By Dr. Harry Bultema
“They shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from Everlasting.” (Micah 5:1b-2)
Micah was a remarkable man of God and we find three of his prophecies quoted by the elders of Jeremiah’s day (Jer. 26:18) and later by the scribes at the time of Christ’s birth (Mt. 10:35). In comparing Christ’s words at the time He sent forth His Disciples (Mt. 10:35) with Micah 7:6, we find a striking similarity, if not a quotation.
The Prophet’s chief predictions concerned the overthrow of Israel, Samaria, Jerusalem and its temple, the deportation into Babylon, Christ’s birth in Bethlehem, and His coming again and future rule. With his great eloquence, he touched off a mighty reform in Israel, especially in Jerusalem, under the godly Hezekiah. Higher critics often refer to the Prophets as men on the borderland with lunatic fringes as the “holy rollers” of their day, but they were always sent from God.
Picture, if you will, this unpolished countryman with his shabby Prophet’s mantle, wild hair, dusty sandals, flowing beard, striding through the fashionable quarters of Jerusalem’s palaces, shockingly threatening his staff against her embattled walls and marble buildings and crying: “Zion for your sake shall be plowed like a field and Jerusalem shall become heaps.“ The Prophet was taken into custody and brought before the King for the death sentence, but the King believed his words and 180 years afterward, the godly elders of Jeremiah’s day defended that Prophet by quoting the words and experience of Micah. This is the only case where we find that one Old Testament Prophet is quoted by another. Micah spoke eloquently 130 years after his death.
Were Micah’s prophecies fulfilled? Yes, indeed! Consider his prediction concerning Samaria. He said that this proud city was to become as a heap of the field. On the main highway between Jerusalem and Tiberius, you can see the former proud city of ivory palaces to be but a pile of ruins. On the location of the city, you see flourishing vines. “I will pour down the stones thereof in the valley” continued his prediction and today the traveler sees the hewn stones scattered about. “And I will discover the foundations thereof,” and surely enough, today the foundations stones are visible.
What about his predictions concerning Jerusalem? These were not fulfilled by Titus in 70 AD but by Caesar Hadrian 130 years after him. The false Messiah Bar Cochbah was slain with all his followers and at that time, Micah’s prophecy predicted 700 years before Christ was fulfilled to the very letter. God’s Word is true!
Now, The Crib, the Cross and the Crown. Bethlehem stands for the CRIB. This humble little place, six miles south of Jerusalem, was to have the honor to bring forth the Savior, the predicted Seed of a woman, of Abraham, of Judah, of David, and the Seed of Mary. In the history of the church, either the Godhead or humanity of Christ were overemphasized. In our day the humanity of Christ is universally believed but in many sources His deity is practically denied. Regardless of man and his puny mind, the infallible Word of God sets forth both His humanity and Deity. So many of the religionists of our day claim that Christ was Divine only as we are divine, that is, they ascribe to Him, the divinity of human nature. Listen again to what Micah said of Him, “Whose goings forth have been from everlasting.” Could this have been said of a mere human? No! The Babe born in Bethlehem was also the LORD of Glory and the Creator of all things. He was in the bosom of the Father, but of old, He went forth to Adam and Eve in the garden; it was He that went after them, that clothed them, cursed them with a five-fold curse, promised the Redeemer, pled with Cain, walked with Enoch and Noah, talked with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses. The Lord of Glory humbled himself and was born in this little “brick town” of Bethlehem in order to seek and to save that which was lost. Do not merely sentimentalize about this Babe, but see in Him the Lord of Glory and kneel before Him as your Lord and Redeemer.