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The Specific Signs

A Brief History of Contemporary Thought on the Star of Bethlehem

   This brings us to the second part of the Celestial Prelude, the specific signs that would provide the incontestable witness of the heavens identifying the advent of the Messiah. A major departure from the confusion around the "Star of Bethlehem," bringing a new perspective to the celestial signs surrounding the birth of Christ involves a fresh look at the triple planetary Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Pisces, in 7 BC. Historically, this series of unions has been taken for Jesus' actual time of birth by some, and also accepted as just too early to mark his birth by others. The debate between these two major camps continues today. This study will show, among other things, that while the celestial pageantry of 7BC does not literally mark the actual time of the birth of the infant Jesus, we cannot discount the impact of these signs on the Magi in their search for the revelation of the promised seed. How did the Magi know what to look for in this search? What if God left a series of clues for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, making provision so they wouldn't miss this momentous occasion? This is precisely the proposal of this study that herein lies the true significance of these rare unions of Jupiter and Saturn in Pisces in 7BC. Based on the details of this specific set of preliminary signs, the Magi were alerted to the series of planetary Conjunctions and celestial signs announcing the actual birth of Christ.

   The time frame we will be looking at for this Celestial Prelude is from 7-5BC and the first thing that we will notice is that the signs marking the birth of Christ are astronomical in nature. They were not some miraculous manifestation only visible by the Magi or the shepherds in the field, as some have said. The details of this study make this obvious. Secondly, the type of sign we've found is a series of planetary Conjunctions. This is a departure from the General Sign of the Celestial Prelude, which was a supernova in the head of the infant in the decan Coma. This is the initial clue as to what the Magi were prompted to look for, not a comet, like Halley's Comet which some have attempted to make a case for. The dates for Halley's Comet are too early, to coincide with the birth of Christ, although it does fall within the timeframe of the General Sign of the Celestial Prelude, about 5 years before the triple union of Jupiter-Saturn in 7-6. The foregoing and concurrent supernova in Coma was only meant to draw the Magi's attention to this general timeframe of the birth of the promised seed, and the specific signs would reveal the inherent details.

The Traditional idea of a Comet marking Christ's Birth with the Magi in the Manger

birth of christ

   The well-known astronomical expertise of the Persian Magi, dating back centuries, provided them the required basis, even before the latter Zoroaster reestablished their scientific and spiritual tradition of celestial observation. This tradition was broadened by men of God like the Prophet Daniel, who instructed the Magi and perhaps even the latter Zoroaster himself, in the sacred Scriptural principles of truth in concert with the celestial witness of the promised seed. As the Rab-Mage of Court astronomers during the Babylonian captivity and subsequent rule of Darius I, the influence of Daniel was far reaching. Zoroaster's influence is readily found in the following address to his disciples:

 "Listen that I may reveal to you the prodigious mystery concerning the great king who must come into the world. At the end of times, at the moment of dissolution which will put an end to them, a child will be conceived and formed with its members in the womb of a virgin without any man having approached her. He will be like a tree of lovely foliage and loaded with fruit, standing upon a parched soil. The inhabitants of that land will oppose his growing up, and will strive to uproot him from the soil, but will not be able to do so. Then they will lay hands on him and kill him. He will open the descent into the depths of the earth and from the depths he will mount up on high. Then he will be seen coming with the army of the Light, for he is the Child of the Word that engenders all things. He will arise from my family and from my line. At the manifest commencement of this coming, great prodigies will appear in the sky. A star will be seen in the midst of the sky; it's light will outshine that of the sun. So then my sons, you are the seed of life issuing from the treasury of light, and of the spirit, who have been sown in the soil of fire and water, you must be on your guard and watch for you will know beforehand of the coming of the great king for whom the captives are waiting to be freed."1 (emphasis mine)

  This reference from Zoroastrian writings certainly shows how long the idea of a single bright star marking the birth of the promised seed had been around. This series of planetary Conjunctions involving Jupiter certainly drew the focus of the Magi to the king planet, which they recognized as "his star." They would have noted Jupiter's triple planetary union with Saturn, but we know today that this union was caused by Jupiter's retrograde motion. The Magi would have noted these triple unions involving Jupiter in both 7-5 BC and 3-2 BC. Therefore, the Magi would have been watchful not only of Jupiter's motion, but vigilant also for a triple planetary union associated with its motion. Perhaps we can begin to see the wisdom of the Heavenly Father's choice of stellar signs, which make up this celestial epistle of introduction, for the Magi to mark the signs surrounding Jesus' birth. These clues alone would have provided the Magi much on their way to finding the Messiah, but God had a lot more in store. After the Jupiter-Saturn triple Conjunctions in 7 BC, there was a massing of planets including Mars, after which followed a key Conjunction involving Mars. Finally, on the heels of this Conjunction including Mars, in the next month came a remarkable series of lunar occultations, followed by two total lunar eclipses in 5 BC. These preliminary signs from 7-5 BC provided the Magi with the blueprints they would need to recognize the celestial signs identifying the time frame of the birth of Christ. The fact that the signs of this dress rehearsal unfolded over a period in excess of two years was also a clue of what to expect, when the curtain actually arose on the celestial pageantry of the birth of Christ. Also, the fact that these signs from 7-5 BC almost all occur in Pisces, is interesting due in part to an ancient eastern tradition, that the influence of the sign of Pisces, the fishes presided over the land surrounding and including Palestine. Others believed that Pisces symbolized the House of Jacob, and with the obvious presence of the King planet Jupiter, would spell out why the Magi came to Jerusalem looking for the King of Israel. Regarding the importance of the cycle of Jupiter-Saturn ConjunctionsA.H Silver states:

   "some medieval Judean philosophers believed that conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn had messianic significance, and that they would portend an important birth or event that would affect Israel."2

moses birth

  We can see the relevance of this in light of the consistency between the signs surrounding both the births of Abraham & Moses, leading to Christ. Many of these Judeans based their views on ancient traditions going back to the birth of Moses and before, because they believed the birth of Moses was also marked by a triple union of Jupiter and Saturn. We are documenting the signs surrounding these triple unions marking the births of Abraham and Moses for this very reason.
It is thus easy to see why these preliminary signs could be mistaken for the celestial markings of the actual birth of Christ. This is intriguing when we remember that much of this tradition was based on the teachings of the Prophet Daniel, who was made the master of the Magi, the Chaldeans and stargazers by King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon, [Dan. 5:11]. He continued to preside over this august group in the reign of Darius I, [Dan. 6:1-3] when the Persians took control of the Babylonian empire. Daniel's influence on the genuine sect of the Magi, not the Magicians who followed the perverted path of Astrology and the occult, represented an important impact on the astronomical doctrines of these Gentile scientists, especially regarding the widely held belief in the general sign marking the coming of the Messiah during this period in history. Obviously the Magi were aware of the truths of the celestial gospel concerning the coming redeemer, since it was their unrivaled expertise in Astronomy that led them to Jerusalem in the first place. As Matthew 2:3 tells us, their reputation clearly preceded them as Herod, and all Jerusalem were troubled at their appearance. Herod seems to hold the Magi's opinion regarding the star that lead them to Jerusalem, above the belief of his own scribes and chief priests, which is evident in the secret meeting he arranged with the Magi in Matt. 2:7.
   This initial set of signs indeed set the stage for the actual signs announcing the birth of Christ. The Charts below compare the signs of 7-5BC, with those of 3-1BC, in greater detail. For our purposes here, we will focus mainly on the triple planetary Conjunction of Jupiter-Saturn from 7-5 BC in comparison with the triple planetary Conjunction of Jupiter and Regulus in 3-2 BC. We will add a few other signs to more fully sketch out and establish this comparison. However, for a full accounting of these two sets of celestial signs the reader is directed to my book;  The Season of the Morning Star which will be available both as an e-book and in traditional print, in the not too distant future. As we look at the comparison of signs in the charts below, the similarity and detail of the order is striking.

The Celestial Prelude of 7 BC to 5 BC

DateConjunction of Planets Constellation
May 27th, 7 BC Jupiter-Saturn Pisces
Sept. 15th, 7 BC Jupiter, Saturn; [ring cycle], Sun & Earth aligned. Pisces
Oct. 5th, 7 BC Jupiter-Saturn Pisces
Dec. 1st , 7 BC Jupiter-Saturn Pisces
Feb. 25th 6 BC                                                  Triangular massing of Jupiter, Saturn & Mars Pisces
Mar. 5th , 6 BC Jupiter-Mars Pisces
Mar. 23rd, 5 BC Total Lunar Eclipse Virgo
April 15-20, 6 BC Lunar occultation Series
Sept. 15th, 5 BC Total Lunar Eclipse Pisces

The Celestial Signs of 3 BC to 1 BC

May 19th, 3 BC Mercury-Saturn Taurus
June 12th, 3 BC Venus-Saturn Taurus
Aug. 31st, 3 BC Jupiter-Venus Leo
Sept. 9-12, 3BC Eta-Draconid Meteor Showers Draco
Sept. 14th, 3 BC Jupiter-Regulus Leo
Feb. 17th, 2 BC Jupiter-Regulus Leo
March 31st, 2 BC Triangular massing of Venus, Mars & Saturn Taurus
May 8th, 2 BC Jupiter-Regulus Leo
June 17th, 2 BC Jupiter-Venus Leo
Aug. 27th, 2 BC massing of planets Jupiter, Venus, Mars & Mercury Leo
Aug. 28th, 2 BC Alignment of Jupiter, Venus & Mars, Sun & Moon. Leo
Dec. 9th, 2 BC Venus-Mars Scorpius
Dec. 25th, 2 BC "Star of Bethlehem" Virgo
Jan. 9th, 1 BC. Total Lunar Eclipse Gemini
Aug. 21st, 1 BC Jupiter-Venus Virgo

   As we have noted, the importance of Jupiter-Saturn Conjunctions is also recognized in close relation to the precession of the equinoxes in the Hebrew cosmology evident in Genesis 1:6-10, and the world-views of many ancient cultures including, Sumeria, Babylon, Egypt and in the Meso-Americas. According to this pattern, Jupiter-Saturn triple unions occur in Pisces only once every 800 years. This exhibits how this Conjunction series subdivides the precession, which totals a period of about 25,920 years, because every 30 cycles of Jupiter-Saturn triple conjunctions that occur in Pisces totals the period of 24,000 years, a time close to the full cycle of precession.   

   Like the ancient Egyptians, the Maya pyramid-building culture of ancient Mexico had a very advanced Astronomy. They had their own version of the 360-day year, called a "tun" and added 5 extra days, called "haab," considered an unlucky period, on a regular basis. According to Peter Thompkins, Mayans also; "calculated the orbit of the Earth about the Sun as 365.2420 days, and marked the close of the year by the erection of a stone they called a "tun." They did likewise for a twenty-year cycle or "Katun," a period they considered governed by the Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn." 3  [emphasis mine]

Thompkins continues by saying that; "The Maya had a very special sacred year of 260 days called tzolkin, that the Aztecs called tonalamatl." This 260-day sacred calendar was "divided into 13 months of 20 days and the multiples of 13 and 20 became the heart of a chronological computation, stunning in its simplicity and exactness. A greater cycle of 260 years was 13 consecutive Jupiter-Saturn Conjunction cycles of 20 years."4 [emphasis mine]

   This greater 260-year cycle based on the cycle of Jupiter-Saturn Conjunctions, was also a tool anciently utilized by the Mayans to break down the very long cycle of the precession of the equinoxes. Thompkins states that: the "Maya also had a cycle of 942,890 days, or 2,582 years, that turned out to be 130 Jupiter-Saturn Conjunctions." Twice this cycle [5,163 years], not only gave the equivalent of the greater 260-year cycle of Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions, but 100 of these greater 260-year cycles was equal to 26,000 years, often reckoned the length of the precession by the ancients. With Kepler's recognition of the pattern of Jupiter-Saturn Conjunctions and the Mayan tzolkin, we have two culturally distinct and seemingly independent views of how Jupiter-Saturn Conjunctions subdivide the precession. Similarities not only in planetary and star names, but also in their symbolism, among widely removed nations in both space and time is a feature so common in the study of Astronomy, that it discounts any idea of mere coincidence. This adds to the mound of evidence favoring what Joseph Campbell called the world monomyth which is the idea that all world mythology is rooted in one Great Epic narrative based on stellar truths, which we contend is preserved in the God's ancient star names that He first gave to Adam and the Biblical Patriarchs [Ps. 147:4]. This age-old system was organized around the endless spiraling of the smaller celestial wheels, like the precession of the poles, nested as gears within the larger stellar wheels of the precession of the equinoxes. This provided the framework within which the truths of the celestial gospel were first unveiled to Biblical Patriarchs and later corrupted forming the basis of mythology the world over.
  Following the triple Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 7 BC was a unique triangular massing of planets. Kepler referred to the Feb. 25th, 6BC triangular massing of planets; Jupiter, Saturn and Mars, as the "decisive Conjunction of 6 BC that opened our precessional age of Pisces." As we have noted, Kepler also advanced the idea that the Magi were guided to Judea by the appearance of this series of Conjunctions. This could make him a larger presence in the history of Astronomy, even more than what he is already accredited with, because of the spiritual nature of this insight. However, this view should be tempered with his Balaam-like penchant to rely on the divination of Astrology as an illicit source of personal income. 

   Virgil, who had a good reputation in astronomical matters, was given the honorary title of a "prophet of Christianity" by his peers, for declaring that a great new order of centuries was now being born during this period around 7-6BC. In his Fourth Eclogue, he declared the return of the Golden Age, showing the influence of the traditional prophecy of the coming redeemer in Greece at the time:

  "Now the Virgin returns, now a new generation descends from heaven on high. Only thou pure Lucina, smile on the birth of the child, under whom the iron brood shall first cease, and a golden race spring up throughout the world."6 (emphasis mine)

first heavens and earth

   It seems that the Creator, Who set the celestial bodies in motion as it pleased Him, set this pattern of Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions to mark the temporal order of His Creation according to the vast sundial of the ages, the precession of the equinoxes. This symbolized Lucifer's dominion in the First Heavens and Earth, seen in the symbolism of the precession of the poles, as The Angel of light, signifying the dominion of light over the temporal world. These triple unions of Jupiter and Saturn would be a prophecy from deep antiquity that the Piscean Age would bring forth God's eternal purpose in the revelation and personal presence of Jesus Christ, the promised seed of the woman. In the following reference to Jupiter-Saturn triple unions related to the birth of Moses, R.H. Allen has probably isolated at least part of the quote by Abrabanel referenced by Kepler:

"The Rabbis held a tradition, recorded by Abrabanel in the 15th Century, that a similar Conjunction took place three years previous to the birth of Moses, and they anticipated another at their Messiah's advent."7 [emphasis mine]

   With this in mind, plus the fact that Moses was a forerunner of Jesus [Acts 3:22ff], it is worth noting that in the three years following the triple union of Jupiter and Saturn, and the Triangular massing of planets in February of 6 BC, Jesus Christ was born in 3 BC!  Even so, the triple union of Jupiter and Saturn in Taurus starting in the summer of 1536 BC, was the prelude to the birth of Moses. Perhaps the highest compliment we can pay the Magi is that they were genuine Gentile believers who sought for, & accurately anticipated the first coming of Jesus Christ, according to the true science of Astronomy that they applied from their own traditions of  Zoroastrianism. As Matthew 2:10 states; they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. The exceeding greatness of their joy, however was not founded upon their sighting of "his star" only, but on both the general and specific signs of this Celestial Prelude, and all that Jupiter represented regarding the first coming of Jesus Christ the promised seed written in the stars. The roots of their knowledge of the promised seed trace to the monotheistic teachings of Zoroaster. A second man of the same name was said to have coexisted with Daniel in the reign of "Darius the Mede" in the 5th - 6th Centuries BC. Thus we can also see a reason for their joy, because as Rolleston quoting Abulfaragius states:

"Zeradusht {Zoroaster} taught the Persians that in the latter times a virgin should bring forth a son, and that when he should be born a star should appear, and should shine and be conspicuous in the midst of the figure of the virgin. It is then said that he commanded his disciples, the Magi, when they should see the star, that they should go forth where it directed them, and offer gifts to him that should be born."8 (emphasis mine)

  This confirms what we have already seen in Zoroastrian writings concerning the coming of the promised seed. The Magi would certainly have been joyfully awestruck when they realized the dual witness of the supernova in Coma, along with "his star," the king planet Jupiter at rest in the mid-section of Virgo, on their way to Bethlehem, fulfilling the prophecy written in the stars, and established by their teachers, Zoroaster and the prophet Daniel. A graphic rendition of this is found in our banner at the top of this web-page. It shows both the general sign of the Celestial Prelude next to the specific sign of Jupiter in Virgo, directly over Bethlehem, as the Magi testified to the Creator's precision, with the Rhythms of His celestial cycles in perfect time, bringing the Magi to their appointed destiny as witnesses of His purpose of the ages, the foretold arrival of the redeemer of Mankind. Their observations of Jupiter unveiled the consistent threefold witness of the scepter, [Numbers 24:17] and king planet in retrograde motion. We will look at the details of this witness, first in the Jupiter-Saturn triple conjunctions of 7BC, second with the Jupiter-Regulus triple union of 3-2 BC and thirdly with Jupiter standing still at the winter Solstice, starting it's retrograde on the Meridian. This witness of the planets lit the way to Bethlehem as the Magi traveled south from Jerusalem in December of 2 BC. The Magi truly desired the realization of the Hope of all Mankind and they rejoiced exceedingly for their part in the realization of their Hope of a promised redeemer. As ambassadors for all Gentiles, the Magi came paying homage to the King of kings, who would rule all nations. The Heavenly Father showed His love and care for these early Gentile believers, as He delivered them from the enemy's wrath manifested through King Herod, by the phenomena of divine revelation. The Magi are thus appropriate emissaries for all believing Gentiles as they were guided by God's Hand, to herald the revival of the accurate teaching of the celestial epistles as the Creator's undeniable witness of Nature to all the world, not just to Israel alone. God has set aside myriad wondrous secrets hidden in the stars for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, and with hearts to discern the hidden depths of the great mysteries viewed in spiritual retrospect. The Magi provide a sterling model that believers, and even modern scientists can emulate, because although they were scientists in the truest sense of the word, their perspective was not limited to knowledge obtained only from empirical evidence. It was the faith of the Magi that distinguished them in history, not only as consummate scientists, but also shining lights showing the way to the revelation of the promised Messiah for all men of the Earth. This is an example of how modern science can serve the greater truths revealed by the Creator, in the witness of the Natural realms.


1. The Secret Book of the Egyptian Gnostics, Jean Doresse ppg. 186-187.

2 A History of Messianic Speculation in Israel. A. H. Silver

3 Mysteries of the Mexican Pyramids. Peter Thompkins. p.289.

4 Ibid.

5 Star Names their Lore and Meaning, R.H. Allen p. 341

6 Virgil’s Fourth Eclogue 

7 R.H.Allen, Star Names their Lore and Meaning, p. 341

8 Frances Rolleston, Mazzaroth; On the Sign Virgo.


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