The Magi – Astrologers
The magi or the ‘wise men from the east’ were astrologers. They were well versed in Astrology, which was a highly regarded science at that time (Matthew 2). According to the ancient historian Herodotus, the magi were a tribe of people within the larger people called the Medes. From the Babylonian to the Roman empires, they maintained a place of tremendous prominence and significance in the Orient. And during the four world empires, they served in a powerfully influential capacity as advisers to the royalty in the East. Consequently, they earned the reputation of being wise men.
The most lengthy mention of the magi in the Old Testament is found in the book of Daniel. Although the magi came from a pagan religion, Daniel’s position and influence over the magi directed them to the knowledge of the true God. And for those sincere ones that studied the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit guided them to understand the prophecies that predicted the coming of the Messiah.
The Magi’s Great Faith in God
The magi were notified of the birth of a king in Judea by the appearance of His star. They interpreted this unusual phenomenon as the fulfillment of Balaam’s prophecy of “a Star out of Jacob” (Numbers 24:17). So, they traveled to Judea looking for the new king. They have “seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him” (Matthew 2: 1,2).
By faith, they visited Jesus to pay Him homage after his birth (Matthew 2:1–2:12). Upon their arrival in Jerusalem, they contacted King Herod to determine the location of the king of the Jews’ birthplace. Herod, troubled by this news, answered them that he had not heard of the child, but told them of a prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
Then, Herod urged them to let him know when they find the baby so that he may also worship him (Matthew 2:8). Led by the Star of Bethlehem, the magi found baby Jesus and they worshiped him. They also presented him with “gifts of gold and of frankincense and of myrrh” (Matthew 2:11).
Then, the Lord warned them in a dream not to return to Herod. So, they went back to their country by another way (Matthew 2:12). Angrily, Herod, realizing that he had been deceived by the wise men, sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem from two years old and under (Matthew 2:16).
It is somewhat ironic and amazing that some of the first people in the world to recognize the arrival of the King of Kings were Gentiles—not Jews. History reflects that irony of rejection in John 1:11 where it says of Jesus, “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” This proves that God has children in every religion, even among the heathen astrologers. The Lord is calling them out to search for the truth and find the right path. Jesus said, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (John 10:16).
In His service,