Visit of the Magi

In the February issue of The Christadelphian you shall be able to find  an article by John M. Hellawell on additional evidence we have of the lack of synchrony with the birth of Jesus Christ because of the different words used to describe the child that the shepherds worshipped and the infant to whom the Magi presented their gifts. Another significant difference is that the Magi did not enter a stable or anything similar, but a house.

If the ‘star’ led them north and eventually arrived in Nazareth then not only do we have an explanation as to why and how the star was necessary, it also helps to explain how Herod lost track of the Magi.

“Unto us a child is born …”
The visit of the Magi: “We … are come to worship him”

THE assumption that the Magi visited the family of Jesus in Bethlehem is based on the Authorised Version rendering of the opening of Matthew’s account:

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem …” (2:1)

The use of “when” implies synchrony but other versions render this as “Now after Jesus was born …” (ESV); “After his birth …” (NEB, REB); “Not long after his birth …” (J. B. Phillips). The timing is indicated by comparing the information in verses 2, 7 and 16. The Magi came from “the east” and said they had seen his star “in the east” which, presumably indicates the location where they had observed it, not its compass direction. It is not clear whether this was a new star that astronomers had not previously recognised or some other phenomenon. The latter appears more likely as will be seen below. Herod “inquired of them [the Magi] diligently what time the star appeared” and hence the time of birth of the child. This would provide him with some indication of the age of any potential rival and, given his attempt to destroy the possible candidates (verse 16), it is probable that less than two years had elapsed since the star appeared, for Herod would probably add some extra time, just to be certain.

Continue reading > The current edition of The Christadelphian Magazine Christadelphian February 2012

The February 2012 issue of The Christadelphian is available now.

In the magazine this month:

  • Editorial
    Watching
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Sunday morning
    “Cleansing our conscience”
    Fred Pearce
  • Nottingham BLC
    Progress report
    BLC Management Team
  • Samson – a man of faith
    Trevor A. Pritchard
  • The message to the seven churches
    2 – To Ephesus
    James Andrews
  • Questions Jesus asks
    “Seest thou this woman?”
    Paul Aston
  • The heart and holiness of God
    2 – The parable of Hosea and Gomer
    Andrew E. Walker
  • “Unto us a child is born …”
    4 – The visit of the Magi: “We … are come to worship him”
    John M. Hellawell
  • “Sing forth the honour of His Name”
    Ten years of worship from the 2002 hymn book
    John Botten
  • Signs of the times
    Syria and her allies
  • Israel and their land
    “Instability and uncertainty”
  • The brotherhood near and far

If you currently subscribe to The Christadelphian, your copy should arrive shortly.

If you don’t subscribe but would like to start, or would like a copy of this month’s issue, you can buy these online.

The index of the 2011 magazine is now available online – you can download it from here as a PDF (requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader).

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