Have you ever had someone come to you and tell you about something that would happen to you in your future that was impossible to know or predict? We call this prophecy, a special word of knowledge from God, given for encouragement.
It is about that time when people begin to predict what will happen in 2021. However, if we have learnt anything in the last twelve months, we know this is an exercise in futility.
And yet, there are many so-called prophetic voices, people sharing their musings on social media. We need to pray for wisdom and discernment being careful not to place our hope in mere man.
We see time from a singular perspective. We can look a few days or weeks ahead clearly. But God is not bound by time, He not only sees the road from a different vantage point, but he also sees the entire universe and all of time in one sweep of his perspective.
The Old testament itself points to the coming Messiah. The Old Testament has over three hundred prophecies by multiple authors pointing towards Jesus. Most of these were completely fulfilled during the life of Jesus on the earth. But some of them refer to the great Day of the Lord when Jesus will come again in judgement.
The overall message of these Old Testament prophets is that the people must wait for one more King. He will be the greatest of all and he will bring an end to all struggles and wars.
This time of the year we will often read Micah 5:2, but the verses that surround this verse seem to be disconnected. In Micah 5 verse 1, the prophet begins with a call to arms. He mentions the city of troops, which is probably Jerusalem as the seat of power and the place where most of the military were staying at the time. Micah predicts that the city will come under attack. He predicts that this attack will succeed and that the enemy will strike the king of Israel on the cheek with a rod. Most scholars believe that this was foretelling the attack on Jerusalem by the Babylonians and the capture and torture of King Zedekiah. Thus, the first verse is a prophecy of the impending defeat of Jerusalem and the exile of the tribe of Judah which took place around 586BC, pointing to something that would take place around 100 years after Micah.
Then we have the very familiar verse 2. We know this verse refers to Jesus, the promised Messiah who will be born in Bethlehem in the region of Ephrathah. The name Bethlehem means, “house of bread”. Interestingly, Jesus called himself the Bread of Life and it is no mistake that he was born in the “house of bread”. This King will be born in the same town that David came from, he would be in the line of David. The people were hoping for another king like David.
But then Micah mentions that this rulers’ origins will be from old, from ancient times. The literal translation says, “days of antiquity”. The origins of this king will be before the beginning of time. This king will be one who transcends time. As we know from history, the second verse points to the first century, almost 700 years after Micah’s prophecy.
Looking at verse 3, it would seem that this verse refers to Mary and the birth of Jesus, however there are two other clues that point to the fact that this might be another time in history. Verse 3 begins with, “Therefore 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 for the last 72 years. Many scholars feel that this birth that is predicted is the birth of the nation of Israel that was witnessed in the 20th century, some 2700 years after the prophecy.
As we turn to verse 4, we see that this ruler will be one who stands, meaning that he will be established and unmovable as the King, and that his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. Micah is not prophesying about the first time Jesus came to the earth, he is writing 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.
Looking at the prophecy of Micah from this perspective, we see that it is relevant for us today, because it points to our future as well as he was inspired to write by the Holy Spirit.
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, to encourage us to keep looking ahead and keep looking down the road because Jesus is coming back again.
As we see with the prophetic writing of the past, people missed it. Jesus came after 400 years of silence from God, and even the most respected scholars of the day 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, the Lion of the tribe of Judah is coming back to rule and reign in glory.
The only question we need to be concerned about is whether or not we are ready.
Only by making Jesus Christ lord of your life, will prepare you for the second coming of Jesus.
Are you ready? It could be today.