A unique sight produced by Venus and Jupiter’s proximity leads to prophetic speculation among those who believe in Biblical prophecy. The two planets will draw incredibly close to each other beginning tonight, June 30, in the constellation of the Lion. The proximity of the two planets to the star Regulus, the brightest star in the Leo constellation, makes for an unusual occurrence that will produce what will look like one bright star in the western sky.
The event, which scientists said last occurred 2,000 years ago, has been dubbed “The Star of Bethlehem” because many theorize the event is what the wise men following the star actually saw, rather than one bright star. This event will last only a few days of visibility with the naked eye although it will be able to be seen with a telescope for more than a year. The wise men, if one believes scripture and Middle Eastern historical evidence, followed the star for at least a year before they found baby Jesus, who was then living in an apartment with his family.
Part of the wonder involved with this celestial event of Venus and Jupiter is the study of the Bethlehem Star by Johannes Kepler, a non-scientist who took on studying the original event thousands of years ago. He did so in order to determine exactly what the star was, as well as how it played out in the identifying the Christ. He determined the alignment being seen this week was, in fact, the star, and that the event played into Biblical prophecy.
According to Kepler, Venus and Jupiter aligning in Leo points to the Jewish tribe of Judah, known as the Lion tribe, which is located within ancient prophecies regarding the Messiah. The researcher concluded that the conjunction happened at the beginning the Jewish New Year. Additionally, Virgo is the constellation rising in the east behind Leo as Jupiter and Regulus made their first close contact. Virgo is tied to the image of a virgin. Virgo, in the event 2,000 years ago, received the Sun’s rays and was above a new moon. According to John in the Book of Revelation, the virgin was clothed in the Sun with a moon at her feet. Kepler thinks this verse refers to this event.
The fact that this once in 2000 years event is occurring in a year of other unusual cosmic events is what is prompting increased fascination and speculation among the religious faithful. A tetrad, commonly known as four blood moons, is also occurring this year. Those promoting prophecy said the moon event indicates that something significant will happen to Israel, particularly since the moons appear during Jewish feast days and include a solar eclipse occurring earlier this year. The last series of similar moons occurred in 1967 and 1968, around the time of the Six Day War. Previously, they occurred in 1949 and 1950, around the time that Israel became a nation.
The triple conjunction does not fall on a major Jewish holiday, but does coincide with a minor observance day commemorating the break in the Jerusalem wall, which resulted in the destruction of the second Temple. Even so, the timing of this celestial event of Venus and Jupiter’s proximity is odd enough that it is leading to prophetic speculation across cyberspace.
Those who believe in prophecy and end times point to the scripture in Luke 21:25, which states “there will be signs in the sun, in the moon and in the stars” to point to a second return of Jesus. Many are speculating whether ongoing cosmic events this year are those signs pointed out in Scripture.
For NASA scientists, the triple conjunction is one of many fascinating elements of space and is not that unusual. Venus and Jupiter converged pre-dawn in the late summer of 2014. While it was not the triple conjunction of this year, the brightness could be seen without a telescope in a clear sky. The unusual aspect is how close the two planets will seem, along with the latitudes and the time of day it happens, this according to Rice University astronomer Patrick Hartigan. The planets will be close again in August and in October; however, the next time this same event will occur will be in 2023.
Those wanting to enjoy the triple conjunction can look to the western sky just after sunset on June 30 and July 1. Another cosmic event is taking place July 18 when the crescent moon, Venus and Jupiter will be in a circle with a diameter of fewer than four degrees. The prophetic speculation of Venus and Jupiter’s proximity will likely continue as more similar events are studied.
By Melody Dareing
Edited by Chanel van der Woodsen
The Star of Bethlehem: The Birth of A King
Mirror Daily: June’s Major Astronomical Event: the Jupiter and Venus Conjunction
CNN: ‘Double star” moment for Jupiter and Venus in the night sky
Photo Courtesy of Tim Hamilton’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License