Hope For Israel and Judah
Comments for Study 2
Memory Verse: 4
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I. The Coming Kingdom (4:1-13)
* See a drawing of Micah in a Russian church to the right.
>1. What does "in the last days" mean?
* Micah 4:1 "In the last days the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it."
* "In the last days" -"In the last days" and "in that day" and "in the day of the Lord" all referred to the future from the Old Testament prophets' point of view. They all referred to events concerning Jesus first and second coming. The day of the Lord is the time when God reveals His sovereignty over human powers and human existence.
* "the last days" -In Hebrew this is "aharit yom". "Aharit" is usually translated "end", "latter", or "last". Zephaniah's main theme is the day of the Lord, repeated many times in his small book.
* The Old Testament prophets often spoke of "The day of the Lord" as the time when God reveals His sovereignty over human powers and human existence. For example "The day of the Lord" is the dominant theme of Joel. Besides Joel six other Old Testament prophets (Isaiah 13:6,9; Ezekiel 13:5, 30:3; Amos 5:18,20; Obadiah 1:15; Zephaniah 1:7,14; Malachi 4:5; perhaps Zechariah 14:1 too) uses the term "the day of the Lord". Sometimes the prophets of Israel and Judah abbreviated it to "that day". It was familiar to their audience, a term by which the audience expected light and salvation (Amos 5:18), but the prophets painted it as a day of darkness and judgment (Isaiah 2:10-22; 13:6,9; Joel 1:15; 2:1-11,31; 3:14-15; Amos 5:20; Zephaniah 1:7-8,14-18; Malachi 4:5). The Old Testament language of the day of the Lord is aimed at warning sinners among God’s people of the danger of trusting in traditional religion without commitment to God and to His way of life. It is language that could be aimed at judging Israel or that could be used to promise deliverance from evil enemies (Isaiah 13:6,9; Ezekiel 30:3; Obadiah 15). The day of the Lord is thus a point in time in which God displays His sovereign initiative to reveal His control of history, of time, of His people, and of all people.
* The apostles Peter and Paul also used the term "day of the Lord" (in place of "Lord" they also put "God" and "Lord Jesus"). (Acts 2:20; and 1 Corinthians 1:8, 5:5; and 2 Corinthians 1:14; and 1 Thessalonians 5:2; and 2 Thessalonians 2:2; and 2 Peter 3:10-12)
* The apostles used the terms "last times" and "last days" referring to the whole period introduced by Jesus' first coming. (John 11:24; Jude 1:17-18; Acts 15:16-18; Hebrews 9:36; and 2 Peter 3:3) These days are last in comparison to Old Testament days, which were preliminary and preparatory. (Romans 16:25-26; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:26) Also, the Christian era is the time of the beginnings of prophetic fulfillment. (1 Corinthians 10:11) The "days" can be interpreted as "ages" (Matthew 12:39, 13:39-40, 49, 24:3, 28:20; Ephesians 1:21, 2:7; and 1 Timothy 6:19; Titus 2:12; Jude 1:25) (periods of time) that reflect the six days of creation with the seventh day as a day of rest. Indeed the apostles very clearly call the one thousand year reign of Jesus as "the Lord's Sabbath" and "the day of rest". (Hebrews 4:1-11, 6:5; Revelation 14:13) Jesus himself invited us to his day of rest (Matthew 11:19; Luke 18:30, 20:34-36) and to work now and rest in the future (John 9:4). Since this is the time just before the Sabbath rest, then we are in the sixth day, the time when man and woman (Adam and Eve) were created. The Lord God Almighty is called the "King of the ages". (Revelation 15:3)
* Blackstone wrote in his book Jesus is Coming “The division of time into sevens, or weeks, permeates the Scriptures. A fundamental enactment of the Mosaic Law was the keeping of the Sabbath (Ex. 20:8). This was based upon God's great rest day in Genesis 2. Upon this is founded not only the week of days, but also the week of weeks leading to Pentecost (Lev. 23:15-16); the week of months, with the Atonement and seven days’ feast of Tabernacles in the seventh month (Lev. 23:27-28); the week of years, ending with the Sabbatic year (Lev. 25:4); and the week of weeks of years, ending with the seventh Sabbatic year, and followed by the year of Jubilee (Lev. 25:8-12).” He continues with more and quotes 2 Peter 3:8 then continues, “…so we also have the great week of Millenniums. Six thousand-year days of labor and then the Millennium, or blessed seventh thousand-year of rest.” He is not the first to see the significance.
* For more on this time period read the manuscript "The Believer's Future - Hope that Inspires" found on this site.
* Eschatology is the teaching concerning the last things in world history. The Greek word "eschatos" means “last” or final.” Accordingly, eschatology is the study of the things expected to occur at the end of history. This does not include what will happen after the Lord Jesus creates the new heaven and the new earth as described at the end of Revelation.
>What is the mountain of the Lord and what will it be like in the last days?
* "the mountain of the Lord" -Jerusalem is sometimes called Mount Zion and Mount Moriah. (Genesis 22:2, Psalm 48:1-2, and 2 Chronicles 3:1) Mount Zion was the original fortified hill of pre-Israelite Jerusalem between the Kidron and Tyropoean valleys. Mount Moriah is the rocky outcropping in Jerusalem located just north of the ancient city of David. It was the site of the temple. The Dome of the Rock is on part of Mount Moriah but is not the location of the temple though it is very close to it.
* "the LORD's temple" -The Lord's presence is what makes the mountain important.
* "will be established as chief among the mountains" -When Jesus comes he will dwell and reign in the temple. This is what will make it chief among the mountains.
* "peoples will stream to it" -During the 1,000 year reign of Christ people will come to the temple on Mount Moriah for the feast of tabernacles to see, hear, and experience the Lord Jesus. (Zechariah 14:16-19)
* Modern day people who travel to Jerusalem are sightseers and thus are not a fulfillment of this prophecy. This prophecy says they come to see and hear from the Lord himself. They will not be sightseers.
* Isaiah 2:2-5 is almost identical to verses 1-3. It says, "In the last days the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD."
* Prophecies and the law are made more important when repeated.
* See a picture of the modern temple mount to the right.
* Micah 4:2 "Many nations will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem."
* Zechariah 14:16-19 "Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain. If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The LORD will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles."
* "Many nations" -"Many nations" here are those who make it through the seven years of tribulation. It is clear that corporate groups (nations) will say these words in the Millennium when Jesus will be there. It is not before that for even now with the gospel being preached in all nations and people groups, entire groups of people let alone nations are not saying this.
* "Come" -They will invite others to join in on the fun. Excitement is portrayed.
* "let us go up" -Not by force, but with a willing spirit.
* "the house of the God of Jacob" -Jesus is the God of Jacob. He will dwell there in his resurrection body, the same one John of Revelation saw. (Revelation 1:12-16, 4:2-3)
* "He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths" -People will want to learn so that they can obey. In Micah's day as well as mine and every other generation only a few want to walk in the Lord's path. Studying the word of God is important to following with ways.
* "law will go out... the word of the LORD" -Both terms mean the same thing.
>Has this happened yet?
* This did not happen in the past and has not happened yet for reasons stated above and two more most important ones. First, the temple is not in Jerusalem and even if it was the Lord Jesus will not be in it till he comes again. Why? Because (reason number two) Jesus' believers are the temple of the Lord in this age, the age of preaching the gospel. See the quotes below. So people can come to his believers to learn of the Lord (and visa versa). In fact that is why Jesus said, "Go and preach the good news."
* Ephesians 2:19-22 "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit."
* 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple."
>2. What will the nations be like in the last days under the Lord's rule? (3)
* Micah 4:3 "He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore."
* "He" -The Lord Jesus.
* "will judge between many peoples" -Jesus will be the leading judge. Moses had established a system of courts (judges) who settled cases amongst the twelve tribes. (Exodus 18:13-27) If the lower judge found the case to hard he would sent the two parties to a higher judge. The highest court was Moses. Jesus' kingdom will be set up the same way. Even the church is suppose to be set up that way now. (Cults are not.) That is why the Bible says that those who believe in Jesus now will be judges and kings in the next age.
* "settle disputes for strong nations far and wide" -Entire nations will rely on Jesus to help them.
* "They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks." -Because of Jesus' system of courts disputes will be settled before they turn into wars. Mighty nations will accept Jesus' rule and judgements. This is a reversal of Joel 3:10 when at the end of this age nations will go to war at any expense.
* "nor will they train for war anymore" -Nations spend so much money and effort in maintaining armies and defences. Imagine how much benefit to all will be gained through the devert of money and resources from armies and weapons to society.
* "train" -Instead of learning how to kill, people will learn how to help others and be constructive in society; imagine the benefits!
>What will people lives be like under the Lord's rule? (4)
* Micah 4:4 "Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken."
* "Every man will sit" -All are included, none are excluded in this relaxing peaceful picture of the future.
* "his own vine and under his own fig tree" -Work is portrayed as easier than now because all will be able to grow their own food. Each will be his own boss. Working when they want to. Growing what they want to grow. And relaxing and eating when they want to. (1 Kings 4:25; Zechariah 3:10)
* "no one will make them afraid" -Not only will there be no war, but individuals will not be afraid of being robbed, mugged, or murdered.
>How should this inspire us now? (5)
* Micah 4:5 "All the nations may walk in the name of their gods; we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever."
* "their gods" -Idols and pagan gods. Ancient nations and even families had their own god to pray to and to worship. In some cases demons worked behind them. Ancient religions believed that certain areas of land had their own gods, so when people migrated they switched from one idol to the god of the new land they were in. Some cultures pray to their ancestors who have died before them. Others pray to a "saint" or a either dead or alive holy man and/or woman. Some even worship nature and animals.
* "we will walk" -Walking with someone is often used to illustrate two going to a common destination and sharing each other's company.
* "we will walk" -To walk in someone's name is like being an ambassador and/or a messenger. As subjects to Jesus we walk in his name. Jesus said to his disciples, "Come follow me."
* "for ever and ever" -Here is our future from this moment on, are you walking with him now? What's stopping you? Walk or fall.
* Isaiah 2:5 "Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD."
* Matthew 16:24-28 "Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."
>3. What does "in that day" mean? (6)
* Micah 4:6 "In that day," declares the LORD, "I will gather the lame; I will assemble the exiles and those I have brought to grief."
* "in that day" -"In that day" is yom in Hebrew. It does not necessarily mean a specific day when concerning prophecy fulfillment. It may refer to weeks, months, or even years. It may also refer to more than one occurrence of an event. Specific prophecies have often been fulfilled several times before a final most important occurrence of the event. An example is Daniel's prophecy of "the abomination that causes desolation."
* See question one notes above for more.
>What is the Lord's remnant? (7)
* Micah 4:7 "I will make the lame a remnant, those driven away a strong nation. The LORD will rule over them in Mount Zion from that day and forever."
* "I will make the lame" -This goes along with verse 5, "walk in the name of the Lord". Before Jesus comes to us we are unable to come to him and walk in his ways. We are lame.
* "remnant" -The people of God, the descendants of Jacob who truely believe in the Lord. As the word implies this is only a few Israelites. See Micah 2:12-13, 5:7-8, 7:18 for a promise to them.
* "remnant" -The prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Hosea, Micah, Haggai, Zephaniah, and Zechariah write of the remnant. The remnant make it through the day of the Lord's wrath by grace, people who are left over after God's judgement. The remnant are people who accept his call and remain so even though the majority do not. For the prophets the remnant refer most specifically to true Israel.
Some Christians have used the term remnant to refer to themselves. Can the Gentiles who are "grafted into Israel" by grace through faith in Jesus be called a remnant. The Hebrew and Greek words for remnant appear in both the Old and New Testament. Noah and his family were remnant from the judgment of the flood though the word is not used. (Genesis 6:5-8; 7:1-23) Lot was remnant of Sodom, but again the word is not used. (Genesis 18:17-33; 19:1-29) The first time the word is used concerns the Israelites who went to Egypt. Joseph called Israel a remnant from all the people who perished because of drought. He said to his brothers, "For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance." (Genesis 45:6-7) Also, Og the Gentile king was called a remnant of the Rephaites. (Deuteronomy 3:11) So a remnant is a person or a small group who is saved by grace from the larger whole who perish during the wrath of the Lord. In that respect Christians are a remnant who are saved by grace through Jesus. Jesus calls them the few who follow the narrow road. (Matthew 7:13-14)
When the prophets speak of the remnant are they speaking to survivors from Israel, Judah, and the church? It seems that they are speaking of only a remnant from Israel and/or Judah. (2 Kings 19:4, 30-31, 21:10-15; and 2 Chronicles 34:9, 21, 36:20) James made a distinction between the remnant and the Gentile believers. During the council in Jerusalem which met to consider the Gentiles who were putting faith in Jesus quoted the prophets. James said, "Simon (Peter) has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: "'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things' that have been known for ages." (Acts 15:14-18)
Paul, a Benjamite called himself a remnant because he believed in Jesus. He writes, "I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don't you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah--how he appealed to God against Israel: "Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me"? And what was God's answer to him? "I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal." So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace... Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!" (Romans 11:1-12) Paul quoted from Hosea and from Isaiah to demonstrate that the saving of a remnant from among the Jewish people was still part of the Lord’s method of redeeming His people. There would always be a future for anyone among the covenant people who would truly turn to the Lord for salvation. They were remnant survivors because the Lord chose to show mercy to those who had believed steadfastly in Him and had been righteous in their lives. The same will be true during the day of the Lord's wrath; there will be a remnant who survive and will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air as he returns to the earth to establish his worldwide kingdom.
Today's Dictionary of the Bible (T.A. Bryant) states, "Remnant has three basic meanings in Scripture:
a) A group of people who survive military or political turmoil (Joshua 12:4 concerning the race of giants in Bashan; the nations surrounding early Israel, Joshua 13:12; the Amorites in 2 Samuel 21:2; and Jeroboam's dynasty in 1 Kings 14:1-)
b) A portion of meat, oil, or other sacrifice left for the priests as their proper portion (Leviticus 2:3, 5:13, 14:18)
c) A prophetic designation referring to the core of Israel who survive God's judgment to become the nucleus of the new people of God (Isaiah 10:20-23, 11:11-12; Jeremiah 32:38-39; Zephaniah 3:13; Zechariah 8:12) The whole idea of the survival of a "righteous remnant" implies God's care of his "chosen people" (2 Kings 19:31; Isaiah 10:22, 37:31; Ezekiel 6:8; Joel 2:32; Micah 2:12). Isaiah is the principal proponent of the "righteous remnant" concept, and Paul picks up his emphasis and applies it to the Church (Romans 9:24, 27).
The New Compact Bible Dictionary (T. Alton Bryant) almost repeats a) and c) above.
* Paul seems to apply that as true Jews and the true church are remnants. Romans 9:24-28 says, "even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? As he says in Hosea: "I will call them 'my people' who are not my people; and I will call her 'my loved one' who is not my loved one, and, "It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' they will be called 'sons of the living God.' Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality."
* Isaiah 1:9 "Unless the LORD Almighty had left us some survivors, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah."
* Ezra 9:13 "What has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins have deserved and have given us a remnant like this."
* Acts 15:13-18 "When they finished, James spoke up: "Brothers, listen to me. Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: 'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things' that have been known for ages."
* Romans 11:5-6 "So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace."
* "those driven away" -They are driven away by the people like the leaders in Micah's day.
* Jesus said, "Matthew 7:13-14 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
>What does the Lord promise them?
* "a strong nations" -Not yet accomplished but will be when Jesus comes again.
* "The LORD will rule over them in Mount Zion" -Jesus is Lord or lords and King of kings.
* "from that day and forever" -Messianic prophecy only.
>4. What is promised about Israel? (8-9)
* Micah 4:8-9 "As for you, O watchtower of the flock, O stronghold of the Daughter of Zion, the former dominion will be restored to you; kingship will come to the Daughter of Jerusalem." Why do you now cry aloud-- have you no king? Has your counselor perished, that pain seizes you like that of a woman in labor?"
* "watchtower of the flock" -The city of David, Jerusalem, the shepherd king.
* "Zion" -Zion is the name of the anceint settlement on Mount Zion (see above). It is often called a stronghold elsewhere in scripture.
* "Daughter of Zion" refers to smaller cities around a large city and/or the entire nation in regard to the people, not the land.
* "the former dominion will be restored to you" -Through Jesus the kingdom will be restored as it was under David, both north and south kingdoms will be united.
* "have you no king" -The Lord was their king and they rejected him. Jesus said that he is the good shepherd who will lead his flock. They were not part of Jesus' flock because they rejected him.
>What will Babylon have to do with Israel in Micah's future? (10-11)
* Micah 4:10-11 "Writhe in agony, O Daughter of Zion, like a woman in labor, for now you must leave the city to camp in the open field. You will go to Babylon; there you will be rescued. There the LORD will redeem you out of the hand of your enemies. But now many nations are gathered against you. They say, "Let her be defiled, let our eyes gloat over Zion!"
* See a picture of Nineveh Prisoners to the right.
* "now you must leave the city" -Jerusalem would eventually be emptied by Babylon at the point of their sword.
* "Babylon" -In Micah's time Babylon was not the threat, Nineveh was. For Micah to predict that Babylon would take Judah captive must have been laughable to some.
* "there you will be rescued" -Micah also predicted that they would return from Babylon. This too would have been laughable because nations returning to the city they were taken out of was unheard.
* "redeem" -Redeem is a barter term. The Lord would purchase back his people from slavery in Babylon just as he did from Egypt.
* "But now many nations are gathered against you" -Before going to into captivity in Babylon the Assyrians would attack Judah while Jerusalem was spared. (2 Kings 18:13, 19:35) Even before that Israel and Aram (Syria) will attack Judah. (2 Kings 16:5)
* "gloat" -Enemies of God love it when they sin and are punished by the Lord. Assyria was so sure that they were going to defeat Jerusalem that they were stating they won even before the battle started. Such will be the case when Jesus comes again.
* 2 Kings 20:14-19 "Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked, "What did those men say, and where did they come from?" "From a distant land," Hezekiah replied. "They came from Babylon." The prophet asked, "What did they see in your palace?" "They saw everything in my palace," Hezekiah said. "There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them." Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, "Hear the word of the LORD: The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the LORD. And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood, that will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon." "The word of the LORD you have spoken is good," Hezekiah replied. For he thought, "Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?"
* The oracles of Isaiah in chapters 13 and 14 include a prediction regarding Babylon which does not require the preceding downfall of Assyria; Tiglath-Pileser III gloried in his status as king of Babylon quite separately from his rule over Assyria. Historical records and archeology confirms Isaiah's words.
* See a picture of an Assyrian soldiers to the right.
>Did the other nations and even Israel understand and accept all this? (12-13)
* Micah 4:12-13 "But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD; they do not understand his plan, he who gathers them like sheaves to the threshing floor. Rise and thresh, O Daughter of Zion, for I will give you horns of iron; I will give you hoofs of bronze and you will break to pieces many nations." You will devote their ill-gotten gains to the LORD, their wealth to the Lord of all the earth."
* "they" -The other nations and perhaps even Judah and Israel. Even what the Lord did reveal through the prophets most did not believe it.
* "his plan" -Everything happens according to the Lord's plan. His plan was formulated before he created anything. Nothing can stop it. Nothing can change it.
* "he who gathers them like sheaves to the threshing floor" -The process of harvesting starts with cutting the plants at the base and gathering them in sheaves. Once the field is completely harvested the grain is separated from the stalks. In order to get the grain off the useless stalks they are threshed. Once all the grain is collected the stalks are gathered and burned. The grain is then either stored in pots or ground into flour. Micah used this process as an illustration of what will happen to Israel and Judah in his lifetime.
* "Rise and thresh" -One day Jesus will give his angels this command for the earth. (Matthew 13:41, 24:31)
* "for I will give you horns of iron; I will give you hoofs of bronze and you will break to pieces many nations" -Horns on animals are signs of their strength. Hoofs are signs of their speed. The Lord and his people will be triumphant in the end.
* "You will devote their ill-gotten gains to the LORD, their wealth to the Lord of all the earth" -The Lord will be the one to win the battle so all that is gained from the victory will be his.
* See a picture of sheaves of wheat in a field to the right.
>How does this foreshadow the harvest that will take place when Jesus comes again? (Matt. 9:37-38, 13:37-43; Mark 4:26-29; John 4:35-38; Rom. 1:13-15)
* The Bible often uses the harvest as an illustration of what Jesus will do when he comes again. The burning of the sheaves is like what will happen to the unbelieving, those who do not have practicing faith.
* Matthew 9:37-38 "Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."
* Matthew 13:37-43 "He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
* Mark 4:26-29 "He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain--first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come."
* John 4:35-38 "Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor."
* Romans 1:13-15 "I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles. I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome."
* Jesus taught that when he comes again most will not be ready. He warns his people to watch and be ready.
II. The Coming King (5:1-5a)
>5. What is foretold of Israel and Israel's ruler? (1)
* Micah 5:1 "Marshal your troops, O city of troops, for a siege is laid against us. They will strike Israel's ruler on the cheek with a rod."
* "Marshal your troops" -Beginning with Saul Israel had a standing army. (1 Samuel 10:26, 13:1-2)
* "O city of troops" -Jerusalem
* "for a siege is laid against us" -When the Assyrians came they laid a siege against Jerusalem. The Babylonians also did this. At the end of the seven year tribulation the nations will again lay siege to Jerusalem.
* "They will strike Israel's ruler on the cheek with a rod" -Hezekiah was the king in Jerusalem when Assyria put Jerusalem under siege. The Bible does not record that any Assyrian got close to Hezekiah let alone hit him. (2 Kings 18-20; and 2 Chron. 29-32) So this referred to a time beyond Hezekiah, much later then even the Egyptians and the Babylonians conquest though they gained victory over Judah and Jerusalem. The Babylonians killed the king's son and put out the kings eyes. (2 Kings 25:7) However, more than the Babylonians this refers to Jesus, when he was arrested and beaten. (Luke 22:64)
* "Israel's ruler" -Ultimately Israel's ruler is the Lord Jesus. (1 Samuel 8:7; John 1:11, 19:19)
* Exaltation after suffering is common in the Bible. (Isaiah 52:13) Jesus himself said, "For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation." (Luke 17:24-25)
>How was this fulfilled in Jesus' first coming? (Matt. 27:30; Mark 14:65, 15:19; Luke 22:63)
* Matthew 27:30 "They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again."
* Mark 14:65 "Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, "Prophesy!" And the guards took him and beat him."
* Mark 15:19 "Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him."
* Luke 22:63 "The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him."
>6. What is revealed about Bethlehem in verse 2?
* Micah 5:2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."
* Verse one ends with Micah talking about Israel's king. Now he is going to prophecy about where the king will be born.
* "Bethlehem" -Bethlehem was a village about five miles (8km) south of Jerusalem. Bethlehem is the hometown of Jesse and his son David who became the second King of Israel. (Ruth 4:11-22) Matthew 2:1 calls the town "Bethlehem in Judea," to distinguish it from the town of the same name which was about seven miles (11km) north-west of Nazareth. Jesus came from the tribe and territory that produced the line of Davidic kings. The religious leaders in Jesus' day knew this because of this verse and others. (Matt. 2:3-6; John 7:42)
* "Ephrathah" -Ephrath is another name for Bethlehem or more precisely it's the area that Bethlehem is in. Genesis 35:19 states, "So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem)."
* "out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel" -Jesus was of the line of David and was born in Bethlehem. (Luke 2:4-7) His is the king of all Israel, not just Judah.
* "whose origins are from of old, from ancient times" -"From ancient times" can also be translated "from days of eternity" for eternity is in its meaning. Jesus was born human around two thousand years ago in Bethlehem. However, he existed before he was born human. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth before Abraham was born, I am!" (John 8:58) From Genesis chapter 1 till he was born human Jesus appeared in other forms and/or was covered so that his appearance was not seen. These included; the spoken word, a voice, an angel, fire, a cloud, and a whirlwind. Jesus is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of God's being. (Heb. 1:3) Jesus is in very nature God. (Phil. 2:6) "Origins" does not mean that Jesus was created or made by God for as John chapter 1 states Jesus created all things. Time is a part of creation and Jesus created it. Therefore Jesus is beyond eternity.
>How was Jesus' birth a fulfillment of this verse?
* Matthew 2:4-6 "When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"
* John 7:41-43 "Others said, "He is the Christ." Still others asked, "How can the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David's family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?" Thus the people were divided because of Jesus."
* The Lord God had promised David, "When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever." (2 Samuel 7:12-16)
>7. What would happen before Jesus' birth? (3)
* Micah 5:3 "Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites."
* "Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth" -This verse was fulfilled twice. Israel was abandoned for seventy years during the Babylonian exile. (2 Chronicles 36:21) A remnant returned but under Gentile rule. (2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Jeremiah 29:10; Ezra 1:1-5) Malachi, the last prophet of the Old Testament proclaimed Judah's new sins including rejecting the Lord as their king. (Malachi 1:6-14) Then Jesus, the Messiah came and began his rule. (Matthew 12:28; Mark 1:15) His kingdom was not the kingdom of Judah, but the kingdom of God. (Matthew 21:43) Jesus often taught about the true nature of the kingdom of God. (Mark 4:26, 30, 10:14-15, 12:34, 14:25; Luke 4:43, 8:1, 9:11) Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:20-21) For an explanation of this read the book "The Believer's Future - Hope that Inspires" found on this web site. Israel was also abandoned after 70 A.D. until modern times.
* "will be abandoned" -It is sure.
* "until the time when she who is in labor gives birth" -This has multiple fulfillment. It refers first to to Mary, the mother of Jesus and then to Israel as a whole with Jerusalem its original capital. It refers to Jesus' first coming and second coming. The first coming is obviously fulfilled with Mary. (Luke 1:34-35) Other fulfillment does not mean that Jesus will be born of the flesh again. When he rose from the dead he came out of the ground of Jerusalem in a glorious resurrection body. (Luke 24:6-7, 15-16, 37-43; Revelation 1:12-18) So just as the first Adam was born so Jesus the second Adam was born except that Jesus came from heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:45-49) This verse is also referring to Jesus coming again when Judah and all Israel turn to him for help during the seven year tribulation. See the whole verse especially "the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites" and below to understand this.
* "the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites" -"His" here is Jesus. So this is speaking of Jesus' brothers. Jesus said that he calls us brothers. (John 15:14-15)
* Isaiah a contemporary to Micah predicted in 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."
* Revelation 12:1-6 speaks of Israel giving birth to Jesus. It says, "A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days."
>What is life like under Jesus' rule? (4)
* Micah 5:4 "He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth."
* See a picture of a shepherd with sheep and a dog in a field to the right.
* "He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD" -Jesus when he comes again.
* "majesty" -Majesty is hard to comprehend in a democratic society. Even earthly kings don't have the majesty Jesus will have. Majesty is regal, lofty, or stately dignity; an imposing character; grandeur; supreme greatness and authority; absolute sovereignty.
* "the LORD his God" -The trinity revealed. Jesus' words as recorded in Matthew 22:41-45 reveal more on this. It says, "While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" "The son of David," they replied. He said to them, "How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him 'Lord'? For he says, 'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet."' If then David calls him 'Lord,' how can he be his son?""
* "they will live securely" -With all enemies vanquished Jesus will rule the whole earth. His people will no longer worry about being attacked and taken captive. (Revelation 18:21)
* Mark 6:34 "When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things."
* John 10:11-17 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-- just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again."
* 1 Corinthians 15:25-28 "For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all."
* Philippians 2:9-11 "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
III. Victory for God's People (5:5b-15)
>8. What does verse 5 mean?
* Micah 5:5 "And he will be their peace. When the Assyrian invades our land and marches through our fortresses, we will raise against him seven shepherds, even eight leaders of men."
* "he will be their peace" -Jesus is our peace. (Ephesians 2:14)
* "Assyrian" -Assyria as Micah knew it did invade the Israel and Judah, but they did not enter Jerusalem. (2 Kings 18:17-19:37) Israel and most of Judah was taken captive, but Jerusalem was rescued. However, Assyria here can also be extended to the nations that will attack Israel just before and during the seven years of tribulation.
* "through our fortresses" -Assyria did take Israel and Judah' fortresses and even bragged about it.
* "seven... eight" -A figurative way of saying enough to get the job done.
* See the relief to the right. After more than two thousand five hundred years this relief from Nineveh reproduces for us the attack of Sennacherib's army upon the biblical city of Lachish, with overwhelming force and with all the techniques of war. The defenders fight desperately from the towers, protected by shields between the battlements "like the tower of David, builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men" (Song of Solomon 4: 4). They are shooting arrows, slinging stones or throwing them with their bare hands and hurling firebrands down upon the enemy.
They wear pointed helmets like the Assyrians or close-fining caps with chin-straps, Assyrian sappers have built a series of sloping brick ramps on which the siege-engines are pushed up the hillside against the fortress walls. The battering-rams are fitted with a long shaft in front, the purpose of which was to gouge stones out of the masonry.
A soldier was posted in the front of the machine to keep throwing ladles full of water on the flying firebrands, thus preventing the flames from spreading. The archers advance under cover of the battering-rams. Behind them come the spearmen with large round shields. Captives, both men and women, are already leaving the city, passing three impaled victims. (The Bible as History in Pictures, Werner Keller)
>What did Micah prophecy about Israel's future? (6)
* Micah 5:6 "They will rule the land of Assyria with the sword, the land of Nimrod with drawn sword. He will deliver us from the Assyrian when he invades our land and marches into our borders."
* "They will rule the land of Assyria with the sword" -The Lord's people when Jesus comes again. Israel has never ruled Assyria yet.
* "the land of Nimrod" -Assyria. Nimrod started Nineveh, Assyria's capital city and other cities including Babylon. (Genesis 10:8-12)
* "He will deliver us" -Jesus is our deliverer.
* "from the Assyrian" -Assyria and all the enemies of Jesus and his people.
>How does Jesus fulfill this prophecy?
* Jesus will come again as conqueror and king. He will wipe out all his enemies. Isaiah 63:1-4 states, "Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? "It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save." Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? "I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come."
>9. What is said of the remnant of Jacob in verse 8?
* Micah 5:8 "The remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep, which mauls and mangles as it goes, and no one can rescue."
* "The remnant of Jacob will be among the nations" -Jacob is the father of the twelve tribes. Jews have and still are returning to Israel. They consist of people the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi. However, the other tribes have not returned yet as far as I know; though some Jews are from other tribes. (Luke 2:36; Revelation 7:4-8)
* "will be among the nations" -For the northern tribes this was after Assyria conquered them. For Judah this was both during the Babylonian exile and the Roman exile. However as John the apostle said being God's people is not determined by human decent or decision, but "born of God". So the fulfillment of this includes Gentiles who accept Jesus by faith.
* "in the midst of many peoples" -The Gentiles who have accepted Jesus by faith are grafted into Israel. (Romans 11:13-21) Just as Joseph's sons who were born of an Egyptian mother became like Jacob's other sons (Genesis 48:5), so the Gentiles who accept Jesus by faith are Israelites. Jesus taught that his kingdom will be amongst the many nations and from the many nations. He said, "People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God." (Luke 13:29)
* "like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep" -A lion in these scenarios make the other animals very nervous and afraid. The lion does not attack all the time, just when they are hungry. So God's people do not attack all the time, but one day they will follow Jesus their leader in a great attack against his enemies. (Joel 2:1-11, 3:1-3, 9-16)
* Preaching the gospel is spiritual warfare. Jesus told us to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth. He also said, "...on this rock (the gospel) I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven (the gospel); whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." (Matt. 16:18-19)
>And in verse 9?
* Micah 5:9 "Your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies, and all your foes will be destroyed."
* Daniel said something similar. "In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands--a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. "The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy." (Dan. 2:44-45)
>Has these things happened before and will they happen again?
* Even though God's people have endured persecutions from Assyria, Nebuchadnezzar, Herod, Rome, Hitler and more to come we will prevail because Jesus, our God and Savior has already won over the greatest enemies; sin and death.
* The ultimate victory is yet to come.
>10. What is foretold of the Messianic era in verses 10-11?
* Micah 5:10-11 "In that day," declares the LORD, "I will destroy your horses from among you and demolish your chariots. I will destroy the cities of your land and tear down all your strongholds."
* "In that day" -As explained earlier this is in the future.
* "I will destroy your horses from among you and demolish your chariots" -We will not depend on weapons of war, but on the Lord himself.
* "tear down all your strongholds" -During the 1,000 year reign there will be no need for strongholds.
>What will be done to false religions in that day? (12-13)
* Micah 5:12-13 "I will destroy your witchcraft and you will no longer cast spells. I will destroy your carved images and your sacred stones from among you; you will no longer bow down to the work of your hands. I will uproot from among you your Asherah poles and demolish your cities."
* False religion will be completely removed.
* See a painting of Jesus Coming in Glory to the right.
>How will Jesus rule in that day?
* Micah 5:15 "I will take vengeance in anger and wrath upon the nations that have not obeyed me."
* "vengeance" -Deuteronomy 32:39-43 "See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand. I lift my hand to heaven and declare: As surely as I live forever, when I sharpen my flashing sword and my hand grasps it in judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries and repay those who hate me. I will make my arrows drunk with blood, while my sword devours flesh: the blood of the slain and the captives, the heads of the enemy leaders." Rejoice, O nations, with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants; he will take vengeance on his enemies and make atonement for his land and people." Psalm 149:6-9 "May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all his saints. Praise the LORD." Isaiah 34:8 "For the LORD has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion's cause."
* "wrath" -Revelation 19:15 "Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty."
* "have not obeyed me" -Jesus said, "If you love me you will keep my commands."
>Why should knowledge of this encourage us today?
* 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 "So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad."
* Philippians 3:13-14 "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
* 1 Peter 1:8-12 "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things."