THE GREATEST STORY NEVER TOLD!
Millions of Christians do not know the real story of Jesus! Now
the startling history behind Christ's birth and the mysterious
Magi is at last revealed.
by Charles V. Dorothy
You probably never heard the true facts BEHIND
Christ's birth! You only hear the overworked "holy
family" story, or the "babe
in a manger" theme. Nothing wrong with the birth story of
Jesus -- as recorded in the Bible -- of course.
But you are not told the surprising facts BEHIND
what the Bible says!
Today, you do not hear the story as it happened 2,000
years ago. You are not told the world's greatest empire moved EXACTLY
according to God's plan, preparing for the birth of Jesus! You are not told
how great rulers and masses of people were electrified by the birth of a world
These world-shaking events are deliberately left out
of the "story" you
hear today. Historic proof of those events is too often purposely IGNORED,
Why were you never told before? Why were the facts
The truth is an untold story of current events -- as
they were 2,000 years ago -- showing how God intervened in history to fulfill
prophecies hundreds of years old.
Think of these staggering problems surrounding the
greatest event in history -- the birth of the Son of God!
How will God bring Jesus' family to the prophesied
birthplace (Bethlehem) -- AT
THE RIGHT TIME? How will He announce the birth? How will He convince
people this birth is SPECIAL, different from all others --
that THIS birth is genuine? How will He make kings and rulers
know that the King of kings is born? How will He make those rulers
responsible, inexcusable -- later on -- for killing the Son of God?
We will answer those questions. But first, go over
the story of Christ's nativity again. Think as God does -- THINK BIG!
Watch God solve these problems.
You will be astounded at the story!
A Great Story
The Old Testament prophesied many years earlier that
Jesus would be A DESCENDANT OF DAVID. God caused Joseph and
Mary (both of David's line, both obedient to
God's laws, both good child-rearers) to be married. First
But now, God faces a huge obstacle. The Old Testament
also prophesied the Christ would be born in the City of David: Bethlehem. How
will God move Jesus' family from their home in Nazareth to the prophesied
The answer has never been understood in its proper
"And it came to
pass in those days that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus [44
B.C. -- A.D. 15], that all the world should be taxed" (Luke
2:1-2). Who did you say? Augustus Caesar? Why, he is the
emperor of a world empire!
You are right!
God moves a whole empire, and the greatest leader of
the world sets up a whole new government office (the
taxing-census bureau), has senators and nobles roaming
throughout the Roman Empire -- just to move Joseph and Mary to the city where
Christ must be born.
Notice what the decree causes: "And
all went to be taxed every one into HIS OWN CITY" (Luke 2:3-4).
A legal requirement of the census was to go to the family's city of origin.
So, because Joseph "was of the house and
lineage of David," he left Nazareth and went to "the
city of David which is called BETHLEHEM." Second problem
But wait a minute.
Atheists and Bible critics claim there is no historic
proof for Luke's "First taxing under
Cyrenius" (see any modern Bible translation). Luke does
not date this first taxing, and godless historians falsely claim no source
outside the Bible mentions it. Therefore, critics assume, no census existed.
This supposed "error" of Luke of course casts doubt on Jesus' birth!
Is there, as is claimed, no proof outside of the Bible?
Far from it! God preserved the proof through
archaeology and history!
The Great Story Proved
The proof of history is in the "Chronicle
of John Malalas", translated by Matthew Spinka (Univ.
of Chicago Press, 1940). John Malalas was a historian of
Antioch, Syria (c. 491-578 A.D.).
On pages 32-33 he writes: "In the 39th year
and the 10th month of his [Augustus'] reign he commanded the taking of a
census of all his lands, including all that the Romans held during the
consulship of Agrippa II, and of Donatus. And all the earth under the Romans
was registered by Eumenes and Attalus, the Roman senators."
Using the October to October calendar Malalas used, that dates the issuance of
the decree for the census to JULY, 5 B.C.
Suidas -- another reliable authority -- and many
others, add information about Augustus' decree, which proves the census in
Palestine was conducted the very next year -- 4 B.C., the very time Christ was
Abundant evidence from both early Christians AND
EARLY PAGANS corroborate this census (see the excellent
article in Unger's "Bible Dictionary" under "Chronology").
The Next Problem
How will God announce the birth of His Son? The world
must not doubt the FACT of Christ's birth. Suppose Joseph
announces the birth of a Holy Child. Imagine Joseph saying "Say,
people ... I am the father of the very Son of God!"
Ridiculous! Who would believe him?? Joseph would be
considered at best a liar; at worst, a wild-eyed fanatic! No, Joseph won't do.
How about Mary? Suppose Mary says "Say,
I am a virgin, but I am also the mother of God!"
Preposterous! Can't you hear suspicious, carnal-minded humans chortling
sarcastically, "Of all the nerve,"
"Fallen woman" ... What a mockery that would be! No,
neither Joseph nor Mary can announce the birth of Jesus Christ. God's plan
will confound the wisdom of men.
Notice. "And there
were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over
their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the
glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid"
God sends a humble group of shepherds -- in contrast
to the noble Augustus and Cyrenius. Here is the first tiny link in an
unbreakable chain of proof for the miraculous birth of Jesus. We need to
analyze this oft-repeated but little understood story.
The Truth About the Shepherds
God gives a very startling, but PERSONAL
announcement. "For unto YOU is born this
day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord" (verse 10).
Their interest piqued, the shepherds want to see this Savior who is announced
as THEIR Messiah. Now notice how God absolutely convinces the
shepherds and the people of Bethlehem.
First, notice the shepherds are "in
the same country," but NOT right on the
slopes above Bethlehem. We know they are at some distance because of the
expression "let us go EVEN ONTO
Bethlehem." "Even unto" can be translated "as
far as." The distance gives proof of the vision.
Think a moment. What if the shepherds had been right
on the same hill above the manger? They could come down the hill, meet people
they know very well, then claim to have an angelic vision. When they find the
child a few feet away, what do people think? Naturally they think the
shepherds are in "cahoots,"
in collusion with Joseph and Mary! No, shepherds NEARBY
wouldn't do. But distance rules out a conspiracy with Joseph and Mary.
Second, the angel says: "And
this shall be a sign unto you; you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling
clothes, lying in a manger" (Luke 2: 12). Notice the
angel gives a sign, BUT NO ADDRESS.
Why? So the shepherds will begin to ask everyone they
meet: "Where is the newborn Savior?"
"Where is the Christ Child?"
Can't you imagine people's reactions? "WHAT
Christ Child?" "In a manger -- are you serious?" "A
Savior? ... born in a BARN?"
But that is precisely the point. God wanted the
herdsmen to ask, to question, to focus people's attention on His Son's birth.
If God had given them the address of the manger, they would ask no one. The
announcement would not be broadcast. This natural way -- God's way -- the
announcement is broadcast! Finally, with the help of one or more local
citizens, the shepherds actually DO find the swaddled baby in
-- of all places -- a stable! The sign is confirmed! The angel told the truth!
Now analyze what God has done. God has masterfully
confirmed the angel's message to THREE parties: The shepherds
themselves, the independent townspeople; plus Joseph and family!
Strange as the message first sounded to the SHEPHERDS,
they did find a child in a stable after all. Finding the child, as the angel
said, adds weight to the angel's announcement that He is "Christ
the Lord." The message is confirmed to the independent TOWNSPEOPLE
who know that the shepherds were honestly looking, that they were not
"primed," that they sincerely sought a baby they
believed to be Christ -- and all this in a strange and unlikely place, a
manger. JOSEPH AND FAMILY -- who realized no one knew they
were there, who told no one of the birth, also see God's hand, God's proof.
Such circumstances cannot be concocted by mere man.
Armed with irrefutable proof, the shepherds boldly
announce Christ's birth TO MANY PEOPLE. "They
made known ABROAD the saying which was told them concerning this child"
(verse 17). The Jewish people were amazed.
The Mysterious Magi
How can God announce Jesus' birth to His own nation
-- the Lost Ten Tribes of the House of Israel? How can God witness to the
nobles, dignitaries, "higher ups"?
The answer has never before been told. The answer is in the mysterious Magi
... the much maligned, much misunderstood Magi! Matthew is the only Gospel
writer who records this great story. But scholars cannot agree about what
Matthew means. Do you know who the Magi were?
Commonly the Magi are supposed to be either heathen
or pagan worshippers of Zoroaster, or maybe practicers of black magic.
The Bible talks of two kinds of Magi or Magians. The
earliest mention in all ancient records of the Magi is found in Jeremiah
39:3, 13. The King James says "Rab-mag,"
left untranslated because the translators did not know the meaning. "Rab-mag"
has correctly been deciphered as "Chief
Magi." These were pagan priests, physicians, learned men
in the company of the
Babylonians. The best authorities -- ancient and modern -- all tell us that "Magi"
comes from "mag" or
"mog" meaning priest, great one, from the old
Persian language called "pahlavi."
You may confirm this in any reliable Bible dictionary. From these priests (Magi)
descend a long line of evil and perverted priests, sorcerers, etc. -- from
Haman the Agagite (Book of Esther)
to Bar-jesus or Elymas the sorcerer (Magian)
of Acts 13. So the Bible shows
that "Magi" sometimes
means a priest of paganism.
But that is not all.
Classical history, ancient Greek dictionaries, and
the Bible ALL AGREE there is ANOTHER kind of
Magian or Magi. Look at Daniel 2:48: "Then
the king made Daniel A GREAT MAN, and gave him many great gifts, and made him
ruler of the whole province of Babylon, and CHIEF of the governors OVER ALL
THE WISE MEN [Hebrew: Magi] OF BABYLON."
One of God's most righteous men is PRESIDENT OF THE BABYLONIAN
Magi! Since Daniel remained president for a long time, this Bible example
proves there was at least one righteous Magi -- namely Daniel. Daniel also
certainly taught, and set the example of, God's way to those he ruled! Through
Daniel's teaching the Magi (priests)
of the pagan world came into contact with Bible prophecies about Christ, as we
shall see proved later. But this does not answer the question: Who were the
Magi of Matthew?
Where Did the Magi Come From?
Let's get the truth straight at last! Commentaries
and Bible dictionaries are in CONFUSION on this vital point.
Matthew certainly knew where they came from. He tells us they went back to "their
OWN country" -- he had to know WHICH
country, to know it was their own. Matthew is not trying to hide their
identity by saying Magi "from the
East" (or "Eastern
Magi"), HE IS TELLING US WHERE THEY CAME FROM.
But where is "the
Based on a misunderstanding of such prophecies as Ps.
72:10-11 and Isa. 60:6
(which Matthew did not think were fulfilled by
Magi) many commentators think "the
East" means ARABIA. But Arabia proper in
the Bible is normally called either "Arabia,"
or "the South."
How about INDIA? Were the Magi
really Brahmins? No, the Magi did not come from India. The king of India --
uneasy at the prophecy of a world ruler, and hearing a report of the
expedition of the Magi to the West -- sent emissaries in the first year of the
Christian era (that is, 1 A.D., Christ's fourth
year), to find out whether the predicted royal child had
actually appeared (Sir William Jones,
"Asiatic Researches", Vol. 10, p. 27-28). This
report from Indian history proves the Magi were not Indians: the Indians heard
ABOUT the Magi. Further, if the Magi were Indian, they would
have reported to India. The Indian king would already have known the child was
born. Obviously the Magi were not Indians, not Brahmins.
And EGYPT? No, Egypt is never called
"the East" in the
Bible, Egypt lies to the southwest.
The most common suggestion for the Magi's home is PERSIA.
The pagan Persian Magi were priests of the false savior, Zoroaster. Did
Zoroastrians come to see Christ in Matthew 2?
The best answer here is found in the "Encyclopaedia
of Religion and Ethics", Hastings, Vol VII, p. 244 which
says: "It is noteworthy, therefore, that
Matthew 2 ... ISOLATES THE MAGI FROM PERSIAN RELIGION."
This source spends pages proving that pagan Zoroastrians DID NOT STUDY
astronomy. Furthermore, they despised dreams. But the wise men of Matthew are VERY
LEARNED in astronomy, and certainly do not despise dreams.
No, the wise men are not Persian, not Zoroastrian
The Mystery Solved!
Then were the Magi from Babylon, or from east of the
Euphrates River, or from Bactria? All these places have been suggested by
scholars. In the face of such confusion, you might
become confused yourself. Don't be! You need to know just two important facts
to dispell confusion.
The Old Testament has two expressions for "the
East" -- anything on the east side or eastern is termed "what
is BEFORE" (meaning the
near east). Anything FAR to the east or
distant as the rising of the sun is termed "rising
of the sun" (meaning
distant east). So also Matthew -- who follows the Hebrew very
closely in every way -- has two expressions for areas east of Palestine.
First, Matthew says the Magi are from "eastern
parts" (in Greek, "ton
anatolon"), or the distant East. Second, Magi see the
star IN "the east"
("te anatole" in Greek)
-- west of the Magi, but east from Palestine's view, in the "Near
East." (See Upham's
"Star of the Wise Men".)
Now consider this. One great empire east of the
Euphrates -- biblically "the distant
east" -- conquered the lands east of the Euphrates area,
had Babylon as its capital, and included the
areas of Persia, Bactria, etc. It was the Parthian Empire. It ruled this whole
area, and was the empire of THE EAST; the land of the MAGI!
Who Were the Parthians?
The Parthians rose to power around 250 B.C. in and
around the southern shores of the Caspian Sea. That was the very land into
which the House of Israel -- not Judah -- was exiled! The exiles in this land
were members of the ten tribes of Israel! The Parthian Empire included none
other than the exiled lost ten tribes of Israel -- many of whom remained in
the land of their captivity until about A.D. 226.
Were there Magi in Parthia? Indeed! The geographer
Strabo shows the strong influence of Magi in the king's council of Parthia,
which "consists of two groups, one that of
[king's relatives], and the other that of WISE MEN and MAGI, from both of
which groups the kings were appointed" (Geography, 11.9.3).
Contrary to the false story of "Three
Kings" who are supposed to be the Magi, eastern writers ALL
AGREE there were TWELVE Magi! Thus, the Magi do not
represent the three sons of Noah, nor the Trinity or any such idea.
What do the twelve Magi represent? Is it coincidence
that there were TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL? And certain of the
ancient Magi could claim Abraham as their father! (See
McClintock & Strong's "Cyclopedia", article "Magi".)
The Magi of Matthew 2 were following the star, were
following the prophecy of Numbers 24:17 --
"There shall come a star out of Jacob [and most of
the "lost tribes" of Jacob or Israel in New Testament times were in
Parthia], and a scepter shall rise out of Israel."
This explains why later tradition connects the apostle Thomas' work with the
Magi IN PARTHIA, after the resurrection of Christ. The
distant nation of Israel had a witness of Christ at His birth, (not
to mention other nations through which this large caravan of Magi traveled)!
Now we clearly understand why Matthew mentions the
Magi. Matthew -- and he alone -- puts in the words of Christ: "I
am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Mat. 15:24).
But we do not read that Christ went to the "lost
sheep of Israel." No, He personally did NOT go
to preach to the house of Israel.
THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL CAME TO CHRIST!
Is it mere coincidence that the shepherds (Jews)
come first to Christ; the Magi (representing the
tribes of Israel in exile) come second; then the Gentiles come
third? An amazing story of precision, of fulfilled prophecy!
But there is more. How does God witness to the whole
nation? Let's see.
"When Herod the
king had heard these things [the Magi arriving at
Jerusalem], HE WAS TROUBLED, and ALL JERUSALEM WITH HIM" Mat.
2:39. This Idumean (not
Jewish) king is SHAKEN!
Prophecy is being fulfilled! A new king threatens Herod's throne.
"And when he had
gathered ALL THE CHIEF PRIESTS AND SCRIBES OF THE PEOPLE together, he demanded
of them where (not "whether") the
Christ should be born" (verse 4). What meeting is this?
Nothing less than the Supreme Court of the Jewish
nation: THE SANHEDRIN.
"And they said
unto him, in Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet"
(verse 5). Do you realize what Matthew is saying?
The greatest ruling body in the nation -- the
Sanhedrin -- pronounces with one voice that Christ is born in Bethlehem. They
do not deny the fact! They publicly and officially proclaim the truth of God TO
Do you see now how God has reached the king? Do you
see how God has witnessed to the rulers and nobles of that age? Do you see how
(probably under threat of their lives from
Herod) the Sanhedrin pronounces and admits the truth of the
Old Testament -- only to deny it a generation later? That very Sanhedrin (with
slight changes of personnel) KILLED THE SAME JESUS
WHOM THEY TESTIFIED OF!
This only begins the "greatest
story never told." You need to begin READING YOUR
BIBLE! You will see a great story all through-the pages of your New
Testament. You will see diametric opposites from what is commonly taught in
the name of religion today! The great story of Christ's life -- as the Bible
tells it -- is not being published by the professing Christian world today.