(For this story, Hebrew names are introduced.)
The Promise of the Ages
Let’s go back in time. Let’s go to the Promise Land, for there the promise of the ages was fulfilled. This promise was from God Almighty! He would send His Son Yeshua to redeem us from our sins. God renewed this promise with King David. Many years later, the land of Israel was under Roman control, but God did not forget His promise. Along came Miriam and Joseph, who were to be married. They were both descended from King David.
We go back over 2000 years ago.
Now the birth of Yeshua the Messiah happened this way. (Matthew 1:18)
The angel Gabriel appeared to Miriam saying:
“Do not be afraid, Miriam, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will …. give birth to a son, and you shall call His name Yeshua…. The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:30-35 NKJV)
Wow! What a miracle! The Son of God! Miriam praised the LORD!
Joseph also saw an angel but it was in his dream. This angel told him:
Miriam “will give birth to a son; and you shall call His name Yeshua, for He will save His people from their sins. Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by Adonai [the LORD] through the prophet, saying, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which means “God with us.” (Matthew 1:21-23 TLV)
It is so exciting to know that God wants to be with us! “God with us” is His Name! His birth was part of the promised miracle! God had been planning the coming of the LORD Yeshua, for years and years and years, since before Adam and Eve! (God knew that mankind would need a Savior, a Messiah!)
The Prophet Micah predicted this. He prophesied this Scripture 700 years before the time the Messiah was born in the tiny town of Bethlehem!
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.” Micah 5:2 (NKJV)
Bethlehem means “House of Bread”. Names are important in the Scriptures. How suitable! Yeshua is “bread” for our spirits and souls!
“I AM the bread of life.” (John 6:35, 48 and see also v. 50)
“Ephrathah” means “fruitful” as in a vine that is fruitful. Yeshua said that He is the vine!
Yeshua is “everlasting.” That means He always was, and is, and is to come! It is a mystery!
“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” Revelation 4:8
Tower of the Flock
Another prophesy Micah makes:
“And you, O tower of the flock,
The stronghold of the daughter of Zion,
To you shall it come,
Even the former dominion shall come,
The kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.” Micah 4:8 (NKJV)
This Scripture says that he was born in a tower, a watchtower for the city of Bethlehem to look out for enemies.
Yeshua was born in a watchtower! And He watches over us!
Oh, we have our westernized version of the story of the birth of Christ but some things are tradition and not necessarily true. I try, to the best of my ability, to give you the truth. The truth can be found in the Word of God, the Scriptures.
There is NO stable in the Scriptures of the Savior’s birth. It is tradition! It seemed to make sense. Where else would a manger be found? But one must study the traditions of the ancient Jewish people.
Do you think that the Jewish people would allow a baby, any baby to be born in an unclean place? I never understood this. How could they send a relative out in to a stable or cave that is going to have a baby? True, they had gotten there late after the “guest rooms”* were filled. But the people of Bethlehem knew a perfect place, with swaddling clothes and a manger! (Swaddling clothes are put on babies to keep them still.)
Now this watchtower had a manger in it and swaddling clothes. Baby sheep were birthed here. Not just any sheep, but special sheep. These sheep were going to be Passover lambs! (This is the celebration that the Jewish people keep every year to remind them that God delivered them out of the slavery of Egypt many, many years ago!)
Jesus Christ, Yeshua, is the true Passover Lamb because He was sacrificed to pay for our sins and guilt, once and for all! Passover is ALL about Yeshua!
“For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” 1 Corinthians 5:7
Doesn’t this make sense? The Passover lambs would be birthed there in this tower AND His true Passover Lamb, Yeshua was also born there! God is incredible!
These Passover lambs needed to be perfect lambs. They couldn’t have flaws or defects or deformities. They were going to be offered to God. If you offer something to God, you should want it to be your best!
Our true Passover Lamb, Yeshua had no defects because He was sinless! Everyone else sins. They fall short of the mark. But Yeshua had NO SIN!
We were redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:19 NKJV)
So how did we get to the Passover Lamb from a story for Christmas? This is the gospel story, a story for all time! It shows God’s love for us! In His grace, God sent Immanuel, “God with us.”
To help remember this story, here are new lyrics, set to the tune of “O Little Town of Bethlehem”:
O Little Tower of Bethlehem
You keep watch o’er the town
The lambs to be the offering
Scurry around the grounds
And here the Son of God was born
The Lamb who set us free
So we could dwell with Adonai
For all eternity!
I would like to appreciate Dr. Richard Booker who has done much research on our Jewish roots.
Referenced: The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah by Alfred Edersheim
*The original word translated as “inn” could be “guest chambers.”