Come Follow Me LDS- Christmas Part 5- The Magi

'Christmas Part 5-  The Magi'

-  Who was Herod?

-  Who were the Magi

-  Where did they come from?

-  The Temple Imagery of Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh




and then we move over to Matthew 2 and

we get the only account of the Magi and

here we start at the beginning of the

chapter and it says now when Jesus was

born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days

of Herod the King there came wise men

from the east to Jerusalem so the wise

men another name for that is Magi like

magician it's the same idea we think of

that word a little bit differently today

but in those days those were people that

were the wise men they knew things they

worked with the Stars and astronomy just

like Abraham did down in Egypt with

Pharaoh in his court

they helped prophesy right remember in

Egypt when Moses and Aaron are there in

front of Pharaoh they have

magicians or magi there their wise men

within a king's court typically Daniel

in Babylon is a wise men and

oftentimes it's something that would be

very similar to what would we would

think of as a prophet and again a lot of

what they talk about it's not astrology

so to speak but they determined timing

and different things from the movement

of the stars and this was important in

life back then because when you would

know when to plant your seed you would

know when to when harvest would be the

calendar was life or death for

civilization back then and it was a very

priestly thing as well when are the

feasts supposed to be what did we do we

do this once a week once a month once a

month with certain sacrifices the

calendar was very important and so

keeping track of the Stars was something

that was very godly very spiritual and

you know I think today it would be for

us too in our world especially in larger

cities we never see the Stars hardly

barely we see a blanket up here of


above us typically except when we go out

camping somewhere or we're driving out

in the desert or somewhere else in the

plains but everyone would see the stars

every night back then it was an

important part of their life now as far

as Herod goes Herod was a despicable

person by all accounts and about thirty

years before this which is an

interesting thing a prophet of the

Jewish sect of the Essenes that's the

ones that were likely at Qumran with the

Dead Sea Scrolls had told Herod that he

would reign for thirty years when

he was first put in to power in

Jerusalem well about this time coming up

here is about his thirty years that he

reigns but because of this prophecy from

an Essene to Herod he always treated the

Essenes well because he felt like they

supported him and they knew that he was

going to be in power for 30 years so

maybe he was thinking well they're

probably likely not to fight against me

politically because they know I'm

supposed to be here for thirty years in

fact some people even think that in the

New Testament when we hear about the

Herodians as in Herod that maybe those

are the Essenes then maybe they kind of

had his back a little bit because the

Essenes were on the outside of the

theocracy of the Sadducees who were the

high priests and who had control of the

temple and on the outside of the

majority of the people who were

Pharisees but Herod had put in place a

plan for each one of his three sons to

follow him in succession in power here

in Jerusalem and by this time shortly

here two of them at least by this time

he's already killed and he's going to

kill his third son here shortly

in fact just I think a few days before

he ends up dying he's not a good guy but

he dies in 4 BC it looks like Josephus

the Jewish / Roman historian tells us

that he died on the night of March 12th

March 13th just after an eclipse of the

moon in the year 4 BC now of course if

the Weizmann are coming to him here and

then he's going to end up sending out

the edict to slaughter all of the babies

in Bethlehem under two years old down

the road here well then this is

obviously before he dies in 4 BC if

that's the case and so it is likely if

we look at Jesus's actual birth time

that this was somewhere between 4 BC and

maybe all the way to 7 BC but probably

for to the end of 5 BC the beginning of

5 BC where Jesus was probably born

another place we can look at the birth

of Jesus the date of Jesus's birth is

that the time of his baptism where we

know that he was according to Luke in

the fifteenth year of the reign of

Tiberius when he was baptized and

he's around thirty years old when he's

baptized well then we can kind of date

that as well and the fifteenth year

would have been 27 to 28 AD so that's

two or three years earlier than again

that we would have for a birth of Jesus

other than 1 AD so we know it's before

and most scholars would agree that it's

somewhere between 4 & 5 BC or 4 or 5 BC

now the wise men who were never told who

they are we have this short little

account of this visit to Herod and then

to Christ but again why well because

there's an assumption to the audience of

Matthew here of who these people are and

what this narrative here is talking

about what it's fulfilling its

fulfilling prophecy so first of all

let's look at who they are a lot of


a that because of the term Magi that the

three wise men or the ten Wiseman we

have no idea how many number what number

of them they are most people say 3

because there are three gifts but we

don't know it could be three because

that would be typical of visits right

kind of like the visits to Abraham there

were three angels that visited Abraham

there is Peter James and John before

they were Peter James and John that

visited Adam and Eve right so that would

fall in line with a lot of stories of

these angelic visits or of messengers

but we really don't know the number now

Persia also had conquered Babylon

remember that right after Lehigh's time

a lot of the elite established the court

of Jerusalem had been taken away to

Babylon well when they came back from

Babylon it was only a portion of him

most of the people likely stayed in

Babylon most of the Jews so there's a

very strong center there which is also

to the east of Jerusalem well

everything's practically to the east or

the South but Persia ends up conquering

Babylon and that's it's actually Persia

that lets them go so we could say

they're attributed to Persia

because Babylon became a part of the

Persian Empire but there were Jews in

Persia also and it's likely right that

these visitors these wise men are Jews

and if they're Wiseman they could very

well be prophets now why do we have the

tradition of kings well I think there's

a couple of reasons

one is that they represent the

Melchizedek Priesthood which is the

royal priesthood I'm gonna get into that

in just a minute here secondly what they

do by bringing the gifts these are royal

gifts to a king who is the baby Jesus

so it could be from that narrative that

we see that these are kings

there's traditions about what their

names are where they come from but we

don't know any of this information

nothing in the scriptures and nothing

that seems to be historic

another possibility is Arabia there are

records that show that during the time

of King Josiah which was he was the one

that purged everything the theocratic

purge the theological purge of the

temple and of the practices and

sacrifices that the great centralization

of priesthood power in Jerusalem that

tens of thousands of priests left at

this time and where do they go they went

to Arabia we're told now Arabia back

then is probably not Saudi Arabia of

today it probably has something more to

do with maybe Jordan and the area of

Petra and maybe down in in Moab so not

quite as far away as Saudi Arabia but in

a lot of recordings when they just say

the east they mean this area this older

area of Arabia and so when we just hear

the east it could be that that is a

specific place not really just a

direction and remember Paul after he is

converted and he sees the Lord

he later ends up going where to Arabia

for a couple few years why who's there

now some biblical scholars say that

maybe he went to Sinai but it would make

a lot of sense if he was going somewhere

to be taught and trained in the older

ways about the New Covenant because he

was a Pharisee right he didn't have that

background and once he had spent two or

three years in Arabia with people of the

older tradition people that were looking

forward to the son of God God at this

time and were already followers of Jesus

Christ then he would come back and

you preaching throughout the Greek and

Roman world so Arabia is a real

possibility there lastly speaking

of the older ways the Hebrew word for

the East is macadam and macadam also is

the word for the ancient ones so is it

possible that they're talking about

people that believed in more of an

ancient time we even use the term

Ancient of Days for Michael slash Adam

and even for Jesus Christ

Jehovah could we really just be talking

about here they came from the old ways

that's a possibility as well just some

chewing gum there to work with

so these wise men these Magi are here

with Herod which by the way how do they

get access to Herod just three guys

coming in maybe that's another reason

why it's thought that their kings

maybe they're Essenes maybe they're high

up in some group out in the east or who

knows where and there are seams and

because there are scenes they are maybe

Herodians or they are at least favored

by Herod they're able to get an audience

with him that could make sense but

they're saying to Herod that come into

here and they say where is he that is

born King of the Jews so it's

interesting that they're there

they're almost certainly Jewish and

they're asking Herod where is he that is

born King of the Jews this is important

the way the Matthew setting this up for

we have seen his star in the east

did they see it back where they were or

do they see it toward the east and are

come to worship Him

so they know of the prophecies they

should know that he would be in

Bethlehem for whatever reason they don't

but this is going to be a very

triggering thing to Herod he is not

gonna want to hear about the king of the

Jews for various reasons remember the

Essene told him he would reign for

thirty years he's already been worried

about the competition with his

he is not a good guy he is going to at

all costs fight off anybody that's going

to try and take power from him and he

knows that his time may be up so he's

very interested in finding more out

about this and he would have probably

been aware of talk about this again even

those that don't didn't believe in

Jehovah being the Messiah had a belief

from Daniels prophecy and other Old

Testament prophecies that the Messiah

who was a king or at least a political

figure of some sort that would take

power from the enemies of the Jews they

believed that he would be coming soon so

there's talk about this going on so

Herod when he hears this he's very

troubled of course he is in fact he had

even called himself with that title the

king of the Jews even though he wasn't


he was an Edomite right from Esau and

again there is a prophecy here so

Matthew is touching on prophecy here's

the prophecy it was basically I see him

but not now i behold him but not near a

star shall go out from Jacob a star

shall go out from Jacob and a scepter

shall rise from Israel Edom

which is where Herod is from what his

lineage is shall be dispossessed and Ser

also his enemies while Israel acts in

strength okay that is back in the Book

of Numbers so Matthew is again tying in

the Old Testament here he's tying in the

prophets and so this is there's a lot of

prophecies about the star or a star that

are rumored around at this time and the

Jews had their own conception of this

right they believed that the star

was the Messiah and in fact later during

a later Jewish revolt you know they were

Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD but

later from

several Jews that remained in the area

in Palestine there was another revolt in

I think was 130 132 ad and the leader of

that revolt was Bar Koba which is the

son of the star that's what that means

and he was kind of a political messianic

figure so all of this is going on

and running through Herod's mind at this

time so he calls his scribes and the

chief priests together and he's saying

where is Christ supposed to be born and

they say to him that it's going to

happen in Bethlehem and so Herod says to

the Weizmann when did you see the star

which is interesting right it's not some

big massive new bright star at least not

to Herod he would have noticed it so for

them it may have been a normal star and

maybe it was the timing of when that

maybe that star was new because it came

up over the horizon at that time of year

or maybe there was a conjunction of two

or three stars that created it as being

a little bit brighter who knows really

what this story is it's kind of elusive

because we think about on the other side

of the world in the Americas during this

time remember Samuel the lima night in

what was at 5:00 BC or so had given the

prophecy of the day and the night and

the day being completely light so

something happened at least on that

night now of course the Weizmann here

could be following up here on Christ’s

birth maybe as much as two years later

so we don't know really what they're

following but it seems to be more of an

astronomy thing that they're guided by

and so he says to the Wiseman hey go and

find this king of the Jews and when you

find him come back and tell me where he

is of course he wants to know where he

is then we get this interesting phrasing

here it says that the star which they

saw in the East went before them till it

came and stood over where the young

child was if we're talking about a

normal star here how in the world can

you possibly see something that's right

over where someone is it doesn't really


any sense at all so what are they

talking about

again elusive now at this time they're

in a house now may have been that they

had a house near a cave or maybe it was

a home where the stable was so to speak

probably a home built out of stone but

it says that they came into the home and

they saw the young child with Mary his

mother and fell down and worshiped him

and when they had opened their treasures

they presented unto Him gifts gold and

frankincense and myrrh now here is I

think the most important part of this

little story here why gold and

frankincense and myrrh usually the story

we get on this is that well because it

provided value to them to go down to

Egypt and stay down in Egypt and then

return later but why wouldn't they just

bring him money again why is Matthew

specifically pointing out these gifts

there's a reason gold was plated all

over the temple it is a royal gift for a

king and it is what the Holy of Holies

was completely covered in so we start

thinking about that and then we go to

the frankincense

what is the frankincense well the

frankincense is what is used as part of

what is burned at the altar of incense

in front of the veil by the high priest

or by the priests that is administering

the prayers for that day that's what

that represents prayers and then myrrh

is related to death and resurrection and

healing and it is what would be mixed in

it's also these are resins frankincense

and myrrh are resins mostly brought up

from the frankincense trail which is

probably what Lehi followed down in

Saudi Arabia but myrrh was mixed in with

the oil that was typically only used it

sounds like in the temple and would be

used for healing and for anointing so

that would be a kingly gift and a hype

priestly gift so what we're getting here

looking at this duality here I think is

that we're getting the new Melchizedek

the new milk ascetic King these are

royal gifts and they are temple gifts

they are representing a restoration of

the entire priesthood to the new

Melchizedek another way to look at this

if looking at one of my interpreters

they're of the higher and the lower law

is that the frankincense could represent

the ironic priesthood it is for prayers

that's an Aaronic priesthood function

and the myrrh

would be the Melchizedek priesthood

mixed with the oil for healing and

anointing for a king and a priest and a

priestess and so you would have both

parts of the priesthood there you have

the gold and then the ironic priesthood

and the Melchizedek Priesthood and this

would also represent in the temple a

restoration of the entire priesthood in

the fullness of the gospel but again as

we see throughout these stories as we

gone have gone through these episodes

here on Christmas we are looking at a

restoration the birth of Christ is the

biggest thing to happen obviously but

part of that happening is a restoration

of doctrine a restoration of priesthood

power a restoration of the temple and

its ordinances now remember I have

talked about in the last episode how

Luke had portrayed the nativity scene as

the Holy of Holies in royal high

priestly garb wrapped in swaddling

clothes on a throne in a manger and with

the two beasts on the side the cherubim

well we get the same kind of a scene at

Jesus's death when he goes into the tomb

of Joseph of Arimathea we get a lot of

specifics there also remember that in

one of the accounts the women go to the

door of the opening of the tomb and they

look in and what do they see

they see two angels and it specifically

says one on each side of where Jesus had

laid right the throne we know that when

he was wrapped up in swaddling clothes

in linen that he was wrapped up with

frankincense and myrrh with spices

very very expensive spices this has

pointed out and enough in there that it

was for a royal burial and then of

course we get the additional comment

about him leaving his clothing there

folded up his napkin there on where he

laid so there's specifics here that go

over the clothing that go over the

frankincense and the myrrh the spices

and the place where he laid just like in

a manger with the two creatures angels

cherubim on either side and Matthew is

doing something similar here in

recreating a temple environment temple

symbolism temple imagery Jesus is the

new Melchizedek and he is the restorer

of the fullness of the gospel now we

can't obviously imagine or even get a

glimpse of what these Shepherds and

these Wiseman felt as they came to see

the baby or the very young Jesus and so

fulfilling prophecy these Shepherds and

these wise men become a part of the

story of the birth of Christ of the

Christmas story and they become a part

of a fulfillment of prophecy of the

condescension of God the birth of the

new Melchizedek the king of kings the

firstborn the Davidic King

the savior of the world he is born in

the most humble of circumstances and he

dies in the most humble of circumstances

he lowers himself below all of us in his

mortality and then rises above us all

and beckons us to rise with him I'll

talk to you next time


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