- Jim Fletcher
First published at Beliefnet December 24, 2022
One of the most remarkable prophecies in the Bible 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.
Micah was a prophet in Israel and he predicted the brutal Assyrian invasion, which occurred in the eighth century B.C. He was a contemporary of fellow prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah. But it was this astonishing prophecy about Bethlehem that was fulfilled hundreds of years later with the coming of the Messiah.
God, through Micah, called this event 700 years before it happened. If he can do that, He can fix your problems. That’s what Christmas Eve is all about.
Verse 2 tells us that the tiny hamlet of Bethlehem, obscure even to people of that day, would be the birthplace of the long-awaited Messiah. Almost from the beginning, believers in the Creator God knew that a Redeemer was coming, one that would serve as a sacrifice for individual sins. He would be the only path to being reconciled to God, given the sin nature that all humans inherit from Adam. As far back as Job (thought to be one of the oldest books in the Bible), people had some pretty detailed understanding of this coming Redeemer:
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. (Job 19:25-27)
This Redeemer would rule Israel, forever, and be the Savior not only of the Jews, but all mankind. Finally, we are told in this beautiful wording that He is “from everlasting.” This distinguishes him from pagan gods, all of whom have a beginning, a birth. This is key to understanding this particular passage, since while it provides a backdrop for the birth of a child, that child has no beginning and no ending. He is, I Am (John 11:25, among others).
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)
Many people try to explain the Micah prophecy away, but if you know a bit of history, and understand the biblical context, Micah 5:2 is very clearly describing Jesus Christ. Born around 4 B.C., in that afterthought place, his parents happened to be there to register with the government.
It’s easier to believe this story is real, and not a myth, than it is to believe the tortured explanations from liberal scholars and skeptics.
Tonight, on Christmas Eve, you might feel totally alone. You might be fighting some depression. Many people do at the holidays. Another helpful verse to commit to memory is found in Matthew 11:28:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
If you can let yourself believe though that the God of all creation—the One that made you—knows everything, including the future, you can find the peace that comes from being reconciled to God. The Apostle Paul explained this in his letter to the Romans:
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (Romans 10:9,10)
Tonight, if you need peace, tell the Man from Bethlehem that you are weary and burdened. Ask Him to give you rest and peace. He will do it.
Christmas must be tonight!