The Facts about Baby Jesus and the Wise Men

The Facts about Baby Jesus and the Wise Men

The Facts about Baby Jesus and the Wise Men

The month of December is fast approaching and soon enough, Christmas greeting cards will start adorning shelves in stores everywhere with the traditional picture of the nativity depicting a baby in a manger, Mary and Joseph and some animals at the background. Then there will be the famous “three wise men” kneeling or standing with gifts in their hands.

Most people say three (3) wise men came to see Jesus when he was born in a manger. But the truth is, the Bible never said so nor did it mention any figure of wise men. If we are to go by the traditional oriental custom, twelve wise men would have been it and not three. But that is beside the point. You might say “what difference does it make?” Maybe not much. But the correct knowledge of scriptures will help you guard against those “…little foxes, that spoil the vines…” Songs of Solomon 2:15. Let us see what the scriptures have to say.

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem” Matthew. 2:1.

They gave him three gifts and that was it. Think about it. Why would King Herod and the whole of Jerusalem be troubled because some three wise guys came into their city? “When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” Matthew 2:3. Historically they travelled in caravans through the desert because of bandits. A caravan could consist of between one hundred and even over five hundred people, camels and mules depending on their mission. They had food, arms and a small army for protection. That was why the city was stirred when different groups of caravan came into town. It was the crowd influx that caused the commotion.

But there is more. Where and when did the wise men meet Jesus?

Where was the household that the wise men met him? See the whole of Luke 2 and Matthew 2:1-23)

 “Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2. The wise men travelled from a far distance for this visit.

 

 

The Facts:

Sometime after Jesus was born, He was visited by wise-men from the east. Back then these men were probably more highly educated and therefore wise. They probably studied many things including astronomy. That’s why they paid attention to, and followed the “star as the Bible puts it.

The wise men came AFTER the birth of Jesus AND after His presentation in the Temple. “And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;” You may read the whole of Luke 2:22-39. It was after this ceremony they were free to mingle again.

The visitation could not have happened before then. If it did Mary would not have been present. For the law had declared that “…If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean.” Leviticus 12:2

So this happened at the least 40 days after. The days that was required for Mary’s purification. Therefore the wise men were not there on the night of His birth as manger scenes and Christmas cards, and many songs depict.

When the wise men talked to Herod before going to find Jesus, Herod got the idea, from what they told him about the timing of the birth of Jesus, that he would have to kill babies 2 years old and under. So Jesus was not necessarily a day old baby. Moreover, scripture says He was a young child and the Greek word translated YOUNG CHILD in English is the word paidion, (pronounced  pahee-dee’-on) it partially means an infant, but by extension a half-grown boy or girl. It’s the same word used for young children who were present in the crowd during Jesus’ miracle of feeding the five thousand even when in another place He said they should let the little children come to Him. My point is, He could have been as old as 2 years, or probably somewhere between 40 days and 2 years old, but definitely not a day old child. Just think about it, why would Herod want to kill babies up to two years old if Jesus was just a few days old? Simple, Jesus was not just a day old. Must have been around six months to a year old calculating the time it will take the wise men to find Him from their own country and leave the city after the worship and gift presentations to Jesus.

Therefore Jesus was not in a  manger when the wise men met him. Matthew 2:10-11 states “And when they were come into the house,(NOT A MENGER) 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.” The wise men “came into the house” – not a manger.

Where did they meet Jesus? Matthew and Luke seem to disagree: Was it Nazareth or was it Bethlehem. But like many supposed contradictions there is not one here.

Matthew says that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. He also stated that AFTER Jesus was born, that wise men came to Jerusalem, to Herod and asked him “where is he that was born the King of the Jews.” Herod then consulted the priests who told him that the prophecy indicated that Jesus would have been born in Bethlehem. Herod then told the wise men to go to Bethlehem to investigate.

Notice, Matthew did not say that the wise men did what Herod told them. Instead they still followed the star until it was over the place where Jesus was. Then they entered a house not a manger and presented Jesus with gifts. After this, the wise men again did not do what Herod told them being warned in a dream not to.

Matthew did not mention Mary’s purification of 40 days or the trip to Jerusalem to present the baby at the temple. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, for it was mandatory. Matthew just skipped directly to their flight to Egypt after the wise men departed.

So, Luke tells us, Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem for the purification and then, when they left, they went to Nazareth, not back to Bethlehem Luke 2:39. Luke didn’t mention the trip to Egypt that Matthew did.

How many wise men? At least 2, Maybe 3 (there were 3 gifts). Maybe more, they didn’t all have to bring gifts; the gifts were of special significance. Never quote the Bible out of context. This is what is sure:

  1. The wise men came to visit Jesus sometime AFTER His presentation in the Temple around 40 days after his birth.
  2. Jesus was not still in a manger. He was in a house.
  3. The wise men went to Nazareth. Matthew says they followed the “star” but he didn’t say they followed Herod’s directions.
  4. The wise men came to visit before Jesus was 2 years old. Matthew says that after they left, Mary and Joseph took Jesus and fled to Egypt because Herod was out to kill him.

Someone might say they had to flee from Jerusalem because that was where Herod was going to kill all the children. Yes, that happened. But even so, when God warned Joseph in a dream, even though they were not in Bethlehem, Joseph obeyed and fled Nazareth after the wise men’s visit.

  1. Therefore the wise men visited Jesus, in a house, in Nazareth, and Jesus was at the least months old NOT A DAY OLD BABY IN A MENGER.

Those are the facts from the scriptures

Amen.

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