But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.

Micah 5:2

There were two Bethlehems, one in the south of Israel and one in the north. The adding of Ephrathah indicates that this is the Bethlehem that is approximately five miles south of Jerusalem and is the ancestral home of Ruth and King David (Ruth 1:1–2; 4:11; 1 Samuel 17:12).

Micah alluded to the passage in Genesis 49:10 where Jacob predicted that the ruler of Israel would come from the tribe of Judah: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” Judah was the fourth son of Jacob, not the first. So, God is apparently upsetting the usual order of inheritance by telling the Jewish people that their ultimate ruler would come from the descendants of the fourth son of Israel.


Genesis 49:10 and Micah 5:2 both make the point that this ruler would profoundly impact the Jewish people since he would rule the Jewish people forever (2 Samuel 7:13ff). Micah used two terms to indicate the duration of his reign. The first word “mikedem” may be translated as “from ancient times,” and the second term “olam” as “eternal,” which often describes the everlasting character of the God of Israel (Psalm 25:6; 90:2; Habakkuk 1:12). The combined use of these terms speaks of the eternality of the coming ruler which was fulfilled in the person of the Messiah Jesus, the eternal Son of David, spoken of in the New Testament.

The eternal nature of the promised ruler would reach forever into the past and extend forever in the future. This can only be describing the eternal God. Whoever this ruler is would be God in the flesh!

Matthew indicates that Jesus is the promised ruler. He is the son of David from the tribe of Judah who was born in the traditional Davidic homeland, and He will prove Himself to be the eternal Son of God and Messianic King through His perfect character and miracles. The “bread of life” would be born in Bethlehem (which means “house of bread”), as He would be both the bread of life and the ultimate sacrifice for our sin—born to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.


For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.

Isaiah 9:6-7

In this passage, the prophet Isaiah used four different names for the coming Messiah, two of which indicate that this future son of David would be God in the flesh. Names in the Hebrew Bible often indicate character, and these names (especially when the two verses are taken as one unit) speak to the very nature of the Davidic king.

The opening phrase of this passage indicates that the child being spoken of would be an actual baby, born of a woman. However, this would not be just another baby. This baby would be called by all four names that follow. What child, in that time or any other, could live up to the name Eternal Father, avi-ad in Hebrew, not to mention Mighty God, El-Gibbor? How could an earthly king be “Mighty God”? Literal readings of the Hebrew reveal that the titles describe the King Himself.


In Isaiah 10:21, the title “mighty God” is reserved for God alone. Isaiah 9:6–7 predicts that David’s descendant would be born of a woman, a descendant of David the king, yet fully God. A common theme running throughout the Old Testament (and the New Testament as well) is the expectation of an eternal reign of King David. In 2 Samuel, God made a covenant with King David. The Lord says: “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom” (2 Samuel 7:12).


The Hebrew word translated in 2 Samuel 7:12 as “your descendant” is zarakha, which is from the root zerah meaning “seed” or “offspring.” Verse thirteen continues to describe the eternal kingdom of this descendant, and verse fourteen tells us that the Lord Himself says, “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me.”

There were many Davidic kings in the generations following David’s death; however, only one person could fulfill this prophecy. He would have to be born as a human baby, live a human life, yet be the eternal God and everlasting Father at the same time. He would have to rule as King and establish an eternal peace as the Prince of Peace. The only individual ever to fit this description is Jesus, the Messiah of Israel, who was both God and man.

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14


In Isaiah’s day, two enemies were conspiring against   Judah: Rezin of Syria and Pekah of Israel (the  northern kingdom). Isaiah comforted the terrified people of Judah by going to King Ahaz with his aptly named son, Shear-jashub (“a remnant shall return”). God will bring a remnant back to the Land. The terrorists of that day, who were mere men, would be shattered.

Ahaz was challenged to believe this prophecy. In fact, he was to ask God for a confirming sign, something really spectacular—as “deep as Sheol or high as heaven” (Isaiah 7:11). When he refused, God gave him a sign, even though he had exasperated the Lord. What is that sign? It is a son named Immanuel, which means “God with us.” God’s people needed His very presence when surrounded by the enemy. It was true in Isaiah’s time, and it is true today.


The son will be born to a “virgin,” said the prophet. Regardless of how one interprets the Hebrew word “almah,” there would be nothing spectacular about her if she were impregnated normally. Something supernatural attended this birth.

What child in Isaiah’s day “fulfills” this prophecy? We do not know. Some say the “young maiden” was Isaiah’s wife, but she already had a child, Shear-jashub, and her second child was not named Immanuel but Maher-shalal-hash-baz (Isaiah 8:3). Others say she was a virgin when the prophecy was given, but she then married and had a child whose early life is described by Isaiah to show that the Syria-Israel confederacy would be defeated very soon. Neither view is too remarkable, deep, or high.

It is clear that the supernatural, spectacular component of this birth finds its fulfillment in the Person of the Messiah, born of a virgin, through the work of the Holy Spirit, before Mary and Joseph “came together” (Matthew 1:18–25). Whatever the meaning to Ahaz, which is obscure at best, the meaning to all believers around the world is that the baby who was named Immanuel was supernaturally conceived.

The virgin conception is a different miracle than the cases where God caused a barren womb to open. Whether due to old age or another reason, the manner of conception was still the union of man and woman; the child born was fully human. Rather, the result of the virgin conception is that the child would be both fully human AND fully God. The Apostle Paul affirmed this unique circumstance when he referred to Yeshua as having “existed in the form of God,” and “being found in appearance as a man” (Philippians 2:6–9).

We have been given a sign. We have been given a Son. We know Him as Immanuel. God is always with us in the Messiah Yeshua who indwells every believer and who said, “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20)


© Chosen People Ministries 2020