Were shepherds “and” Magi present at the manger, at the time of the birth of Christ? Let’s investigate the matter.
“We Three Kings Of Orient Are.” In the above video, shepherds and Magi are seen together in the manger scene, on the night of the birth of Christ. In this article, clarity will be brought to the matter of whom was present at the manger scene, and whom was not. As you read the article you will notice that repetition is used, with the reason being for the reinforcement of facts.
The Wise Men Seek Jesus – In the above video we see the Magi during their trip, probably from somewhere in Persia, or Babylon, to the “house” of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem. The distance between the cities of Baghdad and Bethlehem is 684 miles; the travel time is debatable, but “two years” must fit into the equation (Matthew 2:16). Upon reaching the “house,” (Matthew 2:11) the Magi see the Holy Family, with the Christ “child,” probably being two years old (Matthew 2:16). The video ends with the Holy family on their way to Egypt for the protection of the Christ child. As I watched the video, a sense of Holiness came over me. The video shows changing weather conditions, which indicates a lengthy time of travel for the Maji.
Epiphany – The Appearing Of The Christ Child To The Magi; “They All Didn’t Show Up At The Same Time.”
The revealing of Christ to the Gentiles, in the persons of the Magi at Bethlehem; also called twelfth night. Observed on January 6th. Webster New World Dictionary Of The American Language College Edition, Copyright 1964 and 1953 to 1964.
The twelve days of Christmas in the song are the twelve days between the birth of Christ (Christmas, December 25) and the coming of the Magi (Epiphany, January 6). Precisely, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” start with Christmas Day and ends with the eve of Epiphany on January 5th. The Sunday nearest to 6 Jan can be celebrated as Epiphany Sunday, or the first Sunday after Epiphany (The Baptism of the Lord).
For frequently asked questions about the 12 Days of Christmas, please click onto the following link. http://www.12days.com/faq.htm
Epiphany Scripture. Matthew 2:11 New King James Version (NKJV)
11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Scripture tells of the birth of Christ, the infant, with the shepherds being present, (Luke 2: 1-20). Scripture also tells of Christ, the young child, with wise men being present (Matthew 2:1-12). So, we see that, “they all didn’t show up at the same time.” Scripture also tells us that the Christ will be “God with us.” (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25), and will be “Mighty God.,” (Isaiah 9:6). The story of the Epiphany may be new to some believers but, nevertheless, it is good for all who know Jesus as Lord and Savior to be aware of the information. The account of Luke is celebrated as Christmas, on December 25th of each year. The account of Matthew is celebrated as Epiphany, twelve days later, with January 6th being Epiphany, sometimes being known as “the Epiphany.”
Isaiah 7:14 New King James Version (NKJV). The Immanuel Prophecy (742 B.C.).
14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
Isaiah 9:6 New King James Version (NKJV). The Government of the Promised Son (740 B.C.).
“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
The first phrase of Isa 9:6 relate to the birth of Christ, His first advent. The remaining words of verse 6, as well as all of the words of verse 7, relate to the second coming of Christ, or His second advent.
Matthew 1:18-25 New King James Version (NKJV) Christ Born of Mary
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
Matthew 2:1-12 New King James Version (NKJV) Wise Men from the East
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “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.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’” 7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” 9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.
Matthew 2:13-15 New King James Version (NKJV) – The Flight into Egypt
13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” 14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
Consider. The wise men may have traveled for a period of two years (Matthew 2:16).
Matthew 2:16 New King James Version (NKJV) – Massacre of the Innocents
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.
Consider. Three Magi show up in Bethlehem, looking for a “new King, a King of the Jews.” Herod, the King, feeling “a bit insecure,” gets concerned; he doesn’t want any competition. So, he decides to eliminate all possible opposition to his throne by killing all male babies that were two years old, and younger; so, the Christ Child must have been two years old when the Magi arrived in Bethlehem. These “wise men” were not present at the same time as when the shepherds of Luke 2 were led to the manger, where they (shepherds) saw Mary, Joseph, and “the infant Jesus.” The star (Matthew 2:2) led the Magi to Bethlehem. There, they saw Mary, Joseph, and “Christ.” We know from Scripture that Christ “is” the Light Of The World (John 1:9).
Consider. The wise men followed a star that led them to the Christ child (John 1:9: “That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.”).
Consider. After the wise men “came to Jesus,” they departed…another way.” (Matthew 2:12).
Question. After you were led to Christ, did you return…”another way?”
Christ was first made known to the Jews. Then, he was made known to the Gentiles. There are differences of opinion as to when those things happened. But, please! Don’t carry this battle of ideas out into the world of unbelievers; they have more serious things to think about, such as coming to belief in Christ as their Lord and Savior (John 3:18: ““He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”)
Consider the following information that has been written on Epiphany.
January 6 in the World
Epiphany is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. It falls on January 6 or, in many countries, on the Sunday that falls between January 2 and January 8. Since the Julian Calendar, which is followed by some Eastern Churches, is at present 13 days behind the Gregorian Calendar and the revised Julian Calendar, 6 January in that calendar corresponds at present to 19 January in what is the official civil calendar in most countries.
On this feast, Western Christians commemorate principally the visitation of the Biblical Magi to the Baby Jesus, i.e., his manifestation to the Gentiles. Eastern Christians commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God. It is also called Theophany, especially by Eastern Christians. In both traditions, the essence of the feast is the same: the manifestation of Christ to the world (whether as an infant or in the Jordan), and the Mystery of the Incarnation.
In Christian tradition, the Magi, also referred to as the (Three) Wise Men, (Three) Kings, or Kings from the East, are a group of distinguished foreigners who are said to have visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense. They are regular figures in traditional accounts of the nativity and in celebrations of Christmas. Magi is a term derived from Greek meaning a priest of Zoroaster. (From: Wikipedia, License: CCA-SA)
Epiphany is one of the oldest Christian feasts. It has been celebrated since the end of the second century, before the Christmas holiday was established. It is commonly known as Twelfth Night, Twelfth Day, or the Feast of Epiphany. It means “manifestation” or “showing forth”. It is also called Theophany (“manifestation of God”), especially by Eastern Christians. Epiphany also refers to the church season that follows the day.
The Epiphany commemorates the first two occasions on which Jesus’ divinity, according to Christian belief, was manifested: when the three kings visited infant Jesus in Bethlehem, and when John the Baptist baptized him in the River Jordan. The Roman Catholic and Protestant churches emphasize the visit of the Magi when they celebrate the Epiphany. The Eastern Orthodox churches focus on Jesus’ baptism.
My thought on the meaning of Epiphany. It is “the appearing” of the Christ Child to the Magi, who were Gentiles. The initial appearing of Christ, “the infant,” was to the Shepherds, who were Jews. The Magi found the Christ Child in a house. The Shepherds found “Christ, the infant,” in a cave. There was approximately two years time passage from when the Shepherds saw “Christ, the infant,” until when the Magi saw, “Christ, the child.”
My thoughts on the opening video. The video is very good. The story that is laid out in it shows a good chronology of events that led up to the arrival of the wise men at the “house” where Jesus and Mary (Matthew 2:11) were mentioned in scripture (Consider all of the people who may have traveled with the wise men). I think that the video clearly shows, as it relates to the Shepherds and Magi, “they all didn’t show up at the same time.” In no scripture are the shepherds and Magi present at the same time. Neither the shepherds, nor the Magi, knew where to go to find Christ; they were led by God’s Holy Spirit, in every aspect of their journeys. In today’s world, neither do we know the way to Christ, nor that we are even, “supposed to go.” We are led by the Spirit of God, in every aspect of our Journey. (John 1:9; John 6:44). Without the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we wouldn’t know that we need Christ (1 Cor 1:18; 1 Cor 2:14). Without the work of the Holy Spirit, we will not spend eternity with Christ (John 3:3; John 3:8).
Consider the definition of Epiphany, per the Merriam Webster Dictionary.
Definition of epiphany
capitalized : January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of the baptism of Christ
: an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being
a (1) : a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) : an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) : an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure
b : a revealing scene or moment
“We Three Kings”, also known as “We Three Kings of Orient Are” or “The Quest of the Magi”, is a Christmas carol written by Reverend John Henry Hopkins, Jr., who wrote both the lyrics and the music as part of a Christmas pageant for the General Theological Seminary in New York City. It is suggested to have been written in 1857 but did not appear in print until his Carols, Hymns and Song in 1863. Hopkins composed the song in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, where he was a pastor at Christ Episcopal Church (which still stands at the corner of Fourth and Mulberry Streets).
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New American Standard Bible 2020
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
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