Christmas Quiz – Matthew 2

I usually start each post with Scripture.  In this case, the Scripture will give away the answers, most of them.  All the answers to the questions will come from Matthew 2, although three questions refer to which prophet is quoted.  Some will be very easy.  Others may not be easy.

There will not be a Bible Reference section this week.  Instead, some background information will be provided.  If you read the chapter that the quiz is based upon, you should get a great score.  Most Bibles have footnotes when another Scripture is quoted, so maybe even a perfect score.

The Questions:

 Question
1After what event did the Magi arrive in Jerusalem? Matthew 2:1
2What did the Magi ask? Matthew 2:2
3King Herod was disturbed by the question.  Who else? Matthew 2:3
4The chief priests and teachers of the law quoted which prophet in determining where the new king would be born? Matthew 2:6
5What did Herod say that he wished to do once the Magi came back and reported to him? Matthew 2:8
6What two things did the star do once the Magi left for Bethlehem? Matthew 2:9
7What was the first reaction of the Magi upon seeing Mary with the baby? Matthew 2:11
8What were the gifts of the Magi? Matthew 2:11 – Bonus for the significance of the gifts.
9Why did the Magi disobey Herod? Matthew 2:12
10Who told Joseph to run away and by what method was this communication? Matthew 2:13
11Where did Joseph take Mary and the child Jesus? Matthew 2:13
12And what prophet is quoted, saying that a con will be called from this land? Matthew 2:15
13When all the sons, two years of age and less are killed by Herod’s men, what prophet does Matthew quote?  Matthew 2:17-18
14Who and by what method is Joseph told to return to the land of Israel? Matthew 2:19-20
15Why did Joseph go to Nazareth instead of going back to Bethlehem? Matthew 2:21-13

Let us deal with a few Christmas myths.  First, how many wise men, and are they ever named in the Bible?  There was more than one wise man, because it says magi, not magus (the singular of magi).  They were given names in a eighth century play, not in Scripture.  Thus, we have no idea who they were or how many of them, other than magi from the East, wise, and probably Zoroastrians.

Okay, that brings up other questions.  Magi were wise men, probably wealthy, maybe kings, but then maybe only kingly in their wealth.  Magi usually followed the teachings of Zoroaster, an Iranian (in modern terms), where they blended all the religions of the day, some monotheistic, some polytheistic.  Possibly, the teaching and writing of Daniel was part of their schooling, since Daniel had been a teaching servant in Babylon, the possible location that these magi came from.

Why did they go to Jerusalem and ask?  It seems they lost sight of the star.  Note in Matthew 2:10 how they were overjoyed when they saw the star again.

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The Answers:

  1. After the birth of Jesus.  All references to Jesus in the chapter are as a “child.”  Rick Larson, of bethlehemstar.com, points out from his research that Jupiter could be the ‘star’ and that from what is happening in the sky, it is quite likely that Jesus was born in June and the Magi arrived in December of 2 BC.  Others think that Jesus might be as old as one and a half years.  So, anywhere from a six-month-old to 18 months old.
  2. “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?  We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
  3. and all Jerusalem with him.”  Much is said about the adult Jesus saying things that might endanger the status quo and upset the Romans – and upsetting the sweet deals that were available for the Jewish leaders.  In the time of Jesus’ birth, it was no different.  Just as many in capitol cities around the world feed off the government or manipulate those who do, we can assume they did the same in Jerusalem at that time.  Herod had no real claim to the kingdom.  He would be immediately threatened, although he was near the end of his life.  But many people in the city would also have their careers threatened by a true heir to the throne arising.
  4. Micah.  The quoted verses are Micah 5:2, 4.
  5. Herod told the Magi to return to Jerusalem and give a report so that he could also worship the newborn king, but from the following verses, we see the reason for Herod wanting this information.
  6. The star travelled ahead of them and then stopped.  First, stars are relatively fixed in the sky.  The earth is spinning.  Our reference point is changing, thus the stars look like they are moving.  There is the idea of the expansion of the universe, but that is very gradual.  Yet, planets, known as travelling stars in those days, do travel.  Jupiter, near December 25, 2 BC, appears in the sky, from the vantage point of Jerusalem, to be headed toward Bethlehem.  But even a planet cannot stop.  Yet, there is something called retrograde motion.  While we watch a planet, in its elliptical orbit around the sun, travelling across our visible sky, we are also spinning and travelling in our orbit around the sun.  In plotting the path of the other planets, it seems that they make loops along their path due to our vantage point moving.  Consider it this way.  If you see a planet, or an airplane, travelling from left to right, directly over your head.  Do an about face, turning 180 degrees.  The planet, or airplane has not turned around, but in your view, it is now travelling right to left.  Jupiter continues to travel in its orbit while the earth is spinning and travelling in its orbit.  We see Jupiter’s motion from a different angle.  At the very point on December 25, 2 BC, according to Rick Larson’s calculations, Jupiter starts into retrograde from the perspective of Jerusalem.  It seems for just a night, that the star stopped.
  7. The Magi bowed and worshipped.  My wife asked earlier today about why they would do that.  They weren’t Christians or possibly not even remotely related Jewish cousins.  They go to a common home, not a mansion, and the door is answered by the wife of a carpenter with a small child, obviously quite poor.  But, with the knowledge that we can assume they got from the prophet Daniel and other teachers, the Zoroastrian religion does believe in a supreme being, and with the assumed Daniel-led influence, these magi could specifically be looking for a Jewish king as the promised Messiah.  All we really know is that they were fervent in their beliefs that although they saw a poor woman and her child, they were in the presence of something great.  If nothing else, they believed their own interpretation of what they had seen in the stars, and that was enough for them.
  8. The gifts were gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Gold is the gift worthy of a king.  The magi were acknowledging Jesus as King, and a great one.  They may not have understood further than that.  Frankincense, as Dr. David Jeremiah stated in a recently televised sermon was the source of the smell in the temple.  It was used by the priests as a celebration offering, not a sin offering.  Jesus is the Great High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 5-7).  And myrrh may have been offered simply to afford a burial fit for a king, not understanding that myrrh would represent Jesus who would die so that those who believe in Him might have eternal life.  Note that myrrh is mentioned four times in the New Testament.  Here in Matthew as a gift.  In Mark 15:23, myrrh is mixed with the wine offered Jesus on the cross when He says that He is thirsty.  Myrrh is bitter.  In John 19, for the burial of Jesus, Nicodemus arrives at the burial with a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about 75 pounds (a wealthy sum required to pay for it).  Then in Revelation 18, the merchants will mourn the fall of Babylon for there will be no one to buy such riches as myrrh (along with many other things listed).
  9. The magi heard instructions in a dream to avoid Herod.
  10. An angel tells Joseph in a dream.
  11. Egypt.
  12. Hosea. The quoted verse is Hosea 11.1
  13. Jeremiah 31:15.  In this case, Jeremiah is actually mentioned in Matthew.
  14. The Lord tells Joseph in a dream.  Through the first two chapters of Matthew, Joseph has a few dreams.  These two instances and in Matthew 1:20-23.
  15. Herod is dead, but Archelaus, Herod’s son, would be just as zealous in protecting his kingdom.  Thus, Joseph returned to Nazareth.

Since you did so well or even if you did not do too well, regardless of myths, let’s take a look at We Three Kings.

If you like these Saturday morning Bible quizzes, but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Saturday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

3 Comments

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  1. Listening to this is like Christmas in April

    Liked by 1 person

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