Micah 6 and the Eschaton

koot van wyk (DLitt et Phil; ThD)

Visiting Professor

Kyungpook National University

Sangju Campus

South Korea

Conjoint lecturer of Avondale College


31 March 2012


             One of the unfortunate errors of Rabbis in the Middle Ages, and that is not all of them, is that some of them kept thinking that the book of Micah is speaking of events in the days of Micah and no further.
            The special setting of Micah 6 is a court-scene. This is fundamental to the chapter. The formulation of the various verses are done with such a scene in mind. The judge, the witnesses, the prosecutor, the accused or defense, the advocates.
           Micah started chapter 6 with an annoucement of the courtcase. He calls upon creatures to hear the words of the Lord (6:1). He is calling the witnesses together for the courtcase, the jury. The jury are symbolically called mountains and hills. There is no reason to claim that God has an interest for mountains and hills to hear what He has to say. God speak to the abilities of creatures able to hear and understand. Both earthly and heavenly creatures should pay attention. In verse two we have the legal prologue to the case, the announcement of the parties and what the case is all about (6:2). Years ago, B. Gemser (1955) wrote articles on the rib-passages of the Old Testament. Rib is the Hebrew word for contention. It can mean "to cry out; to contend; to argue; to have a courtcase". Did God plan a rib with His people? Is there a special time set aside by God when He will rib with all generations of His people in a heavenly court scene? The secret is understood in Daniel 7 with the courtcase of the Son of Man before the Ancient of Days. It is further understood as starting in 1844 at the end of the 2300 days prophecy of Daniel 8:14 which is 2300 years (with the year-day principle) since the 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 works on the year-day principle accurately identifying the baptism of Jesus in 27 CE and His death in 31 CE and the Martyrdom of Stephen in 34 CE. Christ entered the Most Holy as Highpriest to do atonement for His people. It is an Investigative Judgment on behalf or in favor of His people and the purpose is to clear their names before the heavenly jury, angels and other unfallen worlds, in order to secure their space in heaven "and when I have prepare a place for you, I will come again" (John 14:1-3). It is the stigma against His people's names that is cleared and this is also a kind of atonement. It was the symbolic background of the Day of Atonement theology of the Old Testament. The rib-theology was widespread in the prophets and we will mention Amos 7; Micah 6, 7; Hosea 2, 4, 5; Isaiah 1, 3, 19, 27, 41, 49, 50, 51, 57, 58; Jeremiah 2, 3, 12, 15, 18, 25, 50, 51. Nearly 25 references in the Old Testament prophets. In each one God is announcing that He has a case or a contention with His people. If the Investigative Judgment of His people was to start in 1844 and further, then what we have in Micah 6 is a prolepsis in which the prophet can see what is at stake in a future event but which people in Micah's day should pay attention to since specific aspects also affects them in Micah's day. We do the same when we say, Lord, help me to be resurrected at the Second Coming. We pay attention to actions that will be in future events. And that is what Micah is doing hearing and seeing the event in advance.
               In Micah 6:1, since it is a court-scene, there is a first announcer who ask the jury and witnesses to listen to the advocate who is about to speak. A second announcer in Micah 6:2 announce the agenda of the case. He explains who is the accuser, the defendant, and why there is a case. It is done in the presence of the jury. The angels and unfallen worlds are the jury since they are the righteous innocent ones who did not follow Lucifer in his great deception with the Rebellion in Heaven (see Isaiah 14:12-14 for the locus classicus of the Rebellion in Heaven of Lucifer). It is not just metaphores or symbolic, but reality. The announcer asks the "mountains" again to listen "hear". In heaven and on earth the universe is asked to listen to the Lord's case. On earth God chose of cause through this deliberation, Micah to talk to the great ones on earth "you mighty ones, the foundations of the earth". This has nothing to do with cosmology or even ancient cosmology. The rigtheous keeps the world stable. It is that simple. God has a rib = contention with His people. Every generation there were rebelious people but God does not have a rib every generation of people. God has a specific time for the rib and that was announced in Daniel 8:14, "Unto two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings then the sanctuary shall be righteous (nizdak)". It is the start of the Investigative Judgment and this was to last since 1844 until the Second Coming, based on the prophetic principle of the year-day principle.
                     In Micah 6:3 the Advocate in heaven in that sanctuary court (Daniel 7 with the son of Man before the Ancient of Days), Christ is talking about the sinful remnant of God. "O My people" Christ says "what have I done and how have I wearied you?" Christ is asking how one can say the worship of God is wearing the souls of humans? It was in the Garden of Eden that God walked with Adam and Eve, it was walking that He did with Enoch. The rabbis of the Middle Ages pointed out that God has no intention to weary His faithful. That is why He did not require from them to hunt for wild animals and bring that as a sacrifice. He chose comfortable settings, domestic animals only. God is not a God of ceremonies and pomp. The law can be read on the way or sitting at home. God wants to be worshipped while humans are comfortable (Numbers Rabbah 20:5; Leviticus Rabbah 27:4).    
God is calling on the jury to ask if they agree that He wearies anybody.
                     God presents then some examples of how He took care of historical Israel. He brought them out of the land of Egypt after 1450 BCE and redeemed them (Micah 6:4). The interesting thing is that before He redeemed them, He sent Moses, Aaron and Miriam as Elijah like heralds to announce His redemption before it happened. The Middle Age rabbi, Redak (1157-1236) said that "Prior to the exodus, I sent you heralds during your labor to inform you that the redemption was at hand". It is the same function that the third Elijah message had in 1844 and the same one that the fourth Elijah message will have at the Latter Rain experience, which will be the final call. The rabbis thought that Moses was called because of his legal expertise, Aaron to take care of atonement and Miriam to instruct. A second case is lifted out of history by God and that is in the days of Balak king of Moab and the incident of Balaam son of Beor in Numbers 23:8 in Micah 6:5 "How shall I be angry if God is not angry?" "From Shittim to Gilgal, may you recognize the righteous deeds of the Lord". Rabbis Kara and Redak pointed out that "at that time, Israel deserved to be destroyed, but God bestowed His kindness upon His people".
                   In Micah 6:6-7 Micah interrupted the court proceedings by focussing on his own sin and himself. Just like Isaiah reacted when he was taken in vision to see God in Isaiah 6, so Micah also became aware of his own unworthiness in God's presence. Sin needs atonement and this is what Micah is thinking first.
"With what shall I come before the Lord, bow before the Most High God?" If Micah as representative of the human race is to come in this court-scene before the Ancient of Days, what is the ransom he can pay to get his sins settled? He asked if the Lord will be pleased with a thousand rams and oil? Whether he should offer his firstborn that is also filled with sin just like himself? (Micah 6:7). The solution was of course that the Advocate has died Himself as ransom for all the faithful's sins. "Shall I give [to] my firstborn, my transgression [or/and] [to] the fruit in my body, the sin of my soul".
                The divine solution to this dilemma of sin is given in Micah 6:8: "He has told you, O man, what is good, and what does the Lord demand of you: but to do justice, to love lovingkindness, and to walk discreetly with your God". Again, very comfortable religion of God. Then the narrator continued that the voice of the Lord calls out in the city and the wisdom of the Torah saying: "The one who sees your name [city name]; listens to the staff and [He] Who appointed it" (Micah 6:9). God gives kingship and rulership to people and others will listen to it because it was given by God.
               The voice of the Lord continues to say: "Does the house of the wicked last long, [or do] the treasures of wickedness?" (Micah 6:10). Economic malpractices are condemned and in the vein of Deuteronomy 25:13 it is said that one should not have two different measures for ephah. In Micah 6:11 God is saying that the scales of the wicked are deceitful weights. Those who got rich with deceit are full of violence and the inhabitants of their houses and towns are speaking lies and their tongues are full of guile (6:12).
            A number of punishments will await the wicked but in this case also those remnant members who turned wicked: sore wounds (6:13), desolation, remain hungry (6:14), physically bent over, shall not be fruitful to have children, shall have no succesful harvest even oil or grapes (6:15). The big reason is that these remnant members went astray and follow the statutes of Omri and every deed in the house of Ahab. They walk in their counsels. For this reason God will make them an astonishment in the executive judgment and the inhabitants of their cities a hissing and the disgrace of My people the remnant. The remnant will have 1000 years during the Confirmantion Judgment to re-establish for themselves why the Lord did not save their other loved ones. They Lord was right and they will see that for themselves and therefore the indignation of their loved ones in the remnant will be felt before the Executive Judgment at the end of the 1000 years of which Revelation of John speaks about.