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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Gentile Magi – Part 3 - Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh



     The gentile magi studied, sought Jesus and worshiped Him. They came to Jerusalem, but Jesus was in Bethlehem which means “house of bread.” The Divine “Bread of heaven” was born in Bethlehem, the “house of bread.” No Jews went with the magi even though the Jews knew according to scripture that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. (see Micah 5:2).  The Jewish shepherds were the first to meet the Savior. Jesus said that He came to the Jew first. The gentile magi came to the house of Jesus not the manger as the Jewish shepherds did. This shows us that Jesus is a toddler when the gentile magi came to Him.. 
            It was the custom in biblical times to bring gifts to a king out of the treasure of one’s wealth. So, the magi brought very valuable gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to King Jesus even though He was just a child.

Gold

     Gold is symbolic of the Divine and/or Kingship. It is symbolic of Christ as God’s Divine King.  In Revelation 14:14, “One like the Son of Man” (Jesus) has a golden crown on His head. Paul cautions us in Acts 17:29, that we are not to think that the “Divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.” God is far more than one part of His creation. He is supernatural and spiritual. God and Jesus used the things of nature to paint a spiritual picture and/or truth, but He created all of nature, therefore, He is in all things and all of nature gives a message from Him. The New Testament says of Jesus who is God, “all things consist (are upheld) in Him (Jesus).” Colossians 1:17 Why? All things were created through Him as the Word/voice of God (see Genesis 1:3). God’s ways don’t change. If Jesus was the Word of God at creation, He is the Word/voice of God forever. He is called the Word of God. Revelation 19:13
            In the Older Testament, the tabernacle and temple -- the temporary houses of God -- had furniture that was overlaid with pure gold or hammered out of pure gold – the Ark of the Covenant with the mercy seat, table of showbread, golden lampstand made of pure gold, and the golden altar of incense. These are a picture of Jesus. He is the Ark of God’s Covenant and the Mercy Seat as the propitiation of our sin. He is also the very presence of God (shekinah glory) on earth.  He is the table of showbread as the Divine Bread of heaven. He is the golden lampstand as the Light of the world and the golden altar as the Divine One through whom we pray and offer our lives as a sacrifice to Him. God gave Moses the instructions for the tabernacle from the inside out. Jesus will build His living temple in the hearts of His followers from the inside (heart) out. His ways will be reflected through our actions, words and deeds carried out from Jesus and the Holy Spirit inside our hearts.

Frankincense

     Frankincense is symbolic of Jesus as the Divine High Priest – the Anointed One. Jesus’ life in the flesh was a sweet fragrance to God because He was, is and will ever be holy. A believer who follows Jesus should live his or her life in pursuit of Christ’s righteousness. Holiness is a sweet fragrance to God. Jesus’ willingness to be sacrificed on the cross of suffering was also a sweet fragrance to God. It was the ultimate sacrifice that saves all who come to Jesus as their Savior and Lord.
Revelation 5:8 shows us that frankincense also represents the intercessory prayers of God’s people offered up to the Lord. These too are a sweet fragrance to the Lord. Our prayers show God that we trust in Him and care for others and their needs.
          In the Older Testament, the incense that was burned on the golden altar was made of spices and pure frankincense. When made according to God’s direction, the incense was considered by God as salted, pure and holy. This holy incense was not to be replicated or used on any priest. It was holy/wholly for the Lord. Jesus’s death on the cross was holy, fragrant incense to the Lord. No one can replicate Him and His holiness no matter how hard a person tries. The Lord, however, wants us to strive to be like Him so we too are a sweet aroma to the Lord and others. All that we do in service to the Lord is a sweet fragrance to Him.
            Frankincense was also mixed with other spices, myrrh and oil as directed by God to anoint the High Priest and the priests and all the furniture in the tabernacle and temple. This oil was holy according to God because it was made exactly to His instruction. Moses poured the anointing oil over the first high priest’s head  (Aaron) in Leviticus 8:12. This oil represents the Holy Spirit who anoints all who believe in God’s one and only begotten Son Jesus. The Divine anointing that is upon Jesus flows down to His people. When Mary anointed Jesus’ head with her fragrant oil, it flowed down from His head to His body. ( John 11:2) These were a foreshadow of what Christ would do through His death, resurrection and ascension to the Father.

Myrrh

      The magi brought myrrh to Jesus as a child, and Mary poured her sweet fragrance made of myrrh and other spices and oil over Jesus’ head in preparation for His death. (see Matthew 26:7)  She gave her very best to Him, and Jesus gave His very best to His followers. Jesus poured out His Holy Spirit upon all who believe in Him after He died, was buried, resurrected and ascended to the Father. His anointing flows down to His people from heaven, just as Mary’s perfume flowed down from Jesus’ head to His body.
               In the Older Testament, myrrh mixed with other spices and oil was also a sweet fragrance to the Lord. In the Wedding Song of Psalm 45 in speaking of the holy King, it says, “All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia…” This Psalm is about an eternal kingdom led by a pure, royal King. It is a foreshadow of King Jesus and His Bride. In the Song of Solomon, the king’s bride says about her King, “My perfume gave forth its fragrance. My beloved is to me a pouch of myrrh which lies all night between my breasts.” (SOS 1:12-13) Her king loved the sweet smell of her desire for Him. He is close to her heart.  When the soon-to-be bride of the King saw Him coming, she described Him as “perfumed with myrrh and frankincense…” (SOS 3:6) In the Song of Solomon 4:6, the King says, “I will go my way to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense.” In other words, she will be cleansed on the mount of myrrh and frankincense in preparation for her King. Even though she is not yet totally cleansed, in the very next verse (v7), her King says, “you are altogether beautiful, my darling, and there is no blemish in you.”  Her King sees her as she will be when He completes her perfection when He comes again and restores us to His holiness and all of His perfection.
            Nicodemus, a Jewish rabbi and member of the Sanhedrin Council, brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes to prepare Jesus’ body for burial. Even Jesus’ dead body was wrapped in a swaddling cloth with a sweet fragrance. (see John 19:39)
            Jesus’ life in the flesh was a sweet fragrance to the Father because He remained holy. Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross was also a sweet fragrance to the Father because He died for the sin of the whole world to show each of us the Divine love of the Father. The Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 5:2, “Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling fragrance.” When followers of Christ allow Him and the Holy Spirit to put our sins to death, we become a sweet fragrance to the Father. (see 2 Corinthians 2:14-15)
            Frankincense and myrrh represent suffering, cleansing and purity. When frankincense is burned, it turns white. When we allow the fire and power of the Holy Spirit to burn sin out of us, we become cleansed, purer and a sweet fragrance to the Lord. Jesus is not only our Savior, He is  to be our ruling King over our fleshly and spiritual lives.

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