To continue with the theme of our previous studies – the kingdom of Judah – we shall turn to the book of Micah. It consists as you know, of seven chapters, and they carry a continuous story of Judah in both her early and her latter days. The first three chapters are concerning Judah in her early days, and the last four contain the promises to antitypical Judah, the Judah of the latter days, of whom our main interest now is.
In order to connect the first three chapters of Micah with the last four, we shall begin with the last verse of chapter three.
Mic. 3:12 – “Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.”
Because there was nothing more that could have been done to convince Judah that she was in the wrong and that she was in need to return to the Lord, the Lord finally forewarned that her palace ground was to be plowed as a field, and that her palace and city were to become heaps. The fulfillment of this part of Micah’s prophecy is a faithful witness before all nations, an for all people to know that God means just what He says. God did not, however, cast aside His faithful few and their descendants forever. To them He left this comforting promise–
Mic. 4:1 – “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.”
Although Micah forespoke sad news for ancient Judah, he forespoke this joyful news for Judah of the latter days. Trying, indeed, must it have been for Judah to look forward to her own destruction. Conversely, though, it must have encouraged her to know that the time would come for her to return and to “build the old waste places,” “to raise up the foundations of many generations” (Isa. 58:12). And still more joyful should she now be to learn that the time for her returning to God and to the homeland has actually come!
In order to obviate any doubt in this connection the Lord reaffirms His Word by saying: “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: It shall not return unto Me void, but It shall accomplish that which I please, and It shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent It. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” Isa. 55:10-13. We, too, should clap our hands even now for having this great opportunity to engage in this glorious work, and for the great and grand privilege to proclaim these good tidings and to be called “The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” Isa. 58:12. Indeed these are the “good tidings” of “peace” that the prophet Nahum forespoke. Nah. 1:15.
When the kingdom of Judah is re-established, then it is that the scripture is fulfilled:
Verse 2 – “And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”
“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord. And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee. And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.” Zechariah 2:10-13.
“And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on Mine altar, and I will glorify the house of My glory. Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows? Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee. And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in My wrath I smote thee, but in My favour have I had mercy on thee. Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.” Isa. 60:3-12.
camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on Mine altar, and I will glorify the house of My glory. Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows? Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee. And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in My wrath I smote thee, but in My favour have I had mercy on thee. Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.” Isa. 60:3-12.
Obviously we are right at the dawn of a new day, the day in which the gospel work is to triumph in victory and to reap an abundant harvest of converts. Virtually whole nations are to join “the mountain of the Lord” during the Judgment day, the day in which the law goes “forth of Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem,” from the future headquarters of the gospel.
The time is, therefore, near at hand when in order truly to go to church, one must go to Jerusalem, and there be taught the way of the Lord, and to thus walk in His paths.
Mic. 4:3 – “And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
Many nations are gladly to accept His rebukes, beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks rather than continue to run in the armament race.
According to Micah, the only nations that are to disarm are those that accept the Lord’s Truth for today and go to the Promised Land. Never again will they need either swords or spears.
Verse 4 – “But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.”
The nations and peoples are now having a difficult time to get to their “fig tree,” so to speak, much less to sit in peace under it. They are in constant fear that some one may dislodge them even from their sitting under no tree. Consequently they will try to protect their rights, or unrights, by beating their “plowshares into swords, and [their] pruning hooks into spears.” Joel 3:10. And so judging their own strength by their war preparations, even the weak will say, “I am strong.” But it shall not be thus with those nations which join the people of the Kingdom of the Lord: They will not need to trust in their own strength, for they shall have the Lord’s protection. Each shall comfortably and securely sit under his own “fig tree,” knowing that no one can possibly push him away from under it. This is to be so, for “the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.”
Verse 5 – “For all people will walk every one in the name of his God, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.”
Those outside of the Kingdom that the Spirit of God cannot convince of their error, will continue to walk in the name of their false gods. But the people in the Kingdom “will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.”
Verse 6, 7 – “In that day, saith the Lord, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; and I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the Lord shall reign over them in Mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.”
The day in which God’s people are gathered from all parts of the earth and brought to Zion is at hand, and the Lord will reign over them henceforth forever.
Verse 8 – “And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall It come, even the first dominion; the Kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.”
The “tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion,” is to be the main object of attraction in Jerusalem. And what could it be? – Well in olden times towers were built for the purpose of keeping a watch over the city, and so “the tower of the flock” must be the throne on Zion, a lofty hill, Zion’s stronghold. This stronghold, you note, does not belong to the mother (not to ancient Zion) but to her daughter (to antitypical Zion).
Verses 9, 10 – “Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee? is thy counsellor perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail. Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the Lord shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.”
These two verses take us back to the time when the faithful of ancient Judah cried out as they saw themselves about to be dispersed among the nations, but the encouraging counsel to labour and bring forth children while in the field, and the comforting promise of her deliverance from antitypical Babylon, left her by the prophets, ever remained with her even to this day. Zion, the church, was destined to go into the Gentile nations, there to multiply, and at last to be delivered. These good tidings, now just before the gathering begins, the Lord wants us to proclaim far and wide, saying: “Hear the Word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare It in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.” Jer. 31:10-12.
Verses 11, 12 – “Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they His counsel: for He shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor.”
Verse 13 – “Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.”
Not the daughter of Jerusalem, but the daughter of Zion is to do the threshing. And she has the promise of an iron horn – Divine power, the kind that does not break. Moreover she is promised hoofs of brass, a special and distinct message by which to beat in pieces many people; that is, she is with it to thresh and select the wheat from the chaff. “I then saw the third angel. Said my accompanying angel, ‘Fearful is his work. Awful is his mission. He is the angel that is to select the wheat from the tares, and seal, or bind, the wheat for the heavenly garner. These things should engross the whole mind, the whole attention.’“ – “Early Writings,” p. 118.
“For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with His chariots like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many.” Isa. 66:15, 16. This is the first separation.
“And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard My fame, neither have seen My glory; and they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to My holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord.” Isa. 66:19, 20.
Those that escape from the slaying of the Lord, you note, are sent to the Gentile nations there to proclaim to them the Lord’s fame and His glory, and also to bring all their brethren (all that can be saved) to the house of the Lord. From this you can plainly see that those who escape must be the first fruits, the 144,000 Jacobites (Rev. 14:4). Those whom they bring from the Gentile nations to the house of the Lord must, therefore, be the second fruits (Rev. 7:9), thus where there is first there is also second. Finally you plainly see that from the purification of the church the 144,000 escape and become the servants of God, the remnant, those who finish the gospel work in all the world.
Now to summarize, let us review the most outstanding points of the study:
First the kingdom of Judah was to be dissolved – Zion plowed as a field and Jerusalem reduced to heaps.
Then in the latter days it is to be re-established, and exalted above the kingdoms of the Gentiles.
Third, when it is thus “established,” many nations are to go into it, and even to invite one another to go there to be taught the Lord’s way and to walk in His paths. This is to be so because the “law is to go forth of Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”
Fourth, the Lord is to judge from Zion, and from there He is to rebuke strong nations afar off. Those who accept His rebuke are to beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. The nations that join the Kingdom of the Lord are never again to lift up a sword against a nation, nor will they learn war any more. No longer will they need armament, for they are to be protected by a “wall of fire.” Zech. 2:5. Every man is to sit under his own fig tree, and none is to make him afraid, “for the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.”
Fifth, everyone of those who do not go to Jerusalem, and who do not disarm, shall walk in the name of his own false god. But all who join the kingdom of Judah shall walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.
Sixth, God will assemble and gather His people, the church – she that halteth, and she that was driven out, and she that was afflicted. He will make her a strong nation “and the Lord shall reign over them in Mt. Zion from henceforth even for ever.”
Seventh, to this Kingdom shall come even the first dominion.
This afternoon’s study shows how the gathering is to be accomplished and the gospel work finished, and the wicked world brought to an end. True, such a plan for finishing the work has not been our plan, but it is about time we realize that our plans have never been and never will be the Lord’s plans. We had better now accept His plans if we wish to go to Zion and there to stand with the Lamb.
A new day is dawning on us, Brother, Sister. And now, rather than imagining that we are rich and increased with goods, in need of nothing, we see ourselves in need of everything. Shall we not accept these riches (Truth) that are tried in the fire, and these garments of righteousness by which to cover our nakedness? Shall we not anoint our eyes with this fresh golden oil of Truth that we may see and know the way, that we may reach “the door” on time? There is no reason for staying wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. The Lord is waiting at the door of our hearts. He is anxious to pour out a blessing, to fill the cup to overflowing. Let us not disappoint Him by forcing Him to pass us by. Let us now disarm and fearlessly prepare to sit in peace under our God-given “fig tree.”