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....out of thee shall one come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. NASB

to be ruler in Israel, And his comings forth are of old, From the days of antiquity. YLT

And for another take,

to rule the nation--someone whose family goes back to ancient times. CEV

Some suggest this verse proves the ruler exists in ancient times, which is a stretch- an imposed interpretation rather than a translation.

His existence has been from antiquity, even from eternity ISV

Certainly this isn’t a mandatory translation or understanding based on the rest of scripture. (No verse stands alone without the concert of the rest - thereby presenting truth together)

So it seems, the one who was to come, from the beginning as Gen 3 and other prophecies point to, has little to do with a supposed eternal existence, but simply pointing out that God has been following the same plan from before the foundation.

Is this ruler, Jesus, coming, or is it more that that?

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The operative word in Micah 5:2 is יָצָא (yatsa) means "to go or come out" (see BDB). Therefore, both are correct. The word occurs over 1000 times in the OT and is variously translated as:

  • Brought forth, Gen 1:12, 24, 2:10, 15:17, etc
  • Go out, Gen 4:16, 8:7, 16, 18, 19, 12:5, etc
  • Come from, Gen 10:14, 15:4, etc

If one wanted to translate יָצָא (yatsa) with the same ambiguity, might might say, "proceedings" (which could mean go out or come out), etc.

That Jesus had decided to offer Himself as a sacrifiece of atonement is confirmed here as well as other places such as:

In the case of Micah 5:2, either is possible.

That Micah 5:2 is a Messianic prophecy about the origin of Messiah ("One to be ruler over Israel") is confirmed by the Jewish leadership citing it (and St Matthew repeating it) in Matt 2:6. This prophecy cannot be an ordinary person because the ruler is also described as someone, "One whose origins are of old, from the days of eternity."

Such a description is clearly of Messiah, Jesus Christ. Note this except from Ellicott:

(2) But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah.—This is a passage of immense significance, through the interpretation given to it by the chief priests and scribes in the Gospel of St. Matthew. Beth-lehem Ephratah: the two names, modern and ancient, are united, each of them having reference to the fertility of the country. In the Gospel the scribes quote, evidently from memory, the passage from Micah, in reply to Herod’s question; and their first variation is in the title of the town—“Thou, Beth-lehem (not Ephratah, but), land of Judah.” So also the people protested against Jesus on the ground of His being from Galilee, for, “Hath not the Scripture said that Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?” (John 7:42.)

All the other commentaries say something very similar in https://biblehub.com/commentaries/micah/5-2.htm - too much to reproduce all the wonderful material here.

  • 1 Peter 1:20 - He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
  • Rev 13:8 - All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast--all whose names have not been written in the Lamb's book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.
  • Heb 9:26 - Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

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