This week, stargazers were treated to a rare and beautiful planetary alignment, possibly the same one that beckoned to magi seeking the Christ child some 2000 years ago.
The cosmic conjunction of Venus and Jupiter appearing less than 0.33 degrees apart from one another from our night sky has been called the "Star of Bethlehem," referring to its likely connection to the bright celestial occurrence that heralded the birth of Jesus. Despite the fact that neither planet is, in fact, a star, Venus and Jupiter appear brighter than any star in the sky most nights during the conjunction, and their proximity—especially to cultures that navigated, farmed, and foretold their future by the stars—would be seen as an awesome cosmic event.
But is there any prophetic significance to the return of the "star"? Many believe so, particularly considering its timing.
With conflict-riddled events in Russia, Iran, Syria, Greece, Israel and beyond growing to a head, the Supreme Court's decision on same-sex marriage, racial and faith-based tensions at home and abroad, the tetrad of four blood moons, and the impending end of the Shemitah all seeming to point toward approaching judgment, many are looking at the conjunction as a prophetic sign of Christ's imminent return.
One element that makes this conjunction unique—as well as further tying it to the original Star of Bethlehem—is the fact that the alignment is passing through the constellation of Leo. Famed 17th-century astronomer Johannes Kepler calculated the historical movement of the planets and the stars to arrive at the conclusion that this was the same setup as the conjunction that heralded the birth of Christ—fitting, considering Jesus was repeatedly prophesied and referred to as the Lion of Judah, among other lion-based references.
According to Susan S. Carroll, author of The Star of Bethlehem: An Astronomical and Historical Perspective, this particular conjunction did occur in 2 B.C., albeit in an even tighter formation than the 0.3 degrees separating the planets this time. And just like this time, the "Star of Bethlehem" two millennia ago passed through the constellation Leo.
One Messianic Jewish writer has even made connections between the Hebrew names and meanings for the two planets—Venus' name meaning "very bright light" and Jupiter's meaning "the call for justice and righteousness." Further, the writer points to the proximity between "Regulus"—the "king" star—and the conjunction, as well as further scriptural connections to the event and recent occurrences that seem to portend a coming judgment, as further proof of Jesus' coming back soon.
What do you think? Is this a sign of Christ's imminent return? Or is it just a beautiful celestial occurrence to remind us to "look up" and appreciate our Creator's majesty? Sound off in the comments below.
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