The Magi gave to baby Jesus gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh. Those gifts fulfilled a prophecy found in Isaiah 60:6, and also communicated symbolic meaning.
Gold in the ancient Middle East was associated with “noble purposes,” as well as “immense worth and indestructibility.” Incense was an element of worship, and “from the revelations of both Isaiah and John, we understand that incense signals the everlasting worship of Yahweh.” Frankincense specifically was used in an altar sacrifice at the temple. Finally, myrrh was a rare, aromatic substance used to perfume clothing and dead bodies during the embalming process. Taken together, these three gifts can symbolize Jesus’ place as the eternal King, the divine Messiah, and our suffering Savior.
[DBI, 341, 419; HBD, 322, 672]
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