All Current Classes Podcast
We provide a podcast of all the current classes in one podcast to make it easy to never miss a Bible class. Just copy the following podcast URL into your podcast app. www.deanbibleministries.org/podcasts/allcurrent.xml
Where should we turn when all around is gloom and darkness? Listen to this lesson to learn that the true source of light and truth is found in the Word of God. When Israel was in one of its darkest hours, God promised them a Messiah who would be both divine and human. Hear the rich meanings of the names of Christ in Isaiah 9:6. Follow the outline of Micah as it runs alongside Isaiah's prophecies. Take note of three key verses to memorize to share with unbelievers.
Lesson also includes Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2; John 1:1-5; Colossians 1:1-15; Hebrews 1:3
Promises of a Divine Messiah – Part 2
Romans 9:3-5; Isaiah 7:14, 9:6; Micah 5:2; John 1:1-5; Colossians 1:1-15; Hebrews 1:3
We are in our study in Romans. We haven't met since July 4th which has been about three weeks. Prior to that as we were going through Romans, chapter 9, looking specifically at verse 5. I'm focusing on Paul's statement of the deity of Christ. As many times as I've read through Romans it reminds me that we all have a problem with reading things until they become familiar or we're looking at other aspects, but in Romans 9:5, Paul says that, related to the Israelites, "Of whom are the fathers, [referring to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and his brothers] and from whom according to the flesh [Jesus' humanity] Christ came who is overall the Eternal Blessed God. Amen." I pointed out that is better translated, "Christ, the eternally blessed God." That phrase, "the eternally blessed God" is appositionally to Christ. Then add the relative clause "who is over all" at the end because that makes it come across as a very strong verse in support of the full deity of Jesus Christ. Christ, the eternally blessed God.
Now when Paul wrote that in Romans 9 outside of a few scriptures that had been penned already by the Apostle Paul most of the New Testament had not been written. James had been written before Paul wrote anything. Then Paul had written Galatians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Corinthians and now Romans. But the gospels were probably just at this point being written but they had not had any circulation yet so most of the New Testament was not written. So how do we know that Christ, that is the Messiah of the Old Testament, is fully God? Well that comes from Old Testament passages.
There's such a move always from liberal theology that claims that it was Paul and the New Testament that invented the deity of Christ. If you listen to those purveyors of sound theology, The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, and some of the other things you see on TV they always assert that the New Testament wasn't written until one or two hundred years after the death of the last apostle. Now that has been disproven by much of modern scholarship, even numerous liberal theologians who don't even believe in the infallibility or inspiration of Scripture have to admit, on the basis of evidence, that the New Testament was probably all written by the end of the 1st century. One has even gone so far as to claim that the New Testament was written even earlier than most conservative, orthodox Biblical theologians would put it. So the evidence is clearly there.
The deity of the Messiah as something I pointed out to you was in the Old Testament. Now last time I said that we ought to have at our fingertips to use in any kind of witnessing situation three Old Testament passages and three New Testament passages that support the deity of Christ. When you're sitting there and talking to your next door neighbor or you're talking to somebody you've struck up a conversation with at the grocery store or you're talking to somebody that you're sitting with in the waiting room at the doctor's office or whomever it might be and they say, "Why do you Christians think that Jesus is God?" You can say, "Well, because my pastor said so." Oh, wrong answer! "Jeff Phipps said so." Equally wrong answer. That's what so many people do. They say, "Oh well, I've got it in my notes at home. I heard it. It's in Isaiah somewhere. It's in the New Testament somewhere. The Bible says so." That doesn't work
See, the job of the pastor-teacher according to Hebrews 4:11 and 12 is to "equip the saints to do the work of the ministry." Evangelism is part of your work of ministry and what I'm doing here is equipping or training you and giving you the information you need so that you have it in your mind. The only Bible doctrine that you know is what you know without your notebooks or your Bible. Always remember that. The only Bible doctrine you know is what's just off the top of your head. That's the only Bible doctrine you really know.
So we need to learn just three verses from the Old Testament. It's simple because two of them are in Isaiah and one is in Micah. Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:6, and Micah 5:2. The nice thing to remember is that Isaiah and Micah lived at the same time. In fact, when we get to the Micah passage tonight we'll see that there are a lot of similarities between Micah's message and Isaiah's message. I was really pleased to get the feedback I got when I announced that sometime, probably early October, I'm going to teach a Bible study methods course. In other words, how you can become a better Bible student and read your Bible more intelligently and come to dig some things out for yourself. We'll probably start sometimes in early October and that will last until February or March. We'll probably spend more than an hour in an early Sunday evening class. I think everybody will get a lot out of it. We did this some years ago. We had a young man who was working with us at the time who taught that. It was part of his training and he did a good job. People got a lot out of it. But I want to do this and get it on video and upgrade the teaching on it a good bit.
One of the things we do when we look at Bible study methods is to look at four methods. The first is observation. What does it say? It's always amazing to me how little we observe verses. We'll have a lot of fun with observation. The second thing is interpretation. What does it mean? Not just what it means to you. That would be an application question. The key question is what did the original authors, the human author and the divine author, mean and yes you can discern accurately and exactly what the original authors meant in most cases. We can get pretty precise because of the ways Scripture is constructed. Then the next thing is correlation. That's comparing Scripture with Scripture. That's part of interpretation because once you come to the meaning of a passage you want to correlate that with other passages.
Sometimes you'll prepare scripture with scripture and you'll go, "Oops. Maybe what I thought that passage meant isn't right because it doesn't fit with this passage or that passage." That's all part of the learning and study process. A lot of times when you take passages, especially Messianic passages, and your compare scripture with scripture, you not only discover that they help shed light on one another but as you look at them in the way they're revealed you see there are certain threads that will run through the Scriptures and they get picked up again and again in these Messianic prophecies.
Now Isaiah is written at about the same time as Micah. Later on you have other prophecies such as the ones that are before Isaiah. The prophecy as revealed in Isaiah says, "The woman shall conceive…" That indicates there was already a belief there that there was something significant about a particular woman and that takes you all the way back to Genesis 3:15 and the promise that the seed of the woman will defeat the seed of the serpent. That's a little bit about what we're doing here and we're going to see some of that.
Last time we looked at Isaiah 7:14 and tonight I want to look at Isaiah 9:6. Both of these verses are quoted in the gospel birth stories in Matthew and in Luke. Just so you get a little prevue of coming attractions, when I finish the Proverbs series which will be sometime in September, we're going to have an early Christmas this year by starting the gospel of Matthew. I'm going to use Matthew as sort of a lens for looking at the life of Christ. Now this isn't going to be an in-depth study of everything that Jesus taught and everything He said. I want to save that for later. I've looked at some things in depth and we'll look at other things in depth but I find is a need for a more structured approach to the life of Christ.
For most of my life I've heard that most people know something about the life of Paul, about the life of Moses, something about the life of Daniel. They can give you the broad outline but they can't do daddy on the life of Christ. He was born and He had a lot of problems with the Pharisees and Sadducees and they crucified Him. That's it. So we need to have a little more structure in understanding that so I want to use the gospel of Matthew to do that.
After a period of about a year without drilling too deeply I want to teach the life of Christ. I've looked out on the internet and there are some doctrinal pastors who've done a great job and they have three or four or five or six hundred hours on the life of Christ. The problem with that is that they want to drill down in such detail that they don't really have an overview of it anymore. They've lost the structure. We've got to have a good structure in our minds so we're going to do that on Sunday mornings for about a year to a year and a half.
Then that will give me a framework to be able to come back at later times and drill down on other things, such as the Sermon on the Mount, The Upper Room Discourse, the Olivet Discourse, some of which I've taught before. For example I taught the Upper Room Discourse in the series I did years ago on the gospel of John. So we'll be doing some of that. It's just a little preview of coming attractions.
Okay, we're going to look tonight at Isaiah 9:6 and Micah 5:2 to understand the deity of Christ. The contexts are important but they're not as significant as the context of Isaiah 14 so we can hit those pretty quickly. If we have time I want to move into the three key passages in the New Testament. They're easy to remember. They're all in a first chapter. All you have to remember is John, Colossians, and Hebrews and if you remember they're all in the first chapter, you've got it. When I was in seminary I remember Dr. Ryrie who was a real stickler for detail but when it came to knowing text for key points he would say, "If you just know the book and the chapter, you can find the verse." That's all he would require on examinations and I always thought that was good. If you can get the book and the chapter down you can find the verse 99% of the time. So if you can just remember John 1, Colossians 1, and Hebrews 1 you can find them. As a matter of fact I've sat on a number of ordination councils over the years and one of the questions that was usually asked was to give three key passages on the deity of Christ. All that was required at those ordination councils was book and chapter. So if you just have John, Colossians, and Hebrews down you've got it.
Let's look at this first verse for tonight. Isaiah 9:6 is a well-known verse at Christmas time. "For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." Then the next verse goes on to read, "There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this." Now what's the most important thing we need to comprehend when we start to study a passage? Well, one of the most important things we need to comprehend is the context. Always remember that a text taken out of context leaves you with a con job. Many people get things completely distorted because they ignore the context.
The context here is really a broad context. I'm not just talking about Isaiah 9. I'm talking about what goes on from Isaiah 7 through Isaiah 11. The background for this is what we talked about in chapter 7, that there is an alliance between the Northern Kingdom of Israel and Syria to attack the Southern Kingdom. This is at a time during the reign of Ahaz when the Northern Kingdom is just about in its final legs, not long before the destruction of the Northern Kingdom by the armies of the Syrian Empire. There's a threat now coming from your friends, the Northern Kingdom, and your enemies, the Syrians. They united against the Southern Kingdom and as I pointed out in our study of Isaiah 7:14, the focal point was to destroy the house of David.
They weren't destroying the house of David simply because they didn't like David or they didn't like his descendants but because there was a spiritual dimension which they may or may not have been aware of and this is part of the angelic conflict, Satan's attempt to destroy God's plan for providing a Savior. The promise of a Savior had come to David in what's known as the Davidic covenant in 2 Samuel 7:14. God promised David that he would provide a descendant who would be eternal and that there would be an eternal dynasty and that a descendant of David who was eternal, indicating deity, would sit on his throne forever.
Now if this unholy alliance between the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Syrians was effective then that would destroy that promise. It would render God's ability to fulfill the promise through a descendant of David null and void. That's the general attempt. Satan has had a number of these attempts, attacks on different lineages in the Old Testament to try to block the coming of the Messiah. So that's the context. There's prophecy in chapter 8, the prophecy, of course, of Isaiah 7:14, is that God would give to the house of David a sign that the virgin would conceive and call a son whose name would be Immanuel, meaning God with us. This emphasizes that the child of the virgin would be God, would be fully divine, as I pointed out in the previous lessons.
Then there's also a warning that this doesn't mean that the house of David is going to survive without conflict or without difficulty. There's warning that a day is going to come when God is going to raise up an empire that is going to destroy the Northern Kingdom and threaten the Southern Kingdom and this is the threat of the kingdom of Assyria, mentioned in Isaiah 7:18 and also mentioned in Isaiah 8. But there's hope and the hope is that God has provided a future solution. He's not going to go back on His promise to the house of David and he's going to establish the kingdom. So we have this continuous prophecy.
If you just look at Isaiah 8 briefly, starting in verse 5, we have another message from God through Isaiah. "Inasmuch as these people have rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah and rejoice in Rezin and the son of Remaliah." Now who were Rezin and Remaliah? The king of Syria is Rezin and Pekah the son of Remaliah is the king of Israel. We studied that back in Isaiah 7:1. And so these are the traitors who are rejoicing in the alliance with the Northern Kingdom to destroy the house of David. Then the promise of God comes in verse 7, "Now therefore, behold, the Lord is about to bring on them the strong and abundant waters of the Euphrates, even the king of Assyria and all his glory." So Assyria is pictured as a river at flood stage that will rise up and destroy the Northern kingdom. "And it will rise up over all its channels and go over all its banks. Then it will sweep through Judah, it will overflow and pass through."
Note that it doesn't destroy Judah. "It will reach even to the neck, and the spread of its wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel." Notice he doesn't go over the head. There's that term again. Immanuel, meaning God with us. So the one who owns the land is the one who is going to be born is called Immanuel. This promise continues to be reiterated down through the rest of that chapter that those who rest on the Lord will be delivered. So we come to look at this context and we see that there's a promise of severe judgment on the Northern Kingdom and this is seen right before our context.
Remember there weren't chapters or verses divisions in the original text but at the end of chapter 8 we read in verse 21, "They [Israel] will pass through the land hard-pressed and famished…" In verse 19 it refers to demonism, "When they say to you, consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter, should not a people consult their God?" That's the rebuke that they should seek God rather than mediums and wizards. "Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?" See they were going to all these other sources to find hope rather than the Word of God. In verse 20 Isaiah says, "To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to the word, it is because they have no dawn." That is, the source of truth and the solution to problems is the Word of God, Bible doctrine.
"Dawn" here means light and it's a key word we're looking at here because there's this interplay in the text between light, which indicates the holiness and righteousness of God, which illuminates the mind. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path," the psalmist says in Psalm 119. The Psalmist also says, "In thy light we see light." So it's talking about the illumination of Scripture. In the Northern Kingdom scripture was rejected so there's no light there, just darkness. When we get to verse 21 here it's talking about this judgment time of darkness that comes. They'll be hungry as they pass through this judgment because they have rejected the truth, "And it will turn out that when they are hungry, they will be enraged and curse their king and their God as they face upward." They are going to curse God, curse their king as a result of being unrighteous.
Romans 1:18 and following says they're suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. You know as well as I do that when someone is doing something wrong and they're dead set on it and you tell them, in however nice a way you want to, that they need to straighten up, they won't like your correction and they turn and they're enraged at you. So this is what happens. God has brought discipline on them and all that does is confirm them in their judgment and they turn around and they shake their fist at God. What do they see? That's verse 22, "Then they will look to the earth and behold, the trees and darkness, the gloom of anguish, and they will be driven away into darkness."
See we have to pay attention in this lesson to the interplay between light and darkness. Darkness is the result of spiritual rejection of God and the truth. But there's a contrast when we get into chapter 9, verse 1, "[Nevertheless] But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish, in earlier times. He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt…" Now the land of Zebulun and Naphtali is in the north of Israel. When you see these geographical terms you take a look at where this is. Go to the back of your Bible. Look it up on a map.
Connie's on vacation right now and there's a couple of e-mails pending because she's traveling and one of them is that there's a new app that you can download for your iPad or iPhone called Biblemap app (http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2013/07/introducing-the-biblemap-app-a-must-have-for-everyday-bible-study/). Note: Android version coming in Fall 2013. You can download it and if you click on a place name, it takes you directly to Google maps and your location by live satellite and shows terrain features and everything. It's a neat little thing so you can figure out where these locations are. Zebulun and Naphtali are territories given to those tribes and they're in the north, in the area known as "the Galilee". This is the area where Jesus spent most of His ministry.
So what's being said here is that the gloom is going to diminish. "The gloom will not be upon her [Israel] who was distressed as when at first he lightly esteemed Zebulun and the land of Naphtali and later on [there's a recognition that a light is going to come into this land which has gone through this severe judgment]. The Hebrew words that are used here indicate a state of darkness and severe darkness and distress upon the land. It's a sign of judgment. The words correlate to each other. "And afterwards He shall make it glorious by the way of the sea on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles." That particular statement there is later picked up and referenced in the New Testament in Matthews 4:16. "The people who walk in darkness will see a great light" is applied by Matthew to the light that is seen when the Messiah comes and proclaims the presence of the Kingdom of God in Matthew 4. This shows revelation of the truth, God's grace to the area of the Northern Kingdom which is Galilee, and this is prophesied here.
Now in Isaiah 9:3 we read, "You shall multiply the nation. You shall increase their gladness. They will be glad in Your presence as with the gladness of harvest." Now this jumps forward in time. That's the trouble with reading some of these prophecies in Isaiah and Ezekiel, they switch back and forth from the present time of pronouncing judgment on the disobedient nation in the 7th or 8th century B.C. and then it jumps forward to the future blessed time of the Messianic Kingdom. And so verse 3 jumps forward, "You shall multiply the nation. You shall increase their gladness. They will be glad in Your presence as with the gladness of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil for you have broken the yoke of his burden…" This is talking about when the Messiah comes and throws off the oppressors of Israel and re-establishes the nation.
Verse 5 says, "For every boot [sandal] of the booted warrior in the battle tumult, and cloak rolled in blood will be for burning, fuel for the fire." All of that refers to when Jesus returns at the battle of Armageddon, destroys the enemies of Israel and then establishes the kingdom. Now we see the foundational basis for that which is in the Messianic prophecy of verse 6: "For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us." This whole prophecy from verse one all the way down to the end of this chapter into chapter 10, down to at least verse 24, is all written in poetry in Hebrew. You have the same principles we studied in Proverbs. You have parallelism to stress the different ideas. The first two lines of verse 6 are given in synonymous parallelism. Child is parallel to son, born is parallel to given. But there's a difference. On the one hand there's a child that is born, indicating normal human birth process and then we have a parallel but it's contrastive and it's actually antithetical even though it doesn't say 'but' which you normally see but it's not synonymous.
The 'son' is the 'child' but the son is given. The term son is always a reference in passages like this to the Son of God. So the Son of God isn't born. He is eternal. He's given so we have the humanity and the deity of the Messiah both mentioned here. This son that is given is going to be the Son of Man from Daniel 7 who comes to rule the kingdoms with a rod of iron. That's Psalm 2:7. "The government will rest on His shoulders" indicating He will rule. Then there are five titles that are given to Him. He's called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father. There is a problem with that translation which I'll point out in a minute, Prince of Peace.
Then we're told that "There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace." He's going to sit on the throne of David. What was the issue back in Isaiah 7? It was whether the throne of David was going to survive, was the house of David going to survive? This is again reiterating the comfort of God's promise that in spite of the fact they're going to come under this severe judgment they're going to have distress and darkness and anguish but the Messiah, the Son of David, will come and He will establish peace and order and judgment and justice forever. Not just for a couple of centuries. Not just for his lifetime but forever.
Now there are some problems here with the text. As I pointed out before, one of the problems we have in the text we use for the Hebrew Bible is that it was edited by a group of scribes over a period of centuries that standardized Hebrew language and standardized the text. They're called the Masoretes. But during that period of time from roughly about A.D. 400 to A.D. 900 was also the rise and expansion of Christianity so a lot of things the Masoretes did with the text were designed to affect the text so it would not be Messianic. One of the things they do here is they added certain accents in the Hebrew to break up the flow of the text so it would not be translated as you see it in the New Kings James version and most of the versions you're familiar with.
We'll take the phrase "mighty God". This child that was to be born was to be called "mighty God." That would seem to be a major problem. How can God, mighty God, be born? So they wrestled with that. Next is "everlasting father". Some people have questioned that term "Father" and said he's not the Father, he's the Son. But in Hebrew it's ad ab. Ab at the beginning is the word for Father and ad is the term for eternity. It's merely a designation that this child who is born is eternal. He's the father of eternity. It's an idiom for stating he is eternal without beginning or ending. It should be translated "father of eternity" and "prince of peace". But in the Masoretic text it would read, "The wonderful counselor, the mighty God, calls his name."
Notice how it shifts the meaning of the verb, the voice of the verb form will be called which is passive to active. They really twist it up in order to get their translation. "Calls his name Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." So instead of having one persona in the verse which is the child, the son, you now have two. You have the child and now God calling Him something. There's no warrant for that. In fact, one of the better trained Hebrew scholars, Franz Delitzsch, who co-authored a ten volume commentary on the Old Testament, usually referred to as Keil and Delitzsch commentary, was from a Jewish background. I believe he trained for the rabbinate and he says, "There are four basic problems with what the Masaretic text does. First of all, contextually, it doesn't make sense that two sets of names would appear. Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God would be one set. Eternal Father, Prince of Peace is another set. The first applying to God, the second applying to the Son. The text does not indicate anything directed toward God. The point of the text is the name of the child." Second, he points out, "there's no reason to expect such a long roundabout name for God." Third he says, "A dual name construction as indicated by the accents has no precedent in Isaiah. It doesn't fit Isaiah's style at all. It's extremely unusual." And then fourth he says, "If it were to be indicating a difference between God and human who is called Eternal Father, Prince of Peace, then a further distinction would be made in the text to identify that and the first two titles would begin with a definite article to indicate that those apply to God to distinguish them from the second titles." So it just doesn't fit at all. The only reason you would try to come up with that second translation is the way the Masoretes inserted the accents.
If we go back to Isaiah 9:6 and just look at these titles: Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, we see that these are all terms that reinforce the deity of this child that was born. He's not just a human child. The first name 'wonderful' is a Hebrew word pele. We use the word wonderful in English to translate it often but it really means incomprehensible, beyond our understanding, something that is beyond human capability, and something extraordinary. This word pele is only used of God in the Old Testament. We use the word wonderful to describe many different things. We say, "Oh, I've got a wonderful wife. I've got a wonderful husband. I've got wonderful dogs." But in the Bible this word is only used of God. It's never applied to human beings so this is talking about a specific divine attribute that never crosses into the human realm.
The term counselor is again a term that relates to God. It means that He is the One that is the source of advice and counsel and guidance. The next term mighty God is also a name that relates to God. It is gibbor. This refers to God as a powerful warrior. It is used many times in Scripture as in Isaiah 10:21. The third name I've pointed out already is the Father of eternity and this is used in Isaiah 63:16. Then the last title Prince of Peace does not in and of itself emphasize deity but it does when we understand the role of the Messiah in bringing peace to God and man as the God-Man. That is His role. So this verse emphasizes both the deity as well as the humanity of Christ.
So now we have two passages early on in Isaiah given within the context of national disintegration, indicating the promise of the faithfulness of God as the solution to man's problems because only God can solve man's problems. Man can't solve his problems. He can't solve them through education, through economics, through politics or any of these other things. Only God can ultimately solve the problem. The solution comes through Jesus Christ. He is the One alone because He solves the basic problem, which is sin, and so only when He comes to reign will He put an end to war.
Now that's important because if you're looking at Isaiah 2:2, there is a well-known prophecy related to the Millennial Kingdom. It reads, "Now it will come about that in the last [latter] days…" I've taught this before. I want to remind you that the term 'latter days' can apply to either the latter days of God's plan for Israel or God's plan for the Church so we have to pay attention to the context to see which latter days it is. People ask, "Are we in the last days?" Well Paul referred to his time as the latter days of the Church so we have the Church Age in and of itself always exhibits certain characteristics because we're living in the cosmic system. Then there's the latter days of the time of Israel and those latter days refer to what we also call Daniel's seventieth week, that last period that is sometimes referred to as the Tribulation.
Sometimes it refers to the last days in Israel's history which refers to the Messianic Kingdom. In this verse the latter days is referring to the Millennial Kingdom, "Now it will come about that in the last days the mountains of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains." There's going to be a massive earthquake in Jerusalem at the end of the tribulation period during the time of the battle of Armageddon and the whole temple mount area is going to become elevated and enlarged and this will be the site of the temple that is rebuilt during the Millennial Kingdom that is described in Ezekiel, chapter 40 and following.
Then we read, "And will be raised above the hills and all the nations will stream to it." This is going to be the center of God's worship in the Millennial Kingdom. "And many people will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord…" There will only be one. You're not going to have worship centers all over the world. You're going to have one in Jerusalem. "…to the house of the God of Jacob that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths. For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations and will render decisions for many people and they shall hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning forks. Nations shall not lift up sword against nation and never again will they learn war."
That is a verse related only to the Messiah and the Messianic Kingdom as the time of peace, because He's the Prince of Peace. Now that was co-opted by the United Nations back in 1945 and was chiseled into the wall over the entry way to the UN because they're making a Messianic claim. The very existence of that UN building is an act of idolatry in opposition to God because they claim to do what only God can do, that is to bring peace. They claim to be the Messiah. Now that's just totally false.
Now I want you to turn over to Micah. Micah's in that part of your Bible where the pages aren't discolored or turned because you really haven't read much there. Micah is what is known as one of the twelve because they're minor prophets. They're minor not because they're not significant; they're minor because they're small. They're short little books that you can read easily, one a night, and in the next two weeks you can read all of the minor prophets. Micah is writing at the same time as Isaiah. There are many things that are said by Micah that are also said by Isaiah. They're writing during the 8th century, roughly in the 700's just prior to the defeat of the Northern Kingdom by Assyria. In fact, they both focus on warnings about what will happen to the Northern Kingdom and also predictions of what will happen to the Southern Kingdom by the king of Babylon. These are major themes in both books. Now if you look at Micah, chapter 4, I just want to pick up a little context. We're actually going to be looking at Micah 5:2. This is our third verse from the Old Testament. "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephratah, too little to be among the clans of Judah. From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity."
Now what's the context here? The context again comes out of a section that deals with the future glories of Israel under the rule of the Messiah but also promise of future judgment. God is going to bring judgment upon Israel and they're to go through a period of deep distress. We know from history that they were taken out of the land under the fifth cycle of discipline again and that they are going to eventually be returned. Now that hasn't happened yet. I think we're seeing a partial restoration in fulfillment of Isaiah 11:11 right now.
This is the initial regathering in unbelief. There are two worldwide re-gatherings. One in unbelief and one in belief. The re-gathering that occurred in 538 B.C. in the Old Testament period was partial. There were still more Jews living outside the land of Israel during the time of Jesus than in the land. It wasn't a full restoration. Most of them just returned from a few countries. So there has never been a worldwide gathering. Isaiah 11:11 says there will be two. It indicates a second time and the second time is when they are in regeneration. So the first time is not going to be in regeneration. That's the implication.
The first time is not specifically mentioned. It just says, "I will re-gather you a second time." Well, when's the first time? I believe the only time in history that marks that is right now when we're very close. About 48 or 49% of Jews in the world now live in the state of Israel. It won't be long now before over 50% live in the modern state of Israel. That's not a sign of the time but it is an indication that this is massive, a first of its kind since 722 B.C. when God has restored a vast number, almost half of the Jews in the world to the historical land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
So let's look at Micah 4 to get the context. "Now it will come about in the last days [latter days]…" What latter days? Latter days of Israel. This would be related to either the tribulation period or the Millennial Messianic kingdom. "It will come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established in the chief of the mountains." Have you read that somewhere before? Isn't that amazing? Micah must have been reading Isaiah or they got it from the same person. "It will be raised above the hills and the people [Gentiles] will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, "Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord and to the house of the God of Jacob that He may teach us His ways and that we may walk in His path. For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." This is taken right out of Isaiah, chapter 2.
Whenever God repeats himself two or three times, you better pay attention because it's really important. Then verse 3 says, "And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations. They shall hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations will not lift up sword against nation and never again will they train for war." It's just the same statement that's made in Isaiah 2. The Messiah brings that about. So that's our hope for the future world.
Verses 4 and 5 continue to emphasize that. How long does it last? "As for us we will walk in the name of the Lord, our God forever and ever." I want you to pay attention to that clause because it's the same verbiage we're going to find later on. Forever and ever means never ending. Sometimes olam can just mean for a long time but when you have words compounded here in the Hebrew that means eternity. Verse 6 says, "In that day, declares the Lord, I will assemble the lame and gather the outcasts. Even those whom I have afflicted. I will make the lame a remnant and the outcasts a strong nation and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on and forever and you, tower of the flock, hill of the daughter of Zion, to you it will come from the former dominion and will come the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem." All of this reaffirming that God is indeed going to fulfill the promises to the house of David to re-establish the house of Israel so no matter how dark things get, no matter how distressing things get, God is still in control and He's going to bring about His plan.
Now that doesn't mean we don't go through some hard times. That doesn't mean we don't go through a lot of personal adversity. It doesn't mean we may not go under divine judgment as a nation. Israel certainly did. Now verse 9, "Now why do you cry out loudly? Is there no king among you?" They lacked a real leader; he was apostate, "Agony has gripped you like a woman in childbirth." Israel's pain and distress is being compared to that of a woman in labor. In verse 11 God says, "Writhe and labor to give birth, daughter of Zion, like a woman in childbirth. For now you will go out of the city, dwell in the field, and go to Babylon." So this is a prophecy that God's going to take you through all this distress and pain and misery and sorrow. You're going to be taken out of the land and removed to Babylon in captivity. This is the story of Daniel and his three friends taken out of the land. "There you will be delivered. There the Lord will redeem you from the land of your enemies." This was his promise that they would ultimately be restored from the hands of their enemies. Verse 11, "And now many nations have been assembled against you who say let her be defiled and let our eyes gloat over Zion but they do not know the thoughts of the Lord." So there are going to be many nations that are hostile to Israel. We're shifting here to a future forecast. See we've gone from future Millennial, then back to the present that they're going to be taken out in judgment, then back to the future. So that's where we go with the rest of chapter 4.
Then we come to chapter 5 which talks about that judgment. "Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of troops because God has brought siege against us, with a rod they will smite the judge of Israel on the cheek." Now so far we've talked about Jerusalem and the daughter of Zion which is another way of talking about Jerusalem and the Israelites and now we're going to shift to another city in verse 2: "But as for you, Bethlehem, Ephratah…" Now Bethlehem was a small town meaning the house of bread. The etymology of Ephratah indicate that which is full but many people believe that it's also an older name, a Canaanite name for Bethlehem. By using both names it makes it very clear where we're talking about and it's located just a few short miles south of Jerusalem. "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephratah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth from Me to be ruler in Israel."
There's a contrast between the word here that is used for "ruler" and the word "judge" in verse 1. This term is mashal. It is emphasizing that it is a shift in terms of the person. This is referring to the Messiah. It says, "His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity [everlasting]." Now in the Hebrew these are two idioms joined together "from of old and from everlasting" it really refers to eternity past. That tells us right here that this one who is going to come forth from Bethlehem who is born in Bethlehem is also one who has come from eternity. The two lines of the humanity and the deity of the Messiah come together in this particular verse. He's not only born in Bethlehem, just like the child is born, but He's also eternal. He's the Eternal Son of God. His goings forth are from everlasting.
So the three Old Testament passages that you should control in order to say "okay I can show you that the concept of the deity of Christ is not something just cooked up by Paul in the New Testament. It's in Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:6, and Micah 5:2." If you're taking notes in your Bible you can write in the margin two of those references by each of those verses so anytime you go to Isaiah 7:15 right there in your margin it says Isaiah 9:6 and Micah 5:2 and so on. Then if you happen to have your Bible with you, you can find those verses. Hopefully you'll learn them and if you get a chance to talk to someone it will be out of your soul and you'll be able to share the gospel.
Here's one other passage from the Old Testament not as central as those other three but just another one to re-emphasize the deity of the Messiah. In Jeremiah 23:5 and 6, "Behold the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David's righteous branch and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved and Israel will dwell securely. And this is His name by which He will be called, The Lord our righteousness." So he's raised up from David but he is called Yahweh, our righteousness. In other words how do you explain that a descendant of David is called by a personal name of God? This indicates He is full deity and is to be identified with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jesus Christ isn't just a man. The New Testament is not unique in claiming that the Messiah of Israel would be fully God and that is why we can rely upon our salvation and we can understand eternal security.