Who Were the Magi?


Quick Answer

The Magi were the kings who traveled from the east to Bethlehem in Jerusalem to worship the newborn baby Jesus. They had dreams telling them to follow a star shining brightly in the sky to find the Messiah.

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Full Answer

The Magi are mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew in the Bible. There is no mention of how many Magi were present, but it is assumed there were three because there were three different gifts. They brought the baby Jesus frankincense, gold and myrhh. Frankincense was used by the Jews when worshipping God. By gifting the baby with it, the Magi were declaring him to be divine. Gold was given to show that Jesus was royal. The gift of myrhh was a type of prophecy because it was used in burial rites. Giving Jesus myrhh indicated they knew he would one day die, even though he was divine.

The Bible makes no mention of which land the Magi traveled from, only that they normally would have reported to King Herod. Dreams told them not to go back to Herod, but to take a different route and go back to their homelands in the east. Assumptions have been made that they were from Persia, due to Daniel's prophecy regarding the coming of the Messiah. Legends created over the years have named the Magi Balthasar, Melchior and Gaspar.

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