I could use any of a number of authorities to supply evidence of the 6 BC triple conjunction of the "King Planet" Jupiter, with Mars, the “God of War” and Saturn the “God of Time,” who brings the golden age of peace to the earth, which I believe was read by the wise men as the sign that was prophesied to herald the birth of the promised King, (Jupiter the king planet) who was to succeed to the throne of David the warrior king, (Mars the god of war) as the prophesied Messianic King of Israel, who is to come and subdue the surrounding Nations and bring in the golden Age of one thousand years of peace, (Saturn.)
All short period comets which re-appear every two hundred years or less, have their aphelia in the orbit of Jupiter and even up until relatively recent times, those short period comets were thought to have been created from material ejected from the King Planet Jupiter and were called the family of Jupiter.
The comet of early 5 B.C., would have been captured by the gravitation pull of Jupiter the King Planet, and In My Opinion, would have been seen as the child born of the glorious expanded body of Jupiter, and it was this that supposedly set the wise men on their Journey to Israel.
The Comet of 5 B.C., which is said to have a tail and remained visible to those in the northern hemisphere for 70 days and led the Magi to the child Jesus in Nazareth, would have been very similar to the comet Hale-bopp, which was first seen March 1-10 low on the eastern horizon.
By May 8, the Comet Hale-Bopp would be approaching its last hurrah, and would have become increasingly difficult to see low in the fading glow of sunset. March has 30 days, April has 31, during the next week or two of the month of May, you could still follow the fading comet right down into the western sunset with the naked eye or binoculars, etc. 30 + 31 + 7 to 14 days = 68 to 75 days that the Comet Hale-Bopp would have been seen in the Northern hemisphere.
The Comet, or Hairy star as they were called in those days, would have first been seen low on the eastern horizon, having of itself no apparent movement other than being one among the background of stars that appear to travel from the east to the west according to the rotation of the earth, and yet each night it would appear in a different heavenly position relative to the background stars as it travelled toward the western horizon in its 70 days of visibility in the northern hemisphere.
The title "wise men" is translated from the original Greek word magos. The word refers to a priest of the Persian religion Zoroastrianism. These priests, or magi, frequently looked to the stars for signs of the future and gained an international reputation for astrology and revelation/divination.
It is more than probable that the "wise men" were in fact Zoroastrian priests from Persia. And as there was a sizable Jewish presence in Babylon at that time, they obviously studied the old Hebrew scriptures. (Historians estimate that there were about 6-7 million Jews living in the Roman Empire (plus another 1 million from Persia.)
Although the history of the Jews in Iraq in the 5th century BCE is largely unknown, we know that the exiles were allowed to practice their religion while in Persia, and that they would have established schools/colleges in which to teach the children born while they were in exile.
The Bible also states that when the magi found the child Jesus, they "fell down and worshiped him." This verse references or indicates bowing, kneeling or prostration, which was generally viewed by both the ancient Jews and Romans as undignified, and in Jewish tradition was reserved for their God alone. However, for Persians, bowing or kneeling was a sign of respect generally directed toward kings.
I believe that the Bible should only be interpreted by the scriptures themselves. The Books of the Bible are like wheels of perfectly interlocking cogs, wheels within wheels, here a little and there a little etc.
Luke tells us that Mary gave birth to her firstborn son in the town of Bethlehem of Judea, as opposed to the Bethlehem, which was about two miles from Nazareth in Galilee, and that eight days after the child was born, it was circumcised and named Jesus. Then thirty-three days later, and before the wise men from the east had come and lavished their gifts of Gold, Frank-incense and mire, on the baby Jesus, he was taken OPENLY to the temple in Jerusalem by his not so financial parents, where his mother performed the purification ceremony, in accordance ‘TO THE TIME’ demanded by the law handed down through Moses.
And after they had completed everything in ACCORDANCE TO THE LAW, they returned to their home in Nazareth. Luke makes no mention of any wise men traveling to Bethlehem of Judaea, or of any slaughter of the innocents.
How do we know, even though it is not mentioned in Luke, that it was thirty-three days after the circumcision that the ceremony of purification was performed? Because Luke says, "And when the days of her purification ACCORDING TO THE LAW OF MOSES were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord.
According to scripture, the child was taken to the temple in Jerusalem for the ceremony of purification at the correct time demanded by the law of Moses, which was 41 days after the birth, immediately after which, the family returned to their home in Nazareth.
To find out when the days of her purification according to the Law of Moses were accomplished, we simply turn to Leviticus 12: 3-4; and let the Bible reveal itself to us: (3) On the eighth day the child shall be circumcised. (4) Then it shall be 33 more days until she is ritually clean from her loss of blood; etc.
How do we know that the parents of Jesus were not flushed financially? Again, we must let the Bible reveal that to us, Leviticus 12: 8, "If the woman cannot afford a lamb, she shall bring two doves or pigeons etc," the fact that the birds were offered, shows that they were unable to afford a lamb, and had not yet received the gifts of Gold, etc.
How long was it before the wise men, after seeing the comet early in the spring of 5 BC, which is believed to have been the inspiration for them to travel to Jerusalem, decided that they should go to pay homage to the heir of that throne, whose heavenly sign they had seen in 6 B.C., and to organize that trip? And how long did it take them to travel from Mesopotamia to Jerusalem?
The only help that we receive from the Bible is found in Ezra 7: 8-9; "They (Ezra and his group) left Babylonia on the first day of the first month, and with God’s help they arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month."
Four months, it took them to travel to Jerusalem. Even if we halve that time and take into account that the comet which inspired them to travel to Jerusalem had not appeared until sometime after the triple conjunction of 6 BC, which had heralded the birth of Jesus, there is no possible way that the wise men could have seen the baby Jesus in the manger in Bethlehem of Judaea, as the family (According to Luke) had returned to Nazareth 2 months after the birth of the child in Bethlehem.
On bright moonlit or cloudy nights or dust storms, the comet would be hidden from view, and apparently this was what had happened before they reached Jerusalem and went to the Palace of Herod the Great, expecting to find there, the heir to the throne of the Jews, and asked; Matthew 2: 2- “Where is the baby born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star when it came up in the east, and we have come to worship him.”
They believed that the child had already been born.
Matthew 2: 7; So Herod called the visitors from the east to a secret meeting and found out from them the exact time that the star had appeared, etc.
After revealing to Herod in 4 B.C., the exact time that they had seen the heavenly sign that had heralded the birth of the promised Messiah, we read in Matthew 2: 16; it was in accordance to this information that Herod determined the age of the children who were to be slaughtered, all those who were two years and below and had been born in 6 B.C., or after. This reveals that the wise men had seen the heavenly sign that had heralded the birth of Jesus, almost two years previously.
Having been told that the child was prophesied to be born in Bethlehem of Judaea, (Although we know from Luke that the family had left Bethlehem 41 days after the child had been born and had returned to their home in Nazareth) the wise men Left the palace of Herod, and behold, there in the north west of Jerusalem, the star that they had seen in the east, was visible once again, and Oh what joy was theirs.
Traveling north in the direction of the hairy star, we can almost picture the scene, the wise men with their entourage travelling along the dusty roads of northern Israel, it’s late in the day and as they come to a rise, and there, just above the distant horizon, in the deepening darkness of the evening sky, is the star with its tail streaming up into the heavens and appearing to ‘STAND OVER’ the small and insignificant hamlet, or Zealot Commune, called "Nazareth," as it slowly followed the setting sun.
After entering, ‘NOT’ the manger in Bethlehem of Judah, but the ‘HOUSE’ of Joseph and Mary in Nazareth, the wise men paid homage to the child Jesus. That very same night, the wise men, who would presumably have travelled to Jerusalem across the Kings Highway, were warned in a dream not to reveal to Herod, the child’s whereabouts, and they returned home by a different route from which they had come, which would, more than likely, have been up through the northern route of Damascus, and Joseph was also warned to get out of bed immediately and take the child and his mother and flee into Egypt.
Herod’s secret police had eyes and ears throughout the entire land, and when he realised that he had been tricked and the wise men were not going to return and reveal the child’s location as promised, he was furious and gave the order to kill all the male children in the district that Herod's spies had confirmed that the wise men with their entourage had travelled to, which was around Bethlehem of Galilee, who were two years and below according to the time that he learned from the wise men about when they had first sighted the star that had heralded the birth of the promised king and savour.
According to Josephus the historian, Sepphoris, which was only about 4 miles from Bethlehem of Galilee, and a few kilometres from Nazareth, had a population of around thirty thousand and he called it, "The Ornament of Galilee."
Around the time of Herod’s death in the spring of 4BC, just after he had ordered the slaughter of the innocents around the district of Bethlehem of Galilee, who were two years and below, according to the time that the wise men had seen the heavenly sign that had heralded the birth of Jesus in 6 B.C. there were riots among the peasants of the area in Galilee of which Sepphoris was the centre.
Judas, the son of Hezekias attacked the arsenal of Herod in the city of Sepphoris in order to arm the peasants.
The Romans under Quintillius Varus of Syria, attacked and burnt the city, putting down the uprising in which many families died and others were taken prisoner and transported to Rome, where they were sold as slaves. But Joseph, with his wife and her child had escaped the slaughter by fleeing into Egypt.
After a failed suicide attempt, which I believe may have been an option given to him by Caesar Augustus, in the spring of 4 BC, Herod the Great died, then in the spring of 3 B.C., after the death of Herod his father, when Antipas returned from Rome where his father’s will had been ratified by Augustus, he chose and rebuilt the magnificent city of Sepphoris as his capital city for ruling over Galilee.
Now let us see what the Roman church of Emperor Constantine teachers her poor deceived children. To be continued.