Sagittarius is the last constellation the sun passes through before the Winter Solstice, when our story ends. Similarly, Pilate is the last person Jesus sees in his story before the story ends. Pontius Pilate is a personification of Sagittarius.

Sagittarius is a man on a horse with a bow and arrow. The theme is hunting. We're all done harvesting, so let's go hunting. It is a good time of the year to go hunting. The animals are full grown. And we've not much else to do, except it sure is getting dark and cold this time of year, isn't it? What's happening to our sun? It seems to be leaving us. Will it leave us forever?

After the death of Judas (after Scorpio goes below the horizon), Jesus (the sun) is handed over to Pontius Pilate (Sagittarius). Pilate is the last person Jesus encounters in the story before being put to death, only to be resurrected three days later; just as Sagittarius is the last zodiac month of the year the sun passes through before dying on the Winter Solstice, December 22, only to be resurrected three days later and begin anew its journey northward, on December 25, Christmas day.

"Pontius", ποντιος {pon'-tee-os} (Strong's Greek #4194), is literally "of the sea", a reference to the sea of stars above. (It's also of Latin origin, betraying it's late addition to the text.) [Click here to see the verse in Greek].

"Pilate", πειλατος {pil-at'-os} (Strong's Greek #4091), is literally "armed with a spear". Sagittarius, the archer, is armed with a bow and arrow, which serves the same purpose as a spear. The theme is hunting. We're all done harvesting, so let's go hunting.

Sagittarius also pierces the side of the sun with his arrow, just as Jesus has his side pierced while on the cross.1

But the days are getting shorter and shorter, and colder and colder, as the year comes to a close. The dark nights are getting longer. Things look dark and gloomy. What will happen to our savior, the sun, who makes the harvest grow providing us with life saving food? Will he disappear forever? Are we doomed? Is this the end? The good news of the Bible is, "No, this is not the end. It is the preface to a new beginning. The sun will arise again, the cycle will begin anew, and we will all be saved, again."

Jesus is handed over to Herod (Luke 23:7-11) This makes it somewhat difficult for us to place these events in a historical context, because Herod died in 4 B.C., yet here we apparently have him alive again, at a time supposedly around A.D. 27. Christian apologists deal with this by claiming this is a different Herod, not the same Herod who tried to kill Jesus when Jesus was born. Christian apologists go even further to claim the Herod mentioned in Acts 23 is a third Herod. Well, why not? After all, the Bible doesn't explicitly say these are all the same Herod.

But of course using this logic we could claim multiple copies of any character whenever it was convenient for us. We could have two Judas characters, both who betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, one who returns the money and hangs himself (Matthew 27:3-5), and the other who uses the money to buy a field in which "he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out." (Acts 1:18). The Bible doesn't say there are two different people both named Judas, but then again the Bible doesn't explicitly say the Judas who tripped and fell is the same Judas who hanged himself, though such would be the natural conclusion, were it not for the fact that the two versions of the story contradict one another.

So the Bible does not explicitly say this is a different Herod, though it would be the norm for any writer to mention such a thing if it really were a different person who happens to have the same name. After all the Bible does distinguish between John the Baptist and John the brother of James and son of Zebedee, so there's no confusion between which John it is referring to. Yet for Herod the Bible makes no distinction, leading us to believe it is the same Herod mentioned earlier.

This of course leaves us desperate when trying to force this story into a historical context. However, there is no problem when we interpret the story as an allegory, with Jesus a personification of the sun and Herod a personification of the darkness and cold of night time and the dark and cold seasons of Autumn and Winter. As an allegory Herod figuratively "dies" every morning with the rising of the sun (Jesus), and regains power every evening with the setting of the sun. Herod also looses power when the bright warm seasons of Spring and Summer commence. Herod regains power in the dark and cold seasons of Autumn and Winter.

Herod is a personification of Night. Herod, or the darkness of Night, is taking over Jesus, the sun, as the days get shorter and shorter in Autumn and darkness begins to reign. (See Matthew Chapter 2—The Birth of Jesus for more on King Herod).

We also have clear anti-Semitism in the Bible here. The writer makes it very clear it is the Jews who are forever to blame for demanding Jesus be crucified. The Bible says, "Let his blood be on us and on our children!" (Matthew 27:25) Christians have used this passage ever since to justify persecution of the Jews. Yet the Jews don't have this as a part of their sacred scriptures. You don't find anywhere in the Old Testament a statement that the Jews should forever hence forth be persecuted. It is only in the Christian scriptures that we find this statement.

Imagine if the Koran had a statement that Muslims used to justify endless persecution of Christians. Christians would forever be persecuted by Muslims, because of a statement in the Koran, a book Christians don't believe is holy scripture and never read.

Persecution of Jews diminished after World War II when it was revealed that 6 million Jews had been exterminated during the war by the Nazis. It finally became unfashionable to persecute Jews.

Jesus is crucified and placed in a cave. It is the end of the story. A sad ending. But have faith. Jesus, the sun, will arise again — a new year will begin. Three days after Jesus is placed in the cave he will arise again. This is the prophecy. This is the good news of the Bible.

On Christmas day, December 25, we celebrate the birth of Jesus. December 22 was the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, when the sun was at its lowest. Three days later, on December 25, the sun rises 1/10 of it's width farther north — just barely detectable by carefully observing the shadows cast at sunrise. Our savior, the sun, has been reborn, to begin the cycle of the year and the cycle of life again.

Originally Jesus was said to have been born in a cave. The Catholic Encyclopedia (1910) article on "Bethlehem" says, “The tradition of the birth in a cave was widely accepted, as we see from Origen's words about a century later: — In Bethlehem the cave is pointed out where He was born, and the manger in the cave where He was wrapped in swaddling clothes, and the rumor is in those places and among foreigners of the Faith that indeed Jesus was born in this cave —. (Contra Celsum, I, li.) It is reproduced also in the apocryphal gospels (Pseudo-Matt., xiii, ap. Bonaccorsi, op. cit., 159-163; Protevang. of James, xvii sqq., Bonaccorsi, 155-159; Gospel of the Infancy, II-IV, Bonaccorsi, 163-164).”

[See Eusebius's Life of Constantine, lib. 3, chs xl, xli, and xlii.] [Also see Matthew Chapter 2—The Birth of Jesus]

[Also note that archaeological evidence indicates Bethlehem of Judea was uninhabited at the alleged time of Jesus' birth. "There is surprisingly no archaeological evidence that ties Bethlehem in Judea to the period in which Jesus would have been born." (The likelihood is there was no settlement at this site at that time.)— Where was Jesus really Born? Archaeology magazine’s article Volume 58 Number 6, November/December 2005]

Hence the story is circular, just as the years are circular. A new year begins after the old year ends.

Father Time Baby New Year On New Years Eve we personify Father Time and Baby New Year, but we know these two figures aren't real people, they are merely personifications of the passage of time and the beginning of a new year. The current year is old and finished with. A new year is about to begin. The moment the Old Year ends a New Year begins. The cycle of life is circular and never ending.

In the Gospel story of Jesus, after his resurrection the story ends. People have always asked what did he do after that? Why does the story end here? Why isn't the rest of his life chronicled? — The reason is, if you want to read the continuation of the story, turn back to page one. The story is circular. Three days after Jesus dies and is placed in the cave he is born again, and the story begins anew.

In church it is customary to begin reading through one of the Gospels at the beginning of the year. Each Sunday we take the next chunk of the story and read it and the pastor makes a sermon on it, never realizing that the story is an allegory for the passage of time, the seasons of the year, which we ourselves live and experience, as we live our lives, dependent on the sun for light and for food.

[1] Acharya S interview at (Oct. 2005) [Return to text.]

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