About 700 years before
Jesus was born, God said, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be
little among the thousands of Judah,’ yet out of thee shall he come forth
unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of
old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).
There were thousands of
towns in Judah that God could have picked for the birth of Jesus, but He
chose a little town called Bethlehem.
There were two
Bethlehems in Israel so God revealed which one He was talking about by
adding the word “Ephratah.” Jesus would be born Bethlehem, Ephratah.
This was a remarkable
prediction, but few people realize just how remarkable it was. You see, God
promised King David that the Messiah would be one of his descendants (II
And during the 700 years
that passed between the life of King David and the birth of Jesus, all of
King David’s descendants moved away from Bethlehem, Ephratah.
They scattered in every
direction. Only one family in David’s line lived in the area. And this
family didn’t live in Bethlehem, Ephratah. This family lived in Nazareth.
Anyway, 700 years
passed. And none of King David’s descendants lived in Bethlehem, Ephratah.
But God said Jesus would be born in that little town.
How could this be? It is
explained in the book of Luke. Caesar Augustus decreed that all the world
should be taxed. And he added that everyone should be taxed in their own
city (Luke 2:1-3).
So God used a pagan
Roman Emperor to move two of King David’s descendants to the exact town
where He said Jesus would be born.
Mary was great with
child when she made the trip. Physically speaking, she probably shouldn’t
have done it. But God brought her through. And Jesus was born at the
A short time later, wise
men traveled to Jerusalem. They went to King Herod and asked about the King
of the Jews (Matt. 2:2).
King Herod consulted the
chief priest and scribes. They had not seen the new born Jesus, but they
knew the prophecy. They could even quote it.
Herod demanded that they
tell him where the Christ should be born and they said, “In Bethlehem of
Judea; for it is written by the prophet” (Micah 5:2).
Herod called the wise
men in for a private meeting. He sent them to Bethlehem, Ephratah to find
the young Jesus.
They went. They found
Him. They fell down. They worshipped Him. They gave Him gifts.
Thus, God’s 700 year old
prophecy was partially fulfilled. He moved two of King David’s descendants
to Bethlehem Ephratah so Jesus could be born exactly where the Bible said he
would be born.
Why was this a partial
fulfillment? Notice, the rest of the verse,
“Yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in
Israel” (Micah 5:2).
Jesus is destined to be
ruler in Israel. He didn’t rule when He came the first time. But He is
coming back to rule.
“For unto us a
child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his
shoulder . . . .” (Isa. 9:6).
“Behold, the days
come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a
King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the
earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and
this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS”
“And the LORD shall
be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his
name one” (Zech. 14:9).
Christians to pray, “Thy KINGDOM come . . .” (Matt. 6:9-13).
And it will. When He
comes back He will have “on his vesture ‘KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS’”
This is why the return
of Israel is so significant to students of Bible prophecy today. The first
half of Micah 5:2 has been literally fufilled and prophecy students believe
we are on the brink of the rest of it being literally fufilled.
Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck