Three Wise Men?

by Colin Dexter

“We Three Kings”

This hymn, also known as Quest of the Magi was written by Reverend John Henry Hopkins, Jr. in 1857. He was the rector of a Pennsylvania church and wrote the hymn for a Christmas pageant. The song was published in 1862. The song and a wrong theology grew popular shortly after.

The Magi were kings and they were from the Orient, the “east.” The Magi presented three gifts to Jesus, but most people have come to believe there were only three kings – and that is very unlikely.

There is a document called “Revelation of the Magi” that may have been written about one hundred years after the book of Matthew. It is not Scripture, but it is interesting study. That author describes a group as small as twelve, but possibly much larger, who traveled from China. They were thought to be descendants of Noah’s son, Seth. They had been given the knowledge that God would provide a great light that would lead them to the King of the Jewish people. d

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