Today: [Micah 5] The Passage that Led the Magi. In Micah 5 the prophet speaks first of the coming fall of Judah and Samaria, and then foreshadows the coming of the Messiah Himself. In this passage, it is believed by many, the Magi who sought Jesus’ out in Bethlehem, found their instruction regarding how to find the Messiah. Jewish sources read these passages and see nothing of Jesus in them, but for us it is a compelling passage, written centuries before the birth of the savior, predicting His death, resurrection and ultimate rule over all mankind.
[Mic 5:1-15 KJV] 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. 2 But 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. 3 Therefore 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. 4 And 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. 5 And 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. 6 And 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. 7 And 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. 8 And 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. 9 Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off. 10 And 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: 11 And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds: 12 And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no [more] soothsayers: 13 Thy 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. 14 And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee: so will I destroy thy cities. 15 And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.
In chapter 5 of Micah we have Messianic prophecies fulfilled speaking first of Jesus’ death and of His birthplace in Bethlehem. Verse 1 speaks of Jerusalem falling to the siege of the Babylonians, with a dual reference to Jesus being struck on the cheek by the Romans who abused Him at Pilate’s court. Verse two makes reference to the insignificance of Bethlehem, yet being the birthplace of the Messiah. It is amazing that the Pharisees and ruling classes of Jerusalem in the first century could read this passage and not see a suffering Messiah. Even today Jewish scholars point to the crucifixion of Jesus as alleged proof that He could not have been the Messiah because they see no reference in their studies of the Messiah suffering in anyway. Instead when they read passages that we see as portending the crucifixion of Jesus, they apply to the nation of Israel, claiming that the nation of Israel and the Jews as a people have suffered throughout history “for the sins of the world…”
Verse 3 speaks of the nation of Israel being given up to the depredations of cruel nations “until she that travails brings forth…” an obvious reference to the virgin Mary and the coming birth of Christ. These passages speak profoundly of the suffering, birthplace and miraculous coming forth of Jesus into the earth in the city of Bethlehem. Historically it is believed that this passage more than many others were studied by the magi who came in search of Jesus from the east and made Bethlehem their destination point because of the words of Micah here in ch. 4.
Verse 4 speaks of the name of Jesus, the Messiah becoming great not just among the peoples of Judaism, but unto the ends of the earth. Verse 5 says that “this man” (the Messiah) will be “the peace” at the time when the Assyrian (the anti-Christ) will come into the holy land. The verse also prophesies that 8 “shepherds” or “principal men” will rise up against the king of Assyria by the hand of God. Scholars are silent on this reference to 8 “principle” men, raised up against the latter day anti-Christ figure, but this could point to the seven churches of God throughout time, culminating with the 8th man – the returning Messiah to destroy the works of the anti-Christ and the restore humanity to the divine rule of God during the Millennial reign of Christ. This will be a time (v. 7) when the “remnant of Jacob” will restored to their ancient possessions and Jerusalem will be the seat of world government, led by Jesus Himself.
The narrative of Micah’s words now has passed beyond events germane to Israel’s immediate fate, and is speaking apocalyptically of the culmination of human history when Jesus comes back to rule and reign. It is important to point out however, that prophecy and its proper application is not an either/or proposition. These things came to pass in a measure, but also have a further fulfillment in events to transpire even beyond our time. There are even many references and prophecies in scripture that had three levels of fulfillment, both immediate, inter-mediate and ultimate fulfillment at the end of the age. We must refrain from looking at prophecy the way we would look at the prediction of a psychic or a clairvoyant, as Nostradamus, peering into his bowl and predicting murky human events in his quatrains.
There is a distinct difference between the character of biblical prophecy and the prognostications of uninspired seers. It doesn’t mean they cannot be accurate. Accuracy does not authenticate the origination of a predictions, we must consider the character of what is said and the nature in which a prophecy is expressed, and not approach such things simplistically, but prayerfully, realizing that our perspective is limited by our own place in human history.
Verse 12 declares that in the purity of the reign of the Messiah, witchcrafts and soothsayers will be cut off from the earth. It is important to understand the character of these things that are so prevalent in our day. Many people have a misconception about witchcraft. Gal. 5:19-20 identify witchcraft as a work of the flesh. The demonic is involved, but it arises from unsanctified human nature and an unsubmitted human will. It is of human original first and foremost as men attempt to use spiritual darkness to bring about the objects of their intention and desires, as do soothsayers and the idolatries of men that v. 13 says will be cut off completely and with finality when Jesus’ returns to claim His own.
We read Micah 5 then, as speak of things that were brought to pass when the Assyrians invaded, and subsequently the Babylonians, but we also see it as being fulfilled in an intermediate way in the first century with the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus. However, there is also greater fulfillment of things spoken of that have yet to come to pass at the end of the age, yet to be seen but certainly drawing near in our day.
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