The Star of Bethlehem has been depicted in art as part of the Nativity scene for centuries. It is usually seen as a very large and very bright star resting just above the location where Jesus had been born. And the Christian feast day, Epiphany, is celebrated as the day that this star had finally led the Magi from the East to the child Jesus. But the greatest significance of the Star of Bethlehem was not its brightness, but its part in the heavenly announcement of everything that Jesus was.
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Epiphany, celebrated on January 6, falls on the last day of the Twelve Days of Christmas. It is a time when the Western Christians observe the visitation of the Magi, and Eastern Christians observe the baptism of Jesus, both as the manifestation of the Son of God. Yet the Star of Bethlehem was not the only indication of the coming of the Christ. Scriptures foretold of One who was to come, whose redemptive destiny had been written in the stars long before the Magi ever made their journey.
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Jesus Christ is referred to as the “glory of God in Titus 2:13. Jesus is called the glory because He is the only perfect manifestation of God, and the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9). In addition to this, everything that the Person of Jesus Christ represented was portrayed in the constellations of the night sky. Just as Psalm 19:1 states: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.
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In His written Word, God pointed to His promised Messiah. For example, the prophet Balaam said, “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel… (Numbers 24:17) And Jesus Himself spoke these words: “I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star. (Revelation 22:16) Just as the stars were created to be the light that rules over the night, Jesus Christ was sent to break the power of spiritual darkness over mankind. And His redemptive work is spelled out in the stars.
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When God created the heavens, He created a specific significance for every constellation found there. And every constellation is both Biblically and spiritually accurate in its representation. While modern astrology desires to put superstitious value in the movements of the celestial bodies, God wrote a powerful message through them long before Satan corrupted their meanings.
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The constellations are all part of what is called the signs of the Zodiac. The word “zodiac” comes from the Greek word “zodiakos,” meaning “circle.” However, its root meaning comes from the primitive root “zoad,” meaning “a path or way or going by steps.” In other words, the zodiac circle represents the path along which the sun travels through the stars during the twelve months of the year. This path encompasses twelve segments, or constellations, each with incredible Biblical significance. For example, the constellation Virgo, the virgin, represents the “Seed of the woman” prophesied in Genesis 3:15 and fulfilled in Luke 1:30-35. The constellation Leo, the lion, represents the Lion of Judah prophesied in Genesis 49:9 and fulfilled in Revelation 5:5. Each of the remaining constellations has its own place in the heavenly blueprint of the redemption plan. And all of this goes back to the significance of the Star of Bethlehem.
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Around the time of Jesus’ birth, this star began to appear. But what has traditionally been called a “star” was an alignment of stars and planets within the constellation Leo, the Latin name for lion. This constellation includes the star Regulus whose name means “king.” Jupiter, the king planet, became aligned within Leo. Also, Mars, the “Warrior,” Mercury, the “Messenger,” and Venus, the “Morning Star,” all came together amidst the constellation Leo, the “Lion of Judah.”
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It was this celestial phenomenon that announced the birth of the Son of God who was the Lion of Judah, the King of the nations, and God’s gift of love sent for the redemption of mankind. And it was this phenomenon that created the Star of Bethlehem, of which the Magi said, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:2)
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