This is currently slated to be the last of my posts on "prophetic language" . It is quite possible that I'll pick this back up and run with it at a later time but for now I hope I've given enough examples to get everyone's mind spinning and winding in a new hermeneutical direction.
Today we'll close by discussing the opening texts of Micah 1. Now I'll be honest that this isn't a straight forward example. Unlike previous texts I can't demonstrate that this has been completely fulfilled. There are and have been many who remain convinced that this texts still speaks of a future fulfillment.
Hear, you peoples, all of you; pay attention, O earth, and all that is in it, and let the Lord God be a witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple. For behold, the Lord is coming out of his place, and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth. And the mountains will melt under him, and the valleys will split open, like wax before the fire, like waters poured down a steep place. - Micah 1:2-4
Let us start with a general proposition. That proposition is that there are other texts that speaking about God "coming" that in fact have already happened. Texts that specifically come to mind would generally be Isaiah 13 and 19. If these texts do speak of a historical visitation of God's judgment then it is safe to say that the context of Micah 1-2 certainly provides a similar idea. The whole of Micah's first prophecy does project a type of judgment upon Israel for nothing more than social inequality which often equates to unfaithfulness to the covenant.
But even if we accept the fact that Micah truly was speaking to the people in his day (Micah 1:1), how can we understand the prophecy that Micah gives concerning God's judgment? This is where hermeneutics comes to a great divide. There are many who refuse to acknowledge anything less than a literal interpretation of this passage. I'm not going to combat this. Instead I'm going to provide an alternative.
That alternative is that the language provided here is a unique example of judgment language. We've looked previously at the idea of "hearts melting" at the coming judgment of God. Still again we see this imagery appear. This time however the reference is spoken in the context of creation. This judgment language borders on de-creation language!
The natural order and structure of creation is being upset. The intentionally high places are being brought low and the intentionally submissive water is assuming a higher position.
The other interesting theme that floats through the texts is the destruction of man-made religion in God's judgment. God comes from the truly holy place to destroy the created worship sites of mankind. The melting of these mountains will even everything out and make everything plain. The whole of creation will become suitable worship places for those who seek God.
This concept shouldn't be surprising. This is the very thing that the Jesus Christ says (John 4:19-26) . This whole theme is genuinely fulfilled in Micah's second prophecy (Micah 4:1-7). After destroying the mountains of man, God establishes His own mountain and house where Gentiles can find true worship. In a very typological sense the introduction to Micah speaks this way too. I don't have the time to support the claim but it is my position that water is used symbolically and typologically of the Gentiles.
Both these visions together combined with the speech of Christ teach that the final judgment on Israel will in fact tear down all false material places of worship. This began with Jesus Christ and the destruction of "His temple" (John 2:18-22) and was completed with the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
I hope that this series has been helpful. Whether I intended to or not, my examples slowly developed into more and more exposition. There are many other prophetic texts that can provide insight and understanding to the full structure that is New Testament prophecy and fulfillment.
Joshua Torrey is the sole proprietor of Torrey Gazette (don't tell Alaina) and the fullness of its editorial process. That means everything wrong with TG can legitimately be blamed on him.