Last week, we looked at the Old Testament prophecy regarding King Herod’s reaction to the birth of Jesus. This week we will look at a common component of the traditional Christmas story – the arrival of the wise men.
Let’s start with a verse recorded by Isaiah roughly 700 years before the birth of Jesus:
A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the LORD. [Isaiah 60:6]
As mentioned in an earlier entry, Isaiah is sometimes called the fifth gospel because it includes so many details about the life of Jesus. This is no exception. If I hadn’t revealed that this particular verse was taken from the Old Testament, you may easily have confused it with a New Testament account of the Christmas story. Now, let’s look at the actually story from the gospel of Matthew:
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, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” [Matthew 2:1-2]
And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. [Matthew 2:11]
Right down to the gifts that the wise men would bring, Isaiah prophesied the coming of the wise men 700 years before the birth of Jesus. When we think about the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus, it is important to remember that many were about him, but there were also a number of prophecies regarding people who played a part in his life story.
Image courtesy of Abby Reed