MICAH AND THE NEW COVENANT
Visions of the Gathering
The prophet Micah was a contemporary of the prophets Isaiah and Hosea and lived during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. He ministered during a particularly dark era of apostacy in Israel prior to the reformations of righteous King Hezekiah. He predicted the fall of Samaria to Assyria.
Like most of the Old Testament prophets his prophecies were dual, relating both to the immediate future of his day as well as to a time far into the distant future. His prophecies on the ancient Kingdom of Israel have been fulfilled: his prophecies on latter-day Israel are being fulfilled this very day.
In The Last Days...
From present day conditions it is plain to see that this prophecy has not been fulfilled yet, at least not outwardly. The tribe of Judah, ironically called "Israel", is gathered in the Holy Land, if not completely then at least in part. The whole country, barring the Arab areas, are settled by Jews much as it was in the days of Jesus. What we have witnessed since 1948, when the State of Israel was established, is only a partial restoration of the House of Israel.
"In the last days the mountain of the Lord will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He wil teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths. The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more. Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig-tree, and no-one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken. All the nations may walk in the name of their gods; we will walk in the Name of the Lord our God for ever and ever" (Mic.4:1-5, NIV).
What of the northern tribes? Where are they? And when will they be gathered?
First we must see what other prophecies have been made by Micah, which have been fulfilled, and which yet await fulfilment.
A Remnant Must be Gathered
In the last days "a remnant" will be gathered (v.6-7). This is a multi-faceted prophecy. A remnant of the House of Judah returned from Babylon (v.10) to be followed by masses later. These were later scattered by the Romans. A remnant gathered during the days of the Ottoman Empire and then more returnned to the Palestinian Mandate in the days of British rule. But Ephraim -- the 10 Tribes of Israel -- remain ungathered still. After the Assyrian exile they disappeared as a separate nation, migrating to many lands in Europe and elsewhere. Most, mixed with other tribes, and settled in North Europe. They have forgotten who they are.
A Promised Ruler from Bethelehem
Micah then goes on to prophesy the birth of a ruler in Bethlehem-Ephrathah and the first advent of Christ:
This also is a dual prophecy about the two comings of Christ -- the first a meek and mild Saviour, and the second a conquering God. Before He comes a second time and rules the whole earth (Mic.5:4-5) the rest of His brothers must return to join the Israelites.
"But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for Me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times. Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labour gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites" (Mic.5:1-5, NIV).
Another Gathering Must Take Place
Unlike the Jews who have retained the religion of the Old Testament, most of the Tribes of Israel have adopted various forms of gentile Christianity whilst losing their cultural identity. The State of Israel is a Jewish Republic and citizenship is only granted to indigenous peoples like the Arabs (who are mostly Muslim, though some are Christian) and those of the diaspora who claim Jewish descent and/or religion. No provision has been made for a gathering of a Christian people who have forgotten their tribal origins.
Moreover, the vast majority of these people have abandoned all but the social aspect of their Christian roots and are returning to paganism and atheism as the Israelites of old once did.
So how will Ephraim and the other 9 tribes be gathered? By having their true identity brought back to remembrance by the Holy Spirit and through those who have already been awakened.
Micah lived amongst an apostate people. "The godly have been swept from the land; not one upright man remains" (Mic.7:2, NIV). This is fast becoming true of the paganised 10 tribes. Conditions in the USA, Western Europe and many other lands are fast resembling those that existed in Micah's day:
Yet those who remain true to the Lord God of Israel and His commandments are able to say:
"Do not trust a neighbour; put no confidence in a friend. Even with her who lives in your embrace be careful of your words. For a son dishonours his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law -- a man's enemies are the members of his own household" (Micah 7:5-6, NIV).
That small remnant who watch for the Lord -- that tiny speck of dust amongst the lost tribes -- is the people God is gathering now. They are so small as to be virtually insignificant. Yet they know, with Micah, that the Lord has not abandoned the rest of Israel:
"But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Saviour; my God will hear me" (Micah 7:7, NIV).
We who are the small remnant, though despised and counted as nothing, are gathering and awaiting the day when God will pour His Spirit over Israel and bring back to their memory who they are. For we know that "nations will see and be ashamed, deprived of all their power. They will lay their hands on their mouths and their ears will become deaf...They will come trembling out of their dens [of unbelief]; they will turn in fear to the Lord our God and will be afraid of (Israel)" (Micah 7:16,17, NIV).
"Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light" (Micah 7:8, NIV).
What God has promised He will fulfill. He has promised the restoration of the 10 Tribes. Therefore they shall be restored. We, who have been lost but found, have also come to know God's forgiveness for the sins of our fathers who turned away in rebellion. For it is written:
Your Invitation to Gather
"Who is God like You, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? You do not stay angry for ever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. You will be true to Jacob, and show mercy to Abraham, as you pledged on oath to our fathers in days long ago" (Micah 7:18-20, NIV).
Those who are of the remnant feel a deep sense of responsibility for their brethren who have turned away from the Lord -- both for their turning away in the days of the scattering, and also for their turning away from the Christian Gospel, though imperfect, that was brought to them in the days of their scattering in northern Europe and across the world in such places as Canada, the United States, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, indeed, in almost every nation in the world. To them, and to all who will receive the God of Israel and of the whole world, the Lord Jesus Christ, we bid come. For God is about to do a mighty work and a wonder amongst those who believe. Amen.
This page was created on 21 May 1998
Last updated on 21 May 1998
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