Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

The Rock of Israel

Posted by kirkcaudle on December 11, 2010

Mary probably gave birth to her son inside of a small cave around the time of the Jewish Passover. After Jesus was born, we read in Luke 2:7 that his mother took him and “wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger.” The word used here for manger is phatne. Phatne is better rendered in English as a “feeding trough.” Imagine the Savior of all mankind coming into the world and being laid inside the feeding trough of animals.

This feeding trough could have been made of wood or it could have been made of stone. Whether this trough was really made or stone or wood is anyone’s guess. However, I prefer to think of the trough as being made of stone. I imagine the Christ low to the ground upon a slab of rock. This slab of rock functioned as his stone crib. The one who David, in the Old Testament, called “The Rock of Israel” had now come into the world and was laid upon a stone (2 Sam. 23:3).

This was He who only hours before spoke to Nephi in the Americas and said, “on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets” (3 Ne 1:13). Hours later the Rock of Israel laid upon a very literal rock of Israel in preparation for his earthly ministry. The same place where the animals came to receive nourishment would symbolically turn into the same place where all humanity would come to receive nourishment. This rock of Israel would inaugurate the earthly portion of the Atonement.

These are just a few thoughts that come flooding into my mind as I imagine Mary wrapping her Son in swaddling clothes as she prepared to lay him in a manger on that historic day.

2 Responses to “The Rock of Israel”

  1. Robert C. said

    This stone manger is a beautiful image, Kirk—thanks.

  2. […] Christ first came to earth he did so humbly (see notes here) . The next time Christ comes he will come in all of his glory. At his first appearance many […]

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