As we study the Old Testament we see that it all points to the coming Messiah, it is as if the Old Testament is a road that leads to the little town of Bethlehem, and to a seemingly insignificant event on a global scale, a child being born who will be the savior of the world.
The Old Testament has over 300 prophecies by multiple authors and prophets pointing towards Jesus, most of these were completely fulfilled in the life of Jesus while he was here on the earth, some of them refer to the second coming of Jesus that we are waiting for.
Micah was a prophet of God in the eighth century BC. He was a contemporary of the prophet Isaiah who lived at the same time. This time of the year we will often year read Micah 5 verse 2, but the verses that surround this verse seem to be disconnected and hardly seem to fit the Christmas narrative. As we look at the first 6 verses of Micah chapter 5, we see that the prophet is taking a wide, sweeping view of history.
Chapter 5 begins with a call to arms. The first verse mentions the city of troops; this is probably Jerusalem as the seat of power where most of the military were staying at the time. Micah writes that the city is under siege. Micah prophesy’s that this attack will succeed and that the enemy will strike the king of Israel on the cheek with a rod, a sign of humiliation. Most scholars believe that this was foretelling the attack on Jerusalem by the Babylonians and the capture and torture of King Zedekiah. So the first verse is a prophecy of the impending destruction Jerusalem and the exile of the tribe of Judah which took place around 586BC, an event that would take place around 100 years after Micah.
Then we have the very familiar second verse of Micah chapter 5, we know this verse refers to Jesus, the promised Messiah who will be born in Bethlehem. The name Bethlehem means “house of bread”, again we see a prophetic glimpse. Jesus called himself the Bread of Life, it is no mistake that he was born in a town called the “house of bread”.
But then Micah mentions that this ruler’s origins will be from of old, from ancient times. The literal translation means, “days of antiquity”. The origins of this ruler will be before the beginning of time, one who transcends time, only God can do that.
So, verse 1 points to a time about 100 years in advance of Micah’s life, verse 2 points to the birth of Jesus, almost 700 years after Micah’s writings.
Then at first glance verse three refers to Mary and the birth of Jesus, however if we read carefully the phrase, “Israel will be abandoned until….”. Israel ceased to be a nation until 1948, when the Jewish nation was restored. And the last part of the verse; “and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites”, is something that we have seen taking place within the last 68 years.
Many scholars feel that this birth that is predicted is actually the birth of the nation of Israel that we witnessed in the 20th century.
The progression follows; verse 1 points 100 years down the road, verse 2 points 700 years down the road, and verse three points almost 2700 years down the road of history.
But then we come to verse 4. This promised ruler who is to come will stand, this means that he will be established and unmovable as the King, there will be no challenge to his authority and he will shepherd his flock. And not only that, but his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.
Micah is not talking about the first time Jesus came to the earth, he is talking here about the second coming of Jesus. When Jesus will establish his throne on the earth and he will reign over all the earth, there will be no doubt of his majesty and authority. So in verse 4 we see a glimpse not only into the future of the prophet Micah, but also into our own future as we await the second coming of our Lord.
So this prophet who lived around 2800 years ago, was led under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to write these words that we have translated for us today. These are the words of God to us, as they were to the people of the tribe of Judah, who were about to be invaded by the Babylonians, and to the remnant looking for and awaiting the Messiah who came in the form of a little baby born in a stable in Bethlehem. These were the words of God that confirmed the re-establishment of the nation of Israel. And these are the words of God to us as believers all over the world. Words to encourage us to keep looking ahead, keep looking down the road because Jesus is coming back again. And when he does come back again, as Paul wrote in the letter to the Philippians chapter 2:10; “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,”
As we see with the prophetic writing of the past, people missed it. When Jesus came to the earth even the most respected scholars of the day completely missed it. Those who studied the prophetic writings did not recognize the Messiah when he came in the form of a Baby in Bethlehem.
But I can assure you that when Jesus comes back again, there will be no doubt as to who he is, there will be no doubt about his power and authority.
The Lion of the tribe of Judah is coming back to rule and reign in glory. The only question will be whether or not you are ready.