About this time last year the Holy Spirit put it in my heart to study the altars in the Old Testament — you know — the large stone (or pillar) or rock-pile altars that the patriarchs erected and dedicated as a testimony to God and of God’s magnificent working in their lives. I honestly didn’t realize how many of them there were until I began studying them. I studied them in great depth, line-upon-line and precept-upon-precept, and to my utter amazement the Lord began showing me wonderful and awesome things, mysteries, hidden away in each of them. Things that one only finds when they slow down enough to spend the time looking, digging, hunting, searching, praying, asking. I have been blessed to have had the time this year to do just that. It has been a magnificent journey and I want to share everything I’ve found with you, but it won’t all fit in this post. So I will share just one of these very special things, one that relates to this holiday we are celebrating.
I was reading about Jacob in Genesis, and his return to the Promised Land from his uncle Laban’s house. Jacob purchased land from Hamor, the father of Shechem, and set up an altar in probably the same vicinity as his grandfather Abraham’s first altar. Unfortunately circumstances kept him from settling down there, and he continued journeying southward with his wives (Rachel, who was pregnant), all of his children, and his plenteous flocks of sheep, towards the part of Israel where his father Isaac had lived out his last days. On the way, Rachel went into labor, near a place called Ephrathah, also known as Bethlehem. Her labor was very hard. Her baby survived, but Rachel herself died. In childbirth Rachel named the boy baby Ben-Oni, which meant son of my sorrow, but Jacob named him Benjamin, which meant son of the right hand.
Now Jacob buried his beloved wife where she died and set up a headstone for her grave, a grave that is there to this day. Jacob then traveled a little further and pitched his tent “beyond the tower of Eder.” Now, I made that bold for you because it’s the thing the Holy Spirit stopped me at, and the thing I want to talk about. I’ll bet if you were reading the scriptures (Gen. 35:21) you might have glossed right over that detail and not thought a thing about it – as I also have a hundred times. But this time the Holy Spirit made it bold for me and spoke to my heart that there was a mystery there, a prophecy right there in that tower, and in this story, that He wanted me to find.
So I looked up “tower of Eder” in my Bible dictionary and found that in Hebrew it was called Migdal Eder, which means Tower of the Flock, and it is indeed famous. Oh precious Jesus, my heart is beating so fast. Please help me to write this so that You might be glorified in spite of my fumbling words.
Migdal Eder would one day be the special place where the most special lambs would be born, the ones without spot or blemish that would be used as the sacrifices for Passover, later, when the temple was built in Jerusalem (according to the Mishnah). According to my research of various Jewish websites, these special lambs were watched over by Levitical shepherds. When the ewes of the flocks started into labor they were taken inside the ceremonially clean ground level part of the tower to birth their baby lambs. It was kinda like a cave in there. The lambs were then wrapped tightly in strips of cloth and laid in a manger to keep them safe until they could be carefully inspected by the priestly shepherds whose lot had fallen to do that. Are you starting to feel something stir in your spirit?
Here is a prophecy of the birth of Messiah in Micah 5:2
“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.” And the prophecy is remembered at the birth of Jesus in Matthew 2:6 “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.”
Luke 2:4-7 then also tells us: “Joseph also went up from Galilee out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in the manger, because there was no other lodging place for them in Bethlehem”
Many Messianic websites suggest that Jesus was born in the watchtower of Eder, not a lowly and dirty stable, as has been portrayed for years, but the very clean, bug free, and very special place where ALL the lambs were born who would become a PASSOVER SACRIFICE in Jerusalem.
“And there were shepherds abiding in the fields…” These descendants of Jacob were keeping watch in the fields by night for wolves or other predators that might try to harm their sheep when the angels of God burst on the scene. According to my research the sheep were only in the Bethlehem hills during the green springtime of the year, during lambing season. Later in the summer they would be moved to the harvested fields where they would eat the stubble and deposit fertilizer for the next crops. And then they would winter in the wilderness, as the law required. These particular shepherds were no doublt familiar with the scriptures of Genesis, Micah, and Isaiah, which said:
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people… (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), by the God of your father who will help you” Genesis 49:10, 24-25.
And they knew just where to go look because of the other prophecy in Micah…
“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
Jesus was born in the land of Judah, the land of King David, the land of Boaz – the kinsman redeemer, and was The Lamb of God without spot or blemish. He is the Good Shepherd (John 10:14; Ezekiel 34:11-31; Psalm 23;) Ezekiel prophecied of whose ministry was to the lost (Matthew 18:10-14; Luke 15:1-7; Luke 19:10) and scattered sheep of Israel, and He died as the Passover Lamb (Mark 14:12; John 1:29; John 10:14-16; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:19; Hebrews 4:15; Revelation 5:6) who takes away the sin of the world.
“Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground… Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows ; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted, but He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. We all like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted…He was led as a lamb to the slaughter…For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin…by His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities…Because He poured out His soul unto death…And He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53
Do you remember what Rachel named her son? And what Jacob renamed him? They perhaps didn’t even know it, but it was a prophecy of the baby boy who would one day be born there, right there, who would be the Son of His Father’s right hand (Mark 16:19), but the sorrow of His mother (Matthew 2:18 & Jeremiah 31:15; Luke 2:33-35 & John 19:25).
And if that isn’t incredible enough, Rachel’s name even means “Ewe.”
Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.” … Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)!!! Jesus is our Kinsman Redeemer (our Boaz from Bethlehem)! “Has not the Scripture said that the Christ Messiah comes from the seed of David (the king) and from the town of Bethlehem, where David (the shepherd boy) was from?” John 7:42. (John 10; Psalm 23).
The SHEEP GATE
Sha’ar – “gate” hasso’n – “flock” One of the gates of Jerusalem rebuilt by Nehemiah (Neh 3:1,32; 12:39). It was located between the Tower of the hundred (Migdal Meah) and the upper room of the corner (3:1,32) or gate of the guard (12:39). It is most likely the sheep gate mentioned in John 5:2; 10:1-10.
In a book, written by A. W. Pink, a minister of the gospel, p28 of Studies in the Scriptures, published 1926 – 1927, Rev. Pink writes:
“And led Him away to Annas first. The Saviour was neither ‘driven’ nor ‘dragged,’ but led: thereby the Holy Spirit informs us, once more, of His willing submission. He offered no resistance. With infinitely greater ease than Samson of old, could He have burst His bonds ‘as a thread when it toucheth the fire; but as prophecy had announced, ‘He was led as a lamb to the slaughter’ –gentle and tractable. Here also He fulfilled not only prophecy but type: each animal that was to be offered in sacrifice was first led to the priest (Lev. 17:5), so Christ was first brought to Annas. The road followed from the Garden to the house of the high priest was also significant. Gethsemane was at the foot of Olivet, on the east side of Jerusalem, beyond the brook Cedron. In journeying from there to the City, the gate through which they would pass was “the sheep gate:” (Neh. 3:1, 32; 12:39; John 5:2 and see our notes on the last). The “sheep gate” was nigh unto the Temple, and through it the sacrificial animals passed (first having been fed in the meadows adjoining the Cedron [today called the Kidron – the Kidron Valley]; so also went the true Lamb on this occasion! Note a striking contrast here: Adam was driven out of the Garden (Gen. 3:24), Christ was led!”
Isaiah the prophet wrote the words, “he was led as a lamb to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7,8), and in the New Testament it was the apostle Philip who explained the passage to an Ethiopian eunuch, whom he met on the road to Gaza, who was reading it, apparently out loud. Philip asked if the man understood what he was reading, and beginning with that scripture, he preached Jesus to him (Acts 8:26-39).
This was Jesus’s own testimony about himself:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the Shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice … I am the door of the sheep…I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly! “ John 10:1-10 NKJV
Jesus entered the sheepfold by the same door that all of humanity entered – the womb of a woman. He entered His ministry after being baptised and confirmed by the Holy Spirit (as a pattern for us to follow) as a symbol of rebirth (John 3:1-17; Mark 16:16; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:24; Romans 6:4-14; Colossians 2:12-13; 1 Peter 3:21). And He became the perfect Passover Lamb in the same way as all the other Passover lambs that ever were since the institution of the Passover observance. He is the door. He is the Way. The scriptures told us ahead of time, so that when such things began to pass we would know it was of God.
If I may be so bold as to ask, have you made Jesus your Ebeneezer – your Stone of help (1 Sam.7:12)? If you have please write down and share your testimony with others. I would LOVE to hear how you came to know Jesus also. You are welcome to leave your testimony in the comments section below. The Lord only knows how many hearts will be touched by our experiences with Jesus. We shall also overcome our enemy by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimonies (Revelation 12:11)!
So, as the patriarchs did with stones, let us also memorialize Yeshua Jesus in our lives (Dt.6:6-9) as living stones being built up a spiritual house. Let us be for Him altars of testimony so that when our kids, or our friends, or our neighbors ask, “What is this faith that you have; what is this pile of rocks all about?” we can tell them of all the mighty things the LORD has done for us, knowing that if we should be made silent, even the stones themselves would cry out (Luke 19:40)!!!!! Just as the stones of Rachel’s grave and those of the Migdal Eder are surely crying out to us now in Doxology to God! Amen! Bless you so much!
“Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
1 Peter 1:19
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it, but narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14
I have updated my post in December 2022 to share with you several others with credentials who have found this passage of scripture and researched it and taught on it, so that you may know by the witness of two or three others that this trustworthy.
A Lamb’s Tale and a Mysterious Tower, by Mini Manna Moments
The Christmas Prophecy of Bethlehem, by Gary Stearman (Prophecy Watchers)
The Secret of the Shepherds, by Christine Darg