ASK Commentary
September 10, 2003 

Star of Bethlehem NOW Online!!!

Commentary for September 10, 2003 — The Star that Astonished the World

Dr. Ernest L. Martin’s book The Star of Bethlehem: The Star that Astonished the World is now online beginning with the Introduction, 13 chapters and 4 appendices. A new portion will appear weekly for 18 weeks. Then the cycle will re-start and be repeated. As usual we will maintain 3 or 4 weeks worth of chapters available for your reading. (Keep in mind that although the book will be on the Internet, it is still under copyright. Contact ASK for permission to quote portions.)

ASK is putting the book “online” to make the book available to the largest possible public audience — worldwide — especially for those who perhaps do not have the book available because of government restrictions or because the cost may be prohibitive. This is part of the ongoing ministry as envisioned by Dr. Martin at the founding of ASK.

There are others of you who want to “examine” the work of a world-class historian before they purchase Dr. Martin’s book. I fully understand that caution. To paraphrase Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:12, “... of making [and buying!] many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.”

While study is sometimes wearisome, it is also wonderful to go on a journey of discovery with a master historian and teacher like Dr. Martin, especially when he opens up the Holy Scriptures in such a straightforward and delightful way so that everyone can understand the basics of the Birth of Christ, and yet delve into the details if they wish. As Solomon also wrote,

“ It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.”

Proverbs 25:1–3

As children of God you are so much more important and of a higher “class” than any king. You can “search ... the heaven for height.” Even better, God has not really concealed what Dr. Martin explains in The Star of Bethlehem: The Star that Astonished the World, but He has performed all of the celestial movements plainly and in the open for all mankind to see. It was Dr. Martin’s honor to search out the matter and for you to read the glory of God expressed in the movements of the heavens.

God did allow mankind to “lose” the memory of the wondrous events in the heavens and on earth. It is through the wonders of the Bible and God’s precise clockwork mechanism of the heavens that allow us — through mathematics, Newtonian physics and computer technology — to understand precisely what was seen over 2,000 years ago during the remarkable period of astronomical events in the years 3 to 2 B.C.E. It is all quite amazing!

Exposure to Truth

ASK is pleasantly surprised to find that once readers are exposed to the compelling evidence for the veracity of the Bible and of God’s intervention in history through the incarnation of His Son Jesus Christ, many readers (particularly those new to ASK), find that they want the book as part of their personal library. This is because of the convenience of the printed book format, and they can loan out the book to others.

However, I must warn you that loaning books is a risk. All too often you will find that the books do not come back! It is not that your friends and family keep the books, but they in turn are often so excited by the information that they pass the book on to someone else, and things get lost.

For those of you who are long-time ASK readers and supporters, it is likely that you have not read this book in quite a while. It will be good for you to review the information so you can ask and answer questions from friends and family when the subject of the Bethlehem Star arises in discussions in the coming months.

If you want or need a replacement for The Star of Bethlehem: The Star that Astonished the World, we have plenty “in stock.” The latest and best, is the 1996 2nd edition. It can be obtained at It would make an excellent gift for anyone to give to a friend or relative. It would also be a good book to purchase for the library of your local community or organization. The wider the audience, the better.

[NOTE: There was an earlier edition of this book by the same name, The Star that Astonished the World (1st ed. 1991) and two earlier books titled The Birth of Christ Recalculated (1st ed. 1978, 2nd ed. 1980). All older editions are unavailable, so make sure you have the latest edition in your library.]
The Timing of Christ’s Birth

Christ’s incarnation and birth as determined by the biblical evidence, and as compiled by Dr. Martin, comes to September 11, 3 B.C.E. While there is no evident relationship to current events (such as the 9/11 disaster in New York City), keep in mind that the incarnation of Jesus is the single most important event in the history of the world (and in the history of the heavens) until the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the Messiah of the Jews and Savior of the world. It occurs at the center of biblical history forward and back. This event is the fulcrum in the history of mankind.

As Dr. Martin discovered, and as the book explains, the date of Christ’s birth on the Day of Trumpets, a high feast day of the Jews, is highly significant to the biblical symbolism of the Holy Days calendar as they function as a prophetic model and timetable.

Caution on B.C.E. and C.E. Terminology

Dr. Martin decided to adopt the terminology of B.C.E. (Before the Common [or Christian] Era) and C.E. (Common Era). Remember that B.C.E. years count down to the present and the C.E. years count up. This means that three years after 6 B.C.E. is 3 B.C.E. There is no year “zero.” This means that 5 years from 3 B.C.E. takes you to 3 C.E. If you can keep this straight, you will have no trouble with the date information in the book.

Additional Materials for Viewing and Listening

There is a 1-hour interview of Dr. Martin by radio talkshow host Jeff Rense on the ASK Website at Look under “Jeff Rense Interview” and listen or download “Part 9,” “Part 10,” and then “Part 11.” It is one of Jeff’s most replayed shows during the year because of the show’s lasting interest. (Sections 1 to 8 lasting two hours are about Dr. Martin’s book, The Temples That Jerusalem Forgot.) Real Audio is necessary to listen (but easy to load from the ASK webpage).

Note also a video (actually it is a moving internet graphic), about the motions in the heavens about the period 3-2 B.C.E. is on the ASK Website at It was developed by MSNBC and Griffith Planetarium and Observatory. It was produced independently from ASK and is used with permission.

Enjoy this information, which will be new to most of you.

David Sielaff

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