Who Were the “Three Wise Men?”…
Well to begin with, contrary to popular Christmas tradition, the Bible does not use the terms “three wise men” or “three kings” to describe the travelers who went to see Jesus after his birth (see Matthew 2:1).
NOTE: The term “Wise Men” in Greek is magos, and can be translated “Oriental Scientist,” most likely having been influenced by the teaching of the prophet Daniel.
Because of Daniel’s great wisdom, and because he had successfully pleaded for the lives of the wise men who had failed to interpret the king’s dream (Dan. 2:24), Daniel came to be highly regarded among the magi (saving many of their lives!), so we’d certainly expect that the magi learned much from the Prophet Daniel about the one true God, and because so many Jews remained behind in Babylon after the Exile, refusing to go back to Jerusalem, they intermarried with the people of the east.
This makes it all the more likely that Jewish messianic influence remained strong in that region, even into New Testament times.
The Bible says that the Magi brought three kinds of gifts:
Gold (a gift for a king/royalty);
and the Myrrh was used as an embalming oil).
Speaking of the wise men: “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.
And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him.
And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
There may have been several kings or wise men in the group (which is likely), and this must have required a caravan of up to 60 camels or more (soldiers, servants, supplies, gifts).
In God’s sovereignty, these gifts probably proved useful in Joseph and Mary’s flight to Egypt, paying for their expenses, and this escape was made necessary because Herod ordered the execution of all male children, two and under in or near Bethlehem.
King Nebuchadnezzar sought the cream of the crop for his own private council (Dan 1:3-4), and “Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah” (Dan 1:6).
Daniel’s title was “Rab Mag” or “Chief of the Magi” (Dan 5:11), so he must have left some historical records of his writings for the Babylonians, and remember, they were also historians.
One such writing may have been Daniel chapter 9, where Daniel refers to the appearance of the Messiah, and goes into very specific detail about the timing of the Anointed One’s appearance (Dan 9:21-26).
We know from Scripture that Daniel was a man of prayer, and he naturally wanted to know when things would be restored, so Gabriel answered Daniel’s prayer (2 weeks later) and told Daniel not only where and when the Messiah would come, but when He would be killed (Dan. 9:25-26).
The magi or wise men recognized the fact that Daniel’s point of reference was not Babylon but Jerusalem (Dan 9:16), so for the wise men, it was not a guessing game.
They had to have accurate information to go on or they’d have missed Him.
And then there is the oral tradition or story (that was given before Noah’s flood) that we can read in the Stars (something Satan took and corrupted into astrology).
God is the one who originated this message in the stars, which every ancient civilization has a record of.
This message or story in the Stars tells of how God would send the “Seed” of the woman (Messiah) to judge and conquer evil; starting with Virgo (a virgin who gives birth to a child), who then judges and conquers evil in the world and comes back as Leo (the lion of Judah).
The fact that these constellations, in the sky (and the message or story they contained) were created by God is evident in the fact of how God speaks of them in the Book of Job.
New Living Translation
31 “Can you direct the movement of the stars—
binding the cluster of the Pleiades
or loosening the cords of Orion?
32 Can you direct the constellations through the seasons
or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens?
The fact that God created these constellations and their corresponding message is evident in the fact that God named them, as He also authored the story or message that can be seen in them.
THE MESSAGE IN THE STARS
1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
2 Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
3 They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.
God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.
And in Romans we read the following:
God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness”
SAT, December 18
The Winning Walk
by Dr Ed Young
FOLLOWING THE STAR
“And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their own country by another way.”
We know very little about the Magi, those Wise Men who saw the star in the East.
Thousands of other people could have seen that star, but these must have been visionary individuals who did not want to miss the moment.
They scanned the heavens when most of us only see our feet; they focused on the extraordinary instead of the commonplace.
And not only did they see the star, they acted upon what they saw, making the arduous journey from Persia to Jerusalem.
They were indeed wise. And I believe the epitome of their wisdom is seen in the last two words of our verse:
“they went back ‘ANOTHER way.’”
In other words, they met Jesus and they worshiped Him, they gave Him gifts, and they went home by a different route.
A true encounter with Jesus will do that.
It will change everything about you.
When you worship Him and surrender to Him, you will leave the presence of Jesus by a new – and different – way.
Come join the Adventure!