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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Hundred-Twenty-Fifth (The Few)

Have you ever been a part a small group of individuals that believe a certain thing? Or maybe a few people that were capable of doing a specific task or being an expert on a certain topic? If it was a belief, were you considered an outcast? Did people treat you differently, or mock you for what you believe? Sometimes it's hard to be one of a few. It's even harder if you're trying to spread that belief to others for them to accept it.

As you read through the New Testament, you'll notice that the number of people that believed in Yeshua as the Messiah started extremely small. In fact, it started with two: Mary and Joseph. Granted, they had supernatural experiences that helped to convince them! (Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 1:19-25) It was then Elizabeth that came to believe (Luke 1:41-45).

Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and John the baptizer leapt in her womb as Mary was greeted. Again, a supernatural experience moved her to accept the truth and believe, making it three. Three people in the whole world knew the truth: that the long-awaited Messiah had arrived. Imagine if you were one of those three and you tried to convince others that the baby in Mary's womb was the King prophesied of in Torah (Numbers 24:17, 19).

The next individuals recorded to be believers were so-called "wise men" (Matthew 2:1-12). They saw a star and started walking! Well, more specifically, they saw a star, recognized it as a sign of the birth of the King of Israel, loaded up their camels with gifts (and likely brought an entourage), and then started walking. If you read the Greek, you'll find that these are described as magos, which is the word for magician. However, if you read the Hebrew they are called kings.

You may know of a hymn that talks about these individuals, We Three Kings, but have you read the account of their visit to Yeshua recently? It's only recorded in Matthew, and if you re-read it you'll find much of what you thought you knew isn't necessarily true. Or, at least, it's not written in scripture. First, the only origin information of these individuals is that they came from the East.

Somehow, over time, they have been associated with "the Orient," despite there being no specific location from which they came. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, there is a difference in what type of people they were depending on which version of scripture you read. Interestingly, that hymn states that they were kings. But, how did John Henry Hopkins, Jr., decide to make them kings in his song instead of "wise men," or Magi, which were the only terms written in the versions of scripture that were available when he wrote it? I can only speculate, but I do find it intriguing that his choice matches the Hebrew version of the gospel of Matthew.

I've described previously why I lean towards the Hebrew version versus the Greek, but as a result, I'm inclined to believe these were kings rather than simply astrologers. Perhaps you also believe that because of the hymn, but know that being kings is not what's written in any of the English versions of scripture that were translated from the Greek. You know the other thing that you won't find in any versions of scripture?

Did you know there's nothing saying there were three kings except that same hymn from Mr. Hopkins? He actually wrote a verse for each of the three and even gave them names! He called them Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar. Anyway, the point is, we don't actually know how many of them there were. We know scripture lists three gifts they gave, gold, frankincense and myrrh, but we don't know how many of them brought these three types of gifts.

Apparently, Mr. Hopkins' hymn was the first widely popular Christmas carol written in America. Interesting how something that has questionable validity becomes so popular, isn't it? You can see the same happening even today.

The kings from the east were somehow moved to find Yeshua based on the star they saw. Whether it was based on some writings they had, or simply just based on the fact that it was a new celestial body they hadn't seen before, we do know they had access to at least some Old Testament scriptures (Matthew 2:6). Perhaps they even had access to the scripture that prophesied of their visit to Yeshua (Isaiah 60:6).

Did they know that was a prophecy of them, if they had it? Maybe. I wouldn't be surprised, considering they packed up and brought expensive gifts, traveling a great distance in the hopes of finding the prophesied King of Israel. But either way, they became the next group to be added to the list of believers in Yeshua.

But what's the point? Why focus on how few people believed in Yeshua? I mean, a few years ago there were 2.5 billion people calling themselves Christian around the world. That's not just a few, right? It's the largest religious group in the world. When Yeshua started His ministry, He was preceded by John, but still, John was only one man preaching of Yeshua's arrival.

Then, Yeshua came and started gathering His group of disciples, eventually sending them out to spread the gospel (Matthew 10:1-15). A group of twelve, sent out among wolves (Matthew 10:16), to preach His word. We're not that outnumbered, right? They were fighting against all the preconceived notions people had on who the Messiah was going to be, and all the things the religious leaders were telling them.

They read, or at least heard read aloud, prophecies like Psalm 2. Being oppressed historically, and currently as being occupied by the Romans, they focused on phrases like "You will break them with an iron scepter, you will shatter them like pottery." They read things like, "...he will bring justice to the nations," (Isaiah 42:1) and looked for a Messiah that would destroy the Roman rule and exalt Israel to its former glory.

What they overlooked, or perhaps didn't understand fully, were the prophecies of what had to come before His rule with an iron scepter (Psalm 22, Isaiah 53). Perhaps there were some people out there that understood these passages, but had they tried to share that belief they probably would have been rejected and binned in the same category as modern-day "date setters." You know, those that preach the year, or even the specific date, of Yeshua's return.

The majority of people leading up to and during the time of Yeshua's ministry were reading and interpreting scripture based on what they wanted to happen, not what was in YHWH's plan. The same goes for today in the world and in Christianity itself: people read and interpret things based on what they want it to say rather than what it actually says.

If I were to give a modern-day term to anyone that knew back then, based on prophecy, that Yeshua was to die first rather than rule, it would be "conspiracy theorist," since this is the term used today to describe people that believe something contrary to what the vast majority of people believe. You will meet people, and perhaps you even know some already, that believe what the "mainstream" believes but what doesn't add up based on your study of scripture. That doesn't necessarily mean you're wrong!

I believe that as we get closer to Yeshua's return the belief of the majority will become further and further from the truth. Trying to spread the truth will become harder and harder. Take the time now to study the truth in scripture, and become grounded and confident in it. This will make it easier to remain unconvinced when the majority tries to fill your mind with lies and half-truths that will draw you away from YHWH.

Shabbat shalom and God bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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