Who Were the Magi? Matthew 2:1-12 First appeared in 7th Century BC as a tribe in the emerging Median Nation. Were a priesthood; offering sacrifices and interpreting dreams. This made them valuable to kings; they
possessed great influence and political power as world powers would rise and fall. They survived through the Babylonian, Medo Persian, Greek, and Roman Empires. By the 5th Century BC, the term Magi became synonymous with the Greek word for wizard and sorcerer. By the time of the Romans, the Magi and their
arts were associated with sorcery. Our English word magic is derived from the Latin word magicus which is traced back to the magical arts of the Magi. While the Magi in the West were known for their magical arts, the Magi in the East (Persia) were known as astrologers. They foretold the future and gave advice
based on the stars and the signs in the heavens. The Magi who came to worship Jesus were from the East (Matt. 12:1). We have seen His star Has been explained as a nova, comets, an aligning of the planets Jupiter and Saturn, or a combination of these.
The easiest explanation is that the star was a miraculous manifestation of light. It appeared and moved as it guided them to the house containing Jesus (vs. 9-10). Since the days of Daniel in the 6th Century BC, the fortunes of the Persians and the Jews were closely intertwined. During the middle of the 3rd Century BC, a council
known as the Megistanes was instituted. This council assisted in the election (and if necessary, the deposition) of a king; as well as to serve as advisors in governing the nation. The Magi were given the senior position in this council. Thus, by the First Century, the Magi were known of as King-Makers. Magi come to Jerusalem
Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him (v. 2) When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him (v. 3).
The Fate of the Magi The story of the Magi was expanded in the Apocryphal Gospels of the Second Century. It is here that they are identified as three men or kings and are even given names. Melchior of Persia who brought the gift of gold. Balthazar of Arabia who brought the gift of myrrh. Gaspar of India who brought the gift of
frankincense. The Fate of the Magi The real Magi enjoyed continued religious and political power in Persia until the 7th Century AD when they were driven out by Muslims. They migrated to India where their descendants can be found to this day.
Misconceptions Regarding the Nativity Number of Wise Men The Wise Men were not at the Manger (Matt. 2:11) December 25th December 25th In 354 A.D., Liberius (considered by many to be one of the early popes of the Catholic Church)
ordered that December 25th be adopted as the date of or the celebration of the birth of Christ. December 25 was already a festive day for the sun god Mithra and appealed to the Christians as an appropriate date to commemorate the birth of Jesus, the Light of the World (Lincoln Library of Essential Information). Purpose of the Gifts Brought By the Magi
Gold, frankincense, and myrrh were all typical gifts that one would give to royalty (v. 11). All three gifts were very valuable, and would have sustained the family as they fled to Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod (Matt. 2:13-15). How Did the Magi Know to Come to Jerusalem and Worship Jesus? Some suggest it was a combination of
astrology and their knowledge of the Jewish prophets. The logical answer is that God told them to do so (v. 12). How Did the Magi Know to Come to Jerusalem and Worship Jesus? God has often worked through the Gentiles to bring about His will.
Jethro - Gen. 18:17-27 Necho, king of Egypt - 2 Chron. 35:21-22 Babylonians and Cyrus - Ezra 5:12-13 Baby Jesus Grew Up! No one is intimidated by baby Jesus. It was the adult Jesus who exposed the sin of the world (John 3:19-21). The adult Jesus told men they would die in
their sins (John 8:24). The adult Jesus told men to repent or perish (Luke 13:3). There are still people in the world who are searching for their Savior.
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