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The Magi's Three Gifts




The three holy gifts to Jesus of gold, frankincense and myrrh by the magi who followed the star, symbolize the three identities of Jesus in Manichaeism: Jesus the Splendour, Jesus the Messiah and Jesus the Suffering.

Gold: Jesus the Splendour. Gold is associated with splendour because of its beauty and high value in society. Gold is associated with royalty with fits which Jesus the Splendour who is described as a king and royalty, such as in the Manichaean hymn towards Jesus the Splendour titled “We Would Fulfill: Mani's Hymn to Jesus, the King”

Frankincense: Frankincense was used to anoint Jewish high priests in the Old Testament and was a major part of worship used by priests as incense during offerings to the jewish god. Jesus the Messiah (who came on Earth and carried out his earthly ministry) is described as a high priest (in the resemblance of old testament priests but superior). “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, set your focus on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.” Hebrews 3:1

Jesus the Messiah who came on Earth to preach gnosis and took the appearance of the Jewish Messiah due to the social and religious context he lived in, requiring him to hide his identity in order to avoid being outright rejected and killed for what would of been seen as blasphemy by the pharisees. Thus frankensinse symblozised his role as a high prirest and the Jewish society he would preach within.

Myrrh: Jesus the Suffering. Myrrh is associated with suffering because it was used (and still used) to ease pain. For example, in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus was given wine mixed with myrrh to ease his suffering, but he refused. “They brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha, which means The Place of the Skull. There they offered Him wine mixed with myrrh, but He did not take it.” Mark 15:22-23 Jesus's crucifixion for Manichaeism symbolized the daily imprisonment or crucifixion of the divine light (the divine light being Jesus the Suffering) trapped in matter. His resurrection mirrors the eventual liberation and transformation of divine light from spiritual death and evil matter, making the connection of myrrh and Jesus the Suffering even stronger.

Myrrh is also associated with death because it was often used for burial of the dead. “Afterward, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus (but secretly for fear of the Jews), asked Pilate to let him remove the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission, so he came and removed His body. 39Nicodemus, who had previously come to Jesus at night, also brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.” John 19:38-39.

“The foes assembled above me (the Suffering Jesus) And took me to the realm of death. - Blessed be he who rescues my soul from distress, so that it may be saved.” Hymn on the fate of the Living Soul

“The strangers with whom I mixed, me they know not; they tasted my sweetness, they desired to keep me with them. I was life to them, but they were death to me; I bore up beneath them, they wore me as a garment upon them.” A psalm of the universal soul (a manichaean psalm)

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Paulo Cruz
Paulo Cruz
Jan 07

Keep and spread the Daena! Good week! Thank you for this text!

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