The magi was a rabbi?
I grew up believing that there were 3 wise men who came to see the baby Jesus. That it happened sometime between birth and age 3. That they had names. That they brought him Frankincense, Gold and Myrh. That they were dressed like kings. They wore crowns and robes, adorned with jewels. You’ve seen the pictures just like I did as a kid.
But I had so many questions about all that. How could 3 people get the attention of King Herod?
Did King Herod die before they arrived?
If you simply read Matthew, Chpt 2, there are all kinds of what-ifs.
“there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem”
1. where does it tell us there were just 3 of them?
2. How did “wise men” turn into “3 kings of Orient” in the hymn?
a. The Orient would be “south east” of Jerusalem!
3. They went to Jerusalem….Jesus was born in Bethlehem
“we have seen his star in the east…”
4. they came from the east. But they saw his star “in” the east?
“when Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him”
5. 3 men got the attention of the King and “all” Jerusalem. Remember, there were hundreds of thousands of Israelites in Jerusalem when Jesus Messiah was born – all there for the census and the Feast of Tabernacles.
“and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, til it came and stood over where the young child was”
6. the star MOVED! So why do all the Christmas pagaents have it stationary over the stable???
“and when they were come into the house”
7. how did the stable get turned into a house?
“Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee nto Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him”
Herod died less than a month after Jesus Messiah was born. So that means these wise men had to be there before then!
“he took the young child and his mother by night and departed into Egypt”
8. Why at night?
“and was there until the death of Herod”
9. So, were they in Egypt less than 30 days?
So many “what if’s”
1. What if the star first appeared when Jesus was conceived at Hanukkah, BCE5?
a. Plenty of time for the wise men to travel – a full 9 months
2. What if the wise men came from Babylon?
a. It is directly east of Jerusalem
b. It was a Jewish center
1) 600 years earlier, Hebrews took Babylon captive
2) more ethnic Hebrews were in Babylon alone, than in all of Israel
3)Babylon was a Rabbinical headquarters and had numerous Hebrew seminaries.
4) It was a magnet for devout and ethnic Hebrews
5) Babylon’s royal treasure house still possessed the objects looted from the Jerusalem temple more than 500 years earlier.
6) Babylon’s rabbis werethe source of Jerusalem’s new copies of the Holy scripture scrolls
7) Babylon had been the source of the Talmud
Remember, the prophecy was a long, forgotten, unanticipated one. At least 600 years old? Who would even know what a star in the sky was for? Only learned men, great scholars, men who studied the Hebrew scrolls would know this prophecy and be actively looking for it.
3. What if there were hundreds in the group? Dozens of Rabbis, Hebrew seminary students, devout and faithful Hebrews. Many already making their pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the High Holy days of Sukkot. Being devout Hebrews, they would have longed to go to Jerusalem forthis event.
4. What if they all (hundreds?) arrive in Jerusalem on the first night of Sukkot, the beginning of the 7 day long Feast of Tabernacles, the first night of which is an Annual High Sabbath, a High Holdy Day, in the fall of BCE4. October 4 on our calendar.
They arrive at the same time Joseph and Mary arrive….right at sundown.
Jesus Messiah is born a little later that night. In a temporary tabernacle, a sukkah and placed in a food crib (because he is the Bread of Life.
5. It is doubtful that 3 wise men would get the attention of King Herod. But hundreds and hundreds of Hebrew Rabbis and scholars, a unified mob….highly respected Babylonian Hebrew rabbis….all asking where the new born King was….yes, that might just get Herod’s attention!!! Plus the attention of ALL of Jerusalem!
6. What if scripture is true and the star really did move? It was a guiding light? It then stood still directly over the Messiah? It did not rise. It did not set. It did not move across the sky. It was not a comet, alignment of planets, etc. What if no one else saw it? Jesus Messiah only spoke to Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, while the others heard a voice, but did not hear a meaningful conversation. What if it wasThe Angel of The Lord?
7. What if the group of Rabbis departed Jerusalem and arrived in Bethlehem (4 miles away) the very next evening after the Messiah’s birth? The “Pilgrimage” Sabbath had ended, many Hebrews had departed and lodgings were now available indoors, so the baby Jesus had been moved inside a house. What if Joseph took the family and departed forEgypt very late that same 2nd night and never returned to Bethlehem? From birth to departure, Jesus spent no more than 36 hours in Bethlehem.
8. What if Epiphany is simply a Roman Catholic myth?
9. What if Mary is NOT supposed to be worshiped? Scripture tells us that the wise men ONLY bowed to and worshiped the newborn Messiah!!! How did the Catholics evolve that into worshiping Mary?
10. What if Joseph took his family to the nearest part of Egypt? Just outside the reach of Herod. Perhaps to current day Gaza or Sinai? Not Cairo. Not the Nile River.
11. What if Jesus was circumcised on the 8th day – it is a special Sabbath. It would only make sense that a Hebrew King be circumcised and named on a Sabbath.
12. What if King Herod did die within 3 weeks of Jesus Messiah’s birth? We know that he died late October BCE4? Jesus returned from Egypt less than a month after His birth. They went to Nazareth, avoided Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
13. According to Hebrew law, a woman was unable to enter a temple until 40 days after birth. At that time she was ritually cleansed and eligible to enter the temple. He would have been presented at the Hebrew Temple in Jerusalem to officially record his birth and to dedicate Him to God.
14. What if you know the scriptures? Then you will come to know that Christmas carols are merely folklore based on Roman Catholic myths and fables. No 3 kings. No orient!
What if the Magi was a Rabbi?