on Micah 4 :1
But in the last days it shall come to pass - These four verses contain, says Bp. Newcome, a prophecy that was to be fulfilled by the coming of the Messiah, when the Gentiles were to be admitted into covenant with God, and the apostles were to preach the Gospel, beginning at Jerusalem, Luke 24:47; Acts 2:14, etc., when Christ was to be the spiritual Judge and King of many people, was to convince many nations of their errors and vices, and was to found a religion which had the strongest tendency to promote peace. Bp. Lowth thinks that "Micah took this passage from Isaiah;" or the Spirit may have inspired both prophets with this prediction; or both may have copied some common original, the words of a prophet well known at that time. The variations (few and of little importance) may be seen in the notes on the parallel passages, Isaiah 2:2, etc.; to which the reader is requested to refer.
on Micah 4 :1
But (And) in the last days it shall come to pass - God's promises, goodness, truth, fail not. He withdraws His Presence from those who receive Him not, only to give Himself to those who will receive Him. Mercy is the sequel and end of chastisement. Micah then joins on this great prophecy of future mercy to the preceding woe, as its issue in the order of God's Will. "And it shall be." He fixes the mind to some great thing which shall come to pass; "it shall be." Then follows, in marked reference to the preceding privations, a superabundance of mercy. For "the mountain of the house," which should be as a forest and which was left unto them desolate, there is "the mountain of the Lord's house established;" for the heap of dust and the plowed field, there is the flowing-in of the Gentiles; for the night and darkness, that there shall be no vision, there is the fullness of revelation; for corrupt judgment, teaching, divining, a law from God Himself going forth through the world; for the building of Jerusalem with blood, one universal peace.
In the last days - Literally, the end of the days, that is, of those days which are in the thoughts of the speaker. Politically, there are many beginnings and many endings; as many endings as there are beginnings, since all human polity begins, only to end, and to be displaced in its turn by some new beginning, which too runs its course, only to end. Religiously, there are but two consummations. All time, since man fell, is divided into two halves, the looking forward to Christ to come in humility; the looking forward to His coming in glory. These are the two events on which man's history turns. To that former people the whole period of Christ's kingdom was one future, the fullness of all their own shadows, types, sacrifices, services, prophecies, longing, being. The "end of their days" was the beginning of the new Day of Christ: the coming of His Day was necessarily the close of the former days, the period of the dispensation which prepared for it.
The prophets then by the words, "the end of the days," always mean the times of the Gospel . "The end of the days" is the close of all which went before, the last dispensation, after which there shall be no other. Yet this too hast "last days" of its own, which shall close God's kingdom of grace and shall issue in the Second Coming of Christ; as the end of those former days, which closed the times of "the law," issued in His First Coming. We are then at once living in the last times, and looking on to a last time still to come. In the one way Peter speaks Ephesians 1:20 of the last times, or the end of the times , in which Christ was manifested for us, in contrast with the foundations of the world, before which He was foreordained.
And Paul contrasts God's Hebrews 1:1 speaking to the fathers in the prophets, and at the end of these days speaking to us in the Son; and of our Lord coming Hebrews 9:26 at the end, consummation, of the times , to put away sins by the sacrifice of Himself; and says that the things which befell the Jews 1 Corinthians 10:11 were written for our admonition, unto whom the ends of the times (that is, of those of the former people of whom he had been speaking) are come; and John speaks of this as 1 John 2:18 the last time. In the other way, they contrast the last days, not with the times before them but with their own, and then plainly they are a last and distant part of this their own last time .
The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith ; In the last days perilous times shall come : There shall come at the end of the days scoffers : They told you that there should be mockers in the last time. The Jews distributed all time between "this world" and "the coming world" , including under "the coming world" the time of grace under the Messiah's reign, and the future glory. To us the names have shifted, since this present world Matthew 13:40; Ephesians 1:21; Titus 2:12 is to us the kingdom of Christ, and there remains nothing further on this earth to look to, beyond what God has already given us. Our future then, placed as we are between the two Comings of our Lord, is, of necessity, beyond this world .
The mountain of the house of the Lord shall be - abidingly
Established - He does not say merely, "it shall be established." Kingdoms may be established at one time, and then come to an end. He says, "it shall be a thing established" . His saying is expanded by Daniel; "In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall not be destroyed forever, and it shall abide forever" Daniel 2:44. The house of the Lord was the center of His worship, the token of His Presence, the pledge of His revelations and of His abiding acceptance, protection, favor. All these were to be increased and continuous. The image is one familiar to us in the Hebrew Scriptures. People were said to go up to it, as to a place of dignity.
In the Psalm on the carrying of the Ark thither, the hill of God is compared to the many-topped mountains of Basan Psalm 68:16-17, (the Hermon-peaks which bound Basan,) and so declared to be greater than they, as being the object of God's choice. The mountain where God was worshiped rose above the mountains of idolatry. Ezekiel, varying the image, speaks of the Gospel as an overshadowing cedar Ezekiel 17:22-23, planted by God upon an high mountain and an eminent, in the mountain of the height of Israel, under which should dwell all fowl of every wing; and, in his vision of the Temple, he sees this, the image of the Christian Church Ezekiel 40:2, upon a very high mountain. Our Lord speaks of His Apostles and the Church in them, as Matthew 5:14 a city set upon a hill which cannot be hid. The seat of God's worship was to be seen far and wide; nothing was to obscure it. It, now lower than the surrounding hills, was then to be as on the summit of them. Human elevation, the more exalted it is, the more unstable is it. Divine greatness alone is at once solid and exalted. The new kingdom of God was at once to be "exalted above the hills," and "established on the top of the mountains;" "exalted," at once, above everything human, and yet "established," strong as the mountains on which it rested, and unassailable, unconquerable, seated secure aloft, between heaven, whence it came and to which it tends, and earth, on which it just tests in the sublime serenity of its majesty.
The image sets forth the supereminence of the Lord's House above all things earthly. It does not define wherein that greatness consists. The flowing in of the nations is a fruit of it Micah 4:1-2. The immediate object of their coming is explained to be, to learn to know and to do the will of God Micah 4:2. But the new revelation does not form all its greatness. That greatness is from the Presence of God, revealing and evermore teaching His Will, ruling, judging, rebuking, peacemaking Micah 4:3-4. Dionysius: "The 'mountain of the Lord's House' was then 'exalted above the hills' by the bodily Presence of Christ, when He, in the Temple built on that mountain, spake, preached, worked so many miracles; as, on the same ground, Haggai says, 'the glory of this latter house shall be greater than the glory of the former' Haggai 2:9." Lap.: "This 'mountain,' the church of Christ, transcends all laws, schools, doctrines, religions, Synagogues of Jews and Philosophers, which seemed to rise aloft among men, like mountain-tops, yea, whatever under the sun is sublime and lofty, it will overpass, trample on, subdue to itself."
Even Jews have seen the meaning of this figure. Their oldest mystical book explains it. Zohar, f. 93: "'And it shall be in the last days,' when namely the Lord shall visit the daughter of Jacob, then shall 'the mountain of the house of the Lord be firmly established, that is, the Jerusalem which is above, which shall stand firmly in its place, that it may shine by the light which is above. (For no light can retain its existence, except through the light from above.) For in that time shall the light from above shine sevenfold more than before; according to that, Moreover, the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun; and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of His people and healeth the stroke of their wound" Isaiah 30:26. Another, of the dry literal school, says (Aben Ezra), "It is well known that the house of the Temple is not high. The meaning then is, that its fame shall go forth far, and there shall return to it from all quarters persons with offerings, so that it shall be, as if it were on the top of all hills, so that all the inhabitants of the earth should see it."
Some interpret "the mountain" to be Christ, who is called the Rock 1 Corinthians 10:4-6, on the confession of whom, God-Man, "the house of the Lord," that is, the Church is built , the precious Cornerstone Isaiah 28:16; 1 Peter 2:6; Ephesians 2:20, which is laid, beside which no foundation can be laid 1 Corinthians 3:11; "the great mountain," of which Daniel Dan 2:35 prophesied. It is "firmly established," so that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against the Church, being built thereon; "exalted above hills and mountains", that is above all beside, greater or smaller, which has any eminence; for He in truth is Philippians 2:9 highly exalted and hath a Name above every name, being Ephesians 1:20-23 at the Right Hand of God in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world but also in that which is to come; and all things are under His Feet. And this for us, in that He, the Same, is the Head over all things to the Church which is His Body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all. Rup.: "He is God and Man, King and Priest, King of kings, and a Priest abiding forever. Since then His Majesty reacheth to the Right Hand of God, neither mountains nor hills, Angels nor holy men, reach thereto; for "to which of the Angels said God at any time, Sit thou on My Right Hand?" Hebrews 1:13.
Cyril: "Aloft then is the Church of God raised, both in that its Head is in heaven and the Lord of all, and that, on earth, it is not like the Temple, in one small people, but "set on a hill that it cannot be hid" Matthew 5:14, or remain unseen even to those tar from it. Its doctrine too and life are far above the wisdom of this world, showing in them nothing of earth, but are above; its wisdom is the knowledge and love of God and of His Son Jesus Christ, and its life is bid with Christ in God, in those who are justified in Him and hallowed by His Spirit." In Him, it is lifted above all things, and with the eyes of the mind beholdeth (as far as may be) the glory of God, soaring on high toward Him who is the Author of all being, and, filled with divine light, it owneth Him the Maker of all.
And people (peoples, nations) shall flow unto (literally upon) it - A mighty tide should set in to the Gospel. The word is used only figuratively) is appropriated to the streaming in of multitudes, such as of old poured into Babylon, the merchant-empress of the world Jeremiah 51:44. It is used of the distant nations who should throng in one continuous stream into the Gospel, or of Israel streaming together from the four corners of the world . So, Isaiah foretells, "Thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that they may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought" (Isaiah 60:11, add Revelation 21:25-26). These were to flow upon it, perhaps so as to cover it, expressing both the multitude and density of the throng of nations, how full the Church should be, as the swollen river spreads itself over the whole champaign country, and the surging flood-tide climbs up the face of the rock which hounds it. The flood once covered the highest mountains to destroy life; this flood should pour in for the saving of life. Lap.: "It is a miracle, if waters ascend from a valley and flow to a mountain. So is it a miracle that earthly nations should ascend to the church, whose doctrine and life are lofty, arduous, sublime. This the grace of Christ effecteth, mighty and lofty, as being sent from heaven. As then waters, conducted from the fountains by pipes into a valley, in that valley bound up and rise nearly to their original height, so these waters of heavenly grace, brought down into valleys, that is, the hearts of men, make them to bound up with them into heaven and enter upon and embrace a heavenly life."
on Micah 4 :1