Brother Ron Barnes
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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Names of the Three Kings


Dear Brother Ron

Where did the names of the "Three Kings" came from?
We all know this from tradition but based on what historical account did they know the names? (Please mention your source) Also, what is the significance of the celebration of the "three kings"? Why did it became (or termed) as "kings" when scripture states that they were magi or wise men? I think the number of magi was not mentioned in scripture because it is of no significance BUT the gifts presented to our Lord were mentioned because of their symbolic meaning.

Reese


Dear Reese

In the conventional version of the Christmas story, the wise men or magi (Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar) started the gift giving custom of Christmas by bringing gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ child on Epiphany. Epiphany is the end of the Christmas season, 12 days after Christmas.

The earliest written mention of their names seems to be found in the work of the Venerable Bede (died 8th century). There are other traditions. The earlier tradition of "three kings" comes from the fact that three gifts are mentioned by Matthew and that the gifts were costly.


The wise men were not Jews; scholars tell us they were priests of an Eastern religion that consulted the stars (Zoroastrian priests). One of them may have been a king (there is speculation that one of them was Azes II of Bactria who reigned from 35 BC to 10 AD). Therefore we could say they were followers of some kind of pagan religion. Yet in some miraculous way God inspired them about the birth of Jesus.

Best always
Brother Ron