All right, you caught me. I took a short break from studying Micah. Books tend to be difficult primarily because there can be aspects that are not so interesting, repetitive, and long. When any of those three things get involved in writing for a blog, I lose readers. It’s sad that few have any interest in knowing what’s in this fantastic book we call a Bible. Sure, I have to slog through some tedious stuff, but overall it excites me.
The dive into Micah came out of some boredom that had infiltrated as I had finished a goal and was pondering what to look at next. The interruption of Micah came for several reasons: I needed a break, and my friends started challenging me with questions and ideas about other topics. One of those topics was Judas Iscariot, which I recently posted. The idea behind a character study on Judas was an attempt to break what I see as a spirit of judgmentalism. In truth, we don’t know what became of Judas and God, has yet to pass judgment upon anyone, so why do we think He needs our help?
Another question arose, asking me for my take on 2 Thessalonians 2:3. That particular passage does not stand alone, but if you only read one verse that day, and tried to build your life around it, you would believe that the body of Christ is meant to go through God’s wrath. Multiple times, throughout the New Testament, using different terminology, we are told that we are NOT meant to endure God’s wrath.
1Thessalonians 1:10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.
1Thessalonians 5:9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Romans 5:9 NASB Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
So for you to read some passage, or allow someone to convince you, that we are going to have to experience God’s wrath is fallacious on their part and it makes them a false teacher.
Just for the sake of clarity, I want to advance beyond 2 Thes 2:3 and show you the entire context up to verse 11.
2 Thessalonians 2:6-11 NASB (6) And you know what restrains him now so that in his time he will be revealed. (7) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. (8) Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; (9) that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, (10) and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. (11) For this reason, God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,
Note several things here.
- Something is restraining the man of lawlessness, the son of destruction.
That something is the body of Christ, the Church. We have as an anchor, a hope that this life we are living is based on the truth of Jesus words, that He will come back to retrieve us; this catching away is the trigger for all the hell that the seven-year period will bring. A second peculiarity is the multiple names given to this man. It is just one man, called many things, including beast.
- Verse three tells us that the apostasy must come first.
In case you had not noticed, it already has. How many people read their Bible? Religious organizations have blatantly incorporated sin into their doctrinal practices, and most of those who call themselves “Christians” are merely convenient Christians.
- Verse 7 states that “he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.”
See how it is expressed in the singular “he.” The church, which is the body of Christ, is supposed to be one unit in Christ. That is the way God sees it and addresses it. A day is coming when the church will be snatched out of here. That word snatched conveys the idea of a rapid, almost violent removal; not that God is performing some violence upon us, it is more like having someone pull you out of the way of a flash flood. Consider the circumstances with Lot, Noah, and perhaps even Rahab.
- Having been taken out of the way, as verse 7 states, the man of lawlessness will then be revealed.
I have a strong inclination that this man is a Muslim. This kind of talk is not hate speech as some might say; it is a logical path spelled out in scripture, and it points to Islam. The book of Micah communicates it clearly when it calls him the Assyrian.
I repeatedly say we have done ourselves a great disservice because we call the seven years that are coming “The Great Tribulation.”
The Bible never calls the seven years “The Great Tribulation”; it is, however, a time of judgment, and it is the time of God’s wrath. This wrath is directed at the Jews for rejecting Him, and the nations for the way they treat God and His people.
The Nations used to mean “them,” as we thought of ourselves as the good guys, but now it can readily be pointing at people within these United States as well, for we are the worst of offenders anymore. Effectively, the nations mean those outside of a relationship with Jesus. When you consider that the nations are having to go through the wrath of God, do not forget that the Holy Spirit will still be here drawing all humanity to Him, and, the veil that has covered their eyes will be lifted. There will be nothing, outside of selfish motives, that would prevent anyone from finding Jesus in this morass that is coming. Sadly, there will be no more grace it seems, and all who come to Him will have to prove their allegiance to God in death.
On that happy note, let’s finish chapter 3 of Micah.
The last time we looked at Micah, he was addressing the Heads of Jacob and magistrates of the house of Israel. Why? Because soon the Land of Israel will be so torn up by rockets and invading forces, that you will not be able to measure the land, nor will you be able to stop what is coming. It seems that there will not be the appropriate people left to make sound decisions. While Micah does not mention Ezekiel’s prophecy, this sounds very much like what Ezekiel describes in chapters 38, 39 of his writings.
How did Israel’s leadership respond?
Just as they would today, and just as a former pastor accosted me by saying, “Don’t tell us these things, nothing bad will happen to us.” Micah persisted. No, you are going to be attacked, and they were; they were finally taken captive into Babylon.
Odd how such an admonition could be spurned, especially since Micah pointed out to them that they had already been, in a sense, stealing, looting, and pillaging from the people for years. An example of this kind of talk is seen here –
Micah 2:8-9 ERV But you attack my people like enemies. You steal the clothes off the backs of people walking by. They think they are safe, but you are there to treat them like prisoners of war. (9) You have taken nice houses away from the women of my people. You have taken my wealth away from their small children forever.
Are Micah’s words all bad? No, as Micah 2:12,13 have good news for some.
Micah 2:12-13 ERV Yes, people of Jacob, I will bring all of you together. I will bring together all those in Israel who are still living. I will put them together like sheep in the sheep pen, like a flock in its pasture. Then the place will be filled with the noise of many people. (13) The “One Who Breaks Through Walls” will push through and walk to the front of his people. They will break through the gates and leave that city. They will leave with their king marching before them— with the LORD at the front of his people.
The remnant of Israel will be gathered once again.
We are told that theMessiah will put them together like sheep in pen, protected. While it sounds like such a small number it’s not, ” The place will be filled with the noise of many people.” When we read Ezekiel, we see two-thirds of Israel being killed. With a current population slightly over 8 million, two-thirds slaughter would leave about 2 million people. That’s still a lot of people.
Good news is somewhat relative, and this is the lead into Micah 3: 8.
Micah 3:8 ESV But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.
Sadly, Micah is not speaking for everyone. Doesn’t this sound like the Holy Spirit? He is empowered with justice and might for a purpose; that purpose is:
“to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.”
Micah 3:9-11 ESV Hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, who detest justice and make crooked all that is straight, (10) who build Zion with blood and Jerusalem with iniquity. (11) Its heads give judgment for a bribe; its priests teach for a price; its prophets practice divination for money; yet they lean on the LORD and say, “Is not the LORD in the midst of us? No disaster shall come upon us.”
He opens the volley with, “Hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, and ends the chapter with, “on account of you.”
Micah 3:12 NASB Therefore, on account of you Zion will be plowed as a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of ruins, And the mountain of the temple will become high places of a forest.
Not to despair, as chapter 4 paints a picture of majesty and Holy living before God.