Magi part 2.
From part 1
Nebuchadnezzar was stunned at this young upstart. ‘How dare he speak to me, the King in this way’ was his first thought, and the interview almost ended right there, but something asked him. “What if this boy is right? What if he can tell me the meaning of the dream?”
“And you think the gods will talk to you?” the King was almost laughing, “If they won’t listen to their own priests then what hope do you have? Permission granted, this I have to see”
But that was seventy odd years ago, Daniel had built a reputation as one who had the ‘ear of the gods’ but this was a different time and with very different rulers.
“Dan” Hanni began, “You don’t have the ear of the King like you used to!”
“Don’t need it for this” Daniel replied, “It doesn’t concern Persia!”
“How can anything about the future not concern Persia?”
“When this happens the Empire will be history” he looked round at his friends, they were confused and being totally honest, he was enjoying in, there’s something about knowledge that gives power, and while he never went looking for that power, he always enjoyed watching the others try to work out where he was ‘coming from’
“Cyrus gave the order to rebuild the Temple!” Daniel carried on, “But not the city!” they stopped eating and just looked at him, almost as if he’d spoken treason, and yet a deep desire of their hearts, to see the city of their ancestors rebuilt and restored to its former glory.
“And it never will be!” Shemi spoke quietly, with alarm in his voice, almost fearing that the bodyguards on the other side of the door to the great chamber might have heard them and one was running even now to report this treason to Darius, the Jews had gotten in enough trouble with the last edict, one that had ended up with a feast for the Lions when the Magi had tried to trick him into executing Daniel.
“Not now at least” Daniel spoke in low tones, “but the Angel told me that a time is coming when it will be rebuilt!” no one argued with the old man, it was their heart’s desire to see Jerusalem rebuilt, but to do so would mean a great city rising out of the ashes and rubble to once again take mastery over everything west of the Euphrates like it had in the past, not something that a Persian or Mede would contemplate.
“It will be” Daniel reiterated, “Not in our lifetimes, but it will be and that’s when the countdown begins!”
“Countdown to what?”
“The coming of the Messiah”
The Mountains of Iran
What was the 'STAR' like?
Parthia 6 BCE
The three of them sat motionless, gazing in awe at the spectacle above them, the ‘gods’ were putting on a special show tonight as the particles streaked across the heavens, it was as if the gods of the ancient world were out throwing stones across the sky as the bright trails lit up the sky, all going exactly the same way and at the same speed.
“I just wonder what they really are.” Kasper, the youngest of the observers was sat almost mesmerized by the light show, “I mean do we really have any idea what’s behind them?”
“Not really” Balthazar, the oldest in the group replied, some say that when events like this happen young one” he turned to his young protégé, “That afterwards sometimes rocks so black and hard they’re worth a man’s weight in gold are found”
“Have you ever found one?” Kasper was curious, his mentor was one of the wealthiest and wisest men he knew, and it would be nice, almost romantic to think he was given that wealth ‘by the gods’
“Him?” Melchior, one of the other companions quietly laughed. “No, Balthazar’s money came about the good old trading dishonest way” he saw the smile on the faces of his companions, it was only the kind of insult a friend could give and hope to live a long life afterwards. “Trading, buying and selling whatever was needed, along with helping the odd King or two out of sticky situations”
Their ‘observatory’ was a remote mountaintop literally days by camel or horse from any major city, legend had it that the great ship in which Utnapishtim escaped the flood was nearby, although it was on a mountain further to the north.
The sky was ‘spectacular, it was the only way to describe it, the crystal clear skies of daytime translated into wonder-filled views of the heavens at night, the clear band of the Milky way stretching right over their heads, but this night held a special significance, one that the three astronomers and those who’d come before them had waited a long time to see.
“Seventy weeks" are determined
For your people and for your holy city,
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.
25 “Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
The street shall be built again, and the wall,
Even in troublesome times.
26 “And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end of it shall be with a flood,
And until the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate.”
We have to go!
The sun was well up in the eastern sky when they finally stopped talking, all three got more and more excited as they began talking about the ancient prophecy they’d all first learned about as ‘initiates’ into the ‘Magi’ or circle of the wise men who helped the Kings. A prophecy given so long ago its origins were shrouded in mystery.
Legend had it that it was first given in the time of Darius the Mede, when he was King in Babylon before he took over the whole Empire. Legend had it that the Great ‘Magi’ Daniel was from Judea and that it was him who first had the vision that became the prophecy, that at the right time would come one in Judea who would change everything and would usher in a time when the great ‘God’ would establish his rule on the earth.
“We have to go” It was Balthazar who spoke up, “we have to go and pay homage to this future King”
“What?” Malchior replied almost laughing, “acknowledging the prophecy is one thing, but going to Judea, that’s nuts!”
“Why?” Kasper liked the idea of a great voyage, especially with his mentor and his mentor’s mentor. “What’s so nuts about it?”
They both looked at him, “Herod” they spoke in unison.
“A power hungry megalomaniac the Romans put in charge” Balthazar carried on, “probably one of the most bloodthirsty men Rome could find, and believe me they’ve got a good supply of them!” they’d begun walking down the mountain to where the servants had the animals for them to ride.
“He’s the reason we failed to take Judea a few years ago” Malchior interrupted, “we’d smashed Roman power east of the River and were moving towards Judea, we had people working for us, then they turned Herod loose”
Balthazar gave a slight shudder, remembering the past encounter, the cruelty and vicious way Herod had restored order in and around Jerusalem, “Many a good man and woman lost their life at his hands”
“Then we need to go and find this ‘new ruler’ right? To warn him” Kasper was eager for the trip.
“You forget young one” Melchior spoke up this time, “the new ‘king’ will probably be a child and probably in Herod’s own house”
“In that case” Balthazar spoke up, “God help the child, and that’s not a cuss, it’s a prayer, but I still think we should go, to let the child know that there are those who wait for his kingdom to come”
“But with Herod in charge?”
“You really think a power hungry megalomaniac can stand in God’s way?” Balthazar asked
The beginning of a plan
“So” It was Kasper finally spoke up, “When do we leave?”
“First things first” Balthazar replied, “a trip like this one isn’t taken lightly, we’ll still be going into enemy territory and into the territory controlled by one not known for his mental stability” it was a well known proverb that the most dangerous occupation of the age was to be a child in Herod’s palace, he’d already had many members of his own family murdered simply because they were likely to succeed him when he finally departs this world, and as he got older his paranoia was getting worse.
“What are we to tell our own king? If we tell him we’re going to worship a ‘king’ in the Roman world then he’ll think we’re defecting to the Romans, but if we tell him something that he then finds out it’s not true he’ll think the same! So what do we tell him?” Melchior asked.
“That’s actually easy” Balthazar replied, “we all have business interests within the Empire, you trade in silks that go all the way to Rome, I trade in spices and Kasper, your father, doesn’t he have ships that call in to the ports in Judea and even Egypt?”
“True” Kasper replied, “They land at Eilat and take the goods overland to Jerusalem where the local traders take over, I even have a couple of captains on the vessels that are from there!” he thought for a moment. “We could take one of my ships and use that as the reason for the journey!”
“Except that right now isn’t the right time of year for the trip is it?” Balthazar already knew the answer, but wanted to remind his young prodigy playfully, the ship idea however might come in handy for getting back to Persia.
“Yeah, sorry I forgot” Kasper replied almost sheepishly.
By now they’d descended part of the mountain and come to the camp where they’d left the servants, Akkub their guard had quietly stayed in the background and kept out of the discussion, he wasn’t a particularly religious man, but he knew his master was and the respect he had for his master Balthazar translated into respect for his faith and his ‘god’ which meant that he’d listened to every word they’d spoken. He’d found the subject fascinating and while he didn’t see how some ancient riddle spoken so long ago could have any bearing on the world they lived in, he did agree with their assessment of Herod.
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