Study of the Prophets #22 : Micah (Cont.)
This week we begin at Chapter 4. Recall last week we left off with the terrible prophecy that Mount Zion was to be plowed over like a field, Jerusalem to be left in heaps of rubble, and Mount Zion like stone heaps in the forest; all because of the sins if the Israelites in both kingdoms. No one escapes the judgement of G-d.
Verses 1-5 contrast with the terrible judgement with Micah foretelling how HaShem in his mercy and love for His people in the End Days: “ It will be in the End of Days that the mountain of the Temple of HaShem will be firmly established as the most prominent of the mountains, and it will be exalted up above the hills, and peoples will stream to see it. Many nations will go and say, ‘ Come let us go up to the Mountain of HaShem and to the Temple pf the G-d of Jacob, and he will teach us of His ways and we will walk ion His paths.’” For from Zion shall go forth the Torah and the word of HaShem from Jerusalem. He will judge between many peoples, and will settle the arguments of mighty nations from far away. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning knives; nation will not lift sword against nation, nor will they learn war anymore. They will sit, each man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none will make them afraid, for the mouth of Hashem, Master of the legions, has spoken. For all the peoples will go forth, each man in the name of his god. But we go forth with the Name of HaShem, our G-d, for ever and ever.”
The prophecies in this chapter also appear in the book of Isaiah (2:2-4) with minor differences. Isaiah and his disciple Micah were shown the same vision. When Micah proclaimed his version of the prophecy to the nation, he used the same basic text that Isaiah had uttered previously, and with which the people were familiar. The minor differences reflect the fact that when more than one person is given information which was in this case a vision from G-d, there will naturally be a slight variation in the formula for delivering the vision/prophecy (Sanhedrin 89a).
“It will be in the End of Days” refers to the Messianic era after those who do evil will be destroyed. Another way of looking at the phrase “End of Days” is that it will be an end result; the culmination of the world’s history that is flowing to this point in time.
“The mountain of the Temple of HaShem will be firmly established as the most prominent of the mountains.” This is Mount Moriah, the mountain on which the Temple was constructed. Since the nations of the world had worshipped their foreign gods on the high hills and mountains, Micah confirms that in messianic times the Temple Mount will be established above all other mountains as the religious center of the world, esteemed and respected by all nations (Radak). Another perspective posits that the hills and mountains metaphorically represent the great miracles that took place on the mountains throughout the history of G-d’s people. The Israelites received the Torah on Mount Sinai (Ex. 19;16); The prophet Elijah proved G-d’s omnipotence through the descent of fire from heaven on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 19). On Mount Tabor the Jewish armies defeated the armies of Sisera (Judges 4:15,16). The miracles that will occur on the
“ …and people’s will stream to it.” The nations of the world will join together in a mass movement toward the Temple just as rivers join together on their way to the sea. They will recognize that HaShem is the One true G-d. (Radak; Abarbanel ).
“ Many nations will go and say, ‘ Come let us go up to the Mountain of HaShem…” The nations will encourage each other to go up to the Mountain of HaShem so that they also be at His Temple, for they will feel drawn to it as the source of their light and lives (R. Hirsch ).
“And to the Temple of the G-d of Jacob.” One might ask the question , Why is it referred to as the Temple of the G-d of Jacob, and not Avraham, or Isaac? Rashi, who loved to dissect the grammar of the Torah for hidden meaning explains that it was Jacob who gave Mount Moriah the distinguished name of Beth-el (Gen. 28:19), the House of G-d, while Avraham referred to it as the Mountain of G-d (Gen. 22:14), and Isaac referred to it as a field (Gen. 24:63). Micah therefore credits Jacob by referring to the Temple, the House of G-d, as the Temple of the G-d of Jacob.
“And He will teach us of His ways and we will walk in His paths.” G-d in the role of Messiah Yahshua will teach the people through those who are knowledgeable in the Torah and he will judge among the nations.
“ For from Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the word of HaShem from Jerusalem.” G-d’s laws that come forth from Jerusalem is authoritative. Our Orthodox brethren do not understand that the king Messiah to whom they refer as one who will be almost as great a prophet as Moshe and even wiser than King Solomon is in fact G-d incarnate; Yahshua the Messiah; Messiah ben David; the Lion of Judah; our Cohen haGadol; El Gibor, Sar Shalom! How exciting it will be for those who are sealed to serve G-d in the Tribulation to see those of Judah who will recognize Yahshua for Who He is that perhaps they will acknowledge Him as Messiah and accept Him as their King!
“He will judge between many peoples, and will settle the arguments of mighty nations from far away.” Yahshua HaMoshiach will rule His Kingdom with a hand of iron and He will settle arguments of nations far and wide. Scripture reveals that there will still be people living in mortal bodies during this time (Zech 14:16-21, Rev. 20:7-10. Yahshua will rule over them and their descendants with a “rod of iron” Psalm 2:9; Rev. 2:27; Rev. 19:15). So, what does it mean to rule with “a rod of iron”?
Isaiah 9:6-7 – For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty G-d, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the L-rd of hosts will perform this.
In this messianic prophecy, we see that Yahshua will rule with “judgment and justice.” Therefore, to rule with a rod of iron would mean that His rule will be just, and punishment will be swift and harsh as stated above in Micah 4:3. Yahshua will deal with rebellion promptly in the Kingdom, and peace will prevail during this time as also noted in (Isaiah 9:6-7). Implements once used for war will be beaten and formed into farming equipment! Nations will no longer learn the art of warfare; neither will they have any reason to fight. They will acknowledge HaShem as the One and only true G-d. Since most battles have religious agenda, there will no longer be a reason to fight against another nation.
“They will sit, each man under his vine and under his fig tree.” This phrase is used throughout Scripture to describe a time of peace and prosperity (see 1 Kings 5:5; Zech. 3:10). It will be interesting to see such a scenario as there has never been worldwide peace such as this in human history.
“For all the peoples will go forth, each man in the name of his god, but we go forth with the Name of HaShem, our G-d, for ever and ever.: Micah declares that all this honor will be bestowed upon Israel (all true believers) because, unlike the nations of the world who worshipped other gods, Israel remained true to HaShem through their individual and collective wilderness journeys and will continue on the King’s Highway. Radak adds that although the other nations will leave their idolatrous ways and follow the ways of HaShem, they will not do so until Yahshua (Radak calls him king Messiah because he did not recognize Yahshua as Messiah) after the war of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38-9).
Verses 6-8: “ On that day- the word of HaShem- I will assemble the lame one and gather in the one driven away and whomever I have harmed, and I will make the lame one into a remnant and the one forced to wander into a mighty nation; and HaShem will reign over them at Mount Zion, from now and forever. And you, Migdal-eder, Ophel of the daughter of Zion, they will come [back] to you; and the original kingdom will arrive, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.”
Radak explains that on the day of ingathering of the exiles that will take place at the End of Days, G-d will gather in the Israelite nation, who, due to their torturous exile, is likened to one who is lame, ill, and suffering. We must place this in proper perspective, lest we think exile only refers to physical exile in the desert of the nation Israel proper. As Messianic believers, we are given the benefit of the B’rit Chadashah teachings of Yahshua who is G-d incarnate. Israel in this context is all true believers. Indeed each believer is given a wilderness journey to go through that at times seems an exile experience. Just as the tribes were scattered, so we either as biological descendants, fellow travelers, or Gentile converts to G-d’s Torah.
“…and gather in the one driven away.” I will gather in Israel who has been cast out among the nations of the world (Metzudos) and is far from its destined place (Radak). An alternative interpretation is that the lame one represents the Northern Kingdom and the one driven away represents Judah (Abarbanel; Malbim).
“…and whomever I have harmed.” I will assemble those whom I have punished for the sins of the nation (Rashi) and who have been disgraced among the nations (Ibn Ezra). Just as I treated them harshly, I will now deal well with them (Radak), measure for measure (Metzudos).
“… and I will make the lame one into a remnant and the one forced to wander into a mighty nation.” The lame nation will not become extinct during the exile (Radak) for a remnant will return to its Land and become a mighty nation. Again, we must look at this as if we were looking at a piece of art from close range initially, then backing off a bit to see the big picture in all its splendor. At first reading, this seems to speak of the Jewish exile; both of the Northern Kingdom scattered among the nations to become “not a people” for a time, and those who were exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem in the south. As we back up to absorb the whole of the piece of art, we can see the reference to a remnant also applies to true believers from all over the world, from recognized Yahshua as the One true G-d to whom they owe their allegiance, love, and obedience. Our Orthodox brethren do not have this insight yet, but will during the end times. Their spiritual blinders will be removed by G-d and they will see Yahshua for who he is, Messiah ben David, the conquering King.
“… and HaShem will reign over them at Mount Zion, from now and forever.” From that time one, the foreign nations will never again rule over Israel, for G-d will be their ruler with His kingdom situated on Mount Zion. His glory will never again depart from that place (Abarbanel; Metzudos).
“ And you, Migdal-eder (Tower of the Flock), Ophel of the daughter of Zion, they will come [back] to you; and the original kingdom will arrive, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.
Micah continues to describe Israel’s future return from exile, the restoration of Jerusalem, its Temple, and the return of the Davidic Kingdom. This necessarily includes Messiah ben David (Yahshua) as the King. The flock is used to describe Israel such as a flock of sheep (Radak). The use of the word “Tower” is interpreted to mean either the Messiah of Israel; Yahshua as we know, or the Temple where Israel flocked to observe its festivals (Rashi; Mahari Kara). I agree with the first interpretation as Yahshua is indeed the ‘Tower of the Flock” and the people will return to Him and the original kingdom will arrive, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem. In the city of Migdal-eder, the number of tribes was completed at twelve, for the youngest, Benjamin, was born there. Micah is thus foretelling that in the End of Days, the nation that had been divided into two kingdoms will be unified and will again be complete with twelve tribes as it originally had been at Migdal-eder (Rabbeinu Bachya). Again, we must use a discerning eye when we look at this interpretation. Yes, the kingdoms will be reunited just as described in Ezekiel chapter 37. Yes, there will be twelve tribes again, but the original twelve tribes. How do we know this? Look at Revelation 7:1-8. You will notice that Levi is now a tribe, Dan is no longer a tribe, and M’nasheh is now a tribe. Again, our Orthodox Jewish brothers do not have this information as they are spiritually blinded for a time just as G-d ordained it to be (Rom. Chap. 11).
“Ophel of the daughter of Zion, they will come [back] to you.” Like migdal, ophel is a tower or fortress (Metzudos). The remnant of the lame and weak will come back to you- the migdal (Yahshua), rather than the Temple or Jerusalem as Rashi adds. Another very interesting interpretation is provided in the Targum Yonasan, which interprets the verse as if the Hebrew word “Ophel” was written beginning with an aleph instead of an ayin. If written with an alef, it would be translated as darkness, and translates “the Messiah of Israel who had been concealed-who was held in darkness due to the sins of those assembled in Zion.” This is an amazing insight that I submit the majority of Orthodox rabbis and talmidim do not fully understand to this day.
“ … and the original kingdom will arrive, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.”
Both kingdoms will be united into one stick in the hand of Messiah Yahshua, under the reign of the Davidic House as before the division.
Next week we will resume our study beginning with verse 9.
Rabbi Tamah Davis