Friday, December 4, 2009

How Many Kings Were There?

I'll bet your automatic response to my question was 3.

I don't blame you!

No matter where you go during the Christmas season, you hear songs that speak of three kings, you see Nativity sets that only have three kings (ours does), and movies portraying the Nativity show three kings.

It is so easy to let society dictate what we believe about Biblical accounts. So let us take a look at who these men really were and what an accurate portrayal of them should be.

Matthew 2:1- "Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem..."

Magi were a caste of wise men specializing in astr*logy, medicine and natural science. They studied the stars. Isn't it interesting that the object that God used to point the way to Jesus in the manger to the shepherds was the same object that He used to draw those from another culture and country to His Son?

God was not keeping the gift of His Son a secret or exclusive to only a certain group of people. He reached out to others using a method that He knew they understood and would attract them to Him. And He reached out to those who would have the greatest platform for reaching others with the good news of His Son's birth.

But many were there?

Remember, we take our information straight from Scripture. The Bible says, "...behold, magi from the east..."

Ahem, I didn't see a number, did you?

So where did we end up with three wise men? It is probably because three gifts were mentioned later on in the passage. "..and they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh." So that is where the number comes from.

The gifts they brought Him had such powerful meaning to them.

Gold to show His Kingship, frankincense to show His Priesthood, and myrrh to represent His death. The gifts were valuable not only from a monetary point of view but also from a spiritual aspect. They represented Who He was. I'm sure that God also used their gifts to remind Joseph and Mary that He would always provide for them.

The wise men are always pictured as being present the night Jesus was born. However, the star did not appear until the moment of His birth, and the Bible specifically says, "Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem...behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem saying, 'Where is He who has been born the King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east, and have come to worship Him."

When they saw the star for the first time they were still in the east. When the Magi finally reach Jesus verse 11 says, "And when they came into the house and saw the Child with Mary His mother..." (Side note: Even though He was God in baby human form, He still liked to be with His mommy. I just love that picture!) Jesus was no longer in the stable when the magi arrived. He was in a house.

The last thing that shows that the Magi were not present at the stable is that when they leave and Herod realizes that he has been outsmarted in his quest to find and kill this new King, he has all of the baby boys 2 years and younger killed. Therefore, Jesus must have been somewhere between an infant and 2 years old.

Mary and Joseph would have had to have been perfect saints to wait at the stable for the magi to arrive so the Nativity picture that we all are familiar with could be accurate.
As you watch the video One King, just remember that no matter how many kings came to see Jesus, He was still the greatest King to ever walk the earth.


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