The Magi were the wise men, the king makers. No Persian was ever able to become king unless he was approved of and crowned by them.
Herod was really upset when the Magi rode into Jerusalem with their entourage after the birth of Jesus. They’d made a journey of over 1000 miles to worship the King of the Jews. And that title did not belong to Herod.
Being astronomers, they knew about the coming King and the constellation where his star would arise, from knowledge handed down by the prophet Daniel in Babylon.
Their story is preserved in Matthew 2. This is an account that holds water; in other words it stacks up to scrutiny. Their resting place is preserved in the account of Marco Polo, the famous 13th century Venetian explorer. He claimed that he was shown the three tombs of the Magi at Saveh south of Tehran in the 1270s:
“In Persia is the city of Saveh, from which the Three Magi set out when they went to worship Jesus Christ; and in this city they are buried, in three very large and beautiful monuments, side by side. And above them there is a square building, carefully kept. The bodies are still entire, with hair and beard remaining. One of these was called Jaspar, the second Melchior, and the third Balthasar.”
“Messer Marco Polo asked a great many questions of the people of that city as to those three Magi, but never one could he find that knew aught of the matter, except that these were three kings who were buried there in days of old.
However at a place three days’ journey distant he heard of what I am going to tell you. he found a village there by the name Cala Ataperistan, which is to say, “The castle of the Fire Worshippers”. And the name is rightly applied, for the people there do worship fire, and I will tell you why.
They relate that in old times three kings of that country went away to worship a prophet that was born, and they carried with them three manner of offerings, Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh; in order to ascertain whether that prophet were God, or and earthly King, or a Physician. For, said they, if he take the Gold, then he is an earthly King; if he take the incense then he is God; if he takes Myrrh he is a Physician.”
The ground that can’t hold water
Another legend about Saveh is the Lake of Saveh. It is a lake which is said to have been located near the city. According to the legend mentioned in historical Persian texts, this lake dried out on the night of the birth of Muhammad, Islam’s prophet …
Muhammed came along about 600 years later. Rejecting Christ, he founded Islam, declaring Judaism and Christianity were “wrong.” I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether his claims hold water. If I don’t blog again before Christmas, I wish you a happy Christmas. And may you walk with the wise. “He that walks with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:20