As I tried to get through Micah 5:4-6 I realized that I could not do this section justice in a short essay, and, when I got to verse 6, I was stymied by the phrase “they shall waste the land of Assyria.” We have seen Israel since they became a nation, withstand attacks from Egypt Syria, and Jordan during the six-day war of 1967. I think it is safe to say that we have never seen Israel conquering any nations in our lifetimes. And, if you want to get biblical about this, they never overcame the nations they were told to, all those years ago. So why would things change now? I am not saying this to be derogatory, but I am trying to understand what God, through His word, is trying to tell us.
I am an advocate, and a believer in the idea that all this prophecy is understandable. If I can help in that understanding, then so be it.
Previously we were looking at:
Micah 5:3-5 (NLT) The people of Israel will be abandoned to their enemies until the woman in labor gives birth. Then, at last, his fellow countrymen will return from exile to their own land. (4) And he will stand to lead his flock with the LORD’s strength, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. Then his people will live there undisturbed, for he will be highly honored around the world. (5) And he will be the source of peace. When the Assyrians invade our land and break through our defenses, we will appoint seven rulers to watch over us, eight princes to lead us.
In verses 3-5 we learned that –
- “Israel will be abandoned to their enemies until the woman in labor gives birth.” For a similar verse we can look to the Revelation, and there the woman is Israel. The woman gives birth to two things: the nation, and the Messiah (although Israel still does not accept that.)
- We are told that after this birth, “his fellow countrymen will return from exile to their own land.” Since Israel became a nation. there has a steady influx of Jews returning to Israel.
Verse 4 is where things begin to get obscure. Since the NASB gives me a more defined picture, that is what I will use here.
- “And He will arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of the LORD.” Since I said Israel gives birth to two things, it should be clear at this point, that the reference is Yeshua, the Messiah. Ezekiel 37:24 NASB “My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd, and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. King David did reign, but Israel, or technically Judah, as for many years it was a split kingdom, did not wholeheartedly walk in God’s ordinances, nor keep His commandments. Since they are still living like this today; and, Yeshua is not their shepherd. Then perhaps this reference is speaking of a future time. We see such a time when we look at the millennial reign. If we do not see Yeshua shepherding His flock, it is not for lack of effort.
- “Then his people will live there undisturbed, for he will be highly honored around the world.” NLT Israel, thinks they are safe, but they are not; and, Jesus, is not highly honored.
- “ And he will be the source of peace. When the Assyrians invade our land and break through our defenses.” First, the Assyrians, one of the earliest large scale entities to consume a continent, ranged from present-day Armenia in the North; West through Asia Minor; East into modern day Kuwait, and South through Egypt. That range makes any of the current Muslim nations encompassing the Mediterranean a contender to be the Assyrian. In my book, Recep Principe Erdoğan, the President of Turkey, is a front runner, and we see someone who looks fits that description when we read Ezekiel 38 and 39.
Because there are other possibilities, let’s examine one other.
The prophecies of Ezekiel mention the destruction of Egypt and it uses the Tower of Syene in chapters 29 and 30 as a landmark. That tower is an aspect of the Aswan Dam and did not exist until 1970. The dam was built with the assistance of the Russians who bragged of its bunker-like qualities. They openly stated that only a nuclear weapon could take down the dam. Israel’s defense minister has also remarked that a nuclear weapon would be an option if they had to strike the dam in a retaliatory move against Egypt. Since Egypt could likewise be deemed the Assyrian. Suddenly Egypt has been thrust into my spotlight, and I must admit, I had previously never heard anyone talk about this event and the importance of this tower.
“we will appoint seven rulers to watch over us, eight princes to lead us.” One of the techniques in interpreting scripture is to let scripture explain itself. So, what do we have that might explain this phrase?
Ecclesiastes 11:2 NET. Divide your merchandise among seven or even eight investments, for you do not know what calamity may happen on earth.
While Ecclesiastes is sound wisdom, it does not seem so profound when you are under attack and the enemy is wreaking havoc in the courts of your temples. So I am not sure this applies. You have to consider the number eight to get a substantial answer.
“eight. As seven is the symbol of a sacred whole, so eight, when united with it, is something beyond it (Pusey). The spiritual significance of the number eight often includes the thought of a new beginning (for the first day of the week is the eighth day, a new beginning), resurrection, and regeneration.” The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury
Maybe what we should be considering when it comes to rulers watching over us is the Millennial reign. We know that there will be peace, security, and judges ruling over the earth.
Now, with all that being said let’s look at Micah 5:6.
Micah 5:6 KJV And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he comes into our land, and when he treads within our borders.
Since Assyria is non-existent as a nation, then the Assyrian as represented here has to be ancestral or symbolic; and, since we have covered the territorial range of the Assyrians, we can move forward.
- “And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof.”
Finis Jennings Dake’s commentary refers to this “they” as: “Whoever they are.” Obviously, that doesn’t help me.
J Vernon McGee adds: “the confederacy of nations which will come against Israel.” He feels that Israel will repulse this battle and then take the battle back into the Assyrians land. But as I noted, Israel has not conquered any nations lately, so why start now?
Personally, what I see is commentators attributing this sentence to foolish ideas, or they are merely parroting each other as they try to describe Israel eliminating an aggressor nation, of which they have many.
J Vernon McGee may have the more correct assumption when he calls these nations a confederation. This confederation idea proves itself out when you look at the Muslim countries of the Middle East. A short list of those countries: Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Northern African Nations, (and Russia, which we don’t view as a Muslim nation.) All of these, in a confederation, surround Israel.
The prophet Daniel may have given us an explanation when he described the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream statue.
Daniel 2:41,43 KJV And whereas thou saw the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou saw the iron mixed with miry clay. (43) And whereas thou saw iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
The word mixed is the Hebrew word ‛ărab. What a coincidence as Genesis 16 in speaking of Ishmael and his offspring, tells us:
Genesis 16:12 NLT This son of yours (Ishmael) will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.”
Hopefully, you got the point and can see that the potentialities exist for a Turkish ally to turn against them, even if they themselves are Muslims. If you have an understanding of Islam, then you know there are many sects within the ideology, and none of them get along. The two major factions are Sunni and Shiite, and they are perpetually bombing each other. They do, however, have a somewhat united goal of obliterating the little Satan, Israel, and the big Satan, the United States. Could it be that this turning against the land of the Assyrian, is strictly an Islamic venture? There are possibilities.
- “thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he comes into our land, and when he treads within our borders.”
Contrary to popular opinion I do not see Israel getting pulled out of this morass that is coming their way. Numerous passages indicate that an Assyrian leader will be killed on the mountains of Israel; however, this terminology also applies to Gog of Magog, which we see in Ezekiel 38,39. In that story, God sends a firestorm upon Gog, his troops, his land, and all the Coastal regions. Some see this firestorm as utter destruction, much like Sodom and Gomorrah; apparently, that is not the case. Besides, I know this event with Gog (a leader within Magog,) as an event that happens either right before the catching away of the Church, or immediately after; after all, there is a temple to build and a Mosque in the way. What does the destruction of Gog do to the idea that the Assyrian and the Antichrist are the same person? The only way that theory can work is if we are talking about a demonic (fallen angel,) spirit that is overtaking several human beings contiguously. Most likely Gog is not the Antichrist, however, Recep Principe Erdoğan is a strong contender for either of those roles. It has been proven that is hard to lead a dominating force against Israel after your dead.