MICHEL: THE FOURTH WISE MAN
That star! You know—the one over Bethlehem. We are so easily influences by what other people tell us, or sing to us. What do they tell us? The wise men (magi) were really kings, there were three of them, and they followed the star all the way from the orient.
We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts, we traverse afar.
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.
Not! Centuries ago, someone came up with three names, one of which was similar to the king of northeast India at the time, King Gondophores. So, that’s how they decided the magi were really kings. In reality, Magi was the name of a Babylonian tribe of priestly wise men. They were not kings.
Three? Have no idea where that came from except people seem to think that each gift was brought by one man. What if each gift was brought by ten magi? Or five? How come it had to be just three men involved?
And the star. They did not follow it all the way from the orient. It appeared when Jesus was born. The Bible says that, after the wise men left Herod and were on their way to Bethlehem (which was where he told them to go), they saw the star again. It reappeared just for them.
Did you ever see a manger scene with the shepherds and wise men and goats and pigs and cows and Jesus and Mary and Joseph all crowded into the barn or cave or where ever they were? That did not happen either. The wise men were now “beamed up” to Bethlehem from the Orient the night Jesus was born.
Herod had all boy babies age two and under killed. It apparently took the wise men a year to figure out the meaning of the star, and several more months traveling to Bethlehem. If they started out in Babylon (in today’s southern Iraq), the would have travelled the common route going north to the edge of Turkey, then down along the Mediterranean coast to get there.
How did they figure out the meaning of the star? They probably searched through the writings of their gods, but could not find the answer. In the royal archives where Daniel had served centuries earlier were probably the writings of Daniel, often the second in command to the emperor. Later, Queen Esther would have made sure they stayed safe in the archives.
In the book of Daniel is an account of the exact year the Messiah would begin his ministry. Since Jews were considered fully mature at age thirty, if you take 30 from the exact year given in Daniel, you will see it is the exact year Jesus was born. The wise men surely saw that. And elsewhere in Daniel, he mentions wise men leading to a great light. Of course, there are other prophecies they probably read.
In my book—MICHEL: THE FOURTH WISEMAN—accompanies a total of eight wise men as they tour famous sacred libraries that existed in the world at that time. They travel to northern Indian, then across the Indian Ocean to Ethiopia and up the Nile to Edfu and Alexandria, both famous libraries at the time, to read the writings of their gods. Then they go up to Athens and Rome to check the sacred writings of their gods. Next, they go to a famous library in Pergamum in Today’s Turkey, then over to Antioch in Syria. Finally, Michel convinces them to read the Jewish sacred writings in Ecbatana, Persia, and they finally find the meaning of the star.
There is an intriguing sub-plot in my book about the Garden of Eden which at that time was under the flooding waters of the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers. But I’m not going to spill the beans and tell you what it is. I challenge you to read the book. And put new meaning in your understanding of Christmas.
Katheryn Haddad was born in the cold north, but now lives in Arizona where she does not have to shovel sunshine. She enjoys hot weather, palm trees and cacti in her yard, and a computer with the letters worn off.
With a bachelor’s degree in English, Bible and social science from Harding University and part of a master’s degree in Bible, including Greek, from the Harding Graduate School of Theology, she also has a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene University.
Her newspaper column appeared for several years in newspapers in Texas and North Carolina ~ Little Known Facts About the Bible ~ and she has written for numerous Christian publications.
Currently she teaches English over the internet every morning, using the Bible as a text book. Most of her students are Muslims. She has taught some 6000 thus far, and has former students, now Christians, in hiding in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Jordan, Uzbekistan, and Palestine. “They are my heroes” she declares.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers of the West, and is also an energetic public speaker who can touch the heart of audiences.
To purchase MICHEL THE FOURTH WISEMAN, click here.