by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.
Micah 4:8;5:2 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. 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.
There are many who are not aware of the very deep significance of Bethlehem,Yeshua's (Jesus') birthplace. Everyone knows that Bethlehem was a place where shepherds grazed their sheep, and where the Messiah was to be born, but do not realize that it was a town designated as the birthing place for lambs which were used for the Passover sacrifice. The Scriptures give significant details about this little town lying slightly south of Jerusalem.
In Micah 4:8 we read about the "watchtower of the flock", or in Hebrew, "Migdal Edar." According to the "Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah", by Alfred Edersheim, a Jewish believer in the late 1800's, Migdal Edar was the location where the Messiah was to be revealed. This watchtower stood as a place of protection for the city from approaching enemies, but it was also utilized by shepherds to watch over the specific flocks from which sacrificial Passover lambs were taken.
The shepherds who were tending these particular flocks were no ordinary shepherds. They were specifically trained by the Rabbis for a holy task. They had to insure that, as much as possible, every lamb was free of any blemish or injury, in order to be used for the Passover sacrifice. Since they were instructed by the Rabbis, they almost certainly knew of those passages in the Targums (Aramaic translations) and the Mishna associating the birth of the Messiah with "Migdal Edar". For example, Migdal Edar is translated in one of the Targums as "The Anointed One of the Flock of Israel." It is also written in the Mishna that "He spread his tent beyond Migdal Edar, the place where King Messiah will reveal Himself at the end of days."
Those shepherds had strong hints of Messiah's advent in the very town where they lived, so that when the angelic host appeared announcing his arrival, they responded immediately and went to worship Him. We too have increasing signs of His soon Second Coming. Are we also prepared to respond? Our readiness to act in faith and worship will show how well we understand the signs of our own times. With so much work to be done, let us stay awake and be inspired by the expectation of his soon arrival – for, just like those shepherds of Bethlehem, we truly were born for such a time as this!
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