Memphis Belle

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Micah

 

It was during Jotham’s reign in Judah that God raised up Micah, along with Hosea, Amos and Isaiah.  He grew up in the rural village of Moresheth Gath in the Judean lowlands near Philistia.  This was located about twenty miles southwest of Jerusalem, near Lachish.  J. Vernon McGee says this, “Micah was a contemporary of three other prophets:  Isaiah, Hosea and Amos.  It is possible that he was a friend of Isaiah, and his prophecy has been called that of a miniature Book of Isaiah.  There are many striking similarities between the two.  For many people, Micah is the favorite of the minor prophets.  It is one of the most remarkable books as to style.  If you appreciate beautiful language, if you appreciate poetry, and if you appreciate literature, you will appreciate Micah.  The writing is pungent and personal.  Micah was trenchant, touching, and tender.  He was realistic and reportorial---he would have made a good war correspondent [like Ernie Pyle was].  There is an exquisite beauty about this brochure which combines God’s infinite tenderness with His judgments…Micah pronounced judgment on the cities of Israel and on Jerusalem and Judah.  These centers influenced the people of the [two] nation[s].  These were the urban problems that sound very much like our present-day problems.  Micah condemned violence, corruption, robbery, covetousness, gross materialism, spiritual bankruptcy, and illicit sex.  He well could be labeled “the prophet of the city.”  The theme of Micah is very important to understand.  Customarily, Micah is considered a prophet of judgment.  That seems to be true since in the first three chapters there is a great emphasis on judgment.  However, although the first three chapters are denunciatory, the last four chapters are consolatory.  His great question is found in one of the loveliest passages of Scripture.  “Who is like unto Thee?”  that is, unto God.  We find that Micah emphasizes that theme as he goes along.  In the first three chapters:  Who is like unto God in proclaiming---that is, in witnessing?  In chapters 4 and 5:  Who is like unto God in prophesying, in consoling?  In chapter 6:  Who is like unto God in pleading?  Finally, in chapter 7:  Who is like unto God in pardoning?  This is what makes Micah a wonderful little book.  The main theme of the book is God’s judgment and redemption---both are there.  The key verse, to me, is Micah 7:18 which says, “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage?  he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol.III, p.769, col.1 par. 3, col.2, par. 1-2]

 

Outline of Micah

 

“WHO IS A GOD LIKE UNTO THEE?”

 

I.  Proclaiming Future Judgment for Past Sins, Chapters 1-3

          A.  Prophets First Message Directed Against Samaria, Reaches                 Jerusalem.

          B.  Prophet’s Second Message Describes Specific Sins, Chapter 2.

          C.  Prophet’s Third Message Denounces Leaders for Sins, Chapter                         3.

 

II.  Prophesying Future Glory Because of Past Promises, Chapters 4-    5

          A.  Prophecies of Last Days, Chapter 4

          B. Prophecy of First Coming of Christ Before Second Coming      and Kingdom, Chapter 5.

 

III. Pleading Present Repentance Because of Past Redemption,   Chapter 6

 

IV.  Pardoning All Iniquity Because of Who God Is and What He Does, Chapter 7  [ibid p.769]

 

Micah 1:1-16

 

A Dynamic 2nd Coming Prophecy in Verses 1-4

 

Verses 1-4, “The word of the LORD that came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.  Hear, all you peoples!  Listen, O earth, and all that is in it!  Let the Lord GOD be a witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.  For behold, the LORD is coming out of his place; he will come down and tread on the high places of the earth.  The mountains will melt under him, and the valleys will split like wax before the fire, like waters poured down a steep place.”  Verses 2-4 are most definitely dual in meaning, applying to historic Israel and whoever Israel is in the end-times.  The language seems to apply more to the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ more than the historic application.  The whole Book of Micah except for chapters 6-7 have this duality to them, then and now.  This chapter describes the coming destruction of Judah.  The city of Lachish brought pagan Baal worship into Judah, it was the link, for some reason, of idolatry between the northern House of Israel and the southern House of Judah.  Lachish was besieged first by Sennacherib in 701BC and finally devastated by Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian army just before 587BC.  As we saw in our study of Kings & Chronicles, God hates Baal worship and those who promote it.  Verses 5-13, “All this is for the transgression of Jacob and for the sins of the house of Israel.  What is the transgression of Jacob?  Is it not Samaria?  And what are the high places of Judah?  Are they not Jerusalem?  Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of ruins in the field, places for planting a vineyard; I will pour down stones into the valley, and I will uncover her foundations.  All her carved images shall be beaten to pieces, and all her pay as a harlot shall be burned with fire; all her idols I will lay desolate, for she gathered it from the pay of a harlot, and they shall return to the pay of a harlot.  Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked; I will make a wailing like the jackals and a mourning like the ostriches, for her wounds are incurable.  For it has come to Judah; it has come to the gate of my people---to Jerusalem.”  J. Vernon McGee explains verses 8-9 pretty well.  He went to a zoo, and heard the most mournful sound of wailing he’d ever heard.  He asked someone who or what was making that sound, and the person he asked said it was the ostriches.  He didn’t believe the man until he walked around the corner.  He says “They were standing there, just looking around.  I didn’t see any reason for their mourning, but they were making the most mournful sound I have ever heard.  Micah said that he would mourn like the ostriches.  He would wail like they did.  In other words, the message of this man was giving to the people was affecting him just as the message that Jeremiah gave affected him.  This is another example of the type of man God wants to deliver a harsh message.  It must be a man with a tender heart if the message is to be harsh.  Why?  Because before God judges a people, He wants them to know how He feels; so He sent the weeping prophet Jeremiah and then this weeping prophet Micah.  When the people listen to his message, then to his mourning and wailing, they understand how God feels about their sin.  God is not vindictive.  Although He takes no delight in judgment, He must judge sin.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol.III, p.733, col.2, par. 4-5, p. 734, col.1, par.1] 

 

Destruction of Various Cities in Judah Prophesied

 

“Tell it not in Gath [lit. “weep town”], weep not at all; in Beth Aphrah [lit. “dust town”] roll yourself in the dust.  Pass by in naked shame, you inhabitant of Shaphir [lit. “beauty town”]; the inhabitant of Zaanan [lit. “march town”] does not go out.  Beth Ezel mourns; its place to stand is taken away from you.  For the inhabitant of Maroth [lit. “bitterness”] pined for good, but disaster came down from the LORD to the gate of Jerusalem.  O inhabitant of Lachish, harness the chariot to the swift steeds (she was the beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion), for the transgressions of Israel were found in you.”  All these towns ceased to exist.  And right after the fall of the northern House of Israel in 721BC, right around 701BC Sennacherib came down during the reign of Hezekiah and devastated these towns just named.  Many of them ceased to exist.  Sennacherib’s armies came right  to the gates of Jerusalem before the LORD sent his angel and killed 185,000 Assyrian troops in one night, forcing the hasty withdrawal of Sennacherib with the other half of his army which was devastating Lachish.  Verses 14-16, “Therefore you shall give presents to Moresheth Gath; the houses of Achzib [lit. “lie town”] shall be a lie to the kings of Israel.  I will yet bring an heir to you, O inhabitant of Mareshah [lit. “inheritance”]; the glory of Israel shall come to Adullam [lit. “refuge”].  Make yourself bald and cut off your hair, because of your precious children; enlarge your baldness like an eagle, for they shall go from you into captivity.”  Achzib was a Lie-town because they had promised aid to the northern House of Israel against Assyria, but they did not send any help, thus they lied to the kings of Israel.  “The glory of Israel” refers to Jesus Christ, coming to deliver them in Judah as well.  But it is dual, because in 701BC, those who sought refuge inside the walls of Jerusalem were rescued by the LORD when he sent his angel, who then slew 185,000 Assyrians troops who had been encamped around Jerusalem’s walls.  J. Vernon McGee says for verse 16, “When Assyria invaded Israel the first time, they took the young people into captivity, and the people are called upon to mourn because of that.”  [ibid. p.775]

 

Micah 2:1-13

 

Capitalism Run Amuck---The Rich Robbing the Poor of Their Land---even taking the cloaks off their backs!

 

Verses 1-11, “Woe to those who devise iniquity, and work out evil on their beds!  At morning light they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand.  They covet fields and take them by violence, also houses, and seize them.  So they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance.  Therefore thus says the LORD:  ‘Behold, against this family I am devising disaster, from which you cannot remove your necks; nor shall you walk haughtily, for this is an evil time.  In that day one shall take up a proverb against you, and lament with a bitter lamentation, saying:  We are utterly destroyed!  He has changed the heritage of my people; how he as removed it from me!  To a turncoat he has divided our fields.’  Therefore you will have no one to determine boundaries by lot in the assembly of the LORD.  [i.e. you will lose out on your inheritance of land that really does come from the LORD for your land-grabbing practices.]  Do not prattle [prophesy],’ you say to those who prophesy.  So they shall not prophesy to you; they shall not return insult for insult.  You who are named the house of Jacob:…  J. Vernon McGee gets it right here, “This was a time when God cut off the flow of the spirit of prophecy.  Why?  Because the people wouldn’t hear it, and there came a famine of the Word of God.”  [ibid. p. 778, col.1, par. 6]  Is the Spirit of the LORD restricted?  Are these his doings?  Do not my words do good to him who walks uprightly?  Lately my people have risen up as an enemy---you pull off the robe with the garment from those who trust you, as they pass by, like men returned from war.  The women of my people you cast out from their pleasant houses; from their children you have taken way my glory forever.  Arise and depart, for this is not your rest; because it is defiled, it shall destroy, yes, with utter destruction.  If a man should walk in a false spirit and speak a lie, saying, ‘I will prophesy to you of wine and drink,’ even he would be the prattler [prophet] of this people.”  This prophecy is given, verse 7, to the house of Jacob, i.e. the northern House of Israel (who was named after Jacob, cf. Genesis 48).  Whenever Jacob is used in prophecy instead of the name Israel, a lot of times it is God referring to Israel the sinning nation, just as Jacob was the heal-grabber right up until God changed his name.  This society was allowing the rich and powerful citizens to steal the property, land of those who were weak and poor, those without defense.  This was happening in both Judah and Israel, and the leadership were a part of this practice.  They were going so far as to rob the poor of their cloaks they slept in (verse 8).  It was capitalism gone amuck, where the greed of the wealthy was holding the poor in poverty.  This applied to Judah and Jacob (Israel, the northern House of Israel) back then and it applies to us now.  As this addresses this to all of Israel, the people and the leaders, the leaders told Micah to stop preaching (prophesying) (verse 6). 

 

How This Applies in Our ‘Modern Society’

 

Now I will show you how this fits our modern society in the United States of America. I use some of this explanation in Amos but it applies quite well right here in Micah.  As J. Vernon McGee says “the poor will not be treated fairly until Jesus Christ returns.”  We have the same problem, sin, in America which Micah was condemning the House of Israel and Judah of back then.  The middle class is rapidly disappearing in America, most are now becoming the poor and the working poor, and the few rich ones.  The politicians are all made up of the rich.  They make laws that tax us to death and regulations that kill the small businesses which employ many of us, now that our manufacturing base has moved to Communist China, because it is good for Big Business in America.  And these rich politicians don’t suffer a bit. Deuteronomy 24:12-13, “And if a man is poor, you shall not keep his pledge overnight.  You shall in any case return the pledge to him again when the sun goes down, that he may sleep in his own garment and bless you; and it shall be righteousness to you before the LORD your God.”  This is another law to protect the poor which they were breaking, as verse 8 of Micah chapter 2 shows.  Verses 1-2 of Micah chapter 2 also applies to our day and age, right now as I write.  I like what J. Vernon McGee says here about how we in America are breaking the spirit of this law big-time.  “We talk about how just our laws are today, but how sad it is that we will permit an entire family to be moved from their home when they cannot pay the rent [or mortgage] because of poverty.”  Right now America is going through a collapse in its housing market, with countless defaults on mortgages taking place as I write, all due to greedy unsound banking processes coming home to roost.  The sins of America are coming upon her fast.  Albert Einstein was not only a genius in his chosen profession as a physicist, but also was very gifted in the area of social science.  I think he hit the nail squarely on the head in defining our problem, our sins, against the poor.  This is taken from a book about the various writings of Albert Einstein.  He wrote:  “The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil.  We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labor---not by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules.  In this respect, it is important to realize that the means of production---that is to say, the entire productive capacity that is needed for producing consumer goods as well as additional capital goods---may legally be, and for the most part are, the private property of individuals.  For the sake of simplicity, in the discussion that follows I shall call “workers” all those who do not share in the ownership of the means of production---although this does not quite correspond to the customary use of the term.  The owner of the means of production is in a position to purchase the labor power of the worker.  By using the means of production, the worker produces new goods which become the property of the capitalist.  The essential point about this process is the relation between what the worker produces and what he is paid, both measured in terms of real value.  In so far as the labor contract is “free,” what the worker receives is determined not by the real value of the goods he produces, but by his minimum needs and by the capitalists’ requirements for labor power in relation to the number of workers competing for jobs.  It is important to understand that even in theory the payment of the worker is not determined by the value of his product.  Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of the smaller ones.  [i.e. big business trumps small business, directly, and through lobbying for harsher regulations for small businesses.  This is taking place so badly in the U.S. right now, that small businesses are dying by the thousands every month as I write!]  The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society.  This is true since the members of the legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, [through lobbyists especially] separate the electorate from the legislature.  The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population.  Moreover, under the existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education).  It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.”  [“Ideas & Opinions”, pp. 156-157 emphasis mine]  That article was written some time in the 1950s under the title “Why Socialism” by Albert Einstein,  what a forward thinker.  It basically explains the modern mechanics of how the wealthy maintain control over the poor, keeping them poor, and concentrating the wealth at the top echelons of society---how the capitalists have influenced our state and federal laws, regulations, on small businesses, to crush them, keeping “free enterprise” in the hands of an elite group of wealthy businessmen.  This evil has been progressing steadily since Albert Einstein wrote this, and has rapidly accelerated in recent years.  And this includes big farming companies, agribusinesses as they’re called, putting laws like S510 on the books which are designed to cripple small farmers (“eliminating the competition”).  Major amounts of money must have flowed into politicians’ hands from major farming chemical manufacturers and agribusinesses to guarantee that one passed in both our Federal House and Senate so it is now a Federal law.  That’s just one tiny example.  Amos and Micah would have been pounding the pulpit in Washington, D.C. over that one, let me tell you.  As for Einstein, you can’t blame him for looking to Socialism to solve these sins.  But Socialism wouldn’t work either, as it destroys incentive, and will ultimately fail, just as Communism did.  The real solution is following God’s laws of outgoing concern for our neighbors.  When Jesus Christ returns he will institute over all mankind both the 10 Commandments and the Mosaic laws, the Judgments and Statutes, written to guarantee the rights and freedoms of all men to pursue life, liberty and the genuine pursuit of happiness.  Free enterprise in the hands of caring Christians is the governmental system which will ultimately win out, under the loving control of Jesus Christ and his government over mankind.  Sadly, for the House of Israel and Judah, they had that system of government over them.  They just refused to follow it.  They allowed similar sins to occur, crushing the poor.  They were judged by God for that.  As we have seen throughout these Minor Prophets, these prophecies are dual, and apply to then and now for whomever Israel is.

 

Israel Restored

 

 

Verses 12-13, “I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together like sheep of the fold, like a flock in the midst of their pasture; they shall make a loud noise because of so many people.  The one who breaks open will come up before them; they will break out, pass through the gate, and go out by it; their king will pass before them, with the LORD at their head.”  God prophecies through Micah in these two verses that the LORD will assemble all 12 tribes of Israel, the surviving remnant from all lands, and lead them.  J. Vernon McGee says the “breaker” [King James Version.  In the NKJV it uses the word “the one who breaks”] is one who clears the way, removes the obstacles and leads them.  That is Christ, the returned Christ. 

 

Micah 3:1-12

 

Wicked rulers and prophets

 

Verses 1-4, “And I said:  ‘Hear now, O heads of Jacob, and you rulers of the house of Israel:  Is it not for you to know justice?  You who hate good and love evil; who strip the skin from my people, and the flesh from their bones; who also eat the flesh of my people, flay their skin from them, and break their bones, and chop them in pieces like meat for the pot, like flesh in the caldron.’  Then they will cry to the LORD, but he will not hear them; he will even hide his face from them at that time, because they have been evil in their deeds.”  When God uses the term Jacob it refers to sinning Israel, Israel being the 10 northern tribes in a state of sin.  Or it can also refer to the collective 12 tribes of Israel in a general or broader sense dwelling in a state of sin.  Israel was a divided kingdom at this point, so the name “Jacob” refers to the northern House of Israel.  Leadership in Micah’s day hated the good and loved the evil.  I would say that is becoming very true in the United States of America right now.  See how Micah is duel. And what happened to them, God’s judgment through Assyria, will yet come upon America and the English-speaking peoples, if we don’t repent.  Repent of what?  Let’s read Micah chapter 3 and find out.  Micah is saying these ‘princes’ were “unfeeling cannibals in their treatment of the poor,” merciless.  When “their turn” comes in God’s judgment, God will not hear their cries, verse 4. 

 

Sins of the prophets---Liberal Preachers

 

Verses 5-8, “Thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who make my people stray; who chant ‘All is well’ for those who feed them, but who prepare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths:  ‘Therefore you shall have night without vision, and you shall have darkness without divination; the sun shall go down on the prophets, and the day shall be dark for them.  So the seers shall be ashamed, and the diviners abashed; indeed they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer from God.’  But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the LORD, and of justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.”  With the exception of Micah, Isaiah, Amos, Obed, Hosea, Jonah and Joel, all the other prophets in Israel (and there were a ton of them) were false.  Baal worship was still extant in the two and a half tribes east of the Jordan as well as within the capital city of Samaria.  We’ve already read about Amaziah opposing Amos in the king’s chapel at Bethel during Jeroboam II’s reign.  There had to be a slew of these false prophets, like our “liberal” preachers of today, who turn the wine of God’s Word into water---watering down the Word of God.  They were preaching a “peace in our time” message while Assyria to their north under Tiglath-Pileser III was preparing for invasion and war (this preparation was taking place between 755-745BC).  According to Micah, these false prophets, teachers, were smooth talkers, but under that smooth appearance they were vicious.  Their teaching caused the people of Israel to err.  Do you see any parallels?  I do.  In Micah’s lifetime Israel fell under the invading forces of Assyria under Tiglath-Pileser III, when he invaded and took the two and a half tribes east of the Jordan into captivity between 745 and 740BC.  The remaining six and one half tribes, minus the city of Samaria (which was not God-fearing but into pagan sun-worship) did manage to migrate north, evading captivity (726-724BC), just before Sennacherib besieged the fortress capital city of Samaria.  It took guts to be a true preacher of the Word of God amidst all the smooth-talking “liberal” false preachers, as it does today.  Micah could honestly say ‘I know that the Spirit of God is leading me to say what I’m saying.’  Can you say that?  These were his final words to the north where “Now hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, who abhor justice and pervert all equity…” (verse 9).  Between this verse and verse 10 is the dividing line between Micah’s preaching to the northern House of Israel and his preaching to the southern House of Judah.  In probably also makes the time just after the fall of Samaria in 721BC.  And so now Micah has to turn his attention to the remaining southern kingdom of Judah. 

 

Sins of the leaders of Jerusalem

 

Judah was under the leadership of a righteous king, King Hezekiah.  But Judah still had problems.  Verse 9 might also be considered to be aimed at Judah as well.  Verses 9-12, “Now hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, who abhor justice and pervert all equity, who build up Zion with bloodshed and Jerusalem with iniquity:  Her heads judge for a bribe, her priests teach for pay, and her prophets divine for money [lit. “silver”].  Yet they lean on the LORD, and say, ‘Is not the LORD among us?  No harm can come upon us.’  Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed like a field, Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins, and the mountain of the temple like the bare hills of the forest.”  This is a message to a combined group, the prophets, the princes and priests of Judah, the southern kingdom.  J. Vernon McGee says “the judges were judging for reward; the priests were teaching for hire; and the prophets were divining for money.  They were all doing it for what they could get out of it for themselves.” [ibid. p. 784]  He says “When the leadership of a nation---both civil and religious---is evil, no form of government will work.  This is Micah’s message to us.” [ibid]  Verse 12, “Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed like a field, Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the temple like the bare hills of the forest.”  Verse 12 was fulfilled in 586BC.  Jeremiah even quoted Micah as having said this in Jeremiah 26:18.  Jerusalem was destroyed, flattened by Nebuchadnezzar’s army in 586BC.  Then general Titus in 70AD did the same thing.  It is reported in the Talmud that an officer of the Roman army actually plowed the foundations of the Temple with a plowshare.  Jerusalem today yet bears the scars of Micah’s prophecy in verse 12! 

 

Micah 4:1-8, 9-13

 

Prophecies of the Last Days, Israel’s Restoration---All 12 Tribes

 

Verses 1-8, “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it.  Many nations shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; he will teach us of his ways, and we shall walk in his paths.’  For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem.  He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.  But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.  For all the people walk each in the name of his god, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.  ‘In that day,’ says the LORD, ‘I will assemble the lame, I will gather the outcast and those whom I have afflicted; I will make the lame a remnant, and the outcast a strong nation; so the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on, even forever.  And you, O tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, even the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.’”  So these prophecies in the latter half of chapter 3 and then on through chapter 7 could have been given either just before or during Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah (701BC).  We knew they were given prior to Hezekiah’s death, which did not occur until 15 years after Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah in 701BC (the invasion was unsuccessful, but did wipe out and punish some cities in Judah as we saw in Micah chapter 2).  Micah begins chapter 4 with almost the identical words as Isaiah 2:1-4.  You would almost think he copied Isaiah 2:1-4, except that Micah adds some other vital details.  Verse 4 is an addition to what Isaiah penned, that ‘everyone will sit under his own vine and fig tree.’  This shows everyone will have their own personal property and enjoy the fruits of their own labor.  The Mosaic Law, now “the law of the land” for Israel and the whole world (cf. Zechariah 14:9, 16-19) gives person a perpetual inheritance of land.  People will share their blessings too (cf. Zechariah 3:10).  Verse 1 contrasts with the destruction of Jerusalem which the last verse of Micah chapter 3 left us with, and takes us forward to the time period called “the Last Days,” when Jerusalem and Israel will be restored.  This prophesied about the set-up of the Millennial Kingdom of God in Jerusalem, where the teaching of God’s Law will go forth to all nations.  That isn’t happening right now, so the return of the Jews in 1948 to Palestine has nothing to do with this prophecy.  Verse 3, war will be banned.  As we saw in our coverage of Ezekiel 38-39, the last war will be fought with Gog and Magog, some few short years after the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/ezek/Ezekiel%20pt3-2.htm and scroll to Ezekiel 38-39).  Verse 5, “For all people will walk each in the name of his god, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.”  This could be a direct reference to the resurrected immortal saints (cf. Revelation 5:9-10) ruling over the nations under our King of kings, Jesus Christ.  The saints will rule with Christ.  Most commentators seem to ignore this amazing aspect of our future as immortal spirit-beings (cf. 1st Corinthians 15:49-54), now ruling under Jesus Christ (cf. Revelation 5:9-10).

 

A Huge Israelite Baby-Boom Coming

 

Verses 6-8, “‘In that day,’ says the LORD, ‘I will assemble the lame, I will gather the outcast and those whom I have afflicted; I will make the lame a remnant, and the outcast a strong nation; so the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on, even forever.  And you, O tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, even the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.’”  This set of verses pictures the surviving remnants of the 12 tribes of Israel being regathered by Jesus Christ into the Promised Land. And of this remnant that is small compared to the populations they came out of, God promises to greatly multiply their numbers.  The one that is “halt,” lame, will be multiplied to the number of the returning remnant, and “her that was cast off” to the size of a strong nation.  This indicates that the 12 tribes of Israel will virtually multiply like rabbits, as the saying goes.  Verse 8 speaks of Jerusalem with her surviving inhabitants becoming “the first dominion,” that is, “the Kingdom [of God] shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.”  Jerusalem will become the Headquarters city of the world under Jesus Christ (cf. Zechariah 14:9).  This has not happened yet, this is yet future (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm). 

 

The Near Future, Hezekiah’s Time

 

Verses 9-10, “Now why do you cry aloud?  Is there no king in your midst?  Has your counselor perished?  For pangs have seized you like a woman in labor.  Be in pain, and labor to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in birth pangs.  For now you shall go forth from the city, you shall dwell in the field, and to Babylon you shall go.  There you shall be delivered; there the LORD will redeem you from the hand of your enemies.”  This probably does refer to Sennacherib’s invasion in 701BC, and to the coming invasion of Babylon in 586BC.  The Jews under Hezekiah may have been looking to Babylon as an ally against Assyria.  God through Micah is basically saying ‘What are your crying about?  You’ve still got your king and leaders, why are you acting like you’re in agony?  But guess what (verse 10), you are going to (eventually) go into captivity in Babylon, and then the LORD will bring you back.  This all happened about 115 years later in 586BC, and then they returned under Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah. 

 

The Distant Future---The Day of the LORD---Tribulation

 

Verses 11-13, “Now also many nations have gathered against you, who say, ‘Let her be defiled.  And let our eye look upon Zion.’  But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD, nor do they understand his counsel; for he will gather them like sheaves to the threshing floor.  Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion; for I will make your horn iron, and I will make your hooves of bronze; you shall beat in pieces many peoples; I will consecrate their gain to the LORD, and their substance to the LORD of the whole earth.’”  This points to and applies directly to the Great Tribulation, World War III.  This directly cross-references to Zechariah chapters 12 and 14 and Joel 3, and ultimately ending in the battle described in Ezekiel 38 & 39.  Micah 5:1 belongs at the end of Micah 4, Micah 5:1, “Now gather yourself troops, O daughter of troops; he has laid siege against us; they will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek.”  And this verse flashes back to Micah’s time and looking forward in time to the Babylonian invasion and captivity.

 

Micah 5:2-15

 

Key Prophecy of Jesus Christ’s 1st Coming

 

Verse 2, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from old, from everlasting.”  (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/1stcoming.htm)

 

More Pictures of the End-Times

 

Verses 3-9, “Therefore he [the LORD] shall give them up, until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; then the remnant of his brethren shall return to the children of Israel.  And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and this One shall be peace.  When the Assyrian comes into our land, and when he treads in our palaces, then we will raise against him seven shepherds and eight princely men.  They shall waste with the sword the land of Assyria, and the land of Nimrod at its entrances; thus he shall deliver us from the Assyrian, when he comes into our land and when he treads within our borders.  Then the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples, like dew from the LORD, like showers on the grass, that tarry for no man nor delay for the sons of men.  And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep, who, if he passes through, both treads down and tears in pieces, and none can deliver.”  ““The Assyrian,” as we find in prophecy of Isaiah, sets forth the enemies that shall come up against the nation Israel in the last days.  In Micah’s day the Assyrian was brutal, and he did take the northern kingdom into captivity… “They shall wast the land of Assyria with the sword” continues the prediction of the last days when “the Assyrian” represents the confederacy of nations which will come up against Israel at the end of the Tribulation Period.  Israel, strengthened by their Shepherd, will not only repulse the attack but will carry the battle into enemy territory.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol.III, p. 792]  Verses 10-15, “‘And it shall be in that day,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will cut off your horses from you midst [“your” being the Assyrian’s horses] and destroy your chariots.  I will cut off the cities of your land and throw down all your strongholds.  I will cut off sorceries from you hand, and you shall have no soothsayers.  Your carved images I will also cut off, and your sacred pillars from your midst; you shall no more worship the work of your hands; I will pluck your wooden images from your midst; thus I will destroy your cities.  And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury on the nations that have not heard [lit. “obeyed”].”  Verse 3 seems to speak of the worldwide dispersion of Israel (whoever the northern House of Israel are, plus Judah too) to their present national places of residence.  Verse 4, “And he shall stand and feed His flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth [cf. Zechariah 14:9]; and this One shall be peace…” seems to refer to the saints of God and the returned Christ.  Even J. Vernon McGee agrees, “the Assyrian,” as we find in the prophecy of Isaiah, sets forth the enemies that shall come up against the nation of Israel in the last days.”  Now we must realize, Israel in prophecy and historically, means more than the Jews, and refers to whoever the northern 10-tribed House of Israel have become nationally.  The ancient Assyrians, as one of the numerous Semitic tribes, migrated out of Asia into northwestern Europe and are the modern Germans.  This talks of modern Assyria’s defeat at the hands of the returning Christ, assisted by some of the recently freed captives of Israel (verse 8).  God gets pretty specific as to whom he is judging here, at the end of the Tribulation.  Modern Assyria will be an integral part of the Beast power of Revelation 13 & 17! 

 

Micah 6:1-16

 

Chapters 6 and 7 of Micah appear to have been written prior to Israel’s first or second Assyrian invasion and captivity.  These two chapters appear to be directed toward the northern 10-tribed House of Israel, and applied to them then.  But in context with the last half of Micah 7, they also apply to whomever Israel is now in the end-times.  These two chapters are an accurate depiction of Israel back then and our western democracies (especially English-speaking) nowadays.  The LORD had a controversy with them then and he has one with us now.  Let’s read what that is. 

 

The LORD Has a Controversy with Israel

 

Verses 1-5, “Hear now what the LORD says:  ‘Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice.  Hear, O you mountains, the LORD’s complaint, and you strong foundations of the earth; for the LORD has a complaint against his people, and he will contend with Israel.’  ‘O my people, what have I done to you?  And how have I wearied you?  Testify against me.  For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, I redeemed you from the house of bondage; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.  O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab counseled, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him, from Acacia Grove to Gilgal, that you might know the righteousness of the LORD.’”  In verses 1-5 God says he has a controversy with Israel.  In verses 6-7 Israel answers back (vicariously through the prophet Micah’s words).  They answer ‘Why do you have a controversy with us?  Do you want the prescribed burnt offerings, thousands of rams and rivers of holy oil?’  Verses 6-7, “‘With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?  Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil?  Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?’”  What was God’s answer to Israel’s question?  Verse 8, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”  J. Vernon McGee defines verse 8 very well, ““He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good.”  We notice first of all that this is addressed to man.  This means not only the man in Israel but also the man in the United States, not only the person in the seventh century B.C. but also the person in the twentieth century A.D.  This is for mankind.  These are the three things that God requires: (1) You are “to do justly”---that is, you must have a righteousness to present to God, you must be a righteous person.  You are to be just in your dealings with your fellow man; you are to be honest and true.  (2) You are “to love mercy.”  You are not only to love the mercy of God but also to be merciful in your own dealings with others.  And (3) you are “to walk humbly with thy God.”  How are you going to do these things, brother?  Can you do them in your own strength?  Do you think that you can do them without God’s help?  [I will say, legalistic types in all churches seem to think so.  This is the true mark of a legalist, that they try to do all this on their own, and demand that everyone else must too.  Legalists are to be found in all churches and denominations.  You’re a peewit to judge a denomination as legalistic, just as much as to judge a race instead of the individuals.  Some tend to have more legalists within them, true, but let’s judge right judgment.  Judge each individual on his or her own merits or demerits.]  Do you think that you can do them without God’s salvation?  If you do (I’m going to say something very strong, but I’m far enough away from you that you cannot hit me [true, J. Vernon McGee is in the grave right now, awaiting the resurrection to immortality]), you are a hypocrite!  Don’t tell me that you live by this moral code without the power of God.  You cannot, for the very simple reason that all of these are the fruit of the Holy Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23).  All three of these things Micah lists are the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.  None of us has any of these things in his life today [on our own].”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol.III, p. 798, col.2, par. 2-4]

 

What was wrong with Israel?---Unjust Weights & Measures, Urban Crime, Baal Worship

 

Verses 9-12, “The LORD’s voice cries to the city---Wisdom shall see Your name:  ‘Hear the rod!  Who has appointed it?  Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the short measure that is an abomination?  Shall I count pure those with the wicked scales, and with the bag of deceitful weights?  For her rich men are full of violence, her inhabitants have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.”  Micah, and God through him, was directing his prophecies to the urban areas.  What are our urban areas like?  Wealth gotten through unjust dealings and dishonesty, false weights and measures.  The rich being full of violence and deceit.  Today in our urban areas and cities its not just the rich that are full of violence and deceit.  Our urban violent crime rates are through the roof.  Our poor overworked police forces are hard-pressed to keep the streets safe.  Also, as I demonstrated in the section on Micah 2:1-13 how the rich are robbing the poor of their land, and via our unchristian capitalistic system which enslaves the poor, and thieving government that encourage big business at the expense of small business.  This is all part of this condemnation of God against their unjust weights and measures.  We just go about it in fancier, more disguised ways.  We’re still guilty of it nonetheless.  Go back and read that section if you didn’t get it the first time around.  So what’s God going to do about all this?  Verses 13-15, “Therefore I will also make sick by striking you, by making you desolate because of your sins.  You shall eat, but not be satisfied; hunger shall be in your midst.  You may carry some away, but shall not save them; and what you do rescue I will give over to the sword.  You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread the olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; and make sweet wine, but not drink wine.”  For these national sins God promises a period of national leanness will overtake the House of Israel, probably drought induced.  And we know national captivity came upon them as well.  But was oppressing the poor and having a high violent crime rate their only sin?  No, God through Micah goes on.  Verse 16, “For the statutes of Omri are kept; all the works of Ahab’s house are done; and you walk in their counsels, that I may make you a desolation, and your inhabitants a hissing.  Therefore you shall bear the reproach of my people.”  What were the statutes of Omri and all the works of the house of Ahab?  It was nationwide Baal-worship which included child sacrifice.  In Carthage, an Israelite-Phoenician city-state founded around the time of Ahab, 20,000 urns, each containing the bones of multiple babies and toddlers were found in a cave.  Baal sunworship was still extant in the city of Samaria and the two and a half tribes east of the Jordan River when Assyria first struck in 745BC.  Oh, well, we don’t worship Baal anymore, you might say.  Since the 1960s after Roe vs. Wade, over 65,000,000, yes, that’s 65 million babies have been aborted, and it is still occurring at the rate of one million babies a year within the United States alone.  Are we any better than Israel following the ways of Ahab and Jezebel?  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/1.html for a history of Israel under Ahab.

 

Micah 7:1-10, 11-20

 

Dangerous Times Just Ahead For Believers and ‘the good’

 

Verses 1-6, “Woe is me!  For I am like those who gather summer fruits, like those who glean vintage grapes; there is no cluster to eat of the first-ripe fruit which my soul desires.  The faithful man has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among men.  They all lie in wait for blood; every man hunts his brother with a net.  That they may successfully do evil with both hands---the prince asks for gifts, the judge seeks a bribe, and the great man utters his evil desire; so they scheme together.  The best of them is like a brier; the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge; the day of your watchman and your punishment comes; now shall be their perplexity.  Do not trust a friend; do not put your confidence in a companion; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your bosom.  For son dishonors father, daughter rises against her mother, daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own household.”  In verse 1 Micah is referring to Israel as the grapevine.  Isaiah makes the same analogy in Isaiah 5.  The point, the vine is not producing holy fruit to the LORD.  The grapevine and the fig tree are both symbolic of Israel.  Remember when Jesus cursed the fig tree because it had no fruit?  Verse 2, “the good man is perished out of the earth…there is no upright among men.  They all lie in wait for blood.  Rampant crime existed on their streets, as it is also in our urban areas.  “The prince asketh, and the judge asketh for reward…the great man, he uttereth his desire; so they wrap it up” (verse 3).  Corrupted justice, politicians and judges paid off by the rich.  “Doing evil with both hands” really going at evil full force.  “The best of them is as a brier”, even with the best people in Micah’s day (and in ours too) you had to be careful, you could get stuck.  “The day of the watchman and thy visitation cometh; now they shall have their perplexity” (verse 4).  Their judgment, the Assyrian invasion was coming.  For us now, Jesus said in Luke 21:25, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring.”  One characteristic of the end-times will be the perplexity of nations.  “Trust not in a friend, put yet not confidence in a guide:  keep the doors of they mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom…for the son dishonoreth his father, the daughter riseth up against her mother…a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” (verses 5-6).  How do we know this is prophecy in Micah also powerfully applies to the end times (other than the clear Messianic, Millennial Kingdom of God prophecies scattered throughout Micah, duh)?  That was verse 5-6 of Micah chapter 7.  Now turn to Matthew 10:21-23, 34-36, “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against their parents and cause them to be put to death.  And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.  But he who endures to the end will be saved.  When they persecute you in this city, flee to another.  For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes…Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth.  I did not come to bring peace but a sword.  For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’  The italicized portion of Jesus’ words here are a direct quote of Micah 7:6, Jesus was quoting Micah 7:6 to them, showing basically that Micah chapter 7 is to be applied to the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ and the time just before it.  It applied, just as Micah 6 did, to Israel of the 7th century BC, but more importantly it applies to the times were coming into very shortly.  When a period of universal evil overtakes a nation, if you are good, godly, you have to be careful what you say to who.  When there are more immoral or evil folk than good, when the good are outnumbered, serious persecution of the good will take place.  Why?  Because the evil don’t want their evil works to be exposed.  Jesus said such a time would come upon us in the end-times, and he even quoted Micah 7:6 as a reference to those times.  “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household” (Matthew 10:35-36).  Both Micah and Jesus said you won’t be able to trust your own family.  It would be a good reason to pray for your unconverted mates and family members, at least you’d all be in the same boat, instead of them trying to kill you.  That’s one reason local church prayer-groups are so vital and important.  Ignore having them at the very peril of your life. 

 

Micah’s and Our Confidence in the LORD

 

Verses 7-10, “Therefore I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.  Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me, I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my case and executes justice for me.  He will bring me forth to the light; I will see his righteousness.  Then she who is my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, ‘Where is the LORD your God?’  My eyes will see her; now she will be trampled down like mud in the streets.”  Micah expresses here his faith in God during these trying times (he lived through).  If he lived through the period of Assyrian invasions in the north, he probably moved south into Judah, and during Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah in 701BC, he probably moved into Jerusalem where Isaiah and Hezekiah were safely holed up behind Jerusalem’s walls.  He may have then witnessed Sennacherib losing half his army to a holy angel outside of Jerusalem’s walls in one night (185,000 soldiers).  He was a man of faith, having to live through the very tough times God had used him to prophesy about.  When those same times come on us, as Jesus said they would, we should emulate Micah in his prayer of faith here.

 

Regathering of Israel at the Beginning of the Millennium

 

Verses 11-17, “In the day when your walls are to be built, in that day the decree shall go far and wide.  In that day they shall come to you from Assyria and the fortified cities, from the fortress to the River [Euphrates], from sea to sea, and mountain to mountain.  Yet the land shall be desolate because of those who dwell in it, and for the fruit of their deeds.  [This one verse, verse 13, is looking to Samaria as it has lain from 721BC to now, a desolate hilltop, and the region of Samaria has been contested land between Palestinian and Israeli to this day.  So this verse is looking backwards.]  Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your heritage, who dwell solitarily in a woodland, in the midst of Carmel; let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in days of old.  As in the days when you came out of  the land of Egypt, I will show them wonders.  The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might; they shall put their hand over their mouth; their ears shall be deaf.  They shall lick the dust like a serpent; they shall crawl from their holes like snakes of the earth.  The shall be afraid of the LORD our God, and shall fear because of you.”  In verse 12 “In that day also he shall come to thee from Assyria”, “thee” is Israel.  This points back to Micah 4:1-4 and Isaiah 2:1-4 when all nations come to Jerusalem to hear the Word of the LORD.  Verse 13 sort of looks back, saying, ‘But for now your land will remain desolate,’ which the land of Samaria has remained to this day.  There is a perpetual water shortage in the land of Israel today.  The Israelites, all 12 tribes now regathered into the land will become mighty, confounding the nations.  Verses 16-17 perfectly describe the shell-shocked inhabitants of the world “as they move out of their holes like worms [NKJV: “snakes”] of the earth” as the Millennial Kingdom of God takes over rule of the nations, starting out first in Israel.

 

Micah praises God for what he will do

 

Verses 18-20, “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of his heritage?  He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in mercy.  He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities.  You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.  You will give truth to Jacob and mercy to Abraham, which you have sworn to our fathers from days of old.”  Verse 18 is mirrored in Isaiah 46:5, ‘To whom will you liken me, that we may be alike?’  The LORD, returned to earth, will clean up all the sins of Israel, “He will subdue our iniquities…[and] cast them into the depths of the sea” (verse 19).  This folks is Micah’s (God’s) description of the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom of God. 

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