“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.” – Micah 5:2 NKJV
This is a very remarkable prophecy explicitly predicting, some 700 years before Jesus Messiah came, that the future king of Israel would be born in the little village of Bethlehem. Humanly speaking, Micah would probably have guessed the place of His birth would be Jerusalem, the great capital of Judah. Then, to assure its fulfillment, the Roman Emperor Augustus had to decree a comprehensive census compelling Joseph to take Mary with him to Bethlehem for her child to be born.
Our passage above looked forward to Christ’s first advent (5:2) and also to an intervening time (5:3a), and finally, beyond to Christ’s second coming (5:3b-4).
That the prophecy involves an actual child’s birth is clear not only from the phrase “come forth,” but also from the succeeding verse, which warns that God will “give them up, until the time that she which is in labor will give birth.”
“Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel.” – Micah 5:3 ESV
The preceding verses had also predicted that “they strike the judge of Israel (this coming Messiah) on the cheek” (5:1), speaking of His initial rejection and execution.
Amazingly, the prophecy does not end there! This future telling proclamation foresees His birth in Bethlehem, His repudiation by His own people, and His eventual installation as king over all Israel. In addition, it expresses that this same remarkable person was none other than God himself. His existence was from “goings forth” had been “from everlasting,” (or eternity as the NASV puts it).
Think about it: Jesus is spoken of as eternally proceeding forth from His Father. He did not become God’s Son when He was born in Bethlehem; He has been God’s Son prior to creation when He was called the “Word.”
“1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John 1:1 ESV
Let’s stop and ponder this powerful prophecy! Jesus is the Savior-Babe from the obscure town of Bethlehem!