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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Micah 5:2

Micah 5:2
(From the RDB Files)

Some trinitarians tell us Micah 5:2 (or 5:1 in some versions) teaches that Jesus has always existed ("from everlasting" - KJV). And since only God has existed for all eternity, Jesus must be God!

But look at other trinitarian translations of Micah 5:2. (E.g., "O Bethlehem ..., from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days" - RSV, cf. JB, NEB, REB, NAB, NIV, AT, Mo, NRSV, NJB, CEB, CJB, ERV, ESV, God's Word, LEB, MEV, NCV, NET, NLT, WEB, Byington, and Young's.) Not only does this verse not teach that Jesus has always existed, it even speaks of his origin in very ancient times. (Origin: "a coming into existence" - Webster's New World Dictionary, 1973.)

Why would these trinitarian translations admit such a thing? Perhaps because it is difficult to honestly translate the Hebrew motsaah with a word that does not include this understanding. (Even when "goings forth" is the rendering, it appears it should also be with the understanding of "originating." For example, if we said "the command went forth from the King," we obviously mean the command originated with - or sprang from - the king! And when Micah 5:2 says of the Messiah: "O Bethlehem ..., from you shall come forth [the Messiah]," it can only mean that, in his earthly existence, he originated in Bethlehem!)

Obviously for so many respected trinitarian translators to choose this meaning ("origin") they must feel there is no other honest choice! The only meanings given by Gesenius for this word in his highly-respected Lexicon are "origin, springing" - #4163, Gesenius - cf. Micah 5:1 in The Jewish Publication Society's Bible translation, Tanakh. 

And A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament gives the only meaning for this word as used in Micah 5 as "origin." - p. 187, Eerdmans.

It would make no sense to interpret this as meaning the Messiah's human origin springs from ancient times. We have just been told that in Micah's time the Messiah's human origin was to be a future event and would take place in Bethlehem. Also there are no humans who haven't sprung from the very first pair in ancient Eden. It would be ridiculous to make the point that the human Messiah came from ancient stock since every human has done so. It must mean that his pre-existence as a spirit person in heaven originated in very ancient times (as the very beginning of God's creation - Rev. 3:14; Prov. 8:22). The Bible Greek of the ancient Septuagint, in fact, at Micah 5:2 says: "and his goings forth were from the beginning [arkhe], from ancient days [aionos]."

The NIV Study Bible, in a footnote for Micah 5:2 explains: "origins...from of old. His beginnings were much earlier than his human birth."


As for the Hebrew word olam, it can often be understood as “ancient times” or “of old” and does not necessarily refer to “eternity.” Here is how olam is used in the following scriptures in the NASB:

of old (Gen 6:4)

days of old (Deuteronomy 32:7)

From ancient times (Joshua 24:2)

from ancient times. (1 Samuel 27:8)

the ancient path (Job 22:15)

the ancient boundary (Proverbs 22:28)

the ancient boundary (Proverbs 23:10)

the ancient nation (Isaiah 44:7)

ancient ruins (Isaiah 58:12)

ancient ruins (Isaiah 61:4)

the days of old. (Isaiah 63:9)

the days of old (Isaiah 63:11)
          an ancient nation, (Jeremiah 5:15)
          the ancient paths (Jeremiah 6:16)

          the ancient paths (Jeremiah 18:15)

         the ancient waste places (Ezekiel 26:20)

         the days of old (Malachi 3:4)

Micah 5:2 literally says "days of olam." This same wording is found again in Micah at Micah 7:14:

Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old [‘days of olam’] (Micah 7:14).

Try substituting “eternity” in the above scriptures. It’s clear that the NASB has rendered olam correctly in those scriptures.

So, adding the fact that the Messiah had a beginning in this verse to the possibility of olam meaning “ancient” as translated here in numerous Trinitarian Bibles and and in many other scriptures, it seems evident that the RSV has correctly rendered Micah 5:2 -

(RSV) Micah 5:2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, 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.

It's also very important to examine Micah 5:4 where Jehovah is recognized as being the God of the Messiah! (The NIVSB tells us in a footnote for this verse that the LORD [`Jehovah'] here - the God of the Messiah - refers to "God the Father.")

Also see:

BWF - 'Beginning,' 'Wisdom,' and 'Firstborn' (6th par. down; Examining the Trinity)

Is Micah 5:2 saying that Jesus' ORIGIN was “from early times”? (SFBT)

Did Jesus have a beginning (Micah 5:2)? (jwitness forum)

Micah 5:2 (JW Stand Firm)

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