Sign of the Messiah
I Identified the Star of Bethlehem
© 1999 Copyright by Dr. Werner Papke
Reprinted here by permission of the author. It is also available
online at the website address: http://home.t-online.de/home/dr.papke/messiah.htm
Foreword by Jessie E. Mills–When my small booklet was first written and published by Alabama Christian College in 1975, I wrote against the background history of Herod as having died in
4 BC. Since that time, I have found evidence which dates Herod’s death
in 2 BC. I am now convinced, as is Dr. Papke, that for the purposes for which
I wrote, “Was Christ Born on December 25th?” The year is not the
issue, but rather the time of the year. There is no evidence to be found which
even remotely suggests that Christ was born on Christmas, Dec. 25th. Therefore,
those who proclaim that we are to celebrate Dec. 25th as the birthday of Christ are misleading us into a practice that will
destroy the soul of man. Rom. 14:23 says, “That which is not of faith is
sin.” I am happy to be associated with Dr. Papke in his lesson reprinted
here, entitled, “How I Found the Star of Bethlehem.” – Jessie E. Mills, D.M.
The enigma of the Star of Bethlehem has now been solved. Latest research
reveals it was a new star that suddenly appeared at the “Throne of God” in the very womb of the ancient Babylonian
constellation of the Virgin (ERUA) at 6:30 p.m. just after sunset on August 30 in 2 BC exactly when Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
These startling results rule out the widely accepted date 4 BC for King Herod’s death and give way to a new
understanding of the evolution of religions, demanding a thoroughgoing revision of Biblical cosmology as well.
[picture of magi traveling
toward star here]
A New Star in the Skies
For centuries the Star of Bethlehem has stimulated a flood of investigations to identify this most famous celestial
phenomenon in the history of man. From the mass of relevant literature three scholarly interpretations stand out: a comet, a conjunction of planets, and a new star. But, as we shall see,1 only a new star is in full harmony with the Biblical account of the Magi
as found in Mat. 2.
The first in modern times who considered the star of Bethlehem to be a new star was the German astronomer Johannes
Kepler (1571-1630).2 When
on October 10, 1604 he saw a new star which had appeared in the right foot of the snakebearer (Ophiuchus) above the scorpion
just 10° from the spot where in the preceding year a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn had occurred, Kepler erroneously believed
the new star could have been brought about by that conjunction and therefore by analogy concluded that the Star of Bethlehem
might also have been a new star that appeared some time, after a triple-conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn had taken place
in 7 BC.3
That the Star of Bethlehem must have been a new star is confirmed by the unanimous testimony of the early church fathers.
The earliest mention of the Star of Bethlehem besides the Biblical report is made by Ignatius, the bishop of the church in
Antiochia, who still lived during the time of the apostles and died as a martyr just before AD 117. In his letter to the Ephesians,
How was [Jesus] revealed to the world? A star shone forth high above
all the stars in the skies, whose brilliance cannot be described and which was of a completely new type so that it aroused
Even in the fourth century AD, Prudentius maintains that not even the morning star (Venus) had such a glare as the
Star of Bethlehem. This testimony of the church fathers of course rules out a comet as well as any planet or conjunction,
particularly a conjunction of Jupiter and Venus, for the Star of Bethlehem.
The Site of the New Star–
The Promise of Eden
Written in the Skies
Now if we take for granted it was a new star that prompted the Magi to
travel to Jerusalem we are immediately confronted with a
serious problem. Since only a very small part of ancient sources have been preserved
it is no wonder that no direct testimony of a new star around the birth of Christ two thousand years ago has come down to
us. As we cannot therefore rely on observational material of that time, we have to enter on an entirely new approach of evidence
in order to arrive at a solution of the Star of Bethlehem problem and prove it really was a new star.
The question that naturally arises is: Where did the new star appear in the skies? Indeed the key to the
whole problem seems to be the identification of the very spot in the starry sphere where the new star appeared. This becomes
all the more evident when we see that the ancients had observed new stars long before the star of Bethlehem showed up. In 134 BC a new star appeared
in the constellation Scorpius (scorpion) which was so bright that it was visible even in the daytime. The elder Plinius in
his Natural History5 tells us it was this star that prompted Hipparch to compose his famous star-catalogue in which he listed
each fixed-star visible to the naked eye.
Where then was a new star to appear so that the Magi could know for sure it was
the star of the “King of the Jews”? When I thought it over I realized
that there was from time immemorial one and only
one constellation which was connected with the hope for the promised redeemer: viz.
the Virgin, being probably the most ancient constellation of mankind anyhow. This celestial Virgin standing behind the Lion
and beneath the Great Bear is mentioned already on Babylonian clay tablets of the third millennium BC and was called ERUA.6
What does this ancient mysterious name stand for? ERUA was written with
the four cuneiform signs E4.RU6.U2.A. RU6 is the sign for the Sumerian word EDIN,
rendered Eden in the Biblical Genesis, and being an ancient term for Paradise. E4 is the sign for “seed” and U2.A together denote “to bring forth,
to bear.” Thus ERUA must be translated:
“she who will bring forth the seed (prophesied in) Eden”
The constellation ERUA is alluded to in the famous Akkadian Gilgamesh Epic;7 and in the first tablet of the astronomical cuneiform series MUL.APIN
(col. I,11)8 this
ERUA is explained as Zarpanitum, which was written with the cuneiform signs ZAR4.BA.NITA2, ZAR4 being another sign for “seed,”
and BA for “to bear,” while NITA2 stands for “male,” so that Zarpanitum must be translated:
“she who will bring forth the male seed”
The Babylonians themselves interpreted Zarpanitum as zer banitu, “she
bringing forth the seed” as is confirmed by many clay tablets.
This of course reminds us of the Biblical story of Eden.
For in Genesis 3:15 we read that after the fall of man - however still before Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of
Eden - God gave them the promise of a redeemer, the “seed” of the “woman” pointing to the miraculous
birth of this “seed” from a virgin.
We now see that this protevangelion as it is called - the first gospel - was not at all a late invention of the Jews, rather it was known already to the early mankind,
so that the “woman,” the virgin mother of the redeemer, had even been set among the stars in the constellation
ERUA long before Moses came on the scene.
The Egyptians adopted this Babylonian constellation of the Virgin ERUA
and depicted it as a Virgin (Isis) sitting on a throne and holding a male child (Horus) on her left arm. The Persians also were familiar with this celestial Virgin sitting on a throne.
As the Magi (magoi) mentioned in the (Greek) text of the Gospel of Matthew
belonged to an originally Medo-Persian priestly caste, they obviously were well informed of this celestial virgin being the
sign in the skies of a virgin who should bring forth the male seed that was promised already in Eden.
When we look on a modern star chart for this Babylonian Virgin sitting
on a throne behind the Lion and beneath the Great Bear we seek her in vain. Instead
we will find the “Hair of Berenice” (Coma Berenices). Why is this? The Greeks later shifted this celestial Virgin down into the zodiacal belt beneath
the original constellation ERUA so that it came to lie along the ecliptic between the Lion and the Scales - just where we
see her now on every star globe. At the site of the original Virgin ERUA the astronomer Conon of Samos in 246 BC finally inserted
the “Hair of Berenice” which we now call by the Latin name Coma Berenices.
This constellation occupies the womb of the original Virgin ERUA, and it was just in the midst of her womb that the new star
appeared when Jesus was born.
Prophecy of Isaiah, confirmation
in the Apocalypse, & what Zoroaster learned from Daniel
But why then, we may ask, did the heathen Magi associate the appearance of the new star in Coma Berenices - in the
womb of the Virgin ERUA - with the birth of the “King of the Jews”? Well,
first of all we ought to know that in the land of Judah, too, this Virgin ERUA in the starry sphere was the heavenly sign of the virgin
mother that would bring forth the promised redeemer. The Jews called her ha-alma,9 “the
Virgin,” and the great prophet Isaiah in the eighth century BC even gives a prophecy concerning this constellation.10 When in 735 BC the southern state of Judah was threatened
by an alliance of Syria and the northern state of Israel, the prophet Isaiah came to Ahas, the king of Judah, and told him
that Judah would not be conquered. But as Ahas did not believe the prophet, Isaiah said to him:
“Ask a sign of the Lord, thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above”11
In other words: down here on earth, or above in the skies. But Ahas did not want a sign. So Isaiah said:
“Hear ye now, O house of David ... Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, the virgin (ha-alma)
shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (God with us).”12
According to this Old Testament text God by his pro-phet promised a sign which referred to the whole “House
of David” and concerned the fulfillment of the promise given in Eden. In other words: the redeemer, the so-called
Messiah, should be an heir of King David, born of a Jewish virgin of the tribe of Judah and descendant of David.
But Isaiah in his prophecy moreover obviously connects the sign “in the
depth” with the sign “in the height above”: the birth of the Messiah from the Jewish Virgin (ha-`alma) on earth should
be signaled by a sign in the womb of the Virgin (ha-`alma)
in the skies. Indeed, how else could a virgin really be a sign for the “house
of David”? According to the Gospel of Matthew nobody else of the “house
of David” among the Jews except Mary herself knew for sure that she had conceived Jesus and brought him forth when she
was still a virgin. Even Joseph, her fiancé, had been no eyewitness of her conception,
rather he had to rely on the report of the angel Gabriel.13 Therefore it only was the sign in the skies that necessarily had to signal the birth of the Messiah on
earth by a virgin of the tribe of David. It was not until this sign in the height
above appeared that one could definitely know the Messiah was born from a Jewish virgin as prophesied by Isaiah.
A first hint to that being true we get from Matthew himself. For Matthew
in his Gospel quotes from Isaiah to prove that by the birth of Jesus from the virgin Mary Isaiah’s prophecy had been
fulfilled. Matthew writes:
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the
Lord through the prophet, saying, Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call
his name Immanuel, which, being interpreted, is God with us.14
Matthew continues that Joseph “knew her (Mary) not till she had brought
her first-born son; and he called his name Jesus.”15 And Matthew then hastens to add that, “when Jesus was born
in Bethlehem,” “there came Magi from
the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born
King of the Jews? For we have seen his
If we still hesitate to accept this reasoning, we are absolutely assured by the book of Revelation. John deliberately
uses Isaiah’s prophecy once more. In chapter 12 John refers to the birth of Christ with the following words:
“And there appeared a great sign (Greek: semeion) in the sky
- a woman (Greek: gyne; confer Genesis
3:15, in the Septuagint) clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a garland of twelve stars. And
she, being with child, cried, travailing in birth, and pained to deliver... And she brought
forth a male child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron, and her
child was caught up unto God and his throne.”17
In this vision John clearly sees ha-alma, the Virgin ERUA, in the starry skies, the sun clothing her while the moon
is just standing under her feet.
But how, we still may ask, did the heathen Magi, followers of the teachings of Zoroaster, hear about the prophecy
Isaiah pronounced to the “house of David” more than seven hundred years
before? Well, today we know for sure Zoroaster, the founder of the Persian religion
that is called after him, lived in Babylon from about 560
BC., at a time, when the Jews stayed in the Babylonian Captivity. The Jews obviously told Zoroaster about Isaiah’s prophecy
of the birth of the Messiah from a Jewish virgin of the house of David. Even
the Syrian scholar Abu’l Faragius
(1226-1286) states that when Zoroaster was in Babylon he became a pupil of the prophet Daniel,
who was deported to Babylon from the land
of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar II in 605 BC.
And in his History of Dynasties Faragius further writes that Zoroaster had
predicted to the Magi a “new star” would appear in the skies and signal
the birth of a wonderful boy whom they were to adore. According to the Avesta,
the bible of the Zoroastrians, the redeemer would be born of a virgin. When the
new star appeared in the womb of the celestial Virgin (ERUA), the Magi knew the Messiah was born from a Jewish virgin, and
immediately started on their long journey to Jerusalem in
order to adore the new-born “King of the Jews.”
Astronomical Test–When did the Star Appear ?
Now let us see how the Biblical testimony fits in the astronomical facts. Matthew
tells us that when the Magi arrived at Bethlehem the star
was just standing “over (the house) where the young child was.”18 This means the star at this moment was standing
perpendicular above them, in the zenith of Bethlehem.
a northern geographical latitude of 31.7°, it is 31.7° north of the equator. Thus it follows that the zenith of Bethlehem is 31.7° north of the celestial
equator as well. Therefore the new star must have appeared 31.7° north of the celestial equator, for according to Matthew
the Magi saw the new star in the zenith of Bethlehem.
Because of the so-called luni-solar-precession the position of the stars steadily
changes with time. An accurate calculation reveals that 2000 years ago, when
Jesus was born, the zenith of Bethlehem passed through the middle of the constellation Coma Berenices, i.e. exactly through
the womb of the Virgin ERUA - about 24° off the ecliptic. (As the earth revolved, the new star passed once every day through
the zenith of Bethlehem - at a different time each day, since the earth moves approximately one degree a day on its orbit
round the sun, so that the new star in Coma Berenices every day rose approximately 4 minutes earlier than the day before.)
When did the new star appear in the very womb of the Virgin (ha-‘alma)? The new star cannot
have appeared until after sunset, for Luke states the “angel of the Lord,” who came to the shepherds “by night,”
announced: “unto you is born this
day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”19 In Israel
a new day began in the evening after sunset, so Jesus must have been born in the
evening after the sun had sunk beneath the horizon.
From Rev. 12 we learn that at the birth of the “male child” the sun clothed
the woman “in the sky.” So
the sun running in the ecliptic must have been midway under the Virgin at this time (Fig. 1).
The new star in the womb of the celestial Virgin therefore cannot possibly have appeared above the eastern horizon
that evening. It must have been visible above the western horizon of Bethlehem.
The new star appeared 31.7° north of the celestial equator in the midst of her womb.
This being exactly the center of the celestial Virgin, we only need to drop a perpendicular from the new star in the
mid-womb of the Virgin on to the ecliptic in order to get the exact position of the sun in the ecliptic at the moment the
new star appeared, for the sun was just clothing the woman. We find out that
the longitude of the sun then was 154°, i.e. the sun still was 26° off the autumnal point.
(Fig. 1 below)
[picture of the virgin –
ERUA – Figure 1 here]
Fig. 1 The Star of the Messiah was a new star that appeared in the very womb of the Virgin ERUA
31.7° north of the celestial equator in the close vicinity of the Galactic North Pole at the “Throne of God” just
after sunset in the evening of August 30, 2 BC., when Jesus was born. At that time the sun was “in” the Virgin,
while the moon was standing under her feet, and all classical planets (except Saturn) had gathered with the Virgin. The constellation
of the Virgin (ERUA) has been reconstructed by the author from sources dating from the third millennium BC. Even the garland of twelve stars on her head (Rev. 12:1) is visible to the naked eye. (The Galactic North
Pole marked by a small circle at the left breast of the Virgin.)
While the woman was clad in sunbeams, John saw the moon standing under her feet. The moon was not far off the sun.
Because the feet of the Virgin were located at 163° and 164° ecliptical longitude (Fig. 1) the moon must have been near 164°
when the male child was born.
Exact calculation reveals the astronomical conditions of John’s vision are only valid in the year 2 BC. From 12 BC down to 1 BC, only the year 2 BC fits these facts. In all the other 11
years either the sun was not “in” the Virgin or the moon was not under her feet (Table 1 below).
Ecliptical Longitude of
Year Day (Julian)
(BC.) Elul 1 Tishri 1 Elul 1 Tishri 1 Elul 1 Tishri 1
Table 1 (opposite page)
Ecliptical longitude of sun and moon on the evening of Elul 1 and/or Tishri 1 from 12 BC to 1
BC. The projection of the new star in the middle (uterus) of the Virgin onto
the ecliptic gives 154° for the position of the sun in the ecliptic. The feet of the Virgin anyway are at 163° (Gamma Virginis)
and 164° (Delta Virginis) ecliptical longitude. According to the vision of John
in Rev. 12 at the time of the birth of the Messiah the moon must have been near 164° ecliptical longitude. The table shows
these conditions in the whole period from 12 to 1 BC are only valid in the year 2 BC.
The received position of the sun - 154° longitude–corresponds to August 30 (Julian date) in 2 BC. When the new crescent of the moon stood about 11° further east under the feet of the Virgin, the 1st day
of the month Tishri or the Jewish New Year’s Day (Rosh ha-shana) began.
We now even can determine the hour when Jesus was born on this 30th day of August in 2 BC. For, as mentioned above, the male child must have been born when the sun had already sunk under the western
horizon of Bethlehem while at the same time the new star
in the womb of the Virgin must have still been visible above the western horizon (Fig. 1). The sun set at 6:26 p.m. that evening,
and the new star disappeared at 8:15 p.m. under the horizon. Between these time limits the new star appeared, and the King
of the Jews was born! But as the Magi were east of Bethlehem when they saw the new star appear in the west, it must have been immediately after
sunset; otherwise they could not have seen it that evening. It would have already been under
their western horizon. Thus Jesus was born about 6:30 p.m., August 30, 2 BC.
When did the Magi arrive at Bethlehem?
The Magi did not worship Jesus on the night of August 30, when the shepherds from Bethlehem saw the new-born child lying in a manger.
For their journey from the east the Magi probably needed several months. On the evening when the star appeared it could
only be seen about one and three quarters hours above the western horizon of Jerusalem and
Matthew reports the star accompanied or led the Magi “till (!) it came and stood
just over (the house) where the young child was”20 - in the zenith of Bethlehem. (The star did not go before them, as usually maintained, for proago,
the Greek verb, used here in a transitive sense, primarily means to lead or accompany, and because Bethlehem is five miles
south of Jerusalem, the Magi went south
while the stars went from east to west as did the new star in Coma Berenices.)
Now the earliest possible date at which the Magi could have seen the star in the zenith of Bethlehem was in the morning
just before sunrise, when the star had risen at midnight from the eastern horizon and - for the first time - advanced the
zenith just at the very moment at dawn when by the beams of the rising sun the star faded away. This is, however, exactly
the time when the Magi must indeed have seen the star in the zenith of Bethlehem.
For taken literally the text of Matthew implies that the star only led the Magi up to the moment when it stood in the zenith
perpendicular above the house where the child was - and not one second longer. When the Magi left the palace of King Herod
in Jerusalem at about five o’clock in the morning the new star in Coma Berenices already stood high in the sky and lead
them on their two hours’ ride to Bethlehem, which was about five miles south of Jerusalem; during that time the star
advanced 30° further west towards the zenith of Bethlehem, until finally it stood exactly above them, and immediately after
that faded away when the sun was rising in the east.
At this very moment the Magi stopped and then went straight into the house in front of which they had just arrived.
We thus get that the Magi arrived before the house in Bethlehem
on November 28 (Julian date; ecliptical longitude of the sun: 244°) at about
6:57 a.m. - three months after Jesus had been born. November 28, 2 BC corresponds
to the last day of the Jewish month Kislev. Four days before that day the feast
of Chanukah had begun on Kislev 25, which was celebrated eight days. This means
that the Magi arrived in Jerusalem and Bethlehem
just in the midst of the Chanukah festivities.
How I Found the Throne of God
But there remains one more fact which has been completely unknown to us and which I cannot pass over here.
As mentioned above, the constellation of the Virgin ERUA was alluded to in the famous Gilgamesh-Epic, too. From this
Epic, which astronomically refers to the starry skies of Babylon in the third millennium BC., we learn that Gilgamesh at this
very site of the celestial Virgin could see a “mountain” on which there dwelt the “gods” and where
the Virgin was sitting on her “throne” (see my book about the Gilgamesh-Epic, indicated in note 7 further down).
Now just here in Coma Berenices we can find the Galactic North Pole, the farthest north of our Galaxy whereof our solar system
is but a tiny part. So here in the farthest north the celestial Virgin sits enthroned as it were above the universe. And this is exactly why the Babylonians already called her the “queen of heaven.” The “gods” Gilgamesh saw assembled here on a “mountain” in
the farthest north of the universe correspond to the “angels” of the Bible, called “sons of God” there. And the book of books reveals to us, that
at this very site high above the stars there is situated the “throne of God” and that the angels come to this
mountain in order to present themselves before the Lord.21 The prophet Isaiah calls this mountain the “mount of the congregation”
of the angels, and he locates it “in the farthest north (Zaphon).”22
This “mountain of the gods” above which there is the throne of the Highest, is mentioned by Ezekiel23 as well, and it is attested with the Canaanites too.
According to the texts from Ugarit, Baal, the son of El,
the highest god, has his throne on the “summit of the mountain of the north (Zaphon).”
The Indians call this mountain in the farthest north of the universe Mount Meru,
the Himalayas being its representation on earth. On
the summit of Mount Meru Brahma, the highest god, has his throne, and Indra and
the other gods reside on it. This mountain of the gods is found in Persian, Greek and Nordic mythologies as well.
So when the new star appeared just here in the farthest north of the universe in the womb of the celestial Virgin,
the Magi, who were well acquainted with these ancient notions, can only have concluded, that the Messiah directly came from
the “throne of the Highest” which is in complete harmony with the Biblical record.
Yes, even Luke in his Gospel (1:76-79a) indirectly points to the appearance of the new star in the farthest north
of the universe when Jesus was born. Luke states that Zacharias after the birth of his son John the Baptist, the forerunner
of Jesus, suddenly “was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied,” saying:
“...And thou, child (John), shalt be called the prophet of the Highest;
for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission
of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the rising from on high
hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness...”24
Zacharias here clearly refers to Isaiah’s prophecy (7:14, and to 9:1ff., too) concerning the sign of the Messiah
that should appear “in the height above” at the throne of God when on earth the redeemer was born by a Jewish
virgin. In the Greek text of Luke 1:78, Zacharias (for “rising”)
uses the same word anatolé which the Magi use in Matthew 2 when they come to Jerusalem,
saying: “Where is he that is born
King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the rising (en te anatolé)...”
Both passages together unanimously prove that the “rising” (anatolé) of the Star of the Messiah does not
mean its rising from the eastern horizon, rather it means that it suddenly broke through
in the farthest north at the throne of God in the womb of the celestial Virgin.
In fact, as we already know, the new star in Coma Berenices appeared above the western
horizon on the evening of August 30, 2 BC.
The Second Advent of Christ–Balaam’s Star and the Sign of the Son
of Man in the Sky
That in Matthew’s report of the Magi, anatolé means a “break through” of the new star, is corroborated by the prophecy of Balaam as well. This heathen seer one
and a half thousand years BC prophesied of a “Star” that “shall come out of Jacob.”25 Now in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, “come out” is translated with the verb anatéllo, from which the
noun anatolé is just derived.
The prophecy of Balaam moreover leads us straight down to the day of the second advent of Christ. Again and again
this Star of Balaam has been referred to the Star of Bethlehem when Jesus was born. However Matthew, though he is eager to
quote Old Testament prophecies whenever he can in order to prove that they have been fulfilled, does not even mention a word
of Balaam. For the words of Balaam unequivocally refer to the time of “the latter
days,”26 as Balaam
himself reveals, i.e. to the time when the dominion of the nations will find an end by the sudden return of the Messiah. Three
and a half thousand years ago Balaam therefore prophesied that the return of Christ will be signaled by a star that will suddenly
appear in the sky. As according to the Biblical account Jesus ascended to the throne of God 40 days after his resurrection,
and shall return from there, the Star of Balaam anyway must appear in the constellation Coma Berenices at the Galactic North
Pole, the very spot in the starry sky where two thousand years ago a new star appeared as well when Jesus was born, i.e. at
the throne of God.
This Star of Balaam obviously will be nothing else but the mysterious “sign
of the Son of man”27 which
is to appear in the sky just at the moment when Jesus will be descending to the earth once more.
Dust in “Berenice’s Hair” or
The Latest Scientific Evidence
In conclusion I should like to point out a sensational discovery in the universe that was made only recently. It sheds
new light on our identification of the star of Bethlehem
and confirms it in ways unimagined before.
As we know now, the star of the Messiah was a “new” star. This
star suddenly appeared shining brightly in the evening of August 30 in 2 BC in the lap of the ancient heavenly image of the
virgin mother of the Redeemer–in the middle of the constellation of the Virgin ERUA in Coma Berenices. Thus the heavenly
sign of the birth of the Messiah on earth by a virgin of the house of David as prophesied by Isaiah eight centuries earlier
According to today’s astrophysical theories, this “new”
star is to be classified as a supernova, i.e. a star that has existed in space for eons far from our Milky Way. Then the star
suddenly exploded and shone millions of times brighter. However–due to its great distance from our solar system and
the finite speed of the light emitted by the star–it took millions of years before it became visible to the Magi as
a bright star in the sky.
According to Matthew, the new star, which shone forth brightly at the galactic north pole near the Throne of God,
was visible with the bare eye for another three months, until the Magi came to Bethlehem.
Then, like any other “new” star, it faded until it finally could not be recognized anymore. But this does not
mean that the star disappeared without a trace in space. According to current astronomical understanding, the part of the
matter that had been hurled into space at the explosion of that star, now reveals itself as cosmic nebula. For example, the
well-known Crab nebula in the constellation of the Bull (Taurus) allegedly testifies even today of the supernova of 1054 AD. The remaining matter of a supernova in the form of a rotating neutron star of extremely
high density–also known as pulsar–is expected to send out electromagnetic
impulses even after thousands of years. Based on this understanding, historically documented supernovas are said to have been
clearly identified through measuring the impulse radiation at the corresponding locations in the sky. In addition, the remainders
of other supernovas were discovered by the same means.
From this would obviously follow that the star of Bethlehem–the
supernova in “Berenice’s Hair” (Coma Berenices) from 2 BC–could today be identified as a pulsar by
the same means. Indeed, after the publication of the German edition of this book,
astronomers have been eagerly looking for the remainders of the star of Bethlehem
in “Berenice’s Hair”–but without success. The Berliner
physicist Herrmann took the occasion to publish a book in which he disproved the identification of the star of Bethlehem. In his book, he alleges a priori that the Gospel writer Matthew fraudulently inserted “a star that in reality did not exist into
the biography of Jesus.” He also considers the century-old search for a
real astronomical explanation of the star of Bethlehem as
a futile undertaking. The apparently decisive refutation of the “new”
star of the Messiah in Berenice’s Hair is that “at the location of the alleged star of Bethlehem, no trace of Papke’s supernova can be found, even with a wide interpretation
of the coordinates supplied by Papke.” Herrmann sums up his findings as
follows: “Thus we inevitably arrive at the conclusion that this new hypothesis
about the star of Bethlehem is another fairy tale story
that is thwarted by reality.” This, though, would discredit Jesus of Nazareth
as the promised Messiah.
However, shortly after Herrmann’s dismissal of the central message of the stars and the Bible, German and Finnish
astronomers made a discovery that requires radical changes to science’s understanding of space. Using the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO), they detected dust for the first time in the apparently empty space between
the galaxies. Of all places, this discovery was made between the galaxies in the big cluster of Coma Berenices. Up to now, astronomers assumed intergalactic space contained only invisible gases of extremely
low concentration. The discovery of intergalactic dust implies that the emission of distant galaxies and quasars is absorbed
by the same intergalactic dust so that we don’t even get to see it on earth. We
see only a small part of space. The universe is considerably larger than what
we see through telescopes. Thus it is only logical that we cannot detect any residual emission of the supernova of August
30 in 2 BC–if it even was a supernova in the sense of modern astronomy.
The discovery of intergalactic dust also means that the “mount of the congregation” (Isaiah 14:13) and
the “Throne of God” (Isaiah 6:1ff., Revelation 3:21, 4:2ff.) in the farthest north of the universe–far beyond
Coma Berenices–will remain hidden from any doubters and mockers. So they will continue to doubt or mock until Jesus
will descend for the second time from the Throne of God to earth. Of course, this will not take Jesus millions of years, as
it should according to our modern worldview. Then at the latest, we will have to revise our modern cosmological understanding–and
get to know a reality far beyond the confines of our current worldview.
1. For a detailed investigation see: Papke,
Werner: Das Zeichen Des Messias. Ein Wissenschaftler identifiziert den Stern von Bethlehem. ISBN 3-89397-369-9. Bielefeld 1995
2. Kepler, J.: De Stella Nova in Pede Serpentarii. Francofurti 1606. Reprint in: Gesammelte
Werke, t. 1, pp. 313-356
3. Kepler, J.: De vero anno aeternus Dei Filius humanam naturam in utero benedictae Virginis Mariae assumpsit. Francofurti 1614. Reprint in: Gesammelte Werke, t. 5, pp.
7-126. Munich 1963
4. Ignatius: Ad Ephesios, 19
5. Plinius, Natural History, II, 95
6. Papke, W.: Korrespondierende Kulminationen und heliakische Aufgänge in MUL.APIN, in:
Oriens Antiquus XIX (1980), 193ff.
7. Papke, W.: Die geheime Botschaft des Gilgamesch. 4000 Jahre alte astronomische Aufzeichnungen entschlüsselt. ISBN 3-89350-551-2.
8. See tablet BM 86378 of the British
Museum, in: Cuneiform Texts
(CT) 33. London 1913
9. Not to be confounded with the Zodiacal sign of the Greek and Latin Virgin (Virgo) which
the Jews called betula.
10. Isaiah 7:11-14; cf. 9:2-7
11. Isaiah 7:11
12. Isaiah 7:13,14
13. Matthew 1:18-25
14. Matthew 1:22,23
15. Matthew 1:25
16. Matthew 2:1,2
17. Revelation 12:1,2,5
18. Matthew 2:9
19. Luke 2:8,9,11
20. Matthew 2:9
21. See Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7
22. Isaiah 14:13
23. Ezekiel 28:14,16
24. Luke 1:67.76-79
25. Numbers 24:17
26. Numbers 24:14
27. Matthew 24:30