January 6 is the traditional day we celebrate “Epiphany” and the visit of the Magi to the Christ child. What does Epiphany really mean? When did the Magi really visit the Christ child? Who were they really?
What was the significance of their gifts, and what is their relevance for us today? What does “Epiphany” really mean? Would you be surprised to learn that the traditional Christmas story and, in particular, the nativity with the infant King Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the “Wise Men” was, in fact, inaccurate? You may be thinking that the inaccuracy rests in the actual birthdate of Christ being different from the celebrated date of December 25.
While it is true that Jesus was not actually BORN on Christmas day, it is very likely that December 25 bears significant meaning in the recognition of the Divinity of the child Jesus. The Bible and other historians reveal that the “Wise Men,” more correctly known as The Magi, likely DID come to worship the young Messiah on December 25… when the Lord Jesus was about 15 months old… just NOT as a newborn in the stable in Bethlehem.
If this comes as a surprise, we welcome this season of “epiphany” to shed new light on the truth. As in all things, knowing the truth brings with it new life and spiritual growth, and it sets you free. So come along with us as we share some critical truths that will open YOUR eyes to new life in Christ…
The Magi were master astronomers, highly respected as “King Makers” with exceeding wealth, political and religious authority. Any proclamation of kingship they made would not be questioned or challenged. The power of their leadership would have been clearly visible in travel, with an entourage of military might, supplies, servants, and other supports. Their arrival in Jerusalem would have been a significant event. They had traveled over 700 miles from Persia, a journey that would have taken considerable time and effort.
There would not have been only 3 Magi who presented to King Herod; rather, there would have likely been up to 100, dressed all in white robes and priestly hats, riding horses, NOT camel. This would have been a spectacle of monumental proportions to the watchful eye of the Jewish people, King Herod, and to the leaders of the Roman Empire.
The Magi were deeply rooted in Judaism. Their biblical and prophetic understanding came from the Old Testament Prophet, Daniel, who had imparted this prophetic knowledge about 460 years earlier when he became leader of the Magi in Babylon. For over 400 years, the Magi kept the tenants of the prophetic Word of God. At the correct time, they were able to discern, based on prophecy about times and seasons, just when to begin their journey toward the location of the Christ child. The accuracy of their journey, based on the earlier writings of Daniel, makes it all the more astonishing that the Jewish leaders were unable to see and perceive the miraculous event that had been foretold, and was now at hand.
The gifts presented to Jesus of gold, frankincense, and myrrh were each profound and prophetic in nature. Each gift bore meaning and spoke to the kingship, priesthood, and prophetic offices in which Jesus holds to this very day and for all eternity: Gold for Kingship, frankincense for His priesthood, and myrrh for His anointing of holiness and preparation for His sacrificial death.
Given the biblical and historical records, the Magi would have likely arrived at Bethlehem to worship the young messiah King around December 25. This means without the world having ANY idea of it, the first Christmas was observed, complete with the presence of the living LORD, the worship of those who adored Him, and the exchange of precious gifts in honor of the life and freedom He brings to all who call upon Him.
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