At that time, sheep farmers were generally seen as having low or little value by other people.
The type of sheep the shepherds would have been raising were 'fat-tailed' (or broad-tailed) sheep. They often had lambs in the autumn and winter, rather than in the spring which most sheep in western countries these days.
The shepherds were quietly getting on with their own business when suddenly an angel appeared to them. They were afraid!
The angel's words to them told them of Jesus and his amazing birth and how they could recognize him in a very crowded town. The words of the hosts of angels are very similar to the words sung during a sacrifice service in the temple when there were three blasts of the temple trumpets.
This is only the second time in the whole Bible that a group of angels rather than one angel had appeared to people, so this proved that they had a very important message to give to them. We don't know the names of the angels or how many there were of them, but in the Bible, it says that there are millions of angels - so it would have been an amazing experience!
A couple of miles outside Bethlehem there was a special watch tower called the Migdal Eder, which means 'The Tower of the Flock'. It's thought that sheep born there were used as sacrifice animals in the Jewish Temple in nearby Jerusalem. So, they were very special, and the shepherds were thought of more highly than normal shepherds.
TOWER OF THE FLOCK
There’s an obscure prophecy about the birth of Jesus that’s not just about the town of Bethlehem, it nails down Messiah’s birth to the square foot. You might not have heard this before, but it’s in the book of Micah.
“And you, O tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, even the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.” – Micah 4:8
It’s a prophecy that the Messiah would be born not only in Bethlehem but in the “Tower of the Flock.” So, what is that?
The Tower of the Flock belonged to Shepherd’s Field – the same exact field where David grew up watching sheep and having crazy cool encounters with God. You need to know, the shepherds in this field were not normal. They were part of the Levitical priesthood.
Their job was to watch as lambs were born. If a lamb had no spot or blemish, it was worthy for sacrifice. If it was spotless, they swaddled it – they wrapped it up to protect it from getting bruised.
angles visit the shepherds
View the video (6 minutes)