Shalom, shalom; peace, peace in the name of Yeshua. This is Crystal Sharpe and welcome to the Ancient Scrolls program. (December 22, 2019)
Tonight begins Chanukah. This is an observance of lighting candles for eight days. This is done to memorialize the Menorah in the Temple burning eight days on single container of oil. Antiochus Epiphanes placed pressure on the Jews to conform to the Greek standard of living and worshipping their gods. They desecrated the Temple, its furnishings and sacrificed a pig on the Altar of God.
A rural priest, Mattathias, refused the order to accept the Greek gods. He led a revolt and his son, Judah, became leader of the resistance. Over a period of time they overcame the Greeks and then focused on the process of consecrating the Temple and its furnishings. The Altar of the Lord had to be destroyed and a new one constructed. After everything was accomplished they could not light the menorah because there was no olive oil for its cups. It takes eight days to process oil for the menorah. However, a container of oil was located in one of the Temple’s chambers and they decided to use it even though there was enough for only a day. The oil from the single vessel burned for eight days until new oil was processed. This was considered a miracle and a celebration for Israel. (It is said there are a couple of versions of this story.)
Wednesday will be quite a joyous occasion for some folks who celebrate Christmas. For others it will be the season for Santa Clause. For merchants, it is the season for money, money, money.
Some years ago it became knowledge that Christ wasn’t actually born on December 25. The Universal Church, which is the Catholic Church took upon itself to choose a day on which to recognize the birth of Yeshua. I was able to find some research where several days had been offered to commemorate His birth, and so the church finally settled on December 25th.
It is most difficult to be exact on the season of His birth. There are many assumptions, opinions and nothing really concrete to announce the exact day of His birth. Most information that we use for the timing of His birth is mostly circumstantial right now. My belief is that he was born at one of the Lord’s feast.
Some promote Pesach or Passover, others Shavuot/Pentecost, and some prefer Succoth/Feast of Tabernacles in the Hebrew month of Tishrei. This would be around our September-October time frame.
Those who promote Passover prefer Him being born at the season of the birthing of the lambs. According to some who are in husbandry, lambs are born from around May to June which would be in time for Pentecost, the giving of the Holy Spirit. A few did mention lambs may birth in April. As I continued to do research on the different types of sheep, the environment or climate also has influence on their mating or estrus cycle. Also, there were a couple of sites that stated the estrus cycle of ewes could be manipulated by humankind. I don’t understand the degree of that and I don’t want to know. I am a staunch believer in allowing the natural cycle of life have its free course.
So, was Yeshua born at the time of the Passover? Was He birthed at the place called Migdal Tower as some suppose? He could have been. We don’t know. The Word gives us no concrete evidence other than He was born in the town of Bethlehem.
There are those who look to the birthing of the lambs as the possible timing of His birth. He will miss being birthed with the lambs by a month or two, but that may not be an issue, and close enough is close enough. Those people relate Yeshua being birthed at the cycle of lambs is from a statement John the Baptist makes in John 1:29: The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said: “Behold! The Lamb who takes away the sin of the world!” That is enough for some to say Yeshua was born on Passover. But John was announcing not the birth of Yeshua, but His end as a sacrifice for many who would be able receive His atonement blood. Yeshua was born to be a sacrificial lamb on Passover. Just like the requirement was for lambs to be less than a year old for sacrifice, Yeshua was 33 or 33 ½ years of age when He died. Some would say He didn’t fulfill the commandment because He was too old. You see where this can go? But we know from the Word that He was sacrificed for our sins. His blood washes us from our sins, and transgressions. His blood brings us in covenant with YHVH. There is life in the blood, blood does not die. But let’s move on. I am going to go over some history of the place Migdal Tower
When I had gone to Israel, the tour took us to Bethlehem, to the Church of the Nativity. Beneath the church is a cave that is traditionally thought to be the birthplace of Yeshua. St Helena built a basilica over the cave in 339 AD, and then the Church of the Nativity overlaid that. Now after close to 2000 years, there are people who are pointing to another location for the birthplace of Yeshua, and it is Migdal Eder, the Tower of the flocks.
There are two instances of Migdal Eder being mentioned in the Word. The first place to mention Migdal Edar is in Genesis 35. In this chapter, Jacob, his two wives, two concubines, his eleven sons and servants are returning from Beth-El and are traveling south toward Bethlehem.
Verse 16. Then they journeyed from Bethel. And when there was a little distance to go to Ephrath (Bethlehem), Rachel labored in childbirth, and she had hard labor. (“little distance” here is chibrath [kivras] and could be read as it is on BibleHub: and there was still a chibrath of land to come to Ephrath. Ephrath is Bethlehem.
Scholars and rabbis struggle with the word chibrath. It could actually mean a little distance meaning close to a mile. Her grave today is situated about a half mile from Bethlehem.
Cambridge Bible for Schools Commentary renders the possibility of chibrath being a proper name Chabratha. Rachel expired in Chabratha, close to Bethlehem.
Also, there are a few who support that the word is understood to mean sieve; when the earth is riddled by the plough like a sieve. My Artscroll Mesorah text reads: This refers to the time of year when the earth is riddled with holes like a sieve—a time when the land is plowed. This follows the winter rainy season, and precedes the intense summer heat.
According to the Codex Judaica, Chronological Index of Jewish History, pg 62-63. Rachel died on the 11th of Cheshvan, around our October-November period.
Kleinman edition, Midrash, Vayishlach; Notes 67. 82, 5 (1)
Verse 17. Now it came to pass, when she was in hard labor, that the midwife said to her, “Do not fear: you will have this son also.”
Verse 18. And so it was, as her soul was departing (for she died), that she called his name Ben-Oni (this means Son of Sorrow); but his father called him Benjamin (Son of My Right Hand. Both express the titles of Yeshua).
Verse 19. So Rachel died on her way to Ephrath (that is Bethlehem).
Verse 20. And Jacob set a pillar on her grave, which is the pillar of Rachel’s grave to this day.
Verse 21. Then Israel journeyed and pitched his tent beyond the tower of Eder.
The other passage to mention Migdal Eder is Micah 4:7.
Verse 4. will be our starting point: Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and say: “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
3. He shall judge between many peoples, And rebuke strong nations afar off. They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
This prophetic oracle concerns the Messianic Age, that He will assemble the lame (the spiritually halted) and gather the outcast (the exiled which is Israel); the two kingdoms: Israel and Judah, it is the ingathering of exiles. Yeshua speaks of a great trumpet (not the last trumpet. There is a great trumpet blast on Yom Kippur) that will signal His angels to collect His elect from the four winds. Matthew 24:31.
Before we go to the next verse, I need to explain a little about Mt Zion. The Hebrew name Tzion (ציון), or “Zion” as it is commonly translated, appears at least 157 times in the Bible. These verses refer alternately to a “Mount Zion,”1 “the daughter of Zion,”2 “virgin daughter of Zion,”3 and many of them are just plain “Zion.”
Besides being popular in scriptural reference, Zion is described as being quite adored by the Almighty, such as in Psalms 78:68, “He chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which He loved,” and again in Psalms 87:2, “The Lrd loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.”
Where or What Is Zion?
The first few times that Zion is mentioned, the verse actually gives another piece of identification of the fortress of Zion: “It is the city of David” (II Samuel 5:7, I Kings 8:1), which is the area in Jerusalem where King David established his kingdom.
In other places, such as in the verse, “Mount Zion on which You dwelt,”4 the reference is to the presence of Gd in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.5 The same is true of the verse in Isaiah 2:3: “For out of Zion shall the Torah come forth, and the word of the Lrd from Jerusalem.” The idea of Torah coming from Zion is a reference to the Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court, which held court in the Temple. Generally, however, Zion refers to the city of Jerusalem,6 (and is used in conjunction with Jerusalem), and the entire Land of Israel,7 and metonymically, to the Jewish people. Thus, Gd tells the prophet Isaiah, “And I placed My words into your mouth . . . to say to Zion that you are My people.”8
The same is true of the expression “daughter of Zion,” which is a title of endearment that Gd uses about Jerusalem and the Jewish people, the inhabitants of the land of Zion. Similarly, in Lamentations 4:2, the Jewish people are referred to as “the sons of Zion.”9
The Hebrew word for Zion, Tzion (ציון), can be translated as “indication” or “marking.”
The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, explains that the Jewish people are called Tzion by virtue of their study of Jewish texts and fulfillment of Gd’s commandments. This causes them to be distinguished, or marked, for their uniqueness. As it states in Jewish law, “When a physical object has a sign, a marking, should it be lost, the sign enables it to be returned to its owners.”
So too, the Jewish nation has its marking; thus they are not lost among the rest of the world, and always return to their Owner.10
7. So the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on, even forever. 8. And you, Migdal-eder (Tower of the flock), Ophel of the daughter of Zion, they will come (back) to you, even the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.
So this passage is in future reference to the Messianic kingdom. This oracle is speaking on the ingathering of Israel from among the nations at the end of days, or end of this age. The prophet Micah gives the description of YHVH restoring Jerusalem, its Temple and the return of the Davidic Kingdom. David, before he was king, was a sheep herder. Sheep is often a metaphor for Israel.
The sages differ in opinion on what Migdal-eder represents. Some favor it to be a symbol of Yeshua, the Messiah (I favor this, as well), and others allude it to Jerusalem, some to the Temple (because of the pilgrimages to observe the feasts of the LORD.
It was here at Migdal-eder that the children of Jacob were completed at twelve. There were eleven sons born to Jacob until Benjamin was born there, he made the twelfth son. So, here is a pattern that the twelve tribes will be united again as it was at Migdal-eder.
Ophel of the daughter of Zion, they will come to you. Like Migdal, Ophel is a tower or fortress.
These allude to Yeshua being strong towers over Zion, His people
I am at the end of the program.
If it God’s will, I will be here next program. Remember to walk by faith, not by sight. Ask God to cleanse you from unrighteousness every day. Keep your spiritual garments clean from spots, wrinkles and blemishes. Do two things this week: love and forgive. Love God and love your neighbor.
Rico Cortes will sing the Aaronic priestly blessing.