So just how many Kings were at the manger when Christ was born? Was it three? How about zero?
The only King at the manger was Christ. It is myth that kings came to visit Jesus at the manger. First, they weren’t kings, they were Magi. Now this is not semantics. It is an important point. The Magi were not kings, they were actually ‘king makers’. Like Samuel of the Old Testament, they were people who anointed the new king.
These Magi have sometimes been called ‘wise men’. This doesn’t mean they were merely really smart guys, or as many women would state, an oxymoron, since the terms wise and men don’t seem to go together. They were students of philosophy, science, astrology, etc. Just how did they know to follow the star to find the messiah? Lets take an intriguing look back at the Old Testament to see if we can learn something about these Magi from the east. Daniel chapter 2 verse 48 says, “Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men.”
Daniel was a prophet of the Lord. He was also in charge of the ‘wise men’ of Babylon. He taught them. He shared his prophecies with them. As the generations went on his teachings and prophecies were handed down with each generation of wise men.
These men were not kings paying a friendly state visit to one of their peers. These men had come with a purpose. The purpose was to annoint the new King.
The second point regarding the fact that there were no kings at the manger (other than Jesus), is that the wise men didn’t arrive until probably about two years later. In Matthew chapter 2, verse 11 we read, “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.” They came to a house to see a child, not an infant. Earlier in that chapter, King Herod had inquired of the exact time the star had appeared for them. Later in the chapter, Herod gives the order to execute all males two years old and younger, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Granted, this order of execution does not prove the idea of the Magi arriving two years later, because God could have placed the star in the sky prior to the birth of Christ to give the Magi time to journey. When you add the statement that the Magi visited a child in a house to the execution of two year olds and younger it leads to an understanding that the Magi did not come to the manger.
Regardless, it is a great testament to the divine identity of Jesus that king makers from the east would journey to visit and annoint Him as King.