“Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with sore destruction.” – Micah ii. 10.
A CORRESPONDENT in our last number requested our views on the above text; and although we have no very special light upon the subject, we will offer a few general remarks.
The time of the prophecy of Micah, as the introduction of the first chapter will show, was in the days of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and the burden of his vision had reference to Samaria and Jerusalem; the former being the location of the revolted tribes, and the latter the seat of the national government, and the worship of Judah; or that portion of the family of Jacob which adhered to the house of David after the revolution of the ten tribes in the days of Rehoboam. The judgments predicted by this prophet were for the transgressions of Jacob, which were Samaria, and the high places of Judah, which were Jerusalem. The whole tenor of the Prophet’s message set forth the degeneracy and abominable wickedness of Judah and Israel – their transgressions of the covenant under which they had been organized as a nation – and the idolatry of their high places; the impending storm of wrath which should suddenly fall upon them, and which should ultimately scatter them like the chaff of a summer threshing floor. The corruption of the lords and nobles, as well as that of the prophets, priests and masses of Israel, is set forth in very strong language. They were charged with devising evil upon their beds, and executing their abominable devices in the morning. They coveted fields and took violent possession of them, they oppressed the poor, they hated the good and loved the evil, they plucked off the skin and the flesh from the bones of God’s people which were among them. Their choice of prophets and ministers was that they should walk in the spirit and falsehood, and lie, and say, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and strong drink; even such should be their prophets; while those who spake only truth unto them in the name of the Lord, were subjected to have their bones broken; they were chopped in pieces, as for the pot,and as flesh within the caldron. The day when God would avenge the blood of his slaughtered people upon that wicked generation was hastening on apace. A few brief centuries should show the fulfillment of all the judgments which were written against them.
To our mind it appears clear that the portion of the prophecy on which our views are called for, had reference to the time when the sceptre should depart from Judah, and the lawgiver from between his feet, when the breaker should come up before them, and they should be utterly broken up. Or, in other words, when the Son of God should be revealed as the Shepherd of his people, when he should put forth his own sheep and go before them, when he should call them by name and lead them out from Judaism, and they should hear his voice and follow him, and then the house of Israel should be left desolate, according to Matt. xxiii. 38. This view is strengthened by the closing words of the chapter: “And their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them.” Also, the prediction in the connection, that “The mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills, and people shall flow unto it; and many nations shall come and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob,” &c.
“Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest.” This was typically a rest unto Israel from their trials in the wilderness; but as such it was figurative of the gospel. The legal dispensation affords no rest to the weary and heavy laden children of God, and God had such a people in the midst of national Israel, at the time when the breaker came up, which were in Israel as the new wine is in the cluster; but their rest was not in their connection with the worldly sanctuary, nor in the carnal ordinances of national Israel; yet they required to be informed that that was not their rest. There was in them a strong inclination, as there also is in christians at this day, to look for rest where it is not to be enjoyed; in a system of works; a covenant gendering to bondage, and among a people who are nominally called the Lord’s people. But that rest which remaineth for the people of God, is only realized by believers in Christ, who are brought out from the yoke of bondage, and unto Jesus who giveth his beloved rest.
“ Because it is polluted.” God’s hidden ones he will not suffer to rest in a polluted pace. Their rest is the gospel, not the law; their resting place is Jesus, not Moses. Their companions, the spiritual children of that Jerusalem which is above, which is free, and which is the mother of them all.
“It shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction.” “You” in the last quotation, is supplied by the translators, as also the words is and your, in the former part of the text. The legal dispensation presented a ministration of death, of condemnation, destruction, and wrath, and therefore could not afford rest to the people of God; but the gospel is a ministration of life, of peace, safety, and assurance forever, and of it the Lord has said, “This is my rest forever,” &c.
As what was written aforetime was written for our instruction and admonition, may we not learn from the figurative import of this part of the history and condition of Israel, that under the present anti-typical dispensation there should come scoffers in the last days, corrupters of the word; men of corrupt minds, who should be turned away from the truth and turned unto fables; covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers; and that men in this condition should heap to themselves teachers having itching ears? And do we not find these scriptures being fulfilled before our eyes? These teachers heaped like those of old, must be men walking in the spirit and falsehood, who do lie; men who will prophesy of wine and strong drink; or of something which will intoxicate and bewilder their deluded hearers, and make them fancy that they are rich and increased in goods, and have need of nothing, even when they are in reality poor, and blind, and naked, and miserable. For “There were false prophets among the people, (ancient Israel,) even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of; and through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you; whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” – 2 Peter, ii. 1-3. And to all the dear people of God, situated among those filthy dreamers, those clouds which are without rain, driven by the tempest, do not the words of the Lord by Micah very appropriately apply: “Arise, depart ye, this is not your rest?” Can God’s children rest among those who walk in the spirit and falsehood, and do lie? The wicked are like the sea that cannot rest, that continually casteth up mire and dirt. But as judgments were hanging over those guilty Israelites of old, so hang the dreadful bolts of wrath which God has prepared for the corrupters of his word; and as the angel cast the millstone into the sea, so with great violence shall Babylon sink down beneath the avenging wrath of God, and be. found no more at all. “Come out of her,” then, “my people, that ye may not be partakers of her wickedness, nor receivers of her plagues.” Arise ye. and depart; for this is not your rest.”
New Vernon, N.Y.,
November 1, 1845
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 591 – 595