A precise astronomical date may be the subject of a “great wonder in heaven” recorded in Revelation 12:1-5 for the birth of Christ. Yet, no earlier theologians have ever bothered to study it enough to determine its meaning – until now!
Recently, I received a study on the subject by Bob Schlenker of Christian Research Ministry. As I listened to his lecture, I realized the importance of his find. The scene in Revelation 12 is that of a woman, great with child, clothed in the sun, with the moon under her feet-and upon her head a crown of 12 stars.
It’s really very simple, yet all have overlooked its significance unto now. The woman not only represents Israel and Mary, but is found among the sun and moon, and crowned with 12 stars. The woman is a star group-a constellation-it is Virgo!
Every year, Virgo is “clothed with the sun” in September. The moon under her feet would occur on the night or the new moon. Therefore, The woman gave birth to the son of God on the night of Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the month of Tishri.
It is called the Feast of Trumpets in the Mosaic Law. First, let’s observe the passage of Scripture in question:
“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
“And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered…
“And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne” (Revelation 12: 1-2,5).
Why no one had ever seen this astronomical sign before is amazing to me. Some years ago, I had become convinced that Christ was born on Rosh Hashanah because of various events that are listed in the Gospels. Now, I have seen a verse in Revelation 12 that confirms my theory!
Though Christ was not born on Christmas Day, do not despair. I am convinced that He was conceived in the womb of Mary on December 25! Here is why I believe that.
Luke 1:5,6 (KJV) “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God…”
In Luke 1:5-25, Zacharias, of the course of Abia (Abijah), is visited by Gabriel as he performs his duties in the Temple. We can date the time of his visitation by following the courses of the Jewish priesthood.
The priesthood was divided into 24 groups or courses (I Chronicles 24: 7-18). Abijah was the eighth course. Throughout the year, each group of priests took their turns with the daily administration of liturgy (a fixed set of religious worship or ceremonies) in the Temple. Each group served for one week.
Therefore, it can be determined that sometime around late May or early June (eight weeks after the first new moon of spring), Zacharias entered the Temple to put incense upon the golden altar and had his encounter with Gabriel. After his tour of duty, he went home and presented the good news to his aged wife!
When she was six months along bearing John (the Baptist), Gabriel went down to the little village of Nazareth to visit Mary, a virgin who was a royal descendant of King David. Mary received her good news of bearing the Son of God, sometime around the last week of December!
John was born on Passover that following spring, and Christ was born six months later on Rosh Hashanah!
Luke 2 (The birth of Jesus) dates the birth to a taxing of the people by Caesar Augustus. Such a tax would likely be collected immediately following the close of a year. Rosh Hashanah in September is celebrated as New Years Day in the Jewish calendar.
A Crown of Twelve Stars
Well, it seems fairly certain that we have locked in the birthday for Christ, but what about the crown of 12 stars in the head of Virgo. Could that give us a clue to the very year for the Birth of Christ?
Various theologians have tried to date His birth anywhere from 1 to 4 B.C. to as early as 7 B.C. However, I would like to offer my calculation for your consideration.
As I was thinking about the crown of 12 stars in the head of Virgo, I searched the list of possibilities and could only come up with one candidate.
There are only 7 lights in the heavens that move through the constellations. They are the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The days of our week are named after these 7 wanderers.
Only one planet could possibly fit the description of a “crown with 12 stars.” From ancient times, Jupiter has been regarded as the royal planet-the king of the pantheon of planets. Furthermore, Jupiter has 12 moons! And takes 12 years to orbit the sun.
Jupiter spends an entire year in each of 12 constellations until it repeats the cycle all over again. For example, moving out of Leo, Jupiter enters into the head of Virgo. Then, slowly, as the year progresses, it moves across the body and exits out her feet.
Only once every 12 years will Jupiter be found in the head of Virgo. But rarely will we find Jupiter in the head of Virgo when she is clothed with the sun and the moon directly under her feet!
I called Bob Schlenker and asked him to crank up his computer program on astronomy and tell me in what year Jupiter would be found in the head of Virgo on the evening when the sun was in Virgo and the moon was under her feet.
He has one of those computer programs that can tell you precisely where any heavenly body can be found from any location on our planet at any time from 4,000 B.C. to 10,000 A.D.
It took him about 5 minutes to pinpoint the exact date recorded in the story of Revelation 12:1-5. He found Jupiter in the head of Virgo with the sun clothing the constellation and the moon under her feet on September 28, 2 B.C. The moon was .01 degrees from the sun. On the next evening, September 29, the moon was .04 degrees from the sun and moving into Libra.
Therefore, the date of 2 B.C. seems more likely to me to be the year for the birth of Christ than any other suggested date. Though calendars may change, the movement of the heavens are constant enough to give us a precise accounting of ancient events.
The gestation period for the birth of a human child is 280 days. That corresponds to 40, the number of testing, times 7, the number of perfection (40 X 7=280).
According to my calculations, there are 280 days from evening of December 24, 3 B.C., to the following September 28, 2 B.C., offering a perfect gestation period for our Savior’s birth in Bethlehem.
Why did I choose the evening of December 24? Because, in the Jewish calendar, December 25 begins at sunset on the 24th. By the way, Jupiter again appeared in the head of Virgo on Rosh Hashanah, September 28, 1992! Could that be a sign that the rest of the story in Revelation 12 is about to unfold?
The Star of Bethlehem
The December 1991 edition of Sky and Telescope Magazine discussed a triple conjunction of Venus and Jupiter in the October 16th pre-dawn sky, suggesting a possible connection with the star of Bethlehem viewed by the wise men.
The remarkable coincidence about this particular triple conjunction is that these two planets met each other in the sky during 1990-1991 on about the same calendar dates as they did 2,000 years ago.
In 3 B.C., about the same period of time when Christ was born, the two planets met on August 12. The following year (2 B.C.) they met again on June 17. Their third meeting in the sky came only a few months later, October14, 2 B.C.
Though there have been other triple conjunctions of Venus and Jupiter over the centuries, they did not occur on or near the same calendar dated until 1990-1991. The first conjunction occurred on August 12, 1990. The second happened on June 17, 1991, and the third meeting in the heavens was observed on October 16, 1991. Or was it a triple conjunction of planets?
German Astronomer, Johannes Kepler
In 1603, the German astronomer Johannes Kepler referred to a triple conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn in the days of Jesus’ birth and suggested that they might be the Bethlehem star seen by the Magi. Such a triple conjunction did occur in the months of May, October, and December, 7 B.C.
Furthermore, according to his calculations, Kepler wrote that conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn coincided with each climactic event in human affairs, including the flood of Noah and the births of Enoch, Moses, Cyrus, and Charlemagne.
In 1480 the Jewish Rabbi, Abarbanel, suggested that such conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn always betoken some great event or beginning in human affairs.
Because a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn occurred in the year 1480, Abarbanel predicted the coming of the Jewish Messiah.
Well, the Messiah did not come in the months following the 1480 conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. But, 12 years later, in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue and discovered America!
Perhaps Abarbanel’s suggestion that the conjunctions “always betoken some great event or beginning in human affairs” came to pass after all!
According to Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian who lived and wrote 2,000 years ago, a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn attended the birth of Moses.
It is written that the Egyptian astrologers reported their sighting to Pharaoh and warned him that the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn foretold the birth of a child among the Jews who, if allowed to live, would bring the Egyptian dominion very low, excel in virtue and glory, exalt the children of Israel to power and honor, and be remembered throughout all ages.
According to Josephus, it was on this premise that Pharaoh gave the order to slay every male child among the Jewish people.
If conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn attended the birth of Moses, the flood of Noah, the birth of Christ, the birth of Charlemagne, and the discovery of America, could they indeed be, as Abarbanel suggested, tokens of some great event or beginning in human affairs?
A Triple Conjunction
In 1981, there was another triple conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn. It followed a triple conjunction of Jupiter and Mars in the year before and preceded the alignment of the planets in 1982, which some called “The Jupiter Effect.”
In the Bible (Luke 21:25) Jesus said that certain astronomical signs would herald His Second Coming.
He said, “And there shall be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars, and upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity… and then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
Furthermore, He said, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”
Could the 1990-1991 triple conjunction of Venus and Jupiter along with the 1980 triple conjunction of Jupiter and Mars, the 1981 triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, and the 1982 parade of the planets be a declaration from the Great Creator to His creatures on earth that their Savior is soon to appear?
Sign in the Heavens?
In the pre-dawn sky on Rosh Hashanah, September 9, 1991, four planets met in a spectacular conjunction in the constellation, Leo. Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter were so close together near Regulus in the constellation of Leo, the lion, that one could cover all four planets with the little finger nail extended at arms length.
It is most unusual that the conjunction should occur on the Jewish Feast of Trumpets, observed as New Years day in the Hebrew calendar.
Their conjunction near a star called Regulus is fascinating. Regulus is located between the feet of Leo, the lion, and means, “between the feet.”
From the term Regulus, we get the word regulation. I think we can see the background for that in Genesis 49:8-11: “Judah, thou art he whom they brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.
“Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?
“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
“Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes” (Genesis 49:8-11).
These cryptic statements of the dying Jacob revolve around the coming of Christ, who is from the lineage of the tribe of Judah.
The symbol of Leo, the lion, is given to Judah as Jacob tells his children what “shall befall you in the last days” (Genesis 49:1).
The passage is a prophecy of both the first and second advents of Christ. When Jesus came the first time, he rode a donkey and her colt from the Mount of Olives across the Kedron valley to the Eastern Gate (Matthew 21:1-9).
This Triumphal Entry fulfilled the first part of the prophecy in Genesis 49:11. When Christ returns, He will fulfill the rest of the prophecy, which says, “he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes.”
Isaiah 63:1-4 and Revelation 19:15 predict that Christ will stain his “garments like him that treadeth in the wine fat.” He “treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”
In ancient star charts, Leo is seen with his feet on the neck of Hydra the serpent, just as Genesis 49:8 says, “thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies.”
The lion is the king of the jungle as seen in the words of Genesis 49:10, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah.”
The Hebrew term, Regulus, is used in that very verse to describe the law-as Jacob says, “nor a lawgiver from between his feet.” Regulus, from which we get the term, regulation or law, is located in the star chart between the front feet of Leo.
Theologians have suggested that the phrase, “until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be” refers to the appearing of Christ at the Battle of Armageddon. The “gathering of the people” denotes a massive array of armies moving into the Middle East.
Psalms 91 and 92
Bob Schlenker suggests that Psalm 91:13 may be an important part of that prophecy. The Song of Moses says, “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.”
It is a message about Christ and His Second Coming. He will fulfill the prophecy in the 12th constellation of the night sky-Leo.
Is it possible that the conjunction of 4 planets with Regulus-between the feet of Leo-in the pre-dawn sky on Rosh Hashanah, September 9, 1991 marked an important prophecy in Psalm 91?
Well, in Psalm 92:10, another night-time constellation is mentioned. Moses wrote: “But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn” Psalm 92:10.
The unicorn was an ancient term used for the constellation, Taurus. Today, it is seen as a bull. Taurus means, “the coming judge.”
On May 31, on the very day the Covenant of Jerusalem was issued and signed by Chaim Herzog, the president of Israel, both the sun and moon were in the constellation Taurus!
Perhaps Moses was referring to Jerusalem when he wrote, “my horn shalt thou exalt…” Jerusalem is being exalted through the Covenant of Jerusalem. Throughout the year, millions of Jews all over the world are signing their covenant with Jerusalem-pledging their eternal loyalty to the city.
All copies of the Covenant will be returned to Jerusalem next May 19 for the closing ceremonies in the year-long celebration of the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. On May 19, 1993, the sun and moon will again be in the constellation, Taurus!
Does Psalm 92:10 thus proclaim another prophecy fulfilled in 1992? The possibility of “signs in the heavens” being fulfilled in our lifetime are both awesome and impressive!
Published in December 1992