Who knew and when? That is a common question during an investigation and usually established by analyzing the evidence and cross examining witnesses. This study is an analysis of the birth of Jesus Christ with the focus on “who were the wise men?” and “when did they know?”.
1Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
3When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
5And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
6And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out ofthee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
7Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
8And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
9When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
12And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
Who are these wise men and why are they the only ones aware of Jesus birth? None of these locals seem to be aware which disturbs the king. The wise men arrive unannounced and assume that everybody knows about the birth of the King. How did they know about this important event and nobody local knew?
Magos is the Greek name for the wise men. Magi is the name for a wise man. The magi are from the Chaldee area of Persia, also known as Babylon. The magi that went west were called magicians. Magicians are the group that practiced astrology and other black and white arts. The Magi were astronomer scientists that studied the stars. Magicians studied the stars also with an eye to corrupt the star knowledge for religious application.
How did these magi from Persia know about Jesus birth? The key is revealed in the book of Daniel chapter 2,
48Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.
Daniel was the leader of all of the wise men of Babylon. He learned what sign to look for in the stars to signify the birth of Jesus Christ. Daniel probably received revelation from God since this was not common knowledge in Israel. Daniel then taught the magi the signs to look for in the stars. They were faithful to observe the stars nightly for over 400 years. Once they saw the proper signs in the sky then they packed up and headed for Bethlehem. The travel took months and probably was a caravan. They arrived months after the birth since he was in a house at the time. He was over a year old since Herod had all of the male children two years old and under killed according to his calculations for the birth.
What was the star that the magi saw? Matthew 2,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
The key to this understanding is the word branch in the old testament. Specifically the Hebrew word tsemach which is translated into the word branch.
5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.
12And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:
8Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.
2In that day shall the BRANCH of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.
These are all Old Testament references to the Lord Jesus Christ. In the following picture is the representation of the Virgo constellation. Zemach (tsemach) is the bright star in the wheat sheaf in the ladies left hand.
The zodiac is a picture of the Word of God written in the stars. It begins with Virgo the virgin and ends with Leo the Lion. The beginning of the story is the birth of Jesus Christ and ends with Jesus Christ as the Lion of the tribe of Judah (King of Kings).
The tsemach is the star that the magi saw in the sky to signify the birth of Christ. There were a series of signs over months that finally culminated in the sign that assured them that the birth had occurred and then they traveled to see the King.