Eder Migdol-The Tower Of The Flock: Christmas Series Part 4 of 7.

Luke 2:8-14
“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. AND THIS WILL BE THE SIGN TO YOU:  You will find a Babe WRAPPED IN SWADLING CLOTHES, LYING IN A MANGER.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill to men on whom God’s favor rests!””
What wonderful and blessed news those shepherds heard from the angel! After 400 years of no word from God, at last He was speaking to man again. Whereas in times past He spoke through the prophets however, this time He was coming in Person. 🙌🏻
But…..based upon the information the angel gave them in the opening passage, how in the world did the shepherds know where to find Jesus? 🤷‍♀️ I mean, Joseph and Mary weren’t exactly from town.  Their home was in Nazareth, some 70 miles to the North, so it’s not like anybody in Bethlehem knew them. Yet, in the next two verses, it’s clear they had no problem at all finding Jesus.
However, if you know your Hebrew Scriptures as well as they did, you know what they did. It was like a neon sign! 😁 💡 Let’s follow the story…………
Neon Sign.
Luke 2:16-18
“So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.” 💖
See what I mean?  They came with haste, as if there was a neon sign pointing out exactly where He was.  What was it in the angel’s message that clued them in? 🤔 hmmm…………..
Overcrowded City.
Pinpointing Jesus’ location wasn’t the only problem they faced.  The city itself was not only crowded; it was OVERcrowded for the reasons listed below:
#1. Caesar Augustus had decreed that everyone in the Roman Empire be registered in their home towns, based on their family and lineage, so he could tax the whole world.  That way he could get even more money for himself. 🤨 Well, God used his big tax grab to orchestrate events that have benefited the whole world.  That is why Joseph went to Bethlehem where his family was from.
#2.  It was the time of year for Sukkot: The Feast of Tabernacles.  Jesus was almost certainly born during this time.  Remember in John chapter 1 where the Holy Spirit recorded that Jesus “Tabernacled” among us? He was trying to give us one of many clues as to the actual timing of Jesus’ birth, ’cause it sure wasn’t in December. 😳
Of course, if it were really of great importance, the Father would have told us outright. But He didn’t. He has hidden clues here and there for us to find. In so doing, we will be warmed and blessed! 💖
So, because of the addition of the taxation mandate along with the feast, there was a greater than usual influx of people.
Three Signs.
There were also three signs in the heavenly messengers’ announcement which he knew would give the shepherds all the information they needed. They knew EXACTLY where the promised Messiah was born in the big and bustling town of Bethlehem. Here’s how:
First the Angel said:
#1 This we be THE SIGN to you.” Here we go again with the definite article, “THE.” He didn’t say “A SIGN,” he said, “THE SIGN.” To what sign was he referring?  THE SIGN of Jonah.  More on this later in this article.
Secondly he said that a “Savior” would be born, who was Christ the Lord, so they understood He was the promised and long-awaited Messiah of Israel. Then he said that the baby would be:  #2 “Wrapped in swaddling clothes; and #3: ” Lying in a manger.”
These last two signs are the most revealing.  Like GPS (God’s Positioning System) they told the shepherds EXACTLY WHERE in town to look. 😮
(In part 3, we discussed some very interesting history about THE Inn and why there was no room.  You may follow the link below if you missed that part:
Messianic Prophecies.
Let’s take a little trip through Bible prophesies about our Messiah to help us understand so that we, too, can know WHAT the Shepherds knew and HOW they knew what the angel meant.
In the Israel of Jesus’ day, there were two Bethlehems:  Ephratha and Zebulun. Bethlehem Ephratha was David’s city in the southern part of Israel, near Jerusalem.  The other was way up north in the greater Galilee region.  Now, Jewish children were taught the scriptures practically from birth. You could say they cut their teeth on the Torah, figuratively speaking of course. The shepherds, no doubt, would have been very familiar with the verse below:
Micah 5:2
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”
This told them which of the two Bethlehems was the right one.
Stone Manger.
As for the manger, back in Jesus’ day they were not made of wood as you see in most nativity scenes.  They were carved out of stone, kind of a scooped affair, as pictured below.  If you saw their stone manger pictured next to the garden tomb, the similarities would be immediately apparent.
To the shepherds, this would have served as THE SIGN OF JONAH.  Just as he was in the belly of the great fish for three days, so Jesus would be in “Heart of the earth” for three days when He died. Jonah’s story is actually a typology of His death. From the Virgin womb to the virgin tomb, this child was born to die for all of us. 💖
Swaddling Clothes.
Mary wrapped her newborn son in “SWADDLING CLOTHES.”  It was a common practice in those days to swaddle babies. The new arrival would feel snug and secure and it calms the baby down. A person prepared for burial would be likewise wrapped in linen cloths and placed in a stone tomb.  This entire scene is the picture of the little baby Who was born to die; because He was, like no child before or since.
(Stone Manger of Bible Times.)

Bread Of Life.

A manger is a feeding trough out of which the animals ate, of course.  But the Holy Spirit is drawing pictures here for us, showing us that Jesus is the Bread of Life.  The purpose of bread is to EAT IT IT for nourishment!  And where was Jesus born?  In Bethlehem, which means, “HOUSE OF BREAD!” 😮 These are beautiful, Holy Spirit word pictures to warm, nourish, and encourage all of us. Oh how much our Heavenly Father loved us! He sent His only Son, His beloved Son, Jesus, to go through all that He did to redeem you and me. HALLELUJAH! 💖

Eder Migdol.

As you know, the Shepherds were out in the fields watching over their flocks to protect them from predators, staying awake all night for the sake of their flocks.  That’s dedication for you! 😮 This particular night was a very dark one until, suddenly, a bright light shone all around them (where God is, there can be NO darkness!🙌🏻) and the Glory of the LORD shone all around them.  An Angel of the LORD, probably Gabriel, appeared before them and spoke to them the words in the opening scripture.

The two passages below from Genesis and Micah complete the picture of what the shepherds understood from the angel’s message:

Rachael’s Tomb.
Genesis 35:20-22
20″ And JACOB set a pillar on her grave, which is the pillar of Rachel’s grave to this day.  21 Then ISRAEL journeyed and pitched his tent beyond the TOWER OF EDER. {This is a reference to Eder Migdol, or the Tower of  the Flock}


Micah 4:8
8″ And you, O tower of the flock, {in Hebrew “Eder Migdol”} 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.” {A reference to the Messiah}

Did you notice the name change from “JACOB-Deceiver,” to ISRAEL-Prince of God? God uses his given name, “Jacob,” when he operates in the natural. But when he is believing God by faith, he uses his glorified name, “Israel.” 😁🙌🏻
A BIG Clue.

Here is why the “WRAPPED IN SWADDLING CLOTHES” part was such a big clue, like G.P.S……

As you know, under the Old Covenant all sacrifices offered at the temple had to be “Without spot or blemish.” At this place, called “The tower of the flock,” or “Eder Migdol” in Hebrew, there was a watch tower where shepherds could keep an eye on their flocks and have a good view of the surrounding landscape.
But it also was where certain ewes were brought to give birth to their young. These lambs were specially bred to be used as temple sacrifices.  As such, they could not have any cuts, scratches, bruises, etc.
Just below Eder Migdol was a STONE MANGER where the above, newly-born lambs were placed, securely “SWADDLED in linen cloths.” Why?
Because when lambs are first born, they are quite playful and rambunctious, like all baby animals.  Since sacrificial lambs had to be perfect, they were swaddled and laid in a manger to prevent them from jumping around, injuring themselves, and thus becoming unfit to be used as a sacrifices.
This manger would have been well-known to every shepherd.  No doubt they were also well aware of the two references above about Rachael’s burial and the passage in Micah.
If you read part 3, you also know that the stable in which Jesus was born belonged to the house that Jacob built not far from where his beloved Rachael was buried. It was the house that a young shepherd lived who took good care of his father’s sheep, some of whose young were swaddled, laid in a manger, and used in temple sacrifices. No wonder he took such good care of those sheep! That same young man went on to become Israel’s greatest king, David.
See what I mean? God couldn’t have erected a flashing neon sign that pointed more precisely to the place where Jesus was born! 💖 ↘️
Hidden Message.
Why go through all this trouble to hide the message about the Messiah? Because the devil down through history was constantly seeking to either prevent Jesus’ birth or kill Him after He was born. Remember the curse in Genesis 3? The “SEED of the woman” would come and crush satan’s head. He didn’t want his head crushed! He was desperate to stop God’s Champion. Fortunately for us, he isn’t a mind reader and didn’t have a score card to tell the players.
So, now you know how the shepherds knew EXACTLY where Jesus was born and how to find him because long ago, in the scriptures, God had written clues for the Shepherds to follow.  He knew they’d be very familiar with the sign of Jonah, the “Swaddling clothes,” and Eder Migdol:  The Tower of the Flock.
Jesus’ parents took him to the Temple when he was a a baby  to offer sacrifices according to Mosaic Law.  What happened there is more than just a chance meeting of two people who were looking expectantly for their Messiah:  There’s a wonderful message to us from our Father!
You may follow the link below to Part 5.  We’ll be discussing that very topic:

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