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Friday, July 22 2011
Why Did The Magi Come?
The visit of the "magi," or "wise men," to the Messiah after His birth is one of the most famous events of Bible History. But who were they? Where did they come from? Who sent and guided them to Jesus Christ?
First, an excerpt from The Encyclopedia Britannica to explain who they were:
"Magi (singular Magus) were members of an ancient Persian clan specializing in cultic activities. Their name is the Latinized form of Magoi, the ancient Greek transliteration of the Iranian original. From it the word magic is derived."
That's a somewhat surprising revelation. "Magicians" from Iran (Persia became known as Iran only in the 20th century; see Ancient Empires - Persia) came to worship Christ? But, were they "magicians" in the way that the word is now defined? Were they even "magicians" in that sort of way in their own time? Again, from The Encyclopedia Britannica:
"As long as the Persian Empire lasted there was always a distinction between the Persian Magi, who were credited with profound religious knowledge, and the Babylonian Magi, who were considered to be impostors."
But why did the LORD have them come? The shepherds of Judah (i.e. the shepherds of Bethlehem were Jews) had already been sent to witness that the Christ had been born (Luke 2:1-20). So why then did the LORD have gentiles come from such a long distance to do the same thing? The answer is even found in The Encyclopedia Britannica:
"Christian theological tradition has always stressed that Gentiles as well as Jews came to worship Jesus."
That reality of course is plainly stated in the Holy Bible:
"2:30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 2:31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 2:32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel." (Luke 2:30-32 KJV)
"A Light to lighten the Gentiles, and the Glory of thy people Israel"
When one understands who the Magi really were, it becomes much more obvious why the LORD chose them to represent the Gentile world's welcoming of the Messiah of all people i.e. because of their "profound religious knowledge." The star that guided them even itself was symbolic of the fulfillment of the prophecy "a light to lighten the Gentiles."
Although many have assumed that there were three Magi that came, which there could have been, based on the three gifts of gold, incense and myrrh that they presented to the newborn Savior, the Holy Scriptures do not state precisely how many Magi there were on that journey (see Camel Trains; also 'Raghead' Racism) - there could have been two, or three, or a hundred.
"2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king [see also Whatever Happened To Those Romans?], behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2:2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
Fact Finder: What was the significance of the myrrh that was given to the Christ?
This Day In History, July 22
838: The Battle of Anzen. Byzantine emperor Theophilos was defeated by the Abbasids.
1099: During the First Crusade (see The Crusades), Godfrey of Bouillon was proclaimed the first "Defender of the Holy Sepulchre of The Kingdom of Jerusalem."
1298: King Edward I used bowmen and cavalry to defeat William Wallace's Scots at Falkirk.
1499: The Battle of Dornach. Swiss forces defeated the Imperial army of Emperor Maximilian I.
1515: The Congress of Vienna settled disputed issues between Poland and the Holy Roman Empire (which was actually German; see The Holy Roman Empire) and the succession to the Hungarian throne.
1587: A second group of English settlers arrived on Roanoke Island off North Carolina to re-establish the deserted colony.
1620: A small congregation of English "Separatists," led by John Robinson, began their journey to the New World. Today, this historic group of religious refugees has come to be known as the "Pilgrims."
1691: The Anglo-Dutch army defeated the French at Aghrim, India.
1706: The Acts of Union were agreed upon by commissioners from the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland. The agreement led to the creation of the Kingdom of Great Britain.
1739: Ottoman Turks (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire) defeated troops of the Holy Roman Empire at Crocyka, Yugoslavia and threatened Belgrade.
1812: During the Napoleonic Wars (during the War of 1812-14 with the U.S., Britain was also at war with Napoleon's French Empire in Europe), the Battle of Salamanca: British forces under the command of Arthur Wellesley defeated French the army near Salamanca, Spain.
1847: To escape religious persecution in the U.S., the first large group of Mormons entered the Salt Lake Valley, in what was still Mexican territory. Mormon leader Brigham Young founded Salt Lake City, Utah, soon after.
1938: The Third Reich issued special identity cards for Jewish Germans (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1946: A "Zionist" terrorist organization (see Anti-Zion Is Anti-Christ and Moriah: Separating The Wheat From The Chaff), known as the Irgun, blew up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem that housed the British Army Headquarters (listen to our Sermon The Balfour Declaration to understand how the present-day state of Israel became a free nation because Britain freed them from centuries of occupation by the Ottoman Empire; listen also to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire). About 700 pounds of high explosives demolished one wing of the hotel, killing 91 people were - 41 Arabs, 28 British, 17 Jews and 5 other nationalities. Irgun leader Menachem Begin (a future Prime Minister of Israel who signed the Camp David Accord) later claimed that the loss of life was not intended and that sufficient advance warning by telephone had been given.
1948: The people of Newfoundland (at the time, a British colony) voted in a referendum to join Canada.
1950: King Leopold III returned to Belgium after six years in exile.
1981: Mehmet Ali Agca, 23, was sentenced to life in prison for the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in May of that year.
1999: The cremated ashes of John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and his sister-in-law Lauren Bessette were scattered in the waters off Martha's Vineyard where their bodies had been recovered from the crash site the day before, 3 days after their plane, piloted by Kennedy, crashed into the ocean on July 16.