The Magi: Where did the Three Wise Men come from

Where did the Three Wise Men come from, and how did they know the importance of that Child?

The Three Wise Men, who came from the East, to find the newborn Jesus Christ are only described in Matthew, and not in the other gospels, as follows:

By Lyndall Beddy for News Time South Africa

“Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea, during the time when Herod was king. Soon afterwards some men who studied the stars came from the east to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the baby born to be king of the Jews? We saw his star when it came up in the east and we have come to worship him.”…..So Herod called the visitors from the east to a secret meeting and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared…..And so they left, and on their way they saw the same star they had seen in the east. When they saw it, how happy they were, what joy was theirs! It went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. They went into the house, and when they saw the child with the mother Mary, they knelt down and worshipped him. They brought out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and presented them to him. Then they returned to their country by another road, since God had warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod.”

How did ONLY the three wise men see the star, and no-one else? Why did Herod have to ask when the star had appeared, which would have had to have been months earlier for the Wise Men to have followed it from their own country? Why did the shepherds not see the Star?

The Three Wise Men saw the Star and knew what “the Sign in the Heavens” meant because they were astronomers/astrologers and “studied the stars”. But also because they had some knowledge of the Creator G-d, or otherwise how could they have worked it out?

When my daughters were young I took them to Cape Town planetarium for a special show on the Christmas Star, where they showed the Heavens as recreated by modern astronomers at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ. The only detail I can remember was that the scientists explained a special, never before, configuration of planets appeared at the time in the sign of Leo, the Lion of Judea, in summer, July/August, which would explain how the Wise Men knew to go to Israel, even if they did not know to go to Bethlehem and not the capital city, Jerusalem.

The best known of the one Creator God religions in the East at the time was the Zoroastrians, the religion founded by the prophet Zarathustra, which flourished in what is now Iran and Afghanistan perhaps 3,500 years ago. By the time of the birth of Jesus Christ they were already being persecuted.

Zarathustra preached monotheism, advocated the equality of women, scoffed at the notion of priests (because they were middlemen, easily corruptible), railed against animal sacrifice, evangelism, and miracle-working. He denounced using the name of God to barter for power. The humane aspects of Zoroastrianism probably accounted for its diminution as a faith, if not its failure……..all Zarathustra taught was understanding the earthly elements, the turn of the year, and one God. And three simple rules to live by: good thoughts, good words, good deeds. Also a belief in the purifying nature of fire which was central to the faith and a symbol of the Almighty. Now only about 124,000 Zorastrastrians remain most of them in India …where they are known as Parsis.*
According to Mr Randeria, a Parsi they were a dying breed because “We marry late. We seldom have more than one or two children. And Zoroastrians don’t convert others.”*

The most influential Parsi family in the world today are the Tatas of India. They have more than eighty thousand employees in seventy-four cities world wide in their IT company alone. They are noted for their philanthropy, having founded hospitals, schools, training colleges and orphanages. Without the Tatas there would have been no Indian economic recovery.

In my opinion the Three Wise Men were Parsis – who else would have understood the significance of that particular birth?

  • kunwalla

    You mean to say, the last three wise parsis?

  • Barak Aga

    Important passages in this write up :

    1) ……………. the religion founded by the prophet Zarathustra, which flourished in what is now Iran and Afghanistan ……………….

    2) Zarathustra …………….. scoffed at the notion of priests (because they were middlemen, easily corruptible)…

    3) The most influential Parsi family in the world today are the Tatas of India

    (J. R. D. Tata’s mother was French. Noel Tata’s mother, is an American)

  • farzana

    What jesus?? oh!! bawa!! its a myth!! Get over it…

    story of Jesus was reinvented by Romans from an ancient fable of Mithra/Meher who was worshiped by pre zoroastrian Iranians as a son of God and light.
    These preZoroastrian Iranians used to believe their favorite God- Mithra [Light] was born in a cave of Elburz mountain to rid this world from darkness … So every winter solstice that falls on 21st December they used to celebrate his birth as Yalda[ means-Birth] … by staying awake all night and lighting up their houses with oil lamps…When they converted to Z’ism, they continued the same ritual… only this time, Mithra was reinvented as the Son of AhuraMazda… When Romans came in contact with these Persian rituals, they exported it to Rome where Mithra worship became core of Roman beliefs…Over the period of time, Mithra was transformed to Jesus, the son of God, by some creative Romans…
    Today this is an exposed myth…Christianity is religion of Ancient Persians with nothing original in it.

    The whole concept of Magis visiting Jesus was added to the myth by enthus Christian missionaries in order to proselytize their beliefs in Iran during sassanian reign and get converts from Z’ism…

    Get over it…You know how they are today twisting the tale of Jejus into avtaar of Vishnu in churches here…

  • Rémi

    Farzana, I think you are going a little bit too far. What you term “Story of Jesus” is the Christmas imagery, and is mostly based on pre-existing religious celebrations as a matter of fact. It is no surprise that the same natural phenomenon (the mid-winter solstice) bears the same symbolism in several religions. But Christianity is not just a veneer over a Persian religious core, just as Zoroastrianism is not just a veneer over the old pre-Z, indo-iranian religion.

  • Barak Aga

    What Farzana says is correct.

    If you have viewed the sequel to the movie “The Da Vinci Code”, “Angels and Demons”, it is mentioned therein that 25 December was not the birthday of Christ, but happened to be a festival.

    Orthodox Christians in Russia and Ukraine, celebrate 7 January as the birthday of Christ.
    —————————————————————————————————
    In Malaysia, the Catholic Church stirred up a hornests nest, and repaid rabid Mohmeddans in their own coin by using “Allah” as a translation for “God” in their religious sermons and prayers in Church.
    ———————————————————————————————-
    “The High Court last week ruled in favour of the Catholic Herald newspaper which has used “Allah” as a translation for “God” in its Malay-language section. The government has said the word should be used only by Muslims.”

    ——————————————————————————————-

    “Why are the Christians claiming Allah?” asks businessman Rahim Ismail,

    I cannot understand why the Christians want to claim Allah as their God,” Rahim says as passersby, mostly

    During the intermittent trial in the closing months of 2008, lawyers for the church argued that the word Allah predated Islam and was commonly used by Copts, Jews and Christians to denote God in many parts of the world.

    They argued that Allah is an Arabic word for God and has been used for decades by the church in Malaysia and Indonesia. And they said that the Herald uses the word Allah for God to meet the needs of its Malay-speaking worshippers on the island of Borneo

  • Rémi

    I totally agree with Farzana from “those preZ…” down to “Roman beliefs”. It is the plain truth that many aspects of Christmas are based on pre-existing religious beliefs. And that’s for sure the winter soltice (being a very symbolic date) had been the day for many religious celebrations. So, the Church had many reasons to decide to celebrate the birth of Jesus on the 25th of December, paying no attention to the historical reality. By the way, my guess would be that Zarathushtra did not die on a 26th december, and that Zartosht No-diso was put on this day because it’s the darkest one over the year.
    What made me react is thes sentences “over the period of time…” to “…nothing original in it”, that I read as implying that Jesus is a fantasy created by Romans, and Christianity is nothing but Mithraism/Iranian religion where “Mithra” was remplaced by “Jesus” in the prayers. But I might have overread your post, Farzana, so please correct me if necessary.

    Barak Aga, Orthodox Christmas is on 7th of January because of the difference between the gregorian and the julian calendars (just like Nowruz falls in March or during summer).
    And about the Malaysian dispute, I’d say that “Allah” is the Arabic name for “God”, just like French Muslims refer to “Dieu”, or some of you refer to Ahura Mazda as “God” when they write in English. And anyway, we all pray the same God, whatever the name and the religion.

  • farzana

    Remi,
    No culture or religion or civilization ever developed in tight compartments. Give and take happened from all the sides. Since ancient Persians had extended their boundaries to greater part of the world, they influenced diverse cultures with their ideas…and absorbed alien cultures into theirs.

    In Persian mythology Mithra was their God of Light, he was a son of God born from a virgin babe on the day of second equinox which has the longest night. He symbolized the victory of light over darkness..he had twelve companions[ assistants] who help him in his mission to rid this world from darkness…This is not my imagination…There are number sites on net and number of books that will confirm- Jesus was a Roman creation of the Persian Mithra. Chk this …http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvDOtpsmxbc

    However the point is – Jesus is a myth, Historical Jesus never existed. Im not saying there is anything pristine about Zoroastrianism…err its also more than 70% based on baseless mythology…Yet, ive not seen Zoroastrian bigots working overtime to falsify other religions to get converts like Christian evangelists do. Xtian Evangelists’ only goal is to push their brand of religion down people’s throats.They are no better than con men. The only other bunch of jerks to outdo these ‘born again’ jokers are Muslim muslim apologists. More the merrier…

    Barak, There is certainly a mischievous intent behind Christian Missionaries using Allah in their sermons. Obviously its to do their favorite hobby -‘Harvesting of Souls’ …But since Malaysia is muzzy country… they can’t be open about their activity like they are in India confusing gullibles into believing Krishna and Christ are the same…In number of places in remote India, bandagis or traditional bhajan sessions are held in local Churches, where Ram and Krishna are replaced by Essa… Naives are made to believe Hinduism is corruption of Xtianity therefore to get true salvation they have to pray to real Ram and Krishna who is actually Jesus. HaaHaa lovely…and ironically while this is going on right under their nose, types like Kunwalla think they are too smart for their pants !!

    Anyway, this tailoring of false tales to entice converts goes back to 3rd century AD when Christians were getting persecuted in Rome for their belief. However Persians under Parthian dynasty were tolerant and allowed these christians who were fleeing from Roman persecution, to settle in Persia. Here these Christians started proselytising Persians.
    To make Christianity attractive, they embroidered the tale of 3 Magis visiting Jesus after his birth. As per Avesta, Zoroastrians used to believe in coming of a final savior to rid them from injustice… Taking advantage of that Xtian missionaries very cleverly spin Jesus as the promised Saviour. Number of Zoroastrian Persians converted to Christianity…that included most of Armenia.
    By 4th century, Byzantine Emperors adopted Christianity as a state religion…On the other hand Zoroastrianism was facing tough challenge from the growing Christianity in Persia. It was not harmless conversion of few poor Persians by kind hearted Christian missionaries… It had very serious repercussions politically. The Christian converted Persian nobles openly started siding with Roman Byzantine emperors against Persians in battles. Armenian Governors were instigated by Romans to openly revolted against Persian administration…
    Sassanids who took over Persia from Parthians, were idiots from the other side of the spectrum..ie Zoroastrian Bigots …They tried in vain to suppress the growth of Christianity in Persia by forced conversion to Z’ism… However this started chain of civil wars by fanatical Armenian Christians which weakened Persia from within.

    The gist is, Magi tale was used as a bait …for political expansion of Christianity in Persian Gulf.

    Just see, what they have done to Nagaland and North East India…where newly converted Christians are fighting against their own country in quest for independence.

    The political role of these missionaries has always been to breed ethnic and religious strife as new converts are often induced to adopt fanatical attitudes towards their former faith. Missionaries feed and clothe people, but at what price? They are paying a serious ethical price themselves and extracting a large price from local society through increased tensions — not to mention the funds and time that could be better spent on more productive programs.

  • Barak Aga

    Remi, I beg to differ that in Malaysia, the word “Allah” was used as a generic for God, because Arabic does not happen to be the language of Malaysia, and definitely not that of the church.

    The word for God in the Malay language is “Tuhan”.

    Clearly there is mischievous intent, to confuse, and the move is predatory.

    The arguments put forward in defence of this move, too were ludicrous; “An Arabic word was used to meet the needs of Malay language speakers”.

    Akin to saying that Mandarin was used to meet the needs of English language speakers.

  • Rémi

    Farzana,

    You got a point, I’m going to check this all…
    In the meantime, one could also argue that Zoroastrianism spread from its craddle in eastern Central Asia because it managed to “recycle” a fairly huge amount of pre-Z indo-iranian religious aspects. And Zoroastrianism is still a specific religion, not pre-Z in disguise.

    But I could not agree more with you and you say that these ***-minded Evangilists come to confuse poor, gullible minds.
    I draw the line between the core teachings of the religion from what exalted persons can commit, just like I don’t refer to BPP deeds to study Zism.

    Please read “But I could not agree more with you when you say that…”

    And why would the Romans have taken the “pain” to create a new religion , while Mithraism was already existing? Wouldn’t it have been (Oh dear!) mush easier for the Romans to all become mithraists?

  • farzana

    //So, the Church had many reasons to decide to celebrate the birth of Jesus on the 25th of December, paying no attention to the historical reality. By the way, my guess would be that Zarathushtra did not die on a 26th december, and that Zartosht No-diso was put on this day because it’s the darkest one over the year.//

    Entirely possible.

  • farzana

    Reme, Don’t misunderstand me, im not defending Z’ism. All Religions are man made ideas with man made Godhead.
    Everyone has right to propagate their brand of religion if they wish to. I see nothing wrong with Evangelists promoting Christianity anywhere in the world… nor do i see anything wrong with propagation of Christianity in Persia. But its outright unethical to promote any religion using lies, misinformation, hatred and black mail. And thats what Christian Evanlegists has always been doing.

    I have seen with my own eyes how conversions in India are not only unethical — but also that they threaten a whole way of life, erasing centuries of tradition, customs, wisdom, teaching people to despise their own religion, their own culture and look Westwards to a culture which is alien to them. In Kerala, particularly in the poor coastal districts, you find ‘miracle boxes’ in local churches. The gullible villager writes out a paper mentioning his wish: A fishing boat, a loan for a pucca house, fees for the son’s schooling, etc. And a few weeks later, the miracle happens! Of course, the whole family converts, making others in the village follow suit. During the tsunami, Christian nuns refused to give food to starving tsunami victims unless they converted.
    US $60,000 per annum which is 10 times what an MBA makes in India is pumped into India for publishing pamphlets, to run radio programs, for training locals in “scriptural material”, running Bible-based literacy programs including running Christian schools for local children. And all these media are used to spread religious hatred and defaming other faiths.
    Millions of dollars are pumped into developing countries like India for publishing pamphlets, to run radio programs, for training locals in “scriptural material”, running Bible-based literacy programs and Christian schools for local children. And all these media are used to spread religious hatred and defaming other faiths, ultimately resulting in ethnic strifes and fueling tensions in the society. All this because some jerks think their only purpose in life is to ‘Harvest Souls’ and thrust their brand of religion down ppl’s throat no matter how.

    Here are zoro missionaries promoting Z’ism
    http://www.bozorgbazgasht.com/

    If they are defaming other religions, spreading misinformation or taking cheap shots at any culture… than they too deserve condemnation…

    btw, it took Z’ism nearly 2500 years to spread in Iran…

  • farzana

    [Dear Moderator, plz delete the comment posted by me at 9:58 am. Thank you]

    Remi, Don’t misunderstand me, im not defending Z’ism.

    All Religions are man made ideas with man made Godhead.

    Everyone has right to propagate their brand of religion if they wish to.

    I see nothing wrong with Evangelists promoting Christianity anywhere in the world… nor do i see anything wrong with propagation of Christianity in Persia. But its outright unethical to promote any religion using lies, misinformation, hatred and black mail. And thats what Christian Evanlegists have always been doing!!

    I have seen with my own eyes how conversions in India are not only unethical — but also that they threaten a whole way of life, erasing centuries of tradition, customs, wisdom, teaching people to despise their own religion, their own culture and look Westwards to a culture which is alien to them. In Kerala, particularly in the poor coastal districts, you find ‘miracle boxes’ in local churches. The gullible villager writes out a paper mentioning his wish: A fishing boat, a loan for a pucca house, fees for the son’s schooling, etc. And a few weeks later, the miracle happens! Of course, the whole family converts, making others in the village follow suit. During the tsunami, Christian nuns refused to give food to starving tsunami victims unless they converted.

    Millions of dollars are pumped into developing countries like India for publishing pamphlets, to run radio programs, for training locals in “scriptural material”, running Bible-based literacy programs and Christian schools for local children. And all these media are used to spread religious hatred and defaming other faiths, ultimately resulting in ethnic strifes and fueling tensions in the society. All this because some jerks think their only purpose in life is to ‘Harvest Souls’ and thrust their brand of religion down ppl’s throat no matter how.

    Here are zoro missionaries promoting Z’ism
    http://www.bozorgbazgasht.com/

    If they are defaming other religions, spreading misinformation or taking cheap shots at any culture… than they too deserve condemnation…

    btw, it took Z’ism nearly 2000 years to spread in Iran…Islam took two hundred years and Christianity took less than100 years. If only fundu Zoros would have applied the same methods as Abrahamic religions….

  • Cyrus

    Hi
    The 3 wise men were moghs from north of Iran (Gilan/Talesh region). This has now been almost univesally accepted.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QW6GYB5JMB7MV6SGLLCEKDVV6U Dennis Dey

    I wonder. The Roman street of that age couldn’t think much further East than Persia / Babylon, hence the focus on the farthest Eastern reaches of the Empire. The 3 wise men obviously were transcendant enough to see the spark of the Almighty in someone born outside their fold: BG IV 7: “Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious
    practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of
    irreligion–at that time I descend Myself”. So could they have come from the Zoroastrians’ relatives further East in India? A whole lot of stories circulate about Jesus’s sojourn in Kashmir and Ladakh’s Hemis monastery. Did the wise men leave instructions to Mary to send Jesus to school where they taught?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QW6GYB5JMB7MV6SGLLCEKDVV6U Dennis Dey

    I wonder. The Roman street of that age couldn’t think much further East than Persia / Babylon, hence the focus on the farthest Eastern reaches of the Empire. The 3 wise men obviously were transcendant enough to see the spark of the Almighty in someone born outside their fold: BG IV 7: “Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious
    practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of
    irreligion–at that time I descend Myself”. So could they have come from the Zoroastrians’ relatives further East in India? A whole lot of stories circulate about Jesus’s sojourn in Kashmir and Ladakh’s Hemis monastery. Did the wise men leave instructions to Mary to send Jesus to school where they taught?

  • Jerel Douglas Keene

    First we do not now if there were only three. The Bible does not specify. It could have been 20, 100, or more it doesn’t specify in the Scriptures. Obviously this gentlemen has taken this understanding from a manger scene and not from the scriptures. It’s hard to set up 20 ‘wise men’ for your manger scene:) Study for yourself and check everything extensively or you will be a sponge filled with ignorance. Obviously this person is under the persuasion of a cult practice and although interested in the Truth has not come to the full persuasion of the Person of Truth.