Joel, Micah, & Zephaniah Lesson 8
Chapter 5 Assignment Questions
- What is the message of 5:1?
- What is the significance of “from long ago,” and “from the days of eternity”?
- What is the message of 5:2?
What is the message of this verse?
- Who is “He” in verse 4?
- What is “they”?
- What is the message of this verse?
- Who is “this one”?
- What function does He have?
Micah 5:5b, 6
What is the message?
Micah 5:7, 8
- When is “then”?
- What is the message of these verses?
- Whose land is “your land”?
- What is the message of verse9?
- What day is “that day” in verse 10?
- Whose horses, chariots, etc., are to be destroyed in verses 10-14?
- Who is the destroyer?
- What is the function of the destruction here foretold?
- Who is the destroyer in this verse and against whom is this destruction?
- What is the result of the destructions described in 5:9-15? Compare their cause and purpose with the cause and purpose of the conflict foretold in 5:5b and 6.
- What is the message of chapter 5?
- Is this Old Testament or New Testament eschatology?
In the Hebrew Bible the material found in our English bible as Micah 5:1 is the last verse of Micah, Chapter 4.
In our English Bible Micah 5:1 is another prophecy of doom to the rebellious people who claim to be serving God; in the Hebrew chapter and verse numbering it is a continuation of the prophecy of doom beginning in Micah 4:9. However one numbers it, the verse is a message of judgment against God’s rebellious people. They are to prepare to fight, knowing God has planned for them to lose.
- The phrase “from long ago” can also be translated “springing out of,” or “derived from ancient times” (BDB), but it interestingly also has the meaning of east; hence the phrase “from the ancient times” or “from long ago” (NASB), can also be translated “from the east.” (Such a translation would be very interesting in the light of the Biblical kings of the east who might then be seen as the forces of God.)
The phrase “from the days of eternity” is from the Hebrew word meaning “all time” or “forever.” (Holloday). In the intensive form the stress is on the concept translated “everlastingness” (BDB).
In Micah 4:7 the prophet says the Lord will reign “from now on and forever,” the forever of 4:7 and of 5:2 being translated from the same Hebrew word. Here forever, therefore, can be carrying the meaning of a concept expressed by Mrs. White as living as long as God lives.
The significance of these phrases occurring together is that a general concept of long-timeness becomes a description of that which, or the one who, actually parallels or bears eternity.
- The message of Micah 5:2 is that from Bethlehem, the smallest or youngest in the thousands of Judah, is to come forth to the Lord (Heb.: From you to Me), the One to become the One ruling, or exercising dominion, in Israel; this One has had his beginning or going forth from eternity – therefore He is divine.
Note: Mrs. White said the Jews could have known the Christ was divine; perhaps the Biblical support for that statement is as clear in this passage as in i.e., Isa. 9:6.
Micah 5:3 says that Israel, the rebellious and offensive children of God, will be given up by Him until His special ruler is born. The message of this verse is that when God’s children offend Him they have no hope of becoming right with Him again apart from the special One who is to be born (verse 3a).
After His birth the sons of Israel will again become united (verse 3b).
- “He” is the promised ruler of 5:2, 3.
- “They” is the ruled; the united sons of Israel.
- The message of the verse is that the promised ruler will rule over the united sons of Israel in the power and majesty of the name of the Lord; therefore he will become famous (great) to the ends of the earth and his subjects will now “live in safety” (Micah 5:4 margin – NASB; Heb.: dwell, or sit down).
“This one” is the ruler of 5:4. His role is to be “our peace” to the united sons of Israel whom He rules. (Note: This phrase appears to be the concluding line of Micah 5:4).
Micah 5:5b, 6
When the Assyrian invades Israel’s land, the sons of Israel, led by the ruler of 5:2-5a, will rise against him so successfully that they will become the rulers of Assyria (5:6a), because of the special blessing of God realized through Israel’s promised One who rules in the majesty and power of the name of the Lord.
Micah 5:7, 8
- “Then” is when God’s ruler does God’s will and God’s people follow God’s ruler.
- When God’s people follow God’s true leader they are among many people as gentle blessings from God, like the dew, doing His bidding, and not waiting for approval from men (5;7), some of the time – but they are also as a young lion among sheep; when they seek to destroy there is no one to rescue those they attack (5:8).
Note: This portrayal of God’s special Ruler’s people – those who do always and promptly what He wills – as acting dual parts – on the one hand being as gentle as the dew, and on the other hand being like a hungry lion among a flock of sheep, tearing whoever he will, is very interesting in the light of the New Testament passages where Jesus is called the Lamb of God.
As the Amnos Lamb He gives His life to suffer and die, but as the Arnion Lamb He manifests the qualities of the lion of the tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5). The Arnion is here a composite symbol – suffering Amnos plus mighty lion.
Mrs. White resolved these two apparently contradictory qualities when she wrote that Jesus was the Lamb to the saved and the Lion to the lost. An exegetical study of the New Testament lamb passages shows this to be a very precise summary of the significance of the Lamb title as applied to Jesus in the New Testament. (For supporting evidence see Bernard Spencer, a thesis (M.TH.; Andrews University) entitled Jesus As the Lamb.).
- The hand of God’s special ruler and His obedient subjects.
- The message of 5:9b is that God is against the adversaries of His people; when His people follow faithfully His plan for them, all their enemies will be destroyed.
Note: This work of God’s people will be in fulfillment of 5:8b, where God’s people are likened to a lion among sheep – not in fulfillment of 5:8a where they are likened to dew and a gentle rain; as such it parallels exactly the New Testament teaching of Jesus as the Arnion Lamb with a dual nature – savior and destroyer.
- “The day” is the time when God’s special ruler of 5:2 and God’s faithful people are either a blessing, gentle as the dew, or a terror to their adversaries, as a young lion; which qualities being displayed depending on the expression of His will that God communicates.
- Israel’s horses, chariots, etc., are the ones being destroyed in 5:10-14.
- The Lord (Jehovah) who is served by the special Ruler of 5:2.
- The function of the destruction prophesied in these verses is to take away from Israel her obvious source of strength and the remnants of false worship, making it obvious that any future strength manifested by Israel as a nation is solely due to God’s power – He being the only deity they have left.
- The Lord, Jehovah, is the destroyer of the nations who are disobedient to Him.
- The conflict in 5:9-15 makes Israel dependent on her only God, and makes the earth to be territory owned by God.
The earlier conflict in 5:5b and 6 made the land of Israel God’s land, while verses 7-8 foretold Israel’s becoming God’s useful people; His hold in a revolted world.
- The message of this chapter is that God is good to His errant people, for the prophesies of doom were accompanied by promises of restoration and prophesies of the advent of the Messiah. This chapter also portrays that the sore chastisements of the earlier chapters, grievous though they might have seemed at the time, “would be used by a merciful Providence as a means of salvation.” Ellen G. White in Present Truth and Review & Herald Articles. Vol.6, p. 481.
Through His grace the curse works out blessing.
- The setting of Micah 5 is Old Testament eschatology (compare Micah 4:10 and 5:3-5 for the approximate time of the prophesied restoration). (You may want to read again SDABC 25-39.)