The Fullness of Time
Messiah Yeshu‘a died on Passover (14 Nisan) and rose on the Sabbath. The Spirit was sent on the next feast day Shaνu‘oƫ. He will blow the final trumpet on Yom kippurım. Do we then expect the Almĭghty to arrange the birth of Messiah on an ordinary random day? Hardly. It is in conjunction with his birth that we have evidence of the opposite.
But when the fullness of the time came, the Almĭghty sent forth his Sŏn, being born from a woman […]
How often have we heard someone say, “It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time”? Well the Messiah’s entry into the world is like that. It came at just the perfect time. It was the perfect political moment, the perfect religious moment. It was the perfect prophetic moment. It was the time of the pax Romana, the Roman peace. Augustus was sending the legions home and Rome was celebrating. The world was united by a common trade language, Greek. The situation was just perfect. The timing was perfect. And it was calculated for the glory of the Almighty Son. The day was perfect. And the stars were perfect.
Ask a sign for yourself from Yăhwɛh your Almĭghty. Make it deep as She’ol or make it as high as heaven above. Then Aɦaz said, ‘I will not ask, and I will not test Yăhwɛh.’ Then he said, ‘Please listen house of Daυıd. Is it a small thing to ask from you a thing exhausting men, that you will also exhaust my Almĭghty? Therefore, my Adonaı himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin is pregnant and bearing a son. Then you will have called his name Immanu’ɛl! Curds and honey he will eat as he knows to refuse with the bad and to chose with the good.
A lot of people do not want a sign. The sort of god they believe in does not give any objective signs. They just want the tradition or the good feeling. “Never mind!” they say, whether their tradition and good feelings are based in historical fact or historical fiction. In Patterns of Evidence I heard a Rabbi and an Archaeologist both claim that the Exodus was fiction. Yet both are happy with Jews observing the Passover. It is like liberal Christians. To them it does not matter whether their religion is objective truth or whether it evolved. That is the Neo-orthodox message. Scholars, they say, have shown that the Apostolic Writings were cobbled together from competing sources, and we really cannot say, they say, if Yeshu‘a really said anything reported.
But the Almighty Son is the sign. The Almighty gives a sign anyway to people who do not want it. Aɦaz declined and Yahwɛh overruled him. A sign will be given.
I see him, and not now. I behold him, and not near. A star will have made way from Ya‘aqoν. Then, a rod will have risen from Yisra’ɛl. Then it will have smitten the corners of Mo’aν.
Here is what the Magi said:
Where is he who has been born King of the Yehudım? Because we have seen his star in the rising, and we have come to worship him.
Now many translations have the word “east.” But this translation is imprecise. The word ἀνατολῇ means “rising” or “riser” as in a branch or shoot rising. If east were the sense, then the statement is a disappointment. Stars are seen in the east all the time. Why should that be significant? Why should it indicate a birth?
The word means “rising,” and so they said, “We have seen his star in the rising.” Can we find a clue as to what this star is? Messiah says,
I am the root and the family of Daυıd, the bright morning star. Peter also refers to Messiah as the morning star,
[…] until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
A morning star is when a planet appears in the east just before sunrise in the dawn and then it disappears as the sun rises. The Magi were not talking about an ordinary star rising. Nor were they even talking about the ordinary rising of a planet which would mean nothing special to them. They were talking about that sort of rising that ancient astronomers metaphorically called the “birth of a star,” using the language of appearance. In modern terms such a rising is called a “helical rising.” That is, the star rises out of the sun in the morning. The planet that first appears after being “consumed by the sun” (going behind it), is said to be (re)-born when it first appears again in the east. Helical risings can be calculated to within one or two days.
The helical rising of a planet is an astronomical observation. But the Magi also practiced astrology. And the standard meaning for this observation was a birth. And that is what they said it meant. They had seen a helical rising, which they connected to a birth, and using other evidence (astrological interpretations and scriptures) they connected it to the birth of Messiah. The Magi would not connect any other sort of rising with a birth, not a daily rising, not the rising of an ordinary star, or a comet. Only the rising of a bright planet would do for the interpretation they assigned: a royal birth. And not the ordinary daily rising of a planet, but the rising of a planet after disappearing in the sun.
Another two texts makes this certain,
Then Herod secretly called the magi, and ascertained from them the time the star appeared (Mat. 2:7).
Then when Herod saw that he was tricked by the Magi, he became very enraged, and sent and killed all the male children who were in Bɛƫ-leɦ̣em and in all its surroundings, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the Magi (Mat. 2:16). What this tells us is that there was a date on which the star appeared before which it was not visible. The helical rising fits exactly. When the planet is in the sun, it is not seen, and then on a given day when its elongation from the sun reaches a critical number of degrees specific to each planet then it is seen. This is called the rising of the star.
Would Matthew have recorded their observation and their interpretation of it if the star had not in fact risen on the day of Messiah’s birth? The answer to this question has to be no, because Matthew records that the star stopped over the place where Messiah was as the Magi were going to Bɛƫ-leɦem. Matthew treats the star as if it was indeed confirming the assertions of the Magi. And we do know that the star helically rose on the day of Messiah’s birth! Because we can now calculate it in conjunction with the Revelation 12:1-2 sign.
Ptolemy gives the standard figure of 12 degrees separation in ecliptic longitude for Jupiter’s helical rising. On Aug. 31 at 5:09 JMT (Jerusalem Mean Time UT+2h 21m) the elongation was 11°5', On Sept. 1 at 5:09 JMT 11°51'. And on Sept 2, 12°37'. We see that Sept. 1, 2 BC is nearest the standard, being only 9' (.15°) off the mean value. Whether the helical rising is seen exactly on target depends on climate factors. But this is the date to which the Magi would have calculated the appearing of Jupiter.
There were however two dates. Jupiter had a previous helical rising on 7/31-8/1 3 BC In this case the rising was in LEO, the sign of Judah, and then Jupiter proceeded to do a triple conjunction around the main star in LEO, Regulus, before arriving at a spectacular conjunction with Venus. The Magi therefore began their birth interpretations with this helical rising, and then later they preferred 9/1 2 BC. They were hoping to confirm which was the case when they found the child. When Herod asked about the appearing of the star, they did not indulge him with their opinions, but simply stated the time of the first helical rising 16 months before their arrival in Herod’s court. Herod then took this information from them and murdered all the children under 24 months as insurance.
August 31, 2 BC is the night of the best alignment for the sign in Revelation 12:1-2. Although this repeats in various years, dawn on Sept. 1, 2 BC is the only date upon which the rising of Jupiter takes place within ±24 years when the sun is clothed with Virgo and the moon under her feet (i.e. the new moon). Also Jupiter is the only planet to helically rise on that date in 2 BC. Between Aug. 28 and Sept. 28, 3 BC there were no helical risings for any planet. In 14 BC, Jupiter did not helically rise on the new moon day. In AD 11, Jupiter did not helically rise on the new moon day either. The statement of the Magi, the standard interpretations, and the astronomical calculations show that one and only one date fits, and that is Sept. 1, 2 BC, which was Yom Teruah, the new moon day of the seventh month, and a biblical feast day.
For the fullness of time there could not be a more perfect time.