When those living near Babylon wanted to make a name for themselves by building a tower that would reach unto heaven, their language was changed and the people were scattered (Genesis 11:1-9). When wicked Haman wanted to make a name for himself by killing all the Jews throughout the Persian Empire, he was hanged on the gallows he had prepared for another (Esther 3-7). When Judas desired to make a name for himself by selling Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, he went out and hanged himself (Matthew 26; 27:1-10).
When God makes a name of someone, an Ark is built to save mankind and the animal kingdom, as with a man named Noah (Genesis 6-8). When God makes a name of someone, a nation is built that numbers the stars of heaven, as with Abraham (Genesis 15:1-6). When God makes a name of someone, a man and young woman become the earthly father and mother of Jesus, as were Joseph and Mary (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38). When God makes a name of someone, a man intent on destroying God’s people becomes the greatest missionary to spread the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and the writer of the majority of the New Testament, as did the Apostle Paul (Acts 9:1-18). When God makes a name of someone it is life-changing for the entire world.
“And there were in the same country
Shepherds abiding in the field,
Keeping watch over their flock by night.”
This familiar verse found in Luke 2:8 carries greater significance than realized in a casual reading of the events of the first Christmas. Referring back to the Old Testament one reads of Ruth gleaning in the fields of Boaz located near the little town of Bethlehem (Ruth 1:22-2:3). It was the location of those fields where the ancestral home of King David was established, for Ruth and Boaz were David’s great-grandparents, necessitating the return of Mary and Joseph to register in the City of David for census purposes. The genealogy of Jesus found both in Matthew chapter one and Luke chapter three contain the names of Jesus’ earthly ancestors, which include David the King, David’s father Jesse, David’s grandfather Obed, and David’s great-grandfather Boaz. The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem was not a coincidence, but planned by God the Father to fulfill His eternal purpose.
With Bethlehem situated just six miles southeast of Jerusalem, the shepherds keeping watch over the flock that night included priestly shepherds keeping watch from the two-story stone tower of Edar located midway between the two cities. The priestly shepherds’ sole task was to provide lambs for the Temple sacrifices. It was these lambs that were to be without spot or blemish (Deuteronomy 17:1), therefore upon birth the lambs were wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger within the tower to calm them and keep them from injuring themselves. After Rachel’s death and her burial in Bethlehem, Jacob “journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar,” (Genesis 35:19-21).
The Perfect Lamb of God was born on that holy night in a lowly stable, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger, as were all the sacrificial lambs (Luke 2:1-20). It was JESUS who was sacrificed for the sins of the world, once for all time, the veil in the Temple renting from top to bottom negating any future sacrifices and giving man access into the Holy of Holies, to God the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ (Matthew 27:50-51; Hebrews 10:1-12). The Prophet Micah wrote 700 years before the birth of Christ the announcement of the Promised Messiah would take place at the tower of Edar, known as the “tower of the flock” (Micah 4:8).