Updated: Dec 12, 2021
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 You, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to rule in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient days.
 Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labor has brought forth;
then the rest of his kindred shall return
to the people of Israel.
 And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of Yahweh,
in the majesty of the name of Yahweh elohaw.
And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth;
[5a] and he shall be the one of peace.
This is the Old Testament selection to be read aloud on the fourth Sunday of Advent, Year C, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. It will precede either Canticle 15 (“Mary’s song” - from Luke 1) or Psalm 80. Mary’s song includes her singing, “From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.” Psalm 80 includes this verse: “Restore us, elohim of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.” Either will precede a reading from Hebrews, where Paul wrote: “When Christ came into the world, he said, "Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me.” All will accompany the Gospel choice from Luke, where Elizabeth told Mary, “For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy.”
In Matthew 2, where the story of the Magi is told, they went to meet with Herod the Great, because he was the King of Judea. One can assume they had come seeking the newborn “King of the Jews” [“basileus tōn Ioudaiōn”], asking Herod to see his new baby. Since Herod had no new issue, the Magi then asked, “Where is it prophesied that he will be born?” Herod did not know; so, he ordered his court scribes (scholars in Judaism) to come give this answer. When they arrived, they quoted Micah 5:2-3, which says it was scholarly opinion that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.
This becomes the reason this reading is read on this Sunday of Advent, because this reading from Micah is Yahweh speaking the truth of what will come … not only once, when Jesus was born, but at all times [this can also be a reverse prophecy of David]. The confusion that comes (and a good reason why no scribes advised Herod the Great to stake out Bethlehem and look for competition being born) is that found in the name “Ephrathah.” There are actually two places named “Bethlehem” in what was once a whole Israel, with one north of Jerusalem (not in Judah) and one south of Jerusalem (in Judah). All of this confusion says reading words as the names of places is wrong.
The word “bethlehem” means “House Of Bread.”
The word “ephrathah” is a woman’s name, meaning “Fruitful.”
The word “judah” means “Praised” or “Let Him Be Praised.”
The word “israel” means “Who Retains Yahweh as His elohim.”
When this is realized, verse two says (literally translated from the actual Hebrew written), “but you house of bread fruitful , little you are among the thousands who let him be praised , out of you I shall come forth , the one to be ruler of those who retain Yahweh as one of His elohim ; and who going forth from former day forever .”
This does not speak in a restricted and limited way, although the double-edge of divine words still allow for that specificity to shine forth as truth. However, the broad stoke meaning says those who will provide spiritual food for others, who will be fruitful as servants of Yahweh, they will be the Saints among the masses who allow Yahweh to speak through their mouths. It says the Spirit of Yahweh will reign over their souls and bodies of flesh; and, once that marriage has taken place, then [like Jacob] they will take on the name of Yahweh in marriage [Israel]. That will mean a forever transformation will take their souls from their former enslavements in flesh and shine the light of truth upon them eternally.
In verse three is reference to the mother of this divine Son born. While this becomes a specific prophecy of the Virgin Mary (without naming who “she” is), the broad stroke intent (which makes it apply to everyone, at all times, thereby be completely a prophetic truth) is to call all humanity feminine (males and females), because a soul in a body of flesh takes on the polarity of matter, which is feminine-negative-receptive. By seeing this, the literal translation of verse three is as such:
“thus he shall give them , up to time she will bring forth to bear ; and the remainder of
brothers , shall return to sons of those who retain Yahweh as His elohim .”
This implies that Yahweh will “give up on them” [NRSV: “he shall give them up”], which is not the case. The Hebrew root word written is “nathan,” which means “to give, put, set,” implying a “gift,” rather than a punishment “given.” This says the presence of Yahweh is indeed “a gift” by Yahweh to His wife-souls. That “gift” will be the pregnancy of His Son, where “up to time she will bring forth” is relative to the season we call Advent. The Hebrew word “yalad” means “to bear, bring forth, beget,” implying “to give birth,” but the essence of “bearing” means one “bears” the responsibility that comes with being both a wife and mother. Again, all human beings are souls in dead bodies of flesh, so human gender is not factored into a wife of Yahweh. All are feminine to His being the masculine progenitor (meaning we call Him "Father"). Thus, all souls married to Yahweh will “bear” the presence of His Son in their souls.
Following a semicolon, which denotes a new and separate statement that is relative to that statement just presented, one birth of Yahweh’s Son is not all. Jesus is not the only one who can make this prophecy of Micah be the full truth. Many others will also be born, with all Sons, therefore all will be “brothers.” This is again stating the masculinity of Yahweh’s presence, which transforms a feminine human being's soul (males and females according to their flesh) into a Son, so all the “remainder, preeminence, others likewise with this superiority” [from “yether”] will therefore be “brothers” (even human males and females mixed together – in the name of Israel – all will be soul brothers). This says there will be no “sisters” born as Sons of Yahweh; so, no “sisters” will have anything to do with true Christianity. Because a "sister" equates to a soul alone in its body of flesh (whatever gender), Micah was prophesying about all being divinely elevated Sons – brothers alike – both males and females whose souls have married Yahweh and brought forth His Son.
This is then confirmed in the final segment of words in verse three, where the use of “sons” [from “bene”] is written. The use of “shall return” [from “shub”] is a statement about one’s soul, which is “given” by Yahweh at birth (into bodies of flesh He determines to be either male, female or it), such that a “return” or “turn back” means a wayward soul has been placed back into the fold of righteousness. All who become righteous will be reborn as “sons” (it is okay to capitalize that and let it mean Jesuses). All of those “sons” will be transformed as was Jacob, when his soul “returned” and he became in the name of Yahweh, as “Israel” – meaning “Who Retains Yahweh as His elohim.”
In this use of “Israel,” it is worthwhile to realize that Micah was a prophet of Judah. His time as a prophet was when the Northern Kingdom had yet to be overrun; but Yahweh was not speaking through him to make it seem that Judeans were to be mistaken as Israelites up north. The naming of “Israel” twice [“יִשְׂרָאֵֽל” or “yiś·rā·’êl”] needs to be seen as the meaning behind the name, which did still apply to Judeans, just as it applies to all before [Jacob] and after [all true Christians], including Micah and Jesus.
When I translate “yiś·rā·’êl” so it includes the words Yahweh and elohim, the name ordinarily translates as “He Who Retains God,” with “el” seen as meaning “God.” One needs to understand “God” means “Yahweh,” but the word “el” is short [singular] for “elohim” [plural], where the “elohim” are “angels,” which are non-physical entities, servants of Yahweh [His creations who did the work of the Creation]. Thus, the truth of the name is how I state it, so each divinely created “el” is one of the many “elohim,” such that in human flesh a soul becomes a “Yahweh elohim,” as one of the “sons” of Yahweh.
This is then confirmed in verse four, where the Hebrew is literally translated as this: “and he shall take a stance , and pasture in the strength of Yahweh , in the redemptive name Yahweh elohaw ; and they shall endure when now he shall become great to a ceasing of the land .”
This speaks of those “Sons,” as the third-person “he,” who will “stand” as representatives of Yahweh on earth. It will be them who will become the “pasture” that will “feed” the lost sheep of Yahweh [the seekers who need help finding their way to righteousness]; and, as themselves becoming spiritual food in a famine situation, they will offer others “the strength of Yahweh,” which they possess as His wives and Sons.
That then leads to Micah stating clearly that those “Sons” of Yahweh will all be “in the redemptive name” that had been termed “Israel,” but now is equated to “Yahweh elohaw,” where “elohaw” translates as “his elohim.” There is no need to mistranslate this as “his God,” as that redundancy becomes meaningless. When one realizes the “elohim” are the “angels” of Yahweh, which He created, a “Yahweh elohim” is “his” “angels in the flesh” – His “Sons” reborn.
In the final segment of words, where “to a ceasing of the land” is the translation [from “‘aḏ-’ap̄·sê- ’ā·reṣ”], the meaning is twofold. First, it says one no longer serves the body of flesh [the “land, earth” reflecting upon the dead matter a soul animates], so the flesh can no longer lead a soul to sin. This says sin has “ceased” being an influence over one’s soul. Second, it speaks of a soul’s “redemption,” by having married Yahweh and given rebirth to His Son, so that soul is promised eternal life. Therefore, that soul will “cease” returning to the “earth,” meaning no more reincarnations for failing to serve Yahweh, choosing to serve self instead.
Verse five-a is then three Hebrew words, which translate as saying, “and shall be this peace.” This is the theme of “peace” overcoming a soul reborn as a Son of Yahweh. This fits the pre-Christmas theme of “goodwill and peace on earth” or “to man.” Without understanding this “peace” as being that which comes from knowing one’s soul has been promised eternal life, from marriage to Yahweh, giving birth to His Son AND then serving Him as one who feeds His flock, people fall into the sinful illusion of hippie “peace man” or the Episcopal catchphrase, “peace be with you,” when nobody knows what “peace” means. The Hebrew word written is “shalom,” which means “completeness, soundness, welfare, peace.” That only comes when a soul has returned to its source, having been transformed into a Yahweh elohim that serves Yahweh with all one’s heart, soul, and mind.
As an Old Testament reading to be read aloud on the last Sunday of Advent, prior to one’s symbolic rebirth as a Son of Yahweh (males and females alike), one needs to realize Christmas is not about worshiping baby Jesus. It is all about being baby Jesus reborn in one’s soul, so a new you can go forth and serve Yahweh totally, as His Son Jesus resurrected in your flesh. Each true Christian is to be the Virgin Mary, having never before been impregnated with Yahweh’s Spirit, having never before been promised eternal life. This message is all about the “gift” that awaits one’s soul, through submission of self to Yahweh, swearing agreement to His Covenant (the marriage vows) and then becoming one with His Spirit, cleansed so His Son can arise in one's flesh. That is what puts the “merry” in Christmas.