Christmas Traditions vs. God's Word 20l4

We have spoken about 'Christmases...Long Ago' and those wonderful traditions we have wrot from generation to generation. But, perhaps it is time to take it one step farther and look at what we have believed in our hearts compared to the true Word of God.

Traditions get started in our youth. We grow and learn and do as our parents, and grandparents, and great-grandparents have done and so on. Lost through many years of church and family tradition are the point in history where these traditions became engrained into our normal life and belief system.

We, each one of us, have grown into these beliefs whether true or false and they have become so engrained that it is sometimes very difficult to answer simple questions about the Bible accurately.

Here are three. Now, don't look ahead to the answers but just take one moment to answer them for yourself and then continue: Are you ready?

  1. How many wise men came to present gifts to Jesus? _________.

    1. Where did they find Him? ____________________________________________________.

      1. And, how was He dressed?________________________________________________ 4) From what area is it believed that the Wise Men came from? If you said, the East,

you are correct; but, where in the East?

Ask anyone on the streets and they most likely will say three wise men, laying in a manger, and wrapped in swaddling clothes. The last question is a little more difficult. But, we will discuss that a little later. We will look into that answer as we turn to the Book of Daniel, the prophet.

As we actually look at the scriptures, as we look into the King James Version of the Bible, in the Book of Matthew that an undesignated group of Wise Men, the Magi, came to the 'house' where they found the young child, Jesus, living with His father, Joseph, and His mother, Mary.

In the Book of Luke 2:8, we see that only the shepherds came to gaze upon our Savior at the manger.

Another interesting note here is the real time of Jesus' birth coincided either with the birth of the newborn lambs in Bethlehem destined to also be sacrificed at the temple as Bethlehem was where the lambs destined for sacrifice were raised. These lambs of Bethlehem were usually born in the spring of the year. However, other Jewish and Christian scholars believe that Jesus arrived at the Feast of Mangers, or the Feast of Tabernacles in the Fall of the Year. Historically however, the only time the sheep bore lambs was in the spring of the year. Otherwise, they would not have been in the fields by night and in need of guarding from wild animals. Each has their own opinion on this matter.

And, what about the gold, frankincense, and myrrh? Where did the Magi come from? Well to answer that question, let's go back to the life of Daniel. Some people believe that Daniel in the lion's den was a young Daniel through movies. Once some people picture Daniel in that way, they have no reason to question how it truly was through the scriptures. Years later, however, after being enlightened in the Word of God, it was found that Daniel was an old Daniel who was actually highly regarded within three monarchs of his day to finally to the place where the king was tricked into believing that Daniel, his vice-president, should be executed. (See Daniel, Chapter 6). Daniel was promoted by King Nebuchadrezzar and was made an extremely wealthy man. He increased in wealth under the next two kings. Daniel was one of the richest men in the kingdom.

For more then 60 years, Daniel was in charge of the Chaldeans, a group of highly trained astronomers and intellectuals (wise men) in which there were many who were part of the Jewish captives.

Near the end of Daniel's life, he was visited by the angel, Gabriel, (see Daniel 8 & 9) and was given very exact timing in the coming of the Messiah. But, he was also told to seal up part of the message as it was for him and him alone to act upon.

Daniel died in Babylon, a eunich, and had no heirs in which to leave his vast fortune. It would have been foolish to assume that Daniel didn't make very exclusive plans in the distribution of his wealth.

After the 70 years of captivity had ended, many of the captive Jews, especially those in high places of responsibility stayed behind in Babylon...the most notable being Mordecai and ultimately Queen Esther. Daniel would have trusted in his most trusted friends in the execution of his wealth...the Jewish Chaldean astronomers and wise men who he had trained and remained behind in Babylon.

There is a reason for every Word in the scriptures regardless how trivial these words may appear to us.

By carefully considering the scriptures and historical records, we can see very compelling pictures coming from the texts.

So, what became of Daniel's estate? It will be nearly 500 years before any hint of Daniel's treasure reappears in the pages of the scriptures.

To assume that three wise men carrying treasure crossed the Judean dessert outside the protection of a large armed caravan exposes the lack of knowledge as to the dangers of crossing the vast wilderness at that time. They wouldn't have been wise men to have done such a thing. They would have been exposed to many dangers including lions and other wild animals, robbers, and the elements.

Magi was another word for these Chaldean astronomers and were the very descendants of the very Jewish astronomers that Daniel trained and entrusted with his treasure many years prior.

Following Daniel's instructions, these Chaldean astronomers watched the skies for more then 500 years searching for the great signs in the Heavens...which is said to have occurred on Tishri l of the Jewish calendar.

Daniel had made provision for the Messiah. And, now, five hundred years later, the executors of his will carried their treasure laden caravan into the city gates of Jerusalem and made the proclamation,

“We have come to worship He who has been born King of the Jews!”

Later in the true Christmas story, just as Herod was about to order the killing of the innocent, of the male children born two years and younger, the Magi appeared just in time to deliver Daniel's treasure just as the family needed funds to escape to Egypt, as Joseph was so poor that he could only offer the poor man's sacrifice of two doves at Jesus' dedication...certainly Joseph was not yet in possession of any gold, frankincense, or myrrh. But, approximately, l l/2 years later, on the very night they had to escape into Egypt, the provision for their journey arrived by special couriers.

I give you this information to help you realize that many of our man-made traditions have been just that...Man-made! Made up! Not true! In light of that and in light of historical and Biblical records, we can see the importance of studying scripture for ourselves. If we are to come into the truth, we must be willing to challenge our belief systems. Truth is reality if we choose to believe it or not.

This is just one illustration of the need to search the scriptures and pray that the Lord helps us see what truly happened within the lines of scripture. Truth is that which is whether one wants to believe it or not. Always listen to what people teach us in 'light' of the True Word of Scripture. Always keep your eyes opened to the truth. You'll be amazed at the many adventures of truth that you could uncover in searching out the scriptures and what truly happened in Bible times.

End Notes: Google...Historic History of the Magi.

The Correlation between Daniel and the Magi...

...'Who Were These Wise Men?'

...'Why Did The Wise Men Come From The East?'

Excerpts of thoughts by Michael Rood

* King James Version