Rising Tides of Revelation

‘Tidings of Great Joy’ Came With a Catch

by Rick Stecker

(This post first appeared on Substack as “Rising Tides of Revelation” – Subscribe here)

In the Christmas saga as we’ve come to know it over the years, angels appear to the shepherds by night singing praises to God – and the shepherds, hearing those “tidings of great joy” about the birth of the Savior have to go and check out this great event that they’ve just heard about.

The saga doesn’t tell us exactly what the status of those shepherds was. First, it had to be amazing to have had what must have been a mind-blowing visitation. Maybe they were, at heart, happy to get some news that altered their humdrum routine, tending sheep out in the wild, and gave them an excuse to go do something different.

But the saga also identifies that they were living in anticipation of the Messiah, a key aspect of their Jewish culture, so their search was fueled by a high expectation. Yet what makes this part of the Nativity story so significant? Were these just your average shepherds who got caught up in a vision?

From the teachings of Jonathan Cahn, Messianic Rabbi, and author of such books as “The Harbinger,” comes this revelatory explanation that adds a prophetic twist to the tale.

In those days, Jews were required to offer sacrifices of unblemished lambs at the temple in Jerusalem, especially at Passover. That called for a lot of lambs to be available, lambs that the Jews could then easily purchase to fulfill their ritual requirements. Where would those lambs come from?

As circumstances would have it, lambs were officially raised for that very purpose, but they had to be near at hand in relative proximity to the temple to make the system work efficiently. So, as it turns out the herds of sheep and their lambs were located, guess where, in nearby Bethlehem.

So those shepherds in that scriptural saga were tending the flocks that actually included those unblemished lambs designated for ritual sacrifice. And their angelic alert to seek out the birth of the Savior, the real Lamb of God, was the prophetic equivalent of the very sheep they tended. Knowing their role in the process, they must have actually got it, recognized the connection and went running to find it. Forget the sheep.

So that gave Bethlehem an even greater significance in the story and a doubly important role in revealing Jesus as the Messiah. According to Cahn, there’s always more to the story of salvation than first meets the eye. Like a great confluence of tides, or tidings, that all dovetail together perfectly, to mix a few metaphors, these events all work in harmony to confirm the reality of the coming of the Christ. 

About the Author

Rick Stecker is a personal growth specialist, writer and speaker helping entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Rick's first job was as a reporter covering crime for a daily newspaper. Then came a stint on the high seas in Navy public relations aboard an aircraft carrier.

What followed was 25 years in corporate communications. Yet when a buyout forced a career change, Rick took his accumulated experience and built a consulting business, Grounds to Grow Coaching.

Rick authored his first book "Making Choices Like A Champion" to help others grow their capabilities. His second book, "The Chronicles of Mikey & Me" reflects on lessons learned out in the marsh with his first duck dog. In the works is Rick's next book, "The Benevolent Merger" aimed at helping those looking for personal growth to be victorious in their thinking. Rick's writings for the Internet can be found on Substack at ‘Rick Stecker’s Rising Tides’ (rickstecker.substack.com). Be sure to subscribe!

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