Posted by: biblestudyseattle | January 5, 2020

Magi visiting

To get the order, you must read the Luke birth account before the Matthew account.  Luke 2:4,5 says Jesus was born in Bethlehem.  “So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.”  Then Mary was required to be purified: “The Lord spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites: When a woman becomes pregnant and gives birth to a male child, she will be unclean seven days, as she is during the days of her menstrual impurity.  The flesh of his foreskin must be circumcised on the eighth day.  She will continue in purification from her bleeding for 33 days. She must not touch any holy thing or go into the sanctuary until completing her days of purification.”  Leviticus 12:1-4  So he was circumsized in Bethlehem.  Then, “And when the days of their purification (40 days) according to the law of Moses were finished, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (just as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every firstborn male will be dedicated to the Lord.and to offer a sacrifice (according to what is stated in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons).  Luke 2:22-24  “When her days of purification are complete, whether for a son or daughter, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting a year-old male lamb for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering.  He will present them before the Lord and make atonement on her behalf; she will be clean from her discharge of blood. This is the law for a woman giving birth, whether to a male or female.  But if she doesn’t have sufficient means for a sheep, she may take two turtledoves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. Then the priest will make atonement on her behalf, and she will be clean.”  Leviticus 12:6-8  

The fact that they offered doves or pigeons shows that they were poor, and had not yet received the gold, frankincense, and myrrh from the magi.  Jesus was 40 or 41 days old when he was presented at the temple.  It’s notable that Jesus’ post resurrection ministry was also 40 days: “After He had suffered, He also presented Himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God.”  Acts 1:3  Then, “When they had completed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.  The boy grew up and became strong, filled with wisdom, and God’s grace was on Him.”  Luke 2:39-40

So he grew up in Nazareth!  He only spent 40 days in Bethlehem.

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”

When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.  So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah would be born.

“In Bethlehem of Judea,” they told him, “because this is what was written by the prophet:

And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the leaders of Judah:
because out of you will come a leader
who will shepherd My people Israel.

Then Herod secretly summoned the wise men and asked them the exact time the star appeared.  He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you find Him, report back to me so that I too can go and worship Him.”

After hearing the king, they went on their way. And there it was—the star they had seen in the east!  It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they were overjoyed beyond measure.   Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  And being warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by another route.”  Matthew 2:1-12

It’s most likely that Jesus was at Nazareth, which is about 80+ miles north of Bethlehem.  Given the speed of camels, it may have taken the magi 4 or 5 days to find Jesus.  Then, “After they were gone, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Get up! Take the child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. For Herod is about to search for the child to destroy Him.”  So he got up, took the child and His mother during the night, and escaped to Egypt.  He stayed there until Herod’s death, so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled: Out of Egypt I called My Son.”  Luke 2:13-15

Then we get the hint about how old Jesus was.  “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.”  Luke 2:16

So Jesus was upwards of 2 years old when the magi came.  But how would Herod have known his age?  The magi must have told him.  And how would they have known approximately how old he was?  Perhaps they were familiar with Daniel’s prophecy.  “Seventy weeks are decreed
about your people and your holy city—
to bring the rebellion to an end,
to put a stop to sin,
to wipe away iniquity,
to bring in everlasting righteousness,
to seal up vision and prophecy,
and to anoint the most holy place.
Know and understand this:
From the issuing of the decree
to restore and rebuild Jerusalem
until Messiah the Prince
will be seven weeks and 62 weeks.
It will be rebuilt with a plaza and a moat,
but in difficult times.”  Daniel 9:24-25

If they were Persians, they may have discerned that the issuing of the decree was in 455BC (454.25 to be exact).  Sixty nine weeks of years is 483, which brings you to 29AD (28.75 to be exact).  Thirty was the age of wisdom as seen in the counting of the Levites who served in the tabernacle (Numbers 4).  Thirty was also the age that Joseph, Saul, David, and Solomon began their reigns.  Thirty years earlier than 29AD brings you to 1 or 2 BC.


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