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                    "STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

            Micah - Judgment Now, Blessings Later (3:1-5:15)


1. In our previous lesson on the book of Micah...
   a. We briefly considered some background material
      1) Concerning Micah, the man
         a) His name means "Who is like Jehovah?"
         b) He was from Moresheth-Gath, 20-25 miles SW of Jerusalem
         c) A contemporary of Isaiah
         d) A prophet of the poor and downtrodden
      2) Concerning Micah, the book
         a) The prophecies occurred around 735-700 B.C.
         b) They were directed toward both Israel and Judah
         c) The general theme appears to be "Present Judgment, Future
   b. We briefly considered the first of three messages in the book
      1) Each message begins with "Hear..." - Mic 1:2; 3:1; 6:1
      2) The first message proclaimed "The Coming Judgment And Promised
         Restoration", as it described:
         a) The judgment pronounced upon Israel and Judah - Mic 1:2-16
         b) The reasons for the coming judgment - Mic 2:1-11
         c) The promise of the restoration of a remnant - Mic 2:12-13

2. In this lesson, we shall consider Micah's second message...
   a. As presented in Mic 3:1-5:15
   b. Which follows a similar theme as in the previous message:
      1) God's condemnation of Israel
      2) With a glimpse of the future hope

[This second message has much more to say about the future hope, 
especially regarding the Messiah.  But it begins with...]


      1. The outrageous conduct of the rulers - Mic 3:1-3
         a. They hate good and love evil
         b. They consume the people (i.e., oppress them)
      2. The judgment to come upon them - Mic 3:4
         a. They will cry to the Lord, but He will not hear them
         b. He will hide His face from them

      1. The judgment to come upon the false prophets - Mic 3:5-7
         a. Because they lead God's people astray
         b. They shall have no vision, they shall be made ashamed
      2. Micah's own ministry, in contrast to that of the false 
         prophets - Mic 3:8
         a. He is full of the power of the Spirit, and of justice and 
         b. He declares the transgression and sin of Israel

      1. Addressing once again the rulers of Israel, their sins are
         categorized - Mic 3:9-11
         a. They abhor justice and pervert equity (fairness)
         b. They build up Jerusalem with bloodshed and iniquity
         c. Whether judges, priests, or prophets, they do it only for
            the money, belying their claim to trust in the Lord
      2. The judgment to come upon Israel because of them - Mic 3:12
         a. Zion shall be plowed like a field
         b. Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins

[This prophecy of Micah was fulfilled when Babylon destroyed Jerusalem
in 586 B. C. (cf. 2 Chr 36:17-21). But his message is not finished; as
ominous as it was in proclaiming the coming judgment, he now continues
with a glimpse into the future...]


      1. What will happen "in the latter days"
         a. The "mountain of the Lord's house" will be established, and
            many people will want to go it - Mic 4:1-2
         b. They will want to learn of God's ways, and the word of the
            Lord will go forth from Jerusalem - Mic 4:2
         c. The Lord will judge the nations, and there will be peace 
            - Mic 4:3
         d. Everyone will be content, walking in the name of the Lord
            forever - Mic 4:4-5
         -- Isaiah had a similar prophecy - Isa 2:1-4
      2. What is the fulfillment of this prophecy?
         a. Some believe it is all yet to come (e.g., premillenialists)
         b. Some believe it is all past (e.g., some amillenialists)
         c. I am inclined to believe there are past, present, and
            future elements
            1) It began in Jerusalem with the preaching of the gospel
               on Pentecost
               a) For Peter identifies the events of that day as 
                  beginning the fulfillment of what would occur in the
                  "last days" - cf. Joel 2:28-32; Ac 2:16-17
               b) For Jesus said the gospel would go forth from 
                  Jerusalem as prophesied - Lk 24:46-47; cf. Mic 4:2;
                  Isa 2:3
            2) It continues as people respond to the gospel that 
               originated from Jerusalem
               a) Such people "have come to Mount Zion" - He 12:22-24;
                  cf. Mic 4:2
               b) They learn the ways of the Lord - Ep 4:20-24; cf. 
                  Mic 4:2
            3) The "judging among many people" may be both present and
               a) The book of Revelation reveals the Lord as judging 
                  both in the present and in the future - cf. Re 1:5;
                  2:26-27; 17:14; 20:11-15
               b) Peter viewed some of Isaiah's prophecies as yet to be
                  fulfilled - 2 Pe 3:13; cf. Isa 65:17-19; 66:22
               c) Therefore Mic 4:3-5 may find some of its fulfillment
                  in the eternal destiny of the redeemed, as part of 
                  the "New Jerusalem" of the "new heaven and new earth"
                  described in Re 21-22
      3. As Micah continues, he describes what will occur "in that day"
         - Mic 4:6-8
         a. The Lord will assemble a remnant of those whom He afflicted
            - cf. Ro 11:5
         b. He will reign over them forever - cf. Lk 1:30-33
         -- I understand that the fulfillment of this prophecy began 
            with the first coming of Christ, and that the church is a
            spiritual kingdom in which the "former dominion" of Israel
            has been restored and given to Jesus who reigns from heaven
            - cf. Mt 28:18; Ac 1:6-8; 2:30-36; Re 1:5; 2:26-27; 3:21

      1. The "Now" of Mic 4:9 suggests that Micah has returned from his
         glimpse of the future hope to what will occur in the immediate
      2. Their judgment will involve distress like a woman in labor, as
         they will be delivered to Babylon, from which they will also 
         be redeemed - Mic 4:9-10
      3. Even "now", many nations (e.g., Assyria) have come up against
         them - Mic 4:11-5:1
         a. Who seek to defile Zion, whom God will use to break them
           into many pieces
         b. Yet the daughter of Zion (Israel) shall be humbled also 
            - cf. Mic 5:1

      1. Here we find the prophecy of the Messiah's birthplace - Mic
         5:2; cf. Mt 2:1-6
         a. The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem Ephrathah
         b. He would become the ruler of Israel - cf. Isa 9:6-7; Lk 
         c. His "goings forth have been from old, from everlasting" 
            - cf. Jn 1:1-3
      2. The Messiah will lead His people in peace - Mic 5:3-5a
         a. Though first they must be given up for a short time 
            (Babylonian captivity)
         b. Then a remnant shall return, whom the Ruler shall feed in
            the strength of the Lord
      1. Some take this section to be Messianic
      2. I tend to take it as pertaining to Micah's day and those that
         followed shortly after...
         a. The Assyrian threat would prove to be no real threat (for 
            Judah - Mic 5:5b-6; cf. Isa 36-37
         b. When the remnant is dispersed (as a result of Babylonian
            captivity), they shall be a lion among flocks of sheep 
            - Mic 5:7-9 (e.g., Daniel, Esther?)
         c. God would cut off her false strengths (such as horses and
            chariots, cf. Isa 31:1) and her idolatry - Mic 5:10-15


1. With the recurrent theme in his messages ("Present Judgment, Future
   Blessings"), Micah's purpose appears to be two-fold...
   a. To warn the people, that they may repent as necessary
   b. To encourage the people, that their hope for the future might 
      help them to endure the hard times to come

2. A similar two-fold message is found in the New Testament as well...
   a. Warnings to persevere, lest we fall away - e.g., He 4:1,11
   b. Promises to encourage us for whatever lies ahead - e.g., 2 Pe 3:

3. Today, we have an advantage over the Israelites of Micah's day...
   a. We have already seen much of his prophecy fulfilled with the 
      first coming of the Messiah
   b. As Peter wrote, "we also have the prophetic word made more sure"
      - 2 Pe 1:19
   c. Made more sure by virtue of its fulfillment, it can serve to 
      comfort us and strengthen our hope regarding any future promise 
      of God - cf. Ro 15:4
   -- If God kept His promise concerning the first coming of His 
      Messiah, we can have confidence He will keep His promise 
      concerning His return!

Perhaps that is why Peter went on to say concerning "the prophetic 
word" (e.g., The Minor Prophets)...

   "which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place,
   until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts"
                                                      (2 Pe 1:19)

By careful study and consideration of the prophets, both in the Old
Testament and New Testament, our hope for the future is strengthened!
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