The Very First Flash Mob in Recorded History

Steve Foss

It didn’t occur in this or the last millennium! The first flash mob ever recorded in history happened in Bethlehem, about five and a half miles south of Jerusalem. The town is called Bethlehem, and it is still there today, about five and a half miles south of Jerusalem.

Bethlehem was known for its hilly pastureland, excellent for grazing sheep—becoming a major source of sacrificial lambs offered in the temple worship. Shepherding is not a squeaky-clean business. They were like our cowboys of the 1800s—not the top layer of society.

It was there that the original flash mob occurred on Bethlehem’s hillsides in the first millennium. A doctor turned archivist named Luke obtained the story through interviews. Evidently, he had been commissioned by a wealthy donor to pay for Dr. Luke’s research of eyewitness accounts. His historical record became one of four on the life of Jesus Christ, beginning with the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.

A carpenter named Joseph and his pregnant fiancé named Mary made a 94-mile trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem to comply with a decree made by Caesar Augustus for a kingdom-wide census.

Luke describes the flash mob this way: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’” (Luke 2:8-14)

There you have it: the first flash mob in history! Literally! Those rough, tough shepherds, known for tussling with bears and lions, cowered at the sight of the angels. Yet, they were the first locals to be told of the divine event, leading to their visit to the manger. See for yourself this Christmas the good news for all people!

Join us at First Baptist Church for a flash mob Christmas sing-along on Dec. 10 at 4 p.m.