THE WISE MEN FROM THE EAST
By Elvin C. Myers
Scripture Reading: Matthew 2:1-2
It has been generally agreed that the number of wise men from the east is unknown. In addition, it is agreed that they did not visit Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus in a stable. Matthew 2:11 states that "they were come into a house" for the visit.
Christmas cards often portray three men on camels riding over the crest of a sand dune, and before them lies a sprawling city with a bright star above. Bethlehem was nowhere near a desert; it was in the mountains of Judea. It was not a sprawling city with domed buildings like mosques but was a very small village.
Who were the wise men? They were certainly not Persian astrologers who studied the heavens. Astrology is soundly condemned by the Lord, so it is highly unlikely that God would Use astrology to announce Christ's birth (Isaiah 47:13-14). It is almost always associated with demon worship.
The wise men were Jews. What were Jews doing in Persia? They were scattered up and down the Euphrates River Valley being a remnant from the Babylonian captivity. The Persians liberated the Jews from the seventy years of captivity and gave permission for them to return to Judea. Many returned, but large numbers stayed. Many who stayed in Persia were Godly Jews, like Daniel and Ezekiel. Since Daniel wrote of the time the Messiah would appear, there is every reason to believe that Godly Jews in Persia would have been watching for Messiah's appearance, especially as the designated time approached. In Acts 2:5, we learn that Jews from all over the Mediterranean world were in Jerusalem for Pentecost. Verse 9 says there were Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and dwellers in Mesopotamia.
The wise men were not Gentiles. No promise of a Messiah was given to Gentiles. The wise men came to worship the child whom they expected to grow to manhood, become Israel's King, and save His people from their enemies.
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