Board index Specific Bible verses, texts, and passages Micah

Re: Micah 5:2 is about Zorobabel not any "the Messiah"

Postby Hey Potato » Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:01 am

> This is correct, but I have shown clearly that the text is intentionally and obviously figurative in its structure and references

I won't acknowledge that you've shown "clearly" that it's "intentionally and obviously" so, the figurative reading is only one possible reading. However, for the sake of argument, let me ask a few questions:

* If proponents of supposedly fulfilled prophecy claim that it's only a figurative meaning that has been fulfilled, would you, in general, credit their supposed prophecy as having been fulfilled?
* Note also that Jesus has not, to this date, fulfilled even your figurative interpretation of Micah 5. You claim a "future fulfilment", but can you see why that doesn't count?
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Re: Micah 5:2 is about Zorobabel not any "the Messiah"

Postby jimwalton » Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:35 am

> I won't acknowledge that you've shown "clearly" that it's "intentionally and obviously" so, the figurative reading is only one possible reading.

Let me try again, then.

    * Micah 5.3 (written in 700 BC) looks forward through a long period of time until Israel's return from exile, starting in about 520 and continuing to about 450 BC. Therefore we know he's not speaking of an immediate fulfillment (conquering Assyria [which will already be defunct and gone], a Judahite king over Judah [which will not exist at the time], ruling over the whole world [a figurative eschatological reference]).
    * The historical reference in Micah 5.1 is grammatically contrasted in Micah 5.2 with the vav of contrast "(but you"), showing us that Micah has transitioned to speaking of an ideal messianic ruler.
    * In Micah 5.3-5, however, Micah also speaks of a Davidic Messiah some time in the indistinct future, but certainly not an immediate fulfillment. This Davidic messiah, though presented as an eventual historical person, encapsulates the figurative idealism of the eschatological messiah: eternal in nature, prince of peace, shepherd king, and universal reign.
    * In Micah 5.6, he is now using "Assyria" figuratively
    º Isa. 52.4, written about the same time, also uses "Assyria" figuratively
    º "Assyria" becomes an archetype of peoples hostile to God
    º Elsewhere in Micah (7.12), Assyria and Egypt represent two world powers that are used in conjunction with prophetic eschatology.
    º Since vv. 2-5 speak of a future Davidic ruler, presumably the Messiah, then this reference is reasonably figurative and future-looking
    * The phrase "in the midst of many peoples" in v. 7 suggests more than exile to Assyria. The expression "many peoples" throughout the book seems to be almost universal in its reference.
    * Micah 5.8 looks into the future, in which the exiled peoples of Judah will be transformed from an insignificant group of refugees to a power that dominates the world (vv. 7-9). He is not speaking of immediate fulfillment. He indubitably speaks in poetic, figurative language to emphasize their eschatological ascendancy and supremacy on the world stage.
    * Micah 5.10 uses the expression "in that day," an idiom for an eschatological prophecy. He is, again, talking about a messiah in the distant future.
    * In Micah 5.10-11 he is looking forward to an era of eschatological peace. He uses metaphorical and figurative language to paint his portrait. The peace will not be accomplished by war in this case, but rather by devotion.

There is an abundance of evidence in the text that Micah is not referring to an immediate situation (the impending Assyrian siege) in anything but v. 1. The rest of the chapter speaks figuratively of an eschatological time in the future and the ideal reign of the messianic shepherd king.

> If proponents of supposedly fulfilled prophecy claim that it's only a figurative meaning that has been fulfilled, would you, in general, credit their supposed prophecy as having been fulfilled?

Yes, because we need to understand the nature of biblical prophecy. Walton and Hill, in their "Survey of the Old Testament," explain: "A prophet is a spokesperson for God, similar to our presidential press secretary or an ambassador to a foreign country. They are authorized to speak not on their own behalf but on behalf of the authority over them. ...

"Each prophet came with a message from God, and it should be assumed that the prophet had some understanding of the message, though possibly not of its full or future import.

"Prediction and Fulfillment. Both of these terms can lead to harmful misperceptions about the nature of prophecy.

"Prediction: If someone today were to predict that the stock market would take a plunge, and then took some action that actually caused it to happen, he or she would not be praised for their ability to predict. The aspect of predictiveness is diminished by the direct link to causation.

"In the same way, the predictive element in biblical prophecy must usually be kept distinct from causation, else it ceases to be predictive. On these terms it is obvious that 'prediction' would not be the best word to describe biblical prophecy. Prophets themselves were not predicting anything, but merely giving the word of the Lord. The prophecy was God’s message, not the prophet’s. If predicting is understood to preclude causation, then God cannot predict, for he is the final cause of all. So in the end it must be recognized that prophecy is more interested in causation than in prediction. It is true that biblical prophecy spoke of events before they happened, but the purpose was that God would be properly recognized as having caused those events as a part of his ongoing plan.

"Rather than regarding prophecy as prediction, it is more helpful to consider it as 'God’s syllabus.' The syllabus for a course doesn’t 'predict' what will happen in each class period of the term, but presents the instructor’s plans and intentions for each period. The significance of the document is that the instructor is in a position to carry it out. Likewise, when a judge passes a sentence on a convicted criminal, he is not 'predicting' what will happen to that person. Rather, he is decreeing what ought to be done and is in a position to see that it is done.

"In prophetic literature, God is declaring his intentions and decreeing his judgments. Though these were still future when spoken, they could be considered prediction only in the broadest terms.

"Fulfillment: The prophet did not necessarily understand all of the possibilities of the prophecies he was speaking. It was the message itself that was inspired; it was the message that was the medium of God’s revelation. The fulfillment was almost incidental, though it was certainly important that it take place.

"Whether or not the interpreter is able to identify the fulfillment with confidence is open to question. There are numerous passages in the OT that, if read in the context of the time, would clearly suggest that certain things were going to happen in certain ways. As history unfolded, however, those things did not come to pass in the expected way (Examples: Isa. 11.16; Ezk. 26.5; Jonah 3). That it did not happen is not a blot on God’s reputation, for who knows how the word could yet be fulfilled? But it suggests that assurance about fulfillment cannot always be achieved. Consequently, one must not become so absorbed in figuring out when and how fulfillment will take place that the message is neglected.

"What is fulfillment? It indicates an appropriate correlation between the prophetic word and the event to which it is related. When NT authors suggest that some event 'fulfilled' an OT passage, he is not suggesting that the OT author was speaking or thinking of this event, but rather than an appropriate correlation can be drawn between the OT and the event."

I know it's a long quote, but I hope it helps answer your question.

> Note also that Jesus has not, to this date, fulfilled even your figurative interpretation of Micah 5. You claim a "future fulfilment", but can you see why that doesn't count?

It does count because Jesus himself indicated a multi-stage fulfillment to his presence and work. For instance, when he quoted Isaiah in his sermon at Nazareth (Lk. 4.14-21), he stops in the middle of the Isaianic verse 61.2. He was claiming that vv. 1-2a were fulfilled at that time, and 2bff. were for the future. The same can be seen in other statements of Jesus.

As far as its future fulfillment, much of it awaits his second coming, but even now his kingdom is reaching around the world. Statistics are that there are roughly 2.2 billion Christians on the planet. Evil ("Assyria") is being pushed back all over the globe (vv. 5-7). He is stopping wars not by conquest but by devotion (v. 10). Religious truth through Christian pervasiveness is conquering false religion (vv. 11-14) and false philosophy. There are many ways this prophecy is coming true, but it's ultimate fulfillment waits for His return.
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Re: Micah 5:2 is about Zorobabel not any "the Messiah"

Postby Dawood » Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:11 pm

You're being ridiculous. Outdoors doesn't automatically equal public. And on top of that shapeshifter appearances can't count as public! Realistically they don't count at all. But even you must admit they don't count as public, so the road to Emmaus is not a public appearance since he was shapeshifted into a different form.

> Your logic fails in that he did rise to live on earth again for 40 days

As a shapeshifter who appears in different forms yet a stupid book claims it was all the same guy; obviously they were just seeing Jesus in different random people.

> There is no such thing as group hallucinations.

There are lying scumwad writers. And Paul is full of feces in his 500 claim. Really its all garbage. A shapeshifter is not a resurrection! What the book describes is a shapeshifting ancient alien appearing after Jesus' death, not a resurrection.
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Re: Micah 5:2 is about Zorobabel not any "the Messiah"

Postby jimwalton » Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:12 pm

> Outdoors doesn't automatically equal public.

In a private room, there are no (or very little) chance of anyone witnessing it. Outdoors it's free range: anyone in the vicinity might also see it. Many people could possibly see it. It's a public environment.

> And on top of that shapeshifter appearances can't count as public!

Your "shapeshifter" label is just science fiction. I won't accept it in reasonable discourse. Let's talk about real things, not made up characters.

> so the road to Emmaus is not a public appearance

The truth is that neither of us have any idea how many other people may have seen Jesus with those two men. Since it was outdoors, on a public thoroughfare, during the day, it counts as a public appearance.

> As a shapeshifter

Now, now. "Shapeshifter" is science fiction. Let's talk about real things.

> There are lying scumwad writers.

There is quite a bit of evidence that the Gospel writers are honest and rational men of integrity. There is no evidence they are lying scumwad writers. If you wish to make that case, you need to substantiate it instead of just name-calling.

> Paul is full of feces in his 500 claim.

Again, the examination of Paul's many books reveal him to be a man of honesty and integrity, who writes not only rationally but wisely. Since we know that the others whom Paul claim saw Christ did (based on the Gospel accounts), we have no reason to doubt his reference to the 500. Again, unless of course you have evidence to the contrary. Once, just once, I'd be pleased to see ANY substantiation for ANYTHING you claim. As of now, based on everything you've said about Micah, you are striking out.
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Re: Micah 5:2 is about Zorobabel not any "the Messiah"

Postby Hey Potato » Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:40 pm

There's a lot of points here I could answer or ask about, I'll zoom in on one.
If proponents of supposedly fulfilled prophecy claim that it's only a figurative meaning that has been fulfilled, would you, in general, credit their supposed prophecy as having been fulfilled?
Yes, [followed by explanation]
Let's look at an example of a prophecy that was made, and fulfilled according to your criterion.

The year A.D. 1878 … clearly marks the time for the actual assuming of power as King of kings, by our present, spiritual, invisible Lord ...


and

But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble.


This prediction was made by the Watchtower magazine, acknowledged by Jehovah's Witnesses as a modern prophetic voice. See https://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/failed-1914-predictions.php

Note that Jesus did not physically return in 1914 and wrap things up. However, the Watchtower points out that their prophecy was, in fact, on target:

DECADES in advance, Bible students proclaimed that there would be significant developments in 1914.... Just as Jesus predicted, his “presence” as heavenly King has been marked by dramatic world developments​—war, famine, earthquakes, pestilences.... Such developments bear powerful testimony to the fact that 1914 indeed marked the birth of God’s heavenly Kingdom and the beginning of “the last days” of this present wicked system of things.​


See https://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/bible-teach/1914-significant-year-bible-prophecy/

So, their prophecy was figuratively fulfilled.

Does this count?
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Re: Micah 5:2 is about Zorobabel not any "the Messiah"

Postby jimwalton » Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:52 pm

No, it doesn't count, despite your pointing out some superficial similarities.

I can make a similar prophecy about the upcoming Super Bowl: The team from the coast, rising like the light of the morning sun, will sacrifice the other before the day is done.

There.

Since both teams are from a coastal city, that doesn't take us far. Boston is in the east, where the sun rises, but L.A. is the city of angels, so what did mean by "rising like the light of the morning sun"? And a ram is a sacrificial animal, but will the ram do the sacrifice or be the sacrifice?

The problems with the J.W. "prophecies":

    1. The source was not God, as is the case with Micah.
    2. The Watchtower changed their tune when 1914 didn't spell the end, backtracking on things previously claimed. Turns out, they were just wrong.
    3. The J.W.'s prophecies are more like that preacher who claimed that the world would end on October 21st by another planet hitting it. It didn't happen, and then (and only then) did he backtrack on what he said. Turns out, he was just wrong.

The Micah text is substantially different from that. There are plenty of clues in the text itself that there was no immediate fulfillment in mind, that there were plenty of figurative elements (such as "Assyria") in the mix, and that it ultimately pointed to an eschatological fulfillment in its grand scope. This conclusion was no added later when the original didn't happen (a la JWs and David Meade), but was always in the text. The difference is vast and substantial.
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Re: Micah 5:2 is about Zorobabel not any "the Messiah"

Postby Hey Potato » Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:48 am

I'm sorry, you're not making a strong enough case to persuade me, which is sad.

I'll state my reasons, but I suspect we're about done here - unless you have something to add that demonstrates that you understand my reasons, and can show what I've missed.

You say the similarities are superficial, but perhaps they seem superficial merely because you already believe one and not the other? They aren't actually as superficial as they look to you.

For example, you claim:

> The source was not God, as is the case with Micah.

Those who claim the watchtower "prophecy" was "fulfilled" would disagree with you on this. They also claim Watchtower is a prophetic voice from God.

If one is really from God and the other not, of course there's a difference. However, all you can actually demonstrate is that one is claimed to be from God, and the other is also claimed to be from God. Unless there's some particular reason to strongly believe one claim, that's a deep similarity, not a superficial one.

Also:

> The Watchtower changed their tune when 1914 didn't spell the end, backtracking on things previously claimed. Turns out, they were just wrong

However, it appears the disciples, or some 20th century commentator, or you, have done the same with Micah. When no ruler rose up in Israel to defeat the Assyrians, you backtrack and claim a "future" fulfillment in Jesus. If you honestly evaluate your own treatment of Micah using the same standard you use with Watchtower, you'll see that you, too, have just replaced a failed prophecy with a completely different meaning (that, incidentally, also has not been fulfilled to this day).

While you claim your conclusion "was always in the text", so does Watchtower. You, like them, say that the plain meaning of the text is not what it "really" means, stringing together long chains of stretches of meaning.

I wonder why you do this. What is so frightening about just accepting that Micah got it wrong?
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Re: Micah 5:2 is about Zorobabel not any "the Messiah"

Postby jimwalton » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:34 am

My real problem with the Watchtower prophecies about 1914 is that they changed their story after the fact, which is not the case with Micah. Therefore they are two different things.

In 1911, Watchtower said, "The year A.D. 1878 … clearly marks the time for the actual assuming of power as King of kings, by our present, spiritual, invisible Lord - …" ("The Time is At Hand" [1911 ed.] p. 239) and also "But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble ("Zion's Watch Tower," 1894, Jul 15 p. 226)

But then 1993 they wrote, "The Watchtower has consistently presented evidence to honesthearted students of Bible prophecy that Jesus’ presence in heavenly Kingdom power began in 1914" ("Watchtower," Jan. 15, 1993, p.5) and also "Jehovah's witnesses pointed to the year 1914, decades in advance, as marking the start of "the conclusion of the system of things" ("Awake!" Jan. 22, 1973, p.8).

They changed their story.

Before 1914, they prophesied dogmatically:

* "the deliverance of the saints must take place some time before 1914 is manifest" (Thy Kingdom Come [1911 ed.] p. 228)
* "the Day of Vengeance ... will end in October, 1914" (The Day of Vengeance p. 547)
* "the great 'time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation,' will reach its culmination [in 1914]" )The Time Is at Hand [1889 ed.] page 7778)
* "we present proofs that the setting up of the Kingdom of God is already begun" (The Time Is At Hand [1889 ed.] p. 101)
* **"we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished near the end of A.D.1914."** (Studies in the Scriptures - The Time is at Hand [1889] 1911 ed. p. 99
* "October, 1914, will witness the full end of Babylon" (Watch Tower, June 15, 1911 p. 190 [reprints p. 4842])
* **"Christendom, will have passed away, as already shown in prophecy."** (Thy Kingdom Come [1891 ed.] p.153)

Before 1914, They prophesied:

* The Last Days began 1799
* Jesus Parousia started 1874
* Jesus started ruling in heaven in 1878
* The Gentile Times would end in 1914, resulting in the end of Armageddon, the fall of false religion, the end of all earthly governments, heavenly and earthly resurrections, and paradise on earth

After 1914 they changed it to various progressive iterations: (1) The last days started in 1799, ending in 1914; (2) The last days started in 1914, ending within a single lifetime/generation of those born prior to 1914; (3) The last days started in 1914, with an unspecified ending, after a period of an "overlapping generation.

The differences between Watchtower and Micah are vast and profound.

> However, it appears the disciples, or some 20th century commentator, or you, have done the same with Micah. When no ruler rose up in Israel to defeat the Assyrians, you backtrack and claim a "future" fulfillment in Jesus.

This is not the case. As I've said plainly from the beginning, and given evidence, Micah's prophecy has ALWAYS pointed to partial fulfillment in the restoration after exile, and a mature fulfillment in the eschaton. The prophecy of the rising ruler in Micah 5.2 was followed immediately by motion of a time of exile (v. 3), a restoration (v. 3). The time of exile, in Micah's writing, falls between the siege by Assyria and the new Davidic ruler whose greatness reaches to the end of the earth. Then Micah shifts to idyllic eschatological writing for his conclusion.

I am not "frightened" about accepting that Micah got it wrong. Instead, I see that Micah's intent was never an immediate cure.


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