Thursday, December 14, 2006

14th Day of Christmas - The Wise Men

Did you know that many of the things we "know" about the Wise Men, are not even mentioned in scripture? They are assumptions that have been accepted as fact over the years.

The Bible calls these men magi which is from the Greek word magoi. These magi were priests who were powerful men of great wealth who counseled kings of the Medo-Persian Empire. Although certain Old Testament prophecies suggest these men may in fact have been kings, Matthew does not ever call them kings. This is something that has been assumed over the years as noted in some of our traditional Christmas carol (We Three Kings).

Nativity scenes show these wise men in the original manager scene the night of Jesus' birth, however by the time they brought their gifts to Mary and her child, Jesus was probably already two years old. This explains why Herod ordered all male children two years or younger to be killed after he realized the wise men had fooled him and left without reporting the child's whereabouts.

The Wise Men are also represented as three in our nativity scenes and in song, however Scripture does not tell us how many men there were. It has been assumed there were three because Scripture does mention the three gifts presented to Jesus by these wise men. Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.

Have you ever wondered about these strange baby shower gifts? Gold we may accept now, but would we want the others? Even these gifts have significance.

Gold signified royalty and acknowledges Christ as the King of kings.

Frankincense was used in worship and represents the deity of Jesus.

Myrrh was commonly used in preparation for burial and represents the death of the Son of Man. A death that would then result in His rise to sit at the right hand of God the Father as the Son of God.

These men were wise indeed!

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