Venus The Star Of
The Star of Bethlehem was Venus, the brightest star in the sky. This star guided the magi by pointing to a picture in the sky of a lion with a scepter, indicating the Jewish Messiah, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the one to rule all the earth was coming. It was a study of the Scripture not the heavens that led to finding that enigmatic star.
of Leo before sunrise from
Numbers after names are the relative brightness; lower numbers are brighter, negative numbers are very bright.
Scepter in the hind feet of the lion
Why did the Magi (wise men) go to
Why identify Venus as the Star of Bethlehem?
Jesus called himself “the bright morning star” (Revelation 22:16). Venus is
‘the bright morning star’. How can the ‘bright morning star’ be identified as
Venus? First, Venus can be seen during the day and is the brightest natural
object in the sky after the sun and moon. It is the brightest object that can
be called a star. Second, the ancients referred to exactly two planets as
‘morning stars’, they were called morning stars because they were normally only
visible for a few hours before dawn. The morning stars are Mercury and Venus.
They are morning stars because when they are visible in the morning they are normally
only visible for a few hours before sunrise. This is a result of their orbits
being closer to the sun than the earth. All other heavenly bodies are further
from the sun than they earth and are therefore visible throughout the night.
Mercury and Venus are also the evening stars. Again they are the evening stars
because when they are visible in the evening they are only visible for a few
hours after sunset. Since Jesus calls himself the bright morning star or Venus
and the Magi saw His star as it rose, it is likely Venus was the star the Magi
saw and we call the Star of Bethlehem. Venus rises as both the morning and the
evening star. Since Jesus is ‘the bright morning
star,’ it had to be Venus rising in the morning not in the evening. Venus
spends about half of its cycle as a morning star. Once every 1.6 years (584
days), Venus rises for the first time with the sun in the morning. Venus rose
to mark Jesus’ resurrection
How can we identify the specific time the star rose? In Matthew 2:2 the term te anatole (th anatolh) (in its rising) because it is in the singular, with the article and in contrast to apo anatolwn (from east) Matt 2:1 probably is not a geographical expression, but an astronomical expression; simultaneously with its rising [near the horizon] also Matthew 2:9. The term appears to refer to a star simultaneously rising with the sun (a heliacal rising).
Using a free downloadable astronomy program it is
possible to determine the date and times Venus rose. Some dates Venus rose are
Bible explains the purpose of the sun, moon and stars in
the first chapter of the Bible. God said, "Let there
be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let
them be for signs, seasons, days and years (Genesis 1:14). The Bible
groups the sun, moon, stars, planets, comets, etc. together, generally their
purpose is to be lights and to order time, but one of
their purposes is to be for signs.
The word sign in the Bible in its simplest form is used synonymously with our
word picture. The
stars form pictures that we call constellations, in a connect-the-dots fashion.
The Bible mentions constellations, some by name: the Bear, Orion, Pleiades.
The sign for the tribe of
Jesus’ birth appears to be unrelated to this
rising of Venus, except that it follows the sign of the Messiah and precedes
the following rising of Venus. Jesus was born
The Leader of the Magi at one time was the
prophet Daniel (Daniel 2:48) so the Magi learned of God and the Bible. The most
important discovery was connecting the dawning sky with the rising of His star
on August 24, 2 B.C. to Jacob’s well known prophesy in Genesis 49:9-10. Jacob
A picture of a lion superimposed over the constellation Leo. To allow visualization of the scepter between the feet and His star.
The scepter stars from top to bottom:
The planets formed a line, picturing a ruler’s staff or scepter on August 18 and the stars remained in line gradually pivoting and shortening until the scepter was vertical. The scepter is about the same size as Orion’s belt, but brighter. This passage is in Hebrew poetry; the ruler’s staff and the scepter refer to the same thing. Hebrew poetry repeats or contrasts objects or ideas rather than rhyming words. On the day Venus rose, this line of stars was about to go out of alignment. Venus was ‘He that comes’ to mark the scepter in Leo, Venus represents Jesus, the scepter belongs to Jesus. By the next day August 25, the planets no longer formed a scepter, the scepter had departed. August 24 is the only day that fit the prophecy and one had to have excellent visibility conditions and one had to be alert to spot it then. This date is significant because before the 24th of August the scepter was visible, but His star was not visible and so had not come, after the 24th of August the line of stars no longer formed a scepter.
The Magi were familiar with another prophecy that
helped them to understand Jacob’s prophecy. Balaam said, "I see him, but
not now; I behold him, but not near. A
star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of
The Magi recognized the ‘sign’ in the heavens
announced a king of the Jews, but why did they journey to ‘worship’ this king?
The angel Gabriel revealed to Daniel the year the Christ would come (Daniel
9:24-27). The Magi knew the year of the Christ coming neared, as did all of
Why did the Magi come to
Peter identifies the morning star as the day star, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star (φωσφόρος, phōsphoros) arise in your hearts: (2 Peter 1:19 KJV)”. This is the time in Venus’ orbit when it can be seen throughout most of the day, even at noon, if Venus is sufficiently separated from the sun. H. B. Curtis describes Venus as being visible throughout much of the day. This phenomena occurs when Venus is near the inferior conjunction (that is between the Sun and Earth) when Venus has sufficient ecliptical latitude (separation from the sun), Curtis viewed Venus with an ecliptical latitude of 9.4 degrees. He states that anyone with normal vision could see Venus with unaided eyes during the day.
In the two views of the morning star cited by the Magi, Venus rises less than 3 degrees before the sun, but Venus has an ecliptical latitude over 9.5 degrees. Better conditions than Curtis experienced when he was able to view Venus during the day. For Venus to be seen, one must have excellent visibility, but God who put the planets in orbit controls the weather. Venus is also called the Dayspring in the canticle of Zechariah (Luke 1:78-9) the dayspring has visited us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness.
When Venus rose over
According to the Mishnah (Jewish oral law written
c. 200 A.D.), Passover lambs had to be born within the immediate vicinity of
The Star of Bethlehem rose to mark the one-year anniversary of Jesus’ conception. He was conceived on Passover and announced by the Star of Bethlehem on Passover. The scepter in Leo marked by Venus appeared about one year before the birth of John the Baptist. The scepter was a sign timed to herald the birth of the one who would prepare the way for our Lord Jesus Christ.
The most popular estimates of what the star of
The Magi came at least forty days after Jesus was
born. We know this because when Jesus was presented in the
The oft-proposed stopping of a planet over
Josephus, a Jewish historian, writing c. 90A.D. recorded
a lunar eclipse, which occurred shortly before the death of King Herod.
The correct eclipse is not
There were different calendars in use and
Passover was celebrated on different days by groups of people who could not
agree on when Passover should be held. There were at least two, a lunar-solar
calendar used by the Sadducees and a solar calendar used by the Essenes. The
gospels demonstrate this problem; Jesus celebrated Passover on one day while
others celebrated at least one day later (Luke 22:15, John 18:28). If Josephus
got his details from a group that celebrated Passover later, the problem would
be solved. Another possibility Josephus got his details wrong. Josephus is not
Scripture, and he was not an eyewitness. Josephus wrote at least seventy years
after King Herod’s death. There are many known errors in his writings, for instance
he places the death of John the Baptist in A.D. 36 about a four year
miscalculation. If the Magi arrived near Passover, Herod would be far more
likely to be in
On Sunday August 24, 2 B.C., Venus rose in the constellation of Leo to mark the scepter. The scepter marked a Jewish King. Jesus is also the lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5). Jesus is the King of the Jews (John 18:33-37) and He is the King of kings (Revelation 17:4, 19:16).
During Jesus’ public ministry, Venus rose
During each of these risings of Venus (
Jesus was born
Because Jesus’ birthday was December 25, we can observe new insights. Throughout Jesus’ lifetime, December 25 was the winter solstice. The winter solstice marks the longest night of the year and the point that days start to get longer. The Romans recognized the solstice as the birthday of the sun. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John ). God had prepared the Roman world to celebrate this day. The sun dawned on the day the son dawned. During each of these signs, the sun is involved. The sun ‘clothes’ (Revelation 12:5) all of these astronomical events because they occur immediately before sunrise or in the case of the moon after sunset. Also all planets shine by reflected sunlight.
Jesus was born during the night, and the shepherds visited him during the night. It was the longest night of the year and Jesus is the light of the world, no day better symbolizes His role of coming into the world to be the light of the world. Zechariah the father of John the Baptist gave a prophesy about Jesus “through the tender mercy of our God when the day shall dawn upon us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78-79). Another scripture links the sun and righteousness, “But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings” (Malachi 4:2). The sun is the main source of light to the earth. Without the sun, our planet would be dead. Jesus called himself the “Light of the World” (John 8:12 and 9:5). Without the sun our planet would have no life, without Jesus we have no life.
Since Genesis 1:14 Says the first purpose of the lights (referring to the sun moon and stars is to be for signs, … The sun, moon and the brightest stars all are signs to witness to the birth (ministry, death and resurrection) of the great light (Matthew 4:16) Jesus who did many signs witnessing to His light. There are hints that the night of Jesus’ birth was overcast as well as being the solstice. We are told after the announcement to the shepherds suddenly there was visible a multitude of the heavenly host (likely referring to the stars), so the clouds at that point cleared so that the shepherds would have light to find their way to Jesus’ manger.
We are commanded not to worship the lights in the heavens but they can worship. Lest perhaps lifting up your eyes to heaven, you see the sun, and the moon, and the stars of heaven, and being deceived by error you worship and serve them, which the LORD your God created for the service to the nations that are under heaven (Deuteronomy 4:19). The heavenly bodies do service to the nations by being lights and day after day giving glory to God. Joseph had a dream where the sun, moon and eleven stars bowed down to worship him (Genesis 37:11).
How can the sun, moon and stars bow before Joseph or Jesus? If the sun were visible the eleven stars would not be visible so the sun bows by hiding itself, either in an eclipse or below the horizon. It is proposed that the sun, moon, and stars bow before Jesus by hiding their light while still revealing their presence. A second way they bow is by being low that is low on the horizon. It also appears that they bow by being at the feet of the one they worship.
In most cases when the planets or a constellation form a sign, the stars were as low in the sky as they could be and still be seen, and the duration of their presence was short. When the stars formed a scepter in the constellation of Leo the planets were low in the sky as low as they could go and still be visible. When the sun light played a part into the sign, the sun was darkened, it light was hidden (or Venus was a competitor. At Jesus’ birth it was the winter solstice so the sun’s light was at a minimum and it was at midnight so the sun’s light was hidden for the maximum length of time. At Jesus’ death the sun’s light was hidden from noon when its light was normally at its strongest. The moon bowed to worship in two of these signs by being eclipsed. In both cases the moon was only visible on the horizon and then only briefly. In both cases, the moon was partially eclipsed. (At the time of Christ’s death, (3PM) the moon was fully eclipsed, but it was not yet visible above the horizon. when the moon did reveal itself, after sundown, it was just above the horizon. It is interesting as well that the order of the sun being darkened and then the moon turned to blood occurred in each of these instances. At both His birth and death the sun, moon, and stars did not shine. They did reveal their presence after He was born and after He died.
The dream of Joseph links the sun to the father, the moon to the mother, and the stars to children. Jesus as the most important Son is represented by the brightest of the Stars. Jesus referred to himself as the bridegroom (Matthew 9:15). Also Psalm 19:4-5 refers the sun as a bridegroom coming forth from his chamber —it appears that when the sun was darkened during Jesus’ crucifixion the sun could represent Jesus as being in the bridal chamber and when Jesus said it is consummated; it was His marriage covenant to the church that was consummated. So when it was consummated the sun representing the bridegroom came forth from its chamber. In the Law the color red represents sin or uncleanness, though your sins be as scarlet, you shall be white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). When a woman gave birth to a son, she was unclean for seven days. So the moon appears to be unclean after the birth of Jesus. When a marriage was consummated, both the husband and wife were unclean until the evening, so the redness of the moon indicating consummation. It is reasonable to conjecture that the sun and the moon are not only worshipping Jesus and witnessing His birth, but announcing it. Now Jesus did not become unclean at His birth or death, but remained holy, see the Immaculate Conception
Luke 1:26-39 records the conception of Jesus in
Midnight would mean Mary was keeping the Passover
watch commanded for all Israelites (Exodus 12:42). Mary left in haste for
Zechariah and Elizabeth’s home, so she left that night. On that night, before
dawn Venus was high and bright, Mercury was bright, and they were together in
the constellation of Pisces. Thirty-three years later Jesus and his disciples
kept this watch in the
There was a dramatic sign in the stars alluded to
in John 1:51 that inaugurated Jesus’ ministry. At the commencement of Jesus’
ministry He told his disciples "Amen, Amen I tell you all shall see heaven
open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."
This was fulfilled the next evening
It should be noted that Venus and the planets in
the scepter are beyond the limit of visibility ‘today’. There has been an
increase of light pollution, moisture, and particles in the air. Factors that
affect visibility of Venus besides clouds are the latitude (about 31 degrees
north, the total astronomical extinction coefficient (which can vary a lot),
the magnitude of Venus (-4.1 very bright) the visual acuity of the Magi and the
additional azimuth difference
(9.5 degrees, substantial for a planet) and the amount of particles in the air.
Modern programs that determine the visibility of planets at their heliacal
rising generally take an average visibility. Visibility can vary a lot and is
not an exact science. The star of
Both the Babylonian’s and Mayan’s tracked and recorded many years of the various phases of Venus and both of these groups recorded the invisibility phase at the inferior conjunction as lasting seven or eight days. Modern recorders set this period as being about twelve to fourteen days, which means that we can no longer see the heliacal rise of Venus with the clarity the ancients viewed it. Today Venus is not considered visible for about the last three days before it drops below the horizon and for the first three days after it rises above the horizon, while both the Maya and the Babylonians recorded that they saw Venus on the last day before it set and the first day after it rose for decades. This indicates that whatever the extinction coefficient was, the Magi were able to see these signs.
How could the magi know that Venus represented the Messiah before Rev 22:16 was written? There are passages in the Old Testament that link the coming of a great light with the Messiah. Isaiah says, The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. … For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. (Isaiah 9:2, 6-7).
From these signs seen by the magi
the gospel was announced because the Bible linked the Lion of the tribe of
Judah and the Passover Lamb? In Revelation 22:16 where Jesus identified the
Bright Morning Star with Himself, He also identifies
Himself as the Root of David a phrase that only occurs in
one other passage, Revelation 5:5-6 … See, the Lion of
the tribe of Judah, the Root of
David, has triumphed. … Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain,
standing in the center of the throne. This is the only
passage Jesus is identified as the Lion of the tribe of
The heavens declare the glory of God
to all (Psalms 19:1). The sun, moon, fixed and wandering stars all announced
His glory. The stars announced that His glorious Son would soon be conceived.
The sun and moon gave Him glory by diminishing themselves when He was born and
when He died. He was uniquely identified as the one to whom the signs in the
heavens referred to when the magi arrived. God makes pictures in the sky that
everyone can interpret. One does not have to be a professional astrologer to
interpret them, but one does have to observe. Venus rose in the constellation
of Leo on August 24, 2 B.C. preceding the birth of John the Baptist by about one
year. This sign announced the King comes. Venus rose in the constellation of
Aries on March 27, A.D. 1; it marked the first anniversary of Jesus’
conception. Venus was visible from before dawn until late afternoon when it
faded form sight it was over the house of the holy family. This sign announced
the Lamb of God comes. Venus rose on
The morning stars witnessed the foundation of the
earth. God’s plan to redeem us was in progress before Adam walked the earth.
Will you ever look at the sky with the same casualness again? Our epoch starts
This sign was unique, a vertical scepter at dawn between the feet of Lion of Judah at a heliacal rising of Venus with the brightest stars near the horizon where extinction was the greatest.
Scepter forms in Leo
Venus marks picture of a scepter in Leo
John the Baptist born
Jesus born—Winter solstice
March 22, A.D. 1
Magi visit Herod in
Magi see the Star of Bethlehem Passover
August A.D. 30
Start of the ministry of John the Baptist
January 8, A.D. 31
Jesus’ baptism by John
Picture—Ladder to Heaven—Lamb of God
Jesus’ Crucifixion—Moon turned to Blood
· “The Good Shepherd” was inspected by good shepherds; Levites certified Jesus was without defect.
· “The Light of the World” was born on the festival of lights and the day the Sun was born.
“The Bread of Life” was born in the house of
· “The Lamb of God” was discovered in a town of sheep by a star marking the constellation of the lamb.
· “The Bright Morning Star” led the Magi to Jesus and they found the Bright Morning Star on the day the Bright Morning Star was born.
· “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah” had come to receive His scepter of world rule.
· The Great Light in the Darkness rose to be a light in the day.
On the winter solstice, December 12, A.D. 1531
Venus rose just before sunrise, and with Mercury and Jupiter formed a line low in
the eastern sky, a sign of kingly authority or rule. Virgo was in the center of
the sky. Then our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego and miraculously
left her image on his tilma (outer garment). The two astronomical signs that
mark Jesus’ birth, the winter solstice (or the birth of the sun) and the rising
of Venus with
Mercury just before dawn mark the Blessed Mother’s appearance. The image shows
many of the stars present in that sky on Mary’s mantle. As the resurrection was
the key event in the evangelization of the world, Mary’s appearance was the key
event in the evangelism of the
The author has written a second article that looks at this subject as a Bible detective www.scripturescholar.com/StarOfBethlehem.pdf
The author has an article that details the whole life an ministry of Jesus that includes the eight signs in the heavens of Jesus life see www.scripturescholar.com/ChronologyJesus.pdf This article shows that it was not just Jesus’ conception and flight into Egypt that were linked to the Passover, but practically every aspect of His life and ministry as well.
Not all Star of Bethlehem theories can answer the fact the Bible presents about this star see http://www.scripturescholar.com/StarOfBethlehemNotes.pdf for a list of answers that star must be able to provide.
For a fuller understanding of the woman and the dragon in Revelation 12 see http://www.scripturescholar.com/ApocalypseKey.pdf.
Michael R. Molnar an astronomer in The Star of Bethlehem; Legacy of the Magi, said the magi did not see the star as it rose, but calculated it, because Jupiter was occulted by the moon. This is a problem because Matthew says the magi said we “saw” his star rise. If the star was obscured it could not be seen. A second problem with his theory is the magi needed to know Roman astrology to interpret it. Molnar has a long section on interpreting Roman horoscopes, not something that the Scriptures or Christianity can condone.
Fredrick Larson is a lawyer
and does and excellent job of selling the wrong identification of the Star of
Bethlehem. He identifies the Star of Bethlehem as Jupiter. He also notes that
Jupiter is the largest of the planets, but that was unknown to the ancients who
would see Venus as the most important because it was the brightest. He sees the
king of the Jews identified in a month long shallow loop of Jupiter near
Regulus the king star in the constellation of Leo. It does not “crown” this
star but loops near it as it appears to loop like a Spiro graph drawing
continuously in the sky. He then observed a close conjunction of Venus and
Jupiter to indicate the conception of Jesus and he claims these two stars
coming together was the brightest star anyone had ever seen. The problem is
that Venus at its inferior conjunction is brighter than these two stars
together. Finally he saw a link between the woman in Revelation 12 giving birth,
but he fails to mention this happens each year and that it was not visible
because it was during the day. He further presents the star guiding the magi to
A miracle—many believe the star that guided the magi was simply a miracle. A light clearly called a star. Today we live at a time that planes fly over head all the time, God could have done this but why say a star guided them rather than an angel. It is clear from the information presented in this article that God was able from the foundation of the world to use the lights He set in the sky to guide the magi. I believe that most who hold this view do not recognize the special attributes of the planet Venus. These stars could be seen by all, but were faint, one would only see them if they were paying close attention.
All dates are Julian. At this time Gregorian dates are 2 days earlier August 22, 2. B.C.
 Some say extinction made these planets invisible, for a rebuttal see planetary visibility section.
 Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, Chicago Press, 1979, p. 62.
 Genesis 1:14 … for signs, seasons, days and years. Luke 21:25 There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars.
 This is a simplification because sign can mean many things, but picture is one of the primary meanings.
 Job 9:9, 38:3, 31-32. Isaiah 13:10; Amos 5:8; Wisdom 7:29
 Num 2:3, 10:14 Standard-- http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Lion-of-Judah.
 E.W. Bullinger, The Witness of the Stars, 1893, p. 163.
 Prediction one year before the birth of a miraculous son occurs several other times in the Bible, Genesis 17:21, 18:10-14; 2 Kings 4:16-17.
 Isaiah links a rising star in the dark and into the day with specific gifts being brought to the Messiah. Isaiah 60:2-3, 6 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Yahweh rises upon you and his glory appears over you. 3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. … 6 Herds of camels will cover your land, …, bearing gold and frankincense and proclaiming the praise of the Yahweh.
 On Easter Venus rose an hour before sunrise, its rising likely marks the moment of Jesus’ resurrection.
 Bruce A. Killian, “The Immaculate Conception,” 2008, http://www.scripturescholar.com/ImmaculateConception.pdf
George Sarton, Ancient Science Through the Golden Age of Greece, 1993, p.77-8 link
 Note in this case Venus has been the morning star and this is the last day it will appear as the morning star.