Christ in All the Scriptures
by A.M. Hodgkin
- V. Christ in the Prophets
13. Micah --
- Micah's home was the village of Moreshah, in the maritime plain of Judah, near the borders of the Philistines.
He was a contemporary of Hosea and Isaiah, and prophesied in the days of Jothan, Ahaz, and the earlier years of Hezekiah, kings of Judah. He prophesied concerning both Samaria and Jerusalem, but the burden of his prophecy was for Judah.
Micah bore the same name, abbreviated, as Micaiah, the son of Imlah, the prophet of Israel, who stood alone for God against the 400 false prophets, 150 years before this, in the days of Ahab, when he and Jehoshaphat went against Ramoth-Gilead (1Kings 22). Micaiah had concluded his prophecy with the words, ''Hearken, O people, every one of you.'' Micah begins his prophecy with the same words. The three divisions of his book each begins with this call to Hear:
- Micah 1:2 - 2:13. [The Lord's case against His people.]
- Micah 3:1 - 5:15. [Coming judgments. . . the Coming Kingdom.]
- Micah 6:1 - 7:20. [The Lord pleads his controversy against the wicked with desolations.
- . . . . The Lord pleads the cause of His remnant with deliverance.]
Micaiah had seen ''all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd.'' Micah's prophecy abounds in allusions to the Good Shepherd and His [compassionate] care over His flock.
With much brokenness of heart, Micah [pronounces] God's judgments upon Judah for their sins, but he seems to hasten over the words of judgment, and to linger over the message of God's love and mercy, concluding his prophecy with a specially beautiful proclamation of it, with which he identifies his own name, Micah, which means ''Who is like God?'' [Micah 7:18-20]. ''Who is like the Lord, the Pardoner of sin, the Redeemer from its guilt, the Subduer of its power? For no false God was ever such a claim made. This was the one message that he loved above all to proclaim; and his own name was the herald to the people in his day'' (Dr. Pusey).
- Samaria and the Cities of Judah.
- Micah proclaims the coming judgment first upon Samaria [the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel], and then upon the cities of Judah. These were all speedily fulfilled by the armies of Assyria.
The idolatry of Israel had spread to Jerusalem, and the strong city of Lachish seems to have been the connecting link, ''the beginning of the sin of the daughter of Zion'' (1:13). It is this spread of idolatry, and all its attendant evils, to Judah, under king Ahaz, which Micah specially deplores. He rebukes the extreme oppression of the poor, women and little children being driven from their homes; covetousness and self-aggrandizement, even at the price of blood, which he graphically likens to cannibalism. He specially denounces the sins of the rulers, bribery among the judges, false weights and balances.
Micah further proclaims the captivity in Babylon (4:9-10), and the destruction of Jerusalem (3:12), even to the ploughing up of the city, which was fulfilled by the Emperor Hadrian. We are distinctly told, in the book of Jeremiah, that this prophecy led to the great turning to the Lord of King Hezekiah and his people, at the beginning of his reign, which averted the destruction of the city, it may be for 136 years, and led also to the great reformation under that king. The elders of Judah reverted to this prophecy of Micah about 120 years after it was uttered, when the priests would have put Jeremiah to death for predicting the same doom. [Jer 26:16-19].
- ''Bethlehem of Judah.'' Micah 5:2.
- But for us, the great interest of the prophet Micah centers round its clear prophecies of the Saviour who was to come. It was from this book that ''all the chief priests and scribes of the people,'' gathered together by Herod, proclaimed unhesitatingly that it was at Bethlehem of Judah that the Christ, the King, should be born [Mat 2:1-12].
This prophecy proclaims His eternity. He who was to go forth from Bethlehem as the Ruler, was He whose goings forth were ''from the days of eternity.'' [cp. Isa 7:13,14; 9:6,7. The ''child'' was born in Bethlehem, but the ''Son'' was ''from everlasting.'' (ScofRB)]
''He shall stand and feed (or rule) in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God'' [Mic 5:4]. Here, we have the majesty of the Royal Shepherd caring for His flock.
Micah's picture of the restoration of Zion and many nations flowing to it, and the glory and prosperity of Christ's Kingdom, with its reign of universal peace, was introduced by Isaiah into his prophecy [cp. Mic 4:1-3 with Isa 2:2-4; Mic 7:16,17 with Isa 49:23].
[Note that the meaning of Mic 4:5 is obscured in the KJV translation. The literal reading is: ''For all the peoples do now walk in the name of their god, but shall walk in the name of Jehovah our Elohim for ever'' (ScofRB, margin).]
- [ The King: His Birth, His Rejection, His Kingdom. ]
- [The notes below are adapted from the Scofield Reference Bible.]
The ''word of the LORD that came to Micah'' (Mic 1:1), having described the future kingdom (Mic 4:1-8), and glanced at the Babylonian captivities (Mic 4:9-10), goes forward into the last days to refer to the great battle (Armageddon, Rev 16:14; 19:17-20), which immediately precedes the setting up of the Messianic Kingdom.
Mic 5:1,2 forms a parenthesis in which the ''word of the LORD'' goes back from the time of the great battle (yet future) to the birth and rejection of the King, Messiah-Christ (Mat 27:24-31,37). This is followed by the statement that He will ''give them up until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth'' (Mic 5:3). There is a twofold ''travail'' of Israel:
- that which brings forth the ''man child'' (Christ) (Rev 12:1,2); and
- that which, in the last days, brings forth a believing ''remnant'' out of the still dispersed and unbelieving nation (Mic 5:3; Jer 30:6-14; Mic 4:10).
- Both aspects are combined in Isaiah 66.
- The meaning of Mic 5:3 is that, from the rejection of Christ, at His first coming, Jehovah will give Israel up till the believing remnant appears; then He stands and feeds in His proper strength as Jehovah (Mic 5:4); He is the defence of His people as in Mic 4:3,11-13, and afterward the remnant go as missionaries to Israel and to all the world (Mic 5:7,8; Zech 8:23).
The ministry of the Jewish remnant (Mic 5:7,8; Isa 1:9; Rom 11:5) has a twofold aspect,
- ''a dew from the LORD'';
- ''a lion among the beasts.''
- Turning to the Lord, in the great tribulation (Psa 2:5; Rev 7:14), the remnant takes up the beautiful gospel of the kingdom (Rev 14:6) and proclaims it under awful persecution ''unto all nations, for a witness'' (Mat 24:14). The result is seen in Rev 7:4-14. This is the dew aspect, and is followed by the ''day of the LORD'' (Isa 2:10-22; Rev 19:11-21), in the morning of which the kingdom is set up in power.
- Again there is world-wide preaching to Jew and Gentile, but now it is the word that the King is on His holy hill of Zion (Psa 2:1-6), and the unrepentant will be broken with His rod of iron (Psa 2:6-9). The preaching is given in Psa 2:10-12. This is the ''lion'' aspect of the remnant's testimony (Rev 2:26-28). The full kingdom-age of blessing follows the ''rod of iron'' aspect.
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For another brief look at this book of the Bible,
see the related chapter in OT Reflections of Christ, by Paul Van Gorder.
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