Left to right: Pleiades star cluster, Jupiter, Venus, Aldebaran Pre-dawn sky: The Atacama Desert of Chile, South America.
Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
August 8, 2012
Last Updated :
April 9, 2014
The Greek Words For "Star" And "Stars" In The New Testament, Signs In The Heavens, Constellations Planets And Wandering Stars, Mazzaroth: Zodiac And Seasonal Constellations, Fallen Angels Have Lost Their Glory, "Phosphoros" = Light Bringing, Jesus Is The Day Star, Morning Star And Light Of The World, God The Father Symbolized By The Sun, Venus Represents Jesus, The Physical Creation Reflects Spiritual Realities, God The Father Is Greater Than Jesus, Jesus Is A Perfect Reflection Of His Father, Jesus Was Given The Spirit Without Measure, No Man Has Seen God At Any Time, God The Father And Jesus Are Constant And Never Change, Father Of Lights And The Morning Star, Looking Unto Jesus, Jesus The Light Bringer Symbolized By Venus, Zacharias Prophesies Of The Dayspring From On High
As I noted in part two, in the Bible, our Heavenly Father, Jesus, Angelic Beings, and even ourselves are symbolically described as both lights and stars. However, in my opinion, there is a problem with interpreting the Star of Bethlehem as a purely spiritual manifestation, as I will now explain to you for your personal consideration.
In the New Testament of the King James Version of the Bible, the words "star" and "stars" are found a total of twenty-nine times. In twenty-five instances, they are translated from the Greek word "aster", which means "a star". In three instances, they are derived from the Greek word "astron" which signifies a star, or a group of stars; that is, a constellation. There is one other instance, which I will discuss momentarily, and separately, for a very special reason.
While the word "aster" is used to denote both physical stars and symbolic stars -- that is, spiritual beings -- it seems to me that the Magi -- who were apparently men of science -- must have known exactly what they were seeing as they gazed towards the heavens. In other words, when they said "we have seen his star in the east" -- Matthew 2:2 -- that is exactly what they meant. While it is possible, I am not convinced that they would have mistaken an Angel for a star, or called some kind of spiritual manifestation a star. These men knew their stuff. After all, they did travel a long distance over a period of a few years to find the young boy Jesus. If they had seen an Angel or some other spiritual manifestation, I think they would have described it as something other than a star. Don't you agree?
Furthermore, as we have already seen, in the Book of Genesis the Lord specifically tells us through the writer Moses that He has created the various heavenly bodies, and set them in motion, to serve as signs, to establish the four seasons, to measure time, and to give light on the Earth. Throughout the pages of the Bible we find a variety of verses where we are told the very same thing. In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus also informs us that at the end of the world, there will be signs in the heavens. Consider the following sample verses:
"And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come."
Joel 2:30-31, KJV
"He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions."
Daniel 6:27, KJV
"The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?"
Matthew 16:1-3, KJV
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
Matthew 24:29-30, KJV
"But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory."
Mark 13:24-26, KJV
"Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven."
Luke 21:10-11, KJV
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Acts 2:17-21, KJV
"And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places."
Revelation 6:12-14, KJV
"And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter. And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise."
Revelation 8:10-12, KJV
"And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born."
Revelation 12:3-4, KJV
So, based on the previous Scriptural evidence, it seems to me that God would not say one thing, and then turn around and do something to the contrary. In other words, it is my personal belief that He would not say that He is going to use the physical heavenly bodies to create physical signs in the heavens, and then turn around and use some other type of mechanism to produce the Star of Bethlehem. This is not to say that He could not do this if He so desired, but it would seem to contradict the Biblical pattern for Him to do so.
Before sharing with you the final Greek word that we find translated as "star" in the New Testament, allow me to share one related interesting fact. While some of the planets were known to the ancients -- at least those which were visible to the unaided eye -- it is interesting to note that in the entire King James Version of the Bible, the word "planets" is only found one time. That is in the following verse:
"And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven."
2 Kings 23:5, KJV
Ironically, in this case, the word "planets" may very well be a poor translation. You may recall that in part two we examined the following verses from the Book of Job:
"Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?"
Job 38:31-33, KJV
As I explained in brackets in part two, the word "Mazzaroth" is actually referring to the twelve signs of the Zodiac, and the thirty-six constellations which are associated with them. The Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Hebrew Aramaic English Lexicon notes that the word "Mazzaroth" is derived from the Hebrew "mazzarah". Notice that when the Lord is rebuking Job, He says "Mazzaroth in his season". As most people know, the constellations are in fact seasonal. Different ones appear in the night sky at different times of the year. So to reiterate, it is rather clear that the word "Mazzaroth" is referring to the seasonal march of the constellations. As such, it is a good translation of the Hebrew word "mazzarah".
In contrast, in 2 Kings 23:5, while the word "planets" is used, the same lexicon informs us that the word "planets" is derived from the Hebrew "mazzalah, which, as you can probably guess, is also a reference to the constellations, and perhaps the signs of the Zodiac.
While the word "planets" is used -- possibly erroneously so -- in 2 Kings 23:5, it may surprise you to discover that the actual Greek word "planētēs" is used one time in the pages of the New Testament of the KJV Bible. Not only that, but I already shared with you the verses where the word is found. However, it is doubtful that you will recognize it, because the word was not translated into English as "planets". You see, based upon its actual Greek meaning of "a wanderer", it was translated as "wandering stars" instead. Here are the verses again from Jude's Epistle:
"And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day . . . Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever."
Jude 1:6, 13, KJV
Without even intending to, I may have uncovered a new concept and Biblical mystery which I have never seen before. You see, while God's Word repeatedly symbolizes God the Father, Jesus, and even ourselves as lights and stars, in contrast, Fallen Angels are described as "wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever". Stars generate their own light, while planets -- or "wandering stars" as translated in the previous verse -- do not. As the Apostle Paul informs us in 1 Corinthians 15, stars each have their own glory, while planets must reflect the light of the Sun. The Fallen Angels who are mentioned by Jude have simply lost their own glory. Therefore, they can no longer shine of their own accord as they used to do. It is as if their spiritual power supply has been cut off.
There is a reason why I have shared all of this information regarding planets with you. We have not yet discussed the final Greek word that is translated as "star" in the New Testament of the King James Version of the Bible. This final word is very special, and it is used in a very special way. Furthermore, it is only used one time according to Thayer's Greek English Lexicon, and it is also used in a metaphorical sense to describe only one person. Can you guess who it is?
The Greek word I am referring to is "phosphoros". While it means "light bringing", in the context that it is used in the following verse, it can actually be understood to mean "light bringer", because it is referring to one person in particular:
"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:"
2 Peter 1:19, KJV
In the previous verse, the phrase "day star" is the English translation of the Greek "phosphoros". For those of you who may not fully understand what Peter is implying here, he is in fact referring to Jesus Christ in a metaphorical sense. Who is the "Day Star" in the Scriptures? Who is the "Morning Star" in the Scriptures? Who is the Light of the World who has shined in the dark place of our hearts and given us both Light and Truth? We all know that it is none other than Jesus Christ! Consider the following verses:
"Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:"
Psalms 104:2, KJV
"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined."
Isaiah 9:2, KJV
"And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day;"
Isaiah 10:17, KJV
"In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."
John 1:4-9, KJV
"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
John 8:12, KJV
"As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
John 9:5, KJV
"Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth . . . I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness."
John 12:35, 46, KJV
"The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended."
Isaiah 60:19-20, KJV
"And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there."
Revelation 21:23-25, KJV
"I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star."
Revelation 22:16, KJV
In part one of this series I shared a verse with you from the Book of Psalms. That verse is the following, and in it, King David metaphorically describes God the Father as the Sun:
"For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly."
Psalms 84:11, KJV
I also mentioned that while the phrase "morning star" could be referring to the Sun because of Psalm 84:11, personally, I am more inclined to believe that it is referring to the planet Venus, and metaphorically to Jesus as well. As many of you will already know, the physical creation is merely a reflection of spiritual realities. Our planetary system is likewise a reflection of spiritual realities; if we are able to see it and comprehend it. Having said that, let me share with you a few verses where Jesus describes His relationship to His Father. Perhaps you will be able to solve the mystery for yourself:
"Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I."
John 14:28, KJV
"Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel . . . I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."
John 5:19-20, 30, KJV
There are two important pieces of information which we can garner from Jesus' words. First, as Jesus states, God the Father is greater than Himself. Second, Jesus can only do -- or reflect -- what He sees His Father do. This is why Jesus also said the following in the Gospel of John:
"Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?"
John 14:9, KJV
As I explain in other articles, please note that Jesus is not saying that He is actually God the Father. He is simply saying that because He is such a perfect reflection of His Father's Will, Purpose and Divine Nature, in seeing Him, we have seen the Father. Furthermore, let us not forget that Jesus was given the Spirit without measure. While He was and is the Son of God, during His time on Earth, while He served as His Father's personal Ambassador to humanity, Jesus was given a full measure of His Father's Power and Authority, as we can determine by the following verses:
"For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him."
John 3:34, KJV
"For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."
Colossians 2:9, KJV
In fact, if Jesus was saying that He is actually God the Father -- as certain Christians erroneously suppose -- then it would totally contradict the following verses and similar verses:
"No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."
John 1:18, KJV
"No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us."
1 John 4:12, KJV
People literally and physically saw Jesus walking on the Earth; yet we are told that "No man hath seen God at any time; so you do the math. It makes perfect sense, doesn't it?
So how are these spiritual truths represented in our Solar System? As we have already discussed, God the Father is represented by the Sun. As we saw in part two, the Apostle James metaphorically calls God the Father "the Father of lights" -- that is, the Sun -- as we see here:
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
James 1:17, KJV
In other words, just like the Sun, God the Father is very constant and does not change. Furthermore, being as Jesus is the perfect reflection of His Father, He likewise does not change. These eternal truths are revealed to us through the following verses:
"For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."
Malachi 3:6, KJV
"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."
Hebrews 13:8, KJV
As we have also seen from verses in the Book of Revelation, Jesus is represented as "the bright and morning star"; that is, He is symbolized by the planet Venus. Here again are those two verses for your personal inspiration:
"And I will give him the morning star."
Revelation 2:28, KJV
"I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star."
Revelation 22:16, KJV
Thus we have the inseparable team of the Father of Lights and the Morning Star working together towards one common goal for the benefit of humankind.
Clearly, the Father-Son relationship is perfectly represented by what we see in the sky. Just as Jesus informs us that the Father is greater than Himself, the physical Sun is likewise much bigger, brighter and greater than Venus. However, as far as the night sky is concerned, aside from the Moon, which is by far the brightest celestial object in both the morning and the evening sky? There is no question that it is the planet Venus. It rules both the early morning sky, and the early evening sky, before it slips below the horizon.
Let me share with you another inspiring parallel that exists between our physical Solar System and the spiritual realities of the Father-Son relationship. As we have seen, God's Word clearly informs us that "No man hath seen God at any time". That is why Jesus has "declared him" -- or manifested His Heavenly Father to us -- so that we may know Him. In similar fashion, neither can a person gaze directly at the Sun with unprotected eyes, lest he go blind. However, he can look at the glory of the planet Venus -- or Jesus -- all he wants to without any worry. As we read in the Epistle to the Hebrews:
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:2, KJV
It is not merely some scientific coincidence that Venus rules both the morning and the evening skies at different times of the year. It was perfectly planned by our Heavenly Father to convey His truth to us. It is very fitting that Jesus -- who perfectly reflects the Light and Glory of His and our Father more than any other creature in Heaven and on Earth -- should be represented by the planet of love -- Venus -- which is also the brightest object in the sky after the Moon.
As I explained earlier, according to Thayer's Greek English Lexicon, the Greek word "phosphoros" is only used one time in the entire New Testament of the KJV Bible, and it is used by Peter in a metaphorical sense to describe Jesus Christ, who is the Day Star, the Morning Star, the Light Bringer, and the Light of the World. If you still doubt these truths, and the unique relationship which they have with the planet Venus, then consider what the lexicon has to say regarding this very unique word "phosphoros":
----- Begin Quote -----
1) light bringing, giving light
2) the planet Venus, the morning star, day star
3) metaph. Christ
----- End Quote -----
Believe it or not, but even in the very first chapter of the Gospel of Luke, we are given a small piece of this amazing Scriptural puzzle. As you may recall, due to his unbelief at the Angel Gabriel's words concerning his son, Zacharias -- the father of John the Baptist -- was struck dumb. However, on the eighth day of his life, when according to the Laws of Moses and the covenant which God made with Abraham, John was to be circumcised, Luke informs us that a miracle occurred.
While according to tradition, John should have been named Zacharias after his father, when asked how his son should be named, Zacharias asked for a tablet and wrote down the name John. At that point, his speech was restored, and he began to prophesy regarding John's future ministry as the Prophet who would prepare the way for Jesus. Notice how Zacharias refers to Jesus -- the Light of the World -- visiting the people of Planet Earth:
"Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,"
Luke 1:78, KJV
In the previous verse, the word "dayspring" is derived from the Greek word "anatole". As I point out in other articles such as the "Horde From Hell, China, Turkey and the Kings of the East", this word signifies the direction east, as well as the place where the Sun, planets, stars and other bodies rise above the horizon. It is the place where the light and the new day spring forth, just as the Light of Jesus Christ springs forth in our hearts.
Thus we see the common metaphorical language that is used to describe Jesus Christ throughout the New Testament. In light of all of this amazing information that is somewhat hidden within the pages of the Bible, I am more inclined to embrace my theory regarding the Star of Bethlehem possibly being the planet Venus. As we have seen, with our Heavenly Father, all things are possible, despite what men of science may say.
Please go to part four for the conclusion of this series.
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