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Wise Men, Wicked Men . . . and Us, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
January 25, 2021 7:05 am

Wise Men, Wicked Men . . . and Us, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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January 25, 2021 7:05 am

The King's Arrival: A Study of Matthew 1‑7: A Signature Series

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R.C. Sproul

Remember the game you played as a young child one person would whisper a sentence into the ear of another.

That person would discreetly repeat the sentence to the next statement made its way all around the circle. By the time it reached the last participant final statement sounded nothing like the original. Sometimes that happens with far more important information such as biblical history today on Insight for living. Chuck Swindoll exposes some of the false narrative we've adopted about the very first Christmas. We begin by reading from Matthew chapter 2 thinking while sitting here with. It is a wonderful thing to be connected to something that along forever and ever. The kingdom of our God is some is one of those few things that we can say will last forever going on now in our hearts it will become for us reality in in the future. How grateful all of us are, therefore, that what we do and how we do it has everlasting ramification really only two things are eternal on this earth today, and that's the word of God and the souls of human being will last forever.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my word will never pass away. Interesting to know how God will use his word in eternity when we will then know is we are now known, there will be no classes there will be no one teaching, for we will know then everything there is to be known. Somehow his word will be of paramount importance as we spend our time with the one visible member of the Godhead that is Christ himself. We read of his birth in Matthew chapter 2 when this eternal son of God took upon himself the form of human nature and was born in a stable place to the manger. A feeding trough next to an end in Bethlehem a more unobtrusive entrance could not be imagined. So much so that even in his day, most people look with skepticism on the possibility that he would be the Messiah.

Nevertheless, the truth is here and prophecy is revealed that when we turn to the Scriptures we turned to the source of truth, and in doing so, it frightened. Frankly, may mess up some Christmas carols for you. Just a little warning in advance.

I love the carols.

Some of the best theology of all of our hymnody is in the carols with some of them have missed it. Tradition is taken the place of truth. And today we will read the truth of those known as the wise men. Matthew 21 through 12. I'm reading from the new living translation. Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod about the time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking where is the newborn King of the Jews. We saw his star as it rose and we have come to worship him. King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this as was everyone in Jerusalem he called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked where is the Messiah supposed to be born in Bethlehem in Judea, they said, for this is what the prophet and you owe Beth, this is what the prophet wrote and you will Bethlehem in the land of Judah or not least among the ruling cities of Judah for a router will come from you, who will be the shepherd for my people Israel. Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wisemen and he learned from them in the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child and when you find him come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him to after this interview the wisemen with their way in the star they had seen in the East guided them to Bethlehem, it went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was when I saw the star they were filled with joy. They enter the house and saw the child with his mother Mary and they bow down and worship him.

Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh when it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod the Lord open our eyes and help her see the scene as it originated as best we can.

From what we read and study the book of Matthew with Chuck Swindoll sure to download is searching the Scriptures. Studies by going to Insight and outlets resume the message titled wisemen wicked man and us is amazing how often we can think were right, but we were wrong we can be convinced that we got our facts straight only to find out that they were crooked. They were straight, Josh Billings, a humorist of yesteryear, put it well. He once wrote. It's better not to know so much, than to know so many things that just ain't so. Prof. Jamie O'Neill decided to put that to the test using University professor and he had a class in English class that was made up of approximately 30 students and that he had been regularly surprised at the answers they gave regarding just basic facts that they thought were true when they said that with all sincerity, but in fact they were not, but they were unaware of how wrong they were to reside the protest together and not not trick quiz but long enough to determine the truth. In fact, 86 questions that would be asked to his class of almost 30 students that range in age from late teens all the way up to the mid-50s.

Soviet service students who have been on the University about 1/4 of their education. They're not novices, not brand-new to the school and been around the gone through high school and the now begun their work at the University after giving them the test and grading the tests he realized. In fact, he was shot at their ignorance and decided that he would write what came to be an article in one of our periodicals. A number of years ago, which is where I found it he found the sampling of things that just ain't so. Among them Ralph Nader is a baseball player.

Charles Darwin invented gravity Christ was born in the 16th century, J. Edgar Hoover was the 19th century president, the great Gatsby was a magician who lived in the 1930s Franz Joseph Haydn was a songwriter who lived during the same decade since Caesar was an early Roman Emperor Mark Twain invented the cotton gin Jefferson Davis play guitar for Jefferson airplane, Benito Mussolini was a Russian leader of the 19th or 18th century Dwight D Eisenhower came earlier serving as a president during the 17th century, Socrates was an American Indian chieftain, he added. My students were equally creative in their understanding of geography they knew. For instance, that Managua is the capital of Vietnam at Cape Town is actually the United States.

The root is in Germany Bogot. Of course, is in Borneo unless it is in China. David is in Israel. Stratford-upon-Avon is in Grenada or Granada or good one student wrote wherever Gdansk is and is in Ireland and Colonus in the Virgin Islands, Mazatlan is in Switzerland. Belfast was variously located in Egypt, Germany, Belgium and Italy.

Living abroad was transported to Jamaica Montral to Spain and all alone and on and on. Most students answered incorrectly far more often than correctly. In fact, several of them meticulously wrote I don't know 62 times several 80 times and some of them all. 86 time when I read about that test, it occurred to me that it would be fascinating to give you a similar test on stories surrounding the birth of Jesus. I would think you would know the facts, but when I did my own study beginning here in Matthew chapter 2, I realize there were a number of things I had learned happens every time I dig into the Scriptures. Someone is put it well it education is nothing more than going from unconscious to conscious awareness of your ignorance, you realize what you don't know are the things you thought were so just ain't so. So what we heard about this story of the arrival of the wisemen will stop and think how many wisemen came from the East will be blurred. All our lives we been told there were three of them. Nothing in the Scriptures ever says here or elsewhere, that there were three of them. It's assumed because they brought three gifts. But there may have been 10 or two or 12. We know that there was more than one because of the poor heavenly kings appear in this biblical biblical account of their visit. What we learn. We three Kings of Orient are when in fact there never called King's except in the Carol but there were two kings in the story, both of which both of whom were there when the wisemen arrived.

One was a child.

The other monster will learn about both today and when they arrived. It verbs the baby yes Bethlehem but where in Bethlehem virtually every nativity scene you will see not only Mary and Joseph, the baby in the manger.

You will see shepherds, and you will see three sitting on camels who have come from afar. Now what is the Scripture T. Werther, three were they kings was the baby still in the manger. Was he still a baby is never called a baby when the wisemen arrived. Here's what we read. First, there is an unknown number of wisemen we know how many there were, and I might add, there might have had.

There might've been with them and entourage of soldiers in light of the expensive gifts they carried over that many miles they certainly would've been robbed without protection, so there were those who were armed. You must surely have traveled with them or they took the biggest risk of the first century surely they would not travel alone. I would imagine it was an entourage of a number of wisemen and that many, if not more soldiers guarded them and there were only two kings. As I said earlier, according to what we read. One is called the King Herod and the other is the baby the newborn King of the Jews.

How about when they arrived at the place where they saw him for the first time we have only verses 10 and 11 to guide us.

No other place covers that subject in that particular detail. For example, move ahead to verse 10, when they saw the star they were filled with joy.

They entered the house not and in the word for him is, Lou Mott. This is the word oi costs in Greek it means a house so they're not at the end are not in the stable and we read that they saw the child by Dion not breath loss for baby or infant.

This is a specific Greek term for child. Of course he's gained some age because from his birth until it took them the time to get there. He's grown older, how old eight months 1218 months maybe almost 2 years old that they traveled. According to the best we can tell that from an area certainly somewhere around the kingdom of Persia or maybe Babylon, maybe Arabia were never told Arab origin. Only they come from these now the Carol tells us there from the Orient. We three Kings from Orient are that rhymes better than those two kings from wherever they were. So you got put together the lyric so that it fits the song if you want to sing about it, but you have to live with the fact that it is the truth. Let me pause here and say to all of you men and women, teenagers and boys and girls. Hearing my voice. It's always important to allow the Scriptures to speak for themselves.

Thankfully we have the Bible in our language.

Thankfully, God is communicated most of it that can be understood by anyone who can read and who is willing to think and do some research. Admittedly, some parts of it are unclear, uncertain, and I would acknowledge that as we get to the star but let me remind you the truth it's better not to know so much that I know so many things that just ain't so. So with that in mind, let's see what were able to find by looking into the Bible and reading it for ourselves first.

Let's become acquainted with the two King one was Messiah, he is portrayed in words called verse to the newborn King of the Jews there wondering about his whereabouts there asking about him and they know him to be the king of cover that pardon a few moments. How would they know way over in Persia that there was a king, born in Jerusalem or near their house when they know where to go. Since were never told. The star was with them all the way, only that it was there to announce his birth, and later when they're trying to find the specific location. It appears over Bethlehem.

So now you're looking like I looked when I first looked into the passage you realize even though it seemed to be familiar to you. There are many things we can't say for sure.

So let's not try to make it walk on all fours.

If it's not that clear. We know that this is the son of God. In light of what we have learned in other sections of Scripture, God gave his son to this earth. We know from Luke one that he was to be born from the womb of a virgin, the birth would be miraculous.

That is, the conception would be miraculous.

The birth would be normal. She would have the child within her by the miracle of the Holy Spirit which was a surprise to Mary and certainly was a shock to Joseph, as we learned last time, you must believe her story even though she told him quickly and left for three months to be with Elizabeth. So with all of that is the background we know that this child is in fact the promised Messiah. We know that he is at the baby because is not called a baby when the Magi first looked at him get back to that in the moment about the monster he's called King Herod in verse one and later Herod the king what we know about King Herod, what is fascinating to do a study about him. There are several Herod's mentioned in the new test. He's the first one of the group. He came to be known as Herod the great, he gain the trust and the respect of the Romans.

It is leadership in more than one Civil War and what the Romans called Palestine if you travel day in Israel don't call it Palestine. It's insulting to the Jew to hear that call it Israel.

The Romans gave it the name Palestine, knowing that they would not using the word Israel, which is another story. But this man gained the trust being have to have Gentile. He wanted their trust because he wanted a promoted position. He was promoted to Gov. of Galilee in 47 BC Herod was later declared King of the Jews by 40 BC running BC so the numbers go backwards as you come closer to the turn of the centuries, the Roman Senate declared him King of the Jews in 40 he loved that Herod gave new meaning to narcissism. He he me was a man of enormous ego and insane suspicion and jealousy. He was a builder which endeared him to many of the Jews because he built a number of places that would entertain them. He built theaters.

He built racetracks. He built other structures for their entertainment. He built the temple that came to be known as Herod's Temple when you travel to Israel. You can still see the foundational stones and they are massive hundreds of times with one stone away all built by slaves under the leadership of Herod most remarkable thing he built was the impregnable fortress known as masala which is located in the wilderness of Judea, always remember when you go to Israel to make a trip down to the desert area and visit Masada that stands high above all other places. It was his retreat. It was his place of escape when others would turn against him. It was his. If you will, summer resort, the place for later numerous Jews died rather than to be conquered by those who would come to control them. A word about his jealousy. Hold on tight, you'll know now why calling the monster he was afraid for his position and power sharing his potential threat that is the threat of others who were growing in power.

He had the high priest, Everest, oculus, who was his wife's brother drowned. Interestingly, after that he provided a magnificent funeral or the now did high priest, for he pretended to week is even back then politicians cared about their image more than the true it's fascinating to feel the tension mounting between these political forces and there's much more we can learn from their struggle. We run a fact-finding mission of sorts as we let Matthew tell us the truth about the birth of Christ you're listening to the Bible teaching of Chuck Swindoll is in the second chapter of Matthew today and he titled his message wise men, wicked men and us to learn more about this ministry. Visit us If you're just joining us, you want to know that this is the first time Chuck is presented a verse by verse study through all 28 chapters of Matthew and as you take this journey alongside King Jesus from his birth in Bethlehem, to his great commission. We're confident your love for Jesus will grow deeper along with the rollout of this new series chucks commentary on Matthew was recently released as well.

Actually, the commentary comes into hardbound volumes and are ready for purchase right now. These two reference books will serve as a natural complement to what you'll be hearing on Insight for living in the weeks and months ahead to purchase windows living inside commentary on Matthew go to or just give us a phone call if you're listening in the United States dial 1-800-772-8888 chucks personal mission is to help you learn more about the Bible and its relevance to your life.

It's all made possible.

Of course, because people just like you give voluntary donations and were grateful for those of internalize this mission and made it their own as well through your gifts your providing a constant source of reliable Bible teaching would come to rely on Chuck's daily presence to provide for someone else.

What was once provided to you. We invite you to give a donation today by calling us if you're listening in the United States dial 1-800-772-8888 or give online@insight.or Chuck Swindoll study in the book of Matthew continues tomorrow Tuesday right here on Insight for living. The preceding message wise man. Wicked men and guns was copyrighted in 2014 and 2021 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2021 by Charles R. Swindoll. All rights are reserved. Will duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited

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