DIG for Wednesday the 13th of December…..the shepherds were people of influence and importance…..Luke 2 v 12

For many years I used to wonder why the angel of the Lord and the heavenly host announced the birth of Jesus to a bunch of shepherds.

I actually wondered why they did not announce the birth of the Lord to people if influence and importance.

It is only recently that I have discovered (through rightly dividing the Word) that the shepherds were actually people of influence and importance.

We know the Word tells us that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem.

Too many people however still think that He was born in stable, even though the Word does not say this!

The Word tells us He would be born at Migdal Eder (Micah 5:2 and 4:8).

Migdal Eder was the watchtower of the flock, the place at Bethlehem where the Temple shepherds looked after the temple flock; the flock that ‘produced’ the sacrificial lambs for the essential temple sacrifices.

These shepherds were people of influence and importance; they were the Temple shepherds, the men who knew all about sacrificial lambs!

The angel of the Lord said they would know Jesus from a sign, with the sign being that He was wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Why would this be a sign?

Well, when the sacrificial lambs were born the Temple shepherds examined them and if they were perfect they would be wrapped in swaddling clothes to keep them perfect!

Jesus was the perfect and last sacrificial lamb, and He was ‘inspected’ by the very special shepherds at His birth.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for Jesus, our perfect and best sacrificial lamb”.

Luke 2 v 12…..And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger

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DIG for Tuesday the 12th of December…..how many wise men…..Matthew 2 v 1

Well, I was hoping to write some DIGs about how ‘wrong’ the narrative about the birth of Jesus really is, but I’ve not got round to it yet (see DIG on December 1st).

My big ‘new’ revelation this year is why we have such an emphasis on the 3 wise men coming to see Jesus at His birth.

Looking at the Word we can clearly see that the wise men actually came to see Jesus when he was about 18 or 24 months old, and they actually came when He was home in Nazareth.

The Bible does not tell us how many wise men there were, but tradition says three (Matthew 2 v 1).

The Bible says the wise men met Jesus as a young child (look at the Greek) and not a baby (Matthew 2 v 11).

The Bible tells us that Jesus was taken home to Nazareth after going to Jerusalem, and that was where the wise men met Him (Matthew 2 v 11 and Luke 2 v 22 and 39).

So why is tradition so strong in telling us that the 3 Wise Men were in the stable at the birth of Jesus.

I believe that the Lord told me the answer to this question; it is to take away from the significance of the shepherds.

If we look at the Word we can see that the only people to see Jesus at his birth, other than Mary and Joseph, were the shepherds.

And if we understand whom these shepherds were we could see why Jesus was born, we get an amazing piece of typology about the mission of Jesus.

If we understand about the shepherds we can see that Jesus was born to die!

More later!

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that we can read the truth about the birth of Jesus in your Word”.

Matthew 2 v 1…..Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem

DIG for Sunday the 25th of December….. He was THE sacrificial lamb; He came for YOU…..1 Peter 1 v 19

Looking at the evidence from the last couple of days could we could conclude that Jesus was born at Migdal Eder (Shepherds Field) on the edge of Bethlehem and not in a stable at the inn.

Scripture, prophecy and Rabbinical commentaries point to this fact.

Of course Jesus was born here!

This was the birthplace of every sacrificial lamb; Jesus was THE sacrificial lamb.

The birthplace of Jesus is an amazing piece of typology; this birth place points to Him being our sacrificial lamb.

Luke 2 v 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2 v 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

Luke 2 v 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

The first people to see Jesus were the shepherds.

The word says they were in the same country this means close by.

Is it significant that God sent angels to tell the shepherds?

Is it significant that the shepherds were the first to see Jesus?

Why were the shepherds first was the question I always used to ask.

I believe these were not just any shepherds.

I think they were the temple shepherds, watching their flocks at Migdal Eder.

They could go and see Jesus (without a dereliction of duty and leaving their sheep) because they were already there at His birth place.

The shepherds in Luke 2 were the temple shepherds.

They saw Jesus after His birth at Migdal Eder, the place where all the sacrificial lambs were born.

These shepherds knew a sacrificial lamb when they saw one; they had inspected all the ones before Jesus to ensure that they were spotless, perfect and without blemish.

How fitting that they should be the first to see Jesus.

Nothing in scripture is meaningless.

There had to be a reason that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and was seen by shepherds.

Once we know about Migdal Eder and the temple shepherds it all makes sense.

His birth is a picture of His mission and His death.

He is THE sacrificial lamb; He would deal with the sin of the whole world through HIS sacrifice on the cross.

His birth points to the cross.

Of course He was born at Migdal Eder, in the watch tower of the flock.

Of course it was the temple shepherds who saw Him first.

They were always the first people to see the sacrificial lambs.

Perfect lambs were used to cover the sins of the people; Jesus removed the sin of the whole world.

John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Jesus was the perfect sacrifice; we no longer need any more Passover lambs; Jesus was THE last sacrificial lamb.

1Peter 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

1Peter 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

1Peter 1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

1Peter 1:21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

Jesus was not born in a stable by the inn in Bethlehem; He was born in Migdal Eder, at the watch tower of the flock, by Bethlehem.

The birth of Jesus is a picture of how he would die, and what he’d die for; He would die as a sacrificial lamb for the sins of the whole world…AMEN

Speak this out today…..”Thank you for Jesus; thank you for my sacrificial lamb”.

1 Peter 1 v 19…..But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

DIG for Friday the 23rd of December….. the Kingdom shall come at the tower of the flock; Migdal Eder…..Micah 4 v 8

Yesterday we started looking at where Jesus was born; saying we cannot say for certain that He was born in a stable. We need to look at more scripture to answer the question about His birth.

Micah 5 v 2….. But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. 

Micah 4 v 8….. And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.

Micah 5 v 2 tells us that the ruler of Israel will be born in or near Bethlehem. This will not just be any ruler but this will be the ruler from “of old, from everlasting”; this is talking about Jesus.

Micah 4 v 8 is a part of a prophecy about the Messiah, and says that He will come at a place called the “tower of the flock”. This is the word “Migdal Eder”. This verse is literally saying that the Messiah will come at the tower of the flock or, literally, Migdal Eder.

So, the Gospels say He was born at or near Bethlehem and Micah says Bethlehem and more specifically a place called Migdal Eder. So what you may be saying. Now we have to move to archaeology and history!

Where or what is Migdal Eder?

Migdal Eder is mentioned in the Targum; this is like a commentary on the Old Testament scriptures that was written by Rabbis. There are a number of translations or paraphrases of the scriptures in the Targum.

The following is taken from the Targum, based on Micah 4 v 8 and Genesis 35…..

“He spread his tent beyond Migdal Eder, the place where the King Messiah will reveal Himself at the end of days”

So the Rabbis, well before the birth of Jesus, took their reading of scripture to mean that Jesus would be born at this place called Migdal Eder.

As well as the Targum, the Jews had a set of oral teaching called the Mishnah. Again this is a set of teachings from respected Rabbis well before the birth of Jesus. We know already that Migdal Eder literally means the “watch tower of the flock”.

The Mishnah tells us that this is the place where the ewes from the special temple flock were kept to give birth to the Passover lambs. This is where the lambs used in the Passover sacrifice were born and checked for purity. They were checked for purity by the special shepherds who were in charge of the temple flock.

You should be getting excited now in the picture that is emerging; more again tomorrow.

Micah 4 v 8….. And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem

DIG for Thursday the 22nd of December….. where was Jesus really born…..Luke 2 v 7

To most people, included non-believers, this is a really simple answer; He was born in a stable at an inn in Bethlehem.

The answer however is not as straight forward as this.

Like many things in the church today the facts about the birth of Jesus have been twisted by religion and tradition, and the true meaning around His birth has been lost.

You will read over the next four DIGs that Jesus was not born in a stable in Bethlehem.

You will see that He was born near Bethlehem in a watch tower, and His birth is a wonderful picture of His work and ministry; His birth is a picture of Him being our perfect sacrificial lamb.

Take the time today to read my understanding of some special scriptures and then take the time to study this out for yourself; I can assure you that it will be time well spent.

What does the Word actually say about the birth of Jesus?

Matthew 2 v 1….. Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

 Luke 2 v 4 to 7….. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

 Luke 2 v 11…..For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

 Those three verses are all that the Gospels say about the birthplace of Jesus.

I agree that they say in Bethlehem, however the Greek could also mean on, at or near by.

Nowhere in scripture does it say that Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem.

He was not born at the inn, but that does not automatically mean that He was born in the stable at the inn; these three scriptures do not tell us where He was born.

Luke writes that He was placed in a manger.

The Greek word for manger means crib for fodder or stall; so He was placed in a container that was used to feed animals.

So it could have been a stable, but then again it could have been any building used to keep domesticated animals in.

If we are honest the scriptures at the start of the Gospels do not explicitly tell us the birth place of Jesus.

So are there any other scriptures to shed light on this?

More in the next DIG tomorrow…………………

Luke 2 v 7…..And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn

DIG for Wednesday the 21st of December….the importance of the Word…..2 Timothy 2 v 15

Before I write the next 4 DIGs I want to remind you about the importance of the Word of God.

If we want to know something about the Lord this is where we should look.

The bible should be the first place we look for truth, indeed it should be the final arbitrator of truth.

Take for example healing; we find out the truth about healing in the Word from Isaiah 53 v 4 and 5 and 1 Peter 2 v 24 for example.

The same is true for prosperity; we find out the truth about prosperity in 2 Corinthians 8 v 9.

Indeed the Word shows us that the Lord wants us, above all things, to live in health and prosperity (3 John 2).

So if we want to learn about the birth of Jesus we should look to the Bible and not the traditions of men.

This is true if we want to find out about the birthplace of Jesus; we should look to the Word of God and not to the traditions of men.

My DIGs over the next four days will look at this very topic.

I pray that you read these DIGs with you Bible close at hand, so that you can check for yourself what I am writing.

I pray that you read these DIGs with an open heart and open mind, ready to marvel at where Jesus was born.

I pray that these DIGs bless you and I speak out over you right now that you have a blessed Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for your Word and thank you for the truths held within”.

2 Timothy 2 v 15…..Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth

DIG for Monday the 19th of December…..would you ever consider leaving your Christmas gifts unopened…..Isaiah 9 v 6

In the run up to Christmas we often hear about Jesus being given as a gift from God, and that is indeed true.

As a Son he was given (Isaiah 9 v 6).

And through His finished work Jesus gave men many other gifts including healing, prosperity, acceptance and abundance.

Gifts however are worthless if they are not accepted, opened and used.

Gifts are given to be used.

The same is true of the gift of Jesus.

Through His finished work all men have been forgiven and reconciled to God however the benefit of this is not received unless Jesus is accepted.

Once Jesus has been accepted there are lots of other gifts to be accepted and used.

Healing is a gift; please don’t ignore it and stay sick.

Prosperity is a gift; don’t stay in a state of poverty.

I have never once seen my children or grand-daughter leave a Christmas gift unopened; pretty quickly on Christmas morning the room is awash with ripped up wrapping paper with ever present exposed and examined.

Jesus gave His Son so that we could have the possibility of righteousness and salvation, thus opening the way to all His other gifts bought for us at the cross.

If you are reading this DIG I am assuming that you have accepted the gift of Jesus, so this Christmas do not leave any gift from Jesus unopened, accept every one!

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for the gift of Jesus and thank you for all the other gifts He bought for us through His finished work on the cross”.

Isaiah 9 v 6….. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…..

DIG for Saturday the 17th of December…..was the baby Jesus really the greatest gift ever given…..Isaiah 9 v 6

It is not often I quote another minister or pastor in my DIGs however I thought a statement I read today was worthy of discussion.

Andrew Farley wrote, “God’s greatest gift is not baby Jesus living in Bethlehem. It is Jesus living in you today. Nevertheless, Jesus’ humanity was indispensable to our eternity with Him”.

I found this very interesting, given that quite a lot of what we read around this time of year is about the gift of Jesus from God.

God gave us his Son (Isaiah 9 v 6).

God’s plan of redemption for man was Jesus coming to this earth in flesh and dealing with our sin on the cross.

Because of His finished work we can, as a gift of grace through faith, be born again, saved and made righteous.

Because of His finished work we can, as a gift of grace, have the indwelling Almighty God living on the inside of us.

We now live under grace and the new covenant and not under law and the old covenant.

Part of grace and the new covenant is that we can have God in us, and this is a wonderful gift.

Jesus had to die and be raised again for the new covenant to be ushered in, so of course He had first to be born as a man.

I think I see where Andrew is coming from here, in that through the birth, life, death and resurrection ever man has the opportunity to be saved; that is a great gift.

However the actual gift of salvation and being made righteous could be argued as being the greatest gift.

What do you think?

Speak this out today…..”Thank you for the finished work of Jesus and thank you that every man has the opportunity from salvation and righteousness”.

Isaiah 9 v 6…..For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…..

DIG for Friday the 16th of December…..Emmanuel, I just cannot stop thinking about this…..Matthew 1 v 23

I know I wrote about this same topic just over a week ago, however I cannot get over the amazing truth of Jesus being Emmanuel.

This is a truth that I find absolutely astounding.

We know that Jesus is God.

We know that Jesus was the agent of creation; God created everything through Jesus (Hebrews 1 v 3 and Colossians 1 v 16).

We know that Jesus was pre-existent as part of the Godhead (Revelation 1 v 8).

Yet we also know that Jesus was made flesh and dwelt among us (John 1 v 14).

We know that Jesus came among those He created, even though most would reject him (John 1 v 11).

We know that He would live a life of ministry before giving up His life to deal with all our sin, to make it possible for us to be saved and made righteous.

This is of course a truth that we focus on at this time of year.

However this amazing truth is like a puppy; it is not just for Christmas!

Our God became our Saviour by coming to earth in the flesh.

What’s even better is that we can all say, My God became My Saviour by coming to the earth in flesh for me.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that Jesus came to earth as Emmanuel, to become God with us”.

Matthew 1 v 23…..Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us

DIG for Monday the 12th of December….. what, I have to remove the star from my Nativity scene as well…..Matthew 2 v 9

Once again in this DIG I am going to advise you to read the Word of God instead of listening to the traditions of men.

We have been looking in DIG at what did happen and what did not happen at the birth of Jesus.

Much of what we see in nativities and on Christmas cards did not actually happen; the star over the birthplace of Jesus is one other such myth.

We generally think that the wise men (3 of them) followed the star to the baby Jesus when He was born, that they visited Him at the same time as the shepherds.

We have seen that this was not the case for the wise men; they visited when He was a child (see my DIG for Friday 9th December).

So the star was above His home when He was a young child not a baby.

There were no wise men at His birth and there was no star above the stable (and we will see later in DIGs from the 22nd to 25th December that there was no stable either).

These things are traditions of men that seem to have come through time as truths, but they are not Biblical truths (Colossians 2 v 8).

It is the Word of God that is important and it is the Word of God that we should go into in order to learn about Jesus.

The world is full of nonsense about Jesus and the traditions of men abound.

Forget about them and see what the Word says.

The Word of God is where you will find the truth, not only about His birth but also about all things regarding Jesus.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for your Word and thank you for the truths held within”.

Matthew 2 v 9…..When they had heard the king, they departed: and, lo, the start, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was