Why Bethlehem? Why Shepherds?
“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.”
I watched with curious interest the sacrificial offering of lamb on the "practice altar," performed by a group calling themselves the Sanhedrin. On the last day of Hanukkah, after announcing to the world that they were planning to do this, they brought a mobile, temporary altar structure to a grassy lawn just outside the western wall in Jerusalem and performed a Levitical priesthood service, burning a sacrificial lamb.
I want to be clear: I am not excited about the resuming of sacrifices at any temple or altar. I am not confused in my theology! I give thanks every single day to Yeshua (Jesus), our Messiah, the TRUE sacrificial Lamb, who shed his blood and made atonement for sin ONCE AND FOR ALL . As we are told in Hebrews 9:12, " He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption." So, dear friends, it is not a third temple or resuming sacrificial lambs and goats and calves that excites me. It is the veil being lifted from Jewish eyes that excites me! These are awesome days as we witness a desire on the part of our Jewish brothers and sisters and their Rabbis in Israel to obtain atonement for sin through blood. Those sharing the true story of the Gospel in Israel are buzzing with excited anticipation, because they know that NOW is the time when Jewish hearts and minds are opening to hear about Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, the Lamb of God, who was born in Bethlehem as foretold by the prophet Micah, and who was led to the slaughter like a lamb, as foretold by Isaiah 53:
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
Rabbi Jonathan Cahn writes, "That's why the Messiah was born in Bethlehem. The Lamb of God was born in the place where the lambs were born. And not just in the place of the lambs, but in the place of the sacrificial lambs, the lambs destined to be offered up in the Temple of Jerusalem as sacrifices to God were born. And that's why the first ones to see Him were shepherds, because when a lamb is born the shepherds attend its birth; and not just shepherds, but the shepherds of Bethlehem, the shepherds who attended the births of the sacrificial lambs. So the Lamb of God was born among the sacrificial temple lambs for the same reason, to be sacrificed in Jerusalem. The mystery was there from the beginning, from His birth. The entire purpose of His life was to give Himself, to give His life as a gift of sacrificial love for us. Messiah Yeshua's entire life was a living sacrifice, every moment a gift given."
As the Jewish people begin to awaken again to the need for redemption by blood, as it is written in Leviticus 9, the message of Yeshua, the true Lamb of God, will go forth in great power unto the salvation of many. This is what we are called to pray for in these days! And I invite you to witness this little 10-minute video done by Messianic Rabbi Zev Porat, which shows him witnessing to an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi during the little "Dedication of the Altar" ceremony on the last day of Hanukkah 2018. This is just the beginning of a very great and powerful move of God in our time as the people of Israel experience the One who came out of Bethlehem, "whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."
O little town of Bethlehem how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heaven.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.
Kelly Ferrari Mills