The Meaning of the Magi…Matthew Nativity pt 4

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 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.  When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 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… 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. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. ( Matthew 2:1-11)

Wise men from the East came seeking Jesus, calling him “King of the Jews”. Who were they and how did they know to come and seek him?

The Eastern frontier of the Roman Empire was the Euphrates river. The Parthians (Medo/Persians) were a particular threat to the Romans, never having succumbed to the Roman expansion and handily resisting them upon every incursion from the west.

The Magi came from Persia, their ‘school of the Magi’ was believed to have dated all the way back to the days of Daniel the prophet, from his time in the schools of Babylon, and then Persia.

The Magi were careful observers of astronomy, as well as being completely conversant with the Hebrew prophets (especially Daniel). Why are they considered Kings? Because they were of an ancient Persian Priestly caste, of teachers, philosophers, and educators of Kings. No King could be crowned in Persia without having mastered the teachings of the Magi, and without the approval of the same.

When the Magi came west, to seek Jesus, (There were far more than three of them), Herod and all of Jerusalem were troubled. Quite a large contingent of them crossed the frontier into the Eastern most district of the Roman Empire, the defense of which, Herod would have been responsible. The Magi would have come with a military escort, and a caravan of supplies. Some ancient historians speculate that they would have been accompanied by up to a thousand mounted cavalrymen.

What did they seek? the King of the Jews. They had seen a star, as a portent of the birth of a powerful King. They were also familiar with the prophecies of Balaam, the pagan Seer, whom God put prophecy into his mouth, back in the days of the Exodus,

I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. (Numbers 24:17)

Was this the Star out of Jacob, which would crush heathendom in its unity against the only true God? The Medo/Persian Magi were so sure of it, they openly told Herod, that they had come to worship Him, (Christ).

Herod immediately called a counsel of his advisors; Chief Priests, scribes, experts in the Torah, in order to demand of them the birth place of the Messiah. Already the baby jesus was causing the Kings of the earth and their rulers to seek counsel against the LORD and his Messiah.

Without hesitation, a Priest, or scribe rattled off the prophecy of Micah, that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem of Judea, the place of King David and his family.

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting… And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.( Micah 5:2,4)

Other than mindlessly rattling off the scripture which they were familiar with on the one hand, and blind and deadened to on the other, there seemed to be very little interest in walking the short journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem to see of there was anything to what the Medo Persian contingent had traveled 500 miles to inquire of.

Herod was quite interested for other reasons as we will see.

The Magi would follow the star until they found the child within two years after the interview by Herod. By that time Jesus no longer an infant ,but was a Paidon, ( a young child just walking). The Star led them to the very house where Jesus was living, and with his mother.

Their gifts of Gold,Frankincense and Myrrh, all point to his Kingly dignity, His Deity, (Gold) and the fact that he is a Priest (Frankincense) . Myrrh points to his substitutionary death for our salvation.

These gifts are also a foretaste of a Prophecy for the restoration of Israel and the Jewish people by Isaiah, in which the Gentiles will come streaming in to present the wealth of the nations to God’s chosen people,

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.( Isaiah 60:1-7)

In the days to come, Israel’s sorrow will be turned to joy and her fortunes will be restored, in the days of the Messiah, and instead of being “forsaken and hated” the Gentiles will pour in, bringing their gifts.

They entered into the house, fell down and worshiped him.

Priests of God, scribes and Jewish elders didn’t bother to seek him, although they knew the scripture, but these Medo/Persian King trainers, knew a King when they saw him (by the Holy Spirit) so they bowed down to worship and adore him.

Another factor which made the Magi sensitive enough to know the time had come for the King of the Jews to be born, was their familiarity with the Prophet Daniel.

Five hundred and forty some years previously, the prophet Daniel was praying about the future of his people, from captivity in Babylon, and in Persia. An amazing time sensitive prophecy was revealed to Him, personally delivered to him by the Angel Gabriel.

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:25-27)

The future of Daniel’s people, (Israel) would be decided in a manner of 70 weeks of years,(490 years). Within that time the entire program of God for them will be concluded; finish transgression,end of sins,reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting rightiousness, seal up the vision, and all prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

Picture a stopwatch. It starts “from the going of the command the restore and build Jerusalem”… This decree of Artaxerxes, occurred in 444BC and is recounted in Nehemiah 2.

We are told, that in 69 weeks, (483 years(, Messiah the Prince would come and die, but not for himself but for the people”. This would bring us to the year 33 AD. (At this point the Divine stopwatch stopped. ;eaving 7 more years for God to complete his program for Israel).

These Magi had studied Daniel’s prophecies copiously for centuries. Thus they would have known that the time was near for the Messiah to present himself, and they knew to be aware and to understand the star and it’s meaning.

The meaning of the Magi is clear, that those who seek the Messiah, and his salvation and who fear God and tremble at his word, will find the Christ, and be able to bow down and Worship Him. Those who have no heart for God, even if they are familiar with scripture, will not seek Him, and will not find Him.

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33 Responses to The Meaning of the Magi…Matthew Nativity pt 4

  1. My heart is overjoyed reading these blogs!

    With perfect holiness, our Mighty Sovereign God reached out to mankind, with the ultimate Gift…Jesus the Messiah💙

  2. Jeanne Totus says:

    Such wonderful teachings these past days, PStor Bill!! I feel as Linda. So much to ponder and meditate upon. Our God is marvelous in the way He has orchestrated from before the foundation of the earth the plan of salvation in meticulous detail, leaving nothing to chance. There are no coincidences, no accidents with Him. We can trust Him absolutely with our lives, that He will carry us though to the end.

  3. Deemar says:

    amen amen!! Those who feared the Lord and were watching could understand His coming the first time – it will be the same at the end for the generation who is living, as we watch/listen for Him again, more than 2,000 years later… Our hearts leaping for JOY – How GLORIOUS; Maranatha!!!

  4. Mark Boggia says:

    He’s not he messiah he’s a very naughty boy !

    • Onesimus says:

      Integrity Mark.

      Learn the meaning of the word and give some thought on how much your life would benefit from applying it.

      At the moment you’re only harming yourself by pushing it aside.

      • Mark Boggia says:

        Oensimus,

        Thank you for your self righteous judgement. I have to say taking a sermon from someone on integrity who is not prepared to use his real name smacks a litle of the double standards I’ve learned to expect from religous types, I can be directly held accountable for what i say and write can you ?

        Lets talk about integrity in the context of intellectual honesty and realise that we’re celebrating a pagan solstice event not the birth of christ. If you have integrity you may wish to refrain from placing gifts under the christmas tree this year as this is considered an offerring to pagan gods and we wouldnt want any devil workship to get in the way of celebrating yet another virgin birth would we now !

        Sadly the solipsistic nature of your religion has deluded you into thinking you are the aribiter of what is righ or wrong, moral or just, and you’re not.

        Your religion deserves only contempt

      • Onesimus says:

        Mark your repeated hostility, rudeness and demonstrated lack of integrity are open for all to see on this blog.

        If I were to use my real name in posts it would probably be far less meaningful than posting under the name Onesimus.
        I’ve been known by Onesimus for almost two decades after finding my very common real name was getting confused with countless others online with a similar name. (Actually the majority of my comments to you here HAVE been under my real name of Tim)

        As for your assumptions about how I may or may not celebrate a pagan festival adopted by the “Church”, again you show your ignorance.
        Maybe you could consider the lack of wisdom in relying on such ill-founded assumptions and your continual manufacturing of “arguments” according to those wrong assumptions.

        As for your demonstrated lack of integrity, why not consider abandoning your straw man arguments and defences and start to address THE TRUTH.
        You continually raise the issue of religion, religious institutions and religious practices, when the REAL ISSUE is the reality you continually ignore: the love of God enacted through His personal sacrifice for the benefit of undeserving mankind.

        Your obsession with the God in whom you claim you don’t believe reveals the deep struggle you are facing within. You clearly have a number of people praying for you who love you enough to hope for your salvation.

        I have added myself to those praying for you, and suggest that other followers of Jesus who read this blog should do the same.

        May you discover the God of righteousness, who loved the world enough to make a personal sacrifice for all mankind – including you.

        Tim

      • Mark Boggia says:

        Dearest Tim

        Thank you for your comments and I’m touched that you are praying for me, however please be advised that prayer is not at all efficacious.

        Routinely in the Church of England prayers are offered up for the health of the royal family, that’s hundreds of years, thousands of services and the result nothing, no appreciable difference, so the evidence is quite clear it makes no difference.

        More importantly the assumption that I need to be saved or somehow enlightened to these teachings denies the truth that I’ve examined many of these teachings and found them very lacking.

        More importantly I’ve observed the behaviour of those claiming to be living the life inspired by Jesus and whilst many are good people there is a contingent that are frankly in it for themselves.

        I’m shocked and offended at the total abhorrent moral values suggested by the teachings of the bible, particularly by in sighting others to hate others.

        So your religion has nothing for me I find it abhorrent, evil wicked stupid backward nonsense that holds back mankind by suggesting that superstition is more important than fact and evidence.

        Thanks for trying but it’s not for me, my mission though is to convince people to abandon this stupid lifestyle

        Love

        Mark

      • Jeanne T. says:

        Omesimus, I commend you for responding in a respectful way to Mark, in spite of his disrespect and continual attempts to derail the discussion here.

      • Onesimus says:

        Mark, see my reply to Jeanne below.

        Please start to be honest with yourself.

        Tim

      • Onesimus says:

        there is a contingent that are frankly in it for themselves

        So I assume you shut yourself off from the rest of society too for the same reason – that so many in the world “are frankly in it for themselves”.

        You must live the life of a very strict hermit if you insist on rejecting anything and everything associated with selfish people.

        As I’ve suggested many times – please start to practice a little integrity.

        Instead of rejecting God for a countless irrelevant reasons – have the courage to ask Him to prove Himself to you, and when He does be honest and brave enough to follow Him as He directs.

        If there’s no answer – you’ve lost nothing.

      • Mark Boggia says:

        Tim

        Please do not confuse respect for an individual for respect for your religion though

        Thanks

        Mark

      • Onesimus says:

        Please do not confuse respect for an individual for respect for your religion though

        Mark, you keep referring to my “religion!” and you keep referring to religious groups and all kinds of other religious issues – but the reality has nothing to do with religion.

        It is about TRUTH, the truth regarding God and the very personal relationship with Him enjoyed by those who follow Him – it has nothing to do with religion and the followers of religion.
        I suspect out of many of the commenters here, you may be one of the MOST religious, with your professed devotion to atheism, and your confessed “evangelistic” zeal to spread it.

        You claim to have too much “self-respect” to take up the challenge of asking God to prove Himself. It’s clear the opposite is true – you don’t have the confidence of your convictions to put your non-belief to the test. You merely want to wallow in your professed unbelief and try to drag others down with you – even though you have so little confidence in your atheism.

        It is apparent to me and I’m sure to others, that you are struggling very deeply with your desired commitment to atheism, being challenged by the God in whom you insist you don’t believe.
        You may deny that, but your very regular presence here indicates otherwise.

        People who care are praying for you. so you’ll have difficulty escaping His attention.

      • Mark Boggia says:

        Re: Pascal’s Wager

        Tim

        The idea that I should suspend disbelief and give God a try is a very old line that people have long suggested.

        The answer is I haven’t because I have more self respect. I simply do not believe it, even if I might want to live forever the belief simply isn’t there. This is the very definition of integrity, my stance as an atheist is a moral one.

        Self deception is a about lying to yourself and this is what you are encouraging me to do. It simply wrong !

    • Jeanne T. says:

      What do your comnents have to do with the topic the Magi? What disagreement do have with this subject?

      • Onesimus says:

        Hi Jeanne,
        His comments have absolutely nothing to do with the topic of the Magi, just as none of his comments have had anything to do with God, Jesus or the gospel.

        He continually builds irrelevant straw men that he takes pleasure in pulling apart.

        He’s done it again in another comment above regarding C of E prayers for the Royal Family.

        He has shown a clear lack of desire to actually address reality (truth) but prefers to cite the likes of Adolf Hitler, The Roman Catholic church, (and many other examples of people who DO NOT and HAVE NOT followed Jesus) as “evidence” to back his desperate attempts to deny his own obsession with God.

        Clearly he is being troubled by the Holy Spirit in response to those who are concerned enough top pray for him.

        Tim

      • Mark Boggia says:

        Excellent the conclusion following on from all of this debate is that I am troubled by a ghost!

        I rest my case.

  5. Onesimus says:

    Excellent the conclusion following on from all of this debate is that I am troubled by a ghost!
    I rest my case.

    Mark, it ought to be quite unfitting that you insult your own intelligence with such a comment – but its the type of self-destructive response all to common from those who are trying to convince themselves of God’s non-existence.

    Please do not confuse respect for an individual for respect for your religion though

    Mark, you keep referring to my “religion!” and you keep referring to religious groups and all kinds of other religious issues – but the reality has nothing to do with religion.

    It is about TRUTH, the truth regarding God and the very personal relationship with Him enjoyed by those who follow Him – it has nothing to do with religion and the followers of religion.

    I suspect out of many of the commenters here, you may be one of the MOST religious, with your professed devotion to atheism, and your confessed “evangelistic” zeal to spread it.

    You claim to have too much “self-respect” to take up the challenge of asking God to prove Himself. It’s clear the opposite is true – you don’t have the confidence of your convictions to put your non-belief to the test. You merely want to wallow in your professed unbelief and try to drag others down with you – even though you have so little confidence in your atheism.

    It is apparent to me and I’m sure to others, that you are struggling very deeply with your desired commitment to atheism, being challenged by the God in whom you insist you don’t believe.
    You may deny that, but your very regular presence here indicates otherwise.

    People who care are praying for you. so you’ll have difficulty escaping His attention.

    • Mark Boggia says:

      Tim

      I am open minded but on the basis of the evidence presented I am an atheist.

      If you can show me that the earth is 8000 years old, or that the sun actually goes around the earth, or that man was simply created rather than evolved then I would be pleased to believe you.

      I await your response

      • Onesimus says:

        If you can show me that the earth is 8000 years old, or that the sun actually goes around the earth, or that man was simply created rather than evolved then I would be pleased to believe you.

        Again more irrelevant religious nonsense Mark.

        You continue with your straw men religious arguments and blind yourself to the real issue.

        You spout religion and philosophy, based on men’s intellectual vanities; I’m presenting experienced life and death realities.

        I KNOW the reality of God because I wasn’t too scared of giving Him the chance to prove Himself.

      • Mark Boggia says:

        Tim

        I understand, So you see yourself as above being asked to prove your case, preferring to sit in the shadows of “case not proven”.

        The truth is that Christians prefer that doubt remain, because it’s all you have to cling on to. The last thing you want is for the truth to categorically emerge as this would deny you your power.

        The best arguments are those that can be disproven not those that can not.

        Now prove to me that the centre of the earth is not full of cheese !

      • Onesimus says:

        Mark,
        You continue with the nonsensical philosophical assumptions
        I don’t have a case I need to prove.

        I KNOW and live the certain reality of God day by day, and I do so after long drawn out attempts to deny Him, much as you are trying to do. And I also went through a period where I tried to sideline Him whenever His presence didn’t feel convenient.

        But eventually I lost the luxury of being able to ignore the blatantly obvious.

        Unlike you I ultimately wasn’t afraid to allow Him to prove His reality, and He did.

        You make it clear you are currently afraid of getting that proof for yourself.

        I assure you, there’s no need to be afraid of the truth.

      • Mark Boggia says:

        Tim,

        With your central argument you’ve been attempting to distance yourself from the cental tenants of your faith, by using your personal experience of a relationship you have with a God as the means to dismiss the “religous nonsense” (your words) I’ve been presenting.

        These are not staw man arguments but very clear data points based on how religion is presented. I concede these may not be representative of the private thoughts of you and others, but you are attributing your positive feelings to your faith in religion, which you concede is flawed, so you’re rather arguing against yourself or at least your faith.

        I might reasonably read a lot of Harry Potter and hear “no such things as too many socks” frequently and be compelled to give socks to the homeless as a result. Is this the holy spirit of Dumbledoor or the inate human kindness and solidarity (the kind a mother feels for her baby) at play, which is quite indepdent of any God. Don’t forget we are all born atheists.

        The suggestion of some sort of magical holy spirit and some confiding relationship with a holy father I’m sure is comforting and sadly more relfective of perhaps a lack of real spirituality (beliving in something more important than yourself) and of real confiding relationships. Both of which I am blessed to have in abudance, so I am not seeking solace or comfort in the imaginary but I’m priviledged to have a bounty of it in my own life.

        I do hope you understand

        Mark

      • Onesimus says:

        Yes Mark I do understand, that you are afraid.

        That’s why you hide behind religion in an attempt to avoid facing the Truth.

        You mention the “central tenants of [my] faith” and say I’m distancing myself from them – despite the fact you clearly don’t have a clue about the nature of my faith. You are too intent on clinging to your own highly flawed preconceived idea of what you think Christians (and therefore I) should believe.

        You do that because you have no real argument to offer, you can only tear apart the religious straw men you create for yourself, like citing Hitler, Roman Catholicism, or the Church of England and their prayers for royalty as your “evidence” of the failures and evils of “religion”.

        Push aside your fear for a time Mark and allow God to prove Himself to you. Allow HIM to show you the truth and allow Him to demolish your desperate preconceptions.

        It’s time to be brave enough to do that.

      • Mark Boggia says:

        Tim

        Thank you for clarifying, please understand I do not have a fear based approach to life. One of my hero’s is Marie Curie not just because she was a double Nobel prize winner and a woman in science but because of her curiosity for discovery.

        I love her quote

        “There is nothing to be feared in life only to be understood”

        I saw it on the side of the British Library one day and it resonated with my sense of seeing life as an adventure an enormous fabulous voyage of discovery. Buddhism has the concept of the noble path (I am not a Buddhist BTW) and one of the elements is based on attaining Wisdom, so eating from the tree of knowledge thank you very much. I am about to complete my second masters degree so I have sought truth and knowledge my entire life.

        What life has taught me is to always keep exploring and never to stand still and to seek to improve ones mind and attain wisdom.

        This is not the philosophy of your closed system which is why it will atrophy over time as we’re seeing with the aging congregations and declining attendance rates and the death of deference to historic and corrupt systems such as the church.

        It’s going to be all over for you very soon, unless you change !

      • Mark Boggia says:

        Oh come on Tim

        I have to say the “fear pitch” from the Jehovah’s who knocked on my door the other day was much better, you need to up your game, they discussed facts and everything.

      • Onesimus says:

        Mark, you said:

        I have to say the “fear pitch” from the …

        I’m the one saying there is nothing for you to fear.

        Your demonstrated fear of the truth is unnecessary and you can be freed from it.

      • Jeanne T. says:

        LOL – Actually, you aren’t at all “open minded.”

  6. Onesimus says:

    Mark said:

    so eating from the tree of knowledge thank you very much.

    The first recorded sin in scripture (to which I suspect you allude) had nothing to do with a “tree of knowledge”.
    There is no mention of such a tree in scripture. So your implication that the desire for knowledge is portrayed as sinful is seriously wrong, like so much of your religious thinking.

    However, there is mention of a “tree of the knowledge of good and evil”.
    But the knowledge of good and evil was not contained within the tree or its fruit. That knowledge was gained through the wilful personal experience of disobeying what at that time was God’s ONLY command to NOT do something. Effectively knowledge of evil came by doing evil.

    Mark also insisted:

    Don’t forget we are all born atheists.

    Quite a categorical statement, based on what evidence?

    However, giving you the benefit of the doubt with your assertion, I’d add that we are all born with no control over our bodily functions – but thank God, with time and learning, we are able to develop that control and become toilet trained.

  7. Onesimus says:

    as we’re seeing with the aging congregations and declining attendance rates

    Thank God for that.
    That the old dead religious institutions that you continually reference in your straw man arguments are dying the death they deserve.

    And yet, as promised by Jesus, the gates of hell (place of the dead) will never prevail against the TRUE church of believers – that countless multitude who actually follow Jesus and aren’t devotees of man’s religious and religio-political institutions.

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