Here’s What History Can Tell Us About the Magi
Christmas Day is celebrated on December 25, but the tale of Christmas does not end there. In many Western Christian traditions, Christmas is celebrated over 12 days, with the feast of the Epiphany falling on January 6, the culmination of the season. Many people think that’s when the “Magi,” or “wise men,” or “three kings,” came to view the newborn infant Jesus for the first time. But were any of these individuals influenced by real-life historical figures? It is difficult to link their depictions to specific individuals, but their descriptions in the Gospel of Matthew, which are only a few sentences long, do correspond to current understandings of the world at the time the Gospel was written, which is thought to have occurred sometime between 70 CE and 85 CE.
Also absent from the record is any indication of the number of males in attendance.
Immediately after Jesus’ birth at the town of Bethlehem in Judea, which was then under the reign of the Roman King Herod, according to Matthew’s Gospel, “certain men who studied the stars came from the East to Jerusalem and inquired, ‘Where is the infant born to be the king of the Jews?'” Our attention was drawn to his star as it rose in the East, and we have come to adore him.” They arrived at Jesus and Mary’s home after following the light of a star, and they brought presents of gold, frankincense and myrrh to them, as described in the Gospel.
Gold was then, as it is now, a symbol of riches and power.
According to Kristin Swenson, an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University and author of the forthcomingA Most Peculiar Book: The Inherent Strangeness of the Bible, myrrh is a “outlier” in the Bible.
Swenson explains that Jesus is served wine with myrrh before his crucifixion because it is a painkiller in Mark 15:23, and this is because myrrh is a natural analgesic.
It is clear from the lavish presents that these Eastern guests are “people of immense money and power,” as Swenson puts it, since they “bring things that are kind of evident based on the things they bring.” “They are referred to as Magi in Greek, which was a title that referred to a category of Persian priests at the time of the Greek invasion.
“Their orientation was considerably more in the direction of what we would today characterize as scientific.” Looking to a star is “very much in keeping with the religious tradition of this place at the time of looking to the heavens, the stars, and the planets for information about the gods’ wishes and doings, and some stars or planets were identified with God.” Looking to a star is “very much in keeping with the religious tradition of this place at the time of looking to the heavens, the stars, and the planets for information about the gods’ wishes and doings” The author of the Gospel of Matthew also points out that the Gospel of Matthew portrays a prophecy from hundreds of years earlier, found in the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament, in which the nations of the world recognize Israel as the light of the world and celebrate this recognition with gifts of gold, frankincense, and other valuable gifts.
TIME magazine’s cover article “Secrets of the Nativity,” published on December 13, 2004, highlighted decades of efforts to make sense of the Magi, as well as the numerous futile searches for tangible proof of the nativity scene: After all, from whence exactly in the Orient (which literally translates as “East”) were they coming from?
- It is possible that the presents they carried–gold, frankincense, and myrrh–were brought by camel trains from Arabia, as described in unrelated Bible accounts from Sheba and Midian, both of which are located on the peninsula.
- The most fortunate of all the guesses turned out to be the one made in the 4th century by the designers of the Church of the Nativity in Palestine, whose golden entrance mosaic showed the Magi clothed as Persians, who were also well-known stargazers at the time.
- The Magi enjoyed a long and fruitful postbiblical existence.
- Their number, which fluctuated from two to twelve in different tales, finally settled on three, most likely as a result of their three gifts.
- This is how a medieval Irish account of the guy described him: “The first is supposed to have been.
- beardless and ruddy-complexioned.
- Researchers have speculated that the combination was either intended to emphasize Christianity’s global ambitions or pointed back to an earlier varied threesome, Noah’s sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, as a point of reference.
Melchior died on January 1st, at the age of 116; St.
Gaspar died on January 11th, at the age of 109.” Many modern Christmas customs depict these three wise men in a way that is influenced by medieval art.
In popular imagination, paintings by painters such as Botticelli, Peter Paul Rubens, and Hieronymus Bosch (as seen above) contributed to solidifying the idea of the Magi as a varied bunch of men.
in 1857, is perhaps the most famous musical depiction of the three men.
And, just as interpretations of the Magi evolved over time in response to events in the world, so too will current events influence how individuals find meaning in the Bible in order to make sense of their own lives.
While doing so, it is critical to remember and acknowledge that we are reimagining for our times texts that, in some cases, defy our expectations, at times confound us with contradictions, and, unless we read them in their ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek originals, rely on translations that are themselves interpreted.” TIME Magazine has more must-read stories.
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Write to Olivia B. Waxman at the following address: [email protected].
The Christmas Story – All About The Wise Men
The arrival of the Three Wise Men; trips, political intrigue, and not a stable in sight.
The Story in the Bible
“Where is he who is born King of the Jews?” they inquired after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea during Herod the king’s reign. Look, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem to inquire. Because we saw his star in the east and have came to adore him,” says the author. And when King Herod learned of it, he was concerned, as was the entire city of Jerusalem. And after collecting all of the top priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them as to where the Messiah would be born. “In Bethlehem of Judea, for it is stated via the prophet, ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are in no way least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come out a ruler who will shepherd my people, Israel,'” they explained.
- When they arrived in Bethlehem, he told them to go and look for the tiny boy with diligence, and when they found him to bring me news so that I too might come and adore him.
- And when they saw the star, they were filled with a tremendous amount of happiness.
- They then presented him with presents, which included gold, frankincense, and myrrh, which they had opened from their riches.
- Matthew 2:12 – 12:12
The History behind the Three Kings/Wise Men/Magi in the Christmas Story
Wise Men traveled to find Jesus after His birth, most likely from a territory that is now either Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia or Yemen, or from an area that is now southern Turkey and northern Syria, to seek for Him after His birth. Despite the fact that they are commonly referred to as the “Three Kings,” the Bible does not specify how many there were or that they were kings. One possibility is that they were the Kings of Yemen, which would make sense given that the Kings of Yemen were Jews at the period.
- They were, without a doubt, guys of considerable intellect.
- ‘ Magos is derived from the ancient Persian term ‘Magupati,’ which means “magupati’s throne.” A priest of a sect of ancient Persian faiths such as Zoroastrianism was known by this title, which was awarded to him by his peers.
- In those days, both astronomy and astrology were considered to be part of the same overarching study (and’science,’ as it were), and they went hand in hand with one another.
- They would have also been extremely wealthy and well-regarded in their own community as well as by individuals from other countries and religions who did not share their beliefs.
- The origin of the new star in the sky is still a mystery, and there are several possibilities, including comets, supernovae, planets colliding, and even something supernatural!
- The Magi would have become familiar with the predictions of an unique Jewish Savior (also known as the Messiah) from their time as captives in ancient Babylon some hundred years before the birth of Jesus.
They have been the subject of legends, and they have been given names. They are frequently described in the following ways:
- He has brown hair and a brown beard (or no beard!) and wears a green robe with green gems on it. Gaspar (or Caspar) also has brown hair and a brown beard (or no beard!) He is known as the “King of Sheba.” Gaspar represents the Frankincense that was given to Jesus, and Melchior, who has long white hair and a white beard and wears a gold mantle, represents the frankincense that was presented to Jesus. He is known as the “King of Arabia.” Melchior represents the gold that was presented to Jesus, while Balthazar, who has dark complexion, a black beard (or no beard!) and a purple cloak, depicts the silver that was brought to Jesus. He is the King of Tarsus/Macedonia as well as the King of Egypt. When Balthazar is presented before Jesus, he represents the gift of Myrrh that was delivered to Jesus.
Herod requested that the Wise Men locate Jesus and inform him of his whereabouts, not so that he might go and honor him as he had stated, but so that he could murder him! He interpreted Jesus’ words as if he were a new King who could come and usurp his position of authority. Because Jesus would have been between the ages of one and two when the Wise Men discovered them, it is likely that they were living in a typical dwelling, most likely in Bethlehem or Jerusalem, when the Wise Men discovered them.
Although the presents appear to be weird to give to a baby, Christians believe that they had the following symbolic meanings:
- Historically, gold has been connected with kings, and Christians believe that Jesus is the King of Kings. Frankincense is a fragrant oil that is occasionally used in church services to indicate that people are willing to worship Jesus. It is a perfume that is applied to dead bodies in order to make them smell pleasant. According to Christian belief, it demonstrated that Jesus would suffer and die.
All of the presents are also from the Arabian Peninsula, which is located east of Israel. A dream forewarned the wise men that they should not go to Herod and inform him where Jesus was, preventing Herod from carrying out his heinous plot to kidnap and kill Jesus.
Who Were the Magi (Three Wise Men) that visited Christ?
When it comes to the party of magi who traveled to Jerusalem to find the King of the Jews, Matthew 2 merely mentions that they came from the East by following “His star.” In other classical writers, the termmagimeant was used to refer to either those who practiced magical arts (such as those mentioned in Acts 8:9 and Acts 13:6) or Eastern priest-sages who were usually associated with the area near Babylon and who were said to look into the mysteries of the universe through the disciplines of astronomy, astrology, and natural science.
- The latter option makes the most sense in this situation.
- There were numerous Jews living in dispersion across the Roman Empire and the Eastern Mediterranean during this time period.
- Take, for example, Yemen, whose monarchs claimed Jewish faith from roughly 120 B.C.
- However, because they were unaware of the location of Christ’s birth, their interpretation of prophecy proved to be relatively restricted.
- According to the prophesy in Micah 5:2, the Israeli rulers guided the magi to Bethlehem, where the baby Jesus was born.
- They eventually located and paid honor to Christ.
- The Jews of the day were looking forward to a Messiah who would be accepted and honored by the entire world.
The presence of only a handful of mages appears to be a parody of such assumptions virtually on the surface. The following is an adaptation of Alfred Edersheim’s The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (Book II, Chapter VIII).
What Can We Learn from the Wise Men?
It is not known who these three wise men were or where they came from. Their identities, as well as their residence, are both withheld from us. It’s all we know about them is that they arrived “from the East.” Matthew 2:1-12 demonstrates that faithful servants of God may be found in unexpected locations, such as areas where we would not expect to find them. The Lord Jesus has a large number of “hidden ones,” such as these three wise men. The grace of God is not bound by geographical boundaries or familial ties.
- Men may be born in the darkest parts of the world, as these wise men were, and yet, like them, they may be transformed into “wise unto redemption.” These passages remind us that it is not usually those who have the most religious advantages who are the most devout in their devotion to Christ.
- However, this was not the case.
- As these lines remind us, there might be knowledge of Scripture in the brain, but there must be grace in the heart for it to be effective.
- They did not, however, travel to Bethlehem in search of the soon-to-arrive Savior.
- When they had to journey from their homes to the location where Jesus was born, imagine the difficulties they must have faced!
- It would be beneficial for all professing Christians if they were more willing to follow in the footsteps of the wise men.
- What pains do we go through in order to save our souls?
What exactly does our religious belief cost us?
This is something that should be given careful thought.
They believed in Christ despite the fact that they had never seen Him – but it was not the only thing they did.
It was when they saw Him as a small child on Mary’s knee that they began to believe in Him, and they treated Him as a king.
Ryle (Chapter 2).
Why Don’t the Other Gospels Mention the Magi?
There is an episode reported in Matthew 1:1-23 that is completely overlooked by the other Evangelists, but which is particularly relevant in this first Gospel. The visit of the wise men (magi), who traveled from the East to honor and revere the ChristChild, is shown in this episode. The specifics of this visit that we are given by the Holy Spirit serve to demonstrate the unique nature and breadth of Matthew’s Gospel. The following is the introduction to this chapter: “Then, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea during the reign of King Herod in the year of our Lord, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?’ The light in the east has drawn us to Him, and we have come to worship Him.'” It is important to note that these wise men did not come questioning, “Where is He who is born the Savior of the world?” nor, “Where is the Word now incarnate?” but rather, “Where is He who is born King of the Jews?” The fact that Mark, Luke, and John are completely silent on the subject, as well as the fact that Matthew’s Gospel does describe it, is unquestionably proof positive that this first Gospel shows Christ in a distinctly Jewish connection with the people of Jerusalem.
The evidence for this is accumulative: first, there is the unusual expression with which Matthew opens — “the book of the generation of,” which is an Old Testament expression that is found nowhere else in the New Testament; second, there is the first title given to Christ in this Gospel — “Son of David”; third, there is the Royal Genealogy that follows immediately after; and finally, there is the account of the visit of the wise men, who inquired, “Where is He who is born King of the Jews?” The following is an adaptation of Why Four Gospels?,1.
The Gospel of Matthew, by A.W.
When Did the Three Wise Men Visit Jesus?
The sequence of events that occurred between the time of Christ’s birth and the time He went to live in Nazareth is hotly debated. The time of the Magi’s arrival is the most contentious issue, and this is where the debate begins. If this can be known, it may be possible to schedule the other events with relative ease. The arrival of the Magi was traditionally dated to the 6th of January, or the 13th day after the birth of Jesus, according to ancient and contemporary traditions. In that case, assuming that the star heralded His birth and that they departed as soon as it appeared, they would have been on their trip for just around 10 days at that point.
- It is currently commemorated in both the Greek and Roman Churches with reference to the two preceding events, with the adoration of the Magi being the most significant of these events in both churches.
- The tradition, on the other hand, did not command widespread acceptance.
- Others have speculated that the date of January 6th was chosen only for the sake of convenience, rather than having any actual chronological relation to the event.
- Secondly, Jesus and His parents returned to Nazareth immediately after the presentation, indicating that the presentation must have taken place prior to their visit (Luke 2; see also Mark 2).
- However, none of these arguments is conclusive.
- Many of the fathers believe that they discovered Him still in the manger, or stall, which may be correct if the manger was in a cave at the back of the home.
- However, this is a purely arbitrary interpretation.
- He doesn’t tell anything about the Magi, about the slaughter of the children, or about the journey into Egypt.
The following is an adaptation of The Life of Our Lord on the Earth by Samuel James Andrews. Credit for the photo: iStock/Getty Images Plus/Denis-Art Photo Credit:
Why Did the Magi Go to Herod?
The following Bible knowledge question was addressed to me by a friend recently: “Why did the magi approach King Herod?” After all, it was this that prompted him to massacre the boys in Bethlehem who were 2 years old and younger (Matthew 2:1-12). Wouldn’t this senseless slaughter have been avoided if they hadn’t gone to Herod in the first place? In response, I’ve included some useful, relevant Bible study information:
Who are the magi?
The magi (also known as wise men) were persons who had a long history of studying the stars, planets, and other celestial phenomena, and they were known for their knowledge of astronomy. They were most likely from the Babylonian/Mesopotamian/Fertile Crescent area, and they were held in high regard. They were not, on the other hand, malevolent magicians and astrologers who were affiliated with the occult. Now, when we tell the narrative of Jesus’ birth and sing our beloved hymns about it, we tend to exaggerate or embellish certain parts that are not historically correct.
- There were three wise men, according to tradition, but we aren’t sure how many there were in total. In reality, there were most likely many more than three of them, who formed a considerable entourage. So, why do we use the number three? This is due to the fact that three presents are stated in Matthew 2:11: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. However, these are the three types of presents they gave to Jesus, not the quantity of gifts they presented. In addition, we believe that they appeared at the home where Jesus was born, while Jesus was still resting in the manger, and that they presented Christ with gold, frankincense, and myrrh in unknown quantities. In contrast, the wise men thought that Jesus had already been born when they arrived in Jerusalem (Matt. 2:2), required ample time (as much as 1-2 years) to travel by land, and were welcomed into a home rather than a cave by Joseph, Mary, and Jesus (Matt. 2:11)
Why did they travel to Jerusalem?
The magi were academics who studied the motions, cycles, patterns, and occurrences of the various heavenly bodies that make up the solar system. They were also adept at divination. They also looked at a variety of historical records, prophesies, and oral traditions that had been passed down through generations and civilizations, going all the way back to the beginning of time. They may have truly believed in the Messiah, who was predicted throughout the Old Testament and who would eventually be identified as Jesus Christ.
- A component of this magi tradition, or at the very least connected to it or intersected with it, appears to have existed for Daniel (and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego).
- As an Empire, they would seek out persons like Daniel from each captive nation who would be able to supply them with crucial insights from their own backgrounds, cultures, religions, and traditions – all in the sake of expanding their collective knowledge.
- We also know that he diligently studied the Old Testament Scriptures that were available to him in order to get a better understanding of God’s predictions and promises to the Jews.
- I will see him, but not at this time; I will see him, but not close by: a Star will rise out of Jacob, and a Sceptre will rise out of Israel, and I will see him, but not now.
Any uncommon or notable phenomena in the sky, such as a star of some type or another rising above Israel, would have been recognized as a potentially momentous event by them. As a result, they took action in response to their observations and followed the star to Israel.
What actually happened when they arrived at Jerusalem?
Consider the topic at hand: “Why did the magi approach King Herod?” It is important to note that the magi did not instantly introduce themselves to King Herod as part of the answer to the question. They anticipated to discover a monarch who had been born somewhere in the nation of Israel, but they didn’t have a precise spot in mind when they began their search. As a result, they set off for the most obvious destination possible: Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel. As soon as they arrived in the city, they began questioning everyone they came across about the location of the kid who had been born, the future King of the Jews.
- He began by summoning the local Jewish religious leaders as well as Old Testament academics, known as scribes. He inquired as to the location of the foretold birthplace of the Jewish King. Even though they quoted Micah 5:2 (compare with Matt. 2:6), it was clear that they were unaware of the fact that this event had already transpired. Second, he invited the three wise men who had come to visit him to a private meeting with himself. He gave them the answer to their query about the location of the birth of the King of the Jews — Bethlehem. This was the one piece of information they were missing. Moreover, as a thank you for providing such crucial information, Herod inquired as to when the star had shone so that he might have a point of reference to determine how old the kid may already be
Upon concluding his two encounters with the magi, Herod informed them that they should report back to him on their visit and the whereabouts of this infant, if and when they discovered his locations. God only warned them after they paid a visit to Jesus and told them not to communicate with Herod again. They had had no prior notice of Herod’s arrival, and they had never requested to meet with him. So what was it that prompted the magi to approach Herod?
- First and foremost, they had no divine instructions to stay away from Herod
- Second, they were probably unaware that Herod was maddeningly obsessed with protecting his newly acquired title as King of the Jews, which had been bestowed upon him by Rome
- And third, they had no idea where in Israel the child would be born. Nota bene: The book of Daniel was most likely authored by Daniel in Babylon, around 500 years before the birth of Christ. The book of Micah was most likely composed around 100 years after the book of Isaiah. The prophesy of Balaam in Numbers 24:17, on the other hand, indicates that Daniel and later wise men would not have had access to Micah, though they would have had access to Numbers. As a result, the wise men knew when the Messiah had been born (Num. 24:17), and the Jerusalem rabbis knew where the Messiah would be born (Micah 5:2), and God used Herod to bring these two facts together, making it possible for the wise men to find Jesus.
Have you ever had the opportunity to see a star? The star can point you in a general direction (north, south, east, and west), but because of a variety of geographical, special, and astronomical factors, it is difficult to say that a star is situated above a specific city, much less a small village like Bethlehem, and even more difficult to say that a star is situated above a specific house in Bethlehem! The wise men had enough information from Numbers 24:17 and their observations of the movement of the stars to go to Israel, and then, of course, to Jerusalem, which was the capital city at the time.
What can we take away from this narrative?
The birth of Christ was something that several Gentiles throughout the world desired much more than the birth of Christ for the Jewish people!
When Herod reigned as king of Judea, Jesus was born in Bethlehem. One day, certain men who were astronomers traveled from the east to Jerusalem and inquired as to “Where has the Baby been born to be the king of the Jews?” They had gone to worship him because they had seen his star in the east. Herod became enraged and summoned the leading priests and professors of the law, inquiring where the Messiah would be born. They informed him that Bethlehem had been prophesied in the Bible. Herod requested that the visitors inform him of the whereabouts of the infant so that he, too, may offer adoration to him.
They adored him and presented him with presents of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, which he accepted. They returned home by a different route because God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod’s courtroom.
Bethlehem was a little village about six miles outside of the city of Jerusalem. It served as King David’s residence for a while. Therefore, it is noteworthy that Jesus was born there, since the Jews were expecting the Messiah, as predicted in the Old Testament, to arrive from the same location as King David’s birthplace. When these prophesies are fulfilled, Matthew loves to remind his readers of it, and he does it frequently. King Herod was descended from Jewish ancestors to a certain extent.
In the eyes of many, Herod was an unacceptably authoritarian dictator because he performed precisely what the Romans commanded him to do.
Thus, Herod was in a precarious situation and was anxious about having his authority taken away from him.
According to the Roman Emperor Augustus, it was safer to be Herod’s pig than it was to be his son.
Understanding the text
The visitors are referred to as “Magi” (wise men) by Matthew, and it is possible that they were astrologers who followed the sign of an unique star in the sky. They were most likely from the Persian Empire. The Magi may have paid Mary and Joseph a visit weeks or perhaps months after the shepherds paid them a visit, if they had found lodging in a home during that time (verse 11). Some traditions make mention of the Magi’s inquiries. A great ruler is described in the Old Testament as bringing presents to him (Psalm 72:10-11), and monarchs will come to Jerusalem to honor God’s light, according to the Old Testament (Isaiah 60:3).
- People sometimes believe there were three guests since there were three presents, however Matthew does not specify how many visitors there were or how many gifts there were.
- He obtained this information by consulting with the leading priests and instructors of the law.
- Accordingly, the conclusion was reached that the future monarch would be born at Bethlehem (or Israel).
- As part of the birth tale, the Magi have a symbolic responsibility to fulfill.
They are coming from the east. They also depict those with a different social position in society than the lowly shepherds, who are worshipping Jesus in a same manner. The gifts of the Magi are also very symbolic of Jesus’ future existence, since they signify the king, the God, and the human being:
- Gold is a valuable metal that symbolizes monarchy and authority. There is a strong focus on Jesus’ status as the ruler of the kingdom of God. The color gold depicts Jesus’ monarchy
- The color silver represents the kingship of Satan
- And the color blue represents the kingship of God. Frankincense is a resin derived from a tree that is utilized in temple worship for its fragrant scent (and still used in some churches today). When Jesus is regarded as God, Frankincense signifies this. Myrrh was an oil that was used to anoint the deceased before they were buried. Christ’s humanity and death are symbolized by the myrrh.
The Magi are cautioned not to return to Herod because he wants to harm the infant, as they learn in a dream. Dreams and angels play a significant role in the birth tales of children and adults. They are the means through which God interacts with mankind and directs events on the earth’s surface.
Who arrives on the 12th day of Christmas? Three Wise Men, of course
The museum’s curator of Latino history and culture in the Home and Community Life division, Dr. Margaret Salazar-Porzio, and intern Jonathan Borda discuss the highlights of the museum’s collection of Three Kings sculptures in honor of Three Kings Day on January 6. For many individuals in the United States, singing about the 12 days of Christmas is a childhood memory. It is a classic song of 12 cumulative verses that each time involve an increasing and increasing quantity of presents; remember the ringing chorus, “five golden rings”?
Even the animals bow down to the child Jesus in this representation of the Three Kings from Latin America.
As recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, the men discovered the heavenly infant at Bethlehem after traveling over the desert in search of it with the North Star.
It took them three days to travel by horse, camel, and elephant (respectively) from Bethlehem to the city of Nazareth to give the newborn baby Jesus three symbolic gifts: gold, because Jesus was royalty as “King of the Jews,” frankincense, which represented the baby’s holy nature as the Son of God, and myrrh, which represented Jesus’ mortality.
- Because of the biblical Nativity narrative, January 6th is not only a holy day in many families, but it is also honored in a variety of ways all around the world on this day of celebration.
- The set is now on show in the exhibition, Many Voices, One Nation, which is currently taking place.
- In Argentina, for example, people dress up like the three kings and ride camels in public festivals and parades to raise awareness.
- If the children have been nice during the year, they will get toys that have been left in the shoe boxes for them.
- The Great Fruit Cake Toss is a tradition in Colorado that involves individuals costumed as kings and fools competing to see who can toss their fruitcake the farthest.
- King Cakes are traditionally baked for the occasion, and, unlike the aforementioned fruitcakes, these are really eaten and appreciated by everybody.
- The Smithsonian Institution has a large collection of Tres Reyes figurines.
She has also written on her blog on how the Day of the Dead is not the same as Halloween. Jonathan Borda is a museum intern who works in the education department.
In Christian belief, the Magi, singularMagus, also known asWise Men, were aristocratic travellers “from the East” who followed a miraculous guiding star to Bethlehem, where they paid respect to the infantJesus, who had been anointed as king of the Jews. (Matthew 2:1–12; Mark 2:1–12). As part of its long-standing theological tradition, Christians have always emphasized that Gentiles as well as Jews were invited to worship Jesus, an event commemorated at Christmas in the Eastern church and at Epiphany in the Western church (January 6).
TheGospel According to Matthew, when the Magi arrived in Jerusalem to announce Jesus’ birth, they piqued the attention of King Herod Iof Judaea, who inquired, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?” For we have been watching his star as it rises, and we have come to pay him honor” (Matthew 2:2).
- He then dispatched them to view the child Jesus, with the condition that they report back to him with the whereabouts of the baby Jesus.
- After being warned not to return to Herod in a dream, “they fled for their own land along a different way” (Matthew 2:12).
- More Information on This Subject may be found here.
- The tradition of the Magi, who were referenced in the Gospel of Matthew, is a popular folklore.
- Traditions passed down over the generations have enriched the story.
- A chronicle known as theExcerpta latina barbari (Latin for “Battle of the Magi”) has the names of three Magi who lived around the time of the 8th century: Bithisarea, Melichior, and Gathaspa.
- According to Western church tradition, Balthasar is frequently shown as a king of Arabia or occasionally Ethiopia, Melchior as a king of Persia, and Gaspar as a king of India, with Melchior being the most frequently depicted.
- Three and a half by two and a half metres.
- Three of the three are frequently honored as saints and martyrs, and their purported remains were moved from Constantinople (now Istanbul) to Milan, and then to Cologne Cathedral, probably as early as the late 5th century.
- This is referred to as the Adoration of the Magi (i.e., their adoration to the newborn).
As a result, in medieval times, the Adoration of the Magi was frequently associated with two other significant events in Jesus’ life: his baptism, during which the voice of God publicly declared Jesus to be his son, and the wedding at Cana, during which he demonstrated his divinity by turning water into wine.
Adoration of the Three Wise Men This panel is the center panel of a triptych by the Antwerp Mannerist painter Jan de Beer, which was completed about 1520 and is now at the Brera Museum in Milan.
The Feast of the Three Kings, often known as Epiphany, is traditionally observed as the final of the Twelve Days of Christmas in Western Christianity.
Children wake up to modest presents in their shoes in honor of the Magi’s gifts to the newborn, which they received the night before after leaving a bowl of water and some grass or other plants for the camels of the Three Kings.
Those in charge of editing the Encyclopaedia Britannica Melissa Petruzzello was the author of the most recent revision and update to this article.
What the Gifts of the Magi Tell Us about Jesus
The journey of the Magi to adore Jesus is commemorated on the feast of the Epiphany. It symbolizes the arrival of Jesus to all people — Gentiles and Jews alike – in one body. The Magi, who had traveled from afar to adore the Christ Child, had seen a star and decided to come. It was they who gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh – each of which reveals something about Jesus’ true nature to us.
What the Bible Tells Us about the Magi
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?” According to the biblical account: We caught a glimpse of his growing star and have come to pay our respects to him.” Following their meeting with the king, they set out on their journey. When they got there, they noticed that the star that they had seen at its rise had preceded them all the way to the spot where the youngster was hiding.
They bowed their heads in reverence and paid him tribute.
And, after receiving a warning in a dream not to return to Herod, they decided to take a different route back to their homeland.
Gold – the Kingship of Jesus
The magi’s gifts were more than just a show of riches; they also had a deeper significance. Jesus’ reign is symbolized by the gold. As Daniel 7:13-14 states: “As the visions during the night progressed, I saw coming with the clouds of heaven,” I saw coming with the clouds of heaven. One who resembles a son of man. When he arrived before the Ancient of Days and was introduced to him, he was bestowed with dominion, glory, and kingship; all countries, peoples, and tongues will be devoted to his service.
The Magi saw that Jesus’ reign extended beyond all earthly rulers, and they came to adore him as a result of their recognition.
Frankincense – the Deity of Jesus
The frankincense is a symbol of Jesus’ divinity. As a gift to God, frankincense was typically burnt in the temple throughout the time of the Old Testament (Leviticus 2:2). By presenting this gift, the Magi demonstrated that Jesus is more than just a normal man; he is totally human and fully divine. Because, as it says in Colossians 2:9-10, “in him dwells all the fullness of the deity bodily,” and you participate in this fullness in him, who is the head of every principality and power, you are part of the god.
Myrrh – the Death of Jesus
The present of myrrh, which is commonly used to embalm bodies, foreshadows the death of Jesus. We learn from John 19:38-40 that Nicodemus took myrh to the tomb of Jesus. Following this, Joseph of Arimathea, who was secretly a disciple of Jesus out of fear of the Jews, petitioned Pilate to allow him to take the body of Jesus from the tomb. And Pilate gave his approval. As a result, he arrived and seized his body. Nicodemus, the man who had initially approached him in the middle of the night, returned the next day with a combination of myrrh and aloes weighing around one hundred pounds.
The complete story of Jesus’ arrival is presented in this manner. So that we can be saved, Jesus was born into this world. We have eternal life as a result of Jesus’ death on the cross.
The Magi’s Gifts: Pointing to the Ultimate Gift
The gifts of the Magi shed light on the various facets of Christ’s personae and mission. Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, and in his great generosity, he died in order that we could live. As the Magi aggressively sought Jesus, so too should we follow Christ without hesitation, allowing him to serve as our guiding star as we go through life. When it comes to knowing where Jesus was born, like the scribes did, it is not enough if we do not go to the place where he was born.
- When his location becomes our place, when his time becomes our time, when his person becomes our life, then the predictions come to fruition in us and we become the fulfillment of them.
- For me, he takes on the nature of a living God.
- They do not engage in dispute; instead, they proceed.
- They do not place themselves as the focus of attention, but instead bow down before the One who is the center of attention.
Lucas Emil Vorsterman’s The Adoration of the Magi, after Sir Peter Paul Rubens, was published in 1620 as an engraving on lay paper. The National Gallery of Art is located in Washington, D.C. Ailsa Mellon is a woman who lives in Ireland. Bruce Fund is a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to low-income individuals and families. The Magi, also known as wise men, are mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew (2:1–12) as having traveled from the East to Bethlehem in pursuit of a newborn king.
- The Magi, who were gentiles who recognized Christ’s divinity, say that they played a crucial part in the Epiphany, the manifestation of God to the world, and that they deserve to be remembered as such.
- During the Middle Periods, the vast majority of people thought that three Magi came to see the Christ child and that they were monarchs who represented the three ages of mankind.
- Later observers speculated that they represented the three known continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa, which they claimed to have depicted.
- However, the names, like the countries of origin, were never continuously allocated to a single ruler over a period of time.
- Although the coming of the Magi to honor the infant Christ was the most popular scene from the Gospel of Matthew, artists sometimes mixed the event with the account of Jesus’ birth in the Gospel of Luke, which does not feature the Magi but does have the attractive detail of a manger.
The National Gallery of Art has a number of representations of the Adoration of the Magi on display.
What does the Bible say about the three wise men (Magi)?
QuestionAnswer Because of the three gifts that were given: gold, incense, and myrrh, we might presume that there were three wise men there at the time (Matthew 2:11). The Bible, on the other hand, does not state that there were only three wise men. The number may have been far higher. Legend claims that there were three, and that their names were Gaspar/Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar/Balthazar; but, because the Bible does not include their names, we have no way of knowing whether or not the tradition is correct.
- This is a frequent mistake.
- Because of this, Matthew 2:11 states that the wise men came to Jesus’ home and worshipped him, rather than at the stable.
- According to one estimate, the wise men journeyed between 800 and 900 kilometers to view the Christ child.
- Daniel 9:24-27 contains a prophesy that predicts the birth of the Messiah and provides a timeframe for that event.
- As part of his prophecy, Balaam expressly refers to a “star coming out of Jacob.” The wise men were lead to the location of the King of the Jews by a miraculous celestial occurrence known as the “Star of Bethlehem,” which they dubbed “His star” and which they termed “His star” (Matthew 2:2).
- They were ecstatic as they followed God’s leading (Matthew 2:10).
- Following a dream in which God advised them against going back to Herod, they decided to leave Judea via a different path in disobedience of the king (Matthew 2:12).
- They were very intelligent individuals!
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