Micah 5:2-3 (No. 121)
(Edition 1.1 19950624-19991009)
The use of this text by Binitarians is examined and shown to be incorrect. The exposition of the Dual Power heresy is demonstrated as false. This paper examines the prophecy of this text in relation to Messiah and his relationship to God.
Christian Churches of God
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(Copyright ã 1995, 1999 Wade Cox)
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We understand that the text of Micah 5:2-3 is being misconstructed by Binitarian ministers to justify Binitarianism or the Dual Power heresy as it was anciently known. It is the contention that there are two co-eternal Gods in heaven, whether or not they are held to be co-equal as in Trinitarianism. This heresy logically impugns the omnipotence of God and attempts to deny the texts of John 17:3 and 1John 5:20 that assert that there is only One True God and that Jesus Christ is His son.
John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (KJV)
1John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. (KJV)
This text is translated to make it appear that the term True God, and eternal life could perhaps refer to Christ which it does not. Moreover, the commentaries of the Douay-Reims Bible (e.g. Heydock) attempt to assert that the definite article, here used of the One True God refers to Christ, which it does not.
The True God, is the One True God and is not Jesus Christ whom He sent. No man has ever seen Him nor ever can see Him (Jn. 1:18). Only He is immortal. He is visible only in the Spirit.
1Timothy 6:13-16 In the presence of God who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14 I charge you to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; 15 and this will be made manifest at the proper time by the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (RSV)
Note here that it is God who gives life to all things. He is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He alone has immortality. Hence, He alone gives life to all things. Thus He alone gave life to Christ.
To assert that Christ is co-eternal strikes at the heart of the sovereignty of the One True God and is polytheist. Christ ascended to become the Son of God in power from his resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4). The assertion, that Micah confers eternality on Christ also, seeks to deny the text at 1Timothy 6:16 which shows that only God is immortal. The assertion is a misrepresentation of Scripture.
Let us examine the text.
Micah 5:2-3 But you, O Bethlehem Eph'rathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. 3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in travail has brought forth; then the rest of his brethren shall return to the people of Israel. (RSV)
The assertion is based upon the text in the KJV which is rendered to make the assertion possible.
Micah 5:2-3 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. 3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. (KJV)
The text is translated here as whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting.
The RSV renders the text Whose origin is from old, from ancient days. Thus the construction of eternality rests on the KJV construction of everlasting which is of itself a flimsy construction of the English language.
The text is translated in the Interlinear Bible as
And you, Bethlehem Ephratah, being least among the thousands of Judah, out of you He shall come forth to Me, to become Ruler in Israel; and His going forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity.
From the days of eternity are translated from two Hebrew words. The first is miymy (*/*/) derived from SHD 3117 yowm (.&*) meaning a (those) day(s), from sunrise to sunset, being derived from an unused root meaning to be hot. The second word is SHD 5769 ‘owlawm (.-&3) which means concealed, or to the vanishing point. It means time out of mind or practically eternity (Strongs) hence always, or from ancient times etc. The text in no way can be construed as rendering eternality on a being who is subordinate to The One True God. The Messiah can be taken from this text to have had pre-existence from ancient days. It does not confer co-equality or co-eternality with God. Indeed from this text we can see that Messiah comes forth to God and hence is not co-equal. To assert that a being is eternally co-existent with the One True God impugns His (God’s) omnipotence.
The Soncino translates Micah 5:1 as Whose goings forth are from old, from ancient days
and interprets the text thus:
goings forth.i.e. lineage.
from ancient days. It is possible that this phrase gave rise to the later Jewish doctrine that the Messiah existed in the mind of God from time immemorial, as part of the Creator’s plan at the inception of the universe. In the Talmud, the name of the Messiah is among the seven things created before the world was brought into being.
It is only God that inhabits eternity
Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (KJV)
This word for eternity is SHD 5703 ‘ad ($3) which conveys the concept of a terminus and by implication a duration in the sense of perpetuity, hence, eternity or ever (lasting). This concept is, as we see, extended to all of a contrite and humble spirit to revive the humble and the contrite. Hence this capacity to inhabit eternity is a delegated function to individuals to enable the salvation of individuals. The word ‘owlawm or olam is not used here. The word ‘owlawm is used of the physical rites also, which we know are not spiritually eternal. The term everlasting of the everlasting covenant of Genesis 9:16; 17:7-8,13,19 is used also of the everlasting God at Genesis 21:33.
Genesis 21:33 And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God. (KJV)
Yet we know that neither the flesh nor the land were eternal, either from the beginning or through time. Thus the use of the term does not imply co-eternality with the One True God. Indeed if Messiah was co-eternal he could not be the Son, as nothing could be predicated upon that relationship. Further, the fact that there were multiple sons from the foundation also requires polytheism upon co-eternality of sonship. Christ as an elohim had partners (Heb. 1:8-9 cf. Ps. 45:6-7). He was anointed elohim by his elohim. The assertion of the dual power heresy is quasi-Henotheist (It implies angel worship by asserting their eternality of existence independent from God). The assertion that God, as Elohim, is confined to two entities necessarily entails that one of the elohim was the Angel of Jehovah, as Zechariah 12:8 states categorically that the Angel of Jehovah was an elohim.
Zechariah 12:8 On that day the LORD will put a shield about the inhabitants of Jerusalem so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the LORD, at their head. (RSV)
Zechariah 12:8 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. (KJV)
This text shows that the household of David shall be as Elohim, as the Angel of Jehovah (translated as the Lord), before them or at their head. The Soncino renders elohim here as a godlike being. Thus the term elohim is understood to extend to others.
It is Messiah who heads the Household of David. The divine being or head who goes before the elect as the Angel of Jehovah is hence Messiah. At no stage is it implied that either the household of David or the Angel of the Lord, by being or becoming elohim were co-eternal with Eloah who is God the Father (Prov. 30:4-5). Eloah alone is the object of worship of the temple (Ezra 5:1-8), which was His temple (Ezra 6:16-18). Eloah was the object of sacrifice (Ezra 6:9-10), the God of heaven and the source of the Law (Ezra 7:14). The assertion that Micah 5:2-3 confers co-eternality is a misconstruction of the text in isolation from the rest of the texts which deny such a position.
It is important to examine the concept of co-eternality. Co-eternality demands that Messiah was another God who existed independent of the One True God. Thus the One True God texts have to be ignored. There would have to be, in fact, Two True Gods, but the Scriptures say there is only One True God (Deut. 6:4; Jn. 17:3). If there are not Two True Gods then one being is dependent upon the other for his existence. One is therefore God and the other is a creation or generation of the other. As the son is a generation of the Father so too is the son a product of the Father. There are multiple sons of God from the beginning (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:4-7), who are partners to Christ (Ps. 45:6-7; Heb. 1:8-9). So too then was God a Father from their generation. The Soncino identifies Psalm 45:7 as Messianic. Kimchi says
Oil was the symbol of joy (Isa. lxi. 3) and the Psalmist intends that God, by anointing the Messiah as His king, will elevate him above others and generate universal joy.
This kingdom of the multiple sons of God is the thing that is described as being an everlasting kingdom (Ps. 145:13), yet it was not co-eternal with Him. God’s covenant with Abraham was a perpetual or everlasting covenant (‘owlawm) (Ps. 105:10), however, it does not imply co-eternality with God. Psalm 93:2 states that the Lord is from everlasting. The concept of this text is of the reign of God. The reign of God was from everlasting (goes back to the beginning of time; Soncino) even though the subjects had yet to be created. This concept was understood from Isaiah 9:6 from the terms Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God (El), The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. The terms Wonderful and Counsellor are rendered in the Septuagint (LXX) as The Messenger of Great Counsel (Megales boules aggelos). The term mighty El does not confer equality or identity with Eloah or God. Nor does the term everlasting Father confer identity with, and as, God the Father. There are many fatherhoods in heaven and on earth. Every one is named for God the Father (patria Eph. 3:15). Christ is granted the Fatherhood of the human race. Christ was not always an everlasting Father, hence that title was granted. The term, therefore, does not convey immortality other than that as derived from God. The text is rendered in the Soncino (Is. 9:5) as
And his name is called Pele-joez-gibbor-Abi-ad-sar-shalom.
The Soncino says
The meaning of the Hebrew words is ‘Wonderful in counsel is God the Mighty, the Everlasting Father, The Ruler of Peace.’ The child will bear these significant names in order to recall to the people the message which they embodied (Arbarbanel).
The text is thus held to convey delegated authority. Whether the text is held to be Messianic or not, the result is still of delegated authority. In explaining the text following this verse namely from henceforth even for ever, Rashi says that the Hebrew word olam also signifies a considerable time. This explanation comes from an attempt to confine the text to the reign of Hezekiah. However, the explanation of the meaning is useful.
It can thus be seen that the use of Micah 5:2-3 to confer co-eternality on Messiah and hence propound Binitarianism or the Dual Power heresy is an imputation against the omnipotence of God and a breach of the structure of Monotheism. It ignores a host of significant explanatory Scriptures which show the interpretation to be erroneous.