Let’s go back to Isa 9 and we are going to review a few things. First of all, Isa 9.1 should be in Chapter 8 because Chapter 9 is about the festival of Sukkot. We have mentioned before that the word “light” in 9.2 is associated with Sukkot and those that see this light are in the “shadow of death” which is another name for the Kidron Valley. There is only one festival during the year where the Kidron Valley is lit up with “light” and that is at the festival of Sukkot. In the Mishnah, Sukkah 5.2-3, it says, “At the close of the festival day of the Feast they went down to the Court of the Women where they made a great amendment. There were golden candlesticks there with four golden bowls on the top of them and four ladders to each candlestick, and four youths of the priestly stock had in their hands jars of oil holding a hundred and twenty logs, which they poured into all the bowls. They made wicks from the worn out drawers and girdles (swaddling clothes) of the priests and with them they set the candlesticks alight, and there was not a courtyard in Jerusalem that was not illuminated by the light of the House of the Water Pouring (Beit ha Shoevah).”
In Isa 9.3 we have some key words associated with Sukkot. We have the words “gladness”, “glad” and “harvest.” Now, when you go to Deut 16.13-14 and Exo 23.16 we see these same terms and concepts which are associated with the festival of Sukkot. During Sukkot, the haftorah readings (readings from the Prophets) are Zech 14.1-21 which is read on the first day of Sukkot (Tishri 15) and Ezek 38.18 through 39.16, which is read on the Sabbath that falls during Sukkot week. So, during Sukkot they study the War of Gog and Magog. This custom dates back to the first century and the time of Yeshua (Talmud Megillah 31a). Part of the Sukkot “rejoicing” was the fact that in the future Gog/Magog will be defeated by that festival.
Ezek 38.17 says that the Lord has prophesied through his prophets about Gog and Magog, but where are the prophecies? Where are the prophecies of Gog and Magog found? The ancient sages determined that these prophecies are found in the invasion of the Assyrians. In Isa 9.7 we have discussed the closed or final Hebrew letter Mem (has an “m” sound) in the word “l’marbeh” where it is translated “increase” in English. The final form of a Hebrew letter can only be used at the end of a Hebrew word, not at the beginning. The letter mem in Hebrew thought is associated with the womb or virgin. The sages said that God did this to show that he wanted to make Hezekiah the Messiah and Sennacherib Gog (Talmud Sanhedrin 94a). For more information on the closed mem, see the article “The Mystery of the Closed Mem” by Daniel Botkin. Now, we know that was not the case, but we do find the association of Gog with the Assyrians.
Isa 9.4-5 deals with the defeat of the Assyrians in the time of Isaiah, but it is also a picture of the defeat of Gog and Magog at Sukkot during at the end of the third year of the Birthpains. So, starting in Isa 9.2, every verse is about Sukkot. Then we come to Isa 9.6, which we have dealt with, and we see that a “child will be born to us, a son will be given” which is clearly a prophecy about the birth of Yeshua in a prophecy about Sukkot. Then we have Isa 9.7 and an allusion to the virgin birth in the Hebrew word “l’marbeh” and the closed mem.
Now, let’s go back to Luke 2.1-7. The men have to go to their ancestral town to register, so Joseph goes to Bethlehem because that was where his ancestor David was from. The Romans do a census so they can tax the people, but they gave the people time to do this. The people need to bring in their harvest, sell it and so on. The men were coming for the Shelosh Regalim anyway, so they could go by their ancestral towns at the festivals and take care of their Roman business and the taxes. So, Bethlehem would have been very crowded due to the people coming for the festivals. We have already showed that Yeshua was to be born around the festival of Sukkot from the Scriptures and the Mishmar of Abijah and the birth of Yochanon from Luke 1. Elisheva conceives and nine months after Zechariah comes back after the prophecy by Gabriel, and she gives birth to Yochanon around the time of Passover. Six months after the birth of Yochanon, Miriam gives birth in the month of Tishri after being conceived at Chanukah. Yeshua is born and put into a “manger” in a stable, which is the Hebrew word “sukkah” (Gen 33.17) and because there was no room in the inn. There was a “swell” of people coming up for the festival of Sukkot so they could not find a room, but there were “sukkot” everywhere to stay in because that was what they were designed for, so Yeshua was born in a sukkah, at the festival of Sukkot.
In Luke 2.8-9 we read about the shepherds in the field. They were at a place called Migdal Eder which means “Tower of the Flock.” This place is located at the northern end near a bluff very near where Rachel is buried (Gen 35.19-21). Micah 4.8 says, “And as for you, tower of the flock (Migdal Eder) hill of the daughter of Zion, to you it (the Kingdom of God) will come-even the former dominion (that was in Eden) will come, the kingdom of the daughter (an idiom meaning “a small town”) of Jerusalem.” The Mishnah says that Temple animals were raised there (Shekalim 7.4). What they did was measured the distance from the Temple to Migdal Eder (four miles), then drew a circle around Jerusalem. Any animal within that circumference was eligible for the Temple. The shepherds in the field were Levites shepherds working for the Temple. They were in the valley of Migdal Eder, not in Bethlehem but right on the edge of it.
In Luke 2.15-16, after hearing from the angels that the Messiah was born, ran “in haste” to find Joseph, Miriam and the child that was going to be the Messiah. In Luke 2.17-20, these same shepherds told everyone they could find what happened. Matt 2.1-2 says that at the same time “magi” from the “east” had arrived in Jerusalem looking for the “king” that was born. Jerusalem, being the logical place to find a king, was not where Yeshua was, however. These “magi” were actually “Chachamim” or “wise men” otherwise known as “rabbi’s, scholars or sages.” The “east” was the land of Babylon, where the largest Jewish population in the world lived. Remember, most of the Jews did not come back after the Babylonian dispersion but stayed there. They saw “his star” while in the Babylon (Num 24.17). There was a messianic figure during the third Jewish revolt called “Bar Kochba” which means “son of the star” but he turned out to be a false messiah obviously.
The expectation was that a “star” would come meaning that the Messiah had come. The Aramaic paraphrase of Num 24.17 in the Targum Onkelos says, “I see him, but not now, I behold him, but not near. When a king shall arise out of Jacob, and the Messiah be anointed from Israel, he will slay the Princes of Moab, and reign over all the children of men.”
So, what do we have so far? Yeshua was born during Sukkot. Joseph has come down from Nazareth to Bethlehem to keep Sukkot, but to also take part in the census. Miriam is nine months pregnant and finding no room in the only inn in Bethlehem, she goes into contractions and they find shelter in a sukkah. Yeshua is born, and Levite shepherds come from Migdal Eder, find Yeshua and begin to tell everyone they can find that the Messiah has been born. Contrary to the Christian “Christmas Story” it was not a ‘Silent Night” but a very noisy night (Luke 2.17-18). In Part 49 we will pick up here because the story switches here and the Christian version is a myth.