Listen all you peoples
Give heed O earth and all it holds
For lo The Lord Is coming from His dwelling place
He will come down and stride
Upon the heights of the earth
The mountains shall melt under Him
And the valleys shall melt under Him
Like wax before fire,
Like water cascading down a slope.
Micah wastes no time, he gets right to the point. The Lord is coming and he is not happy with the prevailing conditions on earth. The Lord is the Messiah who comes at the end of the age when mountains and valleys melt in great tectonic activity.
To be sure, My words are friendly
To those who walk in rectitude,
But an enemy arises against My people.
I will assemble Jacob, all of you,
I will bring together the remnant of Israel;
I will make them all like sheep of Bozrah
Like a flock inside its pen
They will be noisy with people
One who makes a breach
Goes before them
Their king marches before them,
The Lord at their head.
Bozrah was the capital city of the ancient country Edom. The remains of Bozrah is Petra of Southern Jordan today. Edom is the most castigated country in Old Testament prophecy due to their attack on Israel during Israels decimation by Babylon. Edom is prophesied for destruction in the messianic age. It is Bozrah where the Messiah will first come to gather and unite the faithful remnants of Judah and Israel, which together equal Jacob. The enemy who arises against the Lords people are the nations, sometimes referred to as Kittim, which come against the modern country Israel at the end of this age. The "bringing back" of the "Israel" and Judah remnants is the telltale sign that these events are messianic, end of the age and none other. "Their King," Lord (Melchizedek) "marches at their head." People ask:
Who is this coming from Edom,
In crimsoned garments from Bozrah
Who is this, majestic in attire?
The red garments symbolize blood from the battle that the Messiah is involved with in Bozrah. (Petra of Southern Jordan in todays terminology) The blood is from the war against the world army that comes against Jerusalem in the latter days. A faithful "remnant of Judah" is chased, during this upcoming war, from Jerusalem to Bozrah (Petra) and the Messiah rescues them from their foes at Bozrah. There is another faithful Judah remnant, which remains in Jerusalem. Isaiah and Jeremiah project a Messiah that is angry with righteousness:
...for the Lord hath a sacrifice in Bozrah,
Traveling in the greatness of his strength.
"It is I, who contend victoriously,
Powerful to give triumph."
For by Myself I swear declares the Lord
Bozrah shall become a desolation and its
Towns shall be ruins for all time.
This is similar to the prophesied ruin of ancient Babylon. As you can see, force appears to be necessary in this situation. Lest we forget, Jesus and the Urantia Book teach us that force is sometimes necessary and even obligatory in protecting the weak from the strong. One cannot always hide from the necessity for action, for inaction is also a choice with real results and consequences for which we are also responsible. "For all time" indicates the messianic time period.
At the sound of their downfall
The earth shall shake
See like an eagle he flies up,
He soars and spreads his wings against Bozrah;
And the heart of Edoms warriors in that day
Shall be like the heart of a woman in travail.
Notice, again, "the Lord" would appear to be somehow "flying" in the sky perhaps he is "coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." (Matt. 24:30). For we already know, "the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud," (Isaiah 19:1) and is he "who maketh the clouds his chariot; who walketh upon the wings of the wind." (Ps. 104:3) So, "Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him." (Rev.1: 1) Remember, "The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: The Lord is among them "(Ps. 68:17). We are told in these passages that "the Lord" comes in clouds, with power and glory, flying like an eagle, through the literal skies, and that every eye shall see him. We all can speculate together on what this all actually means. How will the Lord "fly like an eagle or is this phrase meerly figurative rather than literal?" Now, back to the main narrative:
I (the Lord) said:
Listen, you rulers of Jacob
You chiefs of the House of Israel!
For you ought to know what is right,
But you hate good and love evil
You have devoured My peoples flesh
Hear this, you rulers of the House of Jacob,
You chiefs of the House of Israel,
Who detest justice
And make crooked all that is straight
Yet you rely upon the Lord, saying
The Lord is in our midst;
No calamity shall overtake us.
Assuredly, because of you
Zion shall be a plowed field,
And Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins
And the Temple Mount
A shrine in the woods.
Since there are no definite messianic references here, the prophet is addressing the leadership of ancient Judah and Israel. Note that Zion was literally plowed under along with all of Jerusalem during their wars with Rome (1st and 2nd century AD). Throughout the Old Testament prophets there is a recurring theme of corrupt, arrogant, and suicidal leadership who come to the fore at the ends of ages. Ultimately, these power elite lead an acquiescing majority of people to their destruction at the hands of the Assyrians, and then Babylonians, and then the Romans, and now the ? This leadershipcrisis is usually how and why a particular age ends. It will also be how and why our age, the messianic age, will end. Next, consider:
In the days to come,
The Mount of the Lords House shall stand
Firm above the mountains;
And it shall tower above the hills.
The peoples shall gaze on it with joy,
And the many nations shall go and shall say:
Let us go up to the Mount of the Lord,
To the House of the God of Jacob;
That He may instruct us in His ways,
And that we may walk in His paths."
For instruction shall come forth from Zion,
The word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
Thus he will judge among the many peoples,
And arbitrate for the multitude of nations,
And they shall beat their swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation shall not take up
Sword against nation;
They shall never again know war;
But every man shall sit
Under his grapevine or fig tree
With no one to disturb him.
For it was the Lord of Hosts who spoke.
Though all the people walk
Each in the names of its gods,
We will walk
In the name of the Lord our God
Forever and ever.
Clearly this passage refers to the messianic latter days. "The Lord" is in his House, the third temple, and the peoples are coming from nations all over the world to learn "Gods Ways" and Gods "paths." "The Lord" Melchizedek will be a teacher par excellent among other things. He will also arbitrate for the nations and judge among the peoples, war is forever gone. "Every man shall (surely) sit under his own grapevine or fig tree," without coercion or force. The individual and his freedom to choose his own path, without coercion is the earmark of a divinely established leadership, as opposed to the prior human leadership of coercion, war, and might makes right philosophy. Now, it is righteousness that makes might. Never again will individual freedom be allowed to devolve into license. The balance between justice and mercy, love and righteousness will be maintained on a divine, and not a human, fulcrum. And balance is always the earmark of divinity. The Lord also tells us:
In that day
I will assemble the lame [sheep]
And will gather the outcast
And those I have treated harshly;
And I will turn the lame into a remnant
And the expelled into a populous nation.
And the Lord will reign over them
Now and for evermore.
Those unfairly marginalized in todays world will be the building blocks of the future world. That this passage is messianic, is indicated by "for evermore."
The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief
cornerstone. This is from the Lord and is His doing, it is
marvelous in our eyes.
We remember that Jesus too was rejected and marginalized. But Isaiah reminds us that "Gods ways are not mans ways." Micah continues and suddenly shifts focus to another place and another time:
And you, O Bethlehem of Ephrath,
Least among the clans of Judah,
From you one shall come forth
To rule Israel for me
One whose origin is from of old,
From ancient times.
Truly, he will leave them [helpless].
Until she who is to bear has borne,
Then the rest of his countrymen
Shall return to the children of Israel.
He shall stand and shepherd
By the might of the Lord,
By the power of the name
Of the Lord his God,
And they shall dwell [secure].
For lo, he shall wax great
To the ends of the earth.
Now, suddenly from out betwixt the lines of Micah comes a prophecy about the birth of Jesus, 700 years before it happens! It appears as part of a discussion about Israel in the latter days (Micah 4:12 to 4:14), about the Babylonian captivity in 587 B.C. (4:10 through 4:11) and about Assyria in 700 B.C. (Micah 5:4 to 5:6). The prophet himself probably knows nothing of the dates of occurrence of these separate events, or even their true import to the future they speak of. Thus, the interpretation of scripture is equally as important as the scripture itself. God guides the interpreter, through the leading of the spirit within the interpreter, thus revealing his plans only to those who have harmonized their will to His. Only God Himself truly knows the future and any prophet that does not openly acknowledge this truth is by definition a false prophet. Conversely, a true prophet is known partly by the "fruits of the spirit" that his/her close inner relationship with God should yield. In fact, prophecy or prophecy interpretation is itself one of the fruits of this inner relationship with God, who is the very author of the prophecy under consideration.
The remnant of Jacob shall be,
In the midst of the many peoples,
Like dew from the Lord,
Like droplets on grass
Which do not look to any man
Nor place their hope in mortals.
The remnant of Jacob
Shall be among the nations,
In the midst of the many peoples,
The remnant of Jacob (equivalent to Israel) and not Jacob itself is what is gathered together in the upcoming trial period. These are those who know and love the one true God and who survive whatever destruction there is of that period. The remnant of Jacob is the remnant of Israel (Christians) plus the remnant of Judah (Jews). Of course anyone else who recognizes and knows the one true God in his/her heart is also included in this group. God cares little about who we are on the outside but everything about what we are on the inside. As always, whoever would come can come. The door to the kingdom of heaven is forever open to all. And so, through the process of deciding what we stand for in life we select who we will become, unlike the flower, who has no choice but to unfold. Further, we note that the geographic location is of little importance, as the remnant arises from within the midst of the worlds peoples "like droplets of dew on grass." These people "do not look to any man" or "place their hope in mortals" because they look only to God in everything they do. They, the remnants say:
A mans own household
Are his enemies
Yet I will look to the Lord,
I will wait for the God who saves me,
My God will hear me
Do not rejoice over me,
O my enemy!
Though I have fallen, I rise again
Though I sit in darkness, the Lord is my light.
In some circumstances, even ones own family can stand in the way of our choosing to do Gods will. Such difficult and painful choices refine us in the heat of affliction and as always, as we choose, so we become. Ultimately, there is no peace between darkness and light, we must choose one or succumb to the other. Consider:
"Do not think that I have come to bring peach on earth; I have
not come to bring peace, but a sword." (Jesus)
"Think not that I have come to bring peace, but rather a soul
Everyone chooses for themselves their own destiny life or death? Yes or no? Darkness or light? These are the days that bring clarity to what we are and what we will become. No one will be allowed to sit astride the fence all will encounter life defining choices.
Let nations behold and be ashamed
Despite all their might
Let them put their hand to their mouth;
Let their ears be deafened!
The worlds leadership will be "caught in the act" when Melchizedek steps on the scene. The worldview of many a modern human being will be shattered, when brought face to face with the reality of Gods existence. Our worldviews are conceptual frameworks with which we organize and interpret new incoming data. It contains within it our philosophic, religious, and other assumptions about reality. If our assumptions about reality are different from true reality, the mind tries to maintain coherence and consistency by either changing its assumptions about reality or by changing its perception of reality. The honesty and sincerity of the individual is the only counterforce against how far our minds will be allowed to bend reality to make it fit with a false assumption. The most important input to the worldview is the question of God. Assumptions, philosophies, and almost all of our other beliefs are affected by this single most important question. If you get it right you are 99% of the way to true reality (100%). If you get it wrong you are 99% off from true reality. After all, God is the source of all reality. The great majority of our modern "leaders," "intellectuals," and "experts," who consider themselves our elite, are atheists, agnostic, or merely give lip service to God. Consider how utterly confounded and shocked they would be if their worldview were suddenly presented with an irrefutable fact to the contrary. They would surely "put their hand to their mouth" and more. Humankinds long standing questions about who we are, where we come from, where we are going , the purpose of life, and whether or not theres a God are about to be answered definitely and with authority. And lest we worry about life losing some of its surprise, uncertainty, and adventure; we should remember that God is infinite in all dimensions; there is an inexhaustible infinity yet to be unfolded and explored filled with surprise and adventure beyond not only what we do imagine, but beyond also what we ever could imagine.
Eye has not seen and
Ear has not heard and
Has not entered into
The heart of man
All that God has prepared
For those who love Him.
And it is not Gods will that anyone "die in his sin" because:
Who is a God like You,
And remitting transgression;
He will take us back in love;
He will cover up our iniquities
You will hurl all our sins
Into the depths of the sea.
I hope the worlds leaders are listening.
Now on to Nahum, the next prophet in chronological line.