Sign in to follow this  
spamlds

Do you ever wonder about the Christmas shepherds?

Recommended Posts

I'm tossing out there as a lighthearted topic, not for heavy doctrinal analysis.  It's just something I like to ponder sometimes.

 

When we read the scriptures, there are also stories and testimonies of real, average people who weren't prophets or apostles.  For example, Luke's narrative of the Nativity tells us about the shepherds who were abiding in the fields with their flocks.  They saw the heavenly manifestation of the angels and received the sign of the newborn King lying in a manger in swaddling clothes.  They went to go see it and somehow the story came down to Luke, who included it in his gospel.

 

I always wonder who they were and why they were selected for this manifestation?  Perhaps they were Luke's relatives or someone in his family.  Did they eventually join the Church when Jesus grew up, connecting the dots to this experience and the story came to Luke.  Perhaps Mary told him of it, because he relates things that only she would have seen or known. 

 

Anyways, I sometimes like to ponder that God gave this merciful manifestation to some plain old people who weren't kings, priests, prophets.  Kinda cool.

Edited by spamlds

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My personal studies seem to indicate a few things that might be of interest.  I have often wondered why angles only came to a few shepherds in their fields - especially since a group of devoted followers of the coming of the Messiah knew within 3 years when he would be born were preparing not so far from Jerusalem (near the dead sea).  They were fasting and praying as well as performing baptisms, carefully  studying scriptures, devoting their entire lives to preparing for the Messiah and as near as I can tell all possible.  The had the Levitical priesthood and were officially operating and offering sacrifices at the temple.  No angles came to them?????  Why just the shepherds near Bethlehem????

 

At Bethlehem there were at the time two main things going on.  There was like a seminary school for Scribes and priests and a special group of shepherds that raised sheep for sacrifices at the temple and use of sheep skins for temples scrolls to record scripture.  It is my speculation that it was these shepherds watching the temple sheep that were visited as a sigh to the Jewish leadership class - that they were not worthy.  These temple shepherds were kind of the bottom of the barrel when it came to service status.

 

The Dead Sea scrolls ought to be a wake up call to those that think their efforts to serve G-d according to what they think is G-d's plan according to their understanding of scripture - were left out at the most important time.  We may think our membership in church and faith it scripture is not qualify us for that kind of spiritual blessing that was extended to those shepherds.

Edited by Traveler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Both Edersheim and McConkie held the Traveler's opinion that the shepherds were tending temple-sheep.

 

Some additional thoughts:

 

http://askgramps.org/11162/shepherds-at-christmas

 

 

[T]hey spread the first nativity gospel to neighboring cities, including the hub of Jerusalem. Even if their sheep were not exclusively reserved for temple rites, some of their sheep would undoubtedly have to be included, drawing them toward their cultural center with their important message. Edersheim, in The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (heavily referenced in Jesus the Christ) ties the events of Luke 2:8-20 with verses 22-39. “Having seen it for themselves, the shepherds told what had been spoken to them about this Child, to all around – in the ‘stable’, in the fields, probably also in the Temple, to which they would bring their flocks, thereby preparing the minds of a Simeon, of an Anna, and of all them that looked for salvation in Israel” (page 133). The Lord knew a well-connected group of believers who could be trusted with voicing the angelic hymn “good will to men” in key locations around the area of Bethlehem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a really cool question! I have not thought of this before. I always thought that some angels wanted to scare some mortals 'cause that is what I would do.  I would venture to think that it has to do with those who have their hearts in the right place i.e. humble, prayerful, etc. and this was the miracle that followed their faith.  Now here is something that I have just thought about; what if some of you were that angel or part of the Heavenly Host praising God and whatnot?  I bet these shepherds were asked to speak at the Firesides of their time to give testimony of the events they witnessed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps the fact that David, from whom Christ descended, was also a shephard, is not unrelated. It might also be worth noting how often Christ referred to sheep and shepherds in His parables. 

 

On another, not unrelated matter, I've always wondered why the magi, having seen Christ, and having had some understanding of who He was, left Him and went back home. Surely it would have been to their benefit, and possibly to the benefit of the infant Jesus, if they had stayed. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it was Nibley who suggested that the Maji were descendants of people whom Lehi may have had contact. They knew to watch for a star as the sign of the Messiah's birth. Lehi saw that detail. Maybe he bore that testimony to others along the way to Bountiful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it was Nibley who suggested that the Maji were descendants of people whom Lehi may have had contact. They knew to watch for a star as the sign of the Messiah's birth. Lehi saw that detail. Maybe he bore that testimony to others along the way to Bountiful.

I seem to remember Nibley suggesting that they were princes of the Israelite tribes carried away into Babylonian bondage much earlier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it was Nibley who suggested that the Maji were descendants of people whom Lehi may have had contact. They knew to watch for a star as the sign of the Messiah's birth. Lehi saw that detail. Maybe he bore that testimony to others along the way to Bountiful.

 

The ancient Book of Enoch (quoted in the Biblical book of Jude) is also contains a calender.  This ancient calender is a most interesting calender and the tradition is that it is from the East.  Using this calender as a clue there is another ancient calender associated with Zoroastrianism.  It is interesting that Zoroastrianism also has a Messiah (demigod - offspring of G-d and woman) that is signaled by new star.  This idea of a new star is very centered in this religion.

 

We LDS think of scripture in terms of the house hold of Israel.  But there is more - before the Hebrew there was Melchizedek (possibly Shem).  But there is also the Gentiles as represented by Japheth among the children of Noah.  According to tradition - including the Book of Enoch - Jepheth (the Gentiles) settled in the east.  History has some interesting turns that are hidden by Traditional Trinity Christians.  There were in the east a culture that knew of Jesus as the Christ.  And according to their traditions they notified Jesus that he would be killed in Jerusalem and they offered him safety among them.  There was an ancient letter they claim was written by Jesus sent to them.  This document has been tested and scientifically verified to have been written at the time of Jesus on parchment indigenous only to the area of Jerusalem.  But because this culture does not accept the Trinity doctrine - this document has been rejected by Western Christianity. 

 

There is another figure in their history called Prester John.  Western Christianity has rejected this character for the same reason.  I will not go into all of this for this post - only to point out that it is possible and likely that there are scripture among the ancient Gentiles to which testify of Jesus as the Christ and that will stand as a witness with the Book of Mormon and the Bible.  For whatever reason - Western society have very little understanding of desire to learn of eastern religious history and culture - excluding such as heresy but I speculate that as we learn of such history that the truth of Christ and the Great Apostasy will be testified and given more evidence - but I also believe that the Tradition of the Trinity will hold on to believers despite any and all empirical evidence as an exercise of faith.  Indeed I believe that Anti-Christ at the end of times will deceive many into believing based on such misguided faith - and that we are seeing opposition to the kingdom of G-d cut out without hands from the mountain as a Kingdom not associated at all with the great figure given as prophesy to king Nebuchadnezzar.  Which image represents the kingdom of Rome being split into two as the legs and feet of the image.  And I would point out that the Roman empire was divided after Trinitarian Christianity was established in that kingdom.

 

The scriptures all point to Christ - not only when he first came but also to his second coming.  And what is the sign of his coming??  Is it a star??  Will there be a new Star - perhaps a supernova?  Note that a supernova at the correct distance could cause the ozone to fluoresce creating light at night without shadows and a new temporary star visible during the day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it was Nibley who suggested that the Maji were descendants of people whom Lehi may have had contact. They knew to watch for a star as the sign of the Messiah's birth. Lehi saw that detail. Maybe he bore that testimony to others along the way to Bountiful.

I read a book a few years back, that suggested the three wise men were the brothers Nephi and Lehi, accompanied by Samuel the Lamanite - all three of whom apparently vanished from Nephite history a few years before Christ's birth. As I recall, the book claimed the darker skin of Samuel may offer an explanation for the legend behind the dark-skinned wise man known later as Balthasar. If I remember correctly, the book was called From the East. If anyone is  interested, here is a link that discusses some of the same evidence as the book.  Thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this