(From an earlier post) Greetings everyone, I must say that this topic has become very interesting. I'm learning new information as I continue to do more research. What started as an attempt to discover what the Magi were interpreting when they took off to Judea has lead into very diverse research. I claim not to be an expert in any one field, but know a little about each, which is enough to connect strands together. A few months weeks ago I blogged about the Chinese comet observed in Capricorn in March of 5 BCE as being one of the indicators to the Magi that Jesus was about to be born. I focused on the fact that Augustus was a Capricorn, and the Magi must of knew that something was up. Since we really do not know where the Magi were from, although most likely Parthia, we really do not have details on how they interpreted the Star of Bethlehem. They may have taken it as a good sign or a bad sign for Caesar. This comet had Augustus' divinity all over it. First, it was spotted in Capricorn, Augustus' zodiac, and I have uncovered ancient sources that tell of comets as evidence as his justification for rule. Shortly after Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BCE, a comet was seen over Rome. Augustus, who believed himself to be the heir of Caesar, was also a savvy politician.
Two ancient sources tell of Augustus’ use of comets for propaganda. The first is from Pliny the Elder (CE 23 – 79). He was a Roman author, naturalist and natural philosopher, a naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and a friend of the emperor Vespasian. Pliny wrote in the encyclopedic Natural History about Augustus’ use of a very brilliant comet observed shortly after Julius Caesar’s assissination in 44 BCE, and just before Augustus dedicated the Olympic games to Venus. Augustus used this comet to connect its appearance with his family in their claim of divine honor, as being directly descended from Venus. Pliny writes:
In one only Place of the whole World, namely, in a Temple at Rome, a Comet is worshiped: even that by Divus Augustus Caesar himself was judged fortunate to him. Who, when it began to appear, acted in Person as Overseer in those Games which he made to Venus Genetria, not long after the Death of his father, Caesar, in the College by him erected.
Augustus also used the image of a comet on the reverse of many of his coins to assert the deification of Julius Caesar. On some the comet is on front of the coin above his head. It must be remembered that Julius Caesar was never officially proclaimed emperor. This belief is reinforced through the writings of Ovid. Named Publius Ovidius Naso (43 BCE – 17/18 CE), he was a popular Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus. Ovid writes in the Metamorphses about Julius Caeser’s death and the comet of 44 BCE.
No sooner had he spoken when the goddess slipped back into the senate house unseen and took the still-fresh soul from Caesar’s body, which she would not let vanish in the air, and carried it up to the stars in heaven; and as she did so, she could see it glowing and feel it start to kindle in her bosom: she let it go; and as it flew through space trailing fire, it flickered like a star.
The coins above prove Augustus' fondness with comets and his zodiac Capricorn. Therefore, I believe it is very likely that the Magi would have seen the Chinese comet as an indication that something was happening in the Roman Empire. Did the Magi think that Augustus would use the March 5 BCE comet (the only ancient primary source) as a sign for a new ruler? We do not know for sure where or how the comet pointed the Magi toward Bethlehem. But, I believe this to be the only Star of Bethlehem candidate with a valid pedigree. For more see my book The Essence of Perfection. Until next time, GO WITH GOD!
In the latest edition of The Essence of Perfection, I point out that 3 consecutive Passover lunar eclipses occurred before the birth of Jesus. The lunar eclipses are based on information provided to NASA from Fred Espenak. Go to the following link for Moon phases throughout history- http://astropixels.com/ephemeris/phasescat/phasescat.html)
The first, a penumbral lunar eclipse occurred during the Passover of April 14, 7 BCE, only two years before the March 23, Passover total eclipse. This was view-able in eastern Asia, but not Israel or Persia. A penumbral lunar eclipse is when the Moon traverses the Earth’s penumbral shadow, but misses the Earth’s umbral shadow. The result is the Moon appears darker. This was the weakest, although first, of the 3 consecutive Passover eclipses. The Magi, who keep excellent records on lunar eclipses (see my book for more) were most likely aware of this, but it was not visible in Israel. Most likely the Jews took little notice.
The next, a partial lunar eclipse, viable in Israel and Persia, occurred during the April 4, 6 BCE Passover. The Magi would have known of this, and the Jews would have viewed it if the weather was good. Was this a prelude to the March 23, 5 BCE total eclipse?
A total lunar eclipse occurred during the March 23 Passover of 5 BCE. The Talmud states that lunar eclipses are not a good omen for Israel. This would most likely have interested the Magi and worried some Jews as something not good for Israel. We know that in 70 AD, 40 years after the Passover Resurrection, the Romans destroyed the Temple and the Jewish nation ceased to be.
Did the Magi use these signs and the March 5, BCE Chinese comet as signs to visit Jesus? Was this a sign from God of the coming of Jesus? I like to think that Jesus was not only perfect in life, but was also perfect in time. I will leave it up to you to decide (read the book for more). Until next time, GO WITH GOD!
In The Essence of Perfection, I write about the integral existence. There was a belief in Judaism before the time of Christ known as the “integral age” of the great Jewish Prophets—that those who lived a divine life were born and died on the same date. This belief was written in the Babylon Talmud. It states that the truest Jewish prophets were born and died during Passover, in the Jewish month of Nissan (March/April):
R. Yehoshua, says: In Nissan the world was created, and in the same month the patriarchs were born, and in Nissan they also died; Isaac was born on the Passover; on New Year’s Day Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah were visited, Joseph was released from prison, and the bondage of our fathers in Egypt ceased. In Nissan our ancestors were redeemed from Egypt, and in the same month we shall again be redeemed.
Clement of Alexander leads us to believe that some Christians in the 2nd Century were worshiping the birth and death of Jesus on the same day. According to the Bible, this would be Passover. But, some time after the 3rd Century, December 25 became the official day of Christmas. About the same time, Emperor Constantine was officially separating the Christian Church from the Jewish faith.
This included Constantine changing the day of Easter to the first Sunday after the spring equinox from the same day as Passover. He stated,
"... it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of soul ... Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way."
Theodoret’s Ecclesiastical History records The Epistle of the Emperor Constantine, concerning the matters transacted at the Council, addressed to those Bishops who were not present:
"It was, in the first place, declared improper to follow the custom of the Jews in the celebration of this holy festival, because, their hands having been stained with crime, the minds of these wretched men are necessarily blinded. ... Let us, then, have nothing in common with the Jews, who are our adversaries. ... Let us ... studiously avoiding all contact with that evil way. ... For how can they entertain right views on any point who, after having compassed the death of the Lord, being out of their minds, are guided not by sound reason, but by an unrestrained passion, wherever their innate madness carries them. ... lest your pure minds should appear to share in the customs of a people so utterly depraved. ... Therefore, this irregularity must be corrected, in order that we may no more have any thing in common with those parricides and the murders of the Lord. ... no single point in common with the perjury of the Jews."
Not only did Constantine's laws change what day Easter would be celebrated, but they also lead to the beginning of Anti-Semitism. We most not forget that Jesus read the Torah and listened to the Oral Law, today written down as the Talmud from the word of GOD. Jesus, who well versed in scripture, knew what was said in the Talmud about the Jewish month of Nissan. He also knew this when he went to death on Passover. Passover was special to the Jews, and special to Jesus. This is because he was Jewish.
15 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.