Acting upon His mercy, God sent His Son to be born under the Bethlehem stars, the perfect Lamb of God, the flawless sacrifice for sin. Did you know that many theologians believe Jesus was born in a special stable used specifically for the sacrificial lambs?
One year I wrote a post about the birth of the last sacrifice. I had no idea about Migdal Edar and the significance of the birthplace of our Savior. (A good friend shared with me this intriguing and delicious nugget of the Christmas story–thanks, Maureen!)
I had written:
Has it ever occurred to anyone how nothing about Jesus’ life and purpose was easy? Even HIS birth took place in hardship by our human standards.
But then again, maybe God just wanted HIS creation to witness Hope being born. Each star, named by God, held its breath as the Son of God arrived. Could creation itself imagine how this story of redemption would run its course? How it would end in death way before the Savior’s time?
Can we fathom such sacrifice?
Now I know. God didn’t simply desire creation to witness His Son’s birth; there was significance to the place where the Lamb of God would take His first breath. This is a key prophecy:
“As for you, O watchtower of the flock (Migdal Edar) , O stronghold of the Daughter of Zion, the former dominion will be given you; kingship will come to the Daughter of Jerusalem.” Micah 4:8.
This is the prophecy of the Saviors birth that connects the “watchtower of the flock” to that star-lit night. It may be hard for us to understand, but focus on the promise that “kingship will come to the Daughter of Jerusalem.” That king was Jesus.
The “Tower of the Flock”
Its Hebrew name, Migdal Edar, was a place highly esteemed in Jewish tradition because Jacob moved his flocks there after he buried his dear Rachel who died in childbirth. Rachel was buried in Bethlehem. Migdal Edar was on the edge of the town. Jerusalem sat only a few miles away.
Migdal Edar had been built generations earlier to overlook the valley to protect the city. Many ancient towers had been built throughout the land for this purpose, but in peaceful times the towers were used by shepherds to guard the sheep. The shepherds would bring the ewes close to delivering their lambs to the towers for greater protection.
This was a common practice, but Migdal Edar was no ordinary “tower of the flock” because the lambs in these fields outside of Bethlehem were not your normal, everyday sheep. “These special lambs came from a unique flock that was designated for sacrifice at the temple in Jerusalem.” (bibletruth.org)
And the shepherds weren’t any old shepherds. They were special too, trained by priests to inspect the newly born lambs who were destined for sacrifice. The cave or stall where the tower stood and where they inspected the lambs would be impeccably clean. These lambs could have no imperfections nor be dirty. They were “wrapped in cloths” to protect them from injury.
Wrapped in Cloths
In my Radiant Influence Esther study I explained,
The shepherd’s field lay near Bethlehem only five miles from Jerusalem and the Temple. When the angels appeared to the shepherds and promised a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths (not clothes), lying in a manger, the angel’s words were a clue. The shepherds would know where to go because in this field, after the lambs were inspected carefully by the priestly shepherds to verify their perfection, they were wrapped in special cloths to prevent injury and insure cleanliness.
Unable to find a room in the inn, Mary and Joseph found themselves exactly where God wanted them to be. It was the cleanest stable in town, and a perfect, swaddling blanket was provided. It’s these little details, so symbolic, so powerful, that get me. God does not miss one amazing element to the story.
I always assumed the cloths were all she had, but now I know that the cloths were provided. They were at the special tower where sacrificial lambs were born. And the Lamb of all lambs would be wrapped in them.
Keep on Seeking
This wonderful truth is just one breadcrumb that leads to the glorious promise of God’s goodness and kindness. He doesn’t miss one detail, one clue to help us find His Son, the Savior of the world.
It was a dark summer night when I came back to my faith in Jesus over thirty years ago, but the darkness could not overtake my joy or the new light that dawned in my soul. There is no hope without the lamb of God who took away the sins of the world. I am indebted to that little baby born under the stars, God wrapped in skin. We all are.
If you haven’t found Him, or you want more, don’t stop seeking. Don’t stop searching. Study His Word. Discover the other breadcrumbs that lead to deeper understanding of the Father’s plan, the Son’s sacrifice, and the Spirit’s role in our lives today. Studying the Word does not get us into heaven, but it brings heaven to us. If you need help seeking and studying, join me on this journey.