Before considering the 4th chapter of Micah, which is a prophecy earmarked for fulfillment in the final part of the days, let us first consider the first chapter, which is addressed to all the people of the earth—in other words—to us!
“Hear, all you peoples! Pay attention, O earth and what fills you, and let the Sovereign Lord Jehovah serve as a witness against you —Jehovah from his holy temple.”
When God created the first man out of the dust and settled him in the garden of Eden the Creator used to regularly visit with Adam. God did not make any grand entry. There was no thunder and lightning. No angelic trumpeters heralded God’s coming. The earth did not violently shake. The Genesis record states that around the breezy part of the day the great Spirit used to unassumingly stroll through Eden, as it were, and He and Adam would have a chat. The Garden was God’s earthly temple. Everything was perfect.
Tragically, because of the rebellion that Satan instigated that precious relationship between God and man was ruined. Jehovah no longer strolled through the park and spoke with man.
Although God has never abdicated His sovereignty neither has he asserted it—except on certain occasions in a limited way, such as at Babel and the plagues on Egypt, etc. However, at some point that will change. And that is the message of Micah to “all you peoples.” Micah describes Jehovah’s re-introduction of Himself this way: “For look! Jehovah is going out from his place; He will come down and tread on earth’s high places. The mountains will melt under him, and the valleys will split apart like wax before the fire, like waters poured down a steep slope.” — Micah 1:3-4
Obviously, when God comes down He will not be taking a leisurely stroll in the park as in the days of yore. People would never listen to God anyway if He spoke as softly as a breeze. No, the descent of Jehovah from His place high in heaven will be earth-shattering.
The context of Micah concerns Israel, both Samaria, and Jerusalem—both of which were destroyed; Samaria by Assyria and Jerusalem by the Chaldeans. But since God entered into judgment with his wayward people via human armies that served as His punishing agents, why does the prophecy use such exaggerated symbolism? After all, there is no biblical record of any supernatural acts of God accompanying the Chaldean siege.
Put another way, why did God speak of the Babylonian invasion and the overthrow of Jerusalem as if He had personally come down from heaven and treaded upon the mountains, causing them to melt?
The reason is, the prophecy really speaks to the coming of Christ and the final part of the days. It is Jesus who is coming down from his place in heaven with all the power, glory and authority of Jehovah himself.
What is meant by him treading on earth’s high places, with mountains melting under his feet like wax before the fire? Is it mere hyperbole? Surely, earth’s high places have nothing to do with the altitude of literal mountains.
As the Watchtower has always taught mountains are often used to symbolize governments. God’s government—otherwise known as the Kingdom—is also frequently represented in the Scriptures as a mountain, even Mount Zion. But mountains can also represent any lofty thing, such as a religious institution or even men of stature. Consider Isaiah 2:12-16: “For it is the day belonging to Jehovah of armies. It is coming upon everyone who is haughty and lofty, upon everyone, whether exalted or lowly, upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are lofty and exalted and upon all the oaks of Bashan, upon all the lofty mountains and upon all the high hills, upon every high tower and every fortified wall, upon all the ships of Tarshish and upon all desirable boats.”
The meltdown of mountains under the feet of God is symbolic of the collapse of mountain-like institutions crushed under the feet of the Lord of the whole earth when he comes down.
The 10th chapter of Revelation depicts Christ as a mighty angel coming down to earth to lay claim to his dominion: “And I saw another strong angel descending from heaven, arrayed with a cloud, and a rainbow was on his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs were like pillars of fire, and he had in his hand a little scroll that had been unrolled. And he set his right foot on the sea, but his left one on the earth, and he cried out with a loud voice just as when a lion roars. And when he cried out, the voices of the seven thunders spoke.”
Revelation echos Micah’s thunderous cry to all the peoples of the earth to give heed to the judgment message of the Lord.
As regards the mountains melting this symbolism is also used in Revelation to depict the crash of the present system. “And I saw when he opened the sixth seal, and a great earthquake occurred; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the entire moon became as blood, and the stars of heaven fell to the earth as when a fig tree shaken by a high wind drops its unripe figs. And the heaven departed as a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and every island was removed from its place.” — Rev 6:12-14
The 97th Psalm uses similar symbolism and connects the mountains melting like wax to an extraordinary event: “Jehovah has become King! Let the earth be joyful. Let the many islands rejoice. Clouds and thick gloom are all around him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him and consumes his adversaries on every side. His lightning bolts light up the land; the earth sees it and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before Jehovah, before the Lord of the whole earth.”
As stated already, Jehovah has never abdicated His throne. However, He has bequeathed all power and authority to Jesus Christ—the Firstborn of all creation. By the decree of Jehovah God when the unknowable, predetermined day and hour arrives, Jesus Christ will become Lord of the whole earth. Through Christ, Jehovah will assert His own sovereignty—as if becoming king.
To establish the identity of the Lord of the whole earth the 11th chapter of Revelation depicts the two witnesses, symbolized as two olive trees, standing before the Lord of the earth. The symbolic olive trees are carried over from Zechariah 4:14, in which the angel explains: “These are the two anointed ones who are standing alongside the Lord of the whole earth.”
Serious Bible students ought to recognize that the expression “standing alongside” relates to the parousia, which literally means “being alongside.” So, while the book of Micah is set in antiquity the coming down of the Lord to tread upon earth’s high places is a prophecy concerning the second coming of Christ and the parousia.
While the multitudes of the untaught Evangelicals speak of a rapture when supposedly all saved Christians will be suddenly levitated heavenward, leaving behind the condemned to suffer seven years of torment and tribulation, the Bible paints quite a different picture.
Jesus was quite clear in warning his disciples that they must be prepared for the unknowable day and hour of his coming. Rather than being raptured into bliss, anointed Christians will have to endure what the Scriptures illustrate as the refining of silver to separate it from the scummy dross. According to the prophecy of Malachi, the fiery refining will not be easy to endure. Indeed: “But who will endure the day of his coming, and who will be able to stand when he appears? For he will be like the fire of a refiner and like the lye of laundrymen.”
According to the Watchtower, the Refiner has already come. The Bible Students were refined and cleansed of all their impurities. Pure worship now prevails! That notion is as untenable as the rapture.
Returning to the first chapter of Micah, what is the reason for Christ’s dramatic and destructive descent to tread down earth’s high places? “All of this is because of the revolt of Jacob, because of the sins of the house of Israel. What is the revolt of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? And what are the high places of Judah? Are they not Jerusalem?”
Samaria was the capital of the 10 tribe kingdom after Jehovah split the kingdom because of Solomon’s apostasy. Jerusalem was the capital of Judah and it remained the religious center for all of Israel. In order to prevent the reunification of the 12 tribes Israel’s first king set up calf worship for convenience. Other high places of false worship were scattered throughout the land. But eventually, even the temple in Jerusalem became corrupted with idols and grotesque images.
In what might be termed “new light” the Watchtower has recently repudiated their long-held teaching that “Jerusalem,” with all of its corruption and idolatry, typifies Christendom. It is just as well. After all, God eventually got Jerusalem sorted out, even though it took some severe discipline—the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of the survivors. But since there is an obvious counterpart to ancient Jerusalem, what is it? That is an important question since it is in relation to the survivors of the destruction of antitypical Jerusalem that the mountain of the house of Jehovah ascends. In context, the prophecy states: “So because of you, Zion will be plowed up as a field, Jerusalem will become heaps of ruins, and the mountain of the House will become like high places in a forest. In the final part of the days, the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, and it will be raised up above the hills, and to it peoples will stream.” — Micah 3:12-4:1
To be continued