the three wisemen
      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 have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him."
       When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.' "
      Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also."
      When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Matthew 2:1-11
 
      Two well known historians also confirm that it was a commonly held belief amongst the Jews as well as the people of the East that a ruler would come forth from Judea.
       The Roman historian Tacitus wrote:
"[the Jews] firmly believed that their ancient scriptures, quoted by their priests, contained a prophecy of how at a certain time, when the East was powerful, a ruler would come forth from Judaea and He would secure a universal empire." (Tacitus, Histories 5.13)
 
      Another early historian, Suetonius, penned the following words: "An old and well established belief was held all over the Orient, that one would arise from Judaea who would establish a government over all men." ( The Lives of the Caesars - Life of Vespasian 4.5)              
 
       Another even earlier text was uncovered which is known as ‘The Testament of Judah’, it was part of a collection of texts supposedly written by the twelve sons of Jacob known as ‘The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs’, but more likely seems to have been penned in the second century before Christ. Fragments of two of the Testaments have been found in the Dead Sea Scrolls,  those of Levi and Naphtali.
      The ‘Testament of Levi’ was dated by the Oriental Institute - University of Chicago using Carbon 14 and was dated between 100-200 B.C., well before the birth of Christ.
      The ‘Testament of Judah’ reveals what type of Messiah the people were expecting and also foretold of a star that would arise in Israel which would accompany His coming.
       It states: "There shall appear for you a star arising from Jacob in peace. And a man shall come forth who is my heir, like the sun of righteousness, walking amongst the sons of men in gentleness and righteousness, and there will be no sin found in him. And the heavens will rain down upon him the spirit as a blessing from the Holy One. And he will pour out the spirit of grace upon you. This is the shoot of the most high God; the water of life for all humanity. He will shine his light upon the scepter of my kingdom, and from your root will arise the shoot, and through it will stem forth the rod of righteousness for the nations, to judge and to save all who call upon the Lord." (Testament of Judah 24.1-6)
 
      And that star, which the wise men from the east followed, led them to Jesus, the ruler of all kings. And thus the following prophecies found in the Old Testament came to life:
       "Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising."Lift up your eyes all around, and see: They all gather together, they come to you; Your sons shall come from afar, And your daughters shall be nursed at your side. Then you shall see and become radiant, And your heart shall swell with joy; Because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, The wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you."
      "The multitude of camels shall cover your land, The dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; All those from Sheba shall come; They shall bring gold and incense, And they shall proclaim the praises of the LORD.”  Isaiah 60:1-6 (NKJV)
 
      "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth. Those who dwell in the wilderness will bow before Him, And His enemies will lick the dust.
       The kings of Tarshish and of the isles Will bring presents; The kings of Sheba and Seba Will offer gifts. Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him; All nations shall serve Him. For He will deliver the needy when he cries, The poor also, and him who has no helper. He will spare the poor and needy, And will save the souls of the needy. He will redeem their life from oppression and violence; And precious shall be their blood in His sight. And He shall live; And the gold of Sheba will be given to Him;. . .His name shall endure forever; His name shall continue as long as the sun. And men shall be blessed in Him; All nations shall call Him blessed."  Psalm 72:8-17 (NKJV)
 
(Note: Sheba, Midian and Ephah are tribes of Arabia descended from Abraham's wife Keturah as mentioned in - 1Chronicles 1:32)
THE GREATEST SONG TO BE SUNG
ABOUT THE KINGS FROM THE EAST:
 
We three kings of Orient are:
Bearing gifts we traverse afar-
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star.
Chorus: O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.
 
Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain:
Gold I bring to crown him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
Over us all to reign.
Chorus: O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.
 
Frankincense to offer have I,
Incense owns a Deity nigh;
Prayer and praising, all men raising,
Worship Him, God on high.
Chorus: O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.
 
Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom-
Sorr’wing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.
Chorus: O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.
 
Glorious now behold Him arise:
King and God and Sacrifice;
Alleluia, Alleluia!
Earth to heav’n replies.
Chorus: O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.
      This article is a chapter from our 3 volume book series "Bible Believer's Archaeology" which can be downloaded for your ebook reader or mobile device by visiting our resource download page by Clicking Here.
Photo Links to Artifacts Mentioned in this Article
Testament of Judah
Testament of Levi
Testament of Judah Dead Sea Scroll Fragments
Testament of Levi Dead Sea Scroll Fragments
Sources:
 
The Holy Bible, Author: The Lord God
Scripture taken from the New King James Version unless noted.
 
Tacitus, Histories 5.13 mentions that the Jews believed the Scriptures contained a prophecy that when the East was powerful a ruler would come forth out of Judea to secure a universal Empire.  
 
The Lives of the Caesars - Life of Vespasian 4.5 says a belief was held all over the Orient that a ruler would arise out of Judea and establish a government over all men.
 
(Testament of Judah 24.1-6)
The Testament of Judah was part of a collection of texts supposedly written by the twelve sons of Jacob known as The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs.
Fragments of  two of the Testaments have been found in the Dead Sea Scrolls,  those of Levi and Naphtali, the former in Aramaic, the latter in Hebrew.
Oriental Institute - University of Chicago Carbon 14 dating chart: Shows “Testament of Levi” as dated between 100-200 B.C. from the “Annals New York Academy of Sciences, Vol 722, pg. 446
http://www-oi.uchicago.edu/research/projects/scr/dss_chart.html
 
Photographs of Dead sea scroll fragments of Testaments of Naphtali, Judah, Benjamin, Jacob, Joseph. and Levi.
http://www.deadseascrolls.org.il  (Explore the Archive under Parabiblical Texts)
 
Sheba is located in present day Yeman, southern Arabia. Midian is located in northwest Arabia on the eastern side of the Gulf of Aqaba. Dedan located in south east Arabia, present day Oman.
 
Song: We Three Kings. Author and Composer John Henry Hopkins Jr.
 
Artwork: “Three kings bow  before the Messiah” Illustrated in Pilgrim's Progress (The Illustrated Family Bunyan) with Introductory Essay on the Life and Writings and Genius of the Author by the Reverend W. Landels) circa 1880. Publisher: James Sangster & Company
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