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The King and His Kingdom: The Visit of the Magi


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In Daniel chapter 2, the prophet interpreted King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream which none of the wise men of Babylon could identify and interpret. In Daniel 2:48-49 we learn that Daniel was promoted by Nebuchadnezzar and placed in charge of all the “wise men.” As the head of the wise men, he was in a position to make additions to their library and must have inserted the Hebrew scriptures into the library of the magi. We know this because the magi from Babylon have an awareness of the prophecy in Micah 5:2 that a king of the Jews would be born in Bethlehem and they go searching. But before they find the true King of the Jews, they find the evil man currently occupying that throne and title, a vassal king named Herod. He is 50% Jewish, 50% Edomite and 100% evil and ruthless. In this passage we see how Herod seeks to deceive the wise men and how God intervenes.

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The King and His Kingdom: The Visit of the Magi

  1. 1. The Visit of the Magi Matthew 2:1-12
  2. 2. First Point The Wise Men from the East Matthew 2:1-2
  3. 3. • A priestly caste of astrologers found in Babylon and Persia. • They interpreted dreams. • In the first century they were associated with occultic practices. Who were the Magi?
  4. 4. • The magi are an early indication of Matthew’s focus on the Gentiles. • The magi add credence to the historicity of this “infancy narrative.” The Magi and the Gospel of Matthew
  5. 5. What convinced the magi to seek a Jewish king heralded by a star? I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel… (Numbers 24:17a)
  6. 6. How did the magi become familiar with the Jewish Scriptures?
  7. 7. How did the magi become familiar with the Jewish Scriptures? 48 Then the king gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. (Daniel 2)
  8. 8. Second Point The Mad Man and the Magi Matthew 2:3-8
  9. 9. A puzzling question Why was all Jerusalem troubled along with Herod?
  10. 10. Micah 5:2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. 2 Samuel 5:2 2 In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. And the LORD said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.’”
  11. 11. Third Point The Star in the Sky Matthew 2:9-10
  12. 12. Theories about the Star •Natural Explanations  Halley’s Comet – 11 BC (Too early)  Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn – 7 BC Seen three times (May 29, October 3 and December 4)  Conjunction of Jupiter and Venus – 2 BC  Supernova in constellation of Aquila – 4 BC
  13. 13. Theories about the Star •The Supernatural Explanation  The star moves like a comet but guides the magi for a lengthy journey of 600 – 1200 miles, depending on their point of origin.  It stops over Jerusalem and then guides them to Bethlehem.  No natural explanation fully explains this!
  14. 14. Fourth Point The Toddler King Matthew 2:11-12
  15. 15. What about our Nativity Sets? Are they accurate? • There may have been more than three wise men! • They were not at the manger with the shepherds and angels! • There were probably not kings!
  16. 16. 2 Lessons from The Visit of the Magi 1. The Lesson of the Magi – God Rewards those who sincerely seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
  17. 17. 2 Lessons from The Visit of the Magi 2. The Lesson of King Herod – God opposes the proud. James 4:6