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dancedwithdolphin
Dec 11th 2008, 10:35 AM
Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from the eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We have seen his star as it arose, and we have come to worship him." Matthew 2:1-2

Also it speaks of the prophecy in Micah 5 O Bethlehem of Judah, you are not just a lowly village in Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.

The wise men had seen this star according to what they had told Herod for two years.

Then you have

That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them. Dont be afraid! he said. I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior- yes, the Messiah, the Lord- has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! And this is how you will recognize him: you will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snuggly in strips of cloth!

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others- the armies of heaven- praising God.

"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors." Luke 2:8-14


So I have wondered why these two types, "Shepherds and Wise Men." And to each it was revealed differently. The wise men it was revealed thru a star; and with the shepherds it was revealed in heavenly glory.

To the wise men they were looking for a King of the Jews. And the shepherds was revealed a Savior, the Messiah.

I thought perhaps we could discuss these things.

(Oddly enough, it was even revealed to Herod. Not by God, but by the wise men. And God, thru a dream to the wise men, hid this truth from Herod).

RJ Mac
Dec 11th 2008, 07:36 PM
Someone needed to tell Herod of the Christ so that the scriptures would be
fulfilled stating the death of the babies. But who could tell Herod that he
would believe them? Who could tell the Magi that they would believe them?

So God used a miraculous star to catch the attention of the wise men and
bring them to Jerusalem. Probably a group of 200 men, they would bring
protection and supplies of course for such a lengthy journey. This caught
Herod's attention and thus his paranoia caused his command to kill the babes.

The Magi come and bring just what Joseph needed to fund his exodus to
Egypt. The gold, frankinsense and Myrrh paid for the trip and survival in
Egypt. God always provides for His own.

In Matthew God tells the rich and mighty about the birth of His Son and in
Luke God tells the poor and lowly about the birth of His Son. The news of the
shepherds to Mary was just what Mary needed to hear when she was
feeling so rejected, so far from family, in a stable, unwed, no future, but then
in walk the shepherds and what a pick me up they must have been.

RJ

Veretax
Dec 11th 2008, 08:35 PM
The only problem I have with this, is I'm of the belief that the Magi anticipated the time of the birth of Christ, and didn't see the star till they were closer to jerusalem. The way stars move in the heavens, they had to be where they were on the night they saw the star of the stable, a night earlier or later and it would have been over a different house, so I'm of the belief that they either new enough about the stars to know something was coming, or perhaps saw something they believed signified that it was coming so that they could in effect be in position to see the star on that night.


That doesn't really change what's said in the bible, but this is what I believe anyways.

Teke
Dec 11th 2008, 10:48 PM
Tis an interesting question DWD. :)

Matthew anticipates Jesus' mission to the Gentiles. The "wise men", or Magi, who come "from the East", that is, outside of Israel are the scholars of their time. In the OT, Balaam (Num. 23:24) was one of their predecessors, a gentile who also anticipated the Messiah.

The worship of the Lord by the Magi is symbolic of the Church. In ancient times a star signified a god, a deified king (Num. 24:17). This particular star is a sign of the Messiah Himself, signifying the light He will shed upon the world.

Contrast these scholars with the lowly shepherds who behold the heavenly host. Notice how it says they went and told everyone. Here are literal shepherds, the first, preaching the salvation of the Lord. :)

bennie
Dec 12th 2008, 12:23 AM
The only problem I have with this, is I'm of the belief that the Magi anticipated the time of the birth of Christ, and didn't see the star till they were closer to jerusalem. The way stars move in the heavens, they had to be where they were on the night they saw the star of the stable, a night earlier or later and it would have been over a different house, so I'm of the belief that they either new enough about the stars to know something was coming, or perhaps saw something they believed signified that it was coming so that they could in effect be in position to see the star on that night.


That doesn't really change what's said in the bible, but this is what I believe anyways.

the magi where very well aquinted with the writings of the old testament.
they antisipated the arrival of the King of the jews.
Daniel 9 was a hot topic in those days. the jews where expecting something great to take place and so did the magi.

bennie

keck553
Dec 12th 2008, 12:26 AM
Just a tid-bit here:

Bet Lechem = Bethleham = House of Bread.

Scruffy Kid
Dec 12th 2008, 02:36 AM
(Great to see you, DWD!! :hug: )

The Gospels spend a great deal of time recounting the birth of Jesus and the related events -- as they do recounting Jesus' last supper, prayer in Gethsemene, trial, passion, death and resurrection. Just as these latter events are pivotal for are faith, so are the events of Jesus' birth.

Jesus unites earth to heaven and heaven to earth because he is the one who came down from heaven. That is, Jesus, who lived an earthly life like ours, was yet also ("simultaneously") the Eternal Word and Son of God. This truth, a truth-too-great-to-be-fully-understood (i.e. a "mystery"), is central to our salvation. Jesus is the "light that shines in the darkness" (John 1) which "the darkness cannot grasp" (John 1), just as "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all" (I John 1:5) because Jesus is the eternal light, in whom "all the fullness of Deity dwells bodily." (Col. 2:9) It is because Jesus is fully God and fully man that he can bear the sins of the whole world! (I John 2:2, Col. 1:15-20).

These truths are poignantly emphasized by the way that God elected for Jesus to be born.
Jesus' parentage -- He is born of a woman (Gal. 4:4), as any human being is, and born not of the will of a human father but of God (John 1:13) -- reflects his unique existence as God-and-man, and thus the fact that in His being-born He is (as the angel tells Mary) "Emmanuel -- that is, God with us!" (Matt 1:23)

The light of the star (which leads the wisemen, Matt. 2:2, 2:9-10) and angelic glory (Luke 2:13-14) represent the light of God's presence, the starting point of Creation (Gen. 1:3) and "the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (II Cor. 4:6).

Jesus is born in Beth-lehem, the "house of bread" (and the City of David), and laid in a manger, a feeding trough for animals, signifying that we his dumb sheep, must receive him as our true sustenance, the true manna from heaven that gives life to the whole world, and feed upon him in our hearts by faith. Jesus re-emphasizes this later both in the miraculous feeding of the 5000 and at the last supper.

That Mary and Joseph can find no room at the inn -- no accommodation or place for Him to be born -- reflects our world's unwillingness to make a place for our true ruler and savior ("He came to his own and his own received him not" and indeed "the world came into being through him" yet did not acknowledge him: John 1:10-11; see also Matt 8:20, Luke 9:58), and indeed the difficulty each of us has in letting Him into our lives, so that we must remember for "every heart" to "prepare him room" as the carol "Joy to the World" urges us to do.)

The innocent children of Bethlehem who die, victim to Herod's wrath and fear and hatred of God's messiah (Matt. 16:18) foreshadow how Jesus will give his innocent life for our sins.

God calls as witnesses of His coming into the world the shepherds -- faithful Jews, who "watch over their flocks by night" (Luke 2) -- and "wise men from the east" -- sages who seek Jesus as the one "born king of the Jews" based upon their observation of the stars.
These two groups symbolize, clearly, that Jesus has come for Jew and Gentile, for laborer and learned, for poor and rich, for pastors and students of the word, -- removing the "dividing walls of separation" among us, and reconciling us to one another, as He reconciles us to God. Yet the shepherds, the poor, are first.

The Shepherds are summoned on the night of his birth, as He lies wrapped in strips of cloth ("swaddling clothes") in the stable. Jesus is the shepherd of His people, and the Good Shepherd who goes after the strayed, and who came to seek and to save the lost. These shepherds who are "watching over their flocks by night", far from their own homes, are lying in danger and discomfort with their dumb and smelly sheep to keep them in safety. Even so Jesus has left the splendor and peace of heaven to be with His sheep, and rescue us from danger.

By the time the wisemen get there, Jesus is in "the house". Perhaps this is one of the houses of the shepherds, who realize that they cannot leave Israel's messiah whom the angels have pointed out to them, lying in a cave or stable. Jesus is born, then, lower than the lowest of the low, for his self-emptying, his humility, for our sake, is the very emblem of His divinity (Phil. 2)

The wisemen are wise enough to avoid tipping Herod off after they have found Jesus, being warned (as Joseph is) in a dream. They come with a very reverent attitude to the child, for they bring costly gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These gifts seem symbolic of who Jesus is, and His vocation. Silent Night adores Jesus as "Lord at Thy Birth": the Gold, like the crown of a king, signifies that Jesus is King and Lord of all. The incense -- used in worship -- signifies that He is Divine, that He is God. The Myrrh, a costly burial spice, signifies that His life is one preparing for death. (The carol "We Three Kings" explicates this very well, although of course we don't know how many Magi there were, not whether they included royalty.)

I am thankful for Christmas because I am thankful for Jesus!

The story of Christ's birth is full of wonderful details that speak to us of God's great love and beauty, and the way that Christ has come to us in very great humility and at great cost to bring us to God, to " transfer us from the kingdom of darkness into His marvelous light", and by his death to free us from our sins. [indent] Praise be to the Holy Name of Jesus, forever and ever. Amen

OldChurchGuy
Dec 12th 2008, 05:41 AM
Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from the eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We have seen his star as it arose, and we have come to worship him." Matthew 2:1-2

Also it speaks of the prophecy in Micah 5 O Bethlehem of Judah, you are not just a lowly village in Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.

The wise men had seen this star according to what they had told Herod for two years.

Then you have

That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them. Dont be afraid! he said. I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior- yes, the Messiah, the Lord- has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! And this is how you will recognize him: you will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snuggly in strips of cloth!

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others- the armies of heaven- praising God.

"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors." Luke 2:8-14


So I have wondered why these two types, "Shepherds and Wise Men." And to each it was revealed differently. The wise men it was revealed thru a star; and with the shepherds it was revealed in heavenly glory.

To the wise men they were looking for a King of the Jews. And the shepherds was revealed a Savior, the Messiah.

I thought perhaps we could discuss these things.

(Oddly enough, it was even revealed to Herod. Not by God, but by the wise men. And God, thru a dream to the wise men, hid this truth from Herod).

It could be that the writers of Matthew and Luke were writing their Good News for two different audiences. Matthew was more concerned with believers with a Jewish background and so wrote of a Messiah that was recognized as a king from the beginning by those in power. Luke, on the other hand, was writing to a pagan non-jewish audience and so wrote of a Messiah that was recognized by common folk with some supernatural assistance by angels.

It is my understanding the Gospels were never intended to be interpreted as accurate historical accounts. Rather, they were written about 5 decades after the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ probably as a result of the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 A.D. by the Romans. Their purpose was to give an account of Jesus and his teachings as the witnesses were dying off and there was no second coming after the Temple's destruction.

As always,

OldChurchGuy

dancedwithdolphin
Dec 12th 2008, 08:36 AM
Well, for me, it was easy to see why God chose shepherds. Takes me back to David and his meger beginnings, and the promise God made to him. (Found in 1 Samuel 16:1-13 and 2 Samuel 7:1-29) So again God chooses Bethlehem and a lowly child who might be overlooked as a threat.

What amazes me is the angel appearance before the shepherds. Like Mary, the shepherds had a visitation, one of great joy and importance.

While the wise men, like Joseph, were spoken to in dreams. I can no longer remember the source, but Moses had simular signs. All the boys were to be killed. And from the now unknown source, Moses was born under a star. Now I tend to think that the "wise men" were Jews. Of the scholarly sort. Looking for this specific sign, probably ones that stayed behind in Babylon (or perhaps from Egypt since the star was viewed in the east). Otherwise why look for a sign of the Jewish God in the heavens. And then understanding what this might mean.

I also find it interesting that the wise men were led by star (or fire) by night (and I might assume a cloud by day-otherwise they would only be able to travel at night). Another interesting link with Moses. Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt as quoted in the Exodus "The Lord guided them by a pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire at night." Exodus 13:21-22


They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts... And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba... Psalm 72:9-15

I dont know if this specific passage gives us any insights as to the origin of the kings or wise men; but I do know David was being prophetic here. (It wouldnt suprise me, if again Sheba was bringing her gold to another wise man; one who is greater than Solomon. Searching again for wisdom in the King of the Jews).

Well anyways, these are some of my thoughts. At least so far.

Good insights everyone. I do so enjoy searching the scriptures with everyone. It is nice when we can see old things in a new light.

God Bless

neverleaveunorfors
Dec 12th 2008, 01:25 PM
Just how many were there?;):pray: the scripture does not say what it does say is there were 3 gifts given .But lets back up a bit .Now these magi came from the East (no one knows how far they traveled and how long this trip took) and came to Jerusalem saying where is he who has been been born king of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have came to worship Him matt 2:1 and 2:2 Ok now read it over and over so when they had got there by what they said He was already born ! ok now study Matt 2:3 -2:12 ok so now Herod gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people togeather (how long did this take ?] (remember it says all } ok now these wise men that is if you want to call them that the scripture really says Magi translated by some one to wisemen Ok so how wise and how much knowledge did they have of the scripture did they have ? Now remember they went to not to Bethlehem in the land of Judah untill sent by Herod . Ok now this could have happened for many reasons dont be offened by these thoughts ok now either God lead them there for the child to be lead to Egypt 2:13 -15 or God new the works of satan (of course he does He is all knowing either way } Satans gole was to kill him either way the scripture had to be forfilled there is a lot of what God said of his Christ through the Holy prophtes for us to know who exactuly his cChrist was and is so any how did the star appear by God or by satan ? her is why I ask this Ok lets go to Luke did the star appeare to the shepherds? read and study who did ?what happened? Im short on time and would like to chat more but I need to get to work so have a blessed day all ok but back to matt 1st matt 2:9this star now went befor them till it came and stood over him would like to look that word up [Stood) what was actully used for it ? now 2:10 ok now this star did they follow it ? 2;10 when they saw it yes when they saw it they did what ok now 2;11 where was the chiled (when they came into the house } where? into the house {ok so how long did this journey take? ] no one knows but Id say maybe approx . almost 2 yrs. here is why does any one know how long a trip it was from Jeruslem to Bethlehem ? ok so any how after the divine warning and not untill then they whould probley have gone back to Herod and told of the Christs location .ok now 2;16 now the time determined by the Magi 9
[star gazers] something we are told not to do is listen or pay attention to them ther is a reason why ok so the age of the chileren that were put to death were what ? and how long did Herod wait to place this order I'd say just about as long as it takes to travel to Jersulem and back plus a short period of time so how old was the child when the Magi came to the Christ and gave the gifts? no one knows but 2;8 says young child not baby as lukes account says to the sheperds 2;12 ok if you like respond any one and we could chat later God willing of course neverleaveunorforsakeu@yahoo.com :pray:

Teke
Dec 12th 2008, 05:19 PM
The wise men were likely from Persia.

I dare say it wasn't about a Jew vs Gentile thing, but about spiritual things. People who are seeking will always be the first to find the thing which they seek for. IMHO the magi and shepherds were of the peoples of the world which looked toward the spiritual things concerning God and not toward worldly things.

John27
Dec 13th 2008, 04:05 AM
Christmas time always gets me thinking of who were the wise men? THe Gospel only says that they were there. Their names or nations are never revealed. HOwever I've heard them regarded as Magi, wise men and kings of the orient. There also always seems to be a really dark skinned one in the depictions. So who are these wise men? Are they Jewish rulers or Jewish Scholars/Magi/priests/sages? Are they kings of Jeiwsh kingdoms to the east? Are they kings of other kingdoms to the east, Persia? Further?

These are things I wonder?

neverleaveunorfors
Dec 21st 2008, 05:36 AM
not saying this is the answer to just what a Magi was but you might want to see what answers.com says about Magi ,is intersting but actual? take time to look it up lots of love James

Bethany67
Dec 21st 2008, 12:29 PM
Christmas time always gets me thinking of who were the wise men? THe Gospel only says that they were there. Their names or nations are never revealed. HOwever I've heard them regarded as Magi, wise men and kings of the orient. There also always seems to be a really dark skinned one in the depictions. So who are these wise men? Are they Jewish rulers or Jewish Scholars/Magi/priests/sages? Are they kings of Jeiwsh kingdoms to the east? Are they kings of other kingdoms to the east, Persia? Further?

These are things I wonder?

This is speculation, but I think they were probably astrologers (court servants), and probably from somewhere like Persia (modern Iran). At that time Persia was part of the Parthian empire and controlled by a native dynasty called the Arsacids, after they defeated the Greek Seleucids. They retained the dominant Greek culture in order to be accepted along with elements of their native Armenia. They were enemies of Rome but by the time of Jesus had reached an uneasy peace (1 AD) through diplomacy after the wrangling over Cappadocia which Mark Anthony had tried to invade some 30-40 years previously. Josephus has quite a bit to say about them.

Astrology was rightly condemned in the OT so I don't think they were Jews descended from the earlier exile; they were more likely Greek-influenced native polytheists, Gentile Pagans. Nevertheless God knew they looked to the stars for guidance and in His mercy used them as a kind of Gentile evangelism to bring them to Jesus. Because Judea was a Roman province, and Rome was still viewed as an enemy, I reckon it took some courage to go there; it might also explain why they went to Herod first as client-king of the Romans. Diplomacy again.

The gold speaks of royalty and purity. Frankincense was an ingredient in incense in OT times and was probably also used in religious rituals throughout the Middle East; it indicates a priestly function. It was generally traded from Southern Arabia. Myrrh was also an incense and perfume ingredient native to Yemen and other places on the Arabian Peninsula, and was used in embalming and funeral ceremonies. Pliny the Elder calls myrrh the 'Royal Perfume' of the Parthians. It was one of the ingredients of the anointing oil in Exodus 30. So you have gold (royalty and purity), frankincense (priest) and myrrh (death). All powerful indicators of the future of Jesus.

Myrrh is also an intoxicant; I've used oil of myrrh for extreme toothache when I couldn't get to the dentist, and while it is an antiseptic and somewhat numbs the pain, I wouldn't recommend it. It tastes vile actually. It was offered to Jesus on the cross (Mark 15). It smells nicer (in my opinion) as incense than frankincense does if you burn it on charcoal discs.