The gifts of the Wise Men hold significance in and of themselves. As we are told in the scriptures (Matthew 2:11), the Magi presented the young Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Apart from the general richness of these gifts, there is vast meaning hidden within each, and certainly this was understood by those who presented them to the Messiah.
The Magi, the official title of those grand Wise Men of old, is actually a Latinized version of the Greek magoi, a word which itself has been borrowed from an earlier Persian word for a specific sect of priests. These Media-Persian priests formed an important – and hereditarily-specific – role in their native kingdom, not only overseeing the continuation of vast religious insights, but also playing a particular role in matters of state (including the election of the king of the realm).
Over the next few days, as we head forth toward Christmas, I thought it appropriate to set the current study of Genesis on hold and look to something a bit more festive. In that light, I’m going to take the opportunity to share some thoughts that were formerly posted here on FOUNDRY4 concerning those historic Wise Men of the Bible. I pray you enjoy these next few posts, and also that as that glorious day draws near, we all remember with grateful hearts the ultimate reason for our celebrating: Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior of all who put their faith in Him.
Last Christmas, my wonderful wife gave me an amazing gift. She found a collectible, hand-made set of the “first Christmas” gifts: the gold, frankincense, and myrrh that the wise men, or Magi, presented to Jesus when they found Him. I loved these finely-crafted reproductions, and thinking back on them today, I thought it could lead to a nice Christmas post. This week, a special Christmas day interruption of our ongoing examination, we will look at the figures behind those wonderful “first Christmas” gifts: the Wise men of the East.