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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)

"12:17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 12:18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall show judgment to the Gentiles. 12:19 He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. 12:20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. 12:21 And in his name shall the Gentiles trust." (Matthew 12:17-21 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.

The Magi

"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.

2:3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 2:4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 2:5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

2:6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel [see also Why Bethlehem, Egypt, Nazareth And Capernaum?].

2:7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 2:8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

2:9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was [see also What Happened At Night?]. 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 2:11 And when they were 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 unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. 2:12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

2:13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

2:14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 2:15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. 2:17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,

2:18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

2:19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 2:20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life.

2:21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 2:22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene." (Matthew 2:1-23 KJV)

Fact Finder: What was the significance of the myrrh that was given to the Christ?
See Myrrh For The Messiah

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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.


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