“Sunday Sermon Speculation”
I avoid gospel speculation. It is detrimental at worst, and a waste of time at best. However, when my brilliant friend (D.H.) shared this theory with me, I was thrilled to think that it might actually be true. Let’s try to connect the dots.
The Wise Men were “righteous men,” “holy men,” and men who were “spiritually sensitive and knowledgeable.” “They were representatives of a branch of the Lord’s people somewhere east of Palestine.” “They were actually prophets on a divine errand.” (LDS Bible Dictionary: “Magi” and “Wise Men of the East.”)
The Wise Men followed the “Sign of the Star.” Yet, there is no mention of the sign of the star in the Old Testament. But there is in the Book of Mormon.
Samuel the Lamanite testified “five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name.” “And behold, there shall be a new star arise, such as one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you.” (Helaman 14: 1-6)
Five years before Christ’s birth, the Nephites who believed Samuel’s testimony and prophecy of the coming of the Savior, went to Nephi, son of Helaman, to confess and be “baptized unto the Lord.” When the non-believing Nephites tried to kill and capture Samuel, “he cast himself down from the wall, and did flee out of their lands, yea, even unto his own country.” “And behold, he was never heard of more among the Nephites.” (Helaman 16: 1-8)
During this time, “Angels did appear unto men, wise men, and did declare unto them tidings of great joy.” (Helaman 16:14)
Coincidentally, during this time “Nephi, son of Helaman, had departed out of the land… ., giving charge of his son Nephi … concerning the plates of brass, and all the records which had been kept, and all those things which had been kept sacred from the departure of Lehi out of Jerusalem.” “Then he departed out of the land, and whither he went, no man knoweth.” (3 Nephi 1: 1-3)
- Samuel and Nephi were “righteous men,” “holy men,” and “prophets”
- They were “representatives of a branch of the Lord’s people in the east.”
- They were “spiritually sensitive and knowledgeable.”
- They were on a “divine errand,” dedicating their lives to testifying of Jesus and prophesying of his coming.
- Samuel and Nephi both disappeared around the same time, and they were never seen or heard from again.
- Samuel and Nephi were both aware of the sign of the star, and that it would lead them to the birth of their Savior.
- They had access to gold and priceless gems, which were plentiful in the Americas, and finance the journey.
- They had access to ships and navigators. The Nephites were building large ships, and knew how to navigate them, as early as 56-52 B.C. (Alma 63: 5-9)
- “There came wise men from the east to Jerusalem.” (Matthew 2:1) The entered Jerusalem, following Lehi’s and Nephi’s road map from Jerusalem. Remember, Lehi and his family traveled from Jerusalem eastward 8 years, and kept a record of their journey.
Finally, I cannot think of any better official witnesses of the birth of Jesus than Samuel, the Lamanite, and Nephi, son of Helaman, prophetic companions.
Samuel and Nephi had “motive” and “opportunity” to be the Wise Men. The Lord sometimes does remarkably cool things. Maybe this is one of them.