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-Who Were the Wisemen?

by Dr. D ~

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Q:  Who were the three Wisemen who gave the first Christmas presents?

A:  We have written on the Wisemen before. The Story of the Wisemen is found in Matthew 2:1-12. Notice that the Bible really doesn’t tell us how many there really were, only that they brought three different gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrrh. It was a later Christian tradition that settled on three.

Who were they?–we really don’t know. The scriptures identify them simply as ‘magi’.

However, hundreds of years later a number of different traditions rose up about the Wisemen, where they came from and even what their names were. The Eastern churches had different names and traditions than the Western churches.  None of the traditions can be traced back before 300 AD.

They were identified as ‘magi’, so all sorts of traditions have risen up about their possible Babylonian, Persian, or Parthenian origins. By the Middle ages in the West they came to be known by the names of:  Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar–and identified as kings from the three known continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa.  A Cathedral in Germany even claims to be the final resting place for the Wisemen– Shrine of the Three Kings at Cologne Cathedral. However, the origin and disposition of the relics can only be traced back to 344 AD.          *Top

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6 Responses to -Who Were the Wisemen?

  1. -Are the Wisemen Really Buried in Cologne? | BIBLE Q & A

    […] -Who Were the Wisemen? […]

  2. -Christmas Bible Q & A’s | AFTF Bible Q & A

    […] -Who Were the Wisemen?  […]

  3. Mikha'el L'Heureux

    Did they purchase the tomb of Jesus?

  4. Mikha'el L'Heureux

    Was the gold sent to purchase Jesus’s tomb, elludes to foresight. Who is wise…one who sees the future.

  5. Dr. D

    Mikha’el,
    No.
    Matthew 27:57-60 tells us that Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin and secret follower of Jesus, buried Jesus in his own personal tomb.

  6. Dr. D

    Mikha’el,
    After the Magi left, Joseph had a dream where an angel told him to flee to Egypt in order to protect his family from Herod who wanted to kill the child (See: Matthew 2:13-15). While there is no historical record of how the gold was used, most Bible teachers believe that it financed the family’s travel and stay in Egypt.

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