Dr. Chris’ Christmas Blogs 2022

Week 2:

Bethlehem was important to God for another reason. 

It was where the lambs were born and raised for the Temple sacrifice.  This meant that those shepherds to whom the angels appeared, were not ordinary shepherds.  They were holy men specifically trained for this most holy task.  Jewish writings in the Mishnah (early Jewish oral teachings) confirm this.

This is a quote from a message on Moody Bible Radio called “Shepherds: More than Field Hands” on a program called the “Land and the Book.”  

…the flocks kept at Migdal Eder [Bethlehem] were destined for temple sacrifice.  The shepherds keeping watch over these sheep knew the purpose for the lambs under their care.  And their job was to keep the animals under them from becoming injured or blemished.  It was to those watching over animals destined for temple sacrifice that the angels announced Jesus’ birth.  “For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

The lambs were birthed at Migdal Eder, and then they were raised in the surrounding fields of Bethlehem.  This meant that the shepherds to whom the angels appeared were in those fields watching their sheep.

The arrival of THE Lamb of God was revealed to those responsible for watching over the sacrificial lambs that had always pointed towards Jesus.  You see, these shepherds were the only people in the world who could recognize when the true Lamb of God arrived, based upon their care of the Temple flock.

How did they take care of the Temple flock? 

The lambs had to meet specific criteria.  They had to be free of any blemish.  One way that the shepherds prevented any blemish was to “swaddle” the newborn lambs.  This meant that they wrapped the lambs in strips of cloth and bound them to prevent them from marking themselves.  Then they laid that lamb in a manger for protection.  

A “manger” may refer to a feeding trough or a “stall” or “crib” where animals are housed, based on other Scriptural references of the same word in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament).  This could also mean a “stable.”  It may not mean what we think of today as a “manger.”  But it was a specific location where the swaddled lambs were kept, and these shepherds knew how to identify this location where they would find Jesus.  The message from the angels pointed them to a very specific location that the shepherds knew how to find. 

These shepherds had the experience to identify the Messiah when they saw Him.  

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12 KJV).  

The shepherds were given two keys by the angels – that He would be wrapped in swaddling clothes and that He would be lying in a manger.  In Luke 2:15, the shepherds responded that they knew God made this known to them.  This was their marching order from God – and they did it.

Where would they have known to go – since there were no directions provided?  They knew exactly where to go to find Jesus.  They went to the location where the Temple lambs were birthed!  These shepherds were the only people on earth who could certify the birth of the true Passover Lamb.  And they did. 

Jimmy DeYoung, a prophecy teacher from Chattanooga, Tennessee, said this in one of his Christmas messages. 

So, when these shepherd-priests went into Bethlehem and saw the baby Jesus wrapped in cloths, lying in a manger, they must have exclaimed, “There is the Lamb of God, prepared for sacrifice, unblemished!”  They had to be excited beyond description because they were the only ones who could have understood the sign.  It was just for them from God.  It was personal!

This is so amazing – that only God could have prepared the birth of Jesus with this exact precision.  Jesus was wrapped in cloth strips specifically meant for this purpose.  Then God sent the shepherds of the Temple flock to certify that the Messiah was born.

God does not do anything by chance.  God the Father prepared a special place long in advance where His Son would be born?  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.

You cannot explain the meaning or direction of the sign they were given or their response unless you have the right manger and the right shepherds! (bibletruth.org). 

Check in next week on December 15th for part 3!