THOSE SHEPHERDS KNEW EXACTLY WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN THE ANGEL SAID BABY JESUS WAS WRAPPED IN SWADDLING CLOTHES AND LYING IN THE LAMB’S MANGER.
On that first Christmas day 2000 years ago, the angel of the Lord directed the shepherds to the very place where they sacrificed baby lambs to see a baby boy wrapped in the lamb’s swaddling clothes and being presented for inspection in the stone manger, Migdal Eder.
Forget everything you’ve been told about the baby Jesus lying in a manger that looks like a soft and cozy hay bale. The manger that he was wrapped in was actually a stone feeding trough, located in a place called Migdal Eder outside of Bethlehem.
Migdal Eder, translated “Tower of the Flock” (Micah 4:8), was a look-out post located just north of Bethlehem, the city of David. What made the tower special was that the bottom portion was used as the sheep care facility that served as a manger where Jerusalem’s sacrificial lambs were birthed and inspected. More importantly, this was where Jesus was born!
“And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.”
The place Migdal Eder first appears in Genesis 35:21 where Jacob buried Rachel after she gave birth to Benjamin. In its earliest days, the tower of Migdal Eder was a military structure but in the time of Jesus it had become the Tower of the Flock where the Levitical shepherds would inspect the sacrificial lambs. Migdal Eder is the place where the spotless lambs were wrapped in swaddling clothes to be inspected for sacrifice at the Temple in Jerusalem. Inspected by shepherds. Now, back to Rachel and Benjamin.
As Rachel lay dying, she desired that her son Benjamin should be called Benoni, which means ‘son of my sorrow’, but Jacob wanted his name to be called Benjamin, which means ‘son of the right hand.’ Does this sound like anything you know from scripture? Does not Isaiah 53:3 say that Jesus was a ‘man of sorrows’ and doesn’t Ephesians 1:20 tells us that He is seated at the ‘right hand’ of God?
Regarding the birth of the baby Jesus, we see in Luke 2:7 that He was laid in a manger, a stone structure like the one above that Levitical shepherds would normally use to inspect the sacrificial lambs.
Mary and Joseph were not sent to a first century Holiday Inn or to the barn behind it. No, as the Spirit of God led them, they found that the only place that had room was the birthing place for the lambs to be sacrificed. Migdal Eder. Imagine that! And those swaddling clothes? Why, they were for the lambs to protect them from getting bruised so they could be sacrificed ‘without spot’ according to the Law. Jesus is the lamb ‘without spot and blemish’ (1 Peter 1:19).
Now, let’s visit those shepherds on the hill that night.
The angel of the Lord could have appeared to anyone, to everyone, and yet he appeared to a group of people with a specialized skill set, shepherds who were trained in inspecting the sacrificial lambs in the stone manger of Migdal Eder.
The angel said “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” The angel of the Lord directed the shepherds to the very place where the sacrificial baby lambs laid. But to their shock and joy, instead of a baby lamb they saw a baby boy wrapped in the lamb’s swaddling clothes lying in the stone manger, praise God! This is what the Christmas ‘manger scene’ should look like.
“The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous run into it, and is safe.”
When the Bible tells us that the ‘name of the LORD’ is a ‘strong tower’, it’s the same word ‘migdal’ pointing to the well known actual tower where Benjamin was born. The word ‘migdal’ shows up again in Nehemiah 3:1, connecting it to the ‘sheep gate’ where the sacrificial lambs would be led through on their journey to the Temple in Jerusalem. During Passover, thousands of lambs were brought in from the fields by the Levitical shepherds from the Tower of the Flock through the Sheep Gate to be sacrificed by the Levitical priests on the alter at the Temple.
“And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.”
Now you see, when Jesus is called a lamb in scripture, it is not poetic, it is literal.
Jesus is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world
As such, the Son of God was born at Migdal Eder, wrapped in the very same swaddling clothes used for lambs, and placed in the protective stone manger to be presented for inspection by the Levitical shepherds. That’s why the angel of the Lord called shepherds, to inspect the baby Jesus according to the Law of Moses. How do I know that Jesus was born at Migdal Eder? The prophet Micah confirms this:
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah,
The word ‘Ephratah’ here means the ‘place where Rachel died’, which is also the place where Benjamin was born, by the tower of Migdal Eder. Micah is telling us that the Savior Jesus, would be born at the very place where Benjamin was born, at Migdal Eder. Now you know the rest of the Christmas story about baby Jesus who is the ‘Lamb of God.’
Although the world is rocking and reeling today and its very foundations are crumbling at the center, God’s eternal throne is still as solid and secure as ever. God is sovereign, and the Lamb is still Savior, and everything is under perfect control.
Whereas Jesus was referred to as a Lamb once in the Old Testament (Isa. 53:7), twice in the Gospels (John 1:29, 36), and once in the Epistles (1 Peter 1:19), He is referred to as the Lamb twenty-eight times in the Book of Revelation. We have to conclude as they rejoiced in heaven,
Then I looked, and I heard the voices of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing.”
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