The MAGI - The Truth and the Myths

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VCO

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2013
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#1
Have you noticed how many myths there are about the Magi?

1. They always say the "three" wise men. No where in the Bible does it say there were only three of them. In fact, historical accounts of the Magi, show they usually traveled in groups of a dozen or more, and always brought a detachment of at least a 100 of their best soldiers, known to be the fiercest in the mid-east.

2. One of our songs even says "We Three Kings". The Magi were not Kings, but you may say they were "King Makers". The tribe of Magi, were traditionally called upon to conduct the Coronation Ceremony of a new King in most of the mid-east Countries at the time of Christ's birth.

3. The most probable reason for the "three" wise men myth, is they bore three types of gifts: Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. Now contrary to the myth, these were not "Happy Birthday Gifts", these were the traditional Homage gifts that were brought to every new King."

4. Nearly every modern day picture of the wise men, shows them riding camels. Yet another myth, because no where in the Bible does it say they rode camels. In fact, historians tell us that one of the major sources of income for the tribe of Magi, was from the sale of Arabian horses to kingdoms for use a war horses. Now why would a tribe that are big time horse traders, ride camels?

5. Our cute Christmas cards picture the Magi at the manger with the Shepherds, yet another myth. Mt. 2:11, makes it clear that by the time the Magi arrived in Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph were living in a house. Most likely Joseph being a carpenter, built the house, after moving to Bethlehem some time after the birth of Jesus. Why would he move there, two reasons. One, he noticed that there was a shortage of housing, which means lots of work for a carpenter. Two, the Romans could call for another census any time they wanted, so why pack up and travel back to Bethlehem every time the Romans called for a new census.

6. While the account in the Bible does not put the Magi at the manger, many still think they arrived shortly after the birth. Again Mt 2:11, refers to Him as "young child", not baby. Also in Mt. 2:7, we see Herod asking how long ago they first saw the Star. Then after the Magi tell him and head to Bethlehem, Herod orders his palace guard to go kill every male child two years old and under. That is a clear indication that the Magi told him that they had first saw the star two years ago. Why did it take them so long to get from northeastern Iraq to Jerusalem? They had to travel from village to village throughout their territory, collecting the Homage for the new king.

7. Many people believe that the Magi, because they studied the astrology of their day; "read it in the stars" and thereby knew of the birth of Jesus. Yet another myth. Do you remember the story of Daniel explaining Nebuchadnezzar's dream? What was Daniel's reward for doing what the wise men (Magi) could not? Nebuchadnezzar made Daniel "chief" over all the wise men, Dan. 2:48. Now you know Daniel was not about to teach them astrology, instead Daniel would have been teaching them prophecy, including the prophecies of the Messiah. The Magi remembered and taught what Daniel had taught them, from generation to generation; while Israel forgot.

While most people, cannot understand why Herod over-reacted so much. We need only to look at the scene Herod saw as the Magi rode up. Suddenly outside the palace is the noise of over a hundred horses. When Herod looks out, "Oh NO!" it is the Magi, and at least a hundred of their elite guard, to protect the Homage. The magi are looking for the new King, which makes Herod the old King. "They have the Homage with them, and they are prepared to remove me, and crown Him!" Herod only has his palace guard, as Israel was at war at that time and the army is no where near Jerusalem. The palace guard is no match for a detachment of Magi warriors. "What do I do, what do I do?", runs through Herod's mind. Then he schemes to pretend to want to come worship the new King too, so that the Magi will tell him what they know about the new King. Now we can see it as it was. Herod out of fear of being replaced, orders his palace guard to kill all two year old and below males in and around Bethlehem.

As Paul Harvey would have said on his radio program of the past,
"And Now, you know the rest of the Story."
 
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Tintin

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#2
Some great information but I'm not sure about your 7th point. In ancient times, the mysticism of astrology and the sciences of astronomy were intermixed. They weren't separated like they have become in more recent times. Also, Nebuchadnezzar made Daniel chief of all the wise men, but that doesn't mean all the wise men in the world but all in Nebuchadnezzar's courts and his lands. So, I've always believed that when God included the Magi in his story, he was showing that his grace was available also to pagans. God included the rich and the poor, the believers and the non-believers in his plans for salvation.
 

Agricola

Senior Member
Dec 10, 2012
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#4
YOur 4th point, if these magi had to travel across deserts then camels would be the better choice. Someone who owns a successful sports car manufacturing business will not use one of his sports cars to travel across the jungles and plains of Africa.

The census is a huge can of worms, certainly it does not sit right with what actully happened with so called census in Roman Empire. One theory is that Herod exploited a Roman public holiday to tax his own people and just create misery for them by demanding they return to place of birth or whatever, Herod was evil like that.

However the Bible contains many pieces of historical information which has no supporting external evidence, but thats another thread, so I am not too concerned over this. Athiests like to jump up and down and try to discredit it all for obvious reasons.

Anyway here is a little video.

[video=youtube;2sO3InyiIjw]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sO3InyiIjw[/video]
 

VCO

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2013
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#5
Some great information but I'm not sure about your 7th point. In ancient times, the mysticism of astrology and the sciences of astronomy were intermixed. They weren't separated like they have become in more recent times. Also, Nebuchadnezzar made Daniel chief of all the wise men, but that doesn't mean all the wise men in the world but all in Nebuchadnezzar's courts and his lands. So, I've always believed that when God included the Magi in his story, he was showing that his grace was available also to pagans. God included the rich and the poor, the believers and the non-believers in his plans for salvation.
The wise men of the Tribe of Magi, were very highly thought of, and known to hire themselves out to Kings as one of their sources of income. They prided themselves in studying anything considered wisdom that they could get their hands on, therefore Daniel's knowledge of Scripture would have been something they were EAGER to learn. Therefore, they would have learned the prophecies of the Messiah that Daniel knew. Since they were always called upon to conduct the Coronation Ceremony, they would have naturally considered it their duty to collect to homage. How many villages did they travel to? There is no way to know that, but since their people lived scattered throughout northeastern Iraq and northwestern Iran, raising herds of horses, the traveling may even have been door to door. Sure the purpose of the star obviously was GOD's way of sparking their interest, as well as marking the event for the whole world to see; but knowing of the prophesied KING to come, I believe purely came from Daniel not from star gazing. How about we ask Daniel when we get there?
 

Tintin

Senior Member
Jan 3, 2013
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#6
The wise men of the Tribe of Magi, were very highly thought of, and known to hire themselves out to Kings as one of their sources of income. They prided themselves in studying anything considered wisdom that they could get their hands on, therefore Daniel's knowledge of Scripture would have been something they were EAGER to learn. Therefore, they would have learned the prophecies of the Messiah that Daniel knew. Since they were always called upon to conduct the Coronation Ceremony, they would have naturally considered it their duty to collect to homage. How many villages did they travel to? There is no way to know that, but since their people lived scattered throughout northeastern Iraq and northwestern Iran, raising herds of horses, the traveling may even have been door to door. Sure the purpose of the star obviously was GOD's way of sparking their interest, as well as marking the event for the whole world to see; but knowing of the prophesied KING to come, I believe purely came from Daniel not from star gazing. How about we ask Daniel when we get there?
Thanks. I find this topic fascinating but what exactly are your sources for the above?
 

VCO

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2013
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#7
YOur 4th point, if these magi had to travel across deserts then camels would be the better choice. Someone who owns a successful sports car manufacturing business will not use one of his sports cars to travel across the jungles and plains of Africa.

The census is a huge can of worms, certainly it does not sit right with what actully happened with so called census in Roman Empire. One theory is that Herod exploited a Roman public holiday to tax his own people and just create misery for them by demanding they return to place of birth or whatever, Herod was evil like that.

However the Bible contains many pieces of historical information which has no supporting external evidence, but thats another thread, so I am not too concerned over this. Athiests like to jump up and down and try to discredit it all for obvious reasons.

Anyway here is a little video.

Let me see if I can upload a map, to show you where the tribe of Magi raised their Arabian War horses that they were famous for selling to various Kings. If you were from the Irag/Iranian border region and wanted to raise LOTS of Horses to sell to Kings as War Horses, would you pick the deserts to raise your horses in? Not if you wanted to succeed. You would raise them in that nice green area around the Caspian Sea, and the river valleys throughout northern Iraq and Northwestern Iran. NOW if you wanted to travel from that region to go to Israel would you go south into the middle of Iraq and then west across the Desert? Or would you go due west from where you lived to the Mediterranean Sea, while following river valleys to insure water and grass for your horses. NOTICE that river Valley flowing west and emptying into the Mediterranean. Sorry, but that camel idea is an invention in the minds eye of a European artist. The northern border of Syria, Lebenon, and Irag is a river valley.
 

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VCO

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2013
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#8
Thanks. I find this topic fascinating but what exactly are your sources for the above?
Most of it came from a sermon that Dr. John MacArthur did back in the early 80s. I tried to find that Sermon Archived, but had no luck. I heard it on Radio, taped it, and listened to it several times, but no longer have it. Here is an article that Dr. MacArthur wrote on the same subject.

How Did the Magi Know About Jesus?
 

VCO

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2013
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#9
Let me see if I can upload a map, to show you where the tribe of Magi raised their Arabian War horses that they were famous for selling to various Kings. If you were from the Irag/Iranian border region and wanted to raise LOTS of Horses to sell to Kings as War Horses, would you pick the deserts to raise your horses in? Not if you wanted to succeed. You would raise them in that nice green area around the Caspian Sea, and the river valleys throughout northern Iraq and Northwestern Iran. NOW if you wanted to travel from that region to go to Israel would you go south into the middle of Iraq and then west across the Desert? Or would you go due west from where you lived to the Mediterranean Sea, while following river valleys to insure water and grass for your horses. NOTICE that river Valley flowing west and emptying into the Mediterranean. Sorry, but that camel idea is an invention in the minds eye of a European artist. The northern border of Syria, Lebanon, and Irag is a river valley.
I mis-spelled Iraq, sorry. And I mistakenly thought Lebanon extended up to that river that empties into the Mediterranean Sea. I did that map search on Bing Maps for IRAQ and then changed the view to Bird's Eye. If you ZOOM in, you can see lots of fertile valleys in that region. In the Valley around Al Qamishli, they may have turned southwest following that smaller river by Al Hasakah to Dayr az Zawr. Of course those towns may not have been there back then, but with the water and grass being there, you could always find small game to hunt, and travel fairly comfortably for those days of horse back travel. That reservoir above there would have just been a river then, still providing plenty of water and grass for the horses, over to Aleppo and then down through the Valleys of Lebanon. All the way to Jerusalem and Bethlaham a few miles south of there. I do not think the "different route" they took back was much further than what was necessary to evade the palace guards under Herod's orders, coming down from Jerusalem.
 

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Nov 30, 2012
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#10
Hey...there are many scholars who believe that they were Magoi not Magi. A Magoi was a Persian Priest and part of the Persian Emperor court. They were Zoroastrian, following the prophecies of Daniel and his scribe, Zoroaster.
 

VCO

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2013
6,363
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#11
Hey...there are many scholars who believe that they were Magoi not Magi. A Magoi was a Persian Priest and part of the Persian Emperor court. They were Zoroastrian, following the prophecies of Daniel and his scribe, Zoroaster.

Matthew 2:16 (NIV)
[SUP]16 [/SUP] When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

Matthew 2:16 (NASB)
[SUP]16 [/SUP] Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi.

Matthew 2:16 (YLT)
[SUP]16 [/SUP] Then Herod, having seen that he was deceived by the mages, was very wroth, and having sent forth, he slew all the male children in Beth-Lehem, and in all its borders, from two years and under, according to the time that he inquired exactly from the mages.
Matthew 2:16 (KJV)
[SUP]16 [/SUP] Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.

Matthew 2:16 (HCSB)
[SUP]16 [/SUP] Then Herod, when he saw that he had been outwitted by the wise men, flew into a rage. He gave orders to massacre all the male children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, in keeping with the time he had learned from the wise men.

Greek NASB Number: 3097
Greek Word: μάγος

Transliterated Word:magos
Root: of Pers. or., cf. [7248];

Definition: a Magian, i.e. an (Oriental) astrologer, by impl. a magician:--

List of English Words and Number of Times Used
magi (4),
magician (2).


New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.
Yes and they hired themselves out as wise men to most of Kings in the Mid-East. I think you are going to find that the majority of them are all of the from the same Tribe, born and raised along the shores of the Caspian Sea and west of there. The slight difference in names would have resulted from the differences in languages of the various Kingdoms where they worked.


Magi

Latin plural of magus;
Ancient Greek: magos;
Old Persian: maguš,
Persian: mogh;
English singular magian,mage, magus, magusian, magusaean;
Kurdish: manji
are all a term, used . . . to denote followers of Zurvanism or Zoroaster.
The earliest known usage of the word Magi is in the trilingual inscription written by Darius the Great, known as the Behistun Inscription.
Magi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
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Agricola

Senior Member
Dec 10, 2012
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#12
Horses, Camels or Donkeys does it really matter? NO.
 

john832

Senior Member
May 31, 2013
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#13
Wars have started over historical inaccuracies. Did that really matter? For that matter, does accuracy count for anything?
 

VCO

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2013
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#14
Wars have started over historical inaccuracies. Did that really matter? For that matter, does accuracy count for anything?

It makes for an EXTREMELY interesting Sunday School Lesson. I challenge you to Volunteer to get involved in the spiritual war of getting the attention of the modern day teenagers. Volunteer to teach Junior High Sunday School, and you will very quickly gain a whole new respect for these kind of lessons. Such a lesson teaches them to get their theology from the Word of GOD, and NOT just look at the pictures in the book and assume the pictures gave them all the information they need, or even that the artist himself got the drawing right.


Investing in the Biblical Education of our youth is never something that does not matter. I will give you another example of something that works well with teenagers, give them a home work assignment to look up a question about one verse on their Computer Bible Software program, or bibles with a large concordance if they do not have a Computer. And if they do not have Software, but do have the Computer, one of the best Bible library programs on the market is FREE: https://www.wordsearchbible.com/basic And the free versions that you can download include the KJV, HCSB, GWT, and YLT.
So to spark their interest, you pose a question about the details of a story {which you seem to think is a waste of time}:

Why did David pick up 5 smooth stones when his faith strong enough to understand
that GOD was capable of bringing down GOLIATH with one stone?

Maybe even offer a prize of a nice pen and pencil set for the one that comes up with the best answer, but you had better buy two, in case of a tie. Most Christian Book stores sell them with crosses on them.

In getting them to search for that answer, you will be teaching them that THEY CAN FIND ANSWERS FOR THEMSELVES IN THE BIBLE, if they diligently search for them.

Yes, I am going to make you all wait until tomorrow for the answer to that question. It is there, in another book, and it is hard to find.
 

Tintin

Senior Member
Jan 3, 2013
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#15
Wars have started over historical inaccuracies. Did that really matter? For that matter, does accuracy count for anything?
That's why we should aim for historical accuracy. Also, it helps to make the Bible real to people, not just to view it as God's Book of Truth with some nice stories.
 

VCO

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2013
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#16
Why did David pick up 5 smooth stones when his faith was strong enough to understand that GOD was capable of bringing down GOLIATH with ONE stone?

1 Samuel 17:39-40 (NKJV)
[SUP]39 [/SUP] David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, "I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them." So David took them off.

[SUP]40 [/SUP] Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine.


1 Samuel 17:4 (NKJV)
[SUP]4 [/SUP] And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.



David, knew the reputation of the Phillistine Army included FIVE Giants from Gath, not just the one called Goliath, whom David slew. These Five decended from the same family, and so Goliath had four brothers also with that Phillistine Army that day. David picked up the 5 smooth stones to be ready to take on ALL FIVE OF THE GIANT BROTHERS.

2 Samuel 21:15-22 (NKJV)
[SUP]15 [/SUP] When the Philistines were at war again with Israel, David and his servants with him went down and fought against the Philistines; and David grew faint.
[SUP]16 [/SUP] Then Ishbi-Benob, who was one of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose bronze spear was three hundred shekels, who was bearing a new sword,
thought he could kill David.
{Avenge his brother Goliath.}
[SUP]17 [/SUP] But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his aid, and struck the Philistine and killed him. {The second giant killed, was a brother of Goliath.}Then the men of David swore to him, saying, "You shall go out no more with us to battle, lest you quench the lamp of Israel."

[SUP]18 [/SUP] Now it happened afterward that there was again a battle with the Philistines at Gob. Then Sibbechai the Hushathitekilled Saph, who was one of the sons of the giant. {The third giant killed, was another brother of Goliath.}

[SUP]19 [/SUP] Again there was war at Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. {The fourth giant killed, definately was a brother of Goliath}
[SUP]20 [/SUP] Yet again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; and he also was born to the giant.
[SUP]21 [/SUP] So when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David's brother, killed him. {The fifth giant killed, was also a brother of Goliath}
[SUP]22 [/SUP] These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants. {The five giant brothers who were killed, had a father from Gath, who was also a giant.}


 
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Tintin

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Jan 3, 2013
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#17
Wow. I never thought of it that way! David was one courageous dude!
 

VCO

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2013
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#18
Wow. I never thought of it that way! David was one courageous dude!
AND David understood how great, powerful, and totally in control GOD IS.
 

VCO

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2013
6,363
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#19
Another reader just gave me some added information that may be related to where the Magi may have gathered a large portion of their Homage Gifts.

Psalm 72:10 (NKJV)
[SUP]10 [/SUP] The kings of Tarshish and of the isles Will bring presents; The kings of Sheba and Seba Will offer gifts.

IF that is related to both His first coming as well as His second coming when He reigns from the Throne of David, could that indicate just how FAR the Magi traveled in that two years from when they first saw the star and when they arrived in Jerusalem?

I don't think the Kings themselves came, because they would have had to have their Armies with them to protect the Kings. With Israel already at War, that would have looked like reinforcements coming against Israel.

However, it may validate, if that refers to both His first coming and His Second Coming, that the Kings themselves participated in the Giving of Homage, which would validate that the Homage was a considerable amount, certainly enough for Joseph, Mary, and Jesus to survive on, while in exile in Egypt until Herod died. And it certainly shows me exactly what verse the song writer of "We Three Kings" was looking at. I will toss this up for the group to discuss, because it may give us a clearer picture of where the Magi traveled to gather their Homage.

I would guess the Isles mentioned in that verse are Rhodes and Cyprus, and since Tarshish means "sea coast" we may be looking at western Turkey, even though Scholars have not pinned the exact location of Tarshish on the map. Daily Bible Study - Tarshish

The Same is true with Sheba, but they have a GENERAL idea of where it was. "The Queen of Sheba is never named in the Bible. Though her country is named as Sheba, we do not know its geographic location definitively. Three major views of where Sheba is located are: in the northern Arabian Peninsula called Wadi Es-Seba; southern Arabian Peninsula in what is now Yemen; and in Ethiopia" http://pruittcommunications.blogspot.com/2011/12/i-would-like-to-thank-dr.html

Since that is sending either two groups of Magi two different directions or having them covering a lot more territory in the two years from when they first saw the star than I thought they could, that verse may only be referring only to His Second Coming. Still I think it is worth sharing with the group for discussion.
 

VCO

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2013
6,363
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#20
MERRY CHRISTMAS Everyone,

Pray for those who do not get to come home for Christmas:
 

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