Also, we see how John described Jesus as ‘the Word made flesh, existing from eternity to fulfil what the prophet Micah said in Micah chapter 5.
With that, we’re going to now look at the prophecy of Micah, and put it in context. So, Micah chapter 5. We’re going to read quite a bit of it. If you have got the Bibles, turn to Micah chapter 5. You’ll find it in the ‘Minor Prophets’. If you got this black Bible, it’s on page 1074, but I’m putting it up on the board in case you can’t find it. Just follow it on the board here. Okay, let’s read Micah chapter 5,
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.
2 “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,
3 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.
4 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;
5 And this One shall be peace.
When the Assyrian comes into our land,
And when he treads in our palaces,
Then we will raise against him
Seven shepherds and eight princely men.
6 They shall waste with the sword the land of Assyria,
And the land of Nimrod at its entrances;
Thus He shall deliver us from the Assyrian,
When he comes into our land
And when he treads within our borders.
7 Then the remnant of JacobMicah 5.1-8
Shall be in the midst of many peoples,
Like dew from the Lord,
Like showers on the grass,
That tarry for no man
Nor wait for the sons of men.
8 And the remnant of Jacob
Shall be among the Gentiles,
In the midst of many peoples,
Like a lion among the beasts of the forest,
Like a young lion among flocks of sheep,
Who, if he passes through,
Both treads down and tears in pieces,
And none can deliver.
Let’s have a look at some of those verses. It goes on a bit, but we’ll leave it to that for the moment. First of all, it says ‘He has laid siege against us‘. Micah tells us that yeah tells us that, at the time when this prophecy is to be fulfilled, Israel is going to be humbled by foreign powers. And even ‘her judges will bear insults. They will be a siege against you’. There will be a Roman occupation at that time when Israel is in some distress.
Then, out of you, Bethlehem, shall come forth to me the One to be Ruler in Israel. So, in the coming time of humiliation under foreign powers, God’s going to raise up a great ruler. Hebrew word is מֹושֵׁל [môšēl] (governor/ruler) from a humble place צָעִיר לִהְיֹות בְּאַלְפֵי יְהוּדָה [ṣāʿîr lihyôt bǝʾalpê yǝhûdâ] (small/little among the thousands of Judah), from Bethlehem Ephratah בֵּית־לֶחֶם אֶפְרָתָה [bêt-leḥem ʾeprātâ].
And Bethlehem בֵּית־לֶחֶם [bêt-leḥem] means, as I said, ‘the House of Bread’. One who’s going to be born out of Bethlehem is mhua who’s the bread of life according to John chapter 6
Ephratah אֶפְרָ֗תָה [ʾeprātâ] means ‘fruitfulness’ or ‘abundance’. Therefore, Jesus is going to feed us with ‘the bread of life’ and make us ‘fruitful’ by watering our Hearts by the Holy Spirit.
Bethlehem Ephratah. There is a Jewish settlement today in the area called Efrat by the way.
Micah goes on to say,
Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.
This is a very interesting scripture. וּמֹוצָאֹתָיו מִקֶּדֶם מִימֵי עֹולָם׃ [ûmôṣāʾōtāyw miqqedem mîmê ʿôlām] (and his origins are from before the days of the world.) If His goings forth, His origins, are from of old, from everlasting, that means that He is pre-existent. That means He was there before the creation of the world and before the creation of the universe.
And such promise can only be fulfilled in One, as I’ve already said, who is a Divine person. Therefore, Micah’s prophetic voice is declaring here that Jesus, who’s going to be born in Bethlehem, has His origins not in His birth in Bethlehem, or even in His conception nine months earlier; He has His origins in the days of eternity.
14 And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; 15 for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever עוֹלָֽם׃ [ʿôlām].Genesis 13.14-15
7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting עוֹלָ֑ם [ʿôlām] covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.Genesis 17.7
In other words, He is there before the creation of the world, before the foundation of the world which is what the Bible tells us about Jesus. It tells us that He is,
8 Ἐγώ εἰμι τὸ Ἄλφα καὶ τὸ Ὦ, λέγει Κύριος ὁ Θεός, ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος, ὁ Παντοκράτωρ.
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”Revelation 1.8 (Greek) Revelation 1.8 (English)
That means He was there from the very beginning, Jesus was there. He is going to be there at the very end and through all eternity. There was never a time when Jesus did not exist. He has always been there, which means He has to be God.
14 For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. 15 And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest 16 who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. 17 For He testifies:
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”
18 For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
20 And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath 21 (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him:
“The Lord has sworn
And will not relent,
‘You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek’ ”),
22 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.
23 Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. 24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.Hebrews 7.14-28
Therefore, before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He existed as the second person of the tri-unity.
John chapter 1,
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.John 1.1-3
So, this One who’s born in Bethlehem is not just a person born, He’s not just a prophet, He is the One who has always existed and, in fact, He’s God.
The only way you can interpret John 1. 1-3 is that the One who is really born as as the Word, going to be made flesh in the person of Jesus is a Divine person, He is God.
This is something which many people, including Muslims, including the majority of rabbis and Jewish people have difficulty in conceiving and indeed many Christians have difficulties trying to work out but which is what the Bible tells you.
In the beginning God אֱלֹהִים [ʾĕlōhîm = 1st Person of the triunity] created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים [wǝrûaḥʾĕlōhîm = 2nd Person of the triunity] was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 Then God אֱלֹהִים said וַיֹּאמֶר [wayyōʾmer ʾĕlōhîm =the Word of God (John 1.1-2) expressing/enacting God’s actions in the world He created (John 1.3) = 3rd Person of the triunity], “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God אֱלֹהִים saw the light (John 1.4), that it was good; and God אֱלֹהִים divided the light from the darkness (John 1.5).
4 In Him [the Word of God] was life, and the life ζωὴ [zōē] was the light of men τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων [to phōs tōn anthrōpōn]. 5 And the light shines in the darkness φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει [phōs en tē skotia phainei], and the darkness did not comprehend/overcome it ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν [hē skotia auto ou katelaben – If ‘darkness’ cannot comprehend or overcome ‘light’, it must be different/divided from ‘light‘ (Genesis 1.4)].John 1.4-5
The only way this can happen is if God אֱלֹהִים [ʾĕlōhîm] is a plural unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and the person of God who is in Jesus became man and dwelt amongst us in His Incarnation.
Towards the end of His life, just before He goes to the Cross, Jesus prays His great High Priestly prayer in John chapter 17. Here are couple of quotes from that. He says in verse 5,
5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.John 17.5
Jesus, praying to the Father, says: ‘I had the glory with you. I was with you in heaven, in glory before the world was even created. Now, I’m coming back to you. So, restore unto me the glory which I laid aside in order to become man and dwell amongst humans in in my Incarnation’.
And, in verse 24 he says,
24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.John 17.24
So, Jesus’ purpose in coming to the world and going to the cross, and rising from the dead is that He may bring people like you and me into that glory light that we we may have a future with the Lord in glory forever.
But notice He says, You loved me before the foundation of the world.
These scriptures are telling you very clearly that Jesus is One who is before, He is pre-existent, He has always existed. Before the foundation of the world. Only God can be before the foundation of the world.
I have put that verse up. Colossians chapter 1 says,
16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the pre-eminence.Colossians 1.16-18
This is really pushing the point here that Jesus is the One who is the Creator. He has always been there, and He is the One through whom everything was created.
One commentator Denis G. Clark says,
Can you work that out? Well. It’s hard to work out but it’s true. That is what Jesus is. He has always been there, He always has been there, and He is the One through whom everything was created.
6 Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed,Ecclesiastes 12.6-7
Or the golden bowl is broken,
Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain,
Or the wheel broken at the well.
7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,
And the spirit will return to God who gave it.
Now, if you look through the Old Testament, through the Tanach, you find that God appeared in various times in the person of the Angel of the Lord. There are many instances where individuals are shown a face-to-face encounter with the Lord.
You have the Lord in Genesis chapter 3 walking and talking with Adam and Eve in the Garden.
8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים [yhwh ʾĕlōhîm] walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים [yhwh ʾĕlōhîm] among the trees of the garden.
9 Then the Lord God יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים [yhwh ʾĕlōhîm] called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”Genesis 3.8-11
These are very physical actions: ‘to walk’ and ‘to talk’.
In Genesis 18 you have three men who come and appear before Abraham, two of whom are angels, and One of whom is described as being the Lord. Abraham even gives Him some food to eat.
Then the Lord יְהוָה [yhwh] appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. 2 So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him שְׁלֹשָׁה אֲנָשִׁים נִצָּבִים עָלָיו [šǝlōšâ ʾănāšîm niṣṣābîm ʿālāyw]; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground, 3 and said, “My Lord אֲדֹנָי [ʾădōnāy], if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant. 4 Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5 And I will bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh your hearts. After that you may pass by, inasmuch as you have come to your servant.”
They said, “Do as you have said.”Genesis 18.1-5
Therefore, here we have another physical action where, this time, the Lord eats in the presence of Abraham.
In Genesis 32 you have Jacob who wrestles with a man. And, after he has wrestled with Him, he says that he has seen the Face of God, and he calls the place Peniel, and he’s afraid he is going to die because he has seen God. But God blesses him and calls him Israel, gives him a new name.
22 And he arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok. 23 He took them, sent them over the brook, and sent over what he had. 24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man אִישׁ [ʾîš] wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.”
But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”
27 So He said to him, “What is your name?”
He said, “Jacob.”
28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel יִשְׂרָאֵל [yiśrāʾēl]; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
29 Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.”
And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God אֱלֹהִים [ʾĕlōhîm] face to face, and my life is preserved.” 31 Just as he crossed over Penuel the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the children of Israel do not eat the muscle that shrank, which is on the hip socket, because He touched the socket of Jacob’s hip in the muscle that shrank.Genesis 32.22-32
So, think about that. There are four actions: ‘walking’ and ‘talking’, ‘eating’, and ‘wrestling’. They are all physical actions, aren’t they? The Bible records that humans had some encounters with this being who is revealed to be God יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים [yhwh ʾĕlōhîm], encountered Him, and saw Him in this way.
You have a number of times when Moses saw God one time in Exodus after the giving of the Ten Commandments when the Elders of Israel went up and they see the God of Israel and they ate and drank in His presence.
18 Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. 19 Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God אֱלֹהִים [ʾĕlōhîm] speak with us, lest we die.”
20 And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God אֱלֹהִים [ʾĕlōhîm] has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” 21 So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God אֱלֹהִים [ʾĕlōhîm] was.Exodus 20.18-21
Again, you have a physical action taking place in the presence of God, whom they saw physically.
This tells you that God was able to appear in some form in the Hebrew scriptures and be seen and that He visited humans on the Earth and was seen by humans.
There are a number of other encounters. Joshua, before the going into Jericho.
13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man אִישׁ [ʾîš] stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”
14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord אֲנִי שַׂר־צְבָא־יְהוָה [ʾănî śar-ṣǝbāʾ-yhwh] I have now come.”
And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord אֲדֹנִי [ʾădōnî] say to His servant?”
15 Then the Commander of the Lord’s army שַׂר־צְבָא יְהוָה [śar-ṣǝbāʾ yhwh]said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy קֹדֶשׁ [qōdeš].” And Joshua did so.Joshua 5.13-15
Samson’s parents saw the Angel of the Lord and recognized that He was God.
8 Then Manoah prayed to the Lord יְהוָה [yhwh], and said, “O my Lord אֲדֹונָי [ʾădônāy], please let the Man of God אִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים [ʾîš hāʾĕlōhîm] whom You sent come to us again and teach us what we shall do for the child who will be born.”
9 And God אֱלֹהִים [ʾĕlōhîm] listened to the voice of Manoah, and the Angel of God מַלְאַךְ הָאֱלֹהִים [malʾak hāʾĕlōhîm] came to the woman again as she was sitting in the field; but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 Then the woman ran in haste and told her husband, and said to him, “Look, the Man אִישׁ [ʾîš] who came to me the other day has just now appeared to me!”
11 So Manoah arose and followed his wife. When he came to the Man אִישׁ [ʾîš], he said to Him, “Are You the Man אִישׁ [ʾîš] who spoke to this woman?”
And He said, “I am.”
12 Manoah said, “Now let Your words come to pass! What will be the boy’s rule of life, and his work?”
13 So the Angel of the Lord מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה [malʾak yhwh] said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. 14 She may not eat anything that comes from the vine, nor may she drink wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean. All that I commanded צִוִּיתִיהָ [ṣiwwîtîhā] her let her observe.”Judges 13.8-14
Now, in each of these situations the person is given different titles, but in all the cases, the person is plainly referred to as the Lord and as God appearing in some human form.
These are all examples in the Hebrew scriptures. They are not in the New Testament, they are in the Old Testament showing that God can appear in some human form and He is going to make His final appearance in human form in the person of Yeshua / Jesus the Messiah.
It shows us that Jesus is far more than a man, and it shows us also His great love, that He would leave heaven in order to share His glory with us here on the earth.