by Elijah Tice
Clues about Jesus’ birth didn’t only come from Scripture. They were also displayed in the heavens. Matthew 2:1-12 tells how the wise men followed the star of the King of the Jews. Have you ever wondered about that star? Rick Larson did. And this lawyer found several astronomical events that signaled the birth of our Savior.
In ancient times, Jupiter was considered the “King Planet.” Planets were known to be different from normal stars because they moved through the night sky instead of remaining fixed.
In the year of 3 B.C., Jupiter had a rather interesting “encounter” with the star Regulus (known as Sharu, or “king” by ancient Babylonians). Jupiter, the King Planet, got closer and closer to Regulus, the King Star, over a period of several months, right up until they appeared to touch. Jupiter continued moving past, but then entered “retrograde motion” (when a planet appears to stop and reverse direction). Jupiter swung back past Regulus, then stopped and reversed direction yet again, passing just above Regulus for a third time! For the wise men tracing Jupiter’s path, it would have appeared Jupiter was circling, or crowning, Regulus.
This coronation took place in the constellation Leo (the Lion). Genesis 49 refers to the tribe of Judah as being like a lion, and you’ll remember that Jesus is referred to as the Lion of Judah. The meeting of Jupiter and Regulus in Leo could have symbolized the crowning of a new king in Israel.
Larson believes all of this happened to proclaim the coming of the King of the Jews, but what about Jesus’ actual birth? Larson’s research showed that about nine months after Jupiter crowned Regulus, Jupiter approached another planet — Venus, the Mother Planet. The two drew so close that they actually appeared to touch! Combined, their light was the brightest light in the night sky. To the wise men, this could have symbolized the actual birth of the new King.
Do you want to know the most amazing part? All stars and planets follow fixed movements in the heavens. Nothing in the night sky is random. God created the universe and set it in motion so the planets and stars would one day announce His Son’s birth on Earth! Next time you look up at the night sky, remember God’s great and awesome love.