Micah Chapter 4: Thy Kingdom Come, God’s Promise to the Holy Remnant

Dec 20th, 2009 | By | Category: Micah, Psalm 83 and Gog & Magog, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Micah Chapter 4: Thy Kingdom Come, God’s Promise to the Holy Remnant

Micah 4:1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.

Micah 4:2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

Abruptly there is a change—from Zion being plowed as a field and trouble coming, to this scene of exaltation, where the Law will go forth out of Zion and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. The exaltation is quite a contrast to the previous verses! Both the city and the Temple that were destroyed will be rebuilt in the Kingdom. Micah repeated part of Isaiah’s prophecy but then added to it. The two prophets overlapped during three kings of Judah: Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. In part, they were contemporary prophets, although Micah lived beyond Isaiah’s death.

Why did Micah introduce this prophecy about the “last [latter] days” at this point? After all his thundering predictions of trouble and destruction, he wanted to encourage the people. The Hebrew gives the thought of the “mountain of the house of the LORD” being firmly established. This figurative language about the house of God being established in the top of the mountains and above the hills means that Jerusalem will become the capital of the world—the most prominent city in the entire world, exalted above all other governments. No doubt, too, it will literally be higher than the surrounding hills after the earthquake mentioned by the Prophet Zechariah takes place (Zech. 14:4,5,10). All “people shall flow unto it” shows figuratively that there will be voluntary cooperation; the people will be drawn and not driven there.

“Many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways.” Some of the nations will cooperate quickly, right away, while the more recalcitrant ones will need judgments first. The Law shall go forth from the Church in glory (Zion), whereas only the declaration of a judgment that comes from above will go forth from the earthly phase of the Kingdom, Jerusalem. Although this prophecy still has not been fulfilled, the contrast of hope and blessing with Micah’s previous thundering gave encouragement to the people in the prophet’s day. Up to the level of their thinking back there, this prophecy was designed to give them hope; that is, they considered “Zion” to be the literal Temple Mount, whereas we see the primary fulfillment to be the higher spiritual level.

“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” This Kingdom statement will be very far-reaching. It will be spoken by individuals, families, nations, and internationally—by all who are moved to go to the house of Jacob for instruction.

“People shall flow unto it [the mountain of the house of the LORD].” The word “flow” indicates a voluntary, willing going. It also shows that the people’s hearts will be affected—they will be moved to go. Notice that the people will be drawn to the “God of Jacob.” Not only will they recognize that God is the Supreme Creator and that His center seems to be in the nation of Israel, but also they will realize that He is the God of Israel. Moreover, this title shows that Israel will be greatly blessed in connection with its deliverance from Gog.

“For the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” The executive branch of the government in the Kingdom will be Zion, the Church in glory with Jesus as Head. The pronouncements of the laws will be done primarily by the Ancient Worthies.

Micah 4:3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

In the Volumes, the Pastor inserted some extra words: “He shall judge [previously in the Time of Trouble] among many people.” It will take time after the Kingdom is established for the swords to be beaten into plowshares and the spears into pruning hooks, that is, for the conversion of war implements into peaceful agricultural and domestic pursuits or purposes. (Pruning hooks were hooks at the end of a long pole that was used to prune high branches.)

If the correct translation is as stated in the RSV, “He … shall decide for strong nations afar off,” the thought would be that God will counsel and give instruction to the strong nations. Hence they will not use their own judgment and discretion but will have to follow orders. If the correct thought is as rendered in the King James, “And he shall … rebuke strong nations afar off,” the meaning would be that the strong nations will be reluctant and resistant along certain lines. The word “decide” harmonizes with the thought of the rod of iron and authority.

The beating of the swords into plowshares will require time. In fact, in just Israel alone, it will take seven years to convert the booty of metal, weapons, armor, etc., into domestic use (Ezek. 39:9). War goods will be changed into instruments and goods of peace. The rebuking of “strong nations afar off” will be short compared to the melting down of war implements.

In the anarchy period, there will be no organized wars. Individuals will have guns, but nations will no longer be fighting each other. When the food supplies run out, national armies will stop fighting, but individuals and gangs with guns will loot for food and pillage and steal. However, even the anarchists will look for the Lord when all food is exhausted.

“Nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” After Armageddon, there will be no recurrence of war. When the host of Gog and Magog go up against the “camp of the saints” at the end of the Kingdom Age, they will be a figurative army, not a literal one (Rev. 20:7-9). They will act much the way students or workers do when they rebel; there will be no violence, but they will voice their displeasure. God will send “fire” down from heaven to destroy them.

In addition to no more war, there will be no false religious revival during the Kingdom, for the beast and the false prophet will figuratively go into the “lake of fire,” or Second Death (Rev. 19:20). Therefore, through the process of elimination, we can surmise that the rebellion at the end of the Millennium will be along another line.

Micah 4:4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.

Micah quoted the prophecy of Isaiah 2:4 and then added this verse, which describes a condition of peace (the opposite of war)—serenity, pleasure, and joy with material things in simplicity. The simple pleasures of life are promised. Imperfect man likes to sit in a penthouse or on a yacht, for example—in something built with his own hands—instead of under a simple and beautiful vine and fig tree. Now man labors to pay taxes or to supply the rich with bribes, but in the Kingdom, his labor will provide for his own table, and he will be able to relax and enjoy it. This picture is very sweet.

Let us return to Micah 3:5 for a moment. “The prophets who lead my people astray … cry ‘Peace’ when they have something to eat, but declare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths” (RSV). When false prophets spoke “Peace,” they usually referred to an impending invasion or attack by an enemy, telling the people not to worry. The true prophets, on the other hand, predicted Israel’s defeat. Verse 5 reminds us of a prophecy of the end of the age: “When they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1 Thess. 5:3). The preceding verse talks of the Lord’s parousia: “The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (1 Thess. 5:2). Both the world of mankind and the nominal Church are unaware of the Lord’s parousia.

When the nominal Church shall say, “Peace and safety,” then will come the great Time of Trouble. Back in Micah’s day, the false prophets who cried “Peace” were equivalent to the religious leaders in our day. A concerted message will go forth from the mouth of the beast and of the false prophet, boasting their confidence that things are under control. Today the bulk of society are frightened by the lawlessness they see in the earth, and they wonder what it will lead to and how it will ever be contained. Eventually a strong, conservative government (a police state) will put down the anarchistic, rebellious element—but only temporarily. When it becomes manifest that the strong government has inherent weaknesses and prejudices and thus is not fit to have such power, then will come the explosion into worldwide anarchy.

In many places, “we” and “us” refer to true Christians, while “they” and “them” refer to professed Christians only. Thus the primary picture in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 is of the nominal system and its false prophets saying, “Peace and safety.” The “sudden destruction” is described as travail upon a woman with child. The word “travail” is often explained as spasms (plural) of trouble. If the word were properly “travail,” this definition would be true. However, the Greek word means “the birth pang” (singular—see Diaglott interlinear). Sudden destruction will come as the birth pang upon a woman with child. Just as the sudden seizure (of any one pang) comes on the woman, so will the trouble come. The sudden destruction will not be prolonged, such as it was with World War I and World War II.

In the Old Testament, the word “travail” is used to indicate a series, or spasms, of trouble, but that is not true in Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. As the pang comes with suddenness upon a woman in the later stages of pregnancy—with a seizure—so sudden destruction will come upon those who say, “Peace and safety.” This destruction will be real destruction, not partial destruction followed by a little more and then a little more, etc. Just as the stone will smite the image with suddenness and great force and shatter it, so this text shows sudden destruction.

The same Greek word odin that is translated “travail” in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 is used in Matthew 24:7,8, “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Notice the plurals: famines, pestilences, earthquakes, and sorrows. The word “sorrows” is the same word that is singular in 1 Thessalonians 5:3, but here it is translated in the plural. In travail, there would be a series of pangs, so in Matthew 24, the plural is proper to use because the context is a history of what has happened down through the Gospel Age.

The following distinctions in usage should be noted. In Jeremiah 4:31, the noise and anguish (that is, the “voice” of a woman) are likened to travail, or spasms of trouble. In Jeremiah 6:24, the pain of anticipation is called travail, or spasms. In 1 Thessalonians 5:3, the suddenness of the trouble, when it comes, is likened to the birth pang (singular).

Every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree, and no one will make him afraid during the Kingdom. Normally a person would sit under a vine or fig tree for shade and food, and so each person will have personal security in his own home. The strong, divine central government will make this condition possible.

“For the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.” Imagine that the great Jehovah has to tell us this for emphasis!

Micah 4:5 For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.

The Revised Standard Version corrects the tense: “For all the peoples walk [present tense] each in the name of its god, but we will walk [future tense] in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.” Verse 5 contrasts two different time periods: the present evil world versus the Kingdom, when Israel will have been delivered. From that point forward, Israel will walk forever in the name of Jehovah. Micah was contrasting conditions in his day with conditions under the future Kingdom; that is, “Though all nations now worship idols, we [Israel] will, at that time [future], worship Jehovah for ever and ever.” No doubt the faithful few living in Micah’s day also applied this verse to themselves at that time, but in addition, they knew the day would come when the entire nation would worship Jehovah.

If we assume that the future tense in the King James is correct (“For all people will walk every one in the name of his god”), then another way to interpret verse 5 is to say that in the Kingdom, all peoples will walk in the name of Jehovah, and Israel, too (especially), will worship Him forever. (Of course in that case, “God” would begin with a capital letter.)

Micah 4:6 In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted;

The RSV has, “In that day, says the LORD, I will assemble the lame and gather those who have been driven away, and those whom I have afflicted.” Jehovah was addressing natural Israel. The Jews who were carried away captive into Babylon derived some comfort from this verse, but its primary fulfillment is in our day. Notice that regardless of the human instrument or agency used, God assumes the responsibility for the affliction of the Israelites during their period of disfavor: “whom I have afflicted.”

Micah 4:7 And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.

The RSV reads, “And the lame I will make the remnant; and those who were cast off, a strong nation; and the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and for evermore.” In other words, the Holy Remnant, who survive Jacob’s Trouble, will become the nucleus of the Kingdom: “a strong nation.” “Though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee” (Jer. 30:11). The Holy Remnant will be a spared or rescued element.

Jehovah “will reign … from this time forth and for evermore.” Jehovah’s reign will be forever, whereas the purpose of Christ’s rule, for the thousand years only, will be to bring the alienated human race into atonement with the Father. At the end of the Millennium, Christ will hand over the Kingdom so that God will be “all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28). The Kingdom is merely an interim government.

Jacob was made halt, or lame, when he wrestled all night with the angel; he limped thenceforth for the rest of his life. Jacob’s lameness was a sign of his experience and hence was not unfavorable, whereas Israel’s lameness was an unfavorable sign (Gen. 32:24-32).

The very characteristics that have made the Jews undesirable to some Gentiles will be the same characteristics that, when they are a changed, repentant people, will impel them to be superior to other nations in their humility and anguish over having rejected Jesus as their Messiah. There is a peculiar, perverse trait in man to make a scapegoat of one who is lame, to make him an object of scorn and ridicule. Rulers, too, capitalize on the weak. Thus Israel, in a lame and halt condition among the various nations, has been made an obstacle of derision and persecution. When convenient, rulers have made the Jew a scapegoat—an action that has been completely unmerited in many cases.

Micah 4:8 And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.

As the “tower of the flock,” Jesus stands out head and shoulders above every other being except God. Verse 8 refers to The Christ, which, as a multitudinous seed, will also stand out above all other beings except God. The Christ will be on a higher plane than the other sheep that will be developed among mankind during the Kingdom.

The first (or former) dominion is the one that Adam had: the earth. We know (1) that Christ is the Head of the firstfruits class, the Church; (2) that saviors (plural) will be on top of the mountains of Israel; and (3) that the New Covenant will be made with the nation of Israel, not with the world of mankind. Therefore, when the first dominion does come (and the Kingdom blessings with it), it will be through the arrangement made with the nation of Israel. In laying down his life to pay the ransom price, Jesus purchased the human race and thus got the rights to the first dominion. In the meantime, his merit has been loaned to the consecrated of the Gospel Age in connection with their standing before God and having the robe of Christ’s righteousness. Since those who are faithful unto death will be part of the sin offering, the right of first dominion is also involved with them and their sacrifice, even though Christ previously purchased it. And the Kingdom blessings will come through the nation of Israel. Therefore, the way verse 8 is expressed, it could be viewed from any one of these three standpoints: Christ alone, The Christ, or natural Israel. Jesus alone and also The Christ are the “strong hold” of the nation of Israel. The Deliverer is to come forth out of Zion, and saviors (plural) are to rescue Israel at the end of the age (Obadiah 21). The term “daughter of Zion” refers to natural Israel.

The Christ in glory is “the kingdom” proper, yet there is a play on words here, as in other parts of Micah’s prophecy. Just as the Church in glory will inherit the Kingdom, so natural Israel will inherit the restitution blessings of the Kingdom.

Micah 4:9 Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee? is thy counselor perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail.

The RSV reads, “Now why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in you? Has your counselor perished, that pangs have seized you like a woman in travail?” Jehovah was audibly addressing natural Israel through the mouth of the Prophet Micah. Israel has had a series (plural) of labor pangs and experiences. In the past, Israel’s kings delivered them from trouble or at least had some hopeful counsel, but here the people were in labor pangs and anguish with no consolation or hope. The prophet was goading them on with a form of sarcasm, saying, “Don’t you have a king?” Of course Israel had a King—Jehovah—but the people did not acknowledge Him as such. They were so used to looking to earthly leaders that when the earthly “king” had no counsel, they were without a leader. In truth, they should have had God as their leader all along—much as iron is attracted to a magnet.

Micah 4:10 Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.

The RSV has, “Writhe and groan, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail; for now you shall go forth from the city and dwell in the open country; you shall go to Babylon. There you shall be rescued, there the LORD will redeem you from the hand of your enemies.” Verse 10 was like rubbing salt in a wound: “Writhe and groan! Haven’t you got anybody to give you counsel? What is the matter with you? Why are you complaining?” Then the prophet gave the nation over to hard experiences: “All right, you deserve to be in pain and in labor. It is a lesson you really need.” The Jews would have to leave the “city [Israel]” and go to the “open country [or field],” that is, to Babylon. Of course the “city” was Jerusalem in the strictest sense, but it represented the whole nation. Verses 9 and 10 would have been very powerful to the Jews living back there around the time of the Babylonian captivity.

Israel would be “delivered,” “rescued,” and “redeemed” from bondage in Babylon at the end of the 70 years of desolation when the Media-Persia Empire would eclipse the Babylonian Empire.

Micah 4:11 Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion.

Micah 4:12 But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor.

Verses 11 and 12 read as follows in the RSV: “Now many nations are assembled against you, saying, ‘Let her be profaned, and let our eyes gaze upon Zion.’ But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD, they do not understand his plan, that he has gathered them as sheaves to the threshing floor.” There might be a partial application to past history where other nations gloated over the captivity of the Jews, but the main application is at the end of this age. The analogy is to bundles, or sheaves, of wheat that are beaten, threshed, winnowed, etc., before the valuable wheat germ is garnered into the barn or bin for future use. Thus God will gather the various onlookers like sheaves of wheat (or grain) and thresh (or beat) them with hard experiences at the end of the age (see verse 13).

Micah 4:13 Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.

At the end of the age, the little, tiny nation of Israel will beat and thresh these other nations.

Number-wise, Israel is insignificant, but God will help the nation to thresh “many people.” The “daughter of Zion” can be natural Israel here, but it can also be considered the glorified Church, who, with Jesus, will rule the nations with a rod of iron. Just as oxen turn the wheel on a threshing floor, so here the oxen (Israel) will walk with brass hooves among the sheaves (Gentile nations), the stone wheel and the hooves doing a threshing work. A “horn” represents power, and “iron” is inflexible. Hence the “daughter of Zion” will be an inflexible power, or rule. “Brass” (or “bronze” in the RSV) has the thought of hardness.

When Israel is engaged in a military battle at the extreme end of the age, the nation itself will have to be taught a lesson, and the Lord God alone will deliver them. He will fight for Israel as He did in the days of old and make bare His holy arm (Isa. 52:10; Zech. 14:3).

The drama at the end of the age can be considered in still another sense. If we were a Gentile nation fighting against Israel in Jacob’s Trouble at the climax of Armageddon, and first Israel was defeated but then God rose up and wrought deliverance, we would feel that in a sense, Israel had achieved the victory, even though the nation had been helpless and God alone was responsible by divine power. Thus Israel’s God will fight for them by making their horn as iron and their hooves as brass. Actually Israel will be powerless at that time, but God’s power operating through the Holy Remnant will be so mighty that all resistance will be broken down.

(1975 Study with Excerpts from a 1993 Study)

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