Shepherds and Swaddling Cloths

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shalom-dodi
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Shepherds and Swaddling Cloths

Post by shalom-dodi » Wed Dec 20, 2017 5:04 am

SONG: What A Beautiful Name it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5L6QlAH3L4


Prayer: Father God, thank you for Jesus. Thank you for his birth, his death and his resurrection. Thank you that inHim we have all we need to live the life he has given us to live. Father so many concerns in our hearts, you know them all. Be with us and those we love in the beautiful way only you can. Help us to step aside from the cares of life and focus on you. In Jesus name amen.


Please feel free to post comments or questions at any time. There are many here who can answer questions.

This is both week 3 and 4 of Advent. Remember Advent means coming… a time to ponder the first coming of Jesus as a baby and the truth that he is coming again. But for me there is a deeper meaning… God is Emmanuel. Which means God With Us, so in a sense…every single moment of our lives is an advent. When Jesus, who is Emmanuel comes to us. He comes with healing. With conviction. With comfort. With provision. He comes with ALL we need in any given moment.


I want to share something really interesting I just learned about the birth of Jesus. I find it very exciting. First we are going to listen to a song together.
This Is Christmas by Kutless https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B5yEg3CgX4
Lyrics:
Lyrics:
Do you find it hard to sleep til' night,
Resting by the Christmas lights?
Could there be something you forgot?
Beyond the bows, and mistletoes,
The tree with presents wrapped below,
There's more to this than you had ever thought?
Have we lost the reason that we celebrate each year?

Chorus:
What is Christmas?
If there never was a Savior wrapped in a manger.
What is Christmas without Christ?

Remember how the story goes,
God's gift was wrapped in swaddling clothes,
Beneath the star, one great and holy night.
The shepherds heard the angels sing,
The wise man brought an offering,
Peace on Earth began in Bethelethm
Have we lost the reason that we celebrate each year?


Chorus:
What is Christmas?
If there never was a Savior wrapped in a manger.
What is Christmas?
If the angels never sang 'Glory to the new born king?'
What is Christmas without Christ?

There'd be no gloria
In excelsis deo
Gloria
In excelsis deo

What is Christmas?
If there never was a Savior wrapped in a manger.
What is Christmas without Christ?
This is Christmas,
It's all about the Savior wrapped in a manger.
This is Christmas,
Because of Jesus Christ!
This is Christmas,
Because of Christ!
Because of Christ!



We are going to be reading from Luke chapter 2:
The Birth of Jesus Christ
1In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4And 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, 5to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
The Shepherds and the Angels
8And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
15When the angels went away from them into heaven, 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.” 16And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

This is a very familiar passage of scripture. We have probably all seen adorable Christmas plays with little children portraying Angels or Shepherds.
But there are some interesting and key facts we probably dont “all” know.

We are going to focus on the Shepherds for a bit. And what the Angels told them.
8And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
What region? Around Bethelehem, right?
What is so special about that particular region?
Remember way back in Michah 5:2?
2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times."

Born in Bethlehem :) origins are of old from ancient times? Remember Jesus is God. One with God, Elohim. There at the creation of the World. Those are pretty ancient times. Right?
So Bethelehem is special because it was foretold in prophency as where the Savior would be born.
But it is speacial for several other reasons.
First of all, do you know what the translation/meaning of Bethelehem is?
House of Bread. Fascinating isnt it? Jesus who IS the BREAD of LIFE was born in the city of bread. :)
Coincidence? I think not. Significant? I think so.

Now there is more. This is part something I knew but had forgotten and part new information.
8And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
According to several sources, those were the fields where the lambs for temple sacrifice were raised by special shepherds assigned that task. A scarificial animal had to be perfect without spot of blemish.
Remember also back in the OT….
Deut 15:21 "But if it has any defect, such as lameness or blindness, or any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the LORD your God.
In Malachi 1: "You also say, 'My, how tiresome it is!' And you disdainfully sniff at it," says the LORD of hosts, "and you bring what was taken by robbery and what is lame or sick; so you bring the offering! Should I receive that from your hand?" says the LORD. "But cursed be the swindler who has a male in his flock and vows it, but sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord, for I am a great King," says the LORD of hosts, "and My name is feared among the nations."
And Hebrews 9 referring to Jesus… and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

So we agree…. the sacrifice must be without ANY blemish. We know that Jesus is referred to as The Lamb of God and the final perfect sacrifice for our sin.
John 1:29 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
1 John 2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 4:14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.

But back in the day, how did they make SURE the lamb was without spot or blemish?
At Passover they people had to purchase their lamb and keep it for a number of days, I think 3 to be certain it was perfect and healthy.

Do you know where they got those Passover lambs?
Fom a “certain” field out side of Bethlehem.
Lights going off?
Just wait…

How did they keep the little lamb perfect?
They SWADDLED it. Wrapped the new borns in cloths to keep them from getting banged up.
Is that amazing?
God is so intricate. He cares about ever single detail. And that includes the details of your own life as well.

internet source:
Lamb in Swaddling Cloths Lying in a Manger
Kingship for the Jews shall come from from the tower of the flock (Hebrew Migdal Eder)...

Micah 4:8
And you, O tower of the flock [Hebrew Migdal Eder],
hill of the daughter of Zion,
to you shall it come,
the former dominion shall come,
kingship for the daughter of Jerusalem.

Migdal Eder was a watchtower located in the northern part of Bethlehem built to protect the Temple flocks. 

During lambing season the sheep were brought there from the fields, as the lower level functioned as the birthing room for sacrificial lambs. Priestly shepherds would wrap the newborn lambs in swaddling clothes and place them in a manger until they calmed down to keep them without defect, suitable to be sacrificial lambs for the sin of the Israelites.

Luke 2:7
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Luke 2:12
And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.

Bethlehem was special because the shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem raised lambs for the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. The shepherds who heard the angelic choir and came to see the baby Jesus were certainly familiar with the technique to birth a sacrificial lamb, and were likely puzzled by why a baby was birthed in the manner and location of a sacrificial lamb. In fact the angels did not have to tell the shepherds precisely where to go in Bethlehem to find Jesus, because there was only one manger where sacrificial lambs were birthed, the cave under the watch tower of Migdal Edar.

I dont know if this is 100% truth because it is not in the Bible per se. But we did see that it said, “a certain field” And then Luke went on to say:9And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

I dont know about you. But my heart was excited to read of this. I will never read about swaddled cloths and Jesus in the same way again.
I am going to post a more detailed description in the forum. It will be in the Monday forum even though today is Tuesday.
Let’s review:
Jesus was born in Bethlehem which translates house of Bread.
I knew this.
But the shepherds outside of that town were Levitical shepherds
who raised the lambs for temple sacrifice.
I kind of knew this.
But I did not know that because the lamb for temple sacrifice has to be "without spot of blemish"
as soon as they were born the shepherds took them
…….and.... ready?
Wrapped them in what was called swaddling cloths.

So those shepherds were told,
“you will find the baby wrapped in SWADDLING cloths
laying in a manger”
Right?
The Lamb of God, the prefect sacrifice wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger.
Wow!!!!
And of course we know that Jesus is The Bread of Life.

You know I have prayed and I think we did last week, that during Christmas, we could focus on the BEAUTY and the JOY of Christmas, the first one, the Biblical one.
I think learning this was part of that for me. I hope for you also.
If God can arrange with such precise detail the aspects of Jesus’ birth, then cant we trust him to order our days? Our moments of our days? Even when we cant see, we dont understand of life is very difficult?
May God richly bless you as he continues to complete this good, wonderful marvelous work he has begun in each of us. Be blessed to know God as your personal Emmanuel this week.
Next Mondy there will be no study because it is Christmas. Feel free to stop in if you are alone. If I am back home I will pop in but not promising. I suggest you come and take turns posting Christmas Carols that speak of God’s care for you.
God bless you.

Closing Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tC3SwhJsLqU

Room is open for fellowship.


http://www.templestudy.com/2009/12/18/s ... mas-story/

http://www.arielministries.org/ariel/ro ... r2008.html
https://sites.google.com/site/beautiful ... n-a-manger

December 2012
The First Christmas
by Nick Harris

There are many misunderstandings today about the events surrounding the first Christmas. For one thing Jesus was not born in an out building behind a motel in Bethlehem as many Christmas cards seem to suggest. The truth is this: Jesus was born in a cave used for the birthing of sacrificial lambs. The male lambs born in that cave, and others like it in the Bethlehem area, were to be used exclusively in the Temple. They were set-aside to be the TAMIL, or the morning sacrifices which began each day. They were also used for the burnt offerings. The female lambs were used in the Temple for peace offerings.

However, the most common usage for these lambs that were born in Bethlehem was this: they were destined to become Passover lambs. Therefore, the shepherds that attended them were actually shepherd-priests. These men had been designated from the time they were very young to be the ones who would be assigned the task of "keeping watch” over the Temple’s flocks. One of their tasks was to make certain that none of these lambs were blemished while being birthed.

According to the Mishnah, these lambs were immediately wrapped in "swaddling cloths" after their births to protect them from injury, since baby lambs tend to thrash about and harm themselves in their first couple of hours of their lives. The shepherds who attended these lambs, being under special rabbinical care, were also required to keep their birthing caves ritually clean.

Since there was no room for Mary and Joseph at the local caravansary, these young people were allowed to occupy one of these birthing caves in the hillside. That birthing cave is now found beneath the ancient Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. According to the Gospel account, as soon as Jesus was born, Joseph wrapped him in swaddling cloths.

No doubt, Joseph could not have understood the full significance of the swaddling cloths in which he wrapped the infant Jesus. You see, swaddling cloth was primarily used to wrap the body of someone who had died, so Joseph’s actions told this story: in this cave in the Judean hillside, the young Lord of the universe lay in a stone manger, wrapped in grave clothes. This action was taken, according to the angel of the Lord, to be a sign to the shepherds who would come to visit Him. It offers a sign to us, as well. This sign was this: this was a child who had been born to die. His heavenly Father wanted the world to know the reason for his son becoming flesh.

The entire scene seems so illogical, does it not? Logic would seem to dictate that when the Lord of the universe, the Almighty God, chose to enter into the life of this world, He would have elected to have been born in absolute luxury and splendor. We would think that he would have chosen a palace in Rome, or Alexandria, or Antioch, or Ephesus. But He did not! He chose to be born in a cave that was carved into the side of a Judean hillside. Even the lowest peasants were born in better places than this. It is a shocking tale, is it not?

After Mary had given birth to Jesus in this cave, after Joseph wrapped him in swaddling cloths, he then took the infant Jesus and cut His umbilical cord. He now required a place to lay the child so that he could wash away the afterbirth, but all he could find was a stone feeding trough or manger, where the baby lambs were laid after being born. So, Joseph laid the young lord of the universe in this stone manger and thoroughly washed his body with salt water. Then, he scrubbed the baby with salt. The salt would kill any bacteria that might be found on the child. Great symbolism was attached to this action in the time of Jesus. For the Jewish people of that day, salt represented truth and honesty. This act on the part of a Jewish father indicated a determination to raise this child is such a way that his words would be “salted.” In other words, when this child became an adult, he would say what he meant and mean what he said. He would speak truthful words.

Once those tasks were completed, it was then that Joseph wrapped those strips of swaddling cloth around the body of this baby, as we previously illustrated. However, this raises a question: from where did Joseph get the swaddling cloth? There are two possible answers. The first possibility has to do with a social custom practiced at that time. In the days of Mary and Joseph, people in the Middle East who had to travel for a long distances were often faced with great hardship and danger. Travelers died in a variety of ways: accidents, assaults by robbers, and illnesses. Since the Jewish law declared that a body had to be buried in the earth immediately following death, pious traveling Jews were required to wrap long strips of swaddling cloth around their waists, so if they died along the way, the swaddling wrapped about their waists could be used for a burial shroud. Perhaps the righteous Joseph had taken this precaution.

The second possibility has to do with the place in which Jesus was born. As has previously been suggested, Jesus appears to have been born in a birthing cave for sacrificial lambs. Since these lambs were wrapped in "swaddling cloths" immediately after their birth, the shepherds who attended these lambs may have left the swaddling cloth in the cave.

Of course, we know none of this for certain; all we know is that within a few moments of the birth of the Messiah, God had dispatched shepherds to come and pay homage to the one destined to bring "peace on earth, goodwill to men."
http://www.arielministries.org/ariel/ro ... r2012.html

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