Jupiter and Saturn: Great conjunction discussed by experts
The Holy Bible states a Christmas Star rose in the east some 2,000 years ago around the time of Jesus Christ’s birth. According to prophecy, the star would appear as a sign the King of the Jews was born. As the story goes in the Gospel of Matthew, the star led three wise men from the east to the town of Bethlehem where they paid tribute to Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
According to Douglas Estes of Christianity Today, the Christmas Star is a strong spiritual symbol of faith and hope that has endured till today.
The star speaks of greater things waiting beyond the horizon but also acts as a reminder “that there was purpose in creation”.
Some Christians, however, believe such as star appearing in modern times could be a sign of doomsday prophesied in the Bible’s darkest chapters.
And if one TV evangelist, in particular, is to be believed, one such “star” will light up tonight (December 21).
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The so-called Christmas Star of 2020 will, in reality, be a Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter.
These conjunctions only happen once every 20 years and tonight’s is all the more special because it will be the closest Great Conjunction since 1623 and the closest visible conjunction since 1226.
The planets will pass one another within 0.1 degrees, leading some to believe they will appear as a single star-like body in our skies.
Theologians have attempted in the past to explain the Christmas Star as a Great Conjunction or a comet.
But astronomers have told Expres.co.uk this will not be the case tonight and you will be able to distinguish the gas giants individually.
But niche groups of Christian conspiracy theorists are convinced something biblical is afoot today.
Pastor Paul Begley addresses ‘end of the world’ claims
In a rare coincidence, the Great Conjunction falls on the day of the winter solstice and the supposed end of world date predicted by the ancient Maya.
Paul Begley, a TV evangelist and online personality from Indiana, US, has consequently claimed tonight’s Christmas Star is a prophetic sign of the End Times.
Pastor Begley hosts the weekly TV series The Coming Apocalypse where he often makes unsubstantiated claims about natural events, astronomical phenomena and their supposed links to the Bible.
In a recent broadcast discussing the Great Conjunction, he said: “Coming together in what’s called the Grand Conjunction, December 21, 2012, during the winter solstice, during the end of the Mayan era and the Hopi prophecies and all these other things – well, you know what, you might just say those things are coincidental.
“I don’t care about that, what I care about is what the scripture says.
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“And what the scripture says, there will be great signs and fearful sights in the heavens.
“So is God trying to get ahold of everybody’s attention, including the Hopis and including the Mayans at that time?
“Was he trying to get ahold of everybody? Trying to send an alert, send a prophetic sign that something’s going to happen?
“I don’t know when Jesus is coming back. Nobody does.
“Jesus said no man knows the day nor the hour. Not even the angels in heaven, not even the son of God but the Father only.
“But he said in another scripture, but you can see the day approaching and you will know that it’s close when the fig trees, the leaves are tenders, you know that summer is nigh.”
Although astronomers have not seen a Great Conjunction this close in some 800 years, chances are tonight’s spectacle will look nothing like the fabled Star of Bethlehem.
And if that is the case, then surely tonight’s event is not a prophetic harbinger of the End Times.
Many Christians also reject attempts to predict Christ’s Second Coming through such events.
Stephen Witmer, pastor of Pepperell Christian Fellowship in Pepperell, Massachusetts, said: “As claim after claim of the imminent return of Jesus has proven wrong over the last two thousand years, Jesus’s words have proven true.”
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