From Jim McGuiggan... WHAT'S "HIS" POINT?


The occasion: A division has occurred over "preacher worship"
Paul's purpose: To heal the fracture
Paul's method: The way he frames his presentation
Paul's theology: The truths from which he draws his healing presentation

Each of these categories is distinct from the other though they are all interrelated and to ignore the distinctions helps no one.

If a division occurred over the correctness of paying taxes or the appropriateness of a Christian earning a living by making idols or the acceptability of a Christian marrying a non-Christian Paul would want to heal the fracture. No matter the occasion, it wouldn't matter what divided the assembly, Paul would want to cure it—his purpose would always be the same.

But the reason for the division, that is, the issue over which the assembly divided, while it wouldn't alter his purpose (which would be to heal the fracture), would shape the way he worked to heal it.

He wouldn't make the same presentation when dealing with "preacher worship" as he would if dealing with a division over whether a Christian should pay tax that was used for ungodly purposes. He may well use many of the same truths when dealing with either issue but we wouldn't expect him to make the same points or use the same phrases. How bizarre would it be if he meant to deal with a division over kosher food and spoke only about the value of "speaking in tongues" in an assembly setting?

Paul is a person and like every other person he isn't shaped by a single truth—theological or otherwise. A host of truths shapes his person and his convictions and while he might stress one of those truths while healing a fracture he would be speaking out of the depths of many essential and interrelated truths.

If he were dealing with the issue of "authority in the church" we could easily imagine him stressing the sovereignty of God (making the point that all authority finally resides in the person of God himself—rather than, say, an apostle or prophet or pastor or even an apostolic letter). Though he might stress God's sovereignty he would still be speaking on the basis of a broader foundation; a foundation that included sovereignty but involved other attributes and qualities.

To really understand Paul (or whoever) we need to know what occasioned the letter, what he meant to accomplish and how he words or develops his purpose as well as the truths he relies on.

In dealing with the nature of God's wisdom (as opposed to the world's wisdom) he would no doubt mention other attributes of God and take many others for granted. Still, if he wants to deal with the nature of God's wisdom we must allow him to do that. To go off preaching about all the other attributes that he takes for granted or mentions on the way through is to follow our own line rather than his.

We must allow his point to have centre stage. When Paul speaks of the cross we must be aware that he always sees it as an atoning self-offering but that is not the truth he always wishes to bring out. That truth is never left behind or denied but other truths about the cross are given their place. In Philippians 2:1-11 the cross (as part of the entire experience) of Jesus is used to call his disciples to a mindset and a life. In that section the truth about atonement is not in view. We must let Paul make his own point or we're not hearing the Holy Spirit at all, we're hearing our own voice, even if what we're saying is true. [You might want to see this, click.]

What does the writer mean to do with what he says?

One Second After Death by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


One Second After Death

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

We human beings find it very easy to live life as if we will be here forever. We occasionally come face to face with death when a friend or loved one passes away. But the essence of daily living is such that it is easy to ignore the reality of death and the certainty of existence beyond the grave. It is essential that we go to the Bible and find out what will happen to each one of us—one second after death.
The Bible teaches that human beings are composite creatures. We possess a fleshly body that is composed of physical elements made from “the dust of the ground” (Genesis 2:7). This physical body is animated by a life force or life principle that we share in common with the animal kingdom (although, in the Genesis creation account, a distinction seems to be made between animals and man in the direct source of this life principle (Genesis 1:20-21,24; 2:7). In any case, the Scriptures also teach that human beings are unlike the animals in that humans also possess a spiritual dimension that transcends the body and physical life on Earth.
God places within each prenatal person at conception a spirit that makes each individual a unique personality. Zechariah 12:1 observed that God “forms the spirit of man within him.” Our spirits are what makes each one of us a distinct entity, a person that will survive physical death and live on immortally throughout eternity.
A number of Hebrew and Greek words are used in the Bible to identify various facets of our beings (e.g., nephesh, ruach, neshamah, leb, and basar in the Old Testament and psuche, pneuma, nous, soma, and sarx in the New Testament). These words are somewhat fluid, and are used in a variety of ways—sometimes interchangeably, sometimes in contradistinction to each other. They are translated by many different English words (e.g., “soul,” “spirit,” “breath,” “wind,” “heart,” “mind,” “self,” “body,” “flesh,” et al.). It is a mistake to seize upon a passage where “soul” refers to the entirety of a person’s being and conclude that man does not possess a spirit that is distinct from his animated body. Some religious thinkers tend to limit the Hebrew word ruach (soul or spirit) to an impersonal vital power that becomes individualized only in the nephesh (whole person). Thus, it is claimed that the soul or spirit cannot exist independently of the body, so that when the “life force” exits the body, the person ceases to exist.
But, by avoiding human philosophies and focusing solely upon the Bible, we learn that each person possesses a conscious spirit that ultimately leaves the body and exists separately from it in the spirit realm. For example, Genesis 35:18 states: “[I]t came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died).” The author of the book of 1 Kings wrote that Elijah prayed, “let this child’s soul come into him again...and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived” (17:21-22). Psalm 86:13 says, “You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.”
The Bible defines “death” as “separation”—not “extinction.” Physical death occurs when the spirit exits the body. James 2:26 notes: “[F]or as the body without the spirit is dead.” In other words, the separation of one’s spirit from one’s body results in physical death. Spiritual death, on the other hand, entails separation from God due to sin. So “death” involves the idea of separation—not extinction or unconsciousness.
A clear depiction of existence beyond death is seen in Luke 16:19-31. Some argue that this section of Scripture is a parable, which is incorrect since the story does not contain the usual indicators of parabolic discourse. However, even if the passage were a parable, a parable is not a fairy tale. Bible parables parallel true-life situations to teach a basic lesson of truth. They draw from reality and that which people understand as actual earthly existence and genuine conditions in order to drive home a spiritual point. After reading Luke 16:19-31, observe the following textual details:
  1. Both men are said to have died.
  2. Wherever Lazarus went, angels were used to transport him there.
  3. The rich man was buried.
  4. The rich man was in hades.
  5. The rich man was being tormented in flames.
  6. The rich man could see and recognize Lazarus and Abraham.
  7. Abraham referred to the rich man’s former existence as “your lifetime.”
  8. Abraham made clear that their respective locations were irreversible.
  9. The rich man’s brothers were still occupying his father’s house on Earth.
  10. The Law of Moses was still in effect.
  11. The rich man’s plea to send Lazarus to his living relatives would require Lazarus to return “from the dead” (vs. 30) and to “rise from the dead” (vs. 31).
The term translated “hell” in Luke 16:23 is the Greek word hades, and is not to be confused with the word gehenna. “Gehenna” is found twelve times in the New Testament, and refers to the place of eternal, everlasting punishment—the “lake of fire” where Satan, his angels, and all wicked people will be consigned after the Second Coming of Jesus and the Judgment. So gehenna is hell. “Hades,” on the other hand, occurs ten times in the New Testament, and always refers to the unseen realm of the dead—the recepticle of disembodied spirits where all people who die await the Lord’s return. At that time, our spirits will be reunited with our resurrection bodies (1 Corinthians 15:35-54).
Luke 16 shows us that hades contains two regions. One is referred to as the “bosom of Abraham” (which simply means “near” or “in the presence of ” Abraham—cf. John 1:18). The other region in hades is described as tormenting flame. Every other passage in the New Testament that refers to hades harmonizes with this description of the intermediate realm of the dead where the deceased await the resurrection and judgment.
For example, while fastened to the cross, Jesus told the thief, “Today, you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). The word paradise is of Persian derivation, and means a “garden” or “park.” Where was it that Jesus and the thief went on that very day? Certainly not to extinction! Extinction would not be “paradise”! They did not go to the grave together. The thief was not placed in the tomb with Jesus, and the tomb certainly would not be a “paradise.” Nor did Jesus go to heaven, for in John 20:17 after His resurrection, Jesus reassured Mary that He had not yet ascended to the Father. So where is “paradise”? Where did Jesus and the thief go after dying on the cross? Where had Jesus been for those three days between His death and resurrection?
Peter gave the answer to that question in his sermon in Acts 2 when he quoted Psalm 16. Acts 2:27 states that God would not abandon Christ’s soul in hades nor allow Christ to undergo decay. So while Christ’s body was placed in a tomb for three days, Christ’s spirit went to hades. Peter argued that David, who penned the 16th Psalm, was not referring to himself. How do we know? David’s body was still in the tomb (Acts 2:29). David’s spirit was still in the hadean realm because Peter also said that David had not yet ascended into heaven (Acts 2:34). Acts 2, by itself, proves that a person does not go straight to heaven or hell when he dies, and that a person does not become extinct, cease to exist, or pass into a state of unconsciousness at death.
Jesus previously predicted that His death and entrance into the Hadean realm would not prevent Him from accomplishing His divine purposes. Matthew 16:18 reads: “Upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it.” In other words, though He would die on the cross, though His body would be placed in the tomb, and though His spirit would descend into hades, nevertheless, the gates of hades would not prevent Him from coming back out of hades (i.e., resurrection) and then setting up the kingdom a few days later in Acts 2. At that time, Peter and the apostles employed the “keys of the kingdom” (Matthew 16:19) with the help of the Holy Spirit sent by Jesus (Acts 2:33).
It was through Jesus’ death and subsequent departure from hades that Jesus rendered powerless “him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:26,54-57). Jesus’ personal victory over death and the Hadean realm explains why He could declare in Revelation 1:18—I am He who lives; and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of hades and of death.”
While Jesus, the thief, and Lazarus went to the paradise portion of hades, the rich man went to the unpleasant area which included torment and flame. This is the same region of hades, referred to in 2 Peter 2:4, where angels who sinned were committed by God. The term that Peter used was tartarosas, or Tartarus, and is described as “pits of darkness” where they are “reserved for judgment.” The parallel in Jude 6 speaks of these angels as having abandoned their proper place and having failed to keep their own domain. They are depicted as existing in “everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” This region of the Hadean realm must also be in view in Moses’ allusion to the anger of God which kindles fire that “shall burn to the lowest part of Sheol” (Deuteronomy 32:22)—sheol being a general Hebrew equivalent of the Greek hades.
Notice what will happen to this intermediate receptacle of spirits. In Revelation 20, beginning in verse 11, we are presented with a portrait of the final judgment before the great white throne of God. Everyone who has ever lived will be there. Verse 13 says that “death and hades” will be cast into the lake of fire. That means that hades will be cast into hell. The unseen realm of the dead, where conscious spirits reside until judgment, will have served its purpose, and all people who have ever lived will then be consigned to one of two places: heaven or hell.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). “[I]t is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28-29). Paul referred to the occasion “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
Look carefully at the word “everlasting.” Does the human spirit exist beyond physical death and the grave in a conscious state? Or, at death, does the soul cease to exist in a state of “soul sleep”? Does a person’s consciousness become extinct? Is the soul annihilated at death? The Sadducees denied the existence of the spirit realm. According to Acts 23:8, they denied the immortality of the soul, believing in “neither angel nor spirit.” Josephus stated that the Sadducees believed that “souls die with the bodies” (18:1:4). There are religious groups today who teach the same thing.
In Luke 20, Jesus showed the fallacy of such thinking by showing that when Moses was at the burning bush in Exodus 3, God declared Himself to be the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. At the time God made that statement, the bodies of those three patriarchs had been in the grave for hundreds of years. Yet Jesus concluded: “For He is not the God of the dead but of the living” (Luke 20:38). That proves that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—though separated from their physical bodies—were still in existence. They were not extinct. They would one day be reunited with their bodies in the resurrection.
Many other passages indicate the perpetuation of conscious spiritual life beyond physical death. Revelation 6:9-11 speaks of the souls of those who had been martyred for the Christian cause. They are depicted as spirits—not bodies—who are conscious, who are aware of the means by which they were killed, and who knew that their blood had not yet been avenged.
In 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, Paul described an experience that he, or someone he knew, had in the “third heaven.” The “third heaven” in scriptural thought is the spirit realm where God and other celestial beings reside (Deuteronomy 10:14; 26:15; 1 Kings 8:27,30). It often is referred to as the “heaven of heavens”—a Semitism wherein the genitive is used for the superlative degree—meaning the highest or ultimate heaven (cf. “Song of songs,” “King of kings,” “Lord of lords”). The “first heaven” is the Earth’s atmosphere—the “sky”—where the birds fly (Genesis 1:20; 8:2; Isaiah 55:10; Luke 13:19). The “second heaven” is “outer space”—where the Sun, Moon, and stars are situated (Genesis 15:5; 22:17; Deuteronomy 4:19; Nahum 3:16). Twice Paul stated that he was not certain whether the person described was “in the body, or out of the body” (vss. 2-3). That proves that Paul acknowledged the possibility of the spirit of a human being existing in a conscious state apart from the body. To say that the spirit ceases to exist at death makes Paul imply what is not true.
Both accounts, of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16, and the thief on the cross in Luke 23:43, prove that conscious existence continues after the death of the body. Hebrews 12:23 speaks of “the spirits of just men made perfect”—a reference to deceased saints who remained faithful to God during their life on Earth, but who had since passed into the spirit realm. That passage makes no sense if “spirits” refers to the wind or breath of a person. These people were like Stephen in Acts 7:59 who, as life was being stoned from his body, said to the Lord whom he could see in the heavens: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” If “spirit” is simply the life force of the body that goes extinct the moment it no longer animates the body, then Stephen was speaking out of ignorance to think that he had a spirit that could be received by Jesus.
The Bible frequently speaks of the ultimate state of both the good and the wicked as being “eternal.” For example, read Hebrews 6:2 which speaks of “eternal judgment,” or 2 Thessalonians 1:9 which speaks of “eternal destruction,” or Revelation 20:10 where Satan will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, and tormented there “day and night forever and ever.” Jude 7 speaks of those who will suffer “the vengeance (punishment) of eternal fire.”
Matthew 18:8-9 identifies the fire of hell (gehenna) as “everlasting fire.” The parallel passage in Mark 9:43 states that this fire “shall never be quenched.” Mark 9:48 states that hell is a place “where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.” The image is taken from Isaiah 66:24, and is unquestionably intended to make the point that the fire of hell will be unquenchable—always burning, yet never consuming.
In His description of the final Judgment in Matthew 25:46, Jesus used the same word aionion (eternal) to refer to the respective conditions of both the good and evil people who inhabited the Earth. If eternal punishment is not “eternal,” then life eternal is not “eternal” either. The word “punishment” clearly implies pain that is inflicted. Listen to Peter, who said, “The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment” (2 Peter 2:9). The same word is used to refer to the punishment that the apostles narrowly avoided in Acts 4:21.
Some say the word “destroy” (or “destruction”) means “annihilation” (or “extinction”). They go to a passage like Matthew 10:28 where Jesus said, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” They insist that “destroy” in this passage means “annihilation.” But that cannot be. For if physical death inflicted by one’s fellowman brings extinction and unconsciousness of the soul, what is there to fear from God? Why would Jesus say there is no need to fear other people—who can take your physical life? For in taking your physical life, they also would cause your soul to be annihilated, in which case they have as much power as God, and the comparison that Jesus makes is no comparison at all. If the soul dies with the body, then he who kills the body kills the soul, too.
The parallel passage in Luke 12:4-5 makes this point even clearer. Luke wrote: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He hath killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!” If physical death brings annihilation of the soul, then it is ridiculous to speak of casting the soul into hell after killing the body.
In addition, the Greek term that underlies our English word “destroy” does not mean “annihilation.” W.E. Vine, in his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, explained: “The idea is not extinction but ruin, loss, not of being, but of well-being” (1966, p. 302). He cited Matthew 10:28 as an example, as well as John 17:12 where Judas, who had not yet hung himself, was called the “son of perdition.” Obviously, Judas was not extinct or annihilated. But he was destroyed in the sense that he lost spiritual well-being. He had perished spiritually.
Lexicographer Joseph H. Thayer agreed with this assessment when he said that “destroy” in Matthew 10:28 means “to devote or give over to eternal misery” (1901, p. 64). Albrecht Oepke commented on the meaning of destroy: “definitive destruction, not merely in the sense of extinction of physical existence, but rather of an eternal plunge into Hades” (Kittel, 1:396).
What must be concluded from these passages of Scripture? God gives people this life on Earth to prepare their spirits for their eternal abode. When a person dies, his or her body goes into the grave, while the conscious spirit enters the Hadean realm to await the final Judgment. At the Second Coming of Christ, all spirits will come forth from hades and be resurrected in immortal bodies. All will then face God in judgment, receive the pronouncement of eternal sentence, and then be consigned to heaven or hell for eternity. Listen closely to the inspired words of the apostle Peter:
Therefore, since all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? ...You therefore, beloved, since you know these things beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being lead away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:11-12,17-18).


Josephus, Flavius (1974 reprint), “Antiquities of the Jews,” The Works of Flavius Josephus, transl. William Whiston (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Kittel, Gerhard (1964), Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Thayer, J.H. (1901), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (1977 reprint), (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Vine, W.E. (1966 reprint), An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell).

From Mark Copeland... Haggai - Build The Temple! (1:1-2:23)

                    "STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

                 Haggai - Build The Temple! (1:1-2:23)


1. In our survey of "The Minor Prophets", we now jump ahead about 
   100 years...
   a. Prophets like Zephaniah, Nahum, and Habakkuk prophesied shortly
      before the seventy years of Babylonian captivity (i.e. before 
      606-536 B.C.)
   b. Following the return under the leadership of Zerubbabel (536 
      B.C.), it was not long before two more prophets were sent to the
      people of Israel

2. These prophets were Haggai and Zechariah, the first of which we
   shall consider in this lesson...
   a. Concerning the MAN
      1) His name means "Festival" or "Festive"
      2) What we know of Haggai is limited to his book and references 
         in Ezra (see below)
      3) Together with Zechariah he motivated the Jews in rebuilding
         the temple
   b. Concerning the MESSAGE
      1) It is commonly dated around 520 B.C. (the second year of King
         Darius - Hag 1:1)
         a) For the foundation of the temple had been laid shortly 
            after the arrival under the leadership of Zerubbabel (i.e.,
            536 B.C.) - cf. Ezra 3:8-13
         b) Yet opposition to rebuilding the temple stopped it for 16 
            years - Ezra 4:1-24
         c) God then raised up Haggai and Zechariah - Ezra 5:1-2; 6:14
      2) The theme of Haggai's preaching:  Build The Temple!
         a) His message contains four separate proclamations
         b) All within four months - cf. Hag 1:1; 2:1,10,20

[As we outline and briefly consider the message of Haggai, we begin by


      1. Haggai takes the Lord's message to Israel's leaders - Hag 1:1
         a. Zerubbabel the governor (who lead the first group of exiles
            back home)
         b. Joshua the high priest (also known as Jeshua, Ezra 2:1-2,
            36,40; 3:2-8)
      2. The Lord takes issue with what the people have been saying 
         - Hag 1:2-4
         a. They have been saying the time is not right to build the 
         b. The Lord challenged them as to whether they should live in
            paneled houses while the temple lies in ruins
      1. The Lord challenged them to consider what was happening - Hag 1:5-6
         a. Their efforts were much
         b. But they received little in return
      2. To motivate them in building the temple, their trouble is 
         explained - Hag 1:7-11
         a. They needed to build the temple and thereby glorify God
         b. For their efforts to obtain much for themselves was 
            frustrated by God
            1) They looked for much, but God blew it away
            2) While His house lay in ruins, they were busy building 
               their own
            3) Therefore God had called for a drought on the land and
               its fruit

      1. With the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua the people obeyed
         - Hag 1:12
      2. The Lord promises to be with them - Hag 1:13
      3. Stirred up by the Lord, Zerubbabel and Joshua lead the remnant
         to resume work on the temple - Hag 1:14-15

[From Hag 1:1,15, we can determine that it took 24 days for the people
to begin rebuilding the temple.  About a month later (cf. Hag 2:1),
another message from the Lord comes by way of Haggai.  This message 


      1. Haggai is sent again to Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the faithful
         remnant - Hag 2:1-2
      2. Those who had seen the former temple in its glory are asked if
         the present temple appears as nothing in comparison - Hag 2:3
      -- The new temple evidently did not compare with the temple built
         by Solomon

      1. The Lord encourages them to be strong, for He is with them 
         - Hag 2:4-5
      2. The Lord promises to make the glory of this temple greater 
         - Hag 2:6-9
         a. By shaking the nations and having them come to "the Desire
            of All Nations"
            1) This can be translated "the desired of all nations will
               come", perhaps speaking of the nations bringing their
               wealth to the temple - cf. Hag 2:8; Isa 60:5
            2) Many see a Messianic reference in this phrase, though no
               reference is so made in the New Testament (He 12:26-27
               does make an allusion to verse 6)
         b. By giving peace "in this place"
            1) Some see another Messianic reference in this phrase
            2) Certainly Jesus as the Prince of Peace, came to the 

[With such a word of encouragement, the people would continue with 
their task of rebuilding the temple.  But all was not well in the eyes
of the Lord; He needed Haggai once again to prophesy to the people, so
two months later (cf. 2:1,10) comes...]


      1. Through two questions, the Lord challenges the priests to 
         think - Hag 2:10-13
         a. Can holiness be transferred through casual contact? - No
         b. Can defilement be transferred through casual contact? - Yes
      2. Well, the people are unclean, and what they therefore offer is
         unclean! - Hag 2:14
         a. Unclean people can't build a holy temple
         b. Therefore, their offering is unclean!

      1. First, begin considering what God has done in the past - Hag 2:15-17
         a. Before the stone was laid in the temple, things were scarce
         b. The Lord even brought blight, mildew and hail to frustrate
            their labors, but they did not heed Him
      2. Now, begin considering what God is promising to do - Hag 2:
         a. Begin considering that very day (24th day of the ninth 
            1) Consider what has occurred from the day the temple's 
               foundation was laid
            2) Is there seed in the barn? (no)  Nor has the produce 
               yielded its fruit
         d. But beginning that very day (24th day of the ninth month),
            God was going to bless them!

[With such a promise, they would likely repent and build the temple as
they should. To encourage them further, Haggai has one last message...]


      1. This message came at the same time as the third message - Hag 2:20
         a. On the 24th day of the ninth month, of the second year of
         b. Nearly four months after the first message - cf. Hag 1:1
      2. Directed to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah - Hag 2:21-22
         a. God proclaims He will shake heaven and earth
         b. He will overthrow the kingdoms of the Gentiles
         c. This He will do, "everyone by the sword of his brother"
         -- Note:  Just as He did before, using Assyria to punish 
            Israel, Babylon to punish Assyria, Medo-Persia to punish 
            Babylon, etc.

      1. In the same day that God will overthrow the nations - Hag 2:
      2. God will make Zerubbabel as a signet ring, for God has chosen
         him - Hag 2:23b
         a. Many see a Messianic reference in this promise
            1) For God calls Zerubbabel "My servant", an expression 
               often used in Isaiah in reference to the Messiah - cf. 
               Isa 52:13; 53:11
            2) And God says "for I have chosen you" (Messiah means 
               anointed, chosen)
         b. That as governor of Judah and descendant of David, 
            Zerubbabel represents the Messianic hope that has been 
            renewed and would be ultimately fulfilled with the coming 
            of Jesus!
         -- Note:  With His exaltation to the right hand of God, Jesus
            began to rule the nations "with a rod of iron", as 
            Revelation vividly depicts - Re 1:5; 2:26-27; 3:21; 17:14


1. Haggai's message was primarily designed to encourage Zerubbabel and
   the faithful remnant of Israel who had returned from Babylonian 
   a. To finish rebuilding the temple
   b. To do so in a manner that would honor and glorify God
   c. To look to the future with hope and promise

2. Like other books of the Old Testament...
   a. Haggai was "written for our learning" - Ro 15:4
   b. There are lessons that can easily be gleaned from this book, such
      1) The importance of putting God first - Hag 1:2-4
      2) The need for every one to work, not just the leaders - Hag 1:
      3) The danger of letting evil contaminate our efforts to serve
         God - Hag 2:11-14

3. As Christians, we are blessed to be "a holy temple in the Lord" - Ep 2:19-22; cf. 1Pe 2:5
   a. The foundation of this temple has been laid
   b. But the need for building upon the foundation continues! 

Living in a highly materialistic society, it may easy for us to neglect
the ongoing construction of the Lord's house.  Perhaps we need to 
remember the words of the Lord through Haggai:

   "Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, 
   and this temple to lie in ruins?" (Hag 1:4)

If we are indeed guilty of neglecting the Lord's house, then heed also
these words of Haggai:

                           "Consider your ways!"
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From Mark Copeland... Habakkuk - From A Sob To A Song (1:1-3:19)

                    "STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

               Habakkuk - From A Sob To A Song (1:1-3:19)


1. We have seen that during the O.T. period known as "Judah Alone"...
   a. Zephaniah was prophesying to Judah
   b. Nahum was pronouncing God's judgment upon Nineveh

2. Then there was Habakkuk, a prophet filled with troubling questions
   a. Concerning his NAME
      1) It means "Embrace"
      2) "His name, as Luther well puts it, speaks as one who took his
         nation to his heart, comforted it and held it up, as one
         embraces and presses to his bosom a poor weeping child,
         calming and consoling it with good hope." (Geikie)
   b. Concerning the DATE
      1) Around 612-606 B.C.
      2) Just as Babylon was making her westward move toward world
   c. Concerning his MESSAGE: the book easily falls into three sections
      1) A "burden" - Hab 1:1-2:1
      2) A "vision" - Hab 2:2-20
      3) A "prayer" - Hab 3:1-19

3. We note an immediate difference between Habakkuk and other 
   a. Instead of taking the Lord's message directly to the people (as 
      do most prophets)
   b. He takes the complaint of the people directly to the Lord, 
      representing them in the complaint
   -- As he does so, it has been said that Habakkuk goes "From A Sob To
      A Song"

[This process begins with a "burden" as found in the first section of
his message...]


      1. He laments over apparent rule of wickedness and violence
      2. How can the Lord justify His apparent indifference to such 
         things? - Hab 1:1-4

      1. He is not indifferent!
      2. He is doing something that will be hard to fathom - Hab 1:5-11
         a. Raising up the Chaldeans (Babylon) to execute His judgment
         b. Using a violent nation that arrogantly thinks it is serving
            its own god (and purpose)

      1. How can a holy God employ such an impure and godless agent? 
         - Hab 1:12-17
      2. This is hard for Habakkuk to understand, but he will watch to
         see what the Lord will say to him - Hab 2:1

[Indeed, it is a heavy "burden" for Habakkuk. God has answered his
first question by saying He will use the Chaldeans to punish the
wickedness and violence in Judah.  But the Chaldeans are wicked also,
how can God use them?

Habakkuk receives his answer in the form of a "vision"...]


      1. Habakkuk is to write what God reveals to him - Hab 2:2-3
      2. The proud is not upright; but the just shall live by his faith
         - Hab 2:4

      1. Woe to the proud possessed with the lust of conquest and 
         plunder - Hab 2:5-8
      2. Woe to their efforts to build a permanent empire through 
         cruelty and godless gain - Hab 2:9-11
      3. Woe to those who build cities with bloodshed - Hab 2:12-14
      4. Woe to those with cruelty in their treatment of those they
         conquered - Hab 2:15-17
      5. Woe to those given over to idolatry - Hab 2:18-20
         a. Who worship that in which there is no breath at all
         b. While the Lord is in His holy temple, before whom the earth
            should keep silence

[The answer to Habakkuk's second question appears to be this:  While 
God may use a wicked nation like Babylon to punish the wickedness of 
Judah, He will not let Babylon's wickedness go unpunished either!  

In the meantime, the just (righteous) person will live by his faith in
God, which Habakkuk illustrates with his "prayer"...]


      1. Written in the form of a psalm - Hab 3:1,19c
      2. Asking God to revive His works, and in His wrath remember 
         mercy - Hab 3:2

      1. His mighty works in the past - Hab 3:3-7
      2. Bringing both judgment to the wicked and salvation to His 
         people - Hab 3:8-15

      1. He trembled at what he has heard, that he will have rest in 
         the day of trouble - Hab 3:16
      2. But he expresses his faith, that while trouble may come he 
         will rejoice in the Lord who will be his strength - Hab 3:
      -- Here we find one of the greatest expressions of faith found 


1. What lessons can we glean from this short book? (as suggested by 
   Homer Hailey)
   a. The universal supremacy of God's judgment upon the wicked
      1) God would use Chaldea to punish wicked Judah
      2) Then Chaldea would be destroyed for its own wickedness
   b. Evil is self-destructive
      1) If the righteous can be patient, trusting in the Lord
      2) The tyranny and arrogance of the wicked will eventually fall
   c. The fact of divine discipline
      1) In Job it is shown in the suffering of the individual
      2) In Habakkuk it is shown in the suffering of the nation
      -- In both cases, suffering is disciplinary

2. Perhaps the most important lesson concerns the value of "faith"...
   a. By it the righteous in Habakkuk's day would live
   b. Even more so today!
      1) In receiving salvation - Ro 1:16-17
      2) In persevering - He 10:35-39
      -- Notice that both quote from Hab 2:4

But our faith must not be a shallow faith; it must be like that 
expressed by Habakkuk...

   "Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines;
   Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no
   food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there
   be no herd in the stalls;"

   "Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my
   salvation. The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like
   deer's feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills."
                                   Habakkuk 3:17-19

Is this our kind of faith?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... Nahum - The Fall Of Nineveh (1:1-3:19)

                    "STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

                 Nahum - The Fall Of Nineveh (1:1-3:19)


1. At the same time Jeremiah and Zephaniah were pronouncing judgment 
   against Judah, another prophet was directing his attention at one of
   her enemies

2. The prophet was Nahum, whose name means "Consolation"
   a. The name "is in a sense symbolical of the message of the book,
      which was intended to comfort the oppressed and afflicted people
      of Judah" (Eiselen)
   b. Concerning the MAN
      1) His home was Elkosh, of which little is known - Nah 1:1
      2) Some think that Capernaum (lit., "village of Nahum") may have
         been his birthplace
      3) He was contemporary with Jeremiah, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah
   b. Concerning his MESSAGE
      1) His message is usually dated around 630-612 B.C.
         a) The northern kingdom of Israel was already in Assyrian 
         b) Assyria itself was still a world power, though in a state
            of decline
      2) The theme of his message is simple:  "The Fall Of Nineveh"
         a) This makes his work a complement to that of Jonah
         b) Though by this time no mercy would be shown, judgment would
            be final

[The book of Nahum can easily be divided into three sections which 
coincide with the three chapters.  In the first section we find...]


      1. God's vengeance, even though He is slow to anger - Nah 1:1-3a
      2. The fierceness of His anger described - Nah 1:3b-6
      3. The goodness of the Lord, as a stronghold to the faithful 
         - Nah 1:7
      4. The pursuer of His enemies - Nah 1:8

      1. She will not afflict again, despite her plotting against the
         Lord - Nah 1:9-11
      2. Judah will be delivered from Nineveh's affliction - Nah 1:
      3. Nineveh's destruction has been commanded by the Lord - Nah 1:
      4. There shall be good tidings in Judah, she can keep her feasts
         - Nah 1:15

[Having "declared" Nineveh's doom in the first section, we now find...]


      1. Furious preparation for the battle is described - Nah 2:1-4
      2. Resistance is futile, captivity has been decreed - Nah 2:5-7
         a. Note verse 6:  "The gates of the rivers are opened, and the
            palace is dissolved"
         b. "The Babylonian Chronicle tells that Nineveh fell because
            the flooding rivers made breaches in the city's defenses."
            (Believers' Study Bible)

      1. Her inhabitants flee, the city is plundered - Nah 2:8-10
      2. Her destruction will be complete, Nineveh as a dwelling of
         devouring lions will be no more - Nah 2:11-13

[Thus far, Nineveh's doom has been "declared" and "described" by Nahum.
In the third and final section, we find him saying...]


      1. Her woe will be due to her sins - Nah 3:1-4
      2. The Lord will uncover her shame and make her a spectacle - Nah 3:5-7

      1. Nineveh is no better than No-Amon (Thebes in Egypt) - Nah 3:8
      2. Who despite her strength, was carried away into captivity 
         - Nah 3:9-10
      3. So it will be with Nineveh - Nah 3:11

      1. Her strongholds will fail - Nah 3:12-13
      2. All her efforts, her wealth, her army, will be futile - Nah 3:14-17

      1. Her leaders are dead, her people scattered - Nah 3:18-19a
      2. Those who hear of her fall will rejoice - Nah 3:19b

1. The message of Nahum for the people of God is one of consolation...
   a. That those who afflict God's people will be judged - Nah 1:2-3;
      cf. Lk 18:7-8
   b. That God is a stronghold in time of trouble - Nah 1:7;  cf.
      Ps 27:5
   -- Are you trusting in God as your Stronghold?

2. The message of Nahum for those who do evil is one of warning...
   a. Don't rely on what mercy was shown to your ancestors (e.g., as in
      the days of Jonah)
   b. The Lord may be merciful and slow to anger, but the day of 
      judgment does finally come!
   -- Are you trusting in what your parents or ancestors may have done,
      to escape the judgment of God?

This message of Nahum is reminiscent of the words of Paul:

   "Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who
   fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His
   goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off."  (Ro 11:22)

Let us be sure to "continue in His goodness", lest we too experience 
the "severity of God"!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... Zephaniah - Through Judgment To Blessing (1:1-3:20)

                    "STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

          Zephaniah - Through Judgment To Blessing (1:1-3:20)


1. In our survey of "The Minor Prophets" we now come to the first of
   three prophets who preached to Judah alone, following the downfall
   of the northern kingdom of Israel

2. The prophet is Zephaniah, whose name means "Jehovah Hides"
   a. Concerning the MAN
      1) King Hezekiah was his great-great-grandfather - Zeph 1:1
      2) This has prompted some to call him "the royal prophet"
      3) He was contemporary with Jeremiah, as were Nahum and Habakkuk
   b. Concerning his MESSAGE
      1) Zephaniah prophesied in the days of Josiah, king of Judah
         a) Josiah ruled from 640-609 B.C.
         b) He was a good king, a great reformer - 2Ch 34:1-3,29-33;
         c) Josiah's reforms were short-lived, however, and the nation
            soon apostasized after his death
      2) Zephaniah proclaimed the coming "day of the Lord" - cf. Zeph 1:7,14-16
         a) So vivid are his descriptions that George Adam Smith wrote:
            "No hotter book lies in all the Old Testament."
         b) And yet it ends on an encouraging note concerning the
         -- Therefore its overall message is: "Through Judgment To

[As we get into the book, we note that it can be divided into three
sections.  The first section encouraged the people to "look within"...]


      1. The prophet announces a universal and all-consuming judgment
         - Zeph 1:1-3
      2. With special mention and attention given Judah - Zeph 1:4-6

      1. This "day" as it will affect Judah and Jerusalem - Zeph 1:7-13
         a. Punishment upon the princes and king's children (note, the
            king himself is not mentioned), and upon those who are full
            of violence and deceit
         b. There will wailing and mourning in the city of Jerusalem
         c. The Lord will search out and punish the complacent
      2. This great "day" described - Zeph 1:14-18
         a. A day that is near and hastens quickly
         b. A day of devastation, desolation, darkness, and distress
         c. A day in which silver and gold cannot deliver one from the
            Lord's wrath

      1. Before the day of the Lord's anger comes upon them - Zeph 2:1-2
      2. To seek the Lord, to seek righteousness, to seek humility
         - Zeph 2:3

[Having encouraged the people to "look within" and see the need for
their own repentance, Zephaniah now prompts the people to "look around"
to see...]


      1. Philistia - Zeph 2:4-7
         a. It's cities will be made desolate, the inhabitants
         b. The land will be for the remnant of Judah, whose captivity
            God will restore
      2. Moab & Ammon - Zeph 2:8-11
         a. They shall be like Sodom and Gomorrah
         b. Because of their pride, and for their mocking reproach of
            God's people
         c. And God will one day be worshipped by people from all

      1. Ethiopia will by slain by the sword - Zeph 2:12
      2. Assyria with its capital Nineveh will become desolate - Zeph 2:13-15

      1. She has rebelled against the Lord - Zeph 3:1-5
         a. She has not obeyed His voice nor drawn near to Him
         b. Her civil and religious leaders are like lions and wolves,
            insolent and doing violence to the Law
         c. The unjust knows no shame; the Lord, however, is righteous
            and never fails in His justice
      2. She has ignored God's judgment upon other nations - Zeph 3:6-7
         a. Which should have prompted her to receive God's instruction
         b. But instead the people corrupted all their deeds

[Finally, lest the faithful remnant despair, Zephaniah ends his message
with a "look beyond"...]


      1. The faithful are told to wait for Lord to carry out His
         judgment - Zeph 3:8
      2. Even as Micah said he would do - cf. Mic 7:7-9

      1. After His judgment, God will restore to the peoples
         (Gentiles?) a "pure language" to worship and serve Him in one
         accord - Zeph 3:9
      2. His dispersed ones (Israel?) shall bring offerings from afar
         - Zeph 3:10
      3. God will remove the proud from His "holy mountain", leaving a
         meek and humble people who will trust and rest in the Lord
         - Zeph 3:11-13

      1. For the Lord will remove their judgments and their enemies
         - Zeph 3:14-15
      2. For the Lord will be in their midst, providing them with
         gladness, love and singing - Zeph 3:16-17
      3. For the Lord has given them great assurance - Zeph 3:18-20
         a. God will gather those who sorrow over the reproach of His
         b. God will deal with those who afflicted His people
         c. God will gather those who have been driven out, and give
            them fame and praise


1. The message of Zephaniah is a simple one:  Judgment is coming, but
   blessings will follow for those who heed the warning to repent
   a. It was a message that would later comfort the remnant taken away
      into Babylonian captivity
   b. It was a message that perhaps had an initial fulfillment
      following their restoration under Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah
   c. But I believe the ultimate fulfillment pertains to the age of the
      1) Which began with the establishment of His spiritual kingdom,
        the church
         a) Into which God is "gathering" His people - cf. 1Th 2:12
         b) In which we enjoy the presence of God and His blessings
            - cf. He 12:22-24
      2) Which will be culminated when Jesus comes again - Re 21:1-22:5

2. The message of the apostles is not really much different today...
   a. The "day of the Lord" (of which Zephaniah's "day" was a type) is
      coming - 2Pe 3:7-10
   b. God's people (i.e., the church) are admonished to remain faithful
      - 2Pe 3:11-14

Are we heeding that message?  For those willing to listen, here is what
else Peter had to say...

   "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted
   out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of
   the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to
   you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of
   restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of
   all His holy prophets since the world began. (Ac 3:19-21)

Be converted through your obedience to the gospel of Christ (cf. Mk 16:
15-16; Ac 2:38), and you too can "look beyond" the coming judgment for
the blessings to follow!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... Micah - Judgment Now, Blessings Later (6:1-7:20)

                    "STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

            Micah - Judgment Now, Blessings Later (6:1-7:20)


1. This is the third of three lessons in our survey of the book of 
   a. Micah was a prophet of God, a contemporary of Isaiah (ca. 735-700
   b. His prophecies were directed to both Israel and Judah, though 
      mostly to the latter
   c. His general theme:  "Present Judgment, Future Blessings"

2. In his first message...
   a. He proclaimed "The Coming Judgment And Promised Restoration"
   b. In which he described:
      1) The judgment pronounced upon Israel and Judah - Mic 1:2-16
      2) The reasons for the coming judgment - Mic 2:1-11
      3) The promise of the restoration of a remnant - Mic 2:12-13

3. In his second message...
   a. He proclaimed "God's Condemnation of Israel, And The Future Hope"
   b. In which he described:
      1) God's condemnation of Israel's civil and religious leaders 
         - Mic 3:1-12
      2) The future exaltation of Zion and Messianic hope - Mic 4:1-5:15

4. In his third and final message, Micah's message is "God's Indictment
   of Israel, With A Promise Of Forgiveness And Restoration" - Mic 6:1-7:20

[Similar to what we saw in Hosea, the prophet Micah presents the Lord's
complaint as though He were taking Israel to court...]


      1. The people called to present their case against God, as He has
         a complaint against them - Mic 6:1-2
      2. How has the Lord wearied them?  Testify against Him! - Mic 6:3
      3. Did He not redeem them from Egyptian bondage with the aid of
         His servants Moses, Aaron, and Miriam? - Mic 6:4
      4. Remember how He even had Balaam counter the counsel of Balak 
         - Mic 6:5

      1. What must they offer for their sins? - Mic 6:6-7
      2. What God wanted was for them to do justly, love mercy, and 
         walk humbly before Him - Mic 6:8

      1. Justified, for they were full of dishonesty and violence - Mic 6:9-12
      2. Judgment is coming in the form of desolation, for they hold on
         to the idolatry of Omri and works of Ahab - Mic 6:13-16

[Once again, for the third time, Micah has foretold of the judgment to
come.  As before, he does not close without offering a hope for 
blessings in the future...]


      1. His sorrow because the faithful man had perished - Mic 7:1-4
      2. Things are so bad, only the Lord can be trusted - Mic 7:5-7

      1. His enemy is not to rejoice over him - Mic 7:8-10a
         a. For though he may fall, he will arise; the Lord will be a
            light to him
         b. He is willing to bear the indignation of the Lord, for he
            has sinned; he knows also that the Lord will eventually
            plead his case and execute justice for him
      2. He takes comfort in the future restoration of Zion - Mic 7:
         a. Though first to be trampled down like mire in the streets
         b. When restored, all will come to her (a messianic reference
            akin to Mic 4:1-2?)
         c. But first there will be desolation (cf. the destruction of
            the city by Babylon)

      1. A prayer for God's protection, to shepherd them as in days 
         gone by - Mic 7:14
      2. God answer:  "I will show them marvelous things" - Mic 7:15
      3. Micah's song of praise - Mic 7:16-20
         a. The nations shall be made afraid when they see what the 
            Lord has done
         b. Who is a God like Jehovah?
            1) Who pardons iniquity
            2) Who passes over the transgressions of the remnant of His
            3) Who does not retain anger forever, for He delights in 
            4) Who will again have compassion, subdue their sins, and 
               cast their sins away
            5) Who will give truth and mercy to Jacob and Abraham 
               (i.e., their descendants) as He has sworn from days of 
               old (cf. Gen 12:2-3)


1. Thus Micah ends his book like he ended each of his three messages:
   offering hope concerning the future for the people of Israel

2. In our previous lesson we noted how these promises concerning a 
   glorious future to a great extent were fulfilled "in the latter 
   days", beginning with the coming of our Lord
   a. Certainly the restoration and rebuilding of temple following
      Babylonian captivity was a partial fulfillment
   b. But even that was just a glimpse of what Jesus Christ would offer
      in His spiritual kingdom, which we now enjoy by being in Him

3. From Micah, we can learn a lot about...
   a. The nature of God - cf. Mic 7:18-20
   b. How God would have us live - cf. Mic 6:6-8

4. We also can have our faith strengthened by observing those 
   prophecies which have been fulfilled...
   a. Such as the birthplace of the Messiah - Mic 5:2
   b. Such as the establishment of the Lord's house - Mic 4:1-2

So while Micah may have been sent first to the nation of Israel, let's
not forget what Peter said concerning the Old Testament prophets...

   "To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they
   were ministering the things which now have been reported to you
   through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy 
   Spirit sent from heaven; things which angels desire to look into."

                                        (1Pe 1:12)

Yes, when the prophets like Micah foretold of the "the glories that
would follow", they were serving us who would be later be in the 
kingdom of God. Do we appreciate how blessed we are?  If so, then let's
also do what God requires of us, as expressed in Micah's own words:

   "to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God"

                                        (Mic 6:8)

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... Micah - Judgment Now, Blessings Later (3:1-5:15)

                    "STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

            Micah - Judgment Now, Blessings Later (3:1-5:15)


1. In our previous lesson on the book of Micah...
   a. We briefly considered some background material
      1) Concerning Micah, the man
         a) His name means "Who is like Jehovah?"
         b) He was from Moresheth-Gath, 20-25 miles SW of Jerusalem
         c) A contemporary of Isaiah
         d) A prophet of the poor and downtrodden
      2) Concerning Micah, the book
         a) The prophecies occurred around 735-700 B.C.
         b) They were directed toward both Israel and Judah
         c) The general theme appears to be "Present Judgment, Future
   b. We briefly considered the first of three messages in the book
      1) Each message begins with "Hear..." - Mic 1:2; 3:1; 6:1
      2) The first message proclaimed "The Coming Judgment And Promised
         Restoration", as it described:
         a) The judgment pronounced upon Israel and Judah - Mic 1:2-16
         b) The reasons for the coming judgment - Mic 2:1-11
         c) The promise of the restoration of a remnant - Mic 2:12-13

2. In this lesson, we shall consider Micah's second message...
   a. As presented in Mic 3:1-5:15
   b. Which follows a similar theme as in the previous message:
      1) God's condemnation of Israel
      2) With a glimpse of the future hope

[This second message has much more to say about the future hope, 
especially regarding the Messiah.  But it begins with...]


      1. The outrageous conduct of the rulers - Mic 3:1-3
         a. They hate good and love evil
         b. They consume the people (i.e., oppress them)
      2. The judgment to come upon them - Mic 3:4
         a. They will cry to the Lord, but He will not hear them
         b. He will hide His face from them

      1. The judgment to come upon the false prophets - Mic 3:5-7
         a. Because they lead God's people astray
         b. They shall have no vision, they shall be made ashamed
      2. Micah's own ministry, in contrast to that of the false 
         prophets - Mic 3:8
         a. He is full of the power of the Spirit, and of justice and 
         b. He declares the transgression and sin of Israel

      1. Addressing once again the rulers of Israel, their sins are
         categorized - Mic 3:9-11
         a. They abhor justice and pervert equity (fairness)
         b. They build up Jerusalem with bloodshed and iniquity
         c. Whether judges, priests, or prophets, they do it only for
            the money, belying their claim to trust in the Lord
      2. The judgment to come upon Israel because of them - Mic 3:12
         a. Zion shall be plowed like a field
         b. Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins

[This prophecy of Micah was fulfilled when Babylon destroyed Jerusalem
in 586 B. C. (cf. 2Ch 36:17-21). But his message is not finished; as
ominous as it was in proclaiming the coming judgment, he now continues
with a glimpse into the future...]


      1. What will happen "in the latter days"
         a. The "mountain of the Lord's house" will be established, and
            many people will want to go it - Mic 4:1-2
         b. They will want to learn of God's ways, and the word of the
            Lord will go forth from Jerusalem - Mic 4:2
         c. The Lord will judge the nations, and there will be peace 
            - Mic 4:3
         d. Everyone will be content, walking in the name of the Lord
            forever - Mic 4:4-5
         -- Isaiah had a similar prophecy - Isa 2:1-4
      2. What is the fulfillment of this prophecy?
         a. Some believe it is all yet to come (e.g., premillenialists)
         b. Some believe it is all past (e.g., some amillenialists)
         c. I am inclined to believe there are past, present, and
            future elements
            1) It began in Jerusalem with the preaching of the gospel
               on Pentecost
               a) For Peter identifies the events of that day as 
                  beginning the fulfillment of what would occur in the
                  "last days" - cf. Joel 2:28-32; Ac 2:16-17
               b) For Jesus said the gospel would go forth from 
                  Jerusalem as prophesied - Lk 24:46-47; cf. Mic 4:2;
                  Isa 2:3
            2) It continues as people respond to the gospel that 
               originated from Jerusalem
               a) Such people "have come to Mount Zion" - He 12:22-24;
                  cf. Mic 4:2
               b) They learn the ways of the Lord - Ep 4:20-24; cf. 
                  Mic 4:2
            3) The "judging among many people" may be both present and
               a) The book of Revelation reveals the Lord as judging 
                  both in the present and in the future - cf. Re 1:5;
                  2:26-27; 17:14; 20:11-15
               b) Peter viewed some of Isaiah's prophecies as yet to be
                  fulfilled - 2Pe 3:13; cf. Isa 65:17-19; 66:22
               c) Therefore Mic 4:3-5 may find some of its fulfillment
                  in the eternal destiny of the redeemed, as part of 
                  the "New Jerusalem" of the "new heaven and new earth"
                  described in Re 21-22
      3. As Micah continues, he describes what will occur "in that day"
         - Mic 4:6-8
         a. The Lord will assemble a remnant of those whom He afflicted
            - cf. Ro 11:5
         b. He will reign over them forever - cf. Lk 1:30-33
         -- I understand that the fulfillment of this prophecy began 
            with the first coming of Christ, and that the church is a
            spiritual kingdom in which the "former dominion" of Israel
            has been restored and given to Jesus who reigns from heaven
            - cf. Mt 28:18; Ac 1:6-8; 2:30-36; Re 1:5; 2:26-27; 3:21

      1. The "Now" of Mic 4:9 suggests that Micah has returned from his
         glimpse of the future hope to what will occur in the immediate
      2. Their judgment will involve distress like a woman in labor, as
         they will be delivered to Babylon, from which they will also 
         be redeemed - Mic 4:9-10
      3. Even "now", many nations (e.g., Assyria) have come up against
         them - Mic 4:11-5:1
         a. Who seek to defile Zion, whom God will use to break them
           into many pieces
         b. Yet the daughter of Zion (Israel) shall be humbled also 
            - cf. Mic 5:1

      1. Here we find the prophecy of the Messiah's birthplace - Mic 5:2; cf. Mt 2:1-6
         a. The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem Ephrathah
         b. He would become the ruler of Israel - cf. Isa 9:6-7; Lk 1:30-33
         c. His "goings forth have been from old, from everlasting" 
            - cf. Jn 1:1-3
      2. The Messiah will lead His people in peace - Mic 5:3-5a
         a. Though first they must be given up for a short time 
            (Babylonian captivity)
         b. Then a remnant shall return, whom the Ruler shall feed in
            the strength of the Lord
      1. Some take this section to be Messianic
      2. I tend to take it as pertaining to Micah's day and those that
         followed shortly after...
         a. The Assyrian threat would prove to be no real threat (for 
            Judah - Mic 5:5b-6; cf. Isa 36-37
         b. When the remnant is dispersed (as a result of Babylonian
            captivity), they shall be a lion among flocks of sheep 
            - Mic 5:7-9 (e.g., Daniel, Esther?)
         c. God would cut off her false strengths (such as horses and
            chariots, cf. Isa 31:1) and her idolatry - Mic 5:10-15


1. With the recurrent theme in his messages ("Present Judgment, Future
   Blessings"), Micah's purpose appears to be two-fold...
   a. To warn the people, that they may repent as necessary
   b. To encourage the people, that their hope for the future might 
      help them to endure the hard times to come

2. A similar two-fold message is found in the New Testament as well...
   a. Warnings to persevere, lest we fall away - e.g., He 4:1,11
   b. Promises to encourage us for whatever lies ahead - e.g., 2Pe 3:

3. Today, we have an advantage over the Israelites of Micah's day...
   a. We have already seen much of his prophecy fulfilled with the 
      first coming of the Messiah
   b. As Peter wrote, "we also have the prophetic word made more sure"
      - 2Pe 1:19
   c. Made more sure by virtue of its fulfillment, it can serve to 
      comfort us and strengthen our hope regarding any future promise 
      of God - cf. Ro 15:4
   -- If God kept His promise concerning the first coming of His 
      Messiah, we can have confidence He will keep His promise 
      concerning His return!

Perhaps that is why Peter went on to say concerning "the prophetic 
word" (e.g., The Minor Prophets)...

   "which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place,
   until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts"
                                                      (2Pe 1:19)

By careful study and consideration of the prophets, both in the Old
Testament and New Testament, our hope for the future is strengthened!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011