1Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:1-11)
It is remarkable that these men from the East would interpret the appearance of any star, regardless of how unusual it might be, as a sign of the birth of the Jewish Messiah. What did they know about Jewish prophecy?
Matthew 2:1 calls these men “wise men.” The actual word used in the Greek text was magos, which was of foreign origin, denoting a Magian (hence Magi) or an Oriental scientist or magician. It is commonly believed they came from Persia. This is significant because Babylon was where Daniel was taken as a captive and elevated to the head of all the magicians. He came through the lions’ den victoriously and had gained the reputation as the greatest wise man of all (Dan. 6). Eventually he was promoted to be the head of all the wise men. (Dan. 2:48)
Daniel was the prophet to whom God gave the interpretation of Jeremiah’s seventy-weeks prophecy, which pinpointed the coming of the Messiah (Dan. 9:2, 24-27; Jer. 25:11). As head of the magicians (or scientists) in Persia, Daniel made this knowledge known to his colleagues. No doubt, through the centuries their successors continued to study his prophecy and anticipated the event. It is very understandable that the appearance of a new star moving in a different fashion would be taken as a special sign of the Jewish Messiah’s birth.
The religious Jewish scholars were taken by surprise, but the Persian magicians were not. They had been studying God’s Word through Daniel. The Word makes us wise unto salvation. (2 Tim. 3:15)
Let the Word instruct you today, and you will be wise to make good decisions and to know the season you are in.