by Stephen Lampe
Every December 25, much of the world celebrates the incarnation on earth, about two millennia ago, of Jesus of Nazareth, who has become widely recognized as the Son of God. However, some people, especially Moslems, have difficulty with the concept of the Sonship of God. Moslems point out, quite correctly, that "God does not beget nor was He begotten". The "Son of God" is a spiritual concept and must not be interpreted in an earthly sense; in a spiritual sense, sonship means a "part of". Thus, to say that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God is to say that He is a part of the Almighty God; specifically He is the Love of God. The Holy Spirit is the Justice of God, who is responsible for the Last Judgment (also called the World Judgment). It is because the Holy Spirit is the Executive Justice of God that it is written in the Bible that the sins against the Father and the Son may be forgiven but not those against the Holy Spirit. We note that God is both Love and Justice, which implies that Love cannot be separated from Justice. For this reason, true love among human beings should not be indulgent and must not seek to sweep wrong-doing under the carpet.
At the time of birth of Jesus, only a relatively few human beings on earth were aware of the stupendous nature of the event. Among them were shepherds watching their flocks in the fields. The spiritual eyes and ears of these simple and humble individuals, who were close to nature, were temporarily opened so that they might bear witness to the awesome happening. It is significant that those, such as the Pharisees and the Sadducees, who considered themselves the earthly authorities on such matters, were ignorant of the incarnation on earth of a part of God. And years later these presumed experts on matters of faith were to constitute some of the greatest obstacles to the fulfillment of the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ. The behavior of the religious establishment of that time was not unique in religious history. Every bringer of new and revolutionary spiritual teaching has always been opposed by the religious authorities of the day, who always either felt obliged to defend the prevailing religious orthodoxy or considered their personal positions threatened. History continues to repeat itself in our time.
In contrast to the widespread ignorance and indifference on earth, there was jubilation and exultant singing in the purer and higher realms of Creation on that Holy Night of the birth of Jesus in the stable in Bethlehem. And there were "signs in the sky" announcing this greatest of all earthly births. The most famous of these signs was the Star of Bethlehem, which was in fact not a star but an unusual comet. There were some scientifically established and striking astronomical phenomena around the time of birth of Jesus. First there was Halley's Comet, which appeared in 12 BC. Halley's Comet is almost unique among ordinary comets in that it is both large and active and has a well defined, regular orbit. There are records of the coming and going of Halley's Comet dating back to 239 BC. It has been described by some as the most famous comet of all time, and others have even thought that it was the Star of Bethlehem. Reliable historical facts indicate that Jesus could not have been born as early as 12 BC; therefore, Halley's Comet could not possibly be the Star of Bethlehem.
Another "sign in the sky" around the time of birth of the Lord Jesus was the multiple conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn (meaning approaching each other as closely as possible). A conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn normally occurs every 20 years. But there were conjunctions of Saturn and Jupiter three times in the year 7 BC (in May, October, and December). Such triple conjunctions in the same year occur only every 900 years. A third "sign in the sky" was the close approach (massing) of Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. Astronomical records show that shortly after the triple conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter, Mars joined Jupiter and Saturn in the sky so that in February of the year 6 BC the three planets came very close (they were separated by only about eight degrees). Johannes Kepler, a recognized father of astronomy and known for his Laws of Planetary Motion calculated that this particular astronomical phenomenon occurs only every 805 years. Kepler suggested that they coincided with great historical events. Finally, in the Spring of 5 BC a comet blazed forth in the astronomical region Capricornus (which means horned goat). In ancient times horns symbolized power and often symbolized kings. The comet of 5 BC belonged to the group that the Ancient Chinese astronomers described as "broom stars". They considered "broom stars" as heralds of purification, the means of eliminating the old and inaugurating the new. This is, of course, a concept that one can associate closely with the true mission of Jesus Christ. Professor Colin J. Humphreys of Cambridge University, in his 1991 article in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, suggests that these "signs in the sky" collectively gave a strong signal to the Magi, the wise men from the East, who went to pay homage to the Baby Jesus. In summary, the remarkable sequence of the triple conjunction in 7 BC, the massing of three planets in 6 BC, and the comet in Capricornus in 5 BC provided a clear message to the Magi that a very great king was about to be born in Israel. On scientific and historical grounds, the comet of the year 5 BC is believed to be the Star of Bethlehem.
The astronomical phenomena from 7 BC to 5 BC throw some light on the story that has become known as "the massacre of the innocents". Herod ordered that all male children born within two years of the birth of the baby Jesus be killed to ensure that he would not have a rival king in future. I had often wondered why Herod decided to go as far back as two years. Why did he not consider it sufficient to worry only about babies who had been born within the previous few months at most? On the other hand, one might ask why he chose not to go further than two years. We are now in a position to presume that Herod thought that any one of the three astronomical phenomena between the two year period of 7 BC to 5 BC (about which he was told by the Magi) might have heralded the actual birth of the promised Messiah. Therefore, to be absolutely sure that the baby Messiah was killed, he chose to kill those born during the last two years. There were no "signs in the sky" three, four, or five years before then; so Herod was sure that the Messiah could not have been born that long ago.
The gifted ones of our era have for some years been expecting an especially significant star, akin to the Star of Bethlehem. This unusual "comet" bearing primordial spiritual power is approaching the earth. It may be called the "Great Comet" and, like the Star of Bethlehem, it is quite unlike ordinary comets because its origin lies outside the physical universe and its core is full of spiritual power. Even though it is a spiritual astronomical phenomenon, it will eventually become visible to human eyes because it will be encased in material substance as it enters the physical universe. Although the "Great Comet" is not yet visible, the effects of its radiation are already being felt on earth. And the earth will remain under its strong influence for a long time. It is said of this comet: "Its power sucks the waters up high, brings weather catastrophes and still more. When encircled by its rays the earth quakes." In the period between the second and fifth centuries after Christ, some Jews and Christians made prophecies that were compiled into fourteen books, called the "Sibylline Books". In one of these books, the following passage appears in the description of the World Judgment: "And then will God accomplish a great sign. For a star will burst forth like unto a radiant cross, shining and giving light from the brilliant heavens for many days." This Great Comet, also called the Radiant Star, comes to help in the completion of the World Judgment and the establishment of the God-willed Millennium. Many individuals around the world await its arrival on the physical scene.
Under the influence of the Great Comet, all the errors about the Mission of Jesus Christ and about His teachings will be revealed and corrected. Light will be similarly shone on the distortions that have crept into the teachings of all the great prophets. On this occasion of the celebration of the birth of Jesus, let us sincerely and courageously review and reflect on current religious dogmas. In doing so, we should remember the following statement of Apostle Peter: "For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge?" (2 Peter 1:5). Prophet Mohamed (Peace Be Upon Him) similarly urged all those who wish to do the Will of God to seek knowledge untiringly wherever it may be found. Our times present immense opportunities to acquire the spiritual knowledge that we need for the New Millennium. In this connection, I must point serious seekers to the three-volume publication, "In the Light of Truth, The Grail Message" by Abd-ru-shin. It was originally published in the German language and has now been translated into many languages, including English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Italian, Czech, Romanian, Russian, Arabic, and Persian among others.