Monday, February 6, 2017

How Did the Magi Know?

Where did the Magi come from and how did they know to search for the Christ? To speculatively answer that question, let me take you back some 2,500 years to a time when young Daniel and three friends were torn away from their homes after the siege of Jerusalem. They were taken to Babylon and forced to undergo a series of physical and mental evaluations. All four boys proved quite superior and were consequently enrolled in a royal finishing school to learn Chaldean language, literature, geography and worldview. They were reportedly 10 times better students than any of the other enrollees.

They excelled in all their classes. After successful completion of their training they were named junior wise men in the Province of Babylon. As such, they were soon called to a somber convocation where they learned that the irrational king had assigned the wise men of the kingdom a humanly impossible task: to interpret a dream he would not reveal to them. The royal decree proclaimed that if the wise ones could not tell him both the dream and its interpretation, all their houses would be burned with them and their families within.

Daniel and his friends were thus motivated to crack the ominous enigma. Not neglectful of their former lives and their Judaic worldview, they prayed all night and, at length, God revealed the dream to Daniel as well as its meaning. He bowed before the king humbly and with the respectful decorum learned in the royal academy. “Your Highness,” he said, “no man alive can accomplish what you require in the edict. However, there is a God in heaven who can and he has revealed the mystery to me.”

To the king’s astonishment, Daniel went on to relate the dream exactly and in detail as well as the interpretation thereof. It involved a great statue with a head of gold and other body parts of lesser metals all the way down to feet of iron and clay. Daniel told the king that these parts of the statue represented future kingdoms, himself being the head of gold. The king liked what he heard and consequently, Daniel received a very high and respected position in Babylon. In turn, he saw to it that his three friends got promoted, too. They were, of course, the Hebrew children who were cast into the fiery furnace because they would not bow to an idol of gold erected by the king. The monolith was probably created because of the dream’s head of gold representing the king himself. All the sycophantic subjects were to bow to it, but the Hebrew boys would not do it, as you recall. Fortunately for them, a fourth man showed up in the fire and the boys came out unscathed.

I conclude by noting that Daniel’s divine revelation saved the lives of all the wise men and their families. Perhaps Daniel’s supernatural feat also resulted in Hebraic influence in Babylon for 500 hears through history, even to the Magi.

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