The next thing we encounter in Matthew’s gospel is,
The Visit of the Wise Men
“Now, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod, the king, magi from the east, arrived in Jerusalem, 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.”
(Matthew 2:1-2 NASB)
The Magi, what did they want, and why were they demanding answers from Herod?
One brother in Christ, who is very skillful in the Word of God, explained that one of the roles of the Magi was to be kingdom changers (Consider that this knowledgeable man had to look at extra-biblical information not contained within the pages of the Bible to make his valid assertion. I only point this out because a “brother in Christ” verbally lashed out at me, saying I do not believe that we should use extra-biblical texts and information to form our thoughts about God and scripture.) The Magi were the group of men that Daniel, as a young man, had been assigned to and eventually became the head of while remaining a captive in Babylon.
Seeing the size of the entourage and perceiving a threat to his power, Herod went into panic mode and called the chief priests and elders before him to tell him what they knew about this situation.
“When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.”
(Matthew 2:3-4 NASB)
“When Herod the king heard this.” What did he hear?
“ 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.”
Since when has the Middle East changed so that you can merely gather up a large, armed crowd and go rolling up to another kingdom’s gates unannounced and immediately expect an audience with a king known to live in fear?
It hasn’t, and so I don’t expect that was the case here, but the word was received and taken to the king. Now, what does the fearful man do? He consults the people who most likely know the corresponding answer, the Jews, as they should know the prophecy.
All prophecy, like a criminal court case, must have two or three witnesses; one of those witnesses is found in the Book of Daniel. It is not likely that Herod, being a half-Jew, would have studied Daniel chapter seven, as it plays a significant role in testifying to what the angel declared to Mary as he explained the function of the child that she carried.
“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
(Luke 1:32-33 NASB)
So, no, Herod would not know these words that we see in Luke’s gospel as they were written long after Herod’s death, and that makes his fear and the lack of reaction by the elders even more peculiar.
The Magi, on the other hand, may have studied Daniel’s words with intensity.
“I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. “And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away, And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.”
(Daniel 7:13-14 NASB)
The reply of the Jewish elders is alarming to me.
“So they told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.’”
(Matthew 2:5-6 TLV)
They knew the answer to the question, but do we have any record that they went there and bowed before this new king?
Not at all. Herod responds to this by double-checking. Perhaps because even Herod could see that these magi were taking this king being born seriously, and he called them in to speak with them.
“Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child. And when you have found Him, bring word back to me so that I may come and worship Him as well.”
(Matthew 2:7-8 TLV)
With terminology such as “determined from them the exact time,” Herod now has a ballpark idea of how old this new king is; and nothing will happen until they come back to Herod and give him the word of exactly where to find the child. Watch what the magi do.
“After listening to the king, they went their way. And behold, the star they had seen in the east went on before them, until it came to rest over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great gladness.”
(Matthew 2:9-10 TLV)
These magi had not yet found the child, but they will. They will not go back to Herod for the child’s protection. Notice where the family is now living.
“And when they came into the house, they saw the Child with His mother Miriam; and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by another way.”
(Matthew 2:11-12 TLV)
Never once do you see the number three. What you do see are three specific names: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. A key word here is treasures, as the quantity may have been great and enough to sustain the family for several years. We, because of the age bracket that Herod orders killed, would logically assume the age of Yeshua to be about two as they take off to the safety of Egypt.
“Now when they had gone (the magi), behold, an angel of Adonai appears to Joseph in a dream (so he has had a couple of these over the last few years), saying, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the Child, to kill Him.” So he got up, took the Child and His mother during the night, and went to Egypt. Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of Adonai appears to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the Child, to kill Him.” So he got up, took the Child and His mother during the night, and went to Egypt. He stayed there until Herod’s death. This was to fulfill what was spoken by Adonai through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My son.” Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became furious. And he sent and killed all boys in Bethlehem and in all its surrounding area, from two years old and under, according to the time he had determined from the magi.”
(Matthew 2:13-16 TLV)
Astronomy.com tells us that “On the morning of August 12 in 3 B.C ., Jupiter and Venus would’ve sat just 1/10th a degree apart in the dawn sky. That’s one-fifth the diameter of the Full Moon. (The December 2020 conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn will have an identical separation, albeit in the evening sky.) That wasn’t the end of the show, either. Venus and Jupiter continued their dance over most of the next year before finally appearing to merge into a single star in June.”
So approximately August of C.5, Christ was born. (I am still not clear. If time is based on this dramatic change called Jesus birth, all I wanted or needed was a time frame that I could start with. If this is based upon Christ, it would seem that this timeline information puts the starting point at five months. An obvious fact is that He was NOT born at six months old, we also know that the shepherds were with their flocks, and that tends to put His birth far enough into the season for shepherds to be working the flocks comfortably in the hillsides.) At the age of two, his family takes him to Egypt to protect him. History (and I must admit this is rather sketchy) records that Herod died around April 4 B.C.; therefore, it would seem that the family was only in Egypt for slightly over a year. The presumption then is that Jesus was brought back to Nazareth when He was four or five.
Why is this information important?
First, this has never been clear in my head, and that may be because no one ever talked about it. Secondly, questions occasionally arise about Jesus from toddler to maturity, which in the Jewish culture seems to be about age 13, a time when the sons are required to step up and learn their fathers’ trade. Three, I made the mistake of reading Kahlil Gibran’s book Jesus, the son of Man. The title alone should tell you something about the lack of understanding and possible disrespect the man had for Jesus. A point that Mr. Gibran tried to make was that Jesus may have been a malicious brat, as he allegedly injured animals and then healed them. Sorry, but that did not sound right then, nor does it sound right now.
After the incident where the family, while in Jerusalem, had to go looking for Jesus, a 12-year-old child, they found Him in the temple where He had been for two days, with the Jewish leaders, discussing the scriptures. Remember, all they had were the law and the prophets, and they were precious and expensive scrolls that only the richest of synagogues had copies. So learning was almost exclusively through repetitious hearing.
A problem with this entire process. If your child had a disability, would you focus on that, merely enabling that they lean upon that disability, or would you focus on their ability? In Jesus’ case, He, by those who knew about His birth, would have been called a mumzer – an illegitimate child and those same people had a long history, based on the law, that allowed them to treat a child like this poorly.
As far as I can see, Jesus, had He been known, would have been violently expelled from the temple. An answer to this lies in the outer courts of the temple, as these were accessible to even the gentiles.
The final thought on this tells us that after His parents found Him, and I am sure they expressed their displeasure at Him being lost, is that Jesus submitted Himself wholly to their wishes until He was old enough, able to take care of Himself and act on His own accord. I am thinking now of Mary. As the eldest son, Jesus would have probably been the one to care for her after Joseph died. Keep in mind that Mary continued to have other children, and several of them, including sisters, may have taken that role.
We don’t see support from the other family members, nor do we hear anything about siblings until the day that they came to restrain Him – so to speak.
“When His family heard about this, they went out to take hold of Him; for they were saying, “He’s out of His mind!”
(Mark 3:21 TLV)
He conflicted with the 600+ added-on Jewish laws, but He was amazingly kind to the down and out while excoriating the scribes and the Pharisees.
“Then His mother and brothers come. Standing outside, they sent word to Him, summoning Him. A crowd was sitting around Him, and they tell Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.” Answering them, He said, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” Looking at those sitting in a circle around Him, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.”
(Mark 3:31-35 TLV)
If Mary (Miriam) had not been the surrogate mother of Jesus, we would probably never hear of her either.
I decided to post this, even though it is not, in my mind, done. I do not elaborate on this merely to convince you to think negatively about Jesus; just the opposite is true. If you happen to be one that thinks that every God aspect was little more than some high-speed download, I think that is illogical and works in opposition to His mission here on earth. Remember, He came as man and defeated Satan as a human.
We have learned that Joseph, “his father,” was a righteous man. Some translations refer to Joseph as a good man. To be deemed a righteous man indicates that he was known among the synagogue crowd as one that took notes (just kidding) and paid attention. Because of this, he fastidiously practiced the scriptures with Jesus.
So, how did Jesus become so knowledgeable?
Joseph, his foster father. Let that sink in.
If you do not know my Jesus, He is as close as your breath. Merely submit yourself to the greater power and ask Him into your life, then watch the changes begin to happen because the Holy Spirit has now entered, permanently, and will begin teaching you all things and showing you things to come.
If the rapture has come, there will be no denying when that happened. (Yes, I know that the government has put it off on aliens taking the “bad” Christians off the earth.)
If the church is gone, all hell will begin to break loose.
- Constant rioting in the streets and death will come from multiple directions.
- Those you thought would be on your side and protect you will be trying to kill you.
- Injections will be mandated that are intended to kill you.
- Efforts to monitor your every move will be demanded.
- The earth and the water supplies will be poisoned. The oceans will be filled with death.
- Commerce will come to a halt.
- The economies will become digital and tightly controlled, but will all, in a matter of time, collapse.
- This time on earth, as seen in Revelation six and beyond, will include God’s anger against unbelieving humanity and the Jews who rejected God.
Within days of the Church being removed, the antichrist persona will come to the forefront. If you have access to a Bible (it will be a forbidden book,) you can read about the emergence of the antichrist.
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a departing first, and (then) that that man of sin be disclosed, even the son of perdition,” (2 Thessalonians 2:3 Geneva)
Yes, I Americanized the old 15th-century wording, and yes, most translations use the phrase falling away. Just this morning, 3/11/23, I saw that the Church of England is now teaching four-year-old children, in their Sunday school class, about transitioning and perverted sex education. Try to convince me that we, the church, have not fallen over the cliff already.
There is only one hope; it is Jesus, and if nothing else, make your life with Him personal.
Trust me, once He touches your heart, you will want to tell someone about Him.