Migdal Eder: The Watchtower of the Flock

5 07 2016

I find it astonishing that with all the sermons I’ve heard, all of the Sunday school lessons I’ve sat through, and all of the Bible study I have done over the years, it took me this long to learn about Migdal Eder.  

 

First of all, let me give credit where credit is due. For my most recent birthday, I had requested, and was given, a copy of UNLOCKING the SECRETS of the FEASTS: The Prophecies in the Feasts of Leviticus, by Michael Norten. In this book, which I highly recommend, Norten speaks of hearing a presentation by Jimmy DeYoung, PhD., in which Dr. DeYoung asks the audience what was “the sign” mentioned in Luke 2:12. 

 

You will recall, the angel who heralded Christ’s birth said to the shepherds,For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” What did the angel mean when he said “the sign to you?” As many times as I have read that passage, I’ve never stopped to consider that statement.

 

The Prophesy of Micah

Around 700 years earlier, Micah prophesied the Savior would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Well, just ahead of that prophesy at Micah 4:8, he said: 

“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.”

Migdal Eder:The Watchtower of the Flock

Migdal Eder:The Watchtower of the Flock

 

This tower of the flock, translated, Migdal Eder, was located about a mile outside of Bethlehem overlooking the pastures where shepherds would graze their flocks. The shepherds could stand on the top floor of the tower and keep an eye on the grazing flocks. The flock, on the night Jesus was born, was no ordinary flock and the shepherds were no run-of-the-mill shepherds. These were sheep which would one day be sacrificed at the Temple. Remember, before Jesus’ arrival, one would symbolically pass his or her sins on to a sacrificial animal, often a sheep, which would then be sacrificed on the Temple altar. Any animal which was offered as a sacrifice had to be without blemish…no markings, no deformities. It had to be perfect. For that reason, the sheep intended for sacrifice were given special care by special shepherds.

 

When a ewe was about to give birth, she was brought from the pasture into the lower floor of the tower and attended by a priest or shepherd-priest. When the lamb was born, it would immediately be swaddled in strips of cloth, possibly torn from the priests’ undergarments. This unblemished lamb, destined for sacrifice to atone for sins, was swaddled in order to protect it from harm and remain unblemished. And, to prevent it from being trampled, it would be placed in a manger. Sound familiar? 

 

That was the sign! It was a sign to the shepherds just as the angel had proclaimed. When the shepherds, who were familiar with this practice, saw the swaddled baby Jesus lying in a manger, they knew right away this was the sacrificial lamb-the long-awaited Messiah. 

 

In the words of the late Paul Harvey, “Now you know the rest of the story.”

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