The two lines from Micah 5:2, "His goings forth are from long ago" and "From the days of eternity," are parallel. The verb, "going forth" (BDB 422, KB 425, Qal imperative) is very common. It was used in Micah eight times:

1. of the Lord's coming in Mic. 1:3

2. of God's law going forth in 4:2

3. of repentant Israel being restored in Mic. 7:9 (i.e., a new exodus, 7:15). It can refer to the Messiah's origin (Genenius, NRSV, NJB) or actions (cf. Mic. 4:4,5a).

These two poetic lines could refer to

1. the pre-existence of the Messiah (cf. Pro. 8:22-31; John 1:1,14-15,30; 8:56-59; 16:28; 17:5,24; 2 Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:6-7; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3; 10:5-9)

2. a way of referring to famous descendants of the past (i.e., Noah, Abraham, or more probably, David).

This whole verse alludes to a Davidic king, of David's line, from David's hometown. David was viewed as the ideal king.

The term "eternity" (BDB 761) is 'olam. See Special Topic: Forever ('Olam).

The NIDOTTE, vol. 3, p. 347, which discusses 'olam, makes this comment,

"While it is tempting to see here a reference to the eternal preexistence of the Messiah, no such an idea is found in biblical or post-biblical Jewish literature before the 'Similitudes of Enoch' (first century b.c. - first century a.d.; see I Enoch 48:2-6)."

I think, although there are hints in the OT of an incarnation, the Jewish leaders of Jesus' day were surprised at His claims of equality with God (e.g., Mark 2:5-7; John 1:1-14; 8:58 and Paul, 2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15; Phil. 2:6; Titus 2:13). A partial list of OT texts that have been used to assert the full deity of Jesus follows:

1. Ps. 2:7, quoted in Heb. 1:5 (see esp. 1:2-3)

2. Ps. 45:6-7 quoted in Heb. 1:8-9

3. Ps. 110:1 quoted in Heb. 1:13

4. Isa. 9:6; Jer. 23:5-6; Micah 5:2 alluded to in Luke 1:32

5. Dan. 7:13 quoted in Matt. 26:64; Mark14:62

6. Zech. 13:7 quoted in Matt. 26:31; Mark 14:27

7. Mal. 3:1 quoted in Mark 1:1-3; Luke 2:26-27


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