Visitation of the Wise Men
2:1Now when Jesus1 was born in Bethlehem2 of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, Wise-men from the east3 came to Jerusalem, saying, 2:2Where is he that is born King of the Jews?4 for we saw his star in the east,5 and are come to worship him. 2:3And when Herod the king heard it, he was troubled,6 and all Jerusalem with him. 2:4And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ should be born. 2:5And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written through the prophet,
Art in no wise least among the princes of Judah:
For out of thee shall come forth a governor,
2:7Then Herod privily called the Wise-men, and learned of them exactly what time the star appeared. 2:8And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search out exactly concerning the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word, that I also may come and worship him.
- Jesus. The new man is called “Jesus” whose name means the same as the name “Jehovah,” the I AM, the supreme will.
- was born in Bethlehem. Bethlehem (house of bread) is the substance center where the spiritual or ideal man has his source. It represents the center of substance in our consciousness.
- Wise-men from the east. Symbolize the inner resources of the soul when it is stirred to the depths by a revelation of Truth. The East symbolizes the within, and the coming of the Wise Men signifies intuitive wisdom reverently seeking out the new ideal of life that is beginning in consciousness. The law governing spiritual consciousness and its development in the individual is as sure as the law that governs the stars or the planets in their courses. We have access to divine substance within the depths of our consciousness, and out of it we fashion a new ideal of life and a fuller, more abundant life.
- he that is born King of the Jews. This is the ruling power of the spiritual consciousness when it first dawns on the mind and heart of the individual.
- we saw his star in the east. When the Jesus ego first appears in the subconsciousness it is a mere spack of light, a “Star in the east.” The star symbolizes intuition; the wise men were guided by intuition. Stars represent subjective and not fully understood guiding lights. They represent the inner realms of consciousness that, like books of life, have kept the records of past lives and held them in reserve for the great day when the soul would receive the supreme ego, Jesus. The star that pointed the way for the wise men was also in the East, and it typifies man’s inner conviction of his divine sonship.
- when Herod the king heard it, he was troubled. Herod represents the ruling power of the outer or personal consciousness. Metaphysically, "Son of a hero, heroic." When sense consciousness (Herod) rules, it dominates all intellectual, as well as ecclesiastical thoughts. These thoughts symbolise the chief priests and scribes of the people, all of which on this plane go to make up the intellectual man. The outer, personal, or sense consciousness (Herod) is disturbed by the first glimmering of a different consciousness in the mind and heart. The personal consciousness is jealous of its power and authority, and seeks to retain its dominion, whatever the cost.
The Adoration of the Magi
2:9And they, having heard the king, went their way; and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 2:10And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.1 2:11And they came into the house and saw the young child with Mary his mother; and they fell down and worshipped him; and opening their treasures they offered unto him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 2:12And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.2
- When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. When the soul makes a spiritual demonstration there is great rejoicing. When one begins to have faith that he is destined to do the will of God, all the riches of wise experience—gifts of gold (riches of Spirit); frankincense, (the beauty of Spirit); and myrrh (the eternity of Spirit)—are bestowed upon the young child. When the wise thoughts from within bring their presents, there is great rejoicing and satisfaction in consciousness.
- they departed into their own country another way. In this instance as in all others, the Lord is continually seeking to guide man into the higher ways of life, which always lead into the “country” of peace, wisdom and good will.
The Escape to Egypt
2:13Now when they were departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream,1 saying, Arise and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I tell thee: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.2 2:14And he arose and took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt; 2:15and was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt did I call my son.
- an angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream. The Lord often speaks to this state of consciousness through what is commonly known as dreams and visions. Both the Wise-men and Joseph were guided by dreams. The message is thrown on the screen of the mind in the form of thought pictures, which the quickened soul readily interprets.
- flee into Egypt ... for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. It is wise to protect the new born spiritual consciousness from coming into contact with the personal ego, Herod. Under the guidance of Spirit no harm comes to it; it is taken down into the protected places of the subconsciousness (Egypt) until the personal ego destroys itself. When in the silence and in dreams we see a little child, we may know that the Christ body (Jesus) has begun to form in our subconscious minds. Then we should be watchful to see that the subtle desires of sense (Herod) do not rob the young child of its vitality and thus kill it out of consciousness. The young child must be cared for and fed daily with spiritual thoughts; otherwise it will pine away and we shall find ourselves back in the old sense state, with (Herod), sense consciousness in suprene control.
The Massacre of the Infants
2:16Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the Wise-men, was exceeding wroth,1 and sent forth, and slew all the male children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had exactly learned of the Wise-men. 2:17Then was fulfilled that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet, saying,
Weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children;
And she would not be comforted, because they are not.
- Herod ... was exceeding wroth. When the human self does not have its way it loses its temper, flies into a rage, is destructive and kills out many potentially good forces.
The Return from Egypt
2:19But when Herod was dead,1 behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, 2:20Arise and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead that sought the young child's life. 2:21And he arose and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 2:22But when he heard that Archelaus2 was reigning over Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither; and being warned of God in a dream, he withdrew into the parts of Galilee,3 2:23and came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth;4 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophets,5 that he should be called a Nazarene.
- when Herod was dead. Sense consciousness (Herod) is dead; therefore the new spiritual consciousness (the Christ child) is no longer in danger. It is free to express openly that which is real (Israel).
- Archelaus. Represents a phase of the sense will (son of Herod the Great), or ruling power, in sense consciousness which was still dominant.
- Galilee. Represents the life activity or soul energy of man acting in conjunction with substance.
- Nazareth. A city of Galilee, means a sprout, a small thing held of slight significance, hence a term of reproach. It typifies the commonplace mind of man: but it is in the commonplace mind that the Christ ideal takes root and grows up in consciousness.
- that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophets. Throughout the gospel story of Jesus there runs continually a thread of fulfilled prophecy. To the casual reader who sees nothing beyond the literal narrative, it would seem sometimes that the parallelism is far-fetched. But it is seen that the fulfillment of prophecy takes place because prophecy is a foreknowledge of Truth to be demonstrated. The I AM has knowledge of all Truth, but to the natural man this knowledge comes dimly, — as a vague presentiment, a foreknowledge or prophecy of Truth to come. With the Christ man comes Truth—fulfillment.
Fillmore Bible Society members who contributed to these annotations include Mark Hicks.
Following Entry: Matthew 3