Friday, December 14, 2012

We Three Kings?

I just love Christmas carols.  It is one of my favorite things to do this time of year.  I look forward to signing them at church, hearing them on the radio, and going Christmas caroling.  They really seem to lock in on the true meaning of this time of year.  We set aside time now to celebrate the coming of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Now was Christ really born on December 25th?  Probably not.  For more on that, you can read my post entitled Traditions for my beliefs and scripture about that.  However, there is one Christmas carol that I never did understand.  And that carol is "We Three Kings".  We're there really three Kings?  What does the bible say?  That is what I would like to talk about in this post.

Matthew 2:1-12
"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.” 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. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
Are by no means least among the leaders of Judah;
For out of you shall come forth a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”
Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.” After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way."

Now there is a lot of good information here in this text.  My first question is, how many were there?  Actually, we don't know.  It just says magi from the east.  We don't know if it was three, or three hundred.  It never really said.  All we know is that they brought three types of gifts.  Gold, which represents his Kingship, frankincense, which represents His royal Priesthood, and myrrh, which was symbolic of His death that would come on the cross for our sins.  And because of this we traditionally say that there were three of them.  But, we don't know for sure.

My next question is, were they kings?  That is not what the scripture says.  In the scripture above, it says that they were magi.  Now, historically, magi were known as wise men.  They were experts at astrology with there beginnings in Persia.  These were men, who spent their lives studying the stars and there movement to try to predict what was going to happen.  They were by no means kings.

My last question is, how did they know that the star in the sky was significant to the birth of Christ?  They were not Jews.  They were from Persia.  So how did they know?

Daniel 2:46-49
"Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and did homage to Daniel, and gave orders to present to him an offering and fragrant incense. The king answered Daniel and said, “Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, since you have been able to reveal this mystery.” Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts, and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. And Daniel made request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego over the administration of the province of Babylon, while Daniel was at the king’s court."

I just love how God can take a bad situation and turn it good.  Daniel was taken from his home when Judah fell to the Persians almost 600 years before the birth of Christ.  During that time, he was a part of interpreting many prophecies about the coming of Christ and the End Times.  And because of this, he was made the ruler of the "wise men".  WOW!  I am sure that he took the opportunity to share the prophecies with the wise men under his charge.  Including his 70 weeks prophecy, which talked of the coming of the King, and the Tribulation.  At the end of the 69th week, Christ would enter the gates of Jerusalem.

I know that at the time of the birth that it was getting close to the time of that entry into Jerusalem, and the magi, that at one time were under Daniel, must have been looking for a sign of the coming of the King, which was His star.

Numbers 24:17  
"I see him, but not now;
I behold him, but not near;
A star shall come forth from Jacob,
A scepter shall rise from Israel,
And shall crush through the forehead of Moab,
And tear down all the sons of Sheth."

So, were there really three kings?  No.  But, there story is still a true sign that He is our Lord.  And I will still sing the song for that reason alone.  I hope that you all enjoyed this little study.

Thanks for reading, and God Bless you all this Christmas season.  

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