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Saturday, December 24 2016
The Shepherd's Cote And Fold
"I am the Good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine"
A "sheep fold" was an old English term for an enclosure for sheep. A "sheep cote" was often used to refer to it as well, although the "cote" actually referred to the shelter, or "cottage," for the shepherd while they were tending the sheep in the fold.
The sheep fold wasn't just a way to keep sheep penned. It was also a strong defense from the endless threat from predators. Ironically, the sheep fold could serve as a convenient killing zone of threats that were attracted into the good shepherd's sights.
"17:34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: 17:35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. 17:36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine [i.e. Goliath; The Battle Of David And Goliath] shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. 17:37 David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee." (1 Samuel 17:34-37 KJV)
The people of Israel were, for the most part, shepherds. The Israelites entered Egypt not only to escape a famine (caused by drought) for themselves, but also for their sheep i.e. "47:4 They said moreover unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we come; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen" (Genesis 47:4 KJV).
"47:1 Then Joseph [see The Israelite Patriarchs - Joseph] came and told Pharaoh, and said, My father and my brethren, and their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have, are come out of The Land Of Canaan; and, behold, they are in The Land Of Goshen. 47:2 And he took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh. 47:3 And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers. 47:4 They said moreover unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we come; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen." (Genesis 47:1-4 KJV)
The Lord chose David "from the sheepfolds" not only as a prototype of the ultimate king of Israel (see Israelite Monarchy - The Messiah), but also as a prototype of the ultimate Good Shepherd of Israel (see the Fact Finder question below).
"78:70 He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: 78:71 From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance. 78:72 So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands." (Psalm 78:70-72 KJV)
Although Christ's "sheep" have been widely-scattered for a long time, upon His return He will gather His sheep (see Spiritual and Physical Gatherings) from all places where they may be found: "34:12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day" (Ezekiel 34:12 KJV).
"34:11 For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. 34:12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.
Fact Finder: What was prophesied about the shepherds of Bethlehem?
This Day In History, December 24
563: The Byzantine church building Hagia Sophia in Constantinople was dedicated for the second time after being destroyed by earthquakes. The building became a mosque in 1453 and remained so until 1931.
1144: The capital of the crusader County of Edessa fell to Imad ad-Din Zengi, the Atabeg of Mosul and Aleppo (see also Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy).
1524: Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama died at age 55. He was the first recorded European to reach India by sea.
1524: Poland agreed to truces in its conflicts with both Sweden and Turkey.
1638: The Ottomans under Murad IV recaptured Baghdad from Safavid Persia (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).
1777: Kiritimati, now also known as Christmas Island, was discovered by English explorer James Cook.
1781: German immigrant Baron Friederike von Riedesel erected what is believed to be the first Christmas tree in North America, at Sorel, Quebec (listen to our Sermon The Ho-Ho Hoax).
1814: A peace treaty between Great Britain and the former New England colonies was signed at Ghent, Belgium to end the War of 1812 (1812-1814). The combatants kept fighting and dying however because the news of the war's end did not arrive from Europe for another 2 weeks (longer in some more remote areas e.g. the Battle of New Orleans).
1865: The terrorist group "Klu Klux Klan" was founded in Pulaski, Tennessee by a group of Confederate veterans. Although originally created by racists who feared black people, the "Klan" later included many other groups of people in their fear/hate list i.e. Jews, Catholics and immigrants from anywhere.
1914: The first air raid on Britain took place when a German monoplane dropped a single bomb on Dover.
1942: The German research station at Peenemunde successfully tested a new surface-to-surface weapon system. Called the FZG76, it later became better known as the V1 Flying Bomb (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars).
1946: The French Fourth Republic was established.
1951: Libya became an independent nation. It had been a colony of Italy from 1911, and before that was under Ottoman rule from 1551 (see also Libya In History And Prophecy).
1968: The crew of Apollo 8 entered into orbit around the Moon, thereby becoming the first humans to do so. They completed 10 lunar orbits and broadcast live TV pictures for the famous Christmas Eve Broadcast, one of the most watched broadcasts in history.
1974: Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin, Australia.
1979: The first European Ariane rocket was launched.
1991: Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as leader of the Soviet Union.