Tuesday, 27 December 2016

When Did the Wise Men Show up?

I know that Christmas is over but there's one pet peeve of mine which I'd like to air. In all of the pageants I've seen, the three wise men show up immediately after the shepherds. But a careful reading of the scriptures shows that Jesus must have been two years old at the most when these gentlemen arrived.

Beginning in Matthew two, verses one and two, we can tell that it wasn't that very night but in a general period of time. The Bible in Basic English renders them this way. "Now when the birth of Jesus took place in Beth-lehem of Judaea, in the days of Herod the king, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, 'Where is the King of the Jews whose birth has now taken place? We have seen his star in the east and have come to give him worship.'" People almost always met with kings and rulers during the daytime, as it is today with our politicians.

Reading the next few verses, it's obvious that some days had passed because the wise men journeyed to Bethlehem to make sure of the location of the Christ child. By that time, Mary and Joseph were living in a house.

The wise men were warned by an angel to not inform Herod where the child was so they went home by a different route. It also took time for Herod to figure out that he'd been tricked by the men.

An angel also told Joseph and Mary to flee to Egypt since Herod would seek to kill the young child. We see just how paranoid Herod was in verse sixteen. "Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was very angry; and he sent out, and put to death all the male children in Beth-lehem and in all the parts round about it, from two years old and under, acting on the knowledge which he had got with care from the wise men."

This proves that all the events happened over an extended period rather than the same night. It's only for theatrical convenience that the pageant shows everything happening in one night.

The reason I'm writing about this discrepancy in our modern storytelling is because people don't know how to read their Bibles correctly. In my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven?, I'll point out how people need to derive each verse's full meaning rather than reading it in a literal way.

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