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He Gave Us His Word


This is Chapter 5 by Gary Harbo


5. He Would Come from Bethlehem

The first of the eight prophecies that I’m going to delve into predicts that the ruler over Israel would be from ancient times and that He would come from Bethlehem. The Hebrew meaning of Bethlehem is, “The house of bread.” We know that our Messiah is “The Bread of Life.” God continues to ensure that we understand the true meaning of his works.

Micah makes this prediction over 700 years before Christ.

1. Micah 5:2But 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,
From everlasting.

Now let’s dissect this in more detail.

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,

What do we know about Bethlehem? It is within the territory of Judah and it is in fact only five miles south of Jerusalem. This is the birthplace of King David, who ruled 300 years prior to this prediction. It is sometimes called Bethlehem Judah or Bethlehem Ephrath to keep it from being confused with Bethlehem of Zebulun. Seven hundred years later, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, it was not a mighty city but simply a small village of about 600 people.

Think about that for a second. Our Father in heaven uses Micah to forecast that when the Messiah comes nearly 700 years later, He is going to come from a small village of 600 people. Now let’s put this in context.

If you were going to make a guess on where the ruler of the free world would be born 700 years from now, where would you hazzard a guess? First of all Micah said that from all of the countries in the world to pick from, He would come from the land of Judah. That means you would have to guess what country in the world would exist 700 years from now. That in and of itself would be nearly impossible to foretell. Now let’s say that you are a big believer, as I am, in the might of the United States. Of course it wasn’t even discovered by Columbus 700 years ago, but let’s go out on a limb and believe that it will be around 700 years from now. For the purposes of this example, let’s say that you guessed correctly and our country is alive and well seven centuries from now. In fact let’s assume that we have the whole world under our influence. So, for the purposes of this exercise, we’ll say the leader of the free world, 700 years from now, will reside in the United States. So with that great leap of faith, let’s get more specific.

What state will this great leader come from? Will it be the most populated state? We know populations shift over time. In the first century the eastern seaboard was where the action and population was. Now, we know that the movement is west and south. In fact, California has become the largest state in the nation. Let’s assume that trend continues and 700 years from now it has not yet fallen into the ocean, but has continued to grow in size. Given those assumptions, would you be willing to guess that the leader of the world would come from California? Now let’s get more specific. What city? Perhaps the great city of Los Angeles? (The city of Angels?) That’s where a lot of movie stars take up residence. (Some even perceive that perhaps they are the center of the world.) Well Micah is telling us that the leader would not come from California. Just the opposite! It would be something on the level of South Dakota. Now, I love South Dakota, but truth be told, most Americans couldn’t even find South Dakota on the map. But what Micah is saying is equivalent to predicting that 700 years from now the leader of the free world is going to come from a town smaller then Pierre, South Dakota. In fact it would be a town comparable to Bowdle, South Dakota, which has 589 people.

Has anyone heard of Bowdle, South Dakota? I have been to it many times, and it’s a neat little town. Otherwise, I’d be just like you. Say what? Bowdle, South Dakota? That is the wild speculation that you would have to make if you wanted to match an unknowing guess from Micah in regards to the birthplace of the Messiah.

But it wasn’t unknowing, was it? God knows all, and in fact wants us to be absolutely positive in regards to His Word. Therefore He makes bold declarations about all events, including the birthplace of His Son. He shockingly stacks the odds against His declarations and then delivers on them in stunning glory. Not once, not twice, but every single time.

Let’s continue with the prophecy;

Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting
.”

God is saying that this Ruler has come from ancient times. These words “From everlasting” reflect back to the beginning of the world. In fact back to the beginning of time. You see God created everything that exists today. He created time, space and matter (you know, the things that scientists use to understand how the world works.) Let’s look back to when God created the world. Back to the first verse in the Bible.

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created...

English has only singular and plural. Hebrew has singular, dual and plural. In this verse of the Hebrew Bible, the word used for God is “Elohim,” cast in plural, used three times in the creation and 2,500 times in the Bible. The term corresponds with “let Us.” This means that the reference to God is in the plural form meaning three powers, which turns out to be God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. This means that Jesus was with him in ancient times. This can be verified in many places throughout the Bible. For example:

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;”

This clearly asserts the Trinity–Us, Our and Our–God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit.

What does John have to say?

John 1:1,2 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.

Who was with God? It was Jesus! He is the Word.

Psalm 72:17 His name shall continue as long as the sun.

The original Hebrew reads, “Before the sun was, His name was YINON.” This is the only use of this word and it is a name for the Messiah. The Son existed before the sun!

 

Ephesians 3:9 ...and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;

Paul is telling us that all things were created by Jesus. He is before all things and by Him all things consist. Jesus was with God from the beginning. There are many Scripture verses that show Jesus was with God in the beginning.

Now let’s consider the weight which I gave this in predicting the odds against this prophecy coming to pass. I weighted it as 1 in 10,000. Is that reasonable? Remember, this was predicted 700 years prior to the birth of Jesus. One would assume that the Messiah (Ruler from ancient times) would come from Zion since this part of the Old Testament Scripture is written about the chosen people (the 12 tribes of Jacob). Therefore we’ll narrow our search for the coming Messiah into the land of the Jews. If we didn’t, then of course the odds against this scripture coming to pass would be even more spectacular. Bethlehem was a town of 600 at that time and assuming that there was over 6,000,000 Jews in Zion at that time, then how many groups of 600 people would be in 6,000,000? The answer is 10,000. Of course this does not address the odds of this individual actually being from “of old,” from “everlasting”. That is a reference to God the Son. The very one that was with God in the beginning. We will not include this into the calculation of odds, because if you refuse to believe in God, then the odds against this prophecy coming to pass would blow up to infinity. As we now know, He did come from Bethlehem. By virtue of His fulfilled death and resurrection, we also know that He was from His Father and was with Him in the beginning.

How in the world can one comprehend the magnitude of what God predicted in one little verse from Micah? We simply can’t. It is a lifelong process. Every time I read the Word and contemplate the true significance, it sinks into my heart and soul a little deeper and my understanding becomes a little richer. Slowly but surely I’m beginning to understand the awesome power of the Word of God. We must all fully emerge ourselves into the Word of God. It is our duty. It will be the best investment of time that you could ever make. Only good comes of it. You will stand taller. You will become stronger. You can build a faith of granite on the Word. It will never crack under the weight of scrutiny. It will never let you down. It is your salvation. Wouldn’t you want to pass this on to your family and your friends?

 

Click here if you'd like to read the foreword

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Click here if you'd like to read chapter 3

Click here if you'd like to read chapter 4

Click here if you'd like to read chapter 6

Click here if you'd like to read chapter 7

Click here if you'd like to read chapter 8

Click here if you'd like to read chapter 9

Click here if you'd like to read chapter 10

Click here if you'd like to read chapter 11

Click here if you'd like to read chapter 12

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