De Moor V:8: The Generation of the Son, Micah 5:2

As there is an explicit treatment of Generation in the cited passage of the Psalm, so also under the more common name of Going Forth mention is made of the same in Micah 5:2: for, 1. most aptly is the divine Generation here compared with the temporal Generation of the Messiah and set in opposition to it. 2. Nothing was able to make more for signifying and commending the excellency of the מוֹשֵׁ֖ל בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל, Ruler of Israel. 3. Neither is it able here to be considered of any other thing, where the Eternity of these Goings Forth are expressly enough mentioned in a twofold expression, מִקֶּ֖דֶם מִימֵ֥י עוֹלָֽם׃, from of old, from everlasting, which are not to be separated from each other; and, taken together, 1. they are indeed able to express in a simpler sense from the days of ancient ages, running thence from the Creation of the world. For, if these Goings Forth of the Messiah were already at that time relevant, the Eternity of the same was thence evident enough: seeing that thus they must be applicable to Him according to His Divine Nature, according to which alone He was before Going Forth from Beth-lehem; but whatever has regard to the Divine Nature, is altogether eternal, by comparison with John 8:58. 2. Or Eternity itself is able thus to be expressly signified, set forth according to our manner of conception in expressions taken from time, just as it is known that Days and Years are quite frequently ascribed to Eternity. 3. Or we will be bidden here no less clearly to ascend to Eternity, if we believe that the מ/from has been set down here in the place of בְּטֶרֶם/before, which prepositions, both here and elsewhere where Eternity is described, are believed to be interchangeable; thus also in the New Testament, ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου, from the foundation of the world, Matthew 25:34, and πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου, before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 1:4, mean the same thing: for thus these Goings Forth shall be said to have been before Mosaic antiquity and the beginning of the ages and of time; before which beginning of all things there is nothing but absolute Eternity.


Frederick Spanheim, Sr.

Now, it is not strange, 1.that under the name of Goings Forth the eternal Generation of Messaih is here referenced:on the contrary, it is most elegantly done, when by the verb יֵצֵא, He shall go forth, His temporal Nativity was foretold here, just as by the verb יָצָאmen are elsewhere said to go forth in human generation from the bodies, loins, or thighs of their Fathers, Genesis 46:26;[1] 2 Samuel 7:12.[2]The plural number, מוֹצָאֹתָיו, His goings forth, does not hinder, which is able to be used of the divine Nativity of the Lord for the sake of excellence, and perhaps also to denote the immutable Eternity of the thing, since it is, as it were, a continuous and perpetual Going Forth, never to be ended.For, on occasion of the plural number, others less rightly think of the divers Goings Forth of this Lord, one from eternity, the other temporal, in the promises of the future Going Forth of this Lord out of Beth-lehem; or in the diverse demonstrations of His eternal Nativity, etc.:which sort are far different from that eternal Going Forth of the Lord properly so called; they are not able suitably to be comprehended and understood together with it under one and same term, nor are they so emphatically, or in the same sense as the divine Nativity, declared to beמִקֶּ֖דֶם מִימֵ֥י עוֹלָֽם׃, from of old, from everlasting.See SPANHEIM’S Dubia Euangelica, Part II, doubt XLVII, page 434-443; ARNOLDI’S Refutationem Catecheseos Racovianæ, on chapter I, de Cognitione Personæ Christi, questions 16, 18, pages 55-57, § XCIV-CIII, pages 204-207; our AUTHOR’S Commentario on this passage; and absolutely add WESSELIUS’ Nestorianismum et Adoptianismum redivivum confutatum, chapter XVI, § 194-199, in which he builds upon the exegesis just now set forth by us, and vindicates it from the παρερμηνείᾳ/misinterpretation of the Most Illustrious Cremer,[3] who in Messiah’s מוֹצָאוֹת, goings forth, seeks a twofold Nativity of the Son of God, one Natural and absolutely eternal, as what was already before the Beginning of the Decree (as that Man is wont to assign a Beginning to the Decree); but the other Free, as what was decreed by God before the Beginning of the World, finally appearing in actuality in time, when Messiah would go forth by divine power from the Dividic Virgin, and in assumed Humanity render Filial obedience to God.In addition, compare GERHARD TEN CATE’S Epistolam de Rebus Jesu Christi ex Prophetis ad Leonardum Offerhaus,[4] after Offerhaus’ Spicilegiorum historico-chronologicorum, pages 849-855, 859.Of the divine, Eternal Generation of the Son, the Belgic Confession, article X, also explains the passage in Micah 5:2.[5]

[1] Genesis 46:26: “All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins (יֹצְאֵ֣י יְרֵכ֔וֹ), besides Jacob’s sons’ wives, all the souls were threescore and six…” [2] 2 Samuel 7:12: “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels (אֲשֶׁ֥ר יֵצֵ֖א מִמֵּעֶ֑יךָ), and I will establish his kingdom.” [3] Bernard Sebastian Cremer (1683-1750) was a Reformed theologian. He served as Professor of Theology at Harderwijk (1717-1750). [4] Leonard Offerhaus (1699-1779) was a German historian. He was a professor of history at Groningen, beginning in 1725. [5] Belgic Confession, article X: “We believe that Jesus Christ, according to His divine nature, is the only begotten Son of God, begotten from eternity, not made nor created (for then He would be a creature), but coessential and coeternal with the Father, the express image of His person, and the brightness of His glory, equal unto Him in all things. He is the Son of God, not only from the time that He assumed our nature, but from all eternity, as these testimonies, when compared together, teach us. Moses saith that God created the world; and John saith that all things were made by that Word, which he calleth God. And the apostle saith that God made the worlds by His Son; likewise, that God created all things by Jesus Christ. Therefore it must needs follow that He who is called God, the Word, the Son, and Jesus Christ did exist at that time when all things were created by Him. Therefore the prophet Micah saith: His goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. And the apostle: He hath neither beginning of days nor end of life. He therefore is that true, eternal, and almighty God, whom we invoke, worship, and serve.”

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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