ABSTRACT: There was a sign in the stars alluded to in the gospel of John that inaugurated Jesus’ ministry. At the commencement of Jesus’ ministry, He told His disciples, “Amen, Amen I tell almost immediately you all shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” He fulfilled this the next evening as they returned to Galilee. The clouds parted to reveal a ladder formed by all visible wandering stars, reaching from the earth to the center of the sky with Venus marking the constellation of the Lamb. John had just pointed out Jesus as the Lamb of God.
Copyright Ó 2006 Bruce Alan Killian September 14, 2006 A.D. email bakillian at earthlink.net
Update July 24, 2020 A.D.
A sign in the heavens that matches the unfolding events in the Bible is something that only God can orchestrate. Because in the beginning, God created the heavens (Gen 1:1a), and the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands (Psalm 19:1b). When the sign precisely timed, of brief duration, dynamic and is a dual sign—one can only agree with Jesus greater things you will soon see. The first sign was the star of Bethlehem, a sign to announce Jesus was coming as the Messiah, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the King who would rule the entire world. This second sign announced Jesus as the Lamb of God and the Ladder or Way to heaven. Before Jesus had done any miracles or taught in public, a second precise sign in the sky announces Jesus. Jesus and his disciples saw it on Sunday, March 4, A.D. 31, the evening of the day they moved out of the Jordan Valley so they could first see it. The discovery came as a result of a more accurate day-by-day week-by-week chronology of Jesus’ ministry and in after discovering the Star of Bethlehem.
Right at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, Jesus, upon meeting Nathanael for the first time, tells him that he and the other disciples will see greater things; they will see angels ascending and descending on the son of man (John 1:45-51). This story can only be properly interpreted when one links it to Jacob’s dream of a ladder to heaven, and one has a correct chronology of the start of the ministry of Jesus. John the Baptist twice identified Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36). God put a sign in the sky that, when combined with John the Baptist’s statements, declared Jesus was the way to heaven and the Lamb of God (the sacrifice would reconcile man to God and open the way to heaven). Because Jesus indicated to his disciples, they would see a sign, and because John identified Jesus as the Lamb of God, the sign was God’s confirmation of Jesus. The sign allows us to exactly date to the start of Jesus’ ministry. The sign confirms Venus as the Star of Bethlehem interpretation. The sign links Jesus to a dream Jacob had. Jacob also viewed a way to heaven, maybe before dawn, April 13, 1987 B.C.
This study discovers what Jesus meant when He said to his first disciples, “Amen, amen I say to you, you all will see the heaven opened up and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man. Here is an extended quote from the passage where that statement appears:
John 1:29-31, 34, 43-51 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”… 34 I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”… 43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote--Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is no deceit.” 48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” 50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “Amen, Amen I say all of you will see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Jesus links his discussion with Nathanael with the patriarch Jacob and the dream he had in two ways. First, Jesus contrasts Nathanael, a man without deceit with Jacob, a man of deceit.
Genesis 27:35-36 But he [Isaac] said, “Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing.” 36 Esau said, “Isn’t he rightly named Jacob? He has deceived me these two times: He took my birthright, and now he’s taken my blessing!” Then he asked, “Haven’t you reserved any blessing for me?”
Second, Jesus links Nathanael to Jacob, by the sign he will see. Jacob dreamed of angels ascending and descending on a ladder to heaven; Nathanael and the other disciples are to see angels ascending and descending on the son of man. Here is an excerpt from the passage where Jacob dreams of the ladder:
Genesis 28:10-12, 16-18 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely Yahweh is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” 18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it.
According to the chronology of the public ministry of Jesus, He met Nathaniel on Saturday, March 3, A.D. 31. I disclosed Jesus used Venus to represent himself. Jesus clearly states this, “I Jesus am … the Bright Morning Star” (Venus is the bright morning star, Revelation 22:16).
This incident is the first time Jesus uses the phrase “Amen, Amen, I tell you.” Jesus used that phrase when he was about to say something significant. He goes on to say they will soon see a greater thing. A dual sign in heaven is truly a greater thing.
On Saturday, Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. On that Sabbath, Jesus met two more disciples Philip and Nathanael, bringing the number to six. Jesus did not leave that day because it was the Sabbath, and distance travel was prohibited. Early the next morning, Sunday, they left for Cana in Galilee. Depending on where Bethany beyond the Jordan was by Monday evening, the disciples may have been approaching Nazareth, Jesus’ home town. Where ever they were, they had climbed out of the Jordan Valley and had a clear view of the horizon to the west. Jesus and his disciples had spent Sunday climbing out of the Jordan valley, had they not done so the ridge of mountains to the west of the Jordan River would have prevented their viewing the whole picture in the sky.
Heaven opened is interpreted to mean the clouds parted, revealing much of the sky. Since clouds represent the glory of God, and because heaven had opened, the sky wasn’t completely clear. The sky on that day revealed a line of stars forming a line like a ladder. The ladder was formed by all of the five visible planets (wandering stars) and was marked by the planet Venus. The line of planets uses all five visible planets, but is incomplete; there is a gap near the top. This gap was partially filled with a cloud. The picture presented could be viewed as the ladder to heaven resting on the clouds. The picture indicated that God is not only in charge of the stars in heaven, but also the clouds [i.e., weather]. In Jacob’s dream, he saw a ladder resting on earth and with its top in the heavens. The disciples saw Mercury near the horizon and would shortly set, so it appeared to rest on the ground, much as Jacob’s ladder rested on the ground. Saturn rested near the center of the sky would appear to reach to heaven. Venus and Jupiter were at the same elevation in the center of the constellation of Aries (the Lamb), and Mars rounded out the ladder above Venus. The picture in the sky does not work even one day earlier or one day later, because only on Sunday, March 4, A.D. 31 does Venus make rather than break the picture of the ladder to heaven. Because the planets are brighter than stars, the ladder formed by them shows up before most of the other stars in the sky. The picture is relatively brief from the time the clouds open, and planets appear after sunset, and the sky grows dark enough to see the planets until Mercury sets about 24 minutes later.
These men were fishermen and spent their nights fishing. Therefore, they were familiar with the nighttime sky and the stars. Both John and Peter specifically mention a link between Jesus and the Morning Star. Peter said you would do well to pay attention to the prophets … until the Morning Star rises in your hearts (2 Peter 1:19). John recorded Jesus saying I am … the Bright Morning Star (Revelation 22:16).
We can view the stars as forming pictures on the background of the night. It is also of interest what picture was on the canvas of the sky marked by this sight. Venus was on the ladder centered in the constellation of Aries. Aries is the constellation of the RAM or Lamb. John the Baptist has repeatedly called the disciples’ attention to Jesus being the Lamb of God. God drew a picture in the sky to proclaim that same message. Venus, in this picture, appears as the Evening Star. The two brightest objects in the sky, Venus and Jupiter, both mark Aries.
The most important pictures in the canvas of the sky are the constellations through which the planets pass. We call the constellations the planets pass through the zodiac. The ancients referred to the planets as wandering stars (Jude 1:13). They knew of five planets, and they are brighter than the fixed stars.
Genesis 1:14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs and to mark seasons and days and years. God put the sun, moon, and stars in the sky as signs to us. We would do well to pay attention to the signs we recognize.
Figure 1 Aries as a Picture
There is no mention in the Bible of angels ascending and descending on Jesus. The word angel means one who brings a message from God. In this context, I believe that we can view meteorites going up and down the ladder formed by the planets. I believe the angels, ascending and descending on Jesus, were meteorites streaking up and down the line of planets as bringing a message from God to the disciples with Venus representing Jesus in the center of the ladder. These meteorites made the picture in the sky dynamic and linked the picture to Jacob and his ladder to heaven dream. The meteorites would be angels delivering a message from God.
In Jacob’s dream, the angels ascend and descend a ladder. Jesus said the angels would ascend and descend on Him, so He Jesus is the ladder to heaven. Jacob said this is the gate to heaven. Jesus is the door to heaven.
The number after the planet is the relative brightness. The lower the number, the brighter, Negative numbers are very bright. Venus and Jupiter are almost on top of one another. Venus has a brightness of -3.8, and Jupiter has a brightness of -2.1. Location Al Quds, date March 4, A.D. 31 hour 16:30.
Israel March 4, A.D. 31 16:30
The center of the sky represents the entrance to heaven
A glory cloud with sunglow
God formed a picture on the canvas of the sky. Venus was on the ladder centered in the constellation of Aries. Aries is the constellation of the Lamb slain. John the Baptist had repeatedly called the disciples’ attention to Jesus being the Lamb of God. God drew a picture in the sky to proclaim that same message. Venus, in this picture, appears as the evening star. The two brightest objects in the sky, Venus and Jupiter together, marked Aries.
Elements to the story
1. Clouds parted-sky opened
2. Ladder of wandering stars
3. A near-vertical ladder
4. Venus as a marker
5. Angels go up and down
6. Lamb on cross
7. Bull included on cross
8. A glory cloud to rest on
9. Jesus crucified
10. Jesus matches Jacob’s ladder dream.
11. Straight wilderness highway
The sun is the same distance below Mercury as it is below Venus.
Figure 2 The Ladder to Heaven, The Lamb of God
The Ladder to heaven. The picture that Jesus and his disciples saw on the evening after they climbed out of the Jordan Valley about thirty minutes after sunset. They probably saw a cloud going through the area between Mars and Saturn. It is also likely that the clouds closed over the picture later in the evening. Mercury will set in about 24 minutes.
After sunset, Venus would appear in the sky first, followed by Jupiter and the other planets and the brightest stars. The planets follow a line called the ecliptic. Only during a couple of months of the year does the ecliptic go almost straight up and down. God had the planets align as a ladder and at a time when the planets would go almost straight up. With one planet at the top of the sky and one near the horizon. The picture does not work a day earlier or later because Venus is hurrying, so the picture does not appear to be a ladder except on this day. If the five planets were evenly spread in the sky, the dating would not be precise, because the picture would only slowly change with each day.
A quick web search indicates significant planetary alignments only occur about once every twenty to thirty years. This alignment of the planets occurs thirty-one years after the alignment of the planets that brought the Magi to see the Star of Bethlehem.
Figure 3 Jacob’s Ladder or Jacob’s Stairway
The author believes that Jacob also saw a ladder of stars with meteorites representing angels. If my chronology going back as far as Jacob is correct, see http://www.scripturescholar.com/JubileeTimetable.htm. The most likely time for Jacob’s ladder is April 13, 1887 B.C. Saturn is also in the line but just off the side of the picture to the right. When Jacob woke from his dream, he did not go back to sleep, and he said I did not know that this was the gate to heaven. I believe he had a dream, but he could also see a ladder in the pre-dawn sky. I believe Jacob’s picture was also dynamic, with meteors streaking up and down the line of planets.
 Nathaniel was also known as Bartholomew.
 All dates are Julian. At this time Gregorian dates are 2 days earlier, March 1, A.D. 31.
 Bethany means house of the poor, humble or afflicted.
 I conjecture that in early March the evening sky is frequently overcast.
 This same hiding and revealing of stars occurs in the picture of our Lady of Guadalupe, where only the stars on the outside of her mantle are visible.
 Peter, Andrew, James, John and Nathaniel were fishermen, Philip came from Bethsaida which means house of fish and may have been a fisherman.
 E.G. Luke 5:5, John 21:3.