Saturday, March 26, 2011

Micah 4

Another end times reference to Babylon is found in Micah 4. This chapter is all about the last days and Israel. In previous postings, some of the Scriptures had led to the supposition that at least some of the American people are going to rescue the Israeli people after the abomination of desolation. This would seem to be in defiance of the leader of the country who, if interpretation is correct, has just sided against her (Ezekiel 21) and is the cause of the temple being desecrated. This chapter states that people will go out of Israel to Babylon to be delivered. Then the Lord will redeem them from there. The chronology of this chapter is strange in that it seems to work backward from the millennium to the time when Israel has to flee the land.

Verse 1- 2 “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. 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.”

This passage is speaking of that time after the wrath of God has passed in the last days. The mountain of the Lord will be raised higher than the other mountains. Isaiah 2:2 “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.” These verses are saying almost exactly the same thing. The Lord's house (temple) will be established in the highest mountain and people will be coming to it to learn the ways of the Lord. This is obviously speaking of the millennium when the Lord reigns and people come to Jerusalem to learn His ways. The law (notice it is the LAW, not just the message of grace) will go forth out of Jerusalem from the Lord.

Verse 3-5 “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. 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. 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.”

Yeshua will be the judge during that day. He will exercise judgment daily. Jeremiah 23:5 “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.” Isaiah 11:4 “But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.” He will judge nations near and far. All of the weapons will be needed no longer as there will be no more war. So they will turn their weapons into farming implements. Every man will be raising his own food, and everyone will dwell in the security that they are safe, for God has promised this. The next verse seems to be a contradiction to all the verses about the millennium, which say that everyone will worship the Lord. It really is not. Rather, in Hebrew this phrase is grammatically a comparison. It is more of a now vs. then type of statement. Now everyone will walk in the name of their gods, but then “we,” the people of the millennium, will walk in the name of the Lord God.

Verse 6-8 “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; 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. 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.”

Now we see how the passages are working backward. God is here referring to when He will gather Israel back from the lands from where she was driven in affliction during the tribulation. He will make her remnant into a strong nation, one in which the Lord will reign over them from Mount Zion forever. The phrase "tower of the flock" can have several meanings. The more literal ones can refer to the Migdal Eder or Tower of Ader which was near Bethlehem. This was where the shepherds saw the angels announcing the birth of the Savior. Some scholars see this as a prophecy of the Messiah. Another interpretation sees this as the stronghold or “Ophel,” a fortified area touching on the eastern porch of the temple. It is the eastern gate through which it is said the Messiah will return. Spiritually, no matter to which it refers literally, it is referring to Yeshua, who is the tower or stronghold of the flock, or believers. The first dominion or kingdom shall finally come to both the Messiah and Israel. The kingdom which has been promised to them for several millennia.

Verse 9-10 - “Now why doest thou cry out aloud? Is there no king in thee? Is thy counsellor perished? For pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail. 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.”

Now the chapter moves backward again in time to the tribulation. Israel is crying out as she is overrun, killed, and scattered yet once again. God asks where is the king (government) in whom she trusted? Where are the councilors, who adviced peace agreements with her neighbors? Have they perished? As is the reference point for this kind of tribulation, God compares it to a woman in labor giving birth. Instead of just calling Israel, Zion, she is again referred to as the “daughter of Zion.” Just as the phrase “daughter of Babylon” refers to the future Babylon who is the offspring of the original, so the “daughter” of Zion is present day Israel, which is an offspring of the ancient nation. She is laboring to bring forth the nation that God wants her to be. A nation under Him. She will go forth out of the city (actually the entire country) when the abomination of desolation occurs, after having been brought back as a nation in 1948. She will dwell in the fields and wilderness wherever she runs, places such as Edom, Moab, and Ammon. She will also go forth to Babylon. Now as we have seen that this chapter is definitely about the last days, we know that she will be taken to modern Babylon, which again, we surmise is America given the descriptions throughout Scripture. There she will be delivered from the hand of the beast. Now we know for certain that this is not speaking of the original Babylonian captivity, for she was not sent to Babylon at that time to be delivered from the oppressor (that Babylon was her oppressor), but to be punished for her sins. Here we are told she is being delivered by going to Babylon. There she will be redeemed from the hand of her enemies. In other words, brought safely away from and protected from her enemies. This clearly is not speaking of the original captivity. As her enemies completely surround her, this seems to be more evidence that Babylon is not modern day Iraq, as some think may be, but America who is an ocean away from her enemies.

Verse 11-13 “Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. 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. 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.”

Nations will be gathered against Israel. These nations are looking for the annihilation of Israel, so that they may possess Jerusalem. As we are told in Zechariah 12:3 “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” However, they do not know the Lord nor His word, or they would know that they will not win. He has said that He will gather them together in the place called Armageddon to destroy them. He has also told us in other verses, which we recently covered in another Bible passage, that Israel will plunder her neighbors. Zechariah 12:8-11 “In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.” Revelation 16:15 “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” Even the most feeble of the children of Israel will be given supernatural strength to fight against these nations. All of the plunder that Israel gains from the fight will be dedicated to the Lord.

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