I think this deserves some fixing up. The magos were influenced by God, not Satan. Satan had not a clue as to the moment Jesus was born. He is not omnipresent or omniscient, can't be everywhere, not knowing all. What is offensive is the old traditional Christmas card version of the birth of Jesus. The magi missed that event by 2 years. Shocked? Freaked out? Read on.
Please study Matthew chapter two to confirm the following. I also recommend using a concordance to examine key Greek words for clarification. I dare use the KJV, my favorite because I have memorized mostly from that version. My comments on each passage are numbered.
Matthew 2:1 "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,"
1. We know from Luke Jesus was dedicated at Jerusalem at age 8 days, so Mary & Joseph had already departed Bethlehem for home at least by age 7 days. The only reason they were in Bethlehem was to be taxed, and of course fulfill prophecy.
2. The "wise men" comes from the Greek "magos", translated both sorcerer and wise man, but never both ways in the same verse. The layout of the story doesn't fit "sorcerer", which I will try to show below. In those days of the Roman Empire that word usually referred to oriental/eastern scientists who doubled as traders, exploring the world, engaged in discovery. We know they came from the "east" of Jerusalem, with no specific country of origin documented. They were obviously wealthy men, but not oil rich sheiks (as I read in one book) since oil had not been marketed yet. Anyone engaged in a science field in those days would have been deemed at least partly a magician simply because the things they did might mystify folks, like scientists do the unlearned today. If they also cast spells or performed mind control, then the popular term was "sorcerer". There are no signs of that recorded of those men.
Matthew 2:2 "Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."
1. Before meeting with Herod, the wise men asked that question as they traveled, perhaps all across the continent. As they drew closer to Judea the word spread like wildfire that a convoy of foreigners was asking around, troubling all of Jerusalem as well as Herod.
2. The star appeared to the foreigners while back home in the east. They then sought to follow it like someone might try to find the end of a rainbow and the treasure chest. I don't believe Satan is god-like enough to cause that star to appear to the men.
3. The foreigners came seeking "the King of the Jews", and to worship him. I fail to see anything satanic in that. That the men saw a magnificent sign and embarked on a journey that took them two years, probably moving only at night while the star was visible, takes their quest higher than a desire to worship an earthly king. The men had passed through territory held by Rome, headed by emperors desiring that folks worship them.
4. Notice they already knew the significance of the prophesied King of the Jews. Such information was available to traders far from Israel, the Hebrew Bible well distributed through the Roman Empire, wherever Jews settled. A scholar would be able to discern that prophecy, and most certainly these scientists beat the scholars of Israel to the punch.
5. Notice they had no answers to their questions yet, soon to appear in Jerusalem at the order of Herod. What would have caused the priests and scribes of Jerusalem to miss such a major event? They apparently had no clue it had happened, but knew it would someday (v. 3-6). My own personal opinion is God opened some eyes to see the star, preventing the merely curious from seeking it out and causing extreme problems for Mary and Joseph. God kept all of Israel in ignorance, including Satan.
Matthew 2:7-8 "Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.  And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also."
1. Herod needed to know when the star first appeared to the wise men. None of the experts knew, so the event was unknown to them. The date of the first appearance would set the probable age of the child Jesus.
2. The king commissioned the men to go to the place the priests and scribes indicated as the birthplace of the Savior. I find it interesting Herod didn't send his own forces out to locate Jesus in a little town only hours away by marching, a mere five miles south of Jerusalem. He realized the ace up his sleeve was to use the wise men who were not recognizable as linked to Herod. A clue that date was about two years earlier is the use of the Greek word for "young child", being "paidion". That word is never used for an infant, but for an immature child, what Americans call a "toddler" or older. The Greek for an infant, as Jesus was lying in the manger, is "brephos". This is an example of the value of looking up the original language words, then weighing the most likely definition that fits the context. Bible translators followed the same process in properly translating, though some used different source manuscripts. There is no dispute over the use of those two words.
3. Herod faces judgment over that last statement, a lie concerning his desire to worship the child. The proof of which party, Herod or the Magos were used of Satan lies in which actually did what they announced, worshiping Jesus. Herod didn't.
Matthew 2:9-10 "When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw 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 exceeding great joy."
1. The star that first appeared to the men continued on, yet still not one priest or scribe showed a bit of curiosity, not likely seeing it at all. Instead of following Herod's order they continued to follow the star. It didn't lead them to Bethlehem! It led them to the young child Jesus, stopping over his location. Again, I can't see a bit of satanic influence concerning this event, the star hovering right over Jesus, and the foreigners rejoicing over it.
Matthew 2:11 "And when they were 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 unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."
1. The men entered a house, not a manger. The shepherds were the visitors to the manger in Bethlehem. The Greek for "house" is oikia, a permanent abode, a regular style residence. The Greek for "manger" is phatne, for a livestock stall. Joseph was from Nazareth, where he would have had a house, where he took his bride Mary. Remember Joseph had to go to Bethlehem to pay taxes, so he left his home, using a stall for Jesus' birth.
2. The men laid eyes on Jesus worshiping Him as ought to be. Notice they didn't worship Mary. Satan would not have anyone fall to their knees worshiping Jesus for any reason. This was all a tribute to God, to Jesus. So were their precious gifts. They were sufficient to finance the family journey to Egypt to evade the wrath of Herod until Herod died.
Matthew 2:12 "And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way."
1. The men immediately departed not to Jerusalem to tell Herod about Jesus, but for home by some route from Nazareth avoiding Jerusalem. We don't have a clue. Do you suppose it took Herod two years to figure out the men didn't obey? 5 miles away? The nation filled with informers and soldiers, clergy, and other observers loyal to Herod? Remember all of Jerusalem was disturbed over the news. I have no doubt someone wasn't posted to spy on the men once they entered Bethlehem. When the men failed to show up 5 miles away it was obvious they went elsewhere. Anyway, some book authors speculate Herod waited two years before taking action over the missing wise men. Absurd!
Matthew 2:16-18 "Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.  Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,  In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not."
1. I will conclude here. Herod quickly realized the wise men had defied him, and eluded him. They were not found according to record. So it was that the king ordered the deaths of all male children aged 2 and under to match the time of the first appearance of the star to the wise men, beginning in Bethlehem, exactly as prophesied. Satan used Herod to try to kill Jesus, but was too late. Jesus and family was on their way to Egypt. Had the priests and scribes' eyes been opened to the scriptures they could have advised Herod of the route to chase Jesus down. But that didn't happen. God blinded Satan and anyone else that could have interrupted the divine plan of salvation. This adds to my confidence that even today Satan can't possibly know enough in time to stop me from carrying out whatever the Lord wants of me. God remains at least one step ahead of him.
Be fishers of men
: Aug 8, 2011, 2:30 PM