When Did the Magi Visit? (And does it matter?)

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by mnw, Dec 19, 2006.

  1. mnw

    mnw
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    I have been looking at this, just briefly, and feel like it is a band wagon that many have jumped on.

    From the brief information we have in Matthew and Luke I would say the Magi/Wisemen/Kings visited within a month of Jesus' birth.

    I think the argument that Herod killed all the 2 year olds and under is misused.

    Herod most likely had them killed because he had little idea about exactly when Christ was born. Plus, they did not have birth records like the do today so age would have had to be guessed by look and not actual age. So, to cover all the bases he had a higher age group killed than was really necessary. He even had one of his own sons killed in this carnage!

    As far as I can tell Mary and Joseph go up to Bethlehem, Christ is born almost immediately in the stable/cave, the shepherds visit that night. Shortly thereafter Mary and Joseph are able to change their lodgings and it is here the Magi visit.

    After Mary has completed the time for her "purification", they go up to Jerusalem, a short distance from Bethlehem, and offer sacrifices.

    Then they flee Herod's carnage and go down into Egypt. From there, after Herod has died, they return to Israel, and live in Nazareth.

    Christ would have been, in my estimation (for what that's worth), in Bethlehem and at most a month old when the Magi visited.

    Does this sound correct to every one else out there? I know it is not the current popular band wagon of "Well, actually the wisemen weren't at the stable etc..." but it seems to fit Scripture.

    It just seems one of those things where we have stopped seeing the woods for the trees. Instead of focusing on the birth of Christ and the lessons of those who visited, we start quibbling about who was there, what they were called, was it snowing etc...

    Recently I quoted Paul's statement to someone about being decieved and led away from the simplicity that is in Christ. This, among many others, seems to be one of those areas.

    Just some thoughts... :)
     
  2. Martin

    Martin
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    ==We don't know how long after Jesus' birth the magi visited. What we are told is that Herod, based on when the star appeared to the magi, ordered the deaths of all little boys under two years of age "according to the time which he had determined from the magi" (Matt 2:16). What that means is that the star appeared to the magi about two years earlier. Did the star appear to them on the day of Jesus birth? Before? After? We just can't answer that question. What we do know, however, is by the time the magi arrived Jesus was living in a house (Matt 2:11) and he was a child. Matthew does use a different greek term than Luke does. Luke's term means "infant" while Matthew's simply means a young child. How old was Jesus at this point? Clearly any age below two. However trying to say he was a month old, or less, is taking things too far. We don't even know how long Joseph and Mary stayed in Bethlehem.


    ==Actually Scripture "states" that his timing was based on the magi (Matt 2:16). I suppose he had a good idea when the star appeared to them but, as stated above, we don't know when the star appeared to the magi in relation to Christ's birth. All we know is that they arrived some time after Jesus' birth (Matt 2:1). How long after he was born? We don't know.


    ==Source?


    ==I have no problem with that but we don't know how long they were in the house before the magi came. We are not given a time table.


    ==The fleeing to Egypt happens "after" the magi depart (Matt 2:13) so that does not help us time their visit. Luke does not require that Mary and Joseph left Jerusalem and went directly to Egypt and then to Nazareth. Luke only states that "when they had performed everything...they returned to Galilee to their own city of Nazareth" (Lk 2:39). That statement does not require that they left Jerusalem and went straight to Nazareth.

    Why do I say that? Because we "know" that before they return to Nazareth they flee to Egypt and Matthew seems to indicate that that go to Egypt from Bethlehem (Matt 2:11-13) and not Jerusalem. So it is likely that they left Jerusalem, returned to Bethlehem for a time, fled to Egypt for a time, and then returned to Nazareth.


    ==Actually I am not interested in band wagons and don't care what everyone else on this board has to say. I am basing my views on the text. However I admit that, since we are not given a clear and direct outline, I could be wrong.


    ==I doubt Paul had this historical point in mind.
     
    #2 Martin, Dec 19, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2006
  3. mountainrun

    mountainrun
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    I don't think it matters, but...I believe the key is Luke 2:29 And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
    Not "after" but "when". Compare to Matthew who says that "after" Jesus was born the Magi traveled to Jerusalem and we can all agree that this was not immediately. Most of us who don't get our theology from a Christmas card anyway.

    The requirements of the law would have required 41 days to pass after Jesus' birth for Mary to visit the temple after which I believe they went directly to Nazareth without being visited by the Magi.

    But why would they return to Bethlehem again?

    Luk 2:41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.

    I believe the most logical scenario was that Jesus was born, his parents went home,exactly as Luke records, then returned to Jerusalem/Bethlehem some time later, possibly at the Passover, from whence they fled to Egypt after the visit of the Magi, returning again to Nazareth after Herod's death.





    I believe the star seen in the East was seen at the time of His birth and quite some time passed before the Magi arrived.
    Quite enough time for Mary and Joseph to go to Nazareth and return for a passover in March/April.

    MR
     
    #3 mountainrun, Dec 19, 2006
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2006
  4. mnw

    mnw
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    Good post mountainrun. :) It has given me food for thought.
     

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