In a recent book by Colin Humphreys, The Star of Bethlehem discusses the evidence of Star of Bethlehem as a comet which was visible in 5 BC, and described in ancient Chinese astronomical records. A comet uniquely fits the description in Matthew of a star which newly appeared, which traveled slowly through the sky against the star background and which 'stood over' Bethlehem.
Following are the direct quotes from the book:
“ The Chinese kept careful astronomical records of visible comets, novae etc, and used different terms to describe them.19 A tailed comet was called a sui-hsing, meaning a broom star, the 'broom' referring to the tail of the comet (traditionally the Chinese character read as sui has been read as hui, but sui is probably more correct, M. Loewe, private communication). A comet without a tail is called a po-hsing, and a nova is called a k'o-hsing, meaning guest-star. A clear distinction is not always made between novae and comets without a tail. Ho Peng-Yoke20 lists and translates ancient Chinese records of comets and novae. Those appearing within the period 20 BC to AD 10 are all described as comets. These objects are the only recorded astronomical phenomena appearing near the birth of Christ which satisfy the description in Matthew's gospel of a star that moved through the sky and that 'stood over' a place.”
“The description of this in the Chinese Han shu, the official history of the former Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 9), on which Ho Peng-Yoke depends, is as follows:
'Second year of the Chien-p'ing reign period, second month (5 BC, March 9-April 6), a suibsing appeared at Ch'ien-niu
for over 70 days.'
The passage in the Han shu also includes what is termed a traditional comment relating to this 5 BC comet which indicates that this comet was regarded as being of particular significance”
As the passage from book says the Significance of this star is pretty unique
1. It moves at the speeds of 30 miles/hr in the sky which is similar to the speed of the camel on the desert
2. It will move during the night and would stop moving in the day time. Again, would start moving from the exact place it stopped.
3. Last but not the least, it was moving east to west which is against the natural phenomena. All the stars move from west to east.
What the LORD let us infer from this appearance of star and by his birth as vulnerable child in Manger is
1. He comes to our likeness.
2. He comes in our form.
3. He comes as a son of simple carpenter
4. He comes in our speed. He is not moving at his speed, but our speed to keep up with us.
Because He knows our troubles, our afflictions, our limitations, our struggles and our problems!
What a wonderful and loving GOD we serve! Come let us pray and rejoice the birth of our LORD, Christ Jesus!
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