish Roman supremacy in the East and reestablish Hellenism by bolstering the Greek city-states in the region. He was a member of the First Triumvirate of Rome along with Julius Caesar (100–44 BCE) and Crassus (112?–53 BCE), who is best remembered for defeating Spartacus. The Triumvirate was intended to keep the peace by splitting the empire, but it was soon apparent that the empire was not big enough for the three egomaniacs. Civil war broke out between the factions of Julius Caesar and Pompey after the death of Crassus, who met his demise, along with most of his army, at the hands of the Parthians. At the time, the Parthians were the Roman Empire’s greatest rival in the region, and the foremost hindrance to further Roman expansion into Asia-Minor. Rulers in the region had to select which was the best political power to align with. This was all the more confusing when Rome was embroiled in one of its many civil wars.
Such was the case when Antipater, ruler of Idumea, allied himself first with Pompey and, strategically, later with Caesar after Pompey’s defeat. When Antipater was killed in 43 BCE, soon after Caesar’s assignation, his sons Herod and Phasael were named tetrarchs (“rulers of fourths”) of Galilee by Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony). Marcus was a friend of Caesar and theoretical an ally of Lepidus and Octavian in the Second Triumvirate, another group of Roman egomaniacs determined to destroy one another. The Parthians, main rivals of Rome in the region at the time, invaded Judea in 40 BCE in an attempt to help the Hasmoneans to regain power. After Phasel was captured and committed suicide, Herod seized the opportunity to achieve power by traveling to Rome and getting himself named king of Judea by the Roman Senate. When Marcus Antonius and his army overpowered the Parthians in 37 BCE, Herod’s title became official.
Greetings everyone, once again thanks for the interest! Over the next couple of weeks, I will exploring the Magi. This week, on Friday, I will post a little political background into the 1st century CE Roman world. I believe this background is critical in knowing who the Magi were and where they came from. Until then as always, GO WITH GOD!
On 12-10-17 the winners of the twitter contest will be announced. To qualify follow my twitter page at @stgenepress by that date (link is at the top of this page above my name for those who don't like to type).
On 12-24-17 I will announce what I believe to be the actual Star of Bethlehem based on my research, and what is foretold in the Talmud and New Testament. I think many will be interested and pleased with this information, this is the real deal!
From The Essence of Perfection:
Another possibility is that the Star of Bethlehem may have been a nova or supernova. Nova means “new” in, referring to what appears to be a very bright new star shining in the sky; the prefix super distinguishes supernovas from ordinary novas, which are far less luminous. Supernovas are more than a nova. Sir Colon Humphreys downplays the nova theory:
According to Sir Colin Humphreys, “The first suggestion that the star of Bethlehem was a nova or a supernova was made by Foucquet in 1729, and possibly earlier by Kepler in 1614 . . . A nova or supernova satisfies the requirement that the star of Bethlehem was a single star which appeared at a specific time, but cannot account for the star moving through the sky. Similarly, all other suggestions for the star of Bethlehem (e.g. that it was Venus, etc.) can be ruled out except one, a comet.
Nova are relatively frequent appearances of a “guest star.” They turn on and off over a period of years. Novas occur in binary star systems in which one star is a normal star while the other is a compact white dwarf. A dwarf star is the remnant of the death of a star like the Sun, in which about half of the mass of the Sun has been compressed to a millionth of its volume, making a dense object about the size of the Earth. Hydrogen-rich gas pours from the normal star into an accretion disk around the white dwarf and then builds up a shell of material on the surface of the white dwarf. As this material accumulates, it becomes hotter and denser. Eventually, it ignites into a thermonuclear explosion, which causes the star to light up for days or weeks as material is ejected from the star.
It has been suggested that a supernova or nova could not be the Star of Bethlehem because the death of a star was not considered a good omen by the ancients. But taking a philosophical approach, the death of an old star, or regime, could also activate the creation of new stars—a new regime. It must be remembered that Jesus was not well received by the old regimes; in fact, it was the Romans who crucified him, only to later succumb themselves to Christianity, and it was the Jewish authorities who denied him, only to have their power weakened in later generations by the Christians, now more powerful with support from the Gentile world. However, there are still other celestial objects that the Star of Bethlehem could have been.
THE COMET OF BETHLEHEM?
Origen was one of the first theologians to suggest that the Star of Bethlehem may have been a comet or had comet-like qualities. He speaks of this in Contra Celsus, Book I, Chapter 58:
He writes, “The star that was seen in the east we consider to have been a new star, unlike any of the other well-known planetary bodies, either those in the firmament above or those among the lower orbs, but partaking of nature of those celestial bodies which appear at times, such as comets, or those meteors which resemble beams of wood, or beards, or wine jars, or any of those other names by which the Greeks are accustomed to describe their varying appearances. And we establish our position in the following manner.
Interestingly, the Chinese similar to the Greeks in naming them by their appearance in everyday object, called some comets “brooms.” Comets are celestial snowballs composed of ice, frozen gases (carbon dioxide, ammonia, methane, and more), rock, and dust that together form a nucleus as large as several miles across. Astronomers believe that they are left-overs from the gas, dust, ice, and rocks that initially formed the solar system around 4.6 billion years ago. When a comet’s orbit approaches the Sun, it heats up and spews dust and gases into a giant glowing head that can form a cloud called a coma, which expand out to 50,000 miles. The dust and gases from the tail of a comet can stretch away from the Sun for another 600,000 miles.
According to Humphreys,
Comets probably have the greatest dramatic appearance of all astronomical phenomena. They can be extremely bright and easily visible to the naked eye for weeks or even months. Spectacular comets typically appear only a few times each century. They can move slowly or rapidly across the sky against the backdrop of a star, but visible comets usually move through the star background at about 1 or 2 degrees per day relative to the Earth.
Humphreys also reminds us that the identification of the Star of Bethlehem as a comet originated with Origen in the third century, and was popular among Renaissance painters, including Giotto, in their depictions of the Nativity.
To date, the most valid candidate for the Star of Bethlehem is a celestial body from actual Chinese records. They report that an object of interest was observed in 5 BCE for more than 70 days. The 5 BCE date for the Star of Bethlehem also fits well with the textual evidence for the length of stay of Jesus and his family in Egypt. According to Matthew 2:13–15, after the Magi left Bethlehem, Joseph was warned that Herod planned to kill Jesus, so the family left for Egypt (a classic refuge for those trying to flee the tyranny of Palestine) and returned after Herod died. Both Origen and Eusebius state that Jesus and his family were in Egypt for two years and they returned in the first year of the reign of Herod Archelaus, one of Herod the Great’s sons, whose reign began when Herod died.
Therefore, if Herod died at the end of March, 4, BCE, the first year of the reign of Herod Archelaus would have been from April 4 BCE to April 3 BCE. Jesus and his family probably left for Egypt shortly after the Magi left Bethlehem, about April–June 5 BCE. If they stayed in Egypt a reasonable time after the death of Herod, to be absolutely sure of the news, they might have returned to Israel on, say, March 3 BCE, when traveling conditions would be good, in the first year of Herod Archelaus, having spent about two years in Egypt. Accordingly, the 5 BCE Chinese object is consistent chronologically with both Herod’s massacre of the infants and the two-year stay in Egypt, and it is the only celestial object the ancients recorded that would fit the description of the Star of Bethlehem.
187 Colin J. Humphreys, "The Star of Bethlehem—a Comet in 5 BC—and the Date of the Birth of Christ," Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society 32 (1991), 389–407.
193 Origen, The Ante-Nicene Father, Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325 Vol 4, (Buffalo: C.L. Pub. Co., 1885), 422.
194 Humphreys, “The Star of Bethlehem,” 392–3.
14 years ago I became interested in the date that Jesus was born. This led to several years of research, I quickly realized that there was no valid information that provided any real answers to this question. Since this website is getting some interest I will post from time to time some of the information I learned during this quest.