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The Shepherds & the Angel By haRold Smith

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The Shepherds & the Angel By haRold Smith

Post  Admin on Mon 09 Dec 2013, 8:27 pm

The Shepherds & the Angel 
The Birth 

By haRold Smith 
A citizen of the Commonwealth 
(Ephesians 2:12) 

"In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world
should be registered. And all went to be registered, each to his own town.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea,
to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house
and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was
with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths
and laid him in the manger because there was no place for them in the inn. 

"And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch
over their flock by night. And an angel of YHVH appeared to them, and the
glory of YHVH shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the
angel said to them, 'Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great
joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the
city of David a savior, who is Yeshua haMashiach. And this will be a sign
for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in the
manger. ' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly
host praising YHVH and saying, 'Glory to YHVH in the highest, and on earth
peace among those with whom He is pleased!' 

"When the angels went away from them, the shepherds said to one another, 
Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the
Lord has made known to us.' And they went with haste and found Mary and
Joseph, and the baby, lying in the manger. And when they saw it, they made
known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who
heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all
these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising YHVH for all they had heard and seen, as it had been
told them." Luke 2:1-20 

Luke's original audience would have immediately picked up on the religious
significance of the Bethlehem shepherds watching their flocks by night.
Aware of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and the Jewish Temple worship of the day
they would have known that when you said Bethlehem, you said "sacrificial
lambs". The hills around Bethlehem were home to the thousands of lambs used
in ritual worship in the Temple. As a boy from Bethlehem, King David would
likely have tended sheep destined for the daily offerings or used in the
sacrifices on the high holidays in these very hills. Every day, according to
the Torah, two lambs were required for a daily sacrifice in the Temple,
meaning that 730 were needed each year plus the tens of thousands more lambs
needed for Pesach (Passover) as well as for the other religious rituals.
Everyone in Israel recognized Bethlehem as being synonymous with sacrificial
lambs. 

The twice-daily offering of a male lamb as commanded in the Torah was known
as the tamiyd meaning continual (found in verse 3 of Numbers 28:1-8 (click
on highlighted words to see scripture). It was offered up as the first
offering and the last offering of each day and, scripturally, is the only
sacrifice that strictly called for a male lamb without spot or blemish that
could not be replaced. The requirements of the sacrifice at Pesach
(Passover) could actually be a goat or a bullock as well as a lamb
(Leviticus 22:19-21). The Hebrew word tamiym, (translated for lambs "without
spot or blemish" ) means complete, whole, entire, sound and is the same word
used as "perfect" describing Noah in Genesis 6:9 and by YHVH to Abraham in
Genesis 17:1. The tamiyd was sacrificed the third hour every morning, the
same time as when Yeshua was hoisted up onto the stake (Mark 15:25, Mishnah:
Tamid 3:7; Edersheim, The Temple, chapter 7, p. 108) and the ninth hour
every afternoon when Yeshua was offered up as that sacrificial lamb (Mark
15:34-37, Antiquities of the Jews 14.4.3 & 14:65; Philo Special Laws I,
XXXV-169), once and for all, continually every day of the year as the
atonement for the ignorance of what it means to be separated from the
Presence of YHVH (Exodus 29:38-42); and becoming the motivation behind
Yeshua's words, "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do" - the
sacrifice for the sin of ignorance (Luke 23:33-35, Leviticus 5:17-19). 

Hearing that Yeshua was born in Bethlehem would have automatically
triggered an image of the Lamb of YHVH who takes away the sin of the choices
of men which result in a separation from the Presence of the Holy One of
Israel beginning with Adam in Genesis 3. With that in mind, it's easy for us
to imagine one of Luke's listeners saying, 'Of course the Lamb of YHVH would
originate in Bethlehem - all the lambs for sacrifice came from there.' It
would be natural for them to pick up on this imagery. 

Every event in Yeshua's life pointed toward His prophesied death. On the
night of His birth, an angel appeared to the shepherds who were out in the
fields, "keeping watch over their flock by night" and instructed them: "you
will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger" (Luke 2,
above). The shepherds immediately responded, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and
see this thing that has come to pass, which haShem (the Name) has made known
to us" (v. 15). Where would they have known to go - since there were no
directions provided? 

Micah, the Jewish prophet who foretold of haMashiach&# 39;s (the Messiah' s) birth
in Bethlehem, also prophesied, "And you, O Tower of the Flock (in Hebrew,
Migdal Eder), the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, unto you shall it come
even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of
Jerusalem" (Micah 4:8). Although obscure and often overlooked, Micah
disclosed that the Messiah, who embodied the hope of the Kingdom, "was to be
revealed from Migdal Eder - 'the Tower of the Flock'." Close by where the
shepherds were camped that night, in the northern part of Bethlehem on the
road to Jerusalem (less than an hour's journey by foot), was the tower known
as Migdal Eder, the "watch- tower of the flock." This was the station where
shepherds brought their flocks destined for sacrifices in the Temple. For
animals found as far from Jerusalem to the north of Bethlehem and within
that circuit on every side, the males were offered as burnt-offerings, the
females as peace-offerings. 

On the night in which Yeshua was born, the angelic message came to those
priests of the Temple whose duties had been designated, often from their
youth, to "keeping watch over their flock." These were not just any flock
and herd. The shepherds who kept them were men who were specifically trained
for this royal task. They were educated in what an animal that was to be
sacrificed had to be and it was their job to make sure that none of the
animals were hurt, damaged or blemished. During lambing season the sheep
were brought to the tower from the fields, as the lower level functioned as
the birthing room for sacrificial lambs. Being themselves under special
rabbinical care, these priests would strictly maintain a ceremonially clean
birthing place. Once birthed, the priestly shepherds would routinely place
the lambs in the hewn depression of a limestone rock known as "the manger"
and "wrap the newborn lambs in swaddling clothes," preventing them from
thrashing about and harming themselves "until they had calmed down" so they
could be inspected for the quality of being "without spot or blemish" (ibid,
the Jewish oral tradition & Alfred Edersheim, the Life and Times of Jesus
the Messiah). 

There was no need for the angels to give these shepherds directions to the
birth place because they already knew. These were the men who raised
sacrificial lambs that were sacrificed in the Temple. When the angelic
announcement came, they knew exactly where to go, as Luke 2 indicates, for
the sign of the manger could only mean the manger at the base of the Tower
of the Flock, as it is found in the original Greek wording of Luke 2:7,12
and 16! You cannot explain the meaning or direction of the sign they were
given or their response unless you have the right manger, the right
shepherds and the proper Hebraic perspective. 


...remains of Migdal Eder today 
Approaching this subject from the Hebrew perspective will show, that while
swaddling "cloths" were used in the handling of newborn babies, swaddling 
bands" (as referenced in Job 38:9) were used for subduing animals prior to
sacrifice. These "swaddling bands" were strips of gauze-like cloth used to
restrain a lamb being prepared for inspection before sacrifice to prevent
thrashing that they not "blemish" themselves. A sacrifice had to be "bound"
(Hebrew `aqad) in order to be valid. "Binding" an animal for sacrifice is
the Hebrew akeida (ibid, Hebrew Glossary and Terminology) ; specifically
mentioned in Abraham' s "binding" of Yitzchak (Isaac) for sacrifice to the
Almighty in Genesis 22:9 (this particular sacrifice was, of course, never
consummated) . The tense used in the original Greek of Luke 2:12 shows He
will be found "having been swaddled" without any indication of what that 
swaddling" consisted of. So, it is not a stretch to see the newborn Yeshua
in the sign of "the manger" of the birthing room of Migdal Eder "having been
swaddled" in the bands used on the tamyid lambs brought there for inspection
before sacrifice. 

Tradition would have us believe that Joseph and Mary became "stuck" in an
animal stable as a means of last resort to give birth to the Son of YaHoVeH.
However, there is no evidence found anywhere in scripture to support that
assertion. The Greek word used in Luke 2:7 for "inn" is kataluma, which is
the same Greek word translated as "guestchamber& quot; in Mark 14:14 and Luke
22:11. This scripture speaks of "no room in the kataluma" - not "inn" .
Kataluma would have been a guest room in the family home. Here is the
scriptural account: Boaz was the great-grandfather of King David
(1Chronicles 2:12-15, Matthew 1:5-6). of whose lineage came Joseph, wedded
to Mary, who gave birth to Yeshua known as haMashiach (the Messiah). Boaz
owned a threshing floor in Bethlehem which, by right of inheritance, was
handed down to succeeding generations within the lineage of David (Ruth 2:4,
Ruth 3:1-2). Herod may have been King in Israel, but the Caesar (emperor)
was Augustus. Augustus ordered a census of the entire Roman world, which
meant that all people had to return to their place of origin. Joseph was a
descendant of the house and lineage of David and so returned from Nazareth
in Galilee, to the family home in Bethlehem in Judea (Bethlehem was the town
of David). Mary, betrothed to Joseph, went with him (see Hebrew Betrothal
Customs). 

According to the Torah, when a woman had an issue of blood for any reason,
she was ritually unclean for that time and for seven days thereafter. She
remained ceremonially unclean until she was purified by entering a mikvah
(water immersion) in the witnessing presence of a rabbi. While she was
ritually unclean, she had to live separately from the rest of the family so
as not to defile the people in the household and by her presence rendering
them ceremonially unclean. Therefore, during those times, the woman would
leave and stay in a nearby area where she would not defile the home.
(Leviticus 15:19-23). During childbirth and with the issue of blood loss,
the same rule applied to women giving birth. If she were to give birth in
the common living area, she would defile the family and make it necessary
for them to be ceremonially purified by both a ritual immersion and a
sacrifice; therefore, women would leave the home and give birth elsewhere.
After the cessation of blood and the required time of waiting for
purification, the woman and child would perform the necessary rituals of
purification to be ceremonially clean and return to the household with the
rest of the family. Thus, with this understanding, there being "'no place
for them in the kataluma" would be regarded as completely appropriate. But
this is no indication that she would be summarily ostracized to reside in a
stable of animals by her family who cared for her well-being. 

Just above the shepherd' s field, northeast of modern Bethlehem, lie the
ruins of ancient Bethlehem Ephratah (Micah 5:2); Genesis 35:19 and 48:7 both
state that Rachel was buried at "Ephrath, which is Bethlehem." Ephrath or
Ephrathah was the ancient name for the area that was also called Bethlehem.
It seems reasonable that Joseph and Mary would have come to their family's
ancestral home with hope that the Messiah would be born in the place where
David was born. Archeologists have become convinced that they have found the
ruins of a structure about forty yards up the hill from the ruins of Migdal
Eder, the Tower of the Flock - although it will never become public
knowledge because of the highly lucrative nature of the Roman Catholic
Church's ownership of the tourist attraction known as the "Church of the
Nativity" in Bethlehem. It does not take a leap of imagination to envision
how Joseph and Mary, coming from a family whose local roots containing the
seed of royalty went back centuries, could have found her birthing place in
the sacrificial birth room of the Temple of YHVH. It would be so like the
Father to arrange it this way. 


Surprise! This event did not happen in the winter of December 25th 

Yeshua was born earlier, in the fall, during the festival of Sukkoth, "the
Feast of Tabernacles. " Yeshua was 33 1/2 years old at the time of his death.
His ministry begins at age 30 (Luke 3:23). with his baptism by John the
Immerser approximately six months prior to the first Passover of His
ministry (John 2:13, John 1:33-34, John 2:23). The second Passover is
recorded in John 5:1. If the "feast" mentioned here is not the Passover
Feast, then it would be one of the other two major feasts, either the Feast
of Weeks (seven weeks after the second Passover) or the Feast of Tabernacles
(six months after the second Passover) - but, still occurring within the
same year. The third Passover, at the feeding of the 5,000, is mentioned in
John 6:4 with the fourth and final Passover, coming when he is crucified,
mentioned in John 11:55. Using this chronological information, it appears
that Yeshua's ministry lasted around 3 1/2 years. He was crucified at Pesach
(Passover) which occurs in the spring (John 19:13-15). So, dialing back six
months to the beginning of his public ministry at age 30 would place it into
early fall (September or October as there are six months between Passover
and the Feast of Tabernacles) which would also be when Yeshua was born 30
years earlier - not in December. Sukkoth (the feast of Tabernacles) is also
marked in late September to early October (depending on the lunar cycle).
John 1:14 tells us that the Word became flesh and "dwelt" among us. The
Hebrew word for "dwell" used in Exodus 29:45 is shakan and means "tabernacle
. By inserting the proper wording, the scripture now reads, "The Word became
flesh and Tabernacled among us". It would be so like the Father to arrange
it this way. 

It is noteworthy to observe that in this time of wide spread celebration of
the birth of the Son of Truth - nothing about marking this event is
celebrated IN Truth. In fact, this event, coming to be known as Christmas,
has become the complete antithesis of Truth. Regardless of where your belief
reference lies regarding Yeshua, there were some simple instructions given
to Gentile believers coming into the faith of this One True God of Israel in
Acts 15:20. We are told, in no uncertain terms, to not partake of anything
sacrificed to idols - period. And, yet, my email box has been stuffed from
people who say they believe in Truth that are full of references and well
wishes to this modern idol of mammon, trees and other gods (Exodus 20:3,
Jeremiah 10:1-5). 

For centuries, this has been the tradition of "Christian- think" - we are
free by "God' s grace" to do whatever we want. If we embrace something that
is clearly against His standards but not quite reprehensible enough to us,
we can "pray" over it, use the "right" lingo and "presto" , it becomes
transformed into something this universal god of Christianity "winks at" for
us to partake of. What we give obeisance to, what we serve, is what we
worship. (Deuteronomy 11:16, Luke 4:8). Pagan rituals of any sort (Christmas
Easter, Valentine' s Day, Halloween, etc) are an indication of worship. Most
believers and scholars agree that Christmas is not based in Yeshua's birth.
Regardless of from where it has its roots (a quick Google search on "the
origins of Christmas" will show where) - if we know the Truth, then why
would we want to compromise what we know as Truth to settle for something
less than Truth regardless of how attractive it may seem? And then, by the
extension of our actions, teach our children to believe a lie? The world
does not acknowledge YHVH and Yeshua during Christmas when they fall at the
feet of and worship the idol mammon. When believers in Yeshua attempt to
paint a false face on this blatant idol worship to try and make it more
palatable for them so they can participate in it and not feel ostracized,
they are not worshipping the One True God of Israel. You cannot serve two
masters (Matthew 6:24). 

"But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship
the Father in Spirit and in Truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him.
John 4:23 


???Questions? ?? 
Please feel free to email me at harold@hethathasanear.com. While not
claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you
of what the Spirit is uncovering in these days. 

"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love you." (Psalm
122:6) 
(prosper - from the Hebrew, "shalav" , meaning "to be at rest") 

Please visit the website http://hethathasanear.com for other articles and
videos 
or for information if you feel led to contribute to this ministry. 
Click here to watch the short movie Maranatha!. 

Shalom Alechem B'Shem Yeshua HaMashiach. 
(Peace be unto you in the Name of Yeshua the Messiah) 
haRold Smith
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