Jesus and the Wise Men of Osirus

December 3, 2008 | By | 20 Replies More

Orion and Sirius

Look up into the sky on a winters night, and put yourself into an astrological frame of mind. This is how the best and the brightest of mankind saw the unreachable, unfathomable universe until the last couple of dozen generations. It does not take long to notice a line of 3 bright stars near the ecliptic (the plane of Earth’s orbit) that point to one of the brightest stars in the sky. In modern times, the 3 stars are known as the belt of Orion. Earlier, they were known as part of the constellation of Osiris. Osiris was the Egyptian reborn god of eternal afterlife and salvation. The Great Pyramids are actually aligned in the slightly offset pattern of those stars, not a straight line.

The bright star pointed to by the belt is Sirius, the nose of the constellation Canis Majoris, and thus known as the Dog Star. This star was important to navigation, as it rose in the east and set in the west. Identifying it by following the three¬† stars of Orion’s belt is much like finding Polaris (the North Star) using the stars of the Big Dipper (Ursa Major). The stars of the belt have been known to astrologers and navigators as the Three Wise Men far back into history.

What do these have to do with Jesus? Here is one of many web pages that puts it into historical context. Basically, it comes down to using the Wise Men and the Star of the East to travel day and night to find the astrologically foretold usurper of a local King. There is much more to the story, but I just wanted to point out that the Wise Men were actually a navigational aid that somehow became human Kings during the Rennaissance.

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Category: Culture, History, Religion, Science, The Middle East

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A convoluted mind behind a curly face. A regular traveler, a science buff, and first generation American. Graying of hair, yet still verdant of mind. Lives in South St. Louis City. See his personal website for (too much) more.

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  1. Derek says:

    Dan,

    Have you ever watched the first part of the Zeitgest (sp?) movie, where they relate many of the things about Jesus to astrological explanations? I found it kind of interesting. Don't bother with the rest of the movie though.

  2. Dan Klarmann says:

    Derek, yes I have. The first part discusses this observation, and then the rest goes into modern (and thoroughly debunked) conspiracy theories. As a whole, Zeitgeist does no service to any of the ideas it conjoins.

  3. Joe Welling says:

    I don't buy it.

    The story of the visitation of the Magi and the star in the East is certainly fictional, as are the rest of the elements of the nativity stories.

    The story (which only appears in Matthew) tells of a moving star that stopped first at Herod's place, then took off again and led them to the house (not a manger in this version) where Jesus was born.

    Stars and even planets don't behave like that. In fact, no astronomical object does. It's just magical fiction.

    In fact, it was almost certainly written as another post hoc fulfillment of prophecy. In particular, Numbers 24:17, Isaiah 60:3 and following.

    By the way, there's a glaring error in the story. The wise men came from the east, but they followed a star that appeared in the east. That would actually lead them further away.

    Some apologists have tried really hard to rectify this one. They claim that it's a mistranslation to say a "star in the east". Rather it's "a star in its [the sun's] rising" meaning that it referred to a star they first saw at dawn. The language does NOT support this reading.

  4. grumpypilgrim says:

    The notion that a star led the Magi to a specific point on our planet is ridiculous. Without instruments (among other things) celestial navigation is beyond human perception.

  5. Karl says:

    There is more to the celestial houses and the religion of the ancients than we will ever be able to recover. The star was apparently seen in Leo which was the representaive for the House of Judah which was one of the twelve tribes of Israel. This would have led the travelers to Judah and its capital, Jerusalem.

    That's why they went to the royal palace first.

    Once they arrived, the star's position which could have been blocked for nights by cloud cover then probably revealed the exact location as being in a specific direction by the position of the star in that constellation which they set out on and quickly came upon Bethlehem which was not very far from Jerusalem.

    The matter is only problematic for those who decide they find it preposterous to believe what the words might actually mean to the people of the day.

    The travelers saw the star from their locaton in the east. The travelers determined where to go by which Celestial house the star was first seen in. When the child wasn't found in Jerusalem they used the location of the star in regards to the constellation of Leo to determine which way to travel from the center of the constellation to the birth place of the child. The star must have been in a slightly south or southwesterly portion of the constellation Leo.

    Not all that miraculous if you ask me.

  6. Grumpy writes:—"The notion that a star led the Magi to a specific point on our planet is ridiculous. Without instruments (among other things) celestial navigation is beyond human perception."

    When the Egyptians laid out their major centers in relation to constellations, they weren't doing such a shabby job. The ancient Polynesians did some pretty good navigating by star, crossing thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean, quite accurately. Don't make the old Von Daniken mistake of underestimating ancient tech. Evidently, the story played well enough to people at the time and didn't trip their plausibility meters.

    Not that I'm suggesting it happened that way—it's probably metaphorical right down to the camel dung—but we shouldn't diss them completely.

    In any case, The Star in the East was likely not a celestial advent, but a fulfillment of prophecy, which we get a lot in the New Testament, which was retrofitting like crazy stuff from all the Old Testament sources it could. For instance, Numbers 24:17—"there shall come a Star out of Jacob…"

    But Matthew doesn't really refer directly to any specific passage, so the Star has come to be seen as a miraculous event. (Popular imagination does that—nothing in Matthew tells as that there were Three wise men, it only says wise men came, and they aren't named in the New Testament, either, but we "know" they were Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazaar. By the way, "Melchior" is a Farsi derivation, combined from "melk" meaning king and "quart" meaning city—king of the city. Gaspar is of Chaldean derivation, from "gizbar" meaning Treasurer. The Chaldean word Magu, incidentally, is also the source of the group term Magi, which basically means wise men; Balthazaar is Babylonian in origin and means basically "Baal Protect the King" or, more generally, God Save The King. So you have names concocted from Persian, Chaldean, and Babylonian sources, three kingdoms all of who had had at one point or another something to do with Hebrew oppression, all now bent toward praising a Hebrew king who is supposed to rise up and kick everyone out of Judea.)

    Now of all the astronomical phenomena which we can point to that might explain The Star, one actually stands out. Halley's Comet came through in 11 B.C.E. Given the fiddles that have been made around Jesus' birth, it's not unlikely that Halley could have been drafted into service for the campfire stories about the new Messiah.

  7. Karl says:

    Grumpy:

    Celestial events can assist in earthly navigation.

    As we examine Matthew, it becomes apparent that the account requires the star to appear in the eastern sky, move across the starry background, and go before the Magoi to Judea. Only comets, planets, or groupings of planets behave this way. Comets can travel through the background stars at the rate of 1 or 2 degrees per day. They may be visible to the naked eye for 100 days or so. Now a journey to Judea from Persia would take the Wise Men about 6 weeks. Comets would thus be visible long enough for the journey itself. But none last 2 years, and no comets were recorded for the prime dates of 3 and 2 BC. Halley's comet flared in the skies in 11 BC. Another comet swept across the heavens in 4 BC. But both of these were too early. So comets fade as a possibility for the Star.

    This leaves the option of planets. When we examine the night sky with planets in mind, a series of amazing celestial events occurred. On the 1st August 3 BC the drama began to unfold with Jupiter rising helically in the rays of dawn. On the 13 August Venus and Jupiter stood very close together in the sunrise. On the 18th, Mercury came out of the solar glare, and on September 1st, Mercury and Venus stood 1/3rd degree apart in Leo.

    These were dramatic events. The astronomers who were based at the Sippar Institute would see an astrological significance in these signs. Essentially, Jupiter, the King planet, had left the Sun, the Father of the Gods, to be conjoined with Venus, the Virgin Mother in the constellation of Leo, which is the symbol for the tribe of Judah in Israel. Furthermore, Mercury, the Messenger of the Gods, had come from the Sun's presence to stand with Venus the virgin mother in the rays of the dawn.

    Then on 14th September 3 BC and 17th February and 8th May in 2 BC, Jupiter the King planet stood next to Regulus the brightest star in Leo, which also represented Royalty. Then came a climax to the display. On June 17th 2 BC, Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest planets in the Solar System, appeared to collide. They stood an Incredible 1/50th degree apart and seemed to fuse into one immense ball of Light. This was an unprecedented event. But that was not all. On 27th August in 2 BC there was a grand meeting of the planets In Virgo. Jupiter and Mars were only 1/7th degree apart and close at hand were Mercury and Venus standing together in the glare of the rising sun.

    This dramatic sequence of events ending in Virgo qualified for the Star spoken of by the Zend Avesta. But then Jupiter left the other planets in the dawn, and moved westwards. This was the sign the Magoi were waiting for. Jupiter the key player in the Christmas star sequence was leading them towards Judea. And so they set out. From that moment in Mid-November, Jupiter the King planet actually went before them in the sky towards Judea. Six weeks later as the Magoi checked the pre-dawn sky, Jupiter was on the Meridian due south of Jerusalem. It would appear directly over Bethlehem 65 degrees above the southern horizon.

    And just at that time, the final event occurred. Jupiter had reached its furthest point westward, and no longer moved against the background store. It actually 'Stood Over' where the young child was. Incredibly, on that some day, the Sun was at its furthest point south for the year, and stood still in the heavens (for that is what the word 'solstice' means). Jupiter was again in the constellation Virgo as the Zend Avesta predicted, when this occurred on 25th December in 2 BC. It was a unique sequence of events that had landed the Magoi at Bethlehem.

    But wait! There is one more important detail. Matthew 2:9-11 implies that something was marking the very house that Jesus had been living in for 15 months. The planets and stars can never mark a single building. What is the answer to this Biblical conundrum? Throughout the Scriptures, God has consistently appeared to His servants in what has often been called the Shekinah Glory Cloud. The Children of Israel were guided from Egypt to Canaan by the 'Pillar of cloud by day, and a Pillar of fire by night' (see Ex.13:21.22 etc). In Genesis it is described as looking like a twisting blazing, shining object at the entrance to the Garden of Eden. The Shekinah out of which God spoke to the patriarch Job appeared as a whirlwind of bright and shining cloud. Abraham saw this cloud of Glory at sunset outside his tent as a burning smoking light. Ezekiel witnessed the Shekinah In which God dwelt as a whirlwind of fire enfolding itself.

    For the Magoi, this oddly Illuminated cloud also qualified for the word 'star'. It would have been seen and described by Balaam as he looked down on the hosts of Israel. The Wise Men also had the record of Daniel 7 where the Shekinah is linked with Messiah and described as the 'Cloud of Heaven'. This same Glory of the Lord shone around the shepherds just before the angels announced Messiah's birth to them. Similarly, when the Persian Magoi arrived near Bethlehem in the early dawn, the Shekinah would be seen standing above and marking the very house where Messiah was. The Magoi would Immediately recognize this as a sign of Messiah's presence. They had seen the blazing planetary orb in the sky. Then the key planet, Jupiter had led them to Judea and was now poised above Bethlehem. Finally, with the sign of the Shekinah Glory Cloud standing over the house, the Magoi from Persia would assuredly know that their quest had ended.

  8. Erich Vieth says:

    Interesting how Karl gets more rigorous with his science ("Comets can travel through the background stars at the rate of 1 or 2 degrees per day. They may be visible to the naked eye for 100 days or so") whenever science is not supportive of natural selection as the basis for evolution. See also, Karl's reliance (in other posts, e.g., CDC stats) whenever science is useful to his gay-bashing.

  9. Karl.

    Ever read Velikovsky?

  10. Karl says:

    I have looked at Velikovsky ideas concerning the motions of planets as in Worlds in Collision and do not agree with the much of anything he has to say.

  11. Karl says:

    Science that is observational, measureable and predictable is reasonable.

    Science that claims to be predictable but morphs to resists being falsified is not the kind of science I would put any confidence in.

    Evolution can never be disproven scientifically because it fundamental principle is that change happens. So unless change is shown not to happen as it is proposed, the constancy of anything is only a few million years away from no longer being constant.

    I don't buy as observational science anythat claims the existence of evidence that is based upon the principle of unobservable long term change.

  12. Dan,

    Figure 8, in the article you link to, is an illustration of the constellation Centaurus, not Sagittarius. Both constellations are depicted as centaurs, so I understand the authors confusion. It's obvious that the figure is Centaurus because Crux (the southern cross) is beneath it. Sagittarius is usually depicted with a bow not a spear. The star the represents the centaurs left front foot is Alpha Centauri, the closest other star system to the sun.

  13. Erich Vieth says:

    Karl: Go read a reputable book on evolution. Or consider reading the articles at http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/welcome.html

  14. Karl says:

    Erich: Thanks for the advice, I have read many many books on evolution, some descent science, nearly all however are primarily philosophical ideology wrapped round and round with interpretations of physical observations and carefully selected and screened data that sugarcoat atheism or at least the total lack of consideration for anything other than man and man's ideas to explain everything. I have read the purpose behind talkorigins and think it is a noble attempt, but a biased use of "science" nonetheless.

    If I were an atheist or a pure humanist I too might put my faith in evolution.

    I also read the advice of many human animals and find they are often very rational, but biased just enough to think they aren't biased. No amount of interpreted observational evidence will ever make me doubt there is a God, and that we humans are not God. We have a spiritual nature that can be empowered by God, but without the Holy Spirit we infuse our minds and spirits with at best noble stuff that falls short of ultimate truth and attitudes that are often suspect to say the least.

  15. Erich Vieth says:

    Karl: you end your post by preaching. You've allowed hope to win out over evidence and humility. At this site, most of us are here to explore the real world, not a concocted supernatural world.

  16. Karl says:

    I'm sorry, Should I remove hope and try to be less altruistic and settle for someother approach to life?

    Please show me why and how I should limit myself to having less hope.

  17. grumpypilgrim says:

    Various people disputed my assertion that the Magi could not possibly have used the stars to navigate to Jesus' birthplace.

    Haven't you people ever heard of the longitude problem? The knowledge of how to accurately navigate by celestial navigation was not figured out until more than seventeen centuries after the birth of Jesus, and even then it required the invention of timekeeping technology that did not previously exist. Accordingly, at the time of Jesus birth, neither the Magi, nor anyone else on this planet, could have used the stars to navigate to Jesus' birthplace.

    As regards Mark's comment about Polynesian navigation, indeed, ocean crossings apparently did occur, but these required far less navigational skill than the Magi would have needed to find the manger. For example, even if longitude cannot be determined, latitude can be followed at sea relatively easily and, in fact, this is probably how early mariners made their crossings — by simply following a line of latitude until they hit something. In fact, that's how European mariners found and settled North America. Another skill early mariners had was the fact that bird traffic and flotsam tend to increase significantly when one is near an island, even if the island is well over the horizon. Using that knowledge, early mariners found many islands, even though they could not use quantitative navigation to do so.

  18. Vicki Baker says:

    To think that the biblical Star of Bethlehem must be based on something "real" is to misunderstand the nature of folklore (which is also not the same thing as fiction).

  19. Karl says:

    Did you read that I said the star (more likely a conjunction of planets) was first recognized or observed (located at dawn) in the Constellation Leo. Leo would have indicated the house of Judah to the wisemen of the east. They didn't trace the longitude or lattitude, they knew where Judah was, the star clued them in as to where to go. Coincidentally, the star appeared to move towards them as they travelled from the east. It appeared to go on ahead of them towards the same location. The original conjunction could very well have appeared to the south of the chief star in Leo, this would have told the wise men to look to the south of Jerusalem.

    When they arrived in Jerusalem and paid their respects to Herod, they obtained a more direct fix on Bethlehem by the direction of the conjunction when night first arrived which was then actually in Virgo but which was now in line with Bethlehem as night first arrived. Jupiter then stopped going going east and seemed to stand still, before it headed back towards the west a few days later.

    Constellations and conjugations of planets both move across the sky so they could never directly point to any specific location on the earth's surface. Their appearances at dawn were more important than their appearances at twilight, but any specific location could have a specific interpretation if one was trying to arrive at the same location that the conjunction was also headed.

    The ancient science of astrology was a very fascinating mix of astronomy and the inter-relationships between nations and fate/predestination. Different nations had slightly different ways of interpreting what the messages in the stars meant, but they all had a common root that probably went back to before the flood. There are references in the Bible (both Old and New) to several constellations and even specific stars as the chief stars in specific constellations that held importance for specific nations or specific world rulers.

  20. When in school I once took an astronomy class. I think we had one or two lessons and then it stopped. Supposedly our teacher had developed an obsession with a student (if I remember it right it was the sister of one the other students. Supposedly he even spied on her house…). Since the class was just an optional subject that was offered to students on a voluntary basis that was the end of my venture into the universe. I still don't know how to find the polestar…

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