Skip to comments.Peace on Earth, good will toward men.
Posted on 12/11/2005 4:20:21 PM PST by clee1
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Amen. Nice FR home page, by the way.
To this day, it still strikes me of one of the warmest and most comforting passages in the bible....much like Linus' blanket.
The Shepherds of Bethlehem and Jewish Tradition
When angels appeared to shepherds near Bethlehem by night, a popular expectation was fulfilled. An early Jewish paraphrase of the books of Moses reflects a popular belief in Bethlehem as Messiahs birthplace and shepherds as the witnesses. This popular belief, no doubt, sprang from the ancient prophecy in Micah of a ruler from ancient days being born in Bethlehem14.
The Jewish paraphrase in question is Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, which translated the Hebrew text of the books of Moses into the language most Jewish people spoke at the time, Aramaic. While translating these books of the Bible, the Targum often added some commentary to the text (the first study Bible?).
In one such comment from Genesis 35:21, the Targum includes a historical note about the place called Migdal Eder (the Tower of the Flock): The tower of the flock, the place from which it will happen that King Messiah will be revealed at the end of days.15
What possible significance could this little reference have? The Tower of the Flock is significant for two reasons. First of all, it shows up in the very prophecy of the Messiah that led the Jewish people to expect Messiah to be born in Bethlehem, Micah 4:6 5:5. Second of all, the Tower of the Flock is just outside of Bethlehem, on the road to Jerusalem. The tower was used as a watchtower for the area to look for predators that might harm the flocks16. Therefore, there is a tradition from the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan that the Messiah would first be revealed to shepherds near the watchtower of the flock outside of Bethlehemjust as it actually happened!
Not only do we learn from Jewish sources that the Messiah should be first revealed to shepherds, but we also learn that these were no ordinary sheep-herders. A Jewish book called the Mishnah tells us that all sheep raised between Jerusalem and the Tower of Eder were for use in the Temple sacrifices, especially the Passover lambs17. These shepherds were involved in a sacred duty, raising sheep destined for use in the Temple.
While it is true that Jesus was first revealed as Messiah to a lowly bunch of shepherds, these were shepherds with a special significance. They were raising lambs for the slaughter. And to them was given the first glimpse of the lamb of God, who would be slain for the sins of Israel and the world!
Jesus whole life placed him prophetically in the role of a sacrificial lamb. More than seven hundred years before he was born, Isaiah said about the Messiah, He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.18 At the very beginning of his ministry, before he ever said a word to anyone about his upcoming death on a Roman cross, John the Baptist said of him, Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.19 And at his birth, he was first shown to those who raised lambs for the slaughter.
Me too, FRiend. Yet, for all it's comfort, it still makes me weep - which is out of character for me.
I cannot listen to sacred Christmas carols unless I am alone... too embarassing.
To think of the depths of Gods love for us and the Miracle of Christ's birth, ministry, death, and resurrection affects me profoundly.
Then, I get nearly violent at what the secularists are trying to do to Christmas.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Warmest tidings of Merry Christmas to you, FRiend.
And never, ever, let the secularists steal your blanket!
Like the head of the class.
I went to a Catholic school, and I never forgot the lessons I learned in my catechism class. Thanks much for the sweet reminder.
Beautiful post, clee1! Merry Christmas to you and yours, and to all FReepers everywhere! chena
I felt shivers running up and down my spine.... it's like you're inside my head!
Yep, I can hear the Choir of Angels singing.
Don't worry FRiend; the secularists and leftists (or am I being redundant?) will NEVER steal my salvation, or my Savior.
I prefer to think of it as "an Angel loses his/her halo", but that I just not possible from earthly influences.
Anytime FRiend. The internet was just a tool of academic eggheads when I was still doing homework. :)
I knew I had heard that story before. As I was thinking about it, it was several years ago when a former minister of my Church was telling us of this. He was a biblical historian/archeologist in his younger days, and was always providing historical tidbits to back up his sermons.
Thank you. My hope is the Administrator
doesn't move this. It is the most important
message of eternity.
Thank you again, for posting this.
My priviledge, FRiend, and thank you.
While I agree that this IS and important message, the MOST important message of eternity can be found in John Chapter 3 Verse 16.
Merry Christmas to you.
There is a little bit missing, but it is important.
the traslation above is WEB. Other translations have just a little more reference to whom is blessed.
"Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased." (ASV)
Peace to whomever God is pleased with.
Thank you for reminding us.
The only problem with that translation, FRiend, is that there is only one person in the Bible with whom God was "well pleased". That would be Jesus Himself.
I think that God is "pleased" with all people of good will. "Well pleased" is an altogether higher standard.
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