by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.
Numbers 24:17 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.
Daniel 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
A National Geographic article published a few years ago describing a real celestial event which took place at the time of the birth of Jesus reminded me of Risto Santala’s explanation in his book, "The Messiah in the New Testament in the Light of Rabbinical Writings". He wrote about a conjunction of major planets that took place which could have led the wise men from the east, to Israel.
Santala reports that in 1603, Johannes Kepler observed a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces; he observed a "new, particularly brilliant and strangely colored star between Jupiter and Saturn, which soon faded." Kepler suggested that the Star of Bethlehem could have been such an event. Later, Alfred Edersheim wrote, "There can be no doubt that the most remarkable conjunction of planets -- that of Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces, which occurs only once in 800 years -- did take place no less than three times in the year 747 A.U.C., or two years before the birth of Christ (in May, October, and December). This conjunction is admitted by all astronomers."
Santala writes, "The constellations of the zodiac were generally identified with different nations, Pisces, for example, being considered the patron constellation of Syria and Palestine, and the revealer of the End Times. Saturn was associated with Palestine in Babylonian astrology, whereas Jupiter was the royal planet, foreshadowing a political Golden Age. Thus, when Jupiter conjoined with Saturn in Pisces it was obvious that the Ruler of the End Times had been born in Palestine."
Whether or not this was the "star" the wise men saw is debatable, but it strongly suggests that a real and significant celestial event did take place roughly at the time of the birth of Jesus. As millions around the world are celebrating His birth this week, we ought to remember that one purpose for which God created the stars was, "for signs." [Genesis 1:14]
But you also, are a sign…a sign of His birth and of His life. Whether you realize it or not, you also are a living, breathing, announcement of Messiah and of His light. And this holiday season, with the spiritual darkness so rapidly increasing, your calling and destiny is to SHINE!…to shine like the stars, in a darkening world, exactly in the same way that His coming to Bethlehem was announced, "a star out of Jacob"…What a destiny! Let us pray that as the season closes and the new year turns, we, His people, will be filled with the oil of his Spirit which will fuel this shining…even right up til the moment He comes, blazing back into this world…Hallelujah!