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Where did the wise men find Jesus?

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posted on Dec, 18 2020 @ 05:01 PM
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My father used to teach in school that the Wise Men found Jesus in Nazareth, two years after his birth.

This was not his personal theory, but a fairly popular ingredient in attempts to harmonise the gospel accounts. My purpose here (sorry, Dad) is to demonstrate the faults in the argument which leads to that conclusion, and to show that the wise men would have gone to Bethlehem, after all.

The theory is based on details of the account found in Matthew ch2.

We are told (v11) that they found Jesus in a “house”, showing that the family was no longer in the stable. “You see, they had moved from Bethlehem to Nazareth.”

We are told (v16) that Herod set out to kill all the male children under two years old, making his calculation “according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men”. This is supposed to show that Herod knew Jesus to be two years old, and therefore that Jesus was two years old when the wise men arrived. “Obviously by then they would have moved back home to Nazareth.”

We are told (v4) that the wise men came to Judaea because they had seen a star relating to Jesus. If they are star-watchers, they presumably came from Mesopotamia, anciently Babylonia, the home of astronomy. Their statement means “We, being in the East, saw the star” (not “we saw the star on our eastern horizon”). The argument is that they could not start their journey until the star appeared, and the star appeared when Jesus was born. Therefore the lapse of time on the journey would delay them for some considerable time after Jesus was born, supporting the theory that they arrived a couple of years later.

These arguments are over-ingenious, and here is where they go wrong;

In the first place, the family moved away from the stable (granted), but that does not necessarily mean they they had already moved away from Bethlehem. The accommodation crisis mentioned in Luke would have been short-lived, once the census was over. It’s also possible that Joseph could have found local kin, once he had a spare moment to look for them, able to provide refuge. It’s clear from Luke that they stayed in the area at least long enough to make the circumcision offerings in the temple (which could have been a short return trip from Bethlehem).

Then the argument focussing on “two years” is based on two false assumptions.

There is an unconscious assumption that Herod began taking counter-measures soon after the wise men left Jerusalem. Only on that basis can the “two years” which Herod took as his upper limit be identified as the age of Jesus when the wise men reached him. But this ignores the possibility of a time-lapse between their departure and the massacre of the children. Surely it is possible that Herod only remembered them six months later- “Those wise men that we sent over to Bethlehem- did they ever come back to report?”- and eventually got around to doing something about it.

The other assumption, that Herod’s command was based on exact knowledge of the date of birth, is undermined, fatally, by the fact that the command covers a wide age-range. If Herod knew, for certain, that Jesus was nearly two years old, he could have dealt with the situation adequately by killing the children of that age. Certainly the children known to be born n the last twelve months should have been safe. The wide age-range shows that Herod is not sure. All he’s got is an estimate.

This makes it plausible that the wise men arrived, say, within six months of the birth of Jesus, that Herod waited another year to take action on the information they gave him, and he then added another six months, “to be on the safe side”, to the age-range specified in his instructions. Allowing for these lapses and uncertainties could cover most of the alleged “two years”.

Again, it is possible to overstate the necessity of allowing a long period for the journey “following the star”. Traders and even great armies could cover the distance in a few months. Furthermore, we are not obliged to assume that the star did not appear until Jesus was born. Matthew does not say so. If the purpose of the star was to announce the arrival of the new king, it could have appeared when Jesus was conceived, proclaiming the imminence of his birth. Thus the wise men would have been enabled to start their journey before Jesus was born, which could have been part of the intention.

Then there are the details in the story which positively oblige us to prefer Bethlehem to Nazareth. For one thing, the “immediate return to Nazareth” theory makes a complete nonsense of the angel’s flight-warning to Joseph.

In order to appreciate this point, we need to be aware of the geography of the land. Bethlehem is in the south, and the border with Egypt was a comparatively short distance away. Nazareth is in the far north, where the nearest neighbours are Lebanon and Syria.

Herod was about to kill “all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region” who were under his chosen age-limit. So if the family of Jesus had already returned to Nazareth, in the north, they were comparatively safe. Therefore we are supposed to believe that the angel instructed Joseph to flee from this place of safety, in order to escape a massacre which was taking place somewhere else? Not only that, but the angel instructed Joseph to follow a route which would take him positively through the area of greatest danger, instead of taking the more obvious escape-route northwards into Syria? Does this make sense to you?

Whereas if the family remained in Bethlehem, the angel’s warning is more obvious and rational. “You are in danger from a massacre which is about to take place here. Take refuge as quickly as possible over the nearest border.”

Where does the flight into Egypt fit into Luke’s narrative? Not before the circumcision ceremony, because there simply isn’t time for the whole crisis, flight and return. It must be placed afterwards, if anywhere. Why does Luke imply that the return to Galilee followed immediately? Because Luke knew about the stay in Bethlehem and the residence in Nazareth, but nobody told him about the flight to Egypt. Just as nobody seems to have told Matthew that Joseph and Mary were living away from Bethlehem before the birth. In his story, they very nearly decided to return to the south (Judaea) permanently (vv21-23). We have to remember that the gospels are historical documents, dependent on their sources, not legal documents.

Finally, I have left to the end the clearest and most decisive rebuttal of the Nazareth theory. THE WHOLE POINT of the Micah prophecy episode is to send the wise men to find Jesus in Bethlehem. Why should we suppose that they failed to succeed in their quest in the place where they were sent? The simplest and most straightforward reading of the Matthew narrative is that they were told to go to Bethlehem, they followed their instructions, and duly found him when they got there. I have already shown that they could have arrived within a reasonable time, and there was no urgency in the family’s moving away,

So why not leave it like that?



posted on Dec, 18 2020 @ 05:05 PM
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In any case, I'm sure that they did not go in singing the song I once heard from a couple of ten year-old girls (my mother's pupils).

"We three kings of Orient are.
We wear britches made out of hair.
They're fantastic-
No elastic!
Wear them if you dare!"



posted on Dec, 18 2020 @ 05:32 PM
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Where did the wise men find Jesus?


I can not speak for others, but I found
Jesus in The Golden Ratio:

The One God trail
The "God- One " trial
Tho God, tree-nail



posted on Dec, 18 2020 @ 05:34 PM
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a reply to: RavenSpeaks
Not relevant to the historical issue being discussed here.




edit on 18-12-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 18 2020 @ 05:39 PM
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So you are saying this isn't correct?



posted on Dec, 18 2020 @ 05:52 PM
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a reply to: Fisherr
I'm listening to it carefully, and about eight minutes in I've discovered that this account actually agrees with mine on the essential point of the current discussion, viz. that the wise men came to Bethlehem.
Thank you- a choice piece of Pete and Dud which I haven't seen before. It doesn't turn up in the usual collections of "surviving clips".




edit on 18-12-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 18 2020 @ 07:38 PM
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Probably at home with his Wife and Kids.



posted on Dec, 18 2020 @ 07:48 PM
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The distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem is less than 100 miles. The distance between Bethlehem and the Sinai is about 160 miles. The distance between Jerusalem and Bethlehem is trivial, an easy walk. Just FYI.



posted on Dec, 18 2020 @ 08:18 PM
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posted on Dec, 19 2020 @ 01:53 AM
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a reply to: schuyler
Thank you.
So an escape route from Nazareth to Egypt (via Jerusalem) would have been 260 miles
This confirms my comments about the logic of the flight story.



posted on Dec, 19 2020 @ 08:23 AM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI

On the eight day after Christ's birth they circumcised Jesus. They could have still been in the stable, seeing Jesus was still an infant, this is what the shepherds went to see. The wise men arrive two years later than the star first appeared and by this time they had moved into a house and the Star had gone before them into Jerusalem, then southeast and stood over the house. Normal stars don't do that, nor was it Venus as some have suggested. The reason was it took them some time to realize this was the star they were looking for, because they had to verify it with all known star charts to be sure. They came from Persia which was the old Babylon country in Iran. It is about two weeks journey from there to Jerusalem. When Herod had ascertained the time of the appearing of the star that is not the time of the birth day Christ just the time of the appearing of the star. We are not even told that this star appeared on Christs birthday is assumed like all assumptions based on pretextual Bible ideas not facts. That star could in fact be an angel, the one that appeared to the shepherds. Bethlehem is only 5 or so mile away only about a half days journey if that. There is no reason to assume Herod waited any longer that 30 days, if the wise men waited that long to go home by another way. So Herod kills all children from the time of the stars appearing unto the day the Roman guard walked into Bethlehem to kill the children by his order.

You started your whole OP with a false teaching and you didn't teach anything that the bible didn't already teach clearly. Do you know what the Bible calls that? Vain Talking in this case Vain Writing. Most of your stuff has been like that just empty words.

However you never answered the question on where or from whom they learned about the star appearing that would tell them the True Promised King of Israel was born? I asked this in your Eccl 15 when you told us you were putting off doing Eccl 16 because you had a special study. You really didn't doing anything but refute a false teaching that the Bible already clearly refuted.


edit on 12/19/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 19 2020 @ 09:03 AM
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originally posted by: ChesterJohn
You started your whole OP with a false teaching and you didn't teach anything that the bible didn't already teach clearly.

The object of the exercise was to show that a particular teaching was false. In order to do that, I had to begin by stating the false teaching that I was criticising.
Yes, I know that the Bible already teaches what I was trying to demonstrate. But there are many people who believe that "the wise men went to Nazareth" because they do not fully understand what the Bible says on the subject, and my function is to help them to understand.

Yes, of course I am offering teaching that is in the Bible already. I hope you are not trying to tell me to offer teaching that is NOT in the Bible? Failing that, taking teaching from the Bible is the only available option, if I'm going to offer any teaching at all. It is NOT the function of the teaching ministry to come up with NEW teaching. The function of the teaching ministry is to help people understand the teaching that is there already.


However you never answered the question on where or from whom they learned about the star appearing that would tell them the True Promised King of Israel was born?

I have two reasons for not answering that question.
The original reason is that the question has no bearing on the issue at hand, viz. whether the wise men went to Bethlehem or to Nazareth. This piece was already on my files before you asked the question, I was not going to rewrite it.
The second is that you demand that I answer that question, as though you were speaking with AUTHORITY. Let me make it clear, you have no authority over me. Your authority is as empty and meaningless as the authority of the pope,
When you demand that I should do things, I always make a special point of not doing them. Take off your mitre and step down from your papal throne, because I will not listen to your decrees.


I asked this in your Eccl 15 when you told us you were putting off doing Eccl 16 because you had a special study. You really didn't doing anything but refute a false teaching that the Bible already clearly refuted.

Yes, that was exactly what I set out to do. God obviously thought it was worth doing when he gave me the task.


edit on 19-12-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 19 2020 @ 11:29 AM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: schuyler
Thank you.
So an escape route from Nazareth to Egypt (via Jerusalem) would have been 260 miles
This confirms my comments about the logic of the flight story.


Right. Though maybe a little less. The border at the Sinai is closer via Gaza and further away at the south east corner. Probably depended a lot on the status of the roads. Side roads would have been less risky in terms of interception by the authorities, but more risky in terms of personal survival in the elements.



posted on Dec, 19 2020 @ 11:45 AM
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a reply to: schuyler
One of the thoughts in my mind, when I suggested the Jerusalem route, was that the coastland would have felt slightly alien. It was an area conquered by the Hasmonaeans, rather than true "land of the Jews".



posted on Dec, 19 2020 @ 12:40 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Just admit the object really was about you being heard, nothing more nothing less.

Oh so you think everyone cannot understand the truth of God's word without you explaining it to them? so your authority over others is ok but if I ask a question or two I am being authoritative. HYPOCRITE!!!

Oh yes my questions do bear a point, 1) Very important for you to know the reason for their coming to find the king of the Jews. and 2) No one demanded of you anything. We already know you have a problem with HIS AUTHORITY. But your failure to answer any question shows you can't find it in the Bible because you don't know the bible, you don't have the Holy Ghost to help you study, rightly divide and compare scriptures to find it and it proves you have not prayed about what you teach before you post it.

God's word is the final authority over all men and you have rejected that authority over and over again. And what you did was nothing more than spewing forth empty words to take away glory from God to bring glory to yourself.



edit on 12/19/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 19 2020 @ 02:29 PM
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originally posted by: ChesterJohn
a reply to: DISRAELI

Just admit the object really was about you being heard, nothing more nothing less. .......

God's word is the final authority over all men and you have rejected that authority over and over again. And what you did was nothing more than spewing forth empty words to take away glory from God to bring glory to yourself.


What sanctimonius BS. You seem hell-bent on ad hominem arguments against Disraeli and are completely missing the salient points of historiography here. I don't think you know crap beyond the ability to quote the Bible, which is pathetically easy to do and the sanctuary where people who don't know anything else always run to. NOBODY is required to answer YOUR questions, which are usually of the "Have you stopped beating your wife, Yes or No" variety. I don't believe in any of the religious crap either of you put forward. It's nonsense, but I do respect Disraeli and am capable of having a civil discussion with him. And I do completely agree with him that you are not any sort of authority and no one needs answer to you. You are not contributing at all meaningfully to the underlying discussion here. You just want to argue.



posted on Dec, 20 2020 @ 06:09 AM
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a reply to: schuyler

Listening to an unsaved person teaching the word of God is like walking barefoot through thorns. No matter how hard you try not to step on any you will always step on some.


edit on 12/20/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 20 2020 @ 06:17 AM
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The real question is and should be "Why were the foreign wise men seeking the King of the Jews?"



posted on Dec, 20 2020 @ 07:01 AM
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a reply to: ChesterJohn
If you think that question is important, nothing prevents you from answering it yourself, here or in another thread written for the purpose. The "new thread" button is at the top of the page.
Then you would be making a positive contribution.




edit on 20-12-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 20 2020 @ 08:12 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

It has to do with contrast.

Positive contributions let's see does your OP meet that goal you AUTHORITATIVELY stating I do? 1) Your whole OP is totally irrelevant to anyone's life. 2) There were no applicable lessons to be learned for your OP. And 3) Not one thing in it benefited ones spiritual life.

Maybe if you did have positive contribution to people spiritual Lives I would have never had to reject your teaching out right as Christians are supposed to do with one like you. That has been my point over and over to you, you have no POSITIVE CONTRIBUTIONS to the spiritual health of any one.

Yes you do have good worldly history lessons but men can get that on the internet in a million places or their local library. Yes you have fair sounding speeches but they are vain talking and nothing more.

So stop being a hypocrite and so authoritative and get right with God. For a man not right with God will produce very little fruit of the spirit.

I will not post anything about why the wise men sought the king of the Jews in this OP in this thread. Because we are told not to cast our pearls before swine. And besides I tried that then you were like trying to make it seems as if YOU were dong a good work. For that I stopped and rejected you once again.

But I suggest, not demanding or commanding or being authoritative, I suggest for the sake of all that is Holy, you prove your calling by answering the question as to why the wise men were seeking him who is the king of the Jews.

If you could, and I don't think you can, I would be inclined to never reject, correct, rebuke or exhort you or your teachings ever again.



edit on 12/20/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)




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