Things the Bible doesn’t say
1. The Bible doesn’t say how many wise men there were.
It isn’t likely that there were only 3 wise men because it wasn’t safe to travel without a
large group of people. There were thieves along the highways of that time just waiting
for the opportunity to rob travelers and these guys had some pretty expensive gifts that needed to be protected. It is likely that the tradition of 3 wise men started because of the number of gifts presented to Jesus.
2. The Bible doesn’t say their names.
Another tradition handed down through the years is that their names were, Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. But the Bible never mentions their names.
3. Bible doesn’t say that they were kings.
The Bible calls them wise men, not kings. The term wise men comes from the Greek word Magi, from which we get the word magician. It refers to a Persian religious caste. But by the time Matthew was written the term Magi was also used for astrologers, seers, and fortunetellers. If they were from Persia, it is possible that they were familiar with Daniel’s prophecy about the coming messiah and other Jewish writings.
9:24 The Scope of the Entire Prophecy;
9:25 The 69 Weeks; or 483 years
9:26 An Interval between the 69th and 70th Week;
9:27 The 70th Week. 7 years
They saw this star in the sky and it was huge and bright enough to get their attention. When they saw the star, they had to wonder what it was all about and started studying the prophecies of their time. So, if they were of Jewish decent, or at least familiar with Daniel, had to include the Old Testament scrolls.
They probably had access to the Book of Isaiah.
Look at Isaiah 60:1-6.
Balaam’s prophecy in Numbers 24:17
The wise men were from the East(Persia) and that is where they saw the star, but they traveled West to get to Jerusalem. They didn’t know where exactly to look, because they went to the current King of Israel, Herod, and asked Him where they might find the one born King of the Jews, they might have even thought it was Herod’s son. After looking it up in the Scriptures, Herod told them to go to Bethlehem(Matthew 2:3-8). So they follow the star to Bethlehem where it stood over the house that Jesus was in.
Another interesting thing I noticed is that in Matthew 2:3 is that not only was Herod troubled by what the wise men were asking, but also all of Jerusalem. How is it that all Jerusalem was troubled unless the wise men had been going about asking where the King of the Jews was. Another interesting thing is, these guys assumed that the Jews already knew where the child was. They had assumed that the Jews were looking for their Messiah and because of that, they probably already knew where He was.
Things the Bible Does Say
1. They brought gifts.(Matthew 2:11)
Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.
Which brings up the question: Why these particular items?
It was not to save Jesus from the pain of arthritis. Cardiff University in Whales did a study that suggested it was for medicinal purposes, such as relief of pain of arthritis.
It was the custom of the day to honor a king or deity in the ancient world by offering gifts. Look at Isaiah 60:1-6. These gifts were given to Jesus in response to Isaiah 60:6.
A. Gold: The gift of gold was often reserved for royalty. The importance of the gift was that it represented the fact that Jesus was royal.
B. Frankincense: (incense)Because they recognized Him as being God. The Jewish people had a common use for frankincense that was directly connected to the worship of God. In the Temple, the Jews prayed before the Altar of Incense which was always kept burning. The substance burned on that altar was frankincense.
C. Myrrh: used to anoint the dead. Myrrh was placed on the cloths used to wrap bodies for burial to help prevent the smell of decay following death.
Why these guys?
1. Because they were looking for Him.
Proverbs 8:17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
2. When they found Him, they worshiped Him(Matthew 2:11).
The forgot all about their religion, their astrology and their magic. They fell on their faces and worshiped Him. They didn’t see the babe in the manger like the traditions would like us to believe, they saw the Messiah, the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
3. They were wise men, not because of what they knew before they saw the star, but WHO they knew after they saw it.