How Old was Jesus When the Wise Men Came?
How old was Jesus when the wise men came? The arrival of the Wise Men (sometimes referred to as magi) is both powerful and intriguing; many have questions regarding Jesus' age at that point when they visited.
Some scholars estimate Jesus was between 13 and 24 months old when the magi visited. This estimate is based on Herod's vengeful decree to kill any male children two years or younger.
The Bible doesn't directly state how old Jesus was when the wise men visited, but there are some clues that can help us figure it out. An important piece of evidence is that the wise men were guided towards him by an apparent star that appeared in the sky; when they finally reached Bethlehem they found Him still young enough that they brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh - symbols representing royalty, divinity, mortality - which symbolized him well. Calculating their travel time along with time it took them to observe this star, research its meaning before reaching Mary Joseph and baby Jesus then give their gifts, you'll arrive at two years.
Also read: "How Old Was Eve When She Died?
Key evidence lies within Matthew's Gospel which notes that the wise men visited Mary and Jesus at a house instead of arriving on Christmas night as depicted in most nativity scenes. This could suggest they didn't arrive when depicted as part of traditional nativity scenes.
Given Herod's response to learning about the Wise Men's visit and ordering all boys under two to be executed, it can be estimated that Jesus was approximately 13-24 months old at the time they arrived. Their arrival marked a significant moment in Jesus's life as it signified Him becoming King over both Jews and Gentiles alike.
The magi, commonly referred to as wise men, visited Jesus shortly after His birth. Following divine warning in a dream not to reveal their visit to Herod of their visitation route they returned home through another route - most likely it took several months from His birth until these visits with Mary and Joseph and encounter with magi had taken place.
King Herod became alarmed at hearing about their visit from the Wise Men, prompting him to order the massacre of all boys two years old or under in Bethlehem. Gundry notes that Herod chose this age range specifically due to it having been so long since Jesus' birth - perhaps signalling a threat against his throne?
Herod (known in Latin as Herodes Magnus) was an appointed Roman King of Judaea who constructed many fortifications, aqueducts, and theatres to increase his kingdom's prosperity. Unfortunately for his kingdom's wellbeing however, Herod was also notoriously paranoid and brutal - as both Gospels and Jewish historian Josephus describe him. Additionally, in some translations "ekribosen" is used in reference to Herod interrogating magi which means to precisely establish when and what time the star first appeared.
Many nativity scenes feature three wise men bearing gifts for Jesus as an infant in a manger. It's a wonderful scene that underscores His role as King over both Jews and Gentiles alike, yet as you examine the biblical account of their visit some details may surprise you.
The Three Wise Men, commonly referred to as magi, traveled a great distance from their homeland in order to visit Jesus as soon as he was born king of Israel. Their presence had enormous cultural significance. For instance, gold was revered both for its beauty and practical uses while frankincense was an incense commonly burned during prayer services while myrrh was an embalming spice used to prepare bodies for burial.
Even though this visit was so significant, the Bible does not give an exact date when the wise men first arrived. Scholars estimate that Jesus would have been 13-24 months old when they came.
Herod estimated Jesus' age based on how, upon learning from the Magi of his star appearing, he promptly issued a decree killing all male children two years old or younger in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:13). Additionally, taking into consideration that it took them some time to travel from home, observe and study it while searching for Mary and Joseph and arrive in Bethlehem before returning back home again without making known their presence in Bethlehem - all this while remaining secret - this suggests they arrived sometime post-Christmas
The Bible doesn't give an exact date of Jesus's birth, but we know from history that wise men traveled far and wide to find Him. Following a star that showed their way there, when they did they fell down before Him to worship and praise him as they saw fit - long before most people recognized who He really was!
According to Western Christian traditions influenced by nativity scenes and Christmas carols, many believe the arrival of the Magi shortly after Jesus was born - this date has come to be known as Epiphany.
This timeline is based on the fact that it would take the magi several months to travel from Persia to Jerusalem and Bethlehem; also taking into account that Herod ordered all male children aged two years or younger be killed off immediately upon arriving.
This timeline dates the visit of the wise men between 6 B.C and 4 B.C, since Luke 1 records events spanning from Zacharias' priestly service, Annunciation and birth of John the Baptist; scholars have calculated these events and determined that Jesus was likely born between these times.
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