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Micah 5:2 - origins from everlasting time  

by Bill Wong

 

 

 

Micah 5:2 – origins from everlasting time

 

 

In the Book of Micah chapter 5 we are told of a future ruler coming from Bethlehem (King David’s birthplace) whose origin or goings forth, is from everlasting times. Since it mentions this ruler’s goings forth are from everlasting or the days of eternity, but he is yet to come in the future at the time of Micah’s writing, this is describing the Messiah who is supernatural in nature.

 

Micah 5:

2   But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall he come

    forth to me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.  (AKJV)

 

 

However, there are some who say this does not apply to a supernatural Messiah at all, but instead to King David or some other person. They say Bethlehem is not a place, but a clan within the tribe of Judah. Do these statements have any merit?

 

It should be noted that in ancient Israel’s history, the clan name and the location really mean the same thing. This is because the clan generally stays in the land of their inheritance and therefore the locale in which they live can take the name of the clan. This is seen all the time when cities are named after their founders or the predominant family. The argument that Bethlehem refers to a person or clan therefore has no pertinence at all to the discussion.

 

As to whether this refers to King David himself, Micah wrote hundreds of years after David’s reign and the Scripture refers to the future, but yet states that this future ruler already has his goings forth from everlasting times. It cannot be referring to David. Micah must be referring to a descendant of David which would be the Messiah who sits upon the throne of David. King David was indeed born in Bethlehem and this future descendant will also be born in Bethlehem. He is not like all of David’s descendants who became kings and were probably all born in the royal palace in Jerusalem.

 

Some say that the goings forth of this person is from ancient times or “days of old” (and not from everlasting which implies eternity) and therefore does not mean it is referring to a supernatural Messiah. Such a statement is self-defeating, because as we just saw, how could a future ruler yet have his goings forth be from times long ago? Even besides this, there is no validity to this argument, because linguistically, Micah 5:2 is completely correct in using the word “everlasting”.

 

Hebrew uses a linguistic device where the repeating of a word or similar words together serve to emphasize or amplify and intensify, the meaning or impact of the words. We find an example of this emphatic repetition in Proverbs 8:23 below:

 

Proverbs 8:

23   I have been established from everlasting, From the beginning, before there was ever an earth.   (AKJV)

 

Each of the three words or phrases: everlasting, from the beginning, before there was ever an earth, have similar meanings and combine to emphatically declare the existence of God’s wisdom from everlasting times.

 

In Micah 5:2 there is similar emphatic repetition using the Hebrew words ‘miqqedem’ and ‘miymey ‘olam’ together. The word ‘qedem’ in ‘miqquedem’ (translated as “from of old”) already means a time long ago with a connotation of eternity. The word “olam’ in ‘miymey ‘olam’ (translated as “from everlasting”) can also mean a time extending into the infinite reaches of the past with a connotation of eternity.

 

So when we combine these two terms in emphatic repetition, the context and sense is that the time element of eternity and everlasting is definitely in view and ‘miymey ‘olam’ being translated into English as “from everlasting” is correct. The Hebrew use of emphatic repetition actually demands it to be translated this way.

 

This fact is highlighted even more when we consider that this verse also contrasts Bethlehem, “little among the thousands of Judah” with the greatness of the ruler who will come forth from it. So there is even another degree of emphasis and amplification of the greatness of who this ruler is.

 

This ruler from Bethlehem is not a mere man, but the same Messiah from Isaiah 9:6-7, who is the Father of Eternity. Therefore, why would His goings forth not be from everlasting?

 

 

 

 

Please see next article in this series: The Messiah is more than a mere man - Psalm 110 - King David's Lord

 

Link to the Prophesied Messiah articles outline

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