MYTH 8: THE MAGI CAME TO THE MANGER
Our nativity sets are WRONG AGAIN! Unless, of course, they look like Liz Lemon Swindle’s painting, “The Holy Men”, as shown here. Or perhaps like I do, you remove the Magi figurines in your Fontanini Nativity set to the other side of the living room to signify that they are on their way to Bethlehem.
The two, three, twelve or up to seventy Magi came way later. They must have arrived in Bethlehem up to two years after the birth of Jesus. How do we know? Two passages in Matthew indicate this truth.
9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.
12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
By this time, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus were in a “house” and not where the manger was.
Also, the word translated from the Strong’s Concordance defines the Greek this way:
paidíon – properly, a child under training; the diminutive form of 3816/país (“child”). 3813 /paidíon (“a little child in training”) implies a younger child (perhaps seven years old or younger).
Also, Matthew 2:16-18:
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been outwitted by the wise men, flew into a rage. He gave orders to massacre all the male children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, in keeping with the time he had learned from the wise men. 17 Then what was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:
18 A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children;
and she refused to be consoled,
because they were no more.
In his rage, Herod carried out infanticide to all the children in Bethlehem, two years and under. Such an abominable rage was committed by a narcissist of the worst kind. But two interesting things come of this slaughter for us to ponder.
First, if Satan controlled Herod, it was Satan himself that didn’t see the incarnation coming in such a way—a baby, born in such humble means. And Satan must not have known about the Magi coming. God tricked Satan.
Secondly, Joseph was given a dream from God and acted on it immediately. That takes decisiveness and great faith. What a role model for us. Look closely at what the Bible says in Matthew 2: 13-15:
13 After they were gone, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Get up! Take the child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. For Herod is about to search for the child to destroy Him.”14 So he got up, took the child and His mother during the night, and escaped to Egypt. 15 He stayed there until Herod’s death, so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled: Out of Egypt I called My Son.
When have you ever had a dream and acted on it immediately? I haven’t. I turn over and go back to sleep.This was Joseph’s second dream from God. He was beginning to hear God’s voice by now. And what about God’s enemy, Satan? God tricked Satan once again. The young child, Jesus, was saved.
This Christmas, when we read the words of God, written in His Book, may we also “Get Up” even if it’s in the middle of the night and do what He says in his Word.
And let’s remember the Magi “with exceeding great joy” saw their guiding star again that led them to the young Child-King. And like them may we Find the amazing, miraculous, astonishing Messiah—the King of kings—who was born for us. And like the Joseph, hear His voice.
“The Holy Men”