Category Archives: L) The wise men

1) When did the wise men come to Jesus?

Question

When did the wise men come to Jesus?

Answer

Bible provides us hints referring to the date.

The wise men….

  1. …visit Jesus in a house, indicating that they came days after Jesus birth.
  2. …came when human Jesus was a young children (παιδιον ‘paidion’), not a newborn (βρεφος ‘brefos’), indicating that they came no less than 2 weeks later (the end of 6th of January 4 BC, in other word, the begining of 7th of January 4 BC).
  3. …came before the death of Herod, indicating that they came before April 4 BC Julian Calender.
  4. …came when Mary and Joseph were still in Bethlehem, indicating that they came before February 4 BC Julian Calender.

The hints point to the end of 6th or the beginning of 7th of January to unknown date of February 4 BC Julian Calendar as the possible time of the wise men temporarily staying in Bethlehem.

Traditionally, believers observe Epiphany and welcome this event on 6th of January, believing in the end of 6th of January as the first day the wise men came to Jesus. They came from far kingdoms. Then, they needed taking a rest for days or weeks before returning to their homes.

Time in Julian Calendar Event Ref
25th of December 5 BC Jesus was born in a cave in outer skirt of Bethlehem. SeeTrain of Thought about Christmas December 25
A day between 26th and 30th of December 5 BCE Joseph, Mary, and Jesus moved to a house in Bethlehem City. Matthew 2: 11
31st of December 4 BC Preparation for Jesus circumcision (religious and social event) in Bethlehem. Considering social setting of Luke 2: 21
1st of January 4 BC Jesus circumcision in Bethlehem Luke 2: 21
6/7th of January 4 BC The wise men arrived at Bethlehem. SeeWhen did the wise men come to Jesus
2nd of February 4 BC Purification of Mary in Jerusalem Luke 2: 22
February 4 BC Matthew 2:13-15
February – April 4 BC Dwelt in Egypt Matthew 2:13-15
April 4 BC Luke 2:39; Matthew 2: 15, 19-23

Version

English | Bahasa Indonesia

2) Shepherds or wise men?

Disinformation

Luke has shepherds at the manger, no Wise men present.
Matthew has no shepherds, and has wise men visiting a house in Bethlehem. The wise men go in the House to give their gifts to Jesus. There is no stable or manger. Should we go by Matt.,which was written earlier than Luke? Both can’t be true.

The truth is….

Both are true because both happened in different times.

  1. The shepherds came to newborn Jesus in the same days when Jesus born.

    For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2: 11)

    This verse implies that human Jesus was still newborn when the shepherds came to him.

  2. The wise men came to child Jesus several weeks or months later. Time range of their arrival was between 2 weeks to 12 months after delivery.

    And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child (παιδιον ‘paidion’) 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. (Matthew 2: 11)

    παιδίον ‘paidion’1 refers to young child or infant, but not newborn (βρέφος ‘brefos’)2

From their information, we know that Mary family did not dwell in the cave forever. Instead, they moved to a normal house once the opportunity came to them. Matthew and Luke provide different information, which are complementary to each other.

Conclusion

  1. The wise men came to Jesus in 2 weeks up to 12 months after the shepherd.
  2. Matthew 2: 11 does not contradict Luke 2: 11.
  3. Disinformation technique: ignoring time setting of the Christmas story.

Bibliography

1http://www.studylight.org/lexicons/greek/gwview.cgi?n=3813 ; access 5/8/2015 23:17
2http://www.studylight.org/lexicons/greek/gwview.cgi?n=1025 ; access 5/8/2015 23:15

Version

English | Bahasa Indonesia

3) What were the names of the Wise Men?

Question

What were the names of the Wise Men?

Answer

Bible report neither their names nor number, although it implies three kingdom the wise men originated in.

In arts, the wise men have many names, among other:

  • Western art: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar and coming from Syria.
  • Eastern art: Hor, Karsudan, and Basanater.
  • Armenian art: Kagpha, Badadakharida and Badadilma.
Orang majus
This art from 565 AD depicted the wise men. It preserves in Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Italy. 

Versi

English | Bahasa Indonesia

4) What country is the place most likely to be the home of the wise men?

Question

What country is the place most likely to be the home of the wise men?

Answer

Here is prophecy of the wise men.

The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD. (Isaiah 60:6)

This verse points that the wise men originated in three kingdoms:

  • Midian (including into present Jordan)
  • Ephah (including into present Saudi Arabia)
  • Syeba (including into present Yemen)

Version

English | Bahasa Indonesia

5) Is it true that 3 wise men traveled on camels?

Question

Is it true that 3 wise men traveled on camels?

Answer

Yes, they and their men rode camels and dromedaries.

The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD. (Isaiah 60:6)

The company was big, consisted of groups from 3 kingdoms.  (See “What country is the place most likely to be the home of the wise men?“) The wise men were kings of each group.

Illustration: Three wise kings and their company led to Jesus.
Illustration: Three wise kings and their company led to Jesus.

Version

English | Bahasa Indonesia