Where Did Those Wise Men Come From?
(Copyright @2009 by Yonko Mali, All rights reserved.)
Wise Men Still Seek Him
Good morning and welcome to the Yonko Mali radio program.
Let me first ask you two questions.
How many wise men were there?
Did they follow a star to come to Jerusalem?
Well if you answered that there were 3 wise men, you are probably wrong. The Bible does not say how many wise men came. It simply says, wise men came (or Kings or Magi in some translations). There probably were more than 3. It’s simply our current tradition that says there were 3 wise men based on the 3 gifts that were given: gold, frankincense and myrrh. And some our traditions even go so far as to give names to the three wise men.
In the early Church, there was a tradition of 12 wise men and then later 6 wise men and now only 3 wise men. The joke about that is this - as we have progressed into our modern busy lives, it’s hard enough to find 3 men for the Christmas play, let alone 6 or 12!
If you answered the other question and said that the wise men followed a star to come to Israel, you are mostly wrong again. The Bible simply says that the wise men saw the star in the east and came to find the promised Messiah.
The Wise Men knew how to find Jerusalem in Israel. They did not need to follow a star to do that. It was not like they were following a star and not knowing where it would lead them. No, they knew to travel to Israel to find the Messiah.
In fact, I would ask the question, did you ever think of how one would follow a star to a location like Bethlehem? Especially to the specific location where Jesus, Mary and Joseph were. That’s a pretty good GPS system. Well I am getting ahead of myself, that’s a discussion for a future broadcast of mine on the Star of Bethlehem.
But it is interesting to note that while the Wise Men did not need a star to find Jerusalem. Apparently the star, that they had seen in the East, did lead them in some mysterious way directly to the place in Bethlehem where the Jesus child could be found. So in that sense, the Wise Men did follow a star from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. More about this is a future broadcast of mine.
Now the story about the Wise Men is found in Matthew, chapter two; here it is:
The Visit of the Magi
2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magia from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the eastb and have come to worship him.”
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christc was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 “ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’d”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the easte went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
Now where did those wise men come from and who were they? The Bible simply says that they came from the East. I think that they came from Persia which is modern day Iran from the lands of Nebuchadnezzar.
If you go back to the book of Daniel, you will read in Chapter 1 starting with verse 17, how God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning to Daniel and his companions. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. And when the King came to question all the young men he had trained over the years, he found Daniel and his companions to be TEN TIMES better than all the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, astrologers and wise men in his whole kingdom. Note that the words wise men and magicians is used several times in the book of Daniel.
As you continue to read the entire book of Daniel, you see all the marvelous miracles that God performed and the wonderful stories about Daniel.
Daniel was eventually put in charge of all the wise men of that kingdom. And it is obvious from the reading of this book, that Daniel had access to all kinds of Ancient Documents. Boy, would I like to have access to all those old manuscripts.
So even though the great Persian empire disappeared over time, I believe that the ancient knowledge survived to some extent over the next 4 centuries between Daniel and the birth of the Christ child. These wise men certainly must have known Daniels prophesies and they had enough knowledge of astrology to know how unique the star was that they saw in the East.
It’s obvious to me that these wise men knew the scriptures. They knew that it had been 470 years since Daniel made his prophecy so that it was now time to expect the Messiah. So when these Wise Men saw the fantastic star in the East, they knew that the Messiah had been born. There was no hesitation on their part, no questioning. Just look at what they say when they arrive in Jerusalem,
“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the eastb and we have come to worship him.”
Simple and direct confidence and faith. There was no maybe the Messiah had been born, lets check it out. No, they said, WHERE IS HE, WE WANT TO WORSHIP HIM! WORSHIP HIM. Not just, oh we curious about this prophesy about the Messiah so we came on this interesting excursion to have some fun, just simply to satisfy our intellectual curiosity. NO, THEY CAME TO WORSHIP. Note that these Wise Men were truly wise. They were not coming just to honor a new King of the Jews, No they knew that this Messiah would be more than a man. They knew he would be a God-man. Emmuael, God with us in the flesh. They came to WORSHIP the Baby Jesus!
And if you read between the lines, I think you can see that these Wise Men were disappointed in the reception they received in Jerusalem. They expected everyone to be jubilant and celebrating the birth of the Messiah. I can just picture the Wise Men approaching Jerusalem and asking, where is the Messiah. And various people responding. Yeah, I’ll believe in the Messiah when he gets rid of these Romans, and look at the heavy taxes we have to pay, and the economy stinks, I can hardly feed my family and Herod and all those politicians are stealing from the people and building themselves big castles and summer palaces and throwing big lavish parties at the water SPAs while we work slavesly and are in poverty.
Sounds like today, doesn’t it.
Well how about you. Are you wise. Are you going to Worship the baby Jesus this season. Let me warn you, if you cannot bow down and humble yourself and worship the Messiah child. Watch out for the Lion of Judah. God came to us and humbled himself to come as a gentle child. Confess your sins and repent because next time, God is coming as the Lion of Judah. Your arrogance will melt in a split second when you have to face the wrath of God. Take the easy way while you still can, worship the child and receive the great gift of love he has for you, and accept his great gift of salvation and eternal life.
Dear Lord, I pray for the person who is the nearest to damnation today that he would be saved today on the hearing of this Good News. That he would accept and worship the Christ child today.
God bless you all and have a Merry Christmas.