At the previous Christmas season our pastor gave his Church a special treat. He began reading at Luke 2:8:

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

As our pastor recited this oft-told story, I formed my own familiar mental imagery: a large grassy field with flocks of sheep mixed with cattle, and the barn where Mary, Joseph and Jesus dwelt surrounded by the usual barnyard animals: cows, donkeys and, yes perhaps a sheep or two. My mind drifted into a contemplation of the poverty surrounding Jesus’ birth. Of course it was appropriate, given the humble character of Jesus’ sojourn in the flesh. But being born in a manger certainly couldn’t have been plan A for Joseph’s family.

But then our pastor embellished on the story. It wasn’t well known, he said, that the region near Bethlehem where Jesus was born was a rather special place. He quoted another familiar passage, the prophecy in Micah 5:2 foretelling of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem:

“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.”


Pastor didn’t stop there. He went on to read another passage out of Micah, verse 4:8, which is much less well-known:

“And thou O watchtower of the flock [Migdal Edar], 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.


Before commenting further on the function of Migdal Edar, pastor took us back to Genesis 35:19-21:

“And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave unto this day. And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar.”

Pastor put his Bible aside and looked at his congregation as if he had something momentous to tell us. And well he did. Finding his voice, he said that the region where Jesus was born was under the watchtower of the flock, a special lookout of the shepherds there because of the importance of that particular place. It was, he said with emotion, the place where lambs were born and raised for the Passover sacrifice. The manger of Jesus’ birth was, in fact, the birthing place for these special lambs, so maybe while it didn’t represent plan A for Joseph, it certainly did for God.

Pastor topped off that shocking disclosure by saying that, according to the Passover account in Exodus 12, the lambs had to be perfect in every way. When birthed, they tended to struggle some, putting themselves at risk to injury. There was a procedure in place to prevent this: upon their birth, these lambs were wrapped in swaddling clothes.

I was so enthusiastic about this revelation that I attempted to share it with other Christians. Most of them were as enthusiastic about this revelation as I was, but there were some who were rather cynical about it. It seemed that if this were to be true, they already would have known about it. Faced with that negativity, I pursued the topic on my own on the Internet, where I found a wealth of commentary regarding it, all of which was positive and some of which furnished quite good justification for accepting it as truth. I recommend the interested reader to do the same, simply by Googling “Migdal Edar”, or, alternatively, “Migdal Eder”.

Endings and New Beginnings

My novel Jacob, third in the Buddy Series, was completed with the previous posting. I sincerely hope that it gave you food for thought and helped to support your Christian faith. The previous two novels in the series, Buddy and Cathy, are currently available in ebook and paperback form through Amazon (both title and author’s name – Arthur Perkins – are required) and Signalman Publishing. Jacob is expected to be available through Amazon and Signalman in both ebook and paperback forms within a month or two.

I’m currently working on a fourth book in the Buddy series, Home.

Speaking of food for thought, my next set of postings is a simplified summary of an appendix to my upcoming Christian nonfiction book entitled Marching to a Worthy Drummer, subtitled “A Christian Layperson Speaks Out About the Holy Spirit”. This short appendix, contained in six postings, addresses Jesus’ feeding of the multitudes. The symbolism intrinsic to Jesus’ feeding episodes highlights a major teaching of Jesus: His feeding with bread is subordinate to His feeding with the Word, steering us to the insight, emphasized by both Jesus and Paul, that the spiritual world is considerably more real and significant than our present material world.   The postings collectively might still be a bit of a brain-teaser, but the person who grasps the nature of the feedings and its implications with respect to the detailed truth of Scripture should be highly rewarded with insights that were not available to Christians of the past and remain unavailable to most of today’s faithful.

The follow-on set of postings will present the book from which the feeding appendix was extracted, Marching to a Worthy Drummer which contains, as lead-ins to the primary theme of the nature of the Holy Spirit, a number of humorous anecdotes.

Thank you for your continued interest in my blog. I shall try to provide you with material that will maintain your interest.


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