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?