“We Three Kings” has always one of my favorite Christmas carols. The melody and story of the song was different than almost every other carol. If you are unaware of what the message of the song is, it’s about three kings following the Star of Bethlehem in search of Jesus. These “kings” sought out Jesus to bring Him gifts of great worth - gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
We Three Kings DEBUNKED
While We Three Kings is one of my favorite carols, it’s message definitely needs to be debunked. What makes “We Three Kings” biblically incorrect? Check this out:
There weren’t three kings
I totally just ruined Christmas for some of our readers… and I am SO sorry! But it is true! There is actually no biblical proof that there were three kings! The number of kings has been assumed over time simply on the number of gifts. However, scripture is silent on the exact number of kings that there were. Speaking of kings….
They Weren't Kings
They weren’t! Take a look at Matthew 2:1. Depending on your Bible version, scripture identifies these men as either wise men or magi; neither of which are kings. IN FACT, in ancient near eastern cultures, wise men and magi were considered astrologers, magicians, or sorcerers. I love how David Mathis from Desiring God describes this discovery:
“Gandalf and Dumbledore are coming to worship the baby Jesus.
These magi are not respected kings but pagan specialists in the supernatural, experts in astrology, magic, and divination, blatant violators of Old Testament law — and they are coming to worship Jesus.”
Can we just take a second and imagine this?! I kind of what to which out my wise men in my nativity scene with a Gandalf, Dumbledore, and Harry Potter figures now! Wait, speaking of nativity scenes….
They Never Saw Jesus in the Manger
Now I really ruined Christmas… dang it! I am SO SO sorry! But, again, it’s true! Every single nativity scene you have ever scene has it all WRONG! The wise men should not be pictured on the night of Jesus’s birth. Check out Matthew 2:11. In this passage, we see that the wise men entered a house, not a stable. In this passage, we see Jesus as a young child, not a baby.
So WHY do we sing this song?
Great question! Quite honestly, I believe this song is still song today for very reasons to why it’s one of my childhood favorites - it’s melody and story is different than almost any other Christmas carol. The carol is 160 years old and is still very popular…. I don’t foresee anyone throwing this song away any time soon.
HOW does the carol relate to worship?
Another great question! What can we learn from a song that is SO biblically incorrect and how can we grow in our worship from it? While the key details are not accurate in the song, we can learn a lot about worship from the wise men.
In ancient times, these wise men would have been considered pagans, sinners, and social outcast due to their work in the dark arts. Now imagine these type of people walking into your church to worship this Sunday!
David Mathis states,“We really should beware of having a narrower vision of who can come to Jesus than God does. We can be so prone to write off people like this, but God doesn’t. He draws. He woos. He’s seeking worshipers from among the priestly caste of pagan religion. There will be worshippers from Hogwarts, even from Slytherin.”
These wise men came to worship the King of kings. They are worshipers of Jesus.
How did the wise man worship?
The wise men seek out Jesus to give Him gifts - gold, frankincense, and myrrh. In ancient times, these three gifts were both precious and costly. They gave their best to the King. However, I believe the most precious gift they brought before the King was their faith. The wise man had tenacious belief in a King they had never seen. Even more shocking, the wise men believed and stepped out in faith even when the SCRIBES and PHARISEES were unbelieving! That is absolutely incredible and important to remember!
There is a lot we can learn from the wise men in the Christmas story. In fact, there is even more that we could learn than I laid out here in this post. BUT there are three main elements that I want you to walk away with:
- Always give your best to God.
- Always have faith, even when others don’t believe.
- Always offer your worship to God.
This Christmas season, I want to challenge you to remember the true reason for the season. This holiday is not about the gifts, dinner, and decorations - it is about the birth of Christ - Emmanuel God with Us! Take some time to worship this Christmas with your family.
God Bless and have a Merry Christmas!
Recommended Song of the Week: We Three Kings by Tenth Avenue North (Featuring Britt Nicole)