Micah Chapter Five

 

Read Micah 5:1-3 – The Birth of Christ

 

v.1 “Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.”

 

            The first verse of chapter 5 would probably be more appropriately labeled if it were included as the last verse of chapter 4.  A reminder that the chapter and verse divisions in scripture were established by men, not by any inspired writer or anyone with a gift from God other than intelligence and learning gleaned from years of study.

            Following the latter part of chapter 4, the prophet appears to be calling the children of God to be gathered as troops would be to do battle.  In this case the battle is against Satan, a spiritual battle because Satan will lay siege against the kingdom of God in the form of the persecution, trial and death of the Messiah, the ultimate judge of Israel.  It will begin with the ultimate sacrifice of the blood of the Son of God:

 

Matthew 26:67-68Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, 68Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?”

 

John 19:1-3Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. 2And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, 3And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands.”

 

v.22But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

 

            This is one of the most significant prophesies concerning Jesus Christ that we have in scripture.  It was recognized as such by King Herod.  It tells us of Jesus’ birthplace and in so doing provides us with proof positive that he was indeed the promised Messiah, the son of God.

            We should remember Bethlehem from the study of Genesis because that is where Jacob buried the wife that he loved:

 

Genesis 35:19And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.”

 

It was the place where Ruth, the Moabitess, the great-grandmother of David came with her mother-in-law Naomi:

 

Ruth 4:10-11 “Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day. 11And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem:”

 

The place where David was born:

 

I Samuel 17:12Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehemjudah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul.”

 

This birthplace of the Messiah is further anchored in truth by the Holy Spirit in Matthew’s record of Herod’s reaction to his birth:

 

Matthew 2:4-6 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.”

 

In their response to Herod the chief priests and scribes refer back to Micah 5:2.  The one “WHOSE GOINGS” was from everlasting, without beginning, with out end, who would become the ruler of Israel, the new Israel, spiritual Israel; would be born in Bethlehem.

 

v.33Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.”

 

            Meanwhile God will give Judah up, allow them to be carried into captivity and slavery.  Except during the rebellion and rule of the Macabees, which was short and bitter, the remnant of Israel would continue in servitude to other nations until “THE TIME SHE WHICH TRAVAILETH HATH BROUGHT FORTH.”  The prophet here is referring to the “TRAVAIL” of Mary in the birth of Christ.  Their return is confirmed by the prophecy of Isaiah:

 

Isaiah 10:20-22And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. 21The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. 22For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.”

 

Read Micah 5:4-7 – Characteristics of the Kingdom

 

v.44And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.”

 

            The Messiah that is to come will “STAND AND FEED IN THE STRENGTH OF THE LORD”; the Lord here refers to God, the Lord of all.  In prophecy and in the analogy used in his own words Jesus Christ is referred to as a shepherd and, one who stands to protect and feeds the flock which he oversees, protects and rules.

            In prophecy:

 

Isaiah 40:11 “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”

 

Ezekiel 34:13-15  And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. 15I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD.”

 

            In His own teaching:

 

John 10:11I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” v.14I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”

 

            In the revelation by the Holy Spirit to his Apostles:

 

Hebrews 13:20Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,”

 

I Peter 5:4And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

 

            This Shepherd, the one called by Peter the Chief Shepherd shall stand and be “GREAT UNTO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH” and there is no other.

 

Isaiah 45:21-22Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. 22Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”

 

v.55And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.”

 

            The king of Assyria was Israel and Judah’s most powerful enemy during the time of this prophesy.  He would destroy Samaria and the northern kingdom and then come against the southern kingdom as well.

 

Isaiah 8:7-8 Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks: 8And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.”

 

But this one, this shepherd that was to come, would be a shepherd of peace.  Through his power, the power of Jehovah he would be the provider and protector of peace with all men, all enemies.  The forces that the Messiah would raise against Israel’s tormentors are represented symbolically by the “SEVEN SHEPHERDS AND EIGHT PRINCIPLE MEN.”  We have here prophetic language that is somewhat similar to the prophecy of Daniel:

 

Daniel 2:4444And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”

 

v.6And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.”

 

            Why the reference to the city of Nimrod?  The great city of Nimrod (Babel, Genesis 10:8-10) is in this part of man’s written history the city of Nineveh.  Even before we arrive at the events prophesied by Daniel the first enemy of the children of God that needed to be removed was Assyria.  This was accomplished by Babylon and was also prophesied by Isaiah:

 

Isaiah 14:25That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders.”

 

            The prophet Nahum, who was sent by God to prophesy to Nineveh, the seat of the Assyrian government told them this:

 

Nahum 2:13Behold, I am against thee, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will burn her chariots in the smoke, and the sword shall devour thy young lions: and I will cut off thy prey from the earth, and the voice of thy messengers shall no more be heard.”

 

            This was God’s first step to implement His plan to bring the Kingdom of Christ into existence.  The subsequent steps were to be the destruction of Babylon, the Medes and Persians, the empire of Alexander the Great and ultimately God would raise up Rome.

 

v.77And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.”

 

            The remnant of Israel, symbolizing in this prophesy the church, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the redemption of mankind from the curse of sin, would be a blessing to the world much like a morning dew or showers providing water for grass and crops to grow.  This kind of symbolism is common and can be found in the sermon of Moses:

 

Deuteronomy 32:2-3My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: 3Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.”

 

And in the writing of the Psalmist:

 

Psalms 72:6 “HE SHALL COME DOWN LIKE RAIN UPON THE MOWN GRASS: AS SHOWERS that WATER THE EARTH.”

 

Read Micah 5:8-15 – The Conquest of the Kingdom

 

v.8And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.”

 

            The remnant of Jacob will be “AMONG THE GENTILES” “AS A LION” but will the kingdom of Christ wage war and conquer the world in a battle of Armageddon and institute a 1000 year reign of the physical world as the denominations teach?  Not at all, such a notion is completely foreign to scripture because as Jesus himself said at the judgment seat of Pilate:

 

John 18:36Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”

 

The weapons of the warfare to be waged by the kingdom of Christ will be those that will capture the hearts and minds of men, not their physical bodies.  They are described by Paul this way:

 

I Corinthians 10:4-5 “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

 

Those of God’s people who wage that warfare will be like a young lion among a flock of sheep.  No one is able to stop the lion; no one is able to oppose him because of his strength and power.  Those who proclaim the riches of the gospel of Christ, will be opposed, will be persecuted; even killed physically but they will never be completely overcome and the power of the gospel message will prevail.

 

v.9Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.”

 

            The church of the living God will march among her enemies as a powerful force, turning and converting men’s hearts.  The Psalmist writes that this power isn’t by men of war but rather:

 

“…THY MAJESTY RIDE PROSPEROUSLY BECAUSE OF TRUTH AND MEEKNESS and RIGHTEOUSNESS; AND THY RIGHT HAND SHALL TEACH THREE TERRIBLE THINGS.”  Psalms 45:4

 

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

 

v.10And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots:”

 

            “IN THAT DAY” refers to the reign of Jesus Christ over his kingdom, spiritual Israel.  Physical Israel, even under the rule of David and Solomon, learned to create armies of men, horses and chariots and to rely on their ability to employ them rather than to rely on God.

 

II Samuel 8:4And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: and David houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them for an hundred chariots.”

 

In the kingdom of Christ such implements and means of war are neither appropriate nor necessary; because His kingdom wages a war for the hearts and minds of men.

 

v.11And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds:”

 

            Under the type of warfare to be waged by the Kingdom of Christ strong holds and walled cities would serve no purpose, provide no protection.  City walls, battlements, fortresses will not, cannot stop the word of God.

 

v.12And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers:”

 

            Under physical Israel, men turned to witches and soothsayers, much as Saul did in complete desperation when he was without the advice of Samuel and faced with the power of the Philistines:

 

I Samuel 28:77Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor.”

 

Saul called for the witch of Endor to come and advise him.  Who can remember a New Testament example of an occurrence where curious arts and thinks of that nature were involved.?  At Ephesus as a result of the preaching of Paul:

 

Acts 19:19-20Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.”

 

v.13Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands.”

 

            Under the kingdom of Christ idolatry would be abolished and abandoned.  This condition did exist for a time.  But the time came when men turned to images again in their worship.  Even among the apostate Catholic Church for the first several hundred years no images were used.  Then they started raising up images of so-called saints and Mary the mother of Jesus to worship.

 

v.14And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee: so will I destroy thy cities.”

 

            The groves where images were worshiped would no longer serve any purpose.  Because the kingdom of Christ is not a physical kingdom, but a spiritual kingdom that will encompass all of mankind who would turn to him, cities in which the children of God should gather for protection would serve no purpose.  In the conquest of the kingdom of Christ what about those who oppose it or ignore the presence of God?

 

v.15And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.”

 

            The prophet ends his description of the conquest of the world by the kingdom of Christ with this warning.  God will execute vengeance in anger and fury against the heathen, against any and all who would stand against His son and His chosen people.

            First of all this vengeance belongs only to God:

 

Hebrews 10:30-31For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

 

This vengeance will not be brought against people here on earth as under the Mosaic Covenant but rather in eternity where God:

 

“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;” II Thessalonians 1:8-9

 

William L. Schwegler, Sunset church of Christ, Shreveport, LA; January 25, 2009