Prophets from Persia

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, many think the wise men who came to worship Jesus were astrologers. We can see this in the way they were portrayed.

(Matt 2:1-2) 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, “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.”

Who are these wise men? 

The same Greek word for ‘wise’ is used in the New Testament in another occasion which is translated as ‘sorcerer’ along with ‘false prophet’.

(Acts 13:6) Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name [was] Bar-Jesus,

This leads many to wrongly conclude that these wise men were astrologers. However, these wise men are neither sorcerers nor false prophets.

(Num 22:7) So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the diviner‘s fee in their hand, and they came to Balaam and spoke to him the words of Balak. 

(2Pet 2:15-16) They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the [son] of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.

Magi is simply a term used in those days to refer prophets from other lands just like Balaam was referred as a diviner and not a prophet, even though he is a prophet of God.

Even if these words doesn’t convince you, let’s see the Bible once again.

(Matt 2:12) Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.

God neither show His signs nor speak in dreams to false prophets. These wise men are the true prophets of God from the East.

Where did they come from?

The very word magi which causes many to identify them with astrologers, magicians is the actual clue.

The meaning of the word Magi is very uncertain and varies from a follower of Zoroastrianism, member of a tribe, priest, magians etc., but one thing is very certain that the word ‘Magi’ is of Persian origin which is exactly at the East of Israel. During the time of Jesus, Persia was ruled by Parthian Empire.

Conclusion

No longer let us call the wise men as astrologers or magicians. Nor does practicing astrology an excuse using these wise men. They were prophets of the living God from Persia, who came to worship Jesus Christ. They could be most likely Jews prophets, descendants of those who did not return to Jerusalem during the period of Ezra and Nehemiah.