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CHAPTER 8

 

THE TRINITY MOUNT
WHOSE HEAD MOVES PAST SPACE TO HIS FACE

 

Movement

from God to man

 

THE AWESOME WONDER
OF THE ILLIMITABLE CHRIST

FREELY BINDING HIMSELF TO SAVE

Micah 5:1-3

For this cluster, we look first at Micah 5:1-3, and that in its background, then at Isaiah 48:16 and finally at Psalm 45:1ff.  and Zechariah 12:10.

 

INTRODUCTION TO THE REVELATION OF MICAH 5

At the end of Ch. 3,  Micah announces the coming doom on Jerusalem with vigour and address:

"Her heads judge for a bribe,
Her priests teach for pay,
And her prophets divine for money,
Yet they lean on the LORD, and say,
'Is not the LORD among us?
No harm shall come upon us.'
Therefore because of you
Zion shall be ploughed like a field.
Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins,
And the mountain of the temple,
Like the bare hills of the forest."

 

MICAH 4-5

Now in that delightful turning, like a ship moving in a curve towards the coast, to enter by a river, into a land, we move to the "latter days" a phrase denoting often a terminal and triumphant period, or one of drama leading to this.

"The mountain of the LORD's house shall be established on the top of the mountains."

Who is the LORD ? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the "I am" of Exodus as of John 8:58, who proclaims there is NO OTHER GOD, that He knows NO OTHER, that before the day was, "I am He", and that NO GOD SHALL BE FORMED after Him, just as there was none before. This is the one in view... the ONLY ONE (Isaiah 43:10-11, 46:5,10, 45:5ff.). HE declares the end from the beginning, and there is no likeness, no resemblance to Him to any extent whatsoever, in heaven or on earth (Psalm 89:6-7, Isaiah 40:8).

HE, the trinity (Isaiah 48:16) made heaven and earth ALONE (Isaiah 44:6,8, 24) and made man (45:5,12), the One shown in Psalm 45 as man, and yet for His throne having that of the Almighty, One fairer than the sons of men with a spiritual majesty and meekness, before whom the peoples will fall. It is He who in the  same  setting as in Psalm 72, will REDEEM the poor (Matthew 5:1-10), and as to redemption and salvation, there is but ONE who has this right, realm and ability, it is the Lord (Isaiah 43:10-11, 48:16-17, 44-46, 49:7,28, Psalm 49:7,15).

ANY other God is an idol (Psalm 96) not having the benefit of existence. In fact, one of His charges against Israel from the first, is the trend towards to worshipping that which IS NOT (Deuteronomy 32:15-18, 21), turning to NOT-GOD.

Hence came the litany of disasters of Deuteronomy 32.

Meanwhile, nothing changes this:
 

Hosea also makes it most clear that THOUGH there is to be a penalty of the most profound type for the infidelity of Israel to God, like a woman who is an adulteresss, yes a harlot, yet He will ransom her and bring her back, and those very people whom He divorced, as NOT HIS WIFE shall become the children of the living God (Hosea 1:9-10,3). In fact, there was even more depth in Hosea, God Himself showing in Ch. 13:14 that HE would HIMSELF pay what it took to redeem from death, and by the teaching of the prophet's wife, this was confirmed in the requirement that when she abased herself as a harlot again, she had to be actually redeemed! (Hosea 3).

Such is the story of Israel, and such the result, when she is brought back in terms of a geographically restored nation, later largely to seek and to find the Lord, that very Messiah she so lightly regarded, as in Zechariah 12 also.

This restoration was to be after long spreading years, and to issue in the very arrival of the Messiah as King. (Hosea 3:5), and THIS TIME they should receive Him in the fear of the Lord, (3:5) so bringing this long schedule to completion as in Romans 11 explicitly. Long was the discipline, and that has in the exile period been fulfilled; and long has been their rebellion of spirit, and the end of this has yet to be fulfilled, though in this century the extraordinary and of necessity UNIQUE preliminaries are fully fulfilled.

These range:

While it is NOT for any merit of theirs that this wonderful divine faithfulness is shown to them
(Ezekiel 36:22-24), yet the God of all grace and faithfulness has also provided, that


Indeed, "Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass,
When the LORD has not commanded it!" - Lamentations 3:37.

In fact, the simple case is this: "The counsel of the LORD, that shall stand!" (Proverbs 19:21).

Moreover, "The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
The plans of His heart to all generations" - Psalm 33:11.

Ours happens to be a particularly pregnant one, in which we are seeing precisely this.

Politics cannot out-counsel Him; armies are like lice before Him. When others seek to add their ire to His discipline, and bully the nation whom He teaches, then the sheer effrontery brings results (cf. Ezekiel 38:11-19, Zechariah 1:15, Jeremiah 50:15, 29ff., , 51:11, 49, Obadiah 13-17*1).

Thus, then, is "the mountain of the Lord's house" to be "established on the top of the mountains", so that they say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD" - Micah 4:2.

Thus the same, distinctive, singular, and ONLY GOD whom they worshipped in contradistinction to all gods and pretenders, would be their God, and in HIM are they to walk, in the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31), so that the former things are seen in fulfilment (Jeremiah 3:16). No synthesis, no accretion of gods is in view: the ONLY TRUE GOD whom they rejected, whose Messiah they slew, THIS GOD will be theirs again, and they His people. This same God of the Old Testament shown more fully in Christ (Isaiah 9, as predicted also in Deuteronomy 18), it is He who is to be their God, when that great moment comes, just as He by grace alone has first restored them to their land, "apportioned" as God says, from of old.

In that day, we find, as in Isaiah 2, there is to be a renewal and the grand opera of Jew in, Jew out, Gentile in, many Gentiles out like the Jews in apostasy, Jew back, one God, one Christ, Himself returned, as in Zechariah 14, to Jerusalem, will be complete. This then is the word of God, and none is there who can later either a) what He says or b) what He does, has done and is almost complete in fulfilling to the last part, even now in 2001!

In fact, in Zechariah 12:10, we see the prediction of the vastly triumphant wars against surpassing 'odds' in which God Himself protects and projects His power into Israel, a thing fulfilled in no small measure in the staggering wars of victory for Israel of 1948, 1967, 1973 as detailed in SMR Ch. 9. What FOLLOWS those wars in the prophecy of Zechariah in 12:10 is simply this. Israel in large numbers by the power of the Holy Spirit, convicting them of sin, leading their hearts to seek the Lord in profound supplication, because of His grace, now are moved to "look upon Me, whom they pierced." The LORD being the speaker, this means that the crucifixion of the Messiah foretold in Psalm 22 (cf. Joyful Jottings 22-25), following the incarnation predicted from Genesis 3:15 to Psalm 40 to Isaiah 40 and surrounds, at last is seen as wickedness. In fact they realise that it was the LORD Himself who in pity came to save, whom they crucified.

Accordingly, we see in Micah 5, after these preliminaries, and in this total texture and context of the prophets, this very thing, this time, in its BEGINNING, when the babe of Isaiah 9:1-7 and Isaiah 7, is born. It is shown where He is to be born. It is shown WHO precisely is to be born. This is shown of the God who HIMSELF is to be the ransom from sin and the end of death for His people (Hosea 13:14).

Let us look at this text.

 

"Now gather yourself in troops,

O daughter of troops;

He has laid siege against us;

They will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek.

 

"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,

Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,

Yet out of you shall come forth to Me

The One to be Ruler in Israel,

Whose goings forth are from of old,

From everlasting.

 

"Therefore He shall give them up,

Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth;

Then the remnant of His brethren

Shall return to the children of Israel.

And He shall stand and feed His flock

In the strength of the Lord,

In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God;

And they shall abide,

For now He shall be great

                          To the ends of the earth,

                          And this One shall be peace."

In Ch. 5 of Micah, we therefore come to the "active ingredient", to Him who makes the difference, to the ransom price Himself, to the Messiah to be rejected, as in Isaiah 49:7, Psalm 2, 22 (see Joyful Jottings for these Psalms in detail). The amazing execution of Isaiah 52-53 (see Ch. 5 above, for Isaiah 9) is now seen in its official setting. The JUDGE OF ISRAEL, a post of high honour, and this vaulted to the skies by its being THE judge, HE is to be stricken on the cheek - it is this that Micah 5:1 reveals. Who could consider such a breach, overturning of all order, disrepute of all authority!  Yes, with a rod He will be smitten: not merely will it be rough, but there will be a contrary authority which will presume to pressure and smite Him! That of course is precisely what happened with the murderous rebellion of the priests (John 11:48ff.).

Is He then to be human ? But of course; for how else would you have opportunity to smite His cheek. Born ? How else, if human! Where ? In Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Small though the town was, yet it was in this one that He would be placed at birth. No external splendour would be His (cf. Isaiah 53:2). What a thought! He would come to earth as a MAN and be located in this small town for birth, the "root out of a dry ground" as Isaiah put it of His young years. SO it was to be, so it was.

It is then He ? But of course, it is clear in Psalm 45, in Isaiah 48:16, in Zechariah 12:10, in
Ezekiel 34. What does Micah declare of Him:

it is He

SINCE THIS is the treatment accorded Him (as in Isaiah 52-53, Psalm 2,22), to Him born to be smitten with a Jewish rod upon the cheek, then there is a result.

"THEREFORE", says Micah 5:3, "He shall given them up,

Until the time that she who is in labour has given birth:
Then the remnant of His brethren shall return to the children of Israel,
And He shall stand and feed His flock
In the strength of the LORD,
In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God,
And they shall abide,
For now He shall be great
To the ends of the earth:
And this ONE shall be peace" - from Micah 5:3-4.

This then is the next phase to come, a compelling coda to the operatic highlights of which we have, as just exhibited, seen so many since one's own birth, in 1928.

For centuries Israel has been "given up" and how she has suffered (His Time is Near Ch.   4, Israel - Israel Blows the Trumpet Ch.  1).

It is to be "until the time that she who is in labour has given birth." Having rejected by smiting Him with a rod on the cheek as noted, they await the grace of the Lord as detailed in Zechariah 12:10, for their salvation. In the interim they are brought back as a flock. The One who is "the peace" has been available for so long! and this One, as in Isaiah 42:6, 49:6 is now great "to the ends of the earth" and as such is the peace. However many nations have yet much to learn, as we see in due course in the celestial dramas of Micah 7:15ff.. This finale however is not our present topic (cf. Galloping Events Ch 1 as marked, where it is).

The dramas exposed in the 20th. century, in full context of all these prophecies since the time of the return to nationhood of Israel (as in Isaiah 49:20, 66:8), have been as sensational as anything since the time of Christ on earth. The storm clouds are gathering, now already outlined in gold from the sun behind, for the Sun of Righteousness is about to return (Malachi 4:2, cf. 3:1-2, 4:3), and sharp shall be His righteous judgments on those not covered by the blood of the Lamb, whose word of old, and from His own lips has outlined the return of the Jews to Jerusalem, and of Himself to the earth.

It is soon, it is NEXT, following the outrageous attacks on Israel, as appear to related  to Zechariah 12, in Ezekiel 38-39, which are themselves scheduled for soon after the return of that nation to its PLACE as determined and predicted in Deuteronomy and Jeremiah, together with Ezekiel and Isaiah (cf. SMR Ch. 9).

How strange! When, as in Zechariah 14, the LORD personally comes in the format of a descendant of David, as long promised (Isaiah 11), then His will be not only Israel, that place found fitting for His earlier crucifixion, but all the earth, and what He has said, goes! NO RACE, NO PERSON will be exalted in that day, but the LORD only; and one of the ways in which HE will be exalted is this, that Israel will be back AS HE SAID, having already found the place rather too small (as in Isaiah 49:20-21), yes even she who had felt forgotten by the Lord (Isaiah 49:14), as someone who ONCE knew Him, but now felt neglected.

NO! says the Lord, it is not so. You are NOT forgotten by Me (cf. Isaiah 44:21).

It is THIS ISRAEL, who shall be as a people BORN IN A DAY, in an unheard of manner (Isaiah 66:8-9). It is here that the ancient text of Deuteronomy 32:43 comes again to light, Rejoice you nations with His people!, in Isaiah's phrasing:

"Rejoice with Jerusalem,
And be glad with her, all you who love her.
Rejoice with joy with her,, all you who mourn for her..." (Isaiah 66:10),

in manifest reference to that word of Moses, concerning the end of the long saga of spiritual pilgrimage of the people of Abraham, his people, whom he himself had led.

It is then that "the hand of the LORD shall be known to His servants,
And His indignation to His enemies.
For behold, the LORD will come with fire
And with His chariots,
like a whirlwind,
To render His anger with fury,
And His rebuke with flames of fire.
For by fire and by His sword
The LORD will judge all flesh,
And the slain of the LORD shall be many."

These martial and destructive events are of course the opposite of the spiritual history of the Christian Church, and represent those terminal activities as noted in Revelation 19, when the LORD overthrows, as also in Micah 7, Malachi 3-4, Isaiah 66, with power, expressly  as in the days of the Exodus from Egypt, says Micah, the incorrigibly unbelieving, power-grasping Gentile world powers which He is to demolish. And what does He overthrow ? Which nations will figure ? Which races will be foremost in this affront to God ? Certainly when they have for a purpose, to make WAR on the LORD (as in Revelation 19:19), in their hostile world power groupings, the JEWISH FINAL SOLUTION of this world,  will be overthrown as one of the obvious power plays where an unbelieving heart could express its antagonism to God. With it goes every other grasping objective, projection of ancient Babel, propaganda of sin and Satan.

As we have seen, GOD IS NOT IMPRESSED when people, peoples try to ADD to His divinely construed DISCIPLINES, and act the hyena against those whom HE has distressed (cf. Isaiah 51:20-23, Jeremiah 51:36ff., Micah 4:11-13). It is a sorry business, to war against one's Maker, and those who wish to engage in it should take care, for there is no other destiny than His, no other redemption than His; and if where Jew and Gentile alike crucified Christ, some want land rights, it is just a trifle ridiculous. GOD will choose, has chosen (Zechariah 14:5) where He will come when, not this time to be crucified, but to be King, He arrives. He also choose where Israel would be (Genesis 17:7-8, cf. Galloping Events Ch. 4).
 

It is in this last days context, following, then, the rejection of the Messiah noted in Micah 5:1-3, after the abuse of the LORD in human form, that we see as in Ezekiel 36-37, the restoration geographically of the Jewish People, the children of Abraham, those whom we saw to the offspring of David, and of the Kings of Israel, the seed chosen, so readily discerned by their oppressors for so many centuries in Europe and in Russia.

As in Zechariah 12, we see wars triumphantly prosecuted, by Jews for so long under discipline; and this we find in terms of the divine faithfulness to HIS WORD, and NOT AT ALL in congratulation to the Jews for their NATIONAL DISGRACE of His crucifixion (Ezekiel 36:22ff.). Indeed all this is EXPLICITLY CONTRARY TO DEMERIT, far from merit, a work of divine grace, of promise keeping fidelity. Thus here we see the hand of the Lord protecting His now returned people. This is what was to be; this is what is.

This situation is, as noted, AFTER the crucifixion of Christ, when, having given them up, "Until the time that she who is in labour has given birth" (Micah 5:3, precisely as in Isaiah 66:8ff.), they are now restored. It is as in Zechariah 12,  BEFORE their conversion (12:10), but DURING His protective mandate that these transforming overturnings and divinely ordered power displays occur.

 

FURTHER GAZING ON THE REVELATION OF MICAH 5:1-4

By now, we have covered much of the content of this peak, and seen something of its magnitude among the vast series of splendid mounts, as in the Canadian Rockies when you entrain to Banff, and find not dozens or scores, but hundreds of blissfully majestic soaring peaks and glorious folds moving upwards above the serene streams. We should however return for a last look at the first part of it. .

"Now gather yourself in troops,

O daughter of troops;

He has laid siege against us;

They will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek."

 

Having shown at the end of Micah 4, the victorious glories to come to a vindicated Israel, one however to have its own duress and vast disciplines, God shows in Micah 5 that this nation, so often involved in war, is to be in a state of warlike contest with the Almighty Himself. It is as if they cannot cease, and must even attack their Host and Chief, even when, O most blessed case, that is the Lord who made them!*1

Their sins are like an army within against which the Lord lays siege. He does it with a babe!

These glorious disproportions of course show the METHOD of the Lord, which when it comes to the things of the spirit of man does not use force. The siege is one of truth, by One who IS the truth; but they shake it off, this blessed captivity by truth, and smite the Judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek, which of course, like the piercing of His hands and feet, is precisely fulfilled (cf. Psalm 22, Matthew 27:27-35). We now proceed with Micah 5. It tells us His birth-place in terms of the divine commitment to the space-time universe, focussed in meaning in earth, the rest of the universe in proportion fitting for the Majesty of the Lord, like the vast properties of the homestead in a sheep-station.

In accord with the Lord's method, as also seen in Isaiah 53:2, where the Messiah is to come like a root out of a dry ground, rather than in overpowering magnificence, since anyone can put that on given a bit of money and co-operation by the ungodly, it is little Bethlehem which is the chosen site for the incarnation of the living God.

 

"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,

Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,

Yet out of you shall come forth to Me

The One to be Ruler in Israel,

Whose goings forth are from of old,

From everlasting."

 

Here in its littleness, it is the recipient of the Lord in His greatness, the everlasting God of all creation. It is as in Isaiah 44-46, where the prophet is moved to make the point of the deity Himself in action in creation, in manifestation, in consummation, the ONLY one,  many times and in different ways.

In view however of their first noted cruel and boisterous rejection of the Lord, they are then to suffer a rejection. "He shall give them up." This is better than instant death, or than omnipotent outrage. After all, God not only foresaw and STATED all of this, but planned it so that the One whom they fiercely mistreated, their Judge, would in this way, BY their very follies, BECOME what He was to be to save them, a sacrifice beyond all (Isaiah 49-55, 66), and to do so freely, without fee. That, it is grace, to USE the follies to MAKE the freedom which provides salvation!

That, it is just like the Lord. It is good to know Him, as Nahum points out, for "the Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked ... the Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who trust in Him.".

It is a vast testimony to the Lord's patience and faithfulness, that He does not give them up then and there for ever.

He gives them up until the time when she who is in labour has given birth.

There is an appointed time, an emphasis you see much in Daniel and especially in Daniel 9:24-27*2, where the time of death is provided; and it is not till this vast time to follow is fulfilled, then that this blessed awakening of Zechariah 12:10 comes. It is all UNTIL ... the phase of discipline, of being out of their land and at last returned, the time of wars and encores, it goes on UNTIL ... There is that eventual return to their land and the rebirth of the nation, and then the return to the Lord when there is a vast series of rebirths of individuals, regenerated into life in the Lord (Zechariah 12:10-13:1).

That term UNTIL appears in this context in Micah 5:3, Isaiah 32:17 and Romans 11:25, which traces the entire scope of the plan for Israel, and their blindness following smiting the Judge of Israel on the cheek, which has made so much for them of horror and helplessness before what often has been as Deuteronomy 32 predicted "a foolish nation"!

It is the same as in Isaiah 32:13-17.

"On the land of my people will come up thorns and briers,

Yes, on all the happy homes in the joyous city;

Because the palaces will be forsaken,

The bustling city will be deserted.

 

"The forts and towers will become lairs forever,

A joy of wild donkeys, a pasture of flocksó

Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high,

And the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,

And the fruitful field is counted as a forest.

 

"Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,

And righteousness remain in the fruitful field.

The work of righteousness will be peace,

                      And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.

Thus is the word through Micah fulfilled, and also that of Isaiah, when this long wait for Israel, amid even the restoration to its land, the important further delay until ... until the TIME that she is to give birth, not this time, so much later than in Micah 5:1, to the incarnate Messiah, but to her own restoration. Shall a nation be born at once! asks Isaiah 66, but so it is to be. Indeed, as just noted, it comes to the spiritual consummation, when the sons of Israel and the daughters at last come into focus as born of God (cf. Isaiah 51:17-20, Zechariah 13:1).

" Therefore He shall give them up,

Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth ..."

It is

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when the long wait is over,

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when the restoration of land is followed by the restoration spiritually to the Lord.

The spiritually significant sequence moves on. The UNTIL moves to its consummation. We wait UNTIL

the Lord gathers and later

He COMES with ALL His saints (as in Zechariah 14:5, Philippians 3:13), following that earlier division into two of Jerusalem when the UN and the nations were all to willing for her to be overcome, and nations surrounding sought her overthrow and sending into the sea (as predicted in Zechariah 14:1-2).

It is when the triumphant wars in a setting of continuing suffering (as in Zechariah 14:1-4),

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are all past:

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that this word of Micah and at last that of Isaiah happens.

It is when the Lord has raised those who were buried in the dust (as in Isaiah 26:19), and when the millenium*3   is in force: it is then that the time of Revelation 20 will occur, of Isaiah 65 and Micah 4. Then many will find the power of righteousness and mercy in the earth, before finished, it is dismissed like screwed up paper (Matthew 23:37, Isaiah 51:6, II Peter 3), and a new heaven and a new earth proceed with those who love the Lord.

The One who first created the universe and man has no difficulty in healing, resurrecting, or for that matter, constructing realms that make this one of test, the prelude to the majesty of power and the wonder of works for His own children, not only in body, but in mind and in spirit.

Test concluded.

But the massif of the test ? It was the testing of the Lord who, Himself, made all the difference, by incarnation and rejection, by discipline and delight, by tender mercies and demonstration, by sin bearing and resurrection moving to His programs to the end, when those who are His being known and shown, past the appearances of this soiled earth (cf. Matthew 23, Jeremiah 5:30-31), find the spiritual consummation. It is then that the everlasting joys (Isaiah 51:11) of eternity continue in those who not having preferred darkness, do not find it, but find instead, through one born in Bethlehem, the little has led to the great, and the afflicted has brought to them deliverance forever (Revelation 21-22).

 

NOTES

 

*1

It is in terms of the biblical indictment of the human race, this is not so surprising, as you see in Revelation 19:19 that the powers of this world turn SPECIFICALLY against the Lord, in no mean temper, and with prodigious folly. The results to a point resemble the expected efforts of a first year high school student, playing a tennis match with Federer at this time! At a spiritual level, the same almost unimaginable folly, but one which the eyes enable one to see often enough and that with increasing erratic audacity, is seen from the false prophets of Micah 5:1-3. These too, the Lord declares, make war with Him... Like priest, like people, like false prophet, like the those who follow. Such was the word in Jeremiah 5:30-31. What will you do in the end of it ? Jeremiah asks. There is no remedy for rebellion but repentance.

*2

In fact, he went so far as to point out the date at which this far-seeing, foreseeing and predestinatively planning Lord of creation would effect His death in transit to the glory (Daniel 9:24-27, cf. Daniel 7:13-14,25), everlasting like Himself who gives eternal life (I John 1:1-4, 5:11-12). See Highway of Holiness Ch. 4.

 

*3

SMR pp. 506ff., Galloping Events Ch.  8 esp. *2, Sparkling Life in Jesus Christ Ch.   10.