Bishop Jordan Personal Articles to read and understand all about Prophecies.

Restoring Integrity

The Challenge for Church Leadership & Integrity

It is a difficult time for the church, especially for church leaders. The public failure of a church leader can have disastrous effects on the church’s members. Unfortunately, many church leaders have not taken responsibility for restoring their own and the church’s integrity. As a result, members are left to rationalize their leaders’ unethical behavior or abandon their faith altogether.

Restoration Procedures and Lack Thereof

Some denominations have established specific restoration procedures to combat this trend. However, many independent churches lack clear restoration processes to restore a fallen leader that the congregation formerly looked up to and trusted with their spiritual lives. The restoration process can vary depending on the church, with some leaders refusing to apologize and continuing in ministry without any consequences.

The Image of Christ

Leaders who refuse to take responsibility for their actions are detrimental to the image of Jesus Christ’s church, making it seem like certain people are above God’s judgment. Other church leaders may try to protect the fallen leader or leave the church altogether. However, some strive to restore their own integrity, relying on their spiritual skills to rebuild their credibility and respect.

The Apostle Paul’s Warnings

The apostle Paul warned that overseers must be above reproach and that those who sin should be reprimanded openly. However, he also taught that restoration should be conducted in a spirit of gentleness and humility. Anyone overseeing the rehabilitation of a fallen spiritual leader must also be cautious and avoid the temptation to fall themselves.

Future Forward: Prophetic Insights for Tomorrow Leaders

For church leaders who are struggling with issues of integrity, guidance and insight are crucial. That’s why we’re excited to invite you to “Future Forward: Prophetic Insights for Tomorrow Leaders,” an event featuring prophetic ministers who will share their wisdom and prophetic words to help you align with God’s plan for your life and ministry. Join us at to register and gain the direction you need to move forward confidently and purposefully in your ministry.

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Restoration of Integrity


Develop your character so that you are a person of integrity.

Peter Cain

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
    but whoever follows perverse ways will be found out.

Proverbs 10:9 NRSV

Modern Society and the Loss of Integrity

Many critics have declared a conspicuous and severe loss of integrity in modern society, notably among those in positions of respect and authority and among ordinary members of American culture and life. It is one of the most prominent issues confronting churches today. But what exactly is integrity?

Integrity and Honesty

One of the first attributes we identify with integrity is honesty, an excellent foundation for a life of virtue. After all, a person of integrity cannot be dishonest. But goodness extends beyond plain honesty. Honesty is merely expressing the truth; however, as Professor Stephen L. Carter explains, integrity is having the courage of one’s convictions. Goodness does not suggest a single-minded devotion but rather a completeness in confidence, an assurance that one is conducting their life correctly.

In other words, a person of integrity is someone others can rely on to do the right thing, follow the rules, and maintain their pledges and obligations.

When we, as individual believers, lose our way and end up jeopardizing our prophetic identities, integrity is restoring ourselves to our original, undying nature. It is restoring your prophetic identity by aligning with the portion of you created in God’s image and likeness.

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Metaphysical Distinction of the Resurrection

As preachers of the gospel of Jesus, do not expect worldly honors: these Jesus Christ neither took to himself, nor gave to his disciples.

Adam Clarke

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live,

John 11: 25 NRSV

Crucifixion, Death, and Resurrection

What does “resurrection” mean? One definition of resurrection is the return of mind and body to their original, unkillable state. It seems easy, but there are essential parts of this definition that we need to figure out first. First, people must realize that God made man in His image and likeness. What does this mean, though? It means that because God is Spirit, we all have something in us that is like Him—something that will never die and is perfect. The prophet of God has to align with this truth to align their way of being with the divine plan for their purpose and nature.

Restoration and Resurrection

The stories about Jesus and Lazarus’s resurrections in the Gospels show that resurrection means bringing a dead body back to life. When we say “life,” we mean that a person goes back to breathing, moving around, eating, etc. But how is a dead body different from a living person? To understand this critical difference, we must first understand what it means to “restore.”

To Restore

Restoration implies that something is whole and finished, which is necessary for something to work or perform well. The essential Christian belief is that when a person dies, their body and soul are split apart. Thomas Aquinas, a Christian theologian and philosopher was interested in the human soul. He agreed with Aristotle’s idea that we all have an unchangeable soul whose natural state is to be united with the physical body. According to Aquinas, the human soul is the body’s “substantial form,” and it doesn’t usually exist apart from the body.

As Aquinas states in his Questiones de Anima:

. . . one must maintain that the soul is an entity, as being able to subsist per se but not as possessing in itself a complete specific nature, but rather as completing human nature insofar as it is the form of its body; and thus at one and the same time it is a form and an entity.

In De Spiritualibus Creatures, Aquinas says again that the soul and the body are inextricably linked:

Now the soul, although it is incorruptible, is nevertheless in no other genus than the body because, since it is a part of a human nature, to be in a genus or in a species or to be a person or hypostasis is not characteristic of the soul, but of the composite [i.e., soul and body]. And hence, also, it cannot be called ‘this something’, if by this phrase is meant an hypostasis or person, or an individual situated in a genus or in a species. But if ‘this something’ means every thing which is able to be self-subsistent, in this sense the soul is ‘this something.’

But he says later that the soul’s ability to understand does not depend on any organ in the body and that the soul’s ability to exist does not stop when the body stops being. This goes back to what we said earlier, that the resurrection involves restoring the part of us made in the image and likeness of our perfect and divine Creator. But he says later that the soul’s ability to understand does not depend on any organ in the body and that the soul’s ability to exist does not stop when the body stops being. This goes back to what we said earlier, that the resurrection involves restoring the part of us made in the image and likeness of our perfect and divine Creator.

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The Deaths of the Apostles 

Christian tradition has it that all but one of the twelve Apostles held the title after Matthias was killed. John was the only one who lived to old age. Only James, the son of Zebedee’s death, is discussed in the New Testament. Matthew 27:5 says that Judas Iscariot threw the money he got for betraying Jesus down in the Temple and then went and hung himself. Acts 1:18 says that he bought a field, then “when he fell headfirst, he burst open in the middle, and all his bowels gushed out.”

Even though the many stories and legends aren’t always true, it’s safe to say that the apostles spread the message of the risen Christ far and wide. An old account says they threw dice to decide who would go where so everyone could hear about Jesus. They went through a lot for their faith, and most died of violent deaths because of their brave journeys worldwide.

Peter and Paul 

Both were martyred in Rome about 66 AD, during the persecution under Emperor Nero. Paul was beheaded. Peter asked to be crucified upside down because he didn’t think he was good enough to die the same way as his Lord. 


            He was said to have gone to the “land of the man-eaters” in the Soviet Union. Christians there claim him as the first to bring the gospel to their land. He also preached in Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey, and in Greece, where he is said to have been crucified. 


            Famously known as “Doubting Thomas,” he was probably most active in the east of Syria. Tradition has him preaching as far east as India, where the ancient Marthoma Christians revere him as their founder. They claim that he died there when pierced through with the spears of four soldiers. 


            This apostle possibly had a powerful ministry in Carthage in North Africa and Asia Minor, where he converted the wife of a Roman proconsul. In retaliation, the proconsul had Philip arrested and cruelly put to death. 


            Also known as Levi, the tax collector and writer of a Gospel ministered in Persia and Ethiopia. Some of the oldest reports say he was not martyred, while others say he was stabbed to death in Ethiopia. 


            A true pilgrim, this apostle had widespread missionary travels attributed to him by tradition: to India with Thomas, back to Armenia, Ethiopia, and Southern Arabia. There are various accounts of how he met his death as a martyr for the gospel. 


            This James, the son of Alpheus, is one of at least three James referred to in the New Testament. There is some confusion about which is which, but this James is reckoned to have ministered in Syria. The Jewish historian Josephus reported that he was stoned and then clubbed to death. 

Simon the Zealot 

            As the story goes, he ministered in Persia and was killed after refusing to sacrifice to the sun god. 


            He was the apostle chosen to replace Judas. Tradition sends him to Syria with Andrew and to death by burning. 


            John the Evangelist is the only one of the original 12 generally thought to have died a natural death from old age. He was the church leader in the Ephesus area and is said to have taken care of Mary, the mother of Jesus, in his home. During Domitian’s persecution in the middle ’90s, he was exiled to the island of Patmos. He is credited with writing the last New Testament book, Revelation. An early Latin tradition has him escaping unhurt after being cast into boiling oil in Rome. 

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The Pilgrimage of the 12 Apostles 

 “Life is a long pilgrimage from fear to love.”

Paulo Coelho

Pride goes before destruction,
    and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:18 NRSV


The Apostles of Jesus were not the most likely to spread the Christian faith in the first few centuries. Most of them knew more about fishing than turning people into Christians. But 2,000 years later, the effects of what these Apostles did are still felt and bring in new Christians.

They were not the kind of people you might have thought Jesus would send on his mission to spread the good news to the whole world. They weren’t unique in any way. The twelve apostles were just regular men who worked. But Jesus made them the backbone of the church and gave them the most fantastic job imaginable: calling the whole world, including the most powerful empire ever, to repent and believe in the risen Christ.


The word “apostle” comes from the Greek word “Apostolos,” which means “one who is sent.” The term is sometimes used for others, especially Paul, who became a Christian a few years after Jesus’ death. Luke 6:13 says that Jesus chose 12 disciples and called them “apostles.” In Mark 6:30, the Twelve are called “apostles” when they return from the mission Jesus gave them to preach and heal. Mark 3, Matthew 10, and Luke 6 all have almost the same list of the Twelve: Peter, James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, or Judas, the son of James, Simon the Canadian, or the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot.

A Special Bond

The Twelve had the advantage of always being with their master and receiving unique training and teaching from him. At least once, they were sent out in pairs on a special mission to inform people that the Messianic Kingdom was on its way (Mark 6: compare Matthew 10; Luke 9). The inner circle consisted of Peter, James, and John. They were the only ones permitted to see events such as the raising of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:37; Luke 8:51), the Transfiguration (Mark 9; Matthew 17; Luke 9) and Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 9). (Mark 14:33; Matthew 26:37). According to some experts, the number 12 is a reference to the 12 tribes of Israel, implying that it was given a lot of significance. After Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus and died, a void was left in the group, and Matthias was chosen to replace it immediately away (Acts 1). In Acts, the term “Apostle” usually refers to one of these 12 people.

Why is Paul an Apostle?

Paul called himself an Apostle, claiming that he had seen the Lord and received a direct mission from him. This seems to fit with the requirement in Acts that a newly appointed Apostle should be able to testify as a witness to the Resurrection of the Lord. But some early Christian writers say that some people were called apostles after the period covered by the New Testament.

Apostolic Age refers to early Christianity’s apostles. In the first century AD, the apostles founded churches around the Roman Empire. Middle East, Africa, and India, according to tradition. “Apostle” derives from the Greek word “apóstolos,” which combines the prefix “apó-,” meaning “from,” and the roots “stéll,” meaning “I send,” “I go,” and “messenger, envoy.” It’s stronger than “memore” and more like “delegate.” According to the Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Christians used it to translate the Hebrew shellac. “Missionary” comes from missio, the Latin translation of the word’s religious connotation.


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Resurrection and Ascension 

For most people, the story of their life’s pilgrimage would have ended at their death, but not only did Jesus’ story continue beyond his suffering and death, but by his own life, death, and resurrection, we Christians believe that all of our stories will continue on beyond the physical death into our eternal lives with Christ. 

Mary Magdalene goes to Jesus’ tomb on Sunday morning and is surprised to find it empty. Despite Jesus’ teaching, the disciples had not understood that Jesus would rise again. 

In the Book of Matthew

            In Matthew, there are guards at the tomb. An angel descends from heaven and opens the tomb. The guards faint from fear. Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” after they visited the tomb. Jesus then appears to the eleven remaining disciples in Galilee and commissions them to baptize all nations in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

In the Book of Mark

            In Mark, Salome and Mary, mother of James are with Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:1).  A young man in a white robe (an angel) in the tomb tells the women that Jesus will meet his disciples in Galilee, as he had told them (referring to Mark 14:28). 

In the Book of Luke

            In Luke, Mary and various other women meet two angels at the tomb, but the eleven disciples did not believe their story (Luke 25:1–12). Jesus appears to two of his followers in Emmaus. He also makes an appearance to Peter. Jesus then appears that same day to his disciples in Jerusalem (Luke 24:13–43). Although he appears and vanishes mysteriously, he also eats and lets them touch him to prove that he is not a spirit. He repeats his command to bring his teaching to all nations (Luke 24:51). 

In the Book of John

            In John, Mary is alone at first, but Peter and the beloved disciple come and see the tomb as well. Jesus then appears to Mary at the tomb. He later appears to the disciples, breathes on them, and gives them the power to forgive and retain sins. In a second visit to disciples, he proves to a doubting disciple (“Doubting Thomas”) that he is flesh and blood. The disciples return to Galilee, where Jesus makes another appearance. He performs a miracle known as the catch of 153 fish at the Sea of Galilee, after which Jesus encourages Peter to serve his followers. 


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The Pilgrimage to the Cross

Passion and Death 

Jesus’ life journey now focuses on his death and resurrection. From Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem until his crucifixion, Passion Week takes up nearly one-third of the canonical gospels.

Jesus expelled the money changers from the Temple for turning it into a den of thieves. He then predicted false prophets, wars, earthquakes, celestial upheavals, persecution of the faithful, an “abomination of desolation,” and unendurable sufferings (Mark 13:1–23). Moreover, he disputed the Jewish elders’ authority and named them hypocrites. He revived Lazarus at Bethany, near Jerusalem. Authorities plotted his assassination after this unique sign (John 11).

Sharing Meals

All four gospels mention Jesus’ Last Supper with his two Apostles in Jerusalem. Pilgrims often share meals, which brings them closer. “This is my body,” Jesus says as he breaks bread and hands it to the disciples in the Synoptics. “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood,” Jesus says as they drink. These events inspired the Christian Eucharist.

After the Last Supper and the Agony in Gethsemane, Judas entered with an armed Sanhedrin mob. He kissed Jesus to identify him, and the crowd arrested him. An anonymous follower cut off a man’s ear to stop them. Peter denied knowing Jesus three times after Jesus’ arrest. He remembered Jesus’ prediction after the third denial when the rooster crows. As a result, Peter sobbed.

The Jewish Sanhedrin judges Jesus. He is subsequently led to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, who judges and condemns Jesus for blasphemy, perverting the country, refusing tribute, inciting rebellion against Rome, sorcery, and claiming to be the King of the Jews, the Son of God, and a savior. After washing his hands, Pilate brings Jesus to Calvary for execution.


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Christ’s Pilgrimage: His Life, Death, and Resurrection 

   “Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart.” 

Abraham Joshua Heschel 

 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 

Matthew 16:18 NRSV 

Only the Beginning

The Three Wise Men may have come a long way from the East to see Jesus, but Jesus himself was starting his long pilgrimage, which was his life, death, and resurrection.

Jesus was born to Mary, who was Jewish, and Joseph. His family went on a pilgrimage even before he was born. In Luke 1:31–38, the angel Gabriel tells Mary that the Holy Spirit will help her have and give birth to a child named Jesus. When Mary is about to give birth, she and Joseph leave Nazareth and go to Bethlehem, where Joseph’s family is from, to complete the census Caesar Augustus ordered. Mary gave birth to Jesus there, but because there was no room at the inn, she put him in a manger (Luke 2:1–7). Some shepherds hear about Jesus’ birth from an angel. They go to Bethlehem to see him and then spread the news elsewhere (Luke 2:8–20). They go back to Nazareth after Jesus is shown off at the Temple.

The Journey of the Baby

 In Matthew 2:1–12, the wise men or Magi from the East bring gifts to the young Jesus as the King of the Jews. In Matthew, we read of another long journey. The Magi also called “wise men,” come from the East to bring gifts to the young Jesus, who they believe to be the King of the Jews. Matthew tells us about another long trip that Jesus and his family took. Herod the Great hears that Jesus was born, and because he wants Jesus killed, he gives the order to kill all male babies under two years old in Bethlehem. But in Joseph’s second dream, an angel warns him, so the family runs away to Egypt. They later come back and settle in Nazareth.

Jesus’ Pilgrimage to Jerusalem

Jesus went to Jerusalem at least twice when he was young, probably during one of the three Jewish Pilgrimage Feasts we discussed in previous chapters. According to Jewish law, when Jesus is brought to the Temple as a baby a man named Simeon tells Mary and Joseph that Jesus is the Messiah “will be a sign of contradiction, but a sword will cut through your soul. Then many people’s hidden thoughts will be revealed.”

A few years later, when Jesus goes missing during a trip to Jerusalem, his parents find him in the Temple, sitting with the teachers and asking them questions. The people are amazed at how much he understands and how well he answers them. Mary scolds Jesus for going missing, but Jesus tells her that he had to be in the temple, “be in the house of his father.” taken by Jesus and his family. Herod the Great hears of Jesus’ birth and, wanting him killed, orders the murders of male infants in Bethlehem under the age of two. But an angel warns Joseph in his second dream, and the family flees to Egypt—later to return and settle in Nazareth.

Presenting Jesus in the Temple

Jesus went to Jerusalem at least twice during his childhood, probably during one of the three Jewish Pilgrimage Feasts.  When Jesus is presented as a baby in the Temple per Jewish Law. Simeon says to Mary and Joseph that Jesus “shall stand as a sign of contradiction, while a sword will pierce your soul. Then the secret thoughts of many will come to light.”

Several years later, when Jesus goes missing on a visit to Jerusalem, his parents find him in the Temple sitting among the teachers.  He was listening to them and asking questions, and the people are amazed at his understanding and answers; Mary scolds Jesus for going missing, to which Jesus replies that he must “be in his father’s house.”


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the star

The Star in the East 

The Guiding Star

A star in the East led the Magi on their trek. This matched their studies and observation. God can utilize science, literature, and work to bring us to Christ. He used Magi’s astrology.

Ancients valued the stars. 2000 years ago, folks in the Middle East and on the seas didn’t have compasses or highway signs saying “50 miles to Bethlehem.” They relied on fixed stars for direction. They felt God formed them that way. When anything new happened in the sky, like a comet, meteor shower, or a planet or star blazing brighter, the ancients thought it was a message from God, the creator of the heavens and earth. They studied the stars to find God’s message.

The Sybilline Prophecy

Women called Sybils prophesied the birth of a global king outside of Israel. One Sybilline prophecy claimed that a heavenly sign would precede the king’s birth. Suetonius claimed in his “Life of Vespasian” that “there was a deep persuasion… that at this very moment, the East was to grow great and rulers from Judaea were to achieve global empire” This is why the wise men looked up. When they watched the star rise, they thought God was communicating something to them and announcing the birth of a global ruler in the east. They weren’t just curious astrologers. God-seekers. The wise men followed the star and their simple faith to the Holy Land. We don’t know how long their journey was, but the Gospel suggests it was long. Herod asked when the star appeared, and when they didn’t return, he killed every boy under 2 in Bethlehem. The magi believed God spoke to them through the star and traveled for months on each trip.

They visited Jerusalem before Bethlehem. Bethlehem is only six miles from Jerusalem, so they likely assumed the star was coming to rest over the Jewish city rather than a little village. They undoubtedly expected the newborn King of the Jews would be Herod’s son, so they wanted to meet him. They told Herod why they had traveled so far to worship a child to whom God had pointed with a star. Herod questioned his experts on the birthplace of the universal king. In Micah’s book, they told him he’d be born in Judea’s Bethlehem.

The Magi Stayed the Course

Only the Magi remained. None of Herod’s Bible specialists were curious enough to undertake the short journey, but the wise men, who had previously traveled hundreds of miles, left with zeal. Herod pretended to be interested in meeting the kid so he might assassinate him; the Magi had no desire to find out if the Messiah was around. Not only the Magi saw the star. Only they were hungry and brave enough to pursue its light. The magi provide a good example. Wise men were ready. Even though they had wonderful lives where they were (they could afford a lengthy journey and expensive presents), they considered being with the newborn universal king more essential. They left all behind to follow a star in the East.

We must also make a spiritual pilgrimage. The Christian life begins with baptism and ends in Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The wise men were surprised to find Jesus. They expected to see the newborn king in a palace, not a stable, draped in royal silk, surrounded by courtiers, not animals and shepherds. After finding him, they didn’t turn back. They let God adapt their categories rather than fitting God into them. They needed to rethink their notions about power, God, and man and recognize that God’s power is not like the power of this world. God’s ways aren’t what we imagine or want. God’s unique. Throughout life, we must study God’s ways and conform to them, especially when he asks us to model our lives on the Cross.

The Magi gave the Child their riches. They intended to adore him. Therefore, they did so. They sacrificed in their liturgy. Only seeking Christ for our good is unworthy. We can show our appreciation by serving and sacrificing.


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the star



Three Gifts of the Magi

Three Gifts of the Magi

Christmas is passed, but it’s important to remember the traditional story of the Three Wise Men making a pilgrimage to worship Jesus.

There are two major hypotheses on the gifts:

All three presents are both regular offerings and gifts to a king. Myrrh is a standard anointing oil, frankincense is a fragrant, and gold is a value.

The three presents each had a spiritual meaning: gold represented earthly kingship, frankincense (an incense) represented a deity, and myrrh (an embalming ointment) represented death. Until the 15th century, myrrh was employed as an embalming ointment and a penitential incense in funerals and cremations. The Eastern Orthodox Church’s “holy oil” for conducting the sacraments of chrismation and unction is traditionally perfumed with myrrh. Receiving either of these sacraments is usually called “receiving the myrrh.”

In most Western Christian denominations, the visit of the Magi is honored by the celebration of Epiphany, January 6th, which also serves as the feast of the three saints. On December 25th, the Eastern Orthodox celebrate the Magi’s visit.


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the Magi 

The Pilgrimage of the Magi 

The Pilgrimage of the Magi :

“Pilgrimage to the place of the wise is to find escape from the flame of separateness.” 



Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 

Matthew 18:18 NRSV 

 Three Kings

The biblical Magi, also known as the Three Wise Men or Three Kings, were famous foreigners who visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These are according to the Gospel of Matthew and Christian tradition. They appear frequently in traditional narratives of Christmas nativity festivities and are vital to Christian tradition. The Magi are only mentioned in Matthew, one of the four canonical gospels. According to Matthew, they came “from the east” to worship the “king of the Jews.” The number of Magi is never mentioned in the gospel, but most western Christian denominations have generally concluded they were three, based on the assertion that they brought three presents. The Magi are frequently twelve in Eastern Christianity, particularly in Syriac churches. Their recognition as kings in later Christian writings is most likely related to Psalm 72:11, “May all kings fall down before him.”

Traditional nativity scenes show three “Wise Men” visiting the infant Jesus in a manger on the night of his birth, accompanied by shepherds and angels. But this should be interpreted as an artistic convention that allows the two separate scenes of the Adoration of the Shepherds on the birth night. And the later Adoration of the Magi to be combined for convenience.

The Three Wise Men

The Magi are popularly referred to as wise men and kings. The word magi is the plural of Latin magus, borrowed from the Greek magos, as used in the original Greek text of the Gospel of Matthew (in the plural: magoi). Greek magos is derived from Old Persian maguŝ from the Avestan magâunô, i.e., the religious caste Zoroaster was born into. The term refers to the Persian priestly caste of Zoroastrianism.

            As part of their faith, these priests paid special attention to the stars and established an international reputation for astrology, considered science at the time. Because of their religious activities and use of astrology, derivatives of the term Magi were used for the occult in general, giving rise to the English term magic. Even though Zoroastrianism was firmly opposed to sorcery. Although the Magi are usually referred to as “kings,” there is nothing in Matthew’s story that suggests they were rulers of any kind. Early readers understood Matthew in light of these prophecies, elevating the Magi to the status of kings. By AD 500, all commentators had accepted the widely held belief that the three were monarchs.


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the Magi 

Gathering the Nations 

Bringing the People Together

“I have come to gather nations,” the prophecy begins. While it might be argued that the prophecy primarily refers to gathering the scattered Israelites, it could also refer to the nations themselves, the Gentiles. (The word here is goyim, which translates as “Gentiles” or “nations,” not “Jews.”) The goal of God’s plan of redemption is to bring all peoples together to worship him, to bless “all the families of the earth.” As at a pilgrim feast, the Gentiles are brought to Jerusalem to partake in God’s worship. The Lord declares in the prophecy that he will collect the nations and send “fugitives” to them to broadcast his “glory among the nations.”

These “escapees” or “survivors” have survived national persecution and God’s judgment. They resemble the earliest Christian missionaries, such as Paul, who traveled the world proclaiming the Gospel message. These missionaries’ task is to bring in a “harvest” of Gentiles and bring them to the Lord in Jerusalem. While making an offering to Jerusalem is primarily symbolic of our purposes, St. Paul took it very seriously. When he traveled over the Roman realm preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles, he also collected money from the Gentiles to give to the Christians in Jerusalem.

A River in the Desert 

In Isaiah 41, the prophet likens the pilgrimage to a search for water in the desert: 

“The poor and needy search for water, 

    but there is none; 

    their tongues are parched with thirst. 

But I the Lord will answer them; 

    I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. 

I will make rivers flow on barren heights, 

    and springs within the valleys. 

I will turn the desert into pools of water, 

    and the parched ground into springs. 

I will put in the desert 

    the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive. 

I will set junipers in the wasteland, 

    the fir and the cypress together, 

so that people may see and know, 

    may consider and understand, 

that the hand of the Lord has done this, 

    that the Holy One of Israel has created it. (Isa. 41:17-20)

This imagery is echoed in Psalm 84, written for the director of music: 

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, 

    whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. 

As they pass through the Valley of Baka, 

    they make it a place of springs; 

    the autumn rains also cover it with pools (Psa. 84:5-6)

A Highway in the Wilderness 

Another metaphor that Isaiah uses to show God’s favor toward His pilgrims is that of the highway in the wilderness, a voice of one calling, “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isa. 40:3)

Isaiah is more explicit in Chapter 3: 

And a highway will be there; 

    it will be called the Way of Holiness; 

    it will be for those who walk on that Way. 

The unclean will not journey on it; 

    wicked fools will not go about on it. (Isa. 35:8)

We see these words of the prophet echoed in the Gospels, particularly the Gospel of John, when John replied to the priests and Levites sent by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” (Jn. 1:23)

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