AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH August 4, 11, 2013
Presbyterian Church following the Bible without Qualification
and the Lord Jesus Christ without Compromise by Faith
MOVING IN THE MIDST OF MICAH
THE PURPOSE, MESSAGE AND MERCY OF THE MESSIAH
FROM THE GERM IN GENESIS TO
THE GRANDEUR IN JEREMIAH
Looking at the spiritual sweep in Micah leads to a desire, as when passing through the Rockies on that magnificent train journey, to see yet more, to become replete with its wonder. Micah 7 finished telling us of the fulfilment of God's covenant to Abraham, which included the two components of assigned real estate as a working base in the missionary program of Israel, attesting God before all, and realisation of the grand destiny available to the human race. This was to be found in the coming seed, or member of the descendants, on the human side from Abraham (and Isaac and Jacob, to whom the confirmation of covenant came). In Him, all the nations of the earth would be blessed: on the mother's side, Jewish-based blood for divine incarnation, used to supply redemption!
Collated with Genesis 3:15, this was that same, and singularly effective seed, who would not merely crush the deceptive and cunning Satan, the adversary of God, one long fallen and ever voracious for power and pseudo-glory (as in Ezekiel 29, Revelation 12), but not getting it except for the pseudo-side of it (Luke 10:161-20, Revelation 20:2,7-10).
Why was he futile at length ? It was because he was a creation fallen, and only a pseudo-god, the "god of this world" (Romans 12:2, cf. Romans 8:38-39, II Corinthians 10-11). By contrast, it was that supernatural signature, even of God Himself, input into this fallen race and world (cf. Romans 8:18-24, Micah 5:1-3) who in crushing the inveterate and vicious power of the devil of devious vainglory, that ascending Satan (Ezekiel 28:12-17) would "bruise His heel". This He would do, crushing the head of Satan (Hebrews 2:14-16, Luke 10:18). The latter, actor that he is, appeared slithery in snake format, in this beautiful new world, awesome in wicked wisdom, though Adam was to rule, not follow, the creation. He should have known better than to listen to sedition against his Creator, proceeding from such a source.
Man has not improved, though this same Redeemer who has overcome (Hebrews 2:14), has fulfilled every part of His divine identikit, presented in advance through the prophets, step by step as it has come, and fulfilled it in spectacular manner in Jesus Christ (cf. SMR Chs. 8-9, Christ, the Wisdom of God, incl. Ch. 8, That Magnificent Messiah). Satan still parades in pomp though in essence not less than a spiritual sucker calling for underlings to follow him, who go, refusing the divine succour for the sake of the delusive and murderous embroilments of the devil. These have led to the death in simple slaughter, or torture of so many millions of persons even in the last 100 years. Thus mount stunningly the statistics for judgment, these being fed from so foul a source.
The seed of deliverance was delivered as forecast in Genesis 3:15, in its time. It has come and been preached to this world for so long (death date for the Messiah Himself being fulfilled as in Daniel 9:24-27, cf. The Christian Prescription Ch. 2). Such a waiting time did II Peter 3:9 indicate; and so it has been.
Now draws near, according to the testimony of this self-same Bible, handbook for man in the creation, the time frame (Matthew 24, Luke 21) for His return (Acts 1:7ff., 3:19ff., Matthew 24), both to select His elect from this world and then to come with them (I Thess. 3:13), to show to this world in definitive fashion, the practical righteousness of God (Psalm 72, Revelation 20, Isaiah 11).
Micah as we have been seeing, throughout the vast panorama of prophecy concerning some of these topics, has given us a wonder of preparation. Another time, DV, we shall look at Jeremiah in the element there given, for more of the merging and magnifying divine revelation, true to this day, a continual reminder of the power of God.
Let us then dig a little in Micah now.
I THE MESSIANIC PURPOSE
1) 5:2 with Isaiah 9:6-7 The birth of the Timeless into Time
2) 5:1 with Isaiah 53 The battering of the One born
3) 5:3 with Ezekiel 36-37, The banishment of the nation, the one bruising, bruised
4) 5:4 The apostolic Christian ministry and regeneration of the remnant
5) 5:5 The plight of those who have Come Back, preserved through sudden help (1948, 1967, 1973). This was supplemented by the Gulf War - a defoliation of Iraqi power, one of vast impact. The vastness of this military campaign and its significance even rates mention in this section of the many-pronged preview through Micah.
6) 5:6 The ravaging to come, of the invasive belligerents, themselves to be assailed, included Iraq
7) 5:7 Christian crusading by Israel after the devastating divine confrontation of Ezekiel 39, Micah 7. 5:8-15 This activity of Israel is at this advanced time in the Age, as part of the Christian Church, based in the one Gospel as in Isaiah 42:6, 49:6, 66:3,20-21, Ephesians 3:1-6. Then the Old Covenant is gone (Isaiah 65:13-15, Jeremiah 3:16) in its spiritual force, though unconditional promises remain cf. Jeremiah 30, 33. But the predicted New Covenant continues for them as for other Christians at that time (Romans 11:25ff.).
II THE MESSIANIC MESSAGE
8) 5:8-15 After the personal return of Christ (Isaiah 59:20, Micah 4:6-7, Matthew 24, Zechariah 14:5), to His earthly, millenial rule (cf. Ezekiel 37:5, Isaiah 11, 32, 55, Jeremiah 23:5, Psalm 2, Matthew 19:28, Luke 22:30, Revelation 20), the direct power after the God-given victory of 7) above, merges into the millenium (Revelation 20). This is here seen to involve Christ-conducted peace and disarmament, the abandonment of former militant ways.
9) 5:10,14-15 Thus comes peace with an Eliminative Spiritual Purge by purity, nations held accountable (cf. Isaiah 11:9), the earth flowing with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord (Isaiah 11:10, Psalm 72). This is expressed more fully in Micah 4:1-4,6, Isaiah 2, 65. We realise that there are many vignettes, as in a story that is told, with some anticipations and reviews.
10) 6:3-5 In Micah it is after so much of this, in the earlier chapters, that the Lord protests at their current lack of faith
11) 6:6-8 He likewise presents simple and comprehensive seeming paths of righteousness and faith. The "deeper matters of the law" are placarded (cf. Matthew 23:23), an issue Christ focussed stringently in His confrontation with formalistic religion (Matthew 23:25ff.). Thus Micah presents basic features that resound in the New Testament.
6:9-16 Moreover, the Lord outlines simple, impure connivances with sin, and the
toil in futility it engenders
III THE MESSIANIC MERCY
13) 7:1-9 Now come recapitulation of the grievously long wait of the believing remnant, partly referring to a mourning spirit of those to be comforted, when the rescue operation came. An overview of many generations is now seen coming to its climacteric clash, confrontation and glory in the faithfulness and mercies of God.
14) 7:10-14 When there will be a famous rebuilding of walls (in the last few years now, heavily focussed, with demarcation lines), then will many (as now) come from various nations, returning to Israel, as long-lost homeland. But this is preparation for international aggressors and Israel's cover..
15) 7:15-17 As seen in Micah 4:1-6, 5:7, calamity here, God's covering action, has results. It leads on to the kingdom, now the nurse of the exultant and repentant remnant of Israel, while fear becomes the fellow of the brash, the air filled with foundering of false prophets, and gall (7:17).
Direct confrontation of a hostile word (Revelation 19:1-21, esp. 19:19) with the Lord is now near for those who will not turn back, while ruin is ready for marauding invaders of the land where Christ was both crucified and resurrected. In their utter scattering lies a teaching ministry from the Lord to the nations (cf. Ezekiel 39:21-23). Meanwhile, Israel largely restored in faith and spirit now (Ezekiel 37, Zechariah 12:10-13:1), comes back nearer its earlier traditional box, of a land where God would bring teaching to the nations, through the prophets. But now (Isaiah 65:13-15), they join the Church in their adoration of the mercy of God (cf. Isaiah 66:19-20). Here is a prelude to Ephesians 3:3-6, where Gentile believers and Jewish ones flow together in one evangelical mission.
As for the spiritually inert nations, thus flirting with the lust for power and earth-control with vapid idols their strength, a mere imitation with brutality its name, there is utter humiliation as their payment. They receive more than they gave, for the gift was long, the cruelty insufferable; but their exclusion is eeternal.
16) 7:18-19 Now is mercy prized, compassion valued, the Lord's character of kindness delighted in, just as HE delights in mercy. This reminds us always to look, turn to the Citadel, as they had been urged (Zechariah 9:6). Alas, just as those needlessly weak, when strength was available, through lack of faith denuding them like someone making daily blood donations: so many now are found having a form of godliness without the power of God! (II Tim. 3:3). Is it not so now ? Countless seeming Gentiles are now found marauding with the murderers of divine morals, dividing in endless vitiated visions, some keeping the name even of a Christian Church. So they may seen moving like a boat on the Niagara River, now but a few miles from the Falls. But the mercy remains, yet unrescinded at the personal level.
17) 7:20 There was a fall for this, our human race, catapulting now avidly into the abyss, in a vast exposure of folly! and it comes not just for one component of it (Romans 5). It is that vast folly of what is human racism, that may be found, an expansive vice; which not least entices the unwatchful; but there is no safety in numbers before God. The confrontation, despite the blessing offered in the Messiah as in Micah 5 and 7, is not avoided however as in 15) above.
What contradicts God's early appointments to the patriarchs, of land (for Israel despite its sins), as for its mission, and blessing through the mercy of the Messiah, will in judgment pay for its misplaced adventurism. Now is the end, which crass violators of truth always must face. In the coin of their miserable commerce; nothing is much worse than being rebuked by your own errors; and this is found: those lashes are inward and personal; for God gives no place for lies! (7:16). Thus, with Israel turning back to the divine mercy where it may be found (Micah 7:19-20, Isaiah 54-55), and many of them brought to the Messiah (Zech 12:9-13:1), there comes a battering, not to some only, or to this race only, or to that, but to all those living who reject the Lord of truth, confront His express word, and contend to amend His way or seize and mutate it.
As the truth has come home at this time to Israel in the main, and expressed itself to the least items, so its home-coming is sustained before all. It does not alter. As to those who would lacerate it, these retain the calamity sin brings, while mercy is rousingly open and utterly free (Micah 5:4). The millenium proceeds, where they shall not hurt in all His holy mountain (Isaiah 11), and the sinner dying one hundred years old (Isaiah 65:20), will be accursed. Yet whoever thirsts may drink freely till judgment sits (Revelation 22:17).
The honour of the Lord is now satisfied, for the long term covenant to the early patriarchs (cf. Genesis 12:1-3, 17:7-8) is now vastly fulfilled in a full flush of the divine mercy which not only soars, but does so in terms of the unchanging divine nature, love and cherishing kindness. The macro-Messianic message, based on facts and acts (Acts 2, Joel 2:11, Isaiah 44:24-26, 46:10), has found anew many in Israel and amid the Gentiles. God is faithful in all He promised Abraham, and the prophets.
Faith in His faithfulness is like scent in Spring; because it is faith in His truth. It brings outward deliverance to Israel, and transforming blessing to each and to all those who believe Him, and so believe in Him, and thus follow His word as the ferret rabbits - though it may slip on occasion, it goes; with results in blessing that never run away, but continue like a constant waterfall, fluent and forthcoming for ever (John 4:14, 7:37-38).