Do you ever take time to look at the stars at night? Some nights they are brighter than others. It all depends on the phase of the moon. When there is a full moon, the stars are harder to see. The moon’s brightness makes the stars’ light more difficult to see. When there is a new moon, or the moon is not seen, the stars take center stage, shining their numerous lights for all to see.
Do you know what the Bible says about stars? The Bible says the stars are the “work of God’s fingers.” In Isaiah 40:26 it says, “Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry hosts one by one, and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.”
Did you notice something amazing? God has named all the stars. He knows the position and placement of each one. How? Because he is great and mighty- there is no one as powerful as God.
In Genesis 22:17, God makes an enormous promise to Abraham. God tells Abraham, “I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore.” Considering there are billions and billions of stars, that’s a mighty promise. God was speaking about not only the nation of Israel, but also the Gentiles, who would be one in Messiah Jesus. Just as Abraham went to Mt. Moriah to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice, God sent his only son to die for the world. Those who accept Jesus as Messiah become like the stars in the sky. The light of Jesus shines in them and through them, for all the world to see. The followers of Jesus have filled the world from continent to continent- nations and nations of stars.
Isn’t it amazing that it was a star the wise men (the Magi) followed to find Jesus after he was born? After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Magi from the East came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2: 1-2). Later, in Matthew it goes on to say they went on their way, and “the star they had seen when it rose, went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.” Isn’t it fascinating that a star is what led to Jesus?
If you look to science to understand the stars, you’ll find out stars are full of tremendous amounts of energy. The sun is a star! It is responsible for maintaining life on our planet. Without the sun everything would die. The sun brings warmth, growth and light. This, in truth, is exactly what Jesus does. Without Jesus, our planet would cease to exist. It was God himself who spoke life into our planet. He set the sun (a star) in place to continue to give light and life to our planet. Isn’t it amazing to see how God ties everything together? He is very symbolic in all he does.
One of my favorite books is called Number the Stars. This book, written by Lois Lowry, takes place during World War II, during the Nazi invasion of Denmark. The book highlights the Danish Resistance Movement, whose members risk their lives to save Jewish Danes, who are being rounded up by the Nazis. One way the Resistance saves the Jews is by smuggling them aboard Danish fishing boats, and then traveling to nearby Sweden. At the time, Sweden was neutral and not occupied by the Nazis. It was a safe zone. The name of the book comes from Psalm 147 which says, “the Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals up the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by their name.”
Every time I read this book aloud for my students at school I thought about the name- Number the Stars. During the Holocaust, the Nazis tried to wipe the Jewish people out. They tried to wipe these stars from the sky. They tortured, gassed and even burned them. But, God knew every one of these stars by name. He would not let their names be blotted out. The remnant survived and now, once again, their numbers are like the stars in the sky. Unfortunately there are many nations who once again want these stars to be blotted out. They plot daily to wipe out the name of Israel. They shoot rockets and deceive the world with their lies and propaganda. Yet, God will never allow his people to be blotted out. He will never allow their stars to diminish.
Last year, on June 30, 2015 a spectacular celestial event occurred. The planets Venus and Jupiter made a very tight conjunction in the sky. They appeared just a fraction of a degree apart from each other in the sky. Though these planets have been in conjunction before, they have not been this close for at least two thousand years. Many scientists and bible scholars called it the Star of Bethlehem. The “star” itself appeared in the constellation Leo the Lion. These planets are very bright on their own. When they converged, their brightness was magnified, for a spectacular sight.
So why is this so special? Well, it could be a coincidence. Nonetheless, when you consider that Jesus was born and the star of Bethlehem was present at his birth, and it helped lead the Wise Men to him to acknowledge him as King, it would seem the appearance of this star could mean something. At the time of Jesus’ birth, it meant hope for Israel, and hope for the world. I wonder if the appearance of this Bethlehem Star in June 2015 is a sign of hope for our world, and for Israel? Truly, Jesus is our only hope. We can’t count on a president, or any nation to save us. When Jesus was born he was God, bringing hope to our fallen world. One day Jesus will return and save us once and for all. When that will be, only God knows.
Since the Star of Bethlehem appeared in June, so many things have happened. From terrorist attacks to nuclear deals- the world is changing minute by minute. Even our Presidential elections are in shambles. Things seem to be in a state of chaos. We really need that one bright star to guide us don’t we?
The night Titanic sank the sky was filled with stars. There was a new moon, which meant you could not see the moon. This made the sky dark, allowing the stars to twinkle and shine. Passengers say they had never seen so many stars in their entire lives the night Titanic sank. The passengers on the lifeboats watched the lights on Titanic fade away and sink into the ocean, but the stars in the sky remained. Coincidently the name of the company who owned Titanic was the White Star Line. The famous couple, Isador and Ida Straus, who died together on Titanic, owned Macy’s in New York. The emblem for Macy’s is a star This couple was wealthy and prominent, yet in the end they chose each other over riches. Their star was not money.
Jesus is called the Bright Morning Star in Revelation 22:16. The planet Jupiter is also called the Morning Star. Even though it is a planet, it shines very bright, like a star. This “star” is often seen in the early hours of the morning. You have to be awake to see it. If you are sleeping in, you will miss out. How many of us are awake- I mean really awake? Do we know our bright morning star has a job for us? Do we know he is asking us to be his witness to the ends of the Earth? Do we know he is asking us to be a witness to God’s ancient people, the Jews? We have the light of Jesus, the bright morning star, inside us. In the future, there will be a new day. There will be no more night when Jesus comes to Earth. We will be children of the day. The Sun, our planet’s star, will not be needed anymore. That’s because the true Bright Morning Star, Jesus, will be the light. Now that’s a day we all want to see.
Other interesting celestial events in 2014 and 2015
Lunar tetrad– series of four total lunar eclipses on April 15, 2o14, October 8, 2014, April 4, 2015, September 28, 2015 (all on Jewish feast dates). Last tetrad on Jewish feasts occurred in 1967.
Christmas Full Moon– Doesn’t sound like a big deal but we haven’t had a full moon on Christmas since 1977. So it’s been 38 years. When you consider we had the “Bethlehem Star” appear on June 30, 2015, and a Christmas full moon, it’s a pretty cool phenomenon.
Solar eclipse on Rosh Hashanah– September 13, 2015
Note: When the “Star of Bethlehem” appeared on June 30, 2015, it appeared in the constellation Leo the Lion. Jesus is from the Tribe of Judah, whose symbol is a lion. We know from Revelation that Jesus will return as “a lion”. He came as a lamb, but he will return as a lion. Keep in mind, no one knows when Jesus will return- only God. We can only wait and be “awake”, knowing one day he will return for his Bride, who will be shining like the stars.