Question: "In the last days, will everyone need to go to Jerusalem to worship God (Micah 4:2)?"
Answer: Micah 4:2 contains an interesting prophecy that people from around the world will come to Jerusalem to learn about God. It reads, “Many nations shall come, and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’” Based on this verse, many have wondered if everyone will need to go to Jerusalem to worship God in the last days.
It is important to first identify when this prophecy will be fulfilled. When the Old Testament prophets speak of “the last days” (e.g., Micah 4:1), they usually refer to the tribulation period or the millennium (Deuteronomy 4:30; Ezekiel 38:16; Daniel 2:28; 10:14; Hosea 3:5). In Micah 4, the prophet shifts from the theme of judgment in the previous chapter to a theme of future blessing in Jerusalem when God Himself will rule (Micah 4:3). This would correspond with the millennial kingdom, during which the Messiah reigns from His throne in Jerusalem.
Micah 4:2 teaches that, during the millennium, people from many nations will come to “the mountain of the Lord”—a reference to Zion, or Jerusalem. People from all over the world will come to the temple (“the house of the God of Jacob”) to learn God’s Law and obey it.
The fact that people from every nation come to Jerusalem does not mean that everyone must travel to Jerusalem during the millennium. Most likely, people will be able to worship the Lord from anywhere in the world: “The earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9).
To the Jewish people who saw themselves as God’s only people, the mention of people from many nations coming to the temple is significant. God had always made Himself known to people of all backgrounds who turned to Him (such as the Ninevites who repented in Jonah 3), but He was still the “Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 12:6). Micah’s prophecy highlights the fact that the millennial kingdom will consist of people of many cultures, races, and nationalities serving the King. The prediction foreshadows the Great Commission of Jesus Christ to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20).
Some say that today’s interest in Holy Land tours fulfills Micah 4:2. While a visit to Jerusalem can be an enriching and faith-building experience for believers, it does not fulfill Micah’s prophecy. It will take more than tourists and travel agents to bring in the millennium. It will take the Lord Himself coming in power and great glory (Luke 21:27) to establish His throne, comfort His people (Isaiah 51:3), and usher in worldwide peace (Micah 4:3).