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Yeshua, our bright Morning Star

***6/3/2015 – Unfinished***
***Check back in a few weeks for the latest on this piece of research***

Introduction

I’ve come upon some fascinating observations about Venus and its cycle, periodically making it a morning star, then an evening star, back to a morning star, and so on. The basic cycle of transitioning to morning star to evening star and back again happens 5 times every 8 years. When the cycle repeats, its starting point is shifted each time by three fifths of a year, such that consecutive occurrences happen at different seasons of the year. But then after 5 occurrences it returns to a point very close to where it began – shifting by just 2 or 3 days of the year.

So if tomorrow morning we were to see the morning star phase of Venus’ cycle just beginning, we could know for sure that the same thing will happen again in 8 years minus two or three days, and again in 8 more years, and so on. For several of these 8-year periods in a row, we’d see the morning star cycle begin at fairly close to the same time of year – but the 2 or 3 day shifts would keep adding up, shifting us back further and further from that initial time of year. When we watch the pattern for long enough, it eventually backs up by a whole fifth of a year, about 73 days, at which time the cycles which have been a fifth of a year ahead are now backed up to the same time of year at which the pattern began, and the whole thing starts over again.

This cycle takes either 243 or 243 + 8 = 251 years to complete. And then there’s an even larger cycle, made up of four of these 243/251 year cycles. The total length of this master cycle is 243 + 243 + 251 + 243 = 980 years. This overall length is interesting in that it ties in with the Biblical cycle of 49-year Jubilee periods, with 980 years being made up of exactly 20 Jubilee periods.

Ok, yes. Interesting. I’ll grant you that. But didn’t you say this would be fascinating?

Yes – and we’re almost to that part. The really fascinating thing comes when we think about the time of Yeshua’s death, resurrection, ascension to heaven, and pouring out of His Spirit at Pentecost on those who had given their hearts to Him.

Looking for the Biblical meaning of “Bright Morning Star”

We’ve heard Yeshua referred to as the bright morning star, right? I find references to this in two places:

Revelation 22:16
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

2 Peter 1:19
And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Astronomically a morning star is one of the planets, during the phase of its cycle in which it’s ahead of the Sun, and thus rises and can be seen in the early morning sky before the Sun comes up. The brightest of the morning stars is the planet Venus. So what does it mean when Yeshua is referred to as a “bright Morning Star”? Is it just some kind of abstract symbolism that we shouldn’t expect to understand? Or is it possible that there’s some kind of real life parallel between what Yeshua did and what Venus does as the Morning Star?

These verses talk about the rising of the Morning Star in our hearts. Rising. That’s something that Venus regularly does. It begins its Morning Star cycle very low in the sky, and then each morning begins a little bit earlier and rises a little bit higher before being washed out by the morning Sun. From one day to the next, the elevation that it’s able to attain each day is thus continually rising. Rising is also something that Yeshua did. After He was crucified, first He rose from the dead. Then after forty more days with His disciples He ascended to heaven. And then one of those verses also talks about His Spirit rising like the morning star in our hearts, which was able to happen once He had poured out His Spirit at Pentecost.

So during the time that these events were happening, what if the morning star Venus were also actually literally rising? This would be a nice parallel to these things that the Scriptures are saying – and it would give deeper meaning to these verses which refer to Him as the Morning Star, serving as a piece of additional evidence to those of us who care to investigate, strengthening our confidence that He is indeed who He says He is. If what we find in Scripture were just “random stories” that someone had made up, the way to verify this would be to investigate details like this – and if the stories are just fabricated, we can expect that they’ll begin to fall apart the moment we begin looking at them with careful scrutiny. But if it’s all true – then this careful scrutiny can bring confirmation of that truth.

Examining the overall morning star cycle of Venus

It doesn’t seem all that likely that Venus would just happen to fit this Morning Star picture. Venus spends half of its time as an evening star, which wouldn’t fit at all. And when it is a morning star, it’s rising in only about the first half of its cycle. In the second half it’s coming back down again. But if the morning star part of Venus’ cycle were starting sometime around Passover, in a year which could reasonably be taken to be the very year of Yeshua’s death and resurrection – that would be interesting.

Let’s take a look and see what Venus was doing near the time of Yeshua’s death and resurrection. One of the years pointed to by many researchers as the likely date is 33 AD, and Venus’ evening/morning star cycle repeats every 8 years – so looking at the 8 years preceding and following 33 AD, here’s what we find:

begin Venus cycle end Passover to Pentecost
25/3/24 morning star 26/1/10  25 AD – morning star rising (beginning of its rising) 
26/1/10 evening star 26/10/27 26 AD – evening star
26/10/27 morning star 27/8/12 27 AD – morning star descending
27/8/12 evening star 28/6/2 28 AD – evening star
28/6/2 morning star 29/3/25
29/3/25 evening star 30/1/9 29 AD – evening star
30/1/9 morning star 30/10/22  30 AD – near middle of the morning star phase 
30/10/22 evening star 31/8/12 31 AD – evening star
31/8/12 morning star 32/6/2 32 AD – morning star descending
32/6/2 evening star 33/3/21
33/3/21 morning star 34/1/8  33 AD – morning star rising (beginning of its rising) 
34/1/8 evening star 34/10/24 34 AD – evening star
34/10/24 morning star 35/8/9 35 AD – morning star descending
35/8/9 evening star 36/5/30 36 AD – evening star
36/5/30 morning star 37/3/23
37/3/23 evening star 38/1/7 37 AD – evening star
38/1/7 morning star 38/10/20  38 AD – near middle of the morning star phase 
38/10/20 evening star 39/8/9 39 AD – evening star
39/8/9 morning star 40/5/30 40 AD – morning star descending
40/5/30 evening star 41/3/19
41/3/19 morning star 42/1/5  41 AD – morning star rising (beginning of its rising) 

Quite interestingly, we find that Venus did appear as a rising morning star in 33 AD, and at the right time of year to have meaning in connection with Passover and Pentecost. And as we would expect because of the overall 8-year period of the morning/evening star pattern of Venus, we see that this was also the case in 25 AD and 41 AD. We also see that on two other dates in this time span, in 30 and 38 AD, in these years as well, Venus was oriented as a morning star which might possibly have been rising a bit from Passover to Pentecost. Its rising would certainly have been less significant than in 33 AD, since the beginning of Venus’ rising is most dramatic, showing a rapid rise, while near the middle of its morning star phase, its rising gets more and more gradual as it levels out and prepares to descend again.

Let’s take a closer look at the elevation details for Venus in these five highlighted cases, In the following table, “m1, d1” is the very first day of month 1 on the Hebrew calendar; “m1, d16” is resurrection day, when on the third day Yeshua rose from the grave; “m3, d5-7” is the day of Pentecost, 50 days after day 15 of month 1, and “Altitude” is the elevation of Venus above the horizon for each of these dates, at its last visibility as the Sun rises that morning:

m1, d1 Altitude m1, d16 Altitude m3, d5-7 Altitude
30/3/25 24° 20′ 30/4/9 22° 55′ 30/5/28 21° 59′
38/3/26 24° 2′ 38/4/10 22° 46′ 38/5/29 21° 51′
25/3/20 25/4/4 12° 25′ 25/5/23 26° 58′
33/3/21 1° 47′ 33/4/5 14° 43′ 33/5/24 27° 9′
41/3/22 5° 58′ 41/4/6 16° 44′ 41/5/25 27° 30′

Ah – ok. So this is helpful. As it turns out, in the years 30 and 38 AD, though Venus is indeed a morning star between Passover and Pentecost of these years, it’s actually not rising at this point in the cycle. As we can see from the altitude measurements, at this point Venus has already leveled out and begun to descend. So the role of Venus as the morning star in these two cases, 30 and 38 AD, is not so relevant as in the other three, in 25, 33, and 41 AD. Looking at the other three in contrast, we find a rapid rise from day 1 to Resurrection day, and then another significant gain in elevation from the Resurrection to Pentecost.

Support from these patterns of Venus for the 33 AD dating of Yeshua’s Crucifixion and Resurrection

So based on what we see so far, in searching to understand why the Scriptures refer to Yeshua as the bright Morning Star, the alignment of Venus in 33 AD gives us a clearer picture than any of the other dates between 25 and 41 AD. Taking along with this the fact that based on other evidence the research of many scholars points to 33 AD as indeed being the actual date of His Crucifixion and Resurrection, the picture outlined for us by the morning star Venus matches up nicely with this, serving as a piece of corroborating evidence for the 33 AD date.

For purposes of determining the year of the Messiah’s Crucifixion and Resurrection there wouldn’t be much need to look closely at 25 and 41 AD, since these are already outside the range of years normally considered by scholars as possible dates. The range of possible dates is typically just 30 to 34 AD, with some also holding to 27 AD if I remember correctly. But yet there may still be a value in looking at 25 and 41 AD. When we compare the precise details of Venus’ configuration in 25, 33, and 41 AD, we see one thing which offers itself as evidence that perhaps the 33 AD configuration was intentionally designed to be exactly the way we see it here. To begin at the beginning is always a good policy – and here we see that in 33 AD, day 1 of month 1 is the very first day of this particular Morning Star cycle of Venus – suggesting by this careful design that this particular journey of Venus was intended to have significant meaning. Looking at 25 AD in comparison, we see that in that year Venus had not yet made itself visible on day 1 of the month. Going back to check the details more carefully we find that Venus actually doesn’t first show itself until day 5, on Mar 24. And then comparing 41 AD, we find that in this year Venus has jumped the gun a bit. We can see in the table that on day 1 its altitude is significantly higher than in 33 AD, and again going back to check the details, we find Venus’ first visibility in 41 AD to be 3 days before day 1, on Mar 19.

Noticing Mercury’s involvement

So in 33 AD we find that on day 1 of month 1 of the Hebrew calendar, a Sabbath day, with a Julian date of Mar 21, at that point Venus makes its first appearance in the morning sky to begin this journey as Morning Star. At first it’s not alone. When it first appears, Mercury is also there in the sky, about 29 degrees away from Venus. But Mercury rapidly approaches, getting closer by a degree or two every day, until by day 17, the day after the Resurrection, Mercury and Venus reach their closest point of 7 degrees separation. So Mercury seems to be adding to the meaning of this journey of the Morning Star, by coming close to marking the exact day of the Resurrection. That day 17 seems to be more fully marked than day 16 puzzles me a bit. But there are things about the day of Resurrection that I don’t fully understand. In the early morning of day 16, “early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark”  (John 20:1), Mary went to the tomb and found the stone rolled away. She went and got two of the disciples, Peter and John, to help her investigate this, and they came and entered the tomb, finding it empty. At this point they hadn’t yet seen Him alive, and not yet understanding the Old Testament Scriptures which foretold His resurrection, Mary assumed at first that someone had taken His body –

John 20:10-17
Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

“Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”

Reading through this account, it seems that though Mary has now seen Him alive, there is some part of His resurrection that isn’t yet complete. He says I have not yet returned to the Father.” And rather than going immediately to show Himself to the disciples, instead He sends Mary with a message for them saying, “Tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”  It isn’t until that evening that they see Him again –

John 20:19-20
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

What had happened that day between the early morning hours when Mary had first seen and talked with Him, and that evening when He appeared to the whole group? He had returned to the Father.”  Whatever part of the resurrection process had been still unfinished that morning when Yeshua told Mary to stop holding onto Him, was now completed, and He was now ready to fully show Himself to the disciples. And what day was this? Being evening now, this means that day 16 was just ending, and day 17 was just beginning… now three days after day 14 when he had been crucified. Perhaps this is the time that the Scriptures are referring to when they say that He would rise both “on the third day” and “after three days and three nights”. It seems that this evening between day 16 and day 17 satisfies both meanings. And perhaps this is the time being marked by the conjunction of Mercury and Venus. When Mercury and Venus next show themselves, just before sunrise of day 17, this is when they are found to be closest together.

Mercury thus seems to have a meaningful part in this journey of Venus as the Morning Star; joining together with Venus in marking a significant starting point. So before going on, let’s take one more little side trip to look more closely at the kind of sign we’re now dealing with.

Examining the patterns of Mercury/Venus conjunctions

We’ve talked about the pattern of Venus on its own – how it has an 8-year cycle, and how over very long time periods this builds up to a 243/251 year cycle, and ultimately to a 980-year cycle. When we look at Mercury and Venus together, the overall pattern is similar, but includes an additional important detail. Whatever correlation of Mercury and Venus we see today will be repeated in 40 years, after five of the 8-year cycles of Venus have passed. As is usual for astronomical things, there’s a little bit of shifting of the pattern on each repetition – but it can be quite stable, sometimes having 10 or more occurrences (a time span of 400 years or more) before a series of these 40-year spans fades. One thing that shifts a little every 40 years is the closeness of Mercury and Venus to each other. Another is their elongation – an expression of their visibility, in terms of the closeness in degrees of Mercury and Venus to the Sun. And another thing that shifts is the time of year of these conjunctions. Each occurrence in a series’ of 40-year spans happens at a similar time of year, but typically occurring 10-13 days earlier in the year each time.

The 980-year span of Venus also applies to the pattern of Mercury/Venus conjunctions. Though each individual series of 40-year spans does fade, the whole set of 40-year spans wraps around and repeats every 980 years. For this 980-year period the shifting in closeness, elongation, and time of year is much less, with the date usually not shifting by more than a day in 980 years, and with certain exceptionally stable series’ often holding to the exact same Julian date for 5 or more of these 980-year spans.

So how does this relate to 33 AD? What we see marking the start of Venus’ journey as Morning Star soon after Yeshua’s resurrection – the Mercury/Venus conjunction – this isn’t an isolated occurrence. It’s a member of a very long series of these 40-year and 980-year spans, stretching from the distant past and into the distant future. Looking at the the 33 AD occurrence in the context of this complete set of occurrences will give us a more complete perspective on the significance of the 33 AD occurrence. Here’s the complete set (with “complete” meaning that we’re seeing all occurrences with elongation of 18 degrees or more, in order to focus on just the most visible occurrences).

The 33 AD Mercury/Venus series

 

First, to give you a feel for the structure of the data, each column is a series of the 40-year spans I mentioned, with the first occurrence at the top, the date progressing by 40 years at a time as you follow the column down, and the last occurrences of that series at the bottom. Then to the right of each column, the next column shows the same series being repeated 980 years later, with each entry being 980 years after the one next to it in the column to its left.

Now looking at just one column at a time – for each occurrence in each column, we see three pieces of information side by side.

On the left side is the Julian year, month, and day for the Mercury/Venus conjunction being reported. For dates before 1 AD, the astronomical convention of negative year numbers is followed, in which the year 0 is 1 BC, the year -100 is 101 BC, the first year shown in the chart, -4867, is 4868 BC, etc. For dates more recent than 1582 when the Gregorian calendar was first implemented, the data uses Gregorian dates in place of the former Julian dating system.

Next, to the right of the date, is the separation in degrees between Mercury and Venus at this occurrence. You’ll notice that for this series most of the separations are quite large, around 7 or 8 degrees. When the Solex program was used to generate this data, it was instructed to identify all Mercury/Venus conjunctions with a separation of 10 degrees or less – so that’s one of the boundaries beyond which we’ll see the data series fade.

But why does this particular series have such large separations between Mercury and Venus? As will be seen later, it’s because this is a series of conjunctions which mark the beginning of the morning star phase of Venus. I don’t yet fully understand the reasons, but when we find close conjunctions between Mercury and Venus, these almost always mark the end of Venus’ morning star phase. As we saw earlier, that’s not what we’re after here. If we find the end of the morning star phase near Passover, this means that Venus is just about to begin its evening star phase, so from Passover to Pentecost Venus will not be a morning star. To see Venus as morning star from Passover to Pentecost, only Mercury/Venus conjunctions at the beginning of Venus’ morning star phase are able to give us this. And for some reason – some detail of the mechanics of their orbits which I don’t yet understand – at the beginning of the morning star phase of Venus, the conjunctions between Mercury and Venus are typically quite distant, just as we see in this particular data series. There are exceptions, but these are infrequent. Some of these exceptions are seen in the table, and I’ve marked them with a black outline. Where a separation value is outlined in black, this highlights it as a minimum point for that series, sometimes with a value less than 1 degree.

And then last, on the right side of the column, is the elongation of Mercury and Venus in degrees, with a greater elongation indicating greater visibility of the conjunction. For this series the elongation values are negative, meaning that the Sun is following behind Mercury and Venus from Earth’s perspective, with the result that they are visible as morning stars in the early morning sky. The blue highlighting of the datapoints is based on these elongation values – with the darkest blue showing the greatest elongations and thus greatest visibility, and with the lightest blue showing the smallest elongations and thus less visibility. The Solex run that generated this data included all elongations both negative and positive (both morning and evening star orientations), but for the most part the data was then filtered to include only negative elongations of 18 degrees and greater. This then is another boundary beyond which we’ll see the data series fade. If we’d included elongations of 17 degrees, this would probably add one more datapoint to the tops of many of the columns. But there are three exceptions here to the general rule of omitting data for which the elongation was less than 18 degrees. These are the datapoints for the years 392, 2313, and 3253. (Note: If you don’t see the years 2313 and 3253, it’s because the table is wider than the screen. By clicking on the scroll bar beneath the table and dragging it to the right, you can see the right end of the table where these last two dates are found.) In these three cases because of an unexpected falling off of the values of both separation and elongation, which 40 years later returned closer to their normal values, this left a gap in the data table. The gap was manually filled in by looking up and entering the missing values, to give us a better picture of what’s happening. We can see that the general pattern is the same for each of the 980-year periods, near the end of the series seeing a dip in both elongation and separation, followed by just one or two more occurrences in which elongation and separation come back up and the series comes to an end. One of these in particular was well worth looking up, with the separation so close in the year 392 that it was actually a total occultation of Mercury by Venus. This was nine 40-year periods, 360 years, after Yeshua’s resurrection, with the time of year having now shifted by about a third of a year, backing up from springtime to early winter.

Now looking at the whole table, a few additional observations are in order. First, notice how stable the dates are as you read across from one 980-year span to the next. Many stay constant on the same Julian date, with many others shifting by just a day. This is up until the Gregorian shift in 1582, affecting the last two columns. After the new calendar system begins, it becomes more difficult to notice the high degree of regularity possessed by these Mercury/Venus patterns.

Looking more closely at this stability of Julian dates from one column to the next, we find the highest stability for the row containing 33 AD beginning with -4867 up to the year 1013, and for the next row containing 73 AD beginning with -4827 up to the year 1053. These are both spans of 6 x 980 = 5880 years, in which from beginning to end the Julian month and day has shifted by only a single day. The first of these most-stable rows, the one containing 33 AD, has been highlighted by black outlining of all the datapoints. This is both to point it out as the row of most interest because of its connection to 33 AD, and also to highlight this stability that was just noted.

Now looking at each of the other rows to see how they fare for stability of the Julian month and day, by subtracting the starting day of the month from the ending day of the month, for these first two rows the result is -1, indicating a shift of just one day. But then for the next 6 rows, the results in order are -2, -4, -5, -6, -8, -10, showing a steadily increasing amount of shift. This suggests that perhaps there’s something particularly well fine-tuned about the alignment of Mercury and Venus in these first two rows, suggesting that perhaps this series was specifically designed with an occurrence in one of these first two rows (33 AD) in mind.

Examining the relationship of the 33 AD Mercury/Venus series to the Hebrew calendar

One thing that sets apart the 33 AD Mercury/Venus conjunction from many other members of its series is its orientation with respect to the Hebrew lunar year. As discussed previously when considering just the morning star cycles of Venus, though the focus is now on Mercury/Venus conjunctions, what we’re still most interested in is occurrences in which Venus is rising as a morning star during the period from Passover to Pentecost. We know that the 33 AD occurrence satisfies this. But are there other occurrences as well which have a similar orientation to the Hebrew year? Let’s explore the data for any other times at which the Mercury/Venus conjunction occurs somewhere in Hebrew month 1.

The first thing to notice is that in each series of 40-year spans – in each column of the data table, because of the shifting of the date, not all are candidates for occurring in month 1. It will only be dates falling in March or April – and then of these not all will be in month 1. There will also be many in month 12 or 13 or in month 2, depending on how the lunar cycle is playing out at the time.

The best resource for determining where a given Julian or Gregorian date falls on the Hebrew lunar calendar is www.torahcalendar.com. Some of these datapoints are outside the range of calculations for torahcalendar.com – but for those which are in its range, between the years -3985 (3986 BC) and the year 3016 (3016 AD), only the following dates from the 33 AD morning star series fall in month 1 of the Hebrew lunar calendar:

month 1, day 0/1

-3887/04/07

6.270

-20

month 1, day 0/1

-987/04/17

5.568

-22

month 1, day 2/3

1053/03/26

7.899

-26

month 1, day 4/5

-2907/04/07

6.436

-21

month 1, day 7/8

2033/04/07

7.993

-26

month 1, day 8/9

-1927/04/07

6.596

-22

month 1, day 10/11

-2987/04/27

3.666

-18

month 1, day 12/13

3013/04/15

8.073

-27

month 1, day 13/14

-947/04/07

6.752

-23

month 1, day 14/15

-2007/04/27

3.922

-19

month 1, day 14/15

1093/03/15

8.460

-27

month 1, day 17/18

33/04/06

6.906

-24

month 1, day 17/18

2073/03/27

8.482

-27

month 1, day 20/21

-1027/04/28

4.167

-20

month 1, day 22/23

1013/04/06

7.055

-24

month 1, day 25/26

-47/04/28

4.409

-21

month 1, day 26/27

1993/04/19

7.204

-25

month 1, day 28/29

933/04/27

4.647

-22

month 2, day 0/1

2973/04/25

7.348

-26

Note that day 0/1 indicates a date which could have fallen at the end of the previous month or the beginning of the current month, depending on interpretations. This is why month 2, day 0/1 is included here as a month 1 date. If it’s taken to be day 0, this means the last day, day 29 or 30, of month 1.

The beginning of the month is when the Sun and moon are close together, just a day or two past their closest point. And the day marked for each datapoint in this list is when Mercury and Venus are at their closest point. For the dates marked as day 0/1 then, this means that both things are happening about the same time. With Sun and moon close together, and then set off from the Sun and moon by an elongation of around 20 degrees to make them visible (sometimes less, but usually more), we find Mercury and Venus also at their point of closest approach to each other.

Two more occurrences that might be particularly interesting to look at are the two on day 14/15, at Passover. And then of most interest are the two on day 17/18, near the Messiah’s Resurrection, since that’s the orientation that worked nicely in 33 AD. Looking at these two in Stellarium, they do look fairly similar. So we see from this list that what we found happening in 33 AD is not unique, but also that it’s not something which happens routinely enough to let us easily disregard it as just an interesting accident, that it happened at the very time time of the Messiah’s death and Resurrection.

Examining Mercury/Venus conjunctions from other 40/980 year series’

There’s not time right now for all the additional exploration I’d like to do. I find that there are about 24 other Mercury/Venus series’ with a morning star orientation, in addition to about 33 with an evening star orientation. There could be a few more as well, but these are the counts I get when limiting the data to the most visible occurrences, at elongations of 18 degrees or more. More exploration could be done, and would likely unearth some other valuable observations. But narrowing the scope for now to just those which are most relevant to the timing of the Messiah’s death and resurrection; those with a morning star orientation at the right time of year, and within just a few years of 33 AD, I find only this small set of 4 occurrences, with each of the four occurrences representing one of the 25 morning star series’ of Mercury and Venus:

25/04/10

6.144

-25

month 1, day 22/23

32/03/25

1.225

-18

month 0, day 24/25

33/04/06

6.906

-24

month 1, day 17/18

40/03/03

1.637

-23

month 0, day 0/1

Any of these four would have set up Venus as a morning star during the time span from Passover to Pentecost. As we saw earlier, we find Venus to be a descending morning star in the years 32 and 40, while it’s a rising morning star in the years 25 and 33. Specifically, on 32/03/25 we find that though Venus is a morning star, it’s at an elongation of just 18 degrees and rapidly dropping off from there. And similarly on 40/03/03 we find Venus meeting up with Mercury at an elongation of 23 degrees which rapidly drops off from there. It’s near the end of this journey as morning star, and its meeting up with Mercury is actually an indication of this. Since Mercury stays much closer to the Sun than Venus, Venus can connect with Mercury only near one end or the other of its journey as morning or evening star. So we see that the occurrences of 32 and 40 AD are marking the trailing end of Venus’ time as morning star, while the occurrences of 25 and 33 AD are marking the beginning, rising end.

As for the exact timing, the first one in 25 AD has the interesting feature of the first visibility of Mercury along with Venus possibly falling on day 16, the likely day of the Messiah’s resurrection. The third one in 33 AD has the interesting feature of the first visibility of Venus along with Mercury falling on day 1, the very first day of month 1, with Mercury and Venus both clearly visible at the Messiah’s resurrection, coming closest to each other the next day, the morning of day 17. Either one could be taken as a configuration the Creator might have chosen to represent the things that were to happen. Of course, looking at the historical cues that other researchers have studied in order to figure out when these things really did happen, we see that there’s really no need to consider 25 AD or 40 AD.

Thinking a bit more about these two pairs – a Mercury/Venus conjunction marking the beginning of the morning star phase of Venus in 25 and 33 AD, and marking the trailing end in 32 and 40 AD – this provides some insight into the list of 25 morning star series’. I’m now seeing some helpful distinguishing features to help classify them:

  • 10 of these series’ have close conjunctions of less than a degree between Mercury and Venus, and are marking the trailing end of the morning star phase of Venus. This includes the two series’ represented by 32 and 40 AD
  • 9 of these series’ have only distant conjunctions of about 6-8 degrees, and are marking the beginning of the morning star phase of Venus. This includes the two series’ represented by 25 and 33 AD.
  • 6 of these series’ have only distant conjunctions of about 4-7 degrees, and are marking the trailing end of the morning star phase of Venus.

The main observation here is that when one of these conjunctions is marking the beginning of the morning star phase of Venus – which is exactly what I’m interested in here – then I can’t expect the conjunction to be a close one. A 7-degree separation as found in 33 AD is typical for this configuration. And conversely, when one of these conjunctions is close, less than a degree, then I can expect it to be marking the trailing end of the morning star phase of Venus – which for the purposes of this study I’m not interested in, since in such a case Venus ends up being an evening star rather than a morning star during much of the time from Passover to Pentecost.

In other words, whether I like it or not, for a meaningful morning star configuration of Venus marked also by a conjunction of Mercury with Venus, I can only expect to find distant conjunctions between them, just as was found in 33 AD.

A second observation that’s helpful in sorting out the patterns, is that in the 6 cases where the trailing end is marked by a distant conjunction, the reason for the wide distance is different from the 9 cases where the beginning is marked by a distant conjunction. In these 6 cases, Mercury and Venus are found to be on course for a possible close conjunction – but before this can happen, Mercury reaches it’s maximum distance from the Sun and retreats, moving back toward the Sun again. Venus isn’t able to catch up, so they don’t get all that close after all. A way to easily distinguish these 6 cases from the other 9 cases of distant conjunctions is by their elongation – having unexpectedly high readings of 30 or more degrees. The greatest elongation of Mercury doesn’t normally exceed 28 or 29 degrees – but my data is using Venus as the reference point for measuring the elongation of the pair of planets, and the wide distance between the two planets when added to Mercury’s maximum of 28 or 29 is what produces the unexpectedly high elongation values.

For further study, here are representatives of the 25 Mercury/Venus morning star series’

The 10 which mark the trailing end of the morning star phase of Venus with a close conjunction:

Date separation elongation Date separation elongation
-80/04/04 0.462 -24 900/04/04 0.100 -24
-291/04/11 0.432 -20 689/04/10 0.031 -20
-72/03/18 0.585 -28 908/03/16 0.264 -28
-363/04/12 1.118 -25 617/04/10 0.799 -25
-534/04/05 0.245 -21 446/04/04 0.147 -22
-275/03/04 0.603 -28 705/03/03 0.296 -28
-606/04/08 1.112 -26 374/04/06 0.801 -26
-817/04/11 0.921 -23 163/04/10 0.564 -23
-988/04/06 0.121 -19 -8/04/05 0.293 -18
-849/04/05 1.214 -26 131/04/02 0.901 -27

 

The 9 which mark the beginning of the morning star phase of Venus with a distant conjunction:

Date separation elongation Date separation elongation
-210/04/04 7.169 -22 770/04/04 7.355 -23
-461/04/11 6.341 -27 519/04/11 6.410 -27
-672/03/26 8.298 -20 308/03/28 8.704 -24
-453/04/02 7.425 -19 527/04/02 7.643 -20
-704/04/09 6.530 -25 276/04/08 6.645 -26
-955/04/10 6.225 -25 25/04/10 6.144 -25
284/03/30 7.897 -18 1264/03/29 8.145 -18
-947/04/07 6.752 -23 33/04/06 6.906 -24
-178/04/01 6.809 -28 802/03/31 6.766 -28

 

And the 6 which mark the trailing end of the morning star phase of Venus with a distant conjunction:

Date separation elongation Date separation elongation
-670/03/13 9.024 -36 310/03/14 8.564 -35
-961/04/12 7.295 -33 19/04/12 6.497 -32
67/03/08 9.822 -37 1047/03/08 9.521 -36
-224/04/05 7.598 -34 756/04/05 6.907 -34
-507/04/08 9.693 -35 473/04/09 8.963 -36
-678/04/09 5.099 -31 302/04/09 4.344 -30

 

To readily get a feel for these three types of configuration –

  • Enter one of the dates into Stellarium
  • Set the time for the early morning hours before the Sun is up
  • Hide the ground so you can look beneath the horizon and see more of what’s going on
  • Search for Venus in order to put the Mercury/Venus conjunction in the center of the screen
  • Single step forward a day at a time to see what Venus is doing
  • If it’s moving toward the Sun, you’re seeing the trailing end of its morning star phase
  • If it’s moving away from the Sun, you’re seeing the beginning of its morning star phase

 

Tracking the 33 AD morning star journey of Venus

Going back to its beginning again now, lets review how this morning star journey of Venus began, and then see where it will take us. On day 1 of month 1 of the Hebrew calendar, a Sabbath day, with a Julian date of Mar 21, at this point Venus makes its first appearance in the morning sky to begin this journey as Morning Star.

At first Venus isn’t alone. When it first appears, Mercury is also there in the sky, about 29 degrees away from Venus. But Mercury rapidly approaches, getting closer by a degree or two every day, until on day 17, which began the evening of Resurrection day on Apr 5, Mercury and Venus reach their closest point of 7 degrees separation. That the conjunction wasn’t yet at its closest on Resurrection morning actually seems reasonable when we review John’s account of the empty tomb – when Mary saw Him alive, hearing Him tell her that He still had some things to do – and then His not appearing to them again until that evening when day 17 had begun. Jesus doesn’t say a lot about what He does this day – only that He’s returning to the Father. This is the day after the Sabbath – the day prescribed in Leviticus 23:10-11 for the wave offering of First Fruits. And 1 Corinthians 15:20 tells us “…Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” So at least a part of what He’s going to do on this day must be to present Himself before the Father as the First Fruits – as the ultimate fulfillment of this wave offering.

This day is also the first day of the Omer count, counting up the 50 days until Pentecost as described in Leviticus 23:15-16 “From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD.” 

When we see Mercury and Venus on day 17, it’s now the early morning of Apr 6. Mercury’s alignment with Venus at this point seems to be marking two things – both the Resurrection of the Messiah which has just happened, and the beginning of this journey of Venus through the heavens as the morning star. The Messiah has risen, and as we watch Venus it too will rise, rising higher every day. On this morning Venus reaches an altitude of 15 degrees above the horizon before losing its visibility in the morning Sun. The next morning, Apr 7, it reaches 16 degrees. By the next Sabbath, Apr 11, day 7 of the Omer count – the first full week, it reaches 18 degrees elevation. Continuing to count up the weeks until Pentecost, we get the following accounting of Venus’ continued rising during this time. The number in the last column is the altitude above the horizon which Venus reaches before the morning Sun washes it out:

Date Day Rising of Venus
33/04/05 month 1, day 16 – Omer 1 15°
33/04/11 month 1, day 22 – Omer 7 18°
33/04/18 month 1, day 29 – Omer 14 20°
33/04/25 month 2, day 7 – Omer 21 22°
33/05/02 month 2, day 14 – Omer 28 24°
33/05/09 month 2, day 21 – Omer 35 25°
33/05/16 month 2, day 28 – Omer 42 26°
33/05/23 month 3, day 5 – Omer 49 27°
33/05/24 month 3, day 6 – Pentecost 27°

This covers the events that seem most meaningful in connection with the rising of the Morning Star. The Messiah’s rising from the grave. His returning to the Father that day, and then showing Himself to the disciples that evening. After having spent 40 more days with His disciples, His ascending and being taken up into the clouds. Then on Pentecost the pouring out of His Spirit on all whose hearts belonged to Him, with the result that now His Spirit would rise like the morning star in our hearts (2 Peter 1:19)

Investigating further, we find that the rising of Venus doesn’t end here, but continues on for quite a few more weeks. And this too seems fitting, given the joyful growth of the church that was happening during this time, with many coming to faith in the risen Messiah.

Note that after the conjunction with Mercury – after leaving Mercury behind, Venus was alone on this journey. Any of the planets can be morning stars. It just depends what side of the Sun they’re on at the time. So on its morning star journeys, Venus often encounters one of the other visible planets – Mars, Jupiter, or Saturn. But it feels significant that this time, Venus had no companions. Just as the Messiah had to go to the cross alone in order to accomplish His mission, we find this time that the Morning Star is making its journey alone. This aloneness continues all the way up until 2 weeks before the Hebrew New Year begins – and then some interesting things begin to happen.

First let’s chart the rest of the journey:

Date Counting from day after Passover Venus
33/05/30 8 weeks 28°
33/06/06 9 weeks 30°
33/06/13 10 weeks 31°
33/06/20 11 weeks 32°
33/06/27 12 weeks 33°
33/07/04 13 weeks 34°
33/07/11 14 weeks 34°
33/07/18 15 weeks 35°
33/07/25 16 weeks 35°
33/08/01 17 weeks 34°
33/08/08 18 weeks 34°
33/08/15 19 weeks 33°
33/08/22 20 weeks 32°
33/08/29 21 weeks 30°
33/09/05 22 weeks 29°
33/09/12 23 weeks 27°
33/09/19 24 weeks 25°
33/09/26 25 weeks 24°
33/10/03 26 weeks 22°
33/10/10 27 weeks 20°
33/10/17 28 weeks 18°
33/10/24 29 weeks 17°
33/10/31 30 weeks 15°
33/11/07 31 weeks 13°
33/11/14 32 weeks 11°
33/11/21 33 weeks
33/11/28 34 weeks
33/12/05 35 weeks (barely visible now)

As we continue to count the weeks from the day after Passover, we find Venus continually rising up through about week 15, and then descending for the next 20 weeks. Its time as morning star continues on through the Hebrew festival times of month 7 which begins at Rosh Hashanah on 33/9/15, and even through the end of the Julian month of November before Venus loses its visibility. We find that a well-timed morning star cycle like this nicely covers the whole year, except just for the winter months.

It’s in mid-August that the interesting things begin to happen:

<continue editing here>

8/12  Venus/Jupiter/δ Cancer  conjunction

8/29  Venus/Saturn conjunction at full moon

8/30  Venus/Regulus conjunction

9/12  Solar eclipse

9/13  Saturn/Regulus conjunction

9/15  Rosh Hashanah

 

So if 33 AD is the correct year for these events, there’s a very nice picture in the heavens of the rising Morning Star to go along with the Messiah’s rising. This also feels like a useful piece of additional evidence to add to the case that other researchers have made, saying that 33 AD is indeed the year that these things happened. And putting all these things together into one coherent whole, it can add much strength to our certainty that all these things did indeed happen – that He is risen indeed.

 

For other documentation see “Examining the Morning and Evening Star patterns of Venus


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