MYTH 7: THE WISE MEN WERE KINGS
No. Not necessarily. But they were kingly. So who were they? They are called wise men, or Magi—the same word from which we get our word “magician”.
We see them in the Old Testament held in positions of authority in the court of the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. The Magi honored Daniel, a Jewish councilor, because he had saved the lives of the Magi of Daniel’s day, centuries before the time of Christ. Do you remember the story?
King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream sent to him from God, but he could not remember the dream except that it terrified him. He gathered his Magi together and demanded to tell him his dream that he had forgotten, and also the meaning, or he would have them all killed. Of course, no one could do such a thing, and all the Magi, including Daniel, knew they would be killed.
The king was just about to arrest the Magi to put them to death, when Daniel asked for one more day. That night, after much prayer, God revealed the dream to Daniel. The next day he came before the king with the dream and its meaning.
27 Daniel answered the king: “No wise man, medium, diviner-priest, or astrologer is able to make known to the king the mystery he asked about. 28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has let King Nebuchadnezzar know what will happen in the last days.
Daniel told the king his dream (which predicted who would rule after him) and from then on, the king and the Magi revered Daniel and his God-given wisdom.
Remaining polytheists, they still revered Danial’s God as preeminent, but no doubt they still would have had copies of Daniel’s book even to Jesus’ day. They would have known of the prophecy.
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
The Magi were astrologers and studied the stars. At the time of the appearance of the Star, descendants of Nebuchadnezzar’s Magi knew they were within a lifetime of Daniel’s prophecy coming to pass.
While no one knows for certain how the Magi knew a King of the Jews would be born in Israel, what’s most important is that they went to see Him. No, more than that, they came ready to worship Him as they told Herod.
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”
There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.
This Christmas, when we see the stars in the night sky, let’s remember the Magi traveling from the east to find the amazing, miraculous, astonishing Messiah—the King of kings—who was born for us. And like the Magi, let’s find Him and follow.