(Christmas Lesson 2014)
One of the most well-known of all the Old Testament prophecies touching upon the birth of Christ is found in Micah 5:2…
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
By taking a moment to study this passage, we can learn much about our Wonderful Savior who was born in this small and greatly celebrated town of Judah.
Mic 5:2 KJV – But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Luk 2:4-7 KJV – And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Before we begin to take a detailed look at Micah 5:2, we need to recognize that this prophecy was given to Micah approximately 700 years before the birth of Christ.
Stop and think about this amazing truth. Our sovereign God perfectly revealed to man a detailed description of the birthplace of Messiah 700 years in advance. The historical record of this prophecy’s fulfillment can be found in Luke 2:4-7…
“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) … And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”
He then took things a step further by giving to Micah a specific description of the Lordship and the Divinity of the Messiah that was to be born. Although the giving of this prophecy is a great miracle, it is greatly overshadowed by its miraculous fulfillment, the
birth of the Messiah…
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah,
- The “house” of Jesus, in other words the place of His birth, was “Bethlehem” which means “house of bread”. This helps us to understand the importance of the Messiah… the Messiah is the “bread of life”, the source of spiritual life for sinful mankind (John 6:32-59).
When a lost man turns from his sin (repents) and trusts in the Messiah as his Lord and Savior, he is partaking of the Messiah much like a person partakes of bread. Just as bread gives strength and sustains the life to man, so too, when we partake of the Messiah through repentance and belief He secures for us forgiveness, spiritual life, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
- In this prophecy, Bethlehem is further identified as “Ephratah”. This distinguishes it from another town named “Bethlehem” that existed in the land area of Zebulun. “Ephratah” signifies “fruitfulness” or productivity. In this title of the Messiah’s birthplace, we can see the manifold accomplishments of Messiah being referenced (John 21:25). These accomplishments came about through His teachings, miracles, life-example, and His death and resurrection)
The Messiah successfully accomplished the complete mission upon which the Father had sent Him. This included: presenting truths concerning His Father to the world through His words and deeds; redeeming His people from their sins; and gaining the victory over sin and death. His life, that was begun in the insignificant town of Bethlehem Ephratah certainly was perfectly productive and bore manifold fruit for His Father.
though thou be little among the thousands of Judah,
Bethlehem, which was among the thousands of cities and towns of Judah, was irrelevant in the eyes of men, it was chosen by God to be the birthplace of the Messiah!
This helps us to understand that although man may judge people, places and things as irrelevant, when God chooses to use them for His glory, they are relevant in His sight and hold great significance for His purposes.
Why does God choose that which appears irrelevant to man to hold positions of great importance in His purposes? By doing this, He rightfully secures all of the honor and glory for Himself by displaying His greatness to all. (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)
yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel;
When the Messiah came forth from Bethlehem, Bethlehem was giving birth to One that would be the eternal Ruler of Israel.
The Messiah, who came from the line of Jewish Kings, was recognized as the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” and was given the eternal rule over the spiritual nation of Israel (Hebs 1:8) . This spiritual nation is made up of saved Jews and Gentiles (Roms 9:6-8, Gals 3:26-29, Phils 3:2-3) all of whom will accompany Him at Armageddon and dwell with Him eternally in the New Jerusalem (Rev 17:14, Rev 21: and 22:).
whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
This same Jesus, who is the Bread of Life, the Flawlessly Fruitful One, and the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, is the Eternal God.
Jesus, who was born as a babe in Bethlehem, was God come in the likeness of sinful flesh (Roms 8:1-4), which allowed Him to experience temptation (Heb 4:14-16) and give His life on the cross to secure the salvation of sinners (Phil 2:5-8).
For this small town of Bethlehem came God Himself, born of a woman, born in the likeness of sinful flesh, to become the King of Kings and Savior of His people. As we enter this time of year may we all keep our minds on these very important truths from God’s Word…
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isa 9:6-7 KJV)
For the Christian, young and old, our central attention concerning Christmas should not be placed upon Santa Claus, gift giving, or socializing and partying. We should be placing our attention upon the Lord Jesus Christ, His coming to the earth, His ministry, and most importantly, the miracle of salvation by grace that He has accomplished through His death and resurrection.
May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.
For more Christmas Resources please click on the following links:
Miscellaneous Subjects Concerning Christmas:
The Biblical Christmas Account:
Visit our internet home page: http://www.settledinheaven.org
Visit our text blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com
Visit our video blog: http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven