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The Christmas Star PART 1: The Birth, History, and Wise Men - Barry Setterfield
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Barry Setterfield
Published 2 years ago |
The Christmas Star Part 1 is study that combines historical, Biblical and scientific evidence to arrive at the most likely date for the Birth of Messiah. The shepherds actions confirm the time of year. The true identity of the Wise Men is elucidated and reveals why Herod & Jerusalem were alarmed.

Timeline of Events Section 1:

Timeline of Events Section 2:

Herod’s Death
The problem of the dating of Herod’s death was an issue I had to deal with in the early 1990’s. There were many things that just did not sit well and there was too much extraneous conflicting data. It is true that many archaeologists and/or historians have stated that Herod died in 4 BC and that has been accepted as the standard scientific date for his death. But when I followed that trail, the problems arose. So I looked at the basis of where they got that date, and it came from a comment by Josephus. Josephus stated that Herod died soon after an eclipse of the Moon and was buried with all the ceremonials before Passover. In 7 columns and 4 chapters, he lists a series of events which had to transpire between those dates. That was all the evidence that “standard science” had to go on. The problem was that there were actually 4 Lunar eclipses which could have been the one that Josephus was referring to. The one that “standard science” chose was 13th March 4 BC.

However, there are three difficulties with this choice. First, it was only visible in Judea late at night. This means the general populace is unlikely to have seen it and commented on it. Yet Josephus records the comments made. Second, it was a partial, not a full eclipse. As stated in the presentation, the partial eclipse only resulted in a grayish colored moon, not a red one. However, it had to be red and generally visible to agree with the popular comment that the moon was “red with the blood of the murdered rabbis.” This meant it had to be a full eclipse. Third, it was a ‘minor’ eclipse with only a small portion of the Moon being affected. Under these conditions, it is doubtful if anyone in Judea would have seen this particular eclipse.
In addition, the 4 BC eclipse on 13th March was so close to Passover (April 10th) that there was not time for all the intervening ceremonials, burial rites, mourning and other listed events to occur between the eclipse and Passover. Between these events, Josephus lists a decline in Herod’s health followed by convalescence at Jericho. Then, a return to Jerusalem and a suicide attempt. Four days before his death Herod had Antipater killed. Herod dies, has his funeral and a 7 day period of mourning ensues. Archelaus ascends the throne and at public request a period of mourning for Jews killed by Herod takes place – probably the standard 7 days. A sedition then breaks out and grows in seriousness and is finally put down by the army at Passover. Archelaus then sails for Rome. There is just too much to happen between the 4 BC eclipse on 13th March and Passover on 10th April that year.
So it appears that standard science has made a mistake, but the tradition is maintained. There have been articles in archaeological journals pointing out some of these problems. For a recent example the comments of John A. Cramer, Professor of Physics in Atlanta Georgia can be found here:
As to which of the other 3 eclipses was the one referred to, one was eliminated because too much time was available for the listed events to occur. And of the remaining two, one was favored because a Jewish holiday celebrated Herod’s death on 2nd Shebat. The same eclipse was also favored because early Christian historians supported that same date for Herod’s demise. This means that the only eclipse which agreed with (1) Josephus (2) the Jewish Holiday and (3) early Christian historians was 9th January 1 BC and that Herod died 24th January 1 BC. Passover occurred April 6th that year. All listed events could occur without a time problem, so that particular timing agrees with ALL the data we have. The choice of standard science does not. If we let data lead to theory, then we must acknowledge that this date is the best fit and that scientific tradition, on which so much else has been built, is incorrect. The extraneous conflicting data comes from science trying to force-fit other events (like which census was involved) into the 4 BC Herod’s death timeline. If you are going to appeal to authority on this matter, then 4 BC will be your preference. If you stick with the data, then 1 BC is the best option. I am sorry, but I did not have the time to go into all that on the YouTube session, but summarized it. Perhaps it looked rather dogmatic; if so I apologize. However, I stick with the stated conclusions!

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