“And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.” (Matthew 2:12 ESV)
Theologians describe God’s disclosure of Himself as revelation. Revelation is defined as disclosure, an exposure of someone or something. Webster’s Dictionary defines biblical revelation as (A). An act of revealing or communicating divine truth. (B). something that is revealed by God to humans. (C). an act of revealing to view or making known. (D). something that is revealed especially an enlightening or astonishing disclosure.
Attached to the definition of revelations are two distinct categories of biblical revelation. These two categories are (1) general revelation and (2) specific revelation.
General revelation is God’s disclosure of Himself in a general way such as in creation. Important portions of Scripture expressing God’s general revelation would include Psalm 8, Psalm 19 and Romans 1:18-32.
God’s specific revelation is God’s disclosure of Himself in a specific way such as by miracles, dreams, visions, angels and audible voices. For believers today, and for the church, God reveals Himself through the specific revelation of His Word.
Within today’s passage, God revealed Himself to the Magi in a dream. It appears that each of the Magi were warned by God. The word warned (χρηματίζω; chrematizo) means to disclose a divine message from God. God divinely warned the Magi not to return to King Herod.
The Magi immediately obeyed. This obedience is evidences by the fact that they departed from Bethlehem and began to journey back to their own country. Only this time they went back to their own country another way than how they originally came. This allowed them to not journey near Jerusalem where they might be seen by either King Herod or his assistants. This may indicate that the Magi traveled with a large caravan.
Dr. John MacArthur, from his book God with Us: The Miracle of Christmas, writes, “Matthew tells us that the Magi, ‘having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod…departed for their own country by another way’ (Matthew 2:12). There almost seems to be a double meaning in that statement. They returned to their country by a different geographical route, to be sure. But they also were now followers of another way in the spiritual sense. That’s true of everyone who turns to Christ and becomes one of His worshippers in spirit and truth: ‘If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come’ (2 Corinthians 5:17).”
Are you a new creation in Christ? If you are, you know the changes which have occurred in your life since your conversion. Take time today to thank God for making you a new creation in Christ.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!