The Emergence of the Exalted Mountain
There is an interesting perspective concerning the Word of the Lord and the prophetic in scripture. In Genesis, it seems that often, God spoke to individuals without the idea of them being singled out as a prophet or prophetess. God would at times speak to both men and women His own heart, intentions, and instructions. There were certainly unique and significant characters that the Lord did single out as chosen vessels of purpose, but we would not label them as prophets in the way that prophets were distinguished later in the Old Testament or the New. I’m thinking especially of individuals such as Noah, Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. They were unique chosen vessels who seemed to have a deeper relationship than others because of their calling, but they were not distinguished as the only individuals that could hear from the Lord. There are many examples of people in Genesis hearing from the Lord, including foreign kings. There is only one verse in all of Genesis that specifically names anyone a prophet and that is in Genesis 20 and it refers to Abraham. It could certainly be argued that Joseph acted as a prophet and for sure there were individuals considered to be seers before Moses, but there is a distinct indication that a new era had begun with the beginning of the ministry of Moses in Exodus. The gap between the end of Genesis and the beginning of Exodus is approximately 300 years and there is no record of the Lord speaking to Israel during that period.
Then Moses breaks on the scene and there is a distinct sense that a new era has begun. It is during the ministry of Moses that we begin to hear of a prophet who will come that will be an even greater prophet than Moses. From the time of Moses until Malachi at the end of the Old Testament writings, the ministry of the prophet as the spokesman of God reaches full measure. Then of course we come to another 400 years that are often called the 400 years of silence. Then John the Baptist comes on the scene and he represents the last of the Old Testament type of prophet. We often mistakenly think the Old Testament ended with Malachi. The Old Covenant does not end until the beginning of the New Covenant in Christ. Jesus himself spoke concerning John the Baptist and indicated that he was the last and greatest of the Old Testament prophets, John 7:24-28. And, from that time on there would be a people who would excel at representing the Word of the Lord.
The reason I have brought this up as we are studying Micah 4 is because it is very important to understand that when an Old Testament prophet speaks it is very important to discern the use of the phrase, “in the last days”. When the prophets speak of the last days, we must realize that 2 distinct eras can be referred to, both of them refer to the coming of the Lord, one is the time of the New Covenant or the coming of Christ as Savior and the initiation of the church age or gospel age. The other time that might be referred to, points to the coming of Christ at the full inauguration of the eternal reign on earth. The difficulty is, that the Kingdom of God has fully come now from a heavenly perspective and yet, it has not fully come on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father and his kingdom reign has now been established in heaven. This is the amazing scene that is pictured in Revelation 4 and 5. This is the New Song that has been introduced in heaven. In Revelation 4 the heavenly scene depicts the Father being worshipped as He has always been worshipped, the One who created all things. Then in chapter 5 the Lamb is found worthy and Revelation 5:9 says they sang a brand-new worship song in heaven. Jesus reigns now and his kingdom rule has begun. Acts 2:33 “Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.” The outpouring of the Holy Spirit into the earth, proves that his reign has begun.
When Micah declares that “It shall come to pass in the latter days” we must discern the time that he is declaring. Is he speaking of an exaltation of the House of the Lord with the coming of Jesus and the initiation of the kingdom in the exaltation of Jesus to the throne in heaven or is he speaking of a future time when the Lord descends from heaven to the earth? The idea of an exalted mountain is mentioned in Revelation 21:10-11 and is almost certainly referenced here in Micah. “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a rarest jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.” Also, the statement in Micah 4:3 gives us some insight, “…and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore…” Even though the language used here in Micah has numerous indications that it is using symbolic language, it would be difficult to interpret this idea of no more war as having been fulfilled in the natural or even the spiritual. In other words, the time has not yet fully come for the fulfillment of this prophecy. I do think that in the concept of partial but not fully realized, the idea of the mountain of the Lord being on the highest mountain very possibly has already begun to be fulfilled in that Jesus is already reigning from heaven, but Revelation 21 and Micah both indicate an earthly kingdom.
Micah 4:2-5 “And many nations shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples and shall decide disputes for strong nations far away, and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore; but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken. For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.”
The nations flow up to the city to learn about God because the true knowledge of God can be found there. Also, in the city, true judgment can be found to discern right and wrong so that all disputes are settled in the city of God. The ultimate end is peace. It is inevitable because the mouth of the Lord has spoken it and it is eternal because the Lord has purposed it. Peace shall flow from the city like a river. (Compare Isaiah 2:1-3, “for out of Zion, the Law shall go forth and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem, see also Zechariah 8:20-22 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: Peoples shall yet come, even the inhabitants of many cities. The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the LORD and to seek the LORD of hosts; I am going.’ Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the LORD.”)
The purpose of the journey is to learn the ways or paths of God. The concept of discipleship, following the lamb and being led by His Spirit. Psalm 103:7 says that the children of Israel saw the acts of God, but Moses knew His ways. Very often I find that we are much more desirous to see His acts rather than to know His ways. This desire changes everything about the way that we worship. It creates a desperate groping for the Spirit in our gatherings rather than a passionate desire to worship Him for who He is and because He is worthy. Our hearts must become gripped with an awareness of His worthiness that carries no hidden motive of coercing His to do anything. We celebrate what He has done, not what we desire Him to do. The song of the redeemed is not focused on His miracles, it is focused on His worthiness. Revelation 5:9-10 “And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
In our next teaching, we will look at these scriptures from another angle. If the New Jerusalem is the bride of Christ, the church, and descends from heaven, then what does it mean that we go to Jerusalem to learn His ways and His paths? The kingdom now but not yet fully come.