READ : Micah 5:1-5a
But you, O Bethlehem Ephratha . . . from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel. (v. 2)
In 1876, Charles Russell (founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses) predicted that God would rapture his followers in 1878. Needless to say, he was wrong. In 1878 he revised his prophecy to place the Rapture in 1881. Wrong again. After another failure in 1918, Russell declared that all his physical predictions had come true … in an invisible way. Most people come to a different conclusion: that Russell was a false prophet.
Conversely, God’s prophets speak truth. When they predict, it comes true. Micah predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and exile of Israel. In 586 BC, Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and exiled its people. Micah also predicted the place where the Messiah would be born: Bethlehem. Christians believe God came in flesh and blood in the person of Jesus to Bethlehem and fulfilled his word.
God sometimes gives specific truths to share, but they always point to the larger truth of Jesus Christ, fully God and fully human. When we speculate and speak our perspective as if it were God’s truth, we are in danger of misrepresenting God. We can be false prophets. However, when we experience God’s forgiveness and unconditional love through Christ, we can share it. In these cases, we become representatives who stand on firm footing and proclaim that the One born in Bethlehem still saves.
Lord, may we be true prophets who proclaim your life, death, and resurrection.