I've long wondered how the Magi were able to look to the night sky and determine a king had been born in Israel. Many have looked at star maps from roughly the years 10BC to 1AD and come up with their own ideas of what this or that planet meant when it was in what constellation, and what those movements may have meant to the Magi. But no one really knows as I've read maybe 6 or 10 explanations. No one really knows what moved them to journey to Israel.
Here is just one example, and it sets the stage for this series
I have a series complete with illustrated booklet detailing how the signs of the Zodiac originally told the gospel story called "Salvation Displayed in the Stars." It goes through the original meaning of each of the 12 signs and each sign's 3 accompanying constellations called 'decans' (deck-uns) which complement the message of the main constellation, and tells the gospel message.
For instance the Zodiac starts with Virgo the virgin, and her 3 decans are Coma the infant, Centaurus the double natured one, and Bootes (Arcturus the Great Shepherd and Harvester). Virgo the virgin has an infant son called the 'desired one' who is double natured and grows to become a Shepherd and Harvester - you get the picture.
Virgo is holding a branch upright in her right arm which signifies the many prophecies of Messiah being the branch of David, while in her left arm a head of grain is held down and low, showing He is also the seed that must die and be planted. The main star there is Spica. The star names in Virgo and her decans are even more remarkable, including Al Zimach, Al Azal, and Subilon, which mean respectively the shoot, the branch, the head of wheat...and on it goes.
September 23 alignment
And so we come to the 23 September alignment in Virgo. The talk of this alignment is it's timing at Rosh haShanah, with speculation of the rapture. They believe The Revelation 12:1-2 portrays the September 23 alignment: "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 was with child and cried, travailing in birth, and about to be delivered."
In case you haven't heard: The way some see this fulfilled is that the sun will cross paths with Virgo's left shoulder and the moon with her left foot, which could be taken as her being clothed with the sun and the moon under (actually beside) her feet, while Jupiter is appearing to travel back and forth (up and down) her left side over the course of several months. Additionally, the nearby constellation of Leo (the lion stands for Jesus, the lion of the tribe of Judah as the conquerer) has the planets Mercury, Mars, and Venus in a straight line across it, and you can make out (at least) 12 stars/planets.
Rosh haShanah, also called the Feast of Trumpets is the Jewish teaching of what we call the rapture, which Paul taught though if you don't understand it from his Jewish viewpoint of Rosh haShanah you'll misunderstand scripture. I have a teaching on Rosh haShanah available in our bookstore via cd or mp3 that goes into more detail.
My point here isn't to teach ancient astronomy nor on Rosh haShanah but to point out where out focus should be
"But of the times and seasons brethren, you don't need me to write you. You yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night, and when they say 'Peace and safety', then sudden destruction will come upon them like birth pangs of a woman in labor, and they won't escape.
"But you brethren are NOT in darkness that His coming would be like a thief in the night to you. No, you are children of the light, children of the day; we are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep as others do, but let us watch and be serious about our faith....for God did not appoint us to wrath (the wrath to come)...therefore comfort one another and build each other up as you are doing..." II Thessalonians 5:1-11
From this passage we understand we can know the times and seasons, but anything about a specific day is speculation. Is speculation profitable? Not if it causes fear. Not if it causes people to forego living in the hope the rapture will rescue them from facing difficult situations. Not if it works people up to an emotional frenzy.
In contrast to speculating on everything from blood moons to solar eclipses to alignment of stars and planets, we know we are in the times and seasons of the end based on 2 main scriptures that are set in stone and immovable: "And Jerusalem will be trodden down (controlled) by the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled." and "I don't want you to be ignorant brethren of this mystery, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in." Luke 21:24, Romans 11:25
In Luke 21:24 Jesus is prophesying about the destruction of Jerusalem which would happen in less than 40 years from His crucifixion, in the year 70. He said from that point on Jerusalem would be ruled by Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled. In the 1967 war (June 5-10, 1967) Israel took control of Jerusalem, meaning it has been 50 years since that happened - we are 50 years into the time of the end of the Gentiles, such is the grace of the Father to gather in all He can.
Paul said blindness to Jesus being their Messiah is on Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in. Therefore when we see more and more Jewish people believing in Jesus we know the blindness is lifting - and that has been going on since roughly the mid 1960's, coinciding with Israel taking control of Jerusalem. So as more Jewish people are believing in Jesus as Messiah in ever increasing numbers, the time of the Gentiles is winding down even more so.
This we know without the help of speculation about stars and planets.
The Magi had the nation right, but had to be led by scripture to Bethlehem. (Matthew 2:1-8)
Let that sink in. These experts in true astronomy who learned from the stars and planets a king was born in Israel, were clueless as to where He was. Scripture gave them the location. Even if the stars and planets align, it is scripture that is the foundation, making anything celestial subject to scripture.
And I'm sure someone somewhere is writing a book about the solar eclipse that just happened in the USA and the next one coming April 8, 2024 in 7 years, and how their paths mark an X right over the New Madrid fault (Easter is 31 March in 2024/ Passover 22 April, 2024) but any spiritual meaning to these things are speculation.
I'm not saying there isn't a significance to all these things - I'm just saying they don't move me. The Person of the Living Word moves me. The written Word that proceeds from Him moves me. Any understanding I think I have or someone else has, must be made subject to the words of Jesus and Paul. I have Christ in me and He can tell me what He wants me to hear, stars 'out there' are interesting, but mean little even if they have spiritual meaning on September 23, 2017. It's not that I don't care, it's just that Christ is in me and my preference would be to be going full speed about the Father's business when the rapture happens, rather than waiting in spiritual neutral for the sound of the Last Trump.
New subject next week, until then, blessings,