The Gospels: Metaphors and “The Three Wise Men”


Illustration: "The Adoration of the Magi"

By: El Greco
Public Domain



Just to begin, although three of the Gospel are called: “synoptic” because, supposedly, they see “eye to eye” on the life of Jesus; the Gospel of Mark doesn’t even mention the birth of Jesus. The fourth Gospel: “John” also doesn’t mention or discuss the birth of Jesus.

Regardless, we are given two versions of the story and each focuses on the aspects that the author, or authors, of these gospels felt were important.

The Gospel of Matthew starts with the story of the three magi, or three wise men, seeing “the star” of the King of the Jews. So, first off, a star is a source of light and Christians believe that Jesus is the messiah, which in Hebrew means: “the one anointed with olive oil”. Since in ancient times olive oil was used in lamps to provide light in the temple, as well as in homes, the implication is obvious. By pouring olive oil on the head of a person, it indicates that he is “an enlightened being”.

Interestingly, one of the most famous psalms from the King James version of the Old Testament is translated incorrectly. Psalm 23 says: “….thou anointest my head in oil, my cup runneth over….” Well, that might be beautiful poetry, but it is definitely NOT what is written in Hebrew. In Hebrew what is written is: “…..thou fertilize my head with oil….”

What is interesting about this is that modern day fertilizers are manufactured with oil, but this is a derivative of petroleum. Nevertheless, I will just add this quote from a recent agricultural study:

"Recent studies conducted at the Univeridad de Sevilla's School of Agricultural Engineering concluded that: "alperujo", the solid by-product of extracting olive oil by the two-phase centrifugation system, can be reused as fertilizer in organic farming."

So, maybe the ancients weren’t so backwards after all…

My point, however, is that throughout this entire series of articles in the Jerusalem Post, both in articles on the Torah and in articles on the Gospels, we have discussed again and again and again that “food is a metaphor for knowledge” and have seen in example after example that: “each type of food represents a different aspect of knowledge”. Hence: “bread” is a metaphor for: “the word of God”, “figs” are a metaphor for “knowledge about God”, “milk” is a metaphor for “easy to understand spiritual teachings”, etc, etc, etc….

Another important characteristic of the three wise men is that “they come from the east”, therefore they should be associated with: a new source of light” (i.e. “a new source of understanding”).

Finally, we need to look at their three gifts, because they could have brought anything with them, but they selected these particular items, so each one must represent something important.

The first gift is: “myrrh” and, in Hebrew, this is pronounced “mar” and it means “bitterness”. This is extremely important since practically all the women in the New Testament have this word as part of their name. So, “Mary”, the mother of Jesus in Hebrew is called: “Mar”-“ri” -“yam” and her name means: “bitterness from the sea”. The Magdalene’s first name is also: Mary and her second name means: “tower”. Accordingly her name means: “A high level of bitterness from the sea”. The third famous name is the sister of Mary Magdalene and her name is: “Mar”- “tah” (i.e. “Martha”) and her name means: “a container of bitterness”.

We have shown in many other articles that: “water” represents “explanations about God”. We have also shown that “a tree” is a metaphor for “a teacher” or “a source of knowledge” and we therefore concluded that “eating” and “drinking” are metaphors for “accepting a teaching”. Accordingly, when Eve ate that fruit from: “The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” she was not eating a poison apple like what happened in the Disney movie: “Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs”. Eve was accepting the teachings of: “the snake” and the snake is a metaphor for: “a teacher of religious law”. Accordingly, when Jacob blesses his sons he compares Dan to a snake and the name: “Dan” means: “judge”.

“Salt”, however, is associated with “holiness” and in the Torah it says that all offerings to God MUST be accompanied by salt. In the New Testament Jesus uses the metaphor of “salt” losing its “saltiness” in reference to the Jewish people. Since Jews are God’s chosen people and it is the function of the Jews to maintain the word of God, then “salt” is a metaphor for: “preserving the word of God”.

We have also discussed many time that, in Hebrew, the word for: “meat” means: “religious preachings” and “gospels”, therefore, in Hebrew, “The Gospel of Mark” can actually be translated as: “The Meats of Mark” and Paul of Tarsus compared: “meat” to “difficult to understand religious concepts”. Thus: since, before there was refrigeration, salt was used as a preservative for both meat and fish, we can see how “salt” is associated with “preserving the holy word”.

We have also shown how “honey” is a metaphor for “easy to accept” religious teachings, because honey is made by bees and the Hebrew word for “bee” also means “word”. Furthermore, one one the most famous “judges” of Israel was a woman named “Deborah” and her name comes from the Hebrew word for “bee”. Thus, since honey is sweet, this then suggests that “sweetness” should be associated with: “easy to accept teachings” and “bitterness” should be associated with: “difficult to accept teachings”.

Putting all this together, the name: “Miriam” means: “difficult to accept explanations about God’s word”.

How this is connected to the tree is fairly simple to understand. The Hebrew word for: "wood" and the Hebrew word for: "adviser" have the same root. We have already mentioned that "a tree" is a metaphor for: "a teacher". Hence, when the Israelites arrive at a source of "bitter waters" (i.e. "difficult to understand teachings"), they are made "palatable" by throwing a piece of wood into the pool of water. In other words: In the "Sinai desert", which in Hebrew means: "scholastic talks", the Israelites came across a teaching they could not understand. Moses sent one of his advisers to clarify and make these explanations more acceptable to the people.

Thus: “myrrh” represents: “a difficult to accept inspirational teaching” because myrrh in ancient times was used primarily as a perfume and people “breathed it in” and were inspired. Accordingly, the gospels tell us that as soon as the disciples breathed in the “myrrh perfume” of Mary Magdalene they became angry and when Judas Iscariot breathed in this aroma he was “inspired” to betray Jesus.

The second gift is “frankincense” and, in Hebrew, this is called “Le-vo-nah” which shares the root of the word for “white”. Of course, the brother of Rebecca was called: “Laban” and his name also means: “white” and today we still have the country: “Lebanon”.

The Torah does not speak too much about frankincense, but the one thing we do know is that it is associated with bread. Jesus is called: “the word of God” and he described his body as: “bread”. Rabbis like to say: “the Torah is the bread of life” and we have noted many times the connection between: first fruits of the field, the first born son and the Holy day of: “Shavout” which is when Jews believe they received the Torah from God. We have also explained that the 50 days leading up to this Holy day are called: “Counting the Omer” and “an omer” is: “a head of wheat” which is, of course, the main ingredient of bread.

This is then why the prophets said: “The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem” and this was the answer the scholars gave to King Herod. In short: “Bethlehem”  in Hebrew means: “The House of Bread” and, even in modern times, “a house” is a metaphor for: “a lifestyle”.

The third gift is: “gold” and gold should be associated with: “the religious writing of men”. In an article about: “The Donkey and the Ox” we discussed that Samson’s riddle indicated that “an ox” is a metaphor for: “the intellectual power needed to study”. So, the story of: “the golden calf” is centered the idea that the Israelites got tired of waiting for Moses to bring down from Mount Sinai the word of God and so they made their own God to lead them. The important point of this story is that the material they used to make their god was the gold ornaments of the Egyptians.

The key to the story, however, comes from the New Testament. Jesus asked: What is more important: the temple? Or: The gold on the roof of the temple? Since, Jesus is described as: the word of God and Jesus compared his body to the temple, this means that “the gold” represents: “the religious teachings of men added on to the temple” (i.e. “the Talmud”).

Therefore, “The Golden Calf” represents “religious teachings of men, based on Egyptian ideas, used to guide the people in their religious schools” and, in contrast to this, we have the word of God which should be described as: “revelations from a higher source which come very slowly to those who have the patience to wait for them”. In other words:

Why should a person pray to God and hope He will eventually send them an answer, when the person can go to any rabbi, priest or minister and get an answer today ?!!!

To conclude, I would just like to point out that, according to the gospels, Jesus is the descendant of Jacob and, according to the Torah, Herod the Edomite King, was a descendant of Esau.

As we all know, Esau wanted to kill Jacob because he thought Jacob stole his birthright and blessing; so it is only logical  that Herod, the descendant of Esau, would want to kill Jesus, the descendant of Jacob, because he thought Jesus wanted to steal his crown….