Christmas cards featuring magi greatly outsell cards featuring shepherds.
Yet the magi story is second only to the Virgin Birth in provoking disbelief at Christmas.
Who were the magi who saw “His Star” and came to worship the King of the Jews?
What was the Star of Bethlehem?
Magi is Greek for “wise men.” They were scholars with special expertise in astronomy, originating in Persia (Iran) around 1000 BC. They also advised royal courts in Babylon, Arabia and India. According to the Roman historian Herodotus, magi organized Persian society after Babylon fell in 539 B.C.
Persia was a military rival to Rome. Previously Herod had battled her for three years. Thus a contingent of Persian nobles seeking a new king (surely with servants and a military escort) would have provoked acute consternation in Jerusalem as Matthew describes (Matthew 2:3).
This is the first of a series of six Christmas blog posts in which I’ll discuss who the Magi were, what the Star was, and the relationship between the two.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Read the next Christmas blog post on the Magi and the Star:
2. We Three Kings? (with a YouTube video)
Read December’s Bible-Science newspaper column: Christmas Animals.
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Tuesday December 4, 2007 A.D.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, 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)