What is the story of the three magi, and who are they? The three Magi were Balthazar, Melchior and Gaspar. Matthew confessed the arrival of the Three Magi story with gifts of gold, myrrh, and frankincense for Baby Jesus.
Throughout time, as living members of the Church. We are constantly sharing in and experiencing the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. As the Evangelist Luke testifies, the shepherds were the first witnesses at the event.
The first portrait of the three men bearing gifts dates from the mid-third century. And was discovered in Rome, in the Catacomb of Priscilla. The Magi are also depicted in a group of three on a sarcophagus in the Vatican Museum. Under the same star. In the Catacomb of Domitila, we find four Magi. And in the Catacomb of Peter and Marcellinus, only two. Syriac documents mention twelve Wise men.
Over time, the image has undergone interpretations and modifications. So in the Church of Saint Apollinaire Nouvo in Ravenna. There is an image of three nobles sharing gifts under the gaze of Mary and baby Jesus.
The Armenian Gospel of the year 500 reveals the identity of Melchior as King of Persia. He was one of the Three Magi Story representing the non-Judaic, pagan world. According to scholars, they combine the teaching, priestly and political authority of the pagan world.
Astrologers, therefore scholars, with priestly functions and kings. Therefore rulers. In the divine economy and Matthew’s reading of this economy. The episode of the Magi’s worship represents the recognition of the blessed baby Jesus by the Judaic world.
Ancient Persia is known as the Persian Empire, located in the territory of today’s Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, and part of northern India. It is the ancient name of Iran (until 1935) and the name of the province of Fars in Iran (Greek. Persis, Old Persian Parsa).
Gaspar was the King of India. Through the worship of the Magi, the pagan Gentiles worship Jesus. They recognize in Him the Godhead and only true King. Lord of the world. Moreover, they realize in the moment of Jesus the end of the pagan culture, Pagan sciences, and all religions, and a radical new beginning. This is the meaning that exegetes give to worship the Magi: the recognition of the true God. And consequently, the renunciation of the old. And the complete entrustment, the total surrender to his dominion.
Some researchers believe the three magi story represents the three races descended from Noah’s three sons (Japheth, Shem, and Ham). The offspring of the white race, Japheth, would have gone in pursuit of:
- Shelah from Persia
- the offspring of the half-breeds of Shem – from Arabia
- the offspring of the black race, Ham – from Egypt
Balthazar Wise Man. Was Balthazar King of Arabia?
Yes, some say that in those times, Balthazar was the King of Arabia. Interestingly, official documents such as the Armenian Gospel from the year 500 testify about Melkon, King of Persia. Gaspar, King of India, and Balthazar, King of Arabia.
Russian and Breton tradition believes and speaks of the fourth Magus, Artaban. Artaban would not have reached the meeting point with the others because his camel was limping, and he was carrying three precious stones as a gift to Jesus.
His whole journey to meet Jesus took 30 years: every time he reached a place, Jesus had just left.
During this time, Artaban would share the three stones: one he gave to save a child in Bethlehem, another – to a starving older man, and the last, he would redeem a young Jewish girl.
He would finally find Christ when He was crucified on the cross.
The Magus was ashamed that he had nothing left to give the Saviour, but he was comforted by Him, who would thank him for the gifts he had brought through his neighbor. However, some sources claim there were 12 Magi. An early Christian painting from Rome depicts only two Magi and another illustration – four.
The star of Bethlehem and the magi
The phenomenon of the Star of Bethlehem guiding the three magi (kings) to the birthplace of Jesus Christ’s story has fascinated people for over two thousand years. Bethlehem’s star cannot be identified as a celestial body with Jesus’ lead. Although over the years, there have been several hypotheses concerning this star (possible conjunction of Jupiter with Saturn). It should also be reminded that Matthew does not say how many Magi came, the number of three being fixed by the gifts brought to the Saviour Christ.
All Christians know that the birthplace of the Lord is Bethlehem, a small town in Judea. The name of this biblical town in Hebrew means “House of Bread.” We learn that our Saviour, Jesus Christ, was born in Bethlehem from the Holy Gospels. Empress Helena built the oldest Church in the Holy Land in the 4th century. To this day, the cave where Christ was born beneath this monumental Church. The place of the coming into the world of the Son of God is marked by a silver star.
What is a manager in the Bible?
In the Bible, we are told the story of the Nativity in which Jesus was born in a manger. The manager is a place to shelter animals, a poor place. Because no one wanted to take Him into their house. The Bible also tells of the star rising to light the hearts of the Magi. A choir of angels harmoniously sings the hymns of the Little King, born in a manger of straw. A humble Child comes from glory to save us.
For Bethlehem, Christmas is an occasion for the parade of many nations. Noise, crowds, commerce. On Christmas days, Bethlehem is the heart of winter celebrations. But the noisy tumult of civilization, even if it invades the street, does nothing to detract from the authentic spirit of the Christian celebration.
For Christians, the noisy pulse of the street has nothing to do with the quiet stillness of the prayerful atmosphere before the Nativity of the Saviour. On the Holy Night of 25 December, pilgrims in the Cave of the Nativity whisper carols as they await the coming of the Son of God. For 2000 years, the Son of God was born in the same physical place: Bethlehem, and in the same spiritual place: in our hearts.
Three wise men, Jesus. What happened at Jesus’ birth?
It seems that when the Virgin Mary was giving birth to the King of all in the manger, “behold, the three magi story in the East came to Jerusalem.” The magus term refers to occult forces and sciences experts.
Bible tells us nothing else about them. From a 6th-century Greek manuscript in Alexandria, we learn that their names were: Caspar (or Gaspar), Melchior, and Balthasar, although we find other names somewhat close to these, especially in the Syriac Church. The fact that they come from the East makes us think that their origin was Mesopotamia, the homeland of astrology in the Greek world.
A star rose in the sky to guide the Three magi story from the East, and they brought him gifts of gold, myrrh, and frankincense. The birth of Jesus was a blessing for all Christians. Every year, before Christmas Eve, every house is blessed by the priest, and at Christmas, children go caroling, announcing the Nativity in every home. They are rewarded with cakes, pretzels, and cake cooked by the homemakers for health and good luck in the house.
The Bible tells us that the Nativity occurred in stable conditions, hard to imagine, on 25 December. It is not said in Bible that that stable belonged to Santa Claus, who was then in a man’s coat. Later the Magi made their appearance and brought gifts the Emperor’s son of frankincense, myrrh, and mead.
But before that, they went to Herod to ask about the baby, and he ordered that all children under three should be killed. And so it happened, but an angel warned the parents who took Jesus and went to Egypt.
Significance of gifts given to Jesus
Christianity presents the meaning of the gifts given to baby Jesus as follows: To the Child was brought
- gold as it is offered to a king (the perfect symbol of kingship on this Earth)
- myrrh as to a high priest about to die for all humanity (the embalming oil).
- frankincense as to a God (the signification of deity)
Saint Matthew says that the three magi present a story in which they bring gold, myrrh, and frankincense gifts. Their gifts are also meant to highlight the difference between the people of ancient Mesopotamia and the Jews, who brought sheep as gifts.
What happened to these gifts afterward is not known for sure.
One story tells of the gold stolen by the two robbers, later crucified with the Savior Christ. Despite this lack of information, since the 15th century, the Monastery of Paul the Apostle on Mount Athos has housed a golden box in which the gifts of the three wise men are said to have been found. They arrived here from the Imperial Palace in Constantinople, where they had been since the 4th century.
What animals were in the stable when Jesus was born?
In the manager at the moment of Nativity, we find out from the Bible that the present animals at the glorious moment were
- an ass(donkey)
- an ox
Apostle Matthew does not mention the names of the people guided by the star, their number, or the fact that they were kings, only that they came from the East. That there were three of them was inferred from the number of gifts – gold, myrrh, and frankincense. The Magi would travel for 12 days and arrive in Bethlehem on the night of the 12th day after Jesus’ birth. The mysterious men from the East have been called magi, astrologers, and kings throughout history.
Baby Jesus was born through His mother, Mary, and she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit and engaged with Joseph. Also, a “righteous” man, in the words of the Evangelist Matthew, who was of the lineage of David. Joseph’s name translates as “Yahweh to add,” and his trade was that of a carpenter.
It seems that Joseph’s birthplace was the city of Nazareth, where Jesus was to grow up. Matthew presents Joseph as the central figure at the beginning of his Gospel. However, Jesus was born in Bethlehem; Christ stands on straw in the cold. The King of the World was taken to a poor manager. And the ox blew piteously to make Him warm.
Massacre of the innocent’s Bible. Why did it happen that way?
The massacre of the little ones is part of the Nativity scene. Herod the Emperor, when he heard about Jesus, got very angry. And he commanded in the land that the innocent children be killed. From 3 years old and under to kill Christ. But Christ was saved because this was the will of God.
After the Magi arrived in Bethlehem and worshipped the divine Child, they offered Him gifts of gold, myrrh, and frankincense. The gold to honor His royal dignity, the myrrh for His sacrificial death, and the frankincense to honor His deity. The Evangelist Matthew tells how the pagan peoples worshipped the Saviour Christ through the Magi.
How the Christ Child was threatened with death by King Herod. And how God cares for the Christ Child through the righteous Joseph and Mary. The birth of Christ troubles Herod. Herod’s behavior stands in contrast to that of Mary and Joseph. They protect and care for the Child, while Herod wants to kill Him. He feels a child threatens his throne. Also, what kind of power depends on the elimination of a baby?
Even as an infant, Jesus manifests Himself as One Who does not respond by force to the violence of the powerful of the world. Together with Joseph, Mary also must protect the Child. More than the Child Himself, she experiences the dangers of Herod, the hardships of flight, and the difficulties of staying in a foreign land.
What happened to the Three Magi after they went to Jerusalem?
Some researchers said the Three Wise Men transformed themselves and lived together like monks. This happened in a place called Suwella. Just like in the episode when Jesus the King was born, they saw a star before the Christmas period above the city. When they saw the star, they knew it was a sign from God that they would die soon. Some believers affirm that all three Magi said the exact words on Christmas day: Mass.
But, right after this event, at eight days difference, Melchior died. After three days, Balthazar died as well. And on the sixth day, Gaspar also died.
Also, in an article, it was mentioned that Helen took their bodies and she moved them to Constantinopole. After her death, the bodies were brought to Italy, in Milan. And finally, a bishop took their bodies to a church in Germany in Cologne.
Biography of Balthazar, Gaspar and Melchior
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I hope you found new information in this article, and you can test your knowledge about The Nativity Scene and the Three Magi Story by accessing our Bible Quiz. You may also find good Games and Bible Trivia about important events from Christian history.