Why Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh?
Taking the materials that the Magi brought as presents for a newborn king into consideration, they appear to be improper, particularly the frankincense and myrrh. Gold corresponds to the image of kingly riches, whereas fragrances would not have satisfied the same criterion of excellence. So how do we feel about frankincense (a precious, fragrant gum and oil extracted from a tree found in India, Arabia, and the Middle East) and myrrh (an aromatic spice extracted from a thorn-bush found in Arabia and Ethiopia)?
The Bible Story of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh Gifts
Because they were given as presents to the newly-crowned monarch, the objects delivered by the Magi appear to be unsuitable, particularly the frankincense and myrh. Perfumes, on the other hand, would not have reached the same threshold as gold in terms of kingly riches. Then there’s myrrh, which comes from a thorn shrub that grows in Arabia and Ethiopia, as well as frankincense, a pricey and fragrant gum and oil produced by trees in India and Arabia, as well as frankincense oil.
Symbolism of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh
Instead, we must consider the presents to be gifts from foreign officials, which is what we must do. In the same way that ambassadors from other nations frequently send gifts reflecting their cultures, these magi brought things that were unique to their own. They paid tribute to the King of the Jews in a manner that was appropriate for their nationality. In this manner, they effectively served as the ambassadors of all non-Jewish nations on the planet. Their acknowledgement foreshadowed the offer ofgrace to all peoples of the planet, and their presents alluded to the arrival of Gentiles who would come to offer themselves to Christ in the future, respectively.
As previously said, the gold reflected Hisroyalty’s status as King of the Jews and Lord of the Lords.
The myrrh indicated His humanity – and that to the greatest extent possible, because myrrh conjures up images of death and interment.
The following is an adaptation of Alfred Edersheim’s The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (Book II, Chapter VIII).
Why Did the Magi Bring Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh?
The medicinal properties of frankincense may provide some insight on the gifts of the Magi. Staff of the Biblical Archaeology Society Posted on January 06, 2022114 comments received207048 views Were the gifts of the magi intended to alleviate Jesus’ arthritis-related discomfort? According to academics at Cardiff University in Wales who have been examining the medicinal benefits of frankincense, it is achievable. They say this is based on their findings. Biblical historians and theologians have proposed several interpretations of the meaning and importance of the gold, frankincense, and myrrh that the magi delivered to Jesus, according to Matthew’s Gospel, from the early days of Christianity (2:11).
In fact, these identical three objects were reportedly among the presents that King Seleucus II Callinicus presented to the deity Apollo at the temple of Miletus in 243 B.C.E., according to ancient records.
In addition to their utilitarian significance, the magi’s usual gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh may have held symbolic as well as practical significance.
The magi’s gifts were chosen, scholars believe, because they contained special spiritual symbolism about Jesus himself—gold representing his kingship, frankincense representing his priestly role, and myrrh representing his death and embalming—an interpretation that was popularized by the well-known Christmas carol “We Three Kings.” Another school of thought holds that the gifts of the magiwere a little more practical—perhaps even therapeutic in nature.
In a study conducted at Cardiff University, researchers discovered that frankincense has an active element that can help treat arthritis pain by suppressing the inflammation that causes cartilage tissue to break down and produce arthritis pain.
Is it possible that the magi “from the East” were aware of the medicinal virtues of frankincense when they brought it to the baby Jesus?
– “The Magi’s Gifts—Tribute or Treatment?” is a question based on Strata. The Biblical Archaeology Review published an article in January/February 2012 titled This Bible History Daily piece was first published in December 2011 and has since been updated.
Related reading in Bible History Daily:
Was Jesus a real person? Lawrence Mykytiuk’s complete essay from the January/February 2015 edition of BAR, which includes extensive endnotes, may be found here: Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible Andrew McGowan’s complete essay from the December 2002 edition of Bible Review on how December 25 became Christmas may be seen here. Author Robin M. Jensen has written a book titled Witnessing the Divine: The Magi in Art and Literature. Tony Burke’s Christmas Stories from the Christian Apocrypha is available online.
Who Was Jesus’ biological father, and how did he come to be?
A variety of resins, including frankincense, were used in Roman burials throughout Britain.
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Why Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh Were Given to Baby Jesus
As we all know from our nativity scenes, some very important guests attended the birth of Jesus: three wise men from the east, who brought presents for the newborn king in the form of gold, frankincense, and myrrh for the newborn king to open. According to Matthew 2:11, “It is written, “It is written, “It is written, “It is written, “It is written, “It is written, “It is written, “It is written, “It is written, “It is written, “It is written, “It is written, “It is written, “It is written, “It is written, “It is written, “It is written, “It is written, “When they arrived at the house, they were greeted by the child and his mother Mary, and they immediately fell to their knees and worshipped him.
Then they opened their treasure chests and presented him with presents of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, among other things.” Comparing the narrative we relate to the Bible’s description of the royal visit, we find that it is frequently embellished with a little additional detail.
One part of the visit that has mostly remained intact is the list of gifts that were brought to Jesus, which included gold, frankincense, and myrrh among others.
They were definitely gifts worthy for a king, and their immense value was the most important aspect of the gifts’ symbolic meaning.
In any case, without delving too deep into extra-biblical conjecture, it’s feasible to derive a few probable meanings from the gifts delivered by the three wise men. The purpose of these priceless presents was plainly to glorify Jesus, but it’s likely that they also had a deeper theological meaning.
The Gift of Gold
As was traditional for royal visits, the wise men arrived with precious presents intended to be given to the newborn king in his honor. As it is now, gold was a highly prized item in the ancient world as it is today. The acquisition of gold was one of the most important markers of wealth among the various sorts of assets mentioned in the Bible (such as precious metals, animals, servants, jewels, and so on) (cf.Genesis 13:2, Ecclesiastes 2:8). Because of its rarity and high worth, gold was particularly linked with monarchy and aristocracy, as can be seen in 1 Kings 10 when the Queen of Sheba pays a visit to King Solomon and presents him with vast sums of gold.
Some have speculated that the wise men’s gift of gold may have predicted another part of Jesus’ mission, in addition to highlighting his royal status.
In the same way, the incarnation of Jesus foreshadowed the presence of God—Immanuel—as well as the sacrifice of atonement he would make on their behalf when he died on the cross.
The Gift of Frankincense
It is an aromatic gum resin that is still widely used in regions of the Middle East and Africa today. Frankincense comes from the tree of the same name. It is made by scraping the bark of specific native species of trees and then gathering the resin beads that have formed as a result of the drying process. A powerful and attractive scent is released when the herb is burnt as incense. Historically, the high expense of frankincense prevented it from being utilized as a popular household air freshener in the ancient Near East.
So the gift of frankincense to Jesus may have suggested to the wise men that they believed the prophesy of the newborn king to be an assertion of divine authority.
When God designed the sacrificial system for use in the Tabernacle and, subsequently, the Temple, one of its most important components was the burning of incense at the altar.
The only incense authorized on the altar was a particular combination of spices blended with “pure frankincense” (v.
34), which had to be sanctified as “pure and holy” (v. 35) and consecrated as such. One might make a hypothetical analogy between this and Jesus’ life as a clean and holy gift to the Lord, as is described in the Bible.
The Gift of Myrrh
Originally from the Near East, myrrh is a fragrant spice made from the sap of a tree that bears the same name. As with frankincense, it may be used as an aromatic incense, but it was also widely employed in the ancient world as a perfume, anointing oil, and even as a medical tonic, according to certain sources. Myrrh was a vital element in the mixture of spices that was used to prepare bodies for burial during Jesus’ lifetime, and it was particularly significant in Jesus’ life (e.g.,John 19:39-40).
Myrrh, like the other two gifts, has a relationship to the Temple, just as the previous two gifts did.
Again, there are direct analogies to Jesus’ consecrated life and sacrificial death that might be drawn to mind.
What Did Mary and Joseph Do with the Gifts?
The riches of the nations, as described in Isaiah 60:6, is being brought to God’s people via Christ. When Mary and Joseph received the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, they saw a glimpse of what was to come. And in this particular instance, it is possible that the family’s riches was utilized to assist them in escaping to another country. According to Matthew, as soon as the wise men had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph, warning him of Herod’s wrath to come (Matthew 2:13).
A journey of this size would be tough to pull off for a family with little financial resources.
Now that we understand the significance of the presents delivered to Baby Jesus, let us consider the relevance of the people who provided the gifts.
Who Were the Wise Men?
Consider the following passage from the Bible, which describes these pilgrims and their journey to meet the predicted king: Then, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea during the reign of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem and inquired, saying, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?” Because we saw his star as it rose in the sky and have come to pay homage to him.” Herod the king, as well as everyone of Jerusalem, were alarmed upon hearing this, and he summoned all of the top priests and scribes of the people to ask them where the Christ would be born.
- They said that they did not know where the Christ would be born.
- ” Then Herod called the three wise men in private and inquired of them as to what time the star had appeared on the horizon.
- It was then that they noticed a bright light rising above the horizon that followed them until it came to settle above the location where the youngster was.
- In the midst of their adoration, they discovered the infant with Mary his mother, and they dropped on their knees and worshipped him.
- And after being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they decided to take a different route back to their own country.
- But who were these folks in the first place?
- Magi, for example, were considered as essential consultants in the Medo-Persian Empire because of their understanding of science, agriculture, and magic, all of which was in demand at the time.
- At some point during the first century AD, magi had become more well known as persons who read sacred literature and experimented with occult activities.
- Despite the fact that they were prevalent throughout the region, magi were most generally linked with the Parthian Empire, which was located east of Palestine (present-day Iran).
Even after the Babylonian captivity, elements of Jewish culture continued to exist in that region, and it’s possible that the Hebrew Scriptures were among the sacred texts that these great men read in their quest for knowledge and understanding.
The Nations Shall Come to You
A different perspective on the wise men and their gifts might be gained by looking at them through the prism of global missions. Israel was never supposed to be a halting point in the flow of grace; rather, God invited them to be a light for other peoples across the world. One of the most vivid depictions of this concept may be found in Isaiah 60, which describes a future period in which the nations would be pulled to the brilliance of Israel—”nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising”—and the people of Israel would be drawn to them (Isaiah 60:3).
- A variety of perspectives may be taken on the Bible’s account of the three wise men’s visit, even though the story is pretty basic.
- Beyond that, they may have also had associations with the Temple and perhaps served as a metaphor to Jesus’ worldwide mission.
- Scott James is a member of The Church at Brook Hills, where he serves as an Elder.
- He is the author of two family worship books (The Expected One: Anticipating All of Jesus in the AdventandMission and The Expected One: Anticipating All of Jesus in the AdventandMission).
- The Watchman on the Wall is a fictional character created by author Stephen King in the novel The Littlest Watchman.
- As part of our largerChristmas and Advent resource library, which focuses on the events leading up to Jesus Christ’s birth, we’ve included this piece here.
- What really is Christmas?
The history of the 25th of December The Bible’s account of Jesus’ birth, as well as Scripture verses Bible Verses for the Holidays The Bible’s Narrative Prayers for the Holidays The following are the photo credits, listed in the order of appearance: Pexels/Tookapic, Unsplash/JackT, Pixabay/xbqs42, Pixabay/Leo 65, Unsplash/GarethHarper, Unsplash/JakubJacobsky, Pexels/InbalMalca, Unsplash/GarethHarper, Unsplash/JakubJacobsky, Pexels/InbalMalca
Why did the Magi bring gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus?
QuestionAnswer The magi, also known as wise men, are said to have traveled from the East in quest of the Christ child, according to Matthew 2. They approached King Herod and questioned as to where they could locate Him, stating, “What happened to the man who was born king of the Jews? We have come to revere him because we witnessed his star when it first appeared ” (Matthew 2:2). When they discovered the newborn Jesus, “they bent their heads and adored him.” When they had finished, they uncovered their treasures and presented him with presents of gold, myrrh, and incense” (Matthew 2:11).
- Its monetary worth might very well have provided the funds for Joseph and Mary’s journey to Egypt.
- Gold is a universally recognized emblem of god, and it is referenced several times in the Bible.
- The presentation of gold to the Christ child was indicative of His divinity as God shown in the form of a human being.
- A tree’s gum may be harvested by creating small holes in its bark and allowing the gum to seep out.
- Frankincense is considered to be a sign of purity and righteousness.
- Like frankincense, myrrh was a product of Arabia that was harvested from a tree in the same way as frankincense was.
- A drink made from it was also occasionally combined with wine to produce an item of libation.
- It is referred to as ” gall” in Matthew 27:34.
- While still a child, Jesus would grow up to be a man who suffered terribly and paid the ultimate price when He surrendered His life on the cross to save the souls of those who would believe in Him.
Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh – The Truth About Their Significance
QuestionAnswer The magi, sometimes known as wise men, are said to have traveled from the East in quest of the Christ child, as recorded in Matthew 2. Inquiring where they may locate Him, they addressed King Herod with the words: “The whereabouts of the Jewish king who was born is unknown. We have come to revere him because we witnessed his star when it first appeared ” (Matthew 2:2). The disciples were amazed when they discovered the newborn Jesus and “bowed down and adored him.” When they were finished, they uncovered their riches and presented him with presents of gold, myrrh, and incense (Matthew 2:11).
- A voyage to Egypt for Joseph and Mary may very easily have been funded by the worth of the object.
- Gold is a divine emblem that appears throughout the Bible as a sign of divinity.
- God in flesh was symbolized by the giving of gold to the Christ child, which represented His divinity.
- By cutting incisions in the bark of a tree and permitting the gum to seep out, it may be harvested.
- It is said that Frankincense is a sign of purity and justice.
- Like frankincense, myrrh was a product of Arabia that was derived from a tree in the same way as it is now.
- It was also occasionally combined with wine to create an alcoholic beverage.
- It’s referred to as ” gall” in Matthew 27:34.
- While still a child, Jesus would grow up to be a man who suffered terribly and paid the ultimate price when He surrendered His life on the cross to save the souls of those who would trust in Him.
To the page: “Christmas-related questions.” What was the purpose of the Magi bringing Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh?
Biblical Account of the Magi
Biblical academics and theologians have proposed a variety of interpretations on the significance of the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh that the magi brought to Jesus, according to the Gospel of Matthew, since the early days of Christianity” (2:11). In the ancient world, rich commodities such as gold as a precious metal, frankincense as perfume or incense, and myrrh as anointing oil were traditional presents to be given to a monarch or a god as a mark of respect. In fact, these identical three objects were reportedly among the presents that King Seleucus II Callinicus presented to the deity Apollo at the temple of Miletus in 243 B.C.E., according to ancient records.
- (See Isaiah 60:6 for further information).
- Since then, academics have pondered and argued the issues surrounding them.
- What was the meaning of the presents given to the children?
- The fact of the matter is that we will never know (for certain) the truth regarding gold, frankincense, and myrrh, nor why the Magi traveled half-way across the world to honor the Christ Child with their gifts of these precious substances.
- The Magi (which can be rendered as “magician” but is most commonly translated as “wise man”) come in Matthew 2 after traveling from “the east” in quest of the Baby King.
- When they arrived in Jerusalem, they immediately rushed to Herod to inquire as to the whereabouts of the Baby.
- We don’t know when the visit took place, but we do know that they had been following the star for an extended period of time — maybe as long as two years.
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Three Gifts from the East – Gold, FrankincenseMyrrh
The Magi, in contrast to the imagery we have in mind of three men each bearing a gift, are not numbered. The tale has been embellished by church history and custom to include the names of the men who actually brought the presents – Melchior giving gold, Caspar bringing frankincense, and Balthasar delivering myrrh. (2) Despite this, portrayals of the Magi have changed significantly since their initial iterations, and no one can agree on the exact number of visitors in total. Their gifts to the young Jesus were described as “opening their riches” in Matthew’s narrative.
We aren’t talking about a handful of birthday presents here — regardless of the exact names and quantities, these were definitely affluent men traveling in a caravan with a lot of reputation and a lot to give the world.
The Magi were on their way to congratulate the newly crowned king, so gold makes sense as an acknowledgement of royalty. Gold was a precious metal that was also beautiful and long-lasting. Gold, according to most scholars, symbolized Jesus’ status as a king who would reign forever on an everlasting throne of glory. That relic belonged in the possession of royalty, even if that royalty resided in the home of a young, impoverished family. Some believe that the gold was something entirely different, which is an interesting theory that is a little on the fringe.
Unless it was a gold-en spice like turmeric, which some people believe it was, gold seems out of place – one of these things is not like the other – This line of reasoning can even be traced back to the production of balsam oil, which is derived from the resin of balsam trees that grow in the same climate and region as the origins of frankincense and myrrh.
It contains a compound “known for its anti-inflammatory, local anesthetic, and antifungal properties,” and it was once considered the Balm of Gilead.
There’s no big surprise here, and there’s no outlandish notion that implies something surprising. Only an antique incense that is still useful now may be described as such. Traditionally, the gift of frankincense was seen as an affirmation of Jesus’ priesthood, distinguishing him from a conventional king and establishing him as a unique figure. Frankincense was employed in the temple’s rituals, and priests would burn it in a ceremonial fire. Because it was not indigenous to that region, acquiring frankincense from the east was a time-consuming and expensive endeavor.
Because we now have the ability to evaluate the qualities and modes of action that substances such as frankincense resin and its essential oil maintain, we can discover benefits that go beyond aroma and ceremonial purposes.
Our understanding has expanded to include immune regulating properties, which might explain why it is used for both inflammatory sickness and antibacterial reasons.
Myrrh, the most bittersweet of the presents, had been introduced to Egypt in large quantities for funeral ceremonies, and the practice had spread across the region. Myrrh was associated with death and burial even if it was not used in the mummification process. A depressing present for a new mother to grasp, but one that is lovely when viewed through the lens of her comprehension of his mission. But was it all that themyrrhwas meant to do? While myrrh was traditionally used for ceremonial purposes in the Middle East, it was also utilized for therapeutic purposes in the Far East.
- Myrrh was utilized in ancient China for similar purposes, including wound healing and hemorrhage control.
- In the same way that prophetic statements frequently had both immediate and long-term implications, it is possible that these talents followed a similar dual pattern.
- Whatever the case, it’s entertaining to be entertained — the subtleties of Scripture never fail to astound me!
- (6) While both the temple and Jesus’ improvised cradle were packed with fragrant compounds, they were also working to battle sickness and protect the people who lived in the vicinity.
- The three Magi, according to certain early church history documents, reunited years later to celebrate Christmas with one another, soon before they died.
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Why Were Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh Gifted to Baby Jesus?
The Christmas season is awash with stories and songs about the incredible work that God performed on behalf of the entire human race. He sent His own Son to be born as a human infant, to live among us, and, ultimately, to rescue us from ourselves. That is unquestionably a reason for cheerful celebration. So many wonderful carols assist us in recalling various aspects of this amazing story. “We Three Kings” is a song that has always struck me as particularly touching. When I sing it, I can’t help but think of the journey the three wise men had to locate the Christ child: How did they know to follow that bright light in order to find him?
I chose to use the song as a jumping off point for my investigation into Scripture, in order to discover both the reasons for the wise men’s journey and the meaning of each of the gifts they gave to Jesus.
When they arrived at the house, they were greeted by the infant and his mother Mary, and they immediately bent down and worshipped him” (Matthew 2:10-11).
Why Did the Magi Travel to Bethlehem?
We three Orient kings are known as We go long distances with gifts in hand. Field and fountain, moor and mountain are all possible combinations. “I’m going to follow that star” (from the Carol “We Three Kings”) The Magi were a Persian class of intellectuals who were particularly interested in astronomy and alchemy, which was a branch of study that was connected to chemistry. Balaam, a sorcerer who God employed to give a prophetic word about the impending Messiah, was one of their main sources of inspiration.
A light will shine out from Jacob, and a scepter will emerge from Israel, according to the prophecy.
(Numbers 24:17; Numbers 24:18; Numbers 24:19).
A vision of the Christ was also given to Daniel in a message from the angel Gabriel: “Know and understand this: From the moment the word goes forth to repair and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven’sevens,’ and sixty-two’sevens,'” the message reads (Daniel 9:25).
They were prepared and vigilant for the appearance of a star to guide them, and they recognized it in the sky and felt compelled to follow it.
However, one of the first things I learned was that the Bible doesn’t specify how many people there were in the first place.
The concept of three most likely originated in order to correspond neatly with the three types of presents, although it has not been proven to be correct. Photograph courtesy of Getty Images/Pink frog
Why Did They Bring Gifts?
When they unwrapped their riches and presented him with presents of gold, frankincense, and myrh, he was overwhelmed with gratitude” (Matthew 2:11). When visiting a monarch, everyone in that civilization who had the means did so in accordance with the practice of bringing presents to pay tribute. It demonstrated a reverence for the status and authority of monarchy in their culture. A large number of people brought sacrifices to Jerusalem for the LORD, as well as expensive presents for Hezekiah the king of Judah (2 Chronicles 32:23).
The Magi were well aware that this kid would one day be their Deliverer and, even more significantly, the Ruler of all Nations in the world.
Photograph courtesy of Unsplash/Ben White
The Hebrew and Arabic words for gold used most frequently in the Old Testament are “zahabh” (pure) and “dhahab” (refined), and they are often combined with adjectives such as “pure” and “refined.” When it came to the ancient secular and spiritual worlds, gold symbolized riches and was revered as a priceless treasure by everybody. Beginning with adornments like as the nose rings and bracelets presented to Rebekah in Genesis 24, gold quickly rose in value as the riches of society increased. Starting with their furniture and apparel, it eventually made its way into even their chariots.
It was also highly regarded by the Hebrews.
The mercy seat of the Tabernacle and the drinking-vessels of Solomon were both made of gold, as were utensils, lamps, platters, bowls, curtain rods, and a variety of other objects in the sanctuary.
- If you want anything valuable, choose it: “Choose my teaching instead of silver, knowledge instead of choice gold.” According to Proverbs 8:10, she was elevated to the position of queen instead of Vashti. According to Esther 2:17, she was elevated to the position of queen instead of Vashti, and she was bowed down before the Almighty in worship. (2 Kings 19:3)
- (Exodus 25:3)
In view of all the predictions they were aware of, it is understandable that the Magi would have contemplated bringing this valuable gold to the Christ Child. Image courtesy of Pixabay/moritz320.
As a result of all of the predictions they were aware of, it is understandable that the Magi would have contemplated bringing this valuable metal to the Christ Child for his presentation. Credit for the image goes to Pixabay user moritz320
In the opinion of some experts, myrrh (also known as “mor” or “murr” in Arabic) was worth more than gold during the time of Jesus’ birth. It was a dried gum derived from the balsam tree that had a variety of ceremonial and utilitarian use. Myrrh is mentioned in Exodus 30 as an element in the “oil of holy anointment”: “Also, take exquisite spices: of liquid myrrh, five hundred shekels.” (See Exodus 30:23 for further information.) It was occasionally used as a component of the temple’s incense offerings.
- The scent of myrrh, aloe, and cinnamon fills the air around my bed (Proverbs 7:17).
- Medicinal properties of myrrh were also found in areas such as dental health and the treatment of arthritis.
- Finally, it was employed in the process of embalming.
- However, it’s possible that the Magi carried the spice with them less for its everyday usage and more for its high monetary value.
- They think that they were the gold representing His Kingship, the frankincense symbolizing His Deity, and the myrrh as a sign of His death.
- No matter whether version is correct, my research revealed that the Magi were aware of and revered the predictions about the impending Messiah, and that they journeyed intentionally to worship Him, bringing presents they believed would be worthy of His adoration.
- Image courtesy of Pixabay/Leo 65.
In order to equip and encourage Christians to seek more of God’s truth and to experience more of His pleasure each day, Heather has made it her mission to equip and encourage believers.
Worship Walk Ministries, her blog, provides weeklyScripture excerpts and thought-provoking thoughts for readers to consider.
You may get in touch with her at her website, http://www.heatheradamsworshipwalk.com/.
In order to equip and encourage Christians to seek more of God’s truth and to experience more of His pleasure each day, Heather has made it her mission to equip and encourage believers.
Heather’s blog, Worship Walk Ministries, provides weekly Scripture passages and thought-provoking thoughts for readers to consider.
Heather, a native New Englander, is settling into her new house in the South, tasting out the local cuisine and keeping an eye out for the alligators that reside nearby. You may get in touch with her at her website, http://www.heatheradamsworshipwalk.com/.
Why Did the Wise Men Give Jesus Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh?
This post was written by the BMC Team on December 21, 2017 and was first published on NoWhy392Gold Frankincense and Myrrh by Marilyn Barbone through Adobe Stock. As the scriptures say, “Behold, he offers himself as a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, to those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto no one else can the ends of the law be replied” (Isaiah 53:6).
Shortly after Jesus’ birth, three “wise men from the east” came to see Him and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:1). It is important to note that all of these presents were incredibly costly and expensive, and they were acceptable gifts for the “king of the Jews,” as the wise men referred to Jesus (v.2). Many people, however, have demonstrated that these presents may also serve as a symbolic gesture. gold was considered to signify Christ’s reign since crowns were customarily made of gold in ancient times.
3Moreover, because myrrh was used in the embalming of Jesus, it was believed to be a foreshadowing of Christ’s death.
Christ as King
In the Book of Mormon, the concept of Christ as King comes on a number of occasions. Many people, however, are unaware of this since the Book of Mormon frequently use the term “king” in ways that modern readers equate with other things. The term Christ, for example, comes from the Greek phrase meaning “anointed one,” and it is frequently used to refer to monarchs who were anointed when they were crowned as rulers (see 2 Samuel 2:4). 5 ‘Messiah’ is the Greek term that corresponds to the Hebrew word of the same name, which has the same meanings.
Christ as Priest
In 2 Nephi 2:7, the Book of Mormon refers to Christ’s duty as a priest, which is one of the few instances when this is mentioned. As the scriptures say, “Behold, he offers himself as a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, to those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto no one else can the ends of the law be replied” (Isaiah 53:6). 8 The offering of a sacrifice is mentioned 49 times in the Old Testament, while it is mentioned 5 times in the Book of Mormon. 10 Offering a sacrifice refers to the practice of offering sacrifices in accordance with the Law of Moses in all cases.
Christ’s Death and Resurrection
In 2 Nephi 2:7, Christ’s duty as priest is mentioned for the first time in the Book of Mormon. As the scriptures say, “Behold, he offers himself as a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, to those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto no one else are the ends of the law replied.” 8 Offering a sacrifice is mentioned 49 times in the Old Testament, while it is mentioned 5 times in the Book of Mormon.9 10 Sacrifices are being offered in accordance with the Mosaic Law in every instance where the term is used.
Given that these sacrifices were often carried out by priests, this line serves as a reminder of Christ’s status as a high priest (see Hebrews 9:11). 11
Knowing that Christ is the ruler of the universe can provide solace to our troubled lives in a world where chaos sometimes reigns supreme. 13Christ reigns supreme over all that exists, and he will ultimately prevail over evil, no matter how much evil we may be subjected to on a daily basis. 14Because Christ is king, we may have peace with one another. Knowing that Christ is, in the words of the author of Hebrews, “an high priest of good things to come,” (Hebrews 9:11), may also be of assistance to us as we navigate through life’s challenges.
- 16However, Christ has “entered once into the holy place, having gained eternal redemption for us” through the shedding of his own blood (Hebrews 9:12).
- 17 Finally, because of Christ’s death and resurrection, we may all triumph over death and agony in our lives.
- 18Especially during the Christmas season, we may all reflect on the power of Christ’s Atonement and resurrection, as well as the strength He possesses to assist us in our own lives and struggles.
- 19These gifts, provided by the three wise men, serve as a reminder to us all of the treasures that Christ has given to us.
Having the knowledge that Christ is the ruler of the universe might provide peace to our troubled lives in a world where chaos occasionally reigns. No matter how much evil we may be subjected to on a daily basis, Christ reigns supreme and will ultimately triumph over evil. Because Christ is king, we may find peace in our hearts and minds. 15 Because we know that Christ is, in the words of the author of Hebrews, “an high priest of good things to come,” (Hebrews 9:11), he can also assist us as we navigate the challenges of daily life.
16However, Christ has “entered once into the holy place, having gained eternal redemption for us” through the “shedding of his own blood” (Hebrews 9:12).
17 Finally, we can all triumph over death and agony as a result of Christ’s death and resurrection.
The power of Christ’s death and resurrection, as well as the power He possesses to guide us through our own lives, can be recalled, especially during the Christmas season.
This collection of presents from the wise men serves as a reminder to us all of the blessings that Jesus Christ has bestowed upon each of us. 19 The hope, reconciliation with God, and liberation from death that these gifts can provide us are all possible outcomes.
- “Strata: The Magi’s Gifts—Tribute or Treatment?” asks the first question. Biblical Archaeology Review38, no. 1 (2012): 24
- 2 “The Magi’s Gifts,” 24
- 3 “The Magi’s Gifts,” 24
- 4 “The Magi’s Gifts,” 24
- 4 “The Gifts of the Magi,” See, for example, Roland K. Harrison, “Myrrh,” in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 4 vols., ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1986), 3:450–451
- 5.Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Friedrich (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1971), 9:510
- 6.See Book of A brief synopsis of the talk may be found in ” Scholars Focus Conference on Third Nephi,” “Insights: Third Nephi,” and ” Scholars Focus Conference on Third Nephi.” The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship28, no. 6 (2008): 3–4
- The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship28, no. 6 (2008): 3–4
- The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2001), 628–633
- Eldin Ricks’ Thorough Concordance of the LDS Standard Works (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1995), 546
- 11.For another priestly function Christ performed in the Book of Mormon, see Book of Mormon Central, “Why Did Jesus Allude to the Priestly Blessing in Numbers 6?(3 Nephi 19:25),”K Hugh Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Mormon, in The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Volume 6 (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 1988), 162–163
- 16. Hugh Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Mormon, in The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Volume 6 (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City, UT: Greg Kofford Books, 2007), 2:39
- 17. Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, 4 volumes (Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1987–1992), 1:192–193
- See also 18: See, for example, Robert J. Matthews, “Jesus Christ,” in Book of Mormon Reference Companion, ed. Dennis Largey (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2003), 452–453
- And 19 Gary P. Gillum, “Christology,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols., ed. Daniel H. Ludlow (New York, NY: Macmillan, 1992), 1:272–273
- Gary P. Gillum, “Christology,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols., ed. Daniel H. Ludlow (New York, NY: Macmillan, 1992), 1:272–273
- Gary P. Gillum, “Christology,” in Encyclopedia of
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Why Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh Matter
Despite the fact that gold, frankincense, and myrrh were the most valuable presents that could be given to a newborn king, their value resides less in their religious symbolism than it does in the enormous wealth they symbolized. Instead, the presents themselves serve as hints as to who the three wise men really are. In a recent, good-naturedChristmas complaint on these pages, I expressed my displeasure with the popular Christmas ballad “We Three Kings of Orient Are,” claiming that it was a fabrication.
- What I mean is that I still hold the Bible in high regard and believe in it.
- All of this happened later, when the story was embellished and preachers theologized and inserted teaching themes into the narrative.
- The preacher will tell us that gold represents the Christ child’s kingly status, frankincense represents his divinity, and myrrh represents the anointing of the Christ child at his sacrificial death, among other things.
- In fact, when I was investigating The Mysteries of the Magi, it became evident that the true importance of the three gifts is not derived from their religious symbolism, but rather from their historical context.
- The Nabateans controlled the Arabian peninsula and, as a result, the crucial trade routes that ran from Yemen in the east to the port of Gaza in the west, and from Egypt in the south through Syria, Asia Minor, and the east to Persia in the east.
- These precious metals were not only the Nabateans’ cash crops; they were also used as diplomatic gifts to represent the country in other parts of the world.
- “Mahd adh Dhahab,” or “Cradle of Gold,” is an ancient gold mine in the Nabatean area of Northwest Arabia (also known as “Hejaz”).
- Archaeologists uncovered “vast quantities of waste rock.
The mine slopes are littered with thousands of stone hammers and grindstones that were used to extract the gold from the ore.” The value of gold is ageless, but the preciousness of the wise men’s other two presents is not immediately apparent to anyone living in the twenty-first century, despite the fact that they were given to the infant Jesus.
Everyone was not just a believer in the supernatural realm, but almost everyone also adhered to their or her faith to some degree.
The use of incense in religious ceremonies is first recorded in Egyptian literature dating back to the third millennium BC.
According to historian Jane Taylor, “the expansion of Rome had heralded the beginning of a period of almost compulsive incense burning.” “Apart from its applications in medicine and worship, no Roman burial would be complete without huge quantities of frankincense, whose fragrant smoke was believed to have communicated a good word to the goods for the wellbeing of the deceased.” Myrrh, like frankincense, was manufactured from a gum resin that was dried and compressed before being burned to provide a fragrant smoke.
- Along with producing a fragrant smoke, it was also utilized to create a luxurious scent.
- During the crucifixion, Jesus was offered wine mixed with myrrh as a pain reliever, which he accepted.
- However, both frankincense and myrrh were only available for harvesting once a year since they originated from a larger region in Southern Arabia.
- The Arabians, on the other hand, generated enormous quantities of frankincense and myrrh.
- Instead, the presents themselves serve as hints as to who the three wise men really are.
- When Herod finished building the city of Caesarea Maritima in 9 BC, envoys from many different countries came to Palestine to present presents to him.
- It would not only be luxury, but it would also be representative of the best products available in the nation where the presents were given.
The gifts given to King Cambyses after his successful invasion of North Africa are recorded by Pierre Briant, an expert on Persia: “The Colchians and Ethiopians sent one thousand one hundred boys and girls as slaves to King Cambyses.” “Two quarts of unrefined gold, two hundred logs of ebony, and twenty elephant tusks” were among the items the Ethiopians brought.
- Furthermore, not only were tribute gifts given to conquering kings, but it was also customary for neighboring monarchs to present gifts to a future king upon the birth of his offspring.
- Aretas’ claim to the throne was shaky to say the least.
- Caesar Augustus had only reluctantly accepted Aretas IV’s tribute gifts and given his approval to Aretas IV’s claim to the Nabatean throne, despite the fact that Aretas IV had already sent tribute gifts to Caesar.
- Furthermore, Augustus had restored Herod’s control over the strategically important port of Gaza, making it imperative for Aretas IV to maintain good relations with Herod in order to transport his goods across Judean territory to the port.
While it is true that the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh represented Christ’s kingship, divinity, and sacrificial death, the true significance of the gifts is that they lend support to the theory that the wise men were Nabatean sages from the court of Aretas IV who were on a diplomatic mission to Judea.
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Fr. Dwight Longenecker is a Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative, where he writes about religion and politics. In addition to being a graduate of Oxford University, he serves as pastor at Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, South Carolina, and is the author of twenty books, including Immortal Combat, The Romance of Religion, The Quest for the Creed, and Mysteries of the Magi: The Quest to Identify the Three Wise Men. He writes to a variety of periodicals, newspapers, and journals, including the National Catholic Register, Catholic Digest, Catholic Digest, and The Stream.
His most recent book, Beheading Hydra: A Radical Plan for Christians in an Atheistic Age, was released by Sophia Institute Press.
Visit dwightlongenecker.com to read his blog, listen to his podcasts, enroll in his online courses, explore his books, and get in contact with him.