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The Hebrew Bible Testifies – The Messiah Is As Old As God is! Pt. 2

Sam Shamoun

We continue from where we left off.

Now it begins to make sense

The exegesis of Micah 5:2 offered here helps us to make sense out of all the OT passages which explicitly say that Yahweh himself will come down from heaven to Zion in order to rule over his people and all the nations forever. Here, again, is what Micah himself says concerning this issue:

“I will make the lame into a remnant, those far removed into a strong nation. Then Yahweh will rule over them forever in Mount Zion from this time on and forever.” Micah 4:7

Micah also writes that Yahweh will come from his holy dwelling place in order to lead his people as their King:

“The One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out. Their King will pass through before them, Yahweh at their head.” Micah 2:13

“Hear, O peoples, all of you; Listen, O earth and all it contains, And let the Lord Yahweh be a witness against you, The Lord from His holy temple. For behold, Yahweh is coming forth from His place.” Micah 1:2-3

This theme of Yahweh coming down from heaven in order to dwell with his people in Zion is repeated throughout the OT writings such as Isaiah:

“In that day Yahweh will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. They will be herded together like prisoners in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days. The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed; for Yahweh of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders, gloriously.” Isaiah 24:21-23

“A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for Yahweh’; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of Yahweh will be revealed, and all flesh together will see it. For the mouth of Yahweh has spoken… You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, ‘Here is your God!’ See, the Lord Yahweh comes with power, and His arm rules for him. See His reward is with Him, and His recompense accompanies him. He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:3-5, 9-11

Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence—as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil—to make your name known to your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at your presence! When you did awesome things that we did not look for, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.” Isaiah 64:1-4 – cf. 35:1-10

The prophet Ezekiel even speaks of a day in which Yahweh comes to sit on his throne in the Temple which will be located in Jerusalem:

“He led me to the gate, the one that faces east, and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice sounded like the roar of mighty waters, and the earth shone with His glory. The vision I saw was like the one I had seen when He came to destroy the city, and like the ones I had seen by the Chebar Canal. I fell facedown. The glory of Yahweh entered the temple by way of the gate that faced east. Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the inner court, and the glory of Yahweh filled the temple. While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me from the temple. He said to me: ‘Son of Man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I dwell among the Israelites forever. The house of Israel and their kings will no longer defile My holy name by their religious prostitution and by their corpses of their kings at their high places. Whenever they placed their threshold next to My threshold and their doorposts beside My doorposts, with only a wall between Me and them, they were defiling My holy name by the detestable acts they committed. So I destroyed them in My anger. Now let them remove their prostitution and the corpses of their kings far from Me, and I will dwell among them forever.” Ezekiel 43:1-9

This is precisely why the prophets proclaim that Jerusalem will be given the names “The Throne of Yahweh,” “Yahweh Our Righteousness,” and “”Yahweh is There,” i.e. the city is named after the God who comes to dwell there:

“It shall be in those days when you are multiplied and increased in the land, declares Yahweh, they will no longer say, ‘the ark of the covenant of Yahweh.’ And it will not come to mind, nor will they remember it, nor will they miss it, nor will it be made again. At that time they will call Jerusalem, ‘The Throne of Yahweh,’ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the Name of Yahweh; nor will they walk anymore after the stubbornness of their evil heart.” Jeremiah 3:16-17

“In those days and at that time I will cause a Righteous Branch to sprout up for David, and He will administer justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely, and this is what she will be called: Yahweh Our Righteousness.” Jeremiah 33:15-16

“The perimeter of the city will be six miles (lit. 18,000 [cubits]), and the name of the city from that day on will be: Yahweh Is There.” Ezekiel 48:35

Moreover, the Hebrew Bible is quite emphatic that Yahweh alone shall be King on that day, and that the nations will be required to go to Jerusalem in order to worship him there in recognition of this fact:

“On that day Yahweh will become King over all the earth–On that day it will be Yahweh alone, and his name alone… Then all the survivors from the nations that came against Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, and to celebrate the Festival of Booths. Should any of the families of the earth not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, rain will not fall on them.” Zechariah 14:9, 16-17

With the foregoing in view, it only makes perfect sense that the Ruler from Bethlehem would be fully divine in nature since it is obvious that he fulfills the OT predictions of God personally coming to dwell with his people in Jerusalem from where he will rule the entire world. As the following scholar puts it:

“The ruler is to come forth ‘to me’ (li), according to the Hebrew text. Yahweh is represented as speaking here, and the close identification of the king with the purposes of God is thus implied. Some commentators apply the phrase ‘from ancient times’ to the remote beginnings of the monarchy, but this is unsatisfactory. The term applies grammatically to the ruler. It is he whose activities stem from the distant past, yet whose coming is still future.

“The words ‘whose origins’ is a translation of the Hebrew word mosa’otayw (lit., ‘his goings forth’). The expression ‘to go forth’ means primarily ‘to conduct one’s activities’ (cf. 2 Kings 19:27). Beyond that the phrase has a military connotation referring to the departure of an army for battle (2 Sam 3:25; cf. 3:22; 5:2; 10:16; Num 27:17; Isa 43:17) and may speak of the kingly activities of the Messiah in terms of his might and power, a fitting contrast to the weakness and subjugation of the Israelite monarchy pictured in the preceding verse.

“The terms ‘old’ (qedem) and ‘ancient times’ (yeme ‘olam) may denote ‘great antiquity’ as well as ‘eternity’ in the strictest sense. The context must determine the expanse of time indicated by the expressions. In Micah 7:14, 20, for example, yeme ‘olam is used of Israel’s earliest history. But the word qedem is used of God himself on occasion in the OT (Deut 33:27; Hab 1:12), of God’s purposes (Isa 37:26; Lam 2:17), of God’s declarations (Isa 45:21; 46:10), of the heavens (Ps 68:33 [34 MT]), and of the time before Creation (Prov 8:22-23). At any rate the word qedem can indicate only great antiquity, and its application to a future ruler–one yet to appear on the scene of Israel’s history–is strong evidence that Micah expected a supernatural figure. This is in keeping with the expectations of Isaiah 9:6, where the future King is called el (‘God’), an appellation used only of God by Isaiah. It is also in keeping with the common prophetic tradition of God’s eventual rule over the house of Israel (Isa 24:23; Mic 4:7; et al.). Only in Christ does this prophecy find fulfillemt.” (Thomas E. McComiskey, “Micah,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary with the New International Version: Daniel and the Minor Prophets, gen. ed. Frank E. Gaeblein [Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI 1985], Volume 7, p. 427; bold emphasis ours)

The Eternal One Has Come!

Lo and behold, this is precisely what the New Testament teaches concerning the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, e.g. he is God, and yet at the same time distinct from the God who sent him into the world to become man so as to shepherd his people and rule over the nations:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things came into being through Him; and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men… He was in the world, and even though the world came into being through Him, the world did not recognize Him… The Word became flesh and pitched his tent/tabernacled among us. We beheld His glory, the glory as of the One and Only Son of the Father full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-4, 10, 14

“I am the good Shepherd; I know My sheep and My sheep know Me–just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father–and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to My voice and there shall be one flock and one Shepherd.” John 10:14-16

“And now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with the glory I had with You before the world began.” John 17:5

“Jesus told her, ‘Stop clinging to Me, for I have not ascended to My Father yet. But go to My brothers and tell them that I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.’… Thomas answered and said to him, ‘My Lord and my God (ho kyrios mou kai ho theos mou)!’ Jesus said, ‘Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.’” John 20:17, 27-31

We are not through yet since we have one final section left.