Dr. Chris’ Christmas Blogs 2022

Week 3:

Having been to Bethlehem, I would like to explain the geography of the land. 

The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is the location of Jesus’ birth.  In the first century after the death of Jesus, this location was identified, and a grotto was built over it.  A few hundred years later, Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, built a large church over it. 

This area was well known in the early times of the Church.  The Catholic Franciscan monks have a very good understanding of the history of this grotto and the church.  There has been very careful tracking of this location.  To enter the cave where Jesus was born is an awe-inspiring moment! 

It is under the Church of the Nativity.  I felt a strong presence of the Lord.  I know without a doubt that this is the exact location.

Geography also verifies this. 

When you tour Bethlehem, the fields of the shepherds (known as the Shepherd’s Fields) are down the hill slopes from the Church of the Nativity.  They are located very near one another.  When the shepherds were given the message from the angels, they had to go up the hill slopes to the birthing place of the Temple flock – now seen as the location under the Church of the Nativity.  Where they had to go was very clear to them; they understood the angel’s message.  They had to go to THE manger at the birthing place for the Temple flock. 

Let us return to Genesis 35:19-21 and look at two additional translations regarding Migdal Eder.  This first version explains that it is a Flock tower.  

So Rachel died, and was buried in the highway that leadeth to Ephrata, that is Bethlehem.  And Jacob erected a pillar over her sepulcher: this is the pillar of Rachel’s monument, to this day.  Departing thence, he pitched his tent beyond the Flock tower (Douay–Rheims 1899 American Edition; author’s emphasis).

There are other translations that explain it as a “watchtower.”  The Amplified Version provides yet another understanding that the Tower of Eder was a lookout point used by shepherds.

So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).  Jacob set a pillar (memorial, monument) on her grave; that is the [a]pillar of Rachel’s grave to this day.  Then Israel (Jacob) journeyed on and pitched his tent on the other side of the tower of Eder [the lookout point used by shepherds] (AMP; author’s emphasis).

This means that the tower of Eder was built on a high place overlooking the fields used by the shepherds. 

That makes sense because a lookout for the shepherds in the area would have to be on the highest point.  It would give the best visual of the sheep and watching for any predators in order to best protect them.  

Micah 4:8 also lists the Tower of the Flock (watchtower; Tower of Eder in other translations).  Let’s focus on the first part (first two lines) of this verse.

And you, O tower of the flock,

The stronghold of the daughter of Zion, 

To you shall it come,

Even the former dominion shall come,

The kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem. (NKJV; author’s emphasis)

In His book, “The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah” Dr. Alfred Edersheim explains that the top of the tower, or watchtower, was the location where the shepherds took turns watching the flock to see if danger was approaching.  In the tower’s lower level was the area where the lambs of the Temple Flock were birthed.  Both were part of the same tower.  The tower could be built on top of a cave which would be the birthing location for the lambs.  The lambs then grazed in the fields around the tower in the area of Bethlehem.  He also had another important revelation.

And yet Jewish tradition may here prove both illustrative and helpful.  That the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem was a settled conviction.  Equally so, was the belief, that He was to be revealed from Migdal Eder, “the tower of the flock” (Edersheim, 1883, 208).

What he is saying here was that the Messiah Jesus was to be revealed from Migdal Eder.  This means that Jesus was born at Migdal Eder, the Tower of the Flock!

Let’s examine Micah 4:8 once again, focusing on the second part.  It says that the Messiah would be revealed from here.  

And you, O tower of the flock,

The stronghold of the daughter of Zion,

To you shall it come,

Even the former dominion shall come,

The kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem. (NKJV; author’s emphasis)

This verse states that to the Tower of the Flock (Migdal Eder), the former dominion (the Lord God) shall come or be revealed, bringing His kingdom.

Coupled with Micah 5:2, which is a prophecy that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem, a connection is made between the Tower (Watchtower) of Migdal Eder, Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus here.  This prophetically means that Jesus would be born there – and revealed from here.  He was revealed to the shepherds of the Temple flock at the Tower of the Flock or Migdal Eder.

Since the shepherds birthed the lambs of the Temple flock at the Tower of the Flock, all the provisions for the birth of The Lamb of God would have been there. 

What God needed next was for His Son to be “revealed.”  That revelation came through the shepherds.  The shepherds knew exactly where to go when they heard the angel say that the Babe would be wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.  They went directly to the Tower of the Flock to find Him.

God does not do anything by chance.  God the Father prepared a special place long in advance where His Son would be born.  The Tower of the Flock and Migdal Eder are the same location.  Jesus was born in the cave where the lambs of the Temple sacrifice were birthed.  He was revealed to the world through the shepherds who birthed and cared for the Temple flock.  He announced to the world when His Son was born to the only people on earth who could truly identify Him.  This glorious day was ordained in full detail by the Father.  

Check in next week December 22nd for our 4th and final Christmas blog post!