During this time of year we often hear the Christmas story that we have loved so long. We remember the story of Joseph and Mary, the shepherds, the crowded Inn and the Wise Men. In Matthew we are told that they came from the east but little else. That provoked a number of questions to me and I searched the Scriptures to find out any information that I could. It is not something that I had ever heard about and wondered, how did they know about Jesus’ birth? Why was it so important to them to make such a journey and then to offer gifts? Here is what I found:
Wise men are mentioned several times in the old testament. They are first mentioned in Es 1:13 Then the king said to the wise men, which knew the times, (for so was the king’s manner toward all that knew law and judgment: and again in Jer 10:7 Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee. But the Greatest number of references to the wise men are in the Book of Daniel. You will find them mentioned in 2:12,13,14,18, 24, 27, 48, 4:6, 18, 5:7,8, and finally in Matthew 2:1, 7.
In Chapter 2 we learn of the story of King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and called for the magicians, astrologers and the sorcerers to shew him his dream or they would all be destroyed. This included Daniel and his three friends. Daniel asked for time and said that he would bring the king his dream and its interpretation. After much prayer and patients the Lord gave Daniel the dream and its interpretation. The king was so impressed that he made Daniel head over all the “wise men” From this information I speculate that Daniel gained many followers as he had saver their lives and had demonstrated such skill in interpreting the kings dream that they were not only indebted to Daniel but saw the opportunity to learn from him. I am not naive to think that all of them felt that way but since they were now under his authority they had no choice but to follow him at least for the time being. We know from history that there were some who took every opportunity to rid themselves of Daniel but the Lord delivered him from all his oppressors.
The group of “wise men” were made up of magicians, astrologers and sorcerers. A group that we would consider dark spiritualist. Daniel did not berate them for their error but rather took the opportunity to teach them God’s ways and I can see that some of them took it to heart and became true followers of the one true God. It is not a stretch to believe that because Daniel’s powers were so great that his influence lasted for about 600 years. Add to that the fact the the entire world was under Nebuchadnezzar’s rule so that he would have had the best “wise men” available and would have collected them together. Furthermore, the wise men came from the East, which is where the Assyrian empire was located. Assuming that the star appeared at or near the birth of Christ, it would have taken some time to go through the records to find the prophecy of the coming Christ and then to understand that this was the announcement of that event. Then there was the preparation and the trip that could have taken several months and they would have arrived about a year and a half later. That is deducted from the fact that the wise men went to the house not the manger and why Herod killed the babies 2 years old and under.
I readily admit that there is some speculation in this series of events and that the “proof” does not exist for it but the only reason I share ti is because I wanted to know where they came from and I never got a satisfactory answer. Thinking back over it, I have come to the conclusion that it does not matter if this is correct or not, for the event of the birth of Christ so overshadows everything else. Some things must be left to the wisdom of God. What I needed to know was not how it happened but what happened. Christ came into this world to free me from my sin and that is the reason for the season.