Jeremiah and the Greatest Vision In the Bible
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The reason given for this is that,. This verse predicts a return from captivity. Most interpreters assume that by this the prophet has in mind the return from Babylon Ezra 1 — 2. But as the oracle proceeds more than this is in view. The word denotes taking possession; something which the returnees under Zerubbabel and Ezra never did.
They were always no better than vassals under the Persian king. The passage unfolds with a prediction of a time of great trepidation Jer. Then we are told:. So this time of difficulty will be of such intensity that it will have no equal. Or does he? The promise that Israel will be delivered out of this terrible time is associated, not with B.
It is not a descendant of David who is spoken about, but David himself. Are we then to expect a risen David to reign again over the kingdom of Israel in its approaching golden age? Well, no believing student of the Bible refuses to believe that the Old Testament saints will be raised although they may not ponder the implications very much.
Jeremiah and the Greatest Vision In the Bible
The resurrection of David, or for that matter, of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and other saints, is no pious myth. Very well, will they forever be disembodied spirits? But what of David once more ruling over Israel? Jeremiah and Ezekiel say he will. Perhaps so. I will leave things there until later.
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But what about the timing of the deliverance of Jeremiah ? Things start to come more into focus with verses 10 and Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, and no one shall make him afraid. But I will correct you in justice, and will not let you go altogether unpunished. The guarantee of peace and safety that we saw above is again made. I do not see how this could refer to the return from the captivity in Babylon. This belongs in the eschaton along with Amos ; Hosea ; Micah ; Isaiah ; ; , and Jeremiah Chapter 30 will go on to repeat the message of comfort for Israel Jer. The notion of covenant is never very far away.
The vision continues unabated into chapter But that comes later in the chapter. Not, as in some other contexts, in an ironic way e. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, Streaming to the goodness of the LORD— For wheat and new wine and oil, For the young of the flock and the herd; Their souls shall be like a well-watered garden, And they shall sorrow no more at all. Yet, not one word of these reforms occupies the pages of Jeremiah. The people of Judah were deeply committed to their gods.
To be sure, they worshiped the Lord, but not Him alone. He was just another entity in the pantheon to be served. Jeremiah must, then, be understood against a backdrop of extreme and heartfelt apostasy, which I will now describe. They have turned their back to Me and not their face; though I taught them, teaching again and again, they would not listen and receive instruction. But they put their detestable things in the house which is called by My name, to defile it Jeremiah , There is a detailed description of the idols placed within the temple recorded by Ezekiel in a vision that he received.
What he records is chilling and must be remembered as you read Jeremiah and the words of judgment it contains:. It came about in the sixth year, on the fifth day of the sixth month, as I was sitting in my house with the elders of Judah sitting before me, that the hand of the Lord God fell on me there. Then I looked, and behold, a likeness as the appearance of a man; from His loins and downward there was the appearance of fire, and from His loins and upward the appearance of brightness, like the appearance of glowing metal.
He stretched out the form of a hand and caught me by a lock of my head; and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the north gate of the inner court, where the seat of the idol of jealousy, which provokes to jealousy, was located. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, like the appearance which I saw in the plain. But yet you will see still greater abominations. Then He brought me to the entrance of the court, and when I looked, behold, a hole in the wall.
Standing in front of them were seventy elders of the house of Israel, with Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan standing among them, each man with his censer in his hand and the fragrance of the cloud of incense rising. Yet you will see still greater abominations than these. And behold, at the entrance to the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs to the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east; and they were prostrating themselves eastward toward the sun.
Is it too light a thing for the house of Judah to commit the abominations which they have committed here, that they have filled the land with violence and provoked Me repeatedly? For behold, they are putting the twig to their nose. Therefore, I indeed will deal in wrath. They built the high places of Baal that are in the valley of Ben-hinnom to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I had not commanded them nor had it entered My mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin Jeremiah Behold, you are trusting in deceptive words to no avail.
Jeremiah The people had a persistent and deep emotional attachment to their gods and goddesses. As for the message that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we are not going to listen to you! But rather we will certainly carry out every word that has proceeded from our mouths, by burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, just as we ourselves, our forefathers, our kings and our princes did in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; for then we had plenty of food and were well off and saw no misfortune Jeremiah , What is significant about these words is that they were spoken in Egypt after Jerusalem had been destroyed.
In spite of the events, the people carried a deep attachment to their idols as a source of protection and prosperity. Had this not been the case, these people would have listened to Jeremiah and remained in Judah where they may well have greatly prospered.
So the spiritual state in Judah and Jerusalem was very bad. The Lord God had made a place for His Name, but that place was full of imposters. He had sought a covenant relationship with His people, but they had no regard or love to return for His. To understand how completely was this state of affairs is to understand why Jeremiah spoke of coming judgment: there was no reasonable expectation of repentance or change. See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant Jeremiah Jeremiah had a ministry of words, and yet those words meant the plucking up and dislocation of people, the breaking down of culture and society, the destruction of cities, the overthrow of kings, the building of new communities, and the planting of new hope.
His ministry was to speak the Word of the Lord, and in speaking, release Spiritual activity that moved events along a God-directed course. The Lord God could not bring about His judgment without His messenger explaining what was to happen and why. To do otherwise would be unjust. Now behold, I have made you today as a fortified city and as a pillar of iron and as walls of bronze against the whole land, to the kings of Judah, to its princes, to its priests and to the people of the land.
Therefore, Jeremiah could neither give up nor die. Although Jeremiah is rightly called the weeping prophet, we must also understand that he was as tough as nails.
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He was strong and unrelenting in his message. He delivered it year in and year out without compromise and under great pressure to give up. Even when he was down and wanted to quit, the Lord would burst through:. O Lord, You have deceived me and I was deceived; you have overcome me and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; everyone mocks me. For each time I speak, I cry aloud; I proclaim violence and destruction, because for me the word of the Lord has resulted in reproach and derision all day long. Denounce him; yes, let us denounce him! But the Lord is with me like a dread champion; therefore my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.
They will be utterly ashamed, because they have failed, with an everlasting disgrace that will not be forgotten Jeremiah Part of the strength in Jeremiah was the strength of the message to burst out of him even when he would have preferred to remain quiet. Jeremiah knew that each time he spoke, he was in for trouble. And on some days, he would have liked to stay out of trouble. But the message in him burned like a fire until he could not help but speak. The most well known of these was between the Lord and Moses:.
They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation. Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people.
Moses and others interceded with the Lord on behalf of His people to turn away from judgment and show mercy. It is of great significance, then, that the Lord commanded Jeremiah not to do this! Jeremiah was not to intercede, for Judah and Jerusalem, that the Lord would relent from the calamity that He had planned. Look at these verses:. As for you, do not pray for this people, and do not lift up cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with Me; for I do not hear you Jeremiah Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them; for I will not listen when they call to Me because of their disaster Jeremiah When they fast, I am not going to listen to their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I am not going to accept them.
This restriction reveals that the coming judgment was on an irrevocable course. This was underscored, with amazing effect, when the Lord informed Jeremiah that even the likes of Moses and Samuel would not be able, through intercession, to stay the hand of the coming wrath. The Lord commanded Hosea to marry a prostitute. He instructed Hosea and Isaiah regarding what names to give their children, names that contained core themes of His message. For Jeremiah, the word from the Lord was,. You shall not take a wife for yourself nor have sons or daughters in this place. For thus says the Lord concerning the sons and daughters born in this place, and concerning their mothers who bear them, and their fathers who beget them in this land: They will die of deadly diseases, they will not be lamented or buried; they will be as dung on the surface of the ground and come to an end by sword and famine, and their carcasses will become food for the birds of the sky and for the beasts of the earth Jeremiah Have you not heard people say that they do not want to bring children into the current world?
Jeremiah is a large book, and it is impossible to convey everything in an overview. To pluck up, break down, destroy, and overthrow. This is especially true in the first 19 chapters. Along with the charges, Jeremiah also pronounced the sentence for the guilt that the nation bore. To build and plant. The sentence on Judah and Jerusalem was their destruction and deportation of its people. During the critical last days, Jeremiah spoke a message by which the godly within the besieged walls of Jerusalem could escape. He also wrote letters, encouragement, and instruction to those carried into exile with Jehoiachin.
Most significantly, Jeremiah proclaimed a future New Covenant that did not have the weakness of the first. There are several reasons why the Lord might bring suffering into our lives. In one case, He may bring suffering to discipline us and bring us to maturity. In another case, He sends trials and tribulations our way so that we can stand as His witnesses on the earth. These situations have a compensating good that we can expect to receive for our pain. We can consider such troubles as cause for joy, as James tells us. But when He bares His arm in wrath, there is no cause for joy.
Behold, I bring evil on this place and on its inhabitants, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read. There is no hope in these words. The Lord is not moving to discipline His people. He is not bringing tribulation their way. Rather, he is going to demolish the nation and leave it an ash heap.
For the Lord to be just, He must communicate the charges before carrying out the sentence.
There were very few God-seeking people in the land. One of the reasons for wrath over discipline for Judah and Jerusalem was the extreme rarity of godly people. On one occasion, the said:. Roam to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and look now and take note. And seek in her open squares, if you can find a man, if there is one who does justice, who seeks truth, then I will pardon her. Jeremiah goes on to describe how he searched among the common people and then among the court.
Jeremiah and the Greatest Vision In the Bible
On that day, at least, he could find no one. The people in Judah and Jerusalem had not the slightest inclination to know the Lord and His paths. Jeremiah described their attitude this way:.
To whom shall I speak and give warning that they may hear? Behold, their ears are closed and they cannot listen. Indeed, beyond a lack of interest, the Word was treated with disdain and derision. Jeremiah wrote,. Moral decline reached its heights. When the nation rejected God and His Scriptures, its general moral state also declined. At the same time, it maintained some external religious affectations. Combined, they were a great insult to the Holy God:.
Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight? These are the charges that Jeremiah brought against the nation. It would seem as if the nation as a whole, not in part, was guilty of:. For such charges to have meaning, there must be a legal code on which they are based. That code, of course, is the Law of Moses, which was more than just a legal code, but was a covenant document. It spelled out responsibilities to both parties of the covenant. If the children of Israel obeyed, there would be the blessings of prosperity, health, and safety.
If they disobeyed, there would be the curse of poverty, sickness, and terror.
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All this was clearly spelled out in Deuteronomy So, along with the charges came the expectation of the consequences written in the covenant. My soul, my soul! I am in anguish! Oh, my heart! My heart is pounding in me; I cannot be silent, because you have heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. Disaster on disaster is proclaimed, for the whole land is devastated; suddenly my tents are devastated, my curtains in an instant. How long must I see the standard and hear the sound of the trumpet? For my people are foolish, they know me not; they are stupid children and have no understanding.
They are shrewd to do evil, but to do good they do not know Jeremiah At one point, Jeremiah compared the coming destruction to the undoing of the Creation:. I looked on the earth, and behold, it was formless and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light. I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro. I looked, and behold, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens had fled.
I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a wilderness, and all its cities were pulled down before the Lord, before His fierce anger. At that time, declares the Lord, they will bring out the bones of the kings of Judah and the bones of its princes, and the bones of the priests and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem from their graves.
They will spread them out to the sun, the moon and to all the host of heaven, which they have loved and which they have served, and which they have gone after and which they have sought, and which they have worshiped. They will not be gathered or buried; they will be as dung on the face of the ground Jeremiah 8: 1, 2. The curses of the covenant must surely come, as would have come the blessings, if the nation had maintained its love for the Lord alone. But not all within the city and countryside were apostate, and surely, there were some who would listen to Jeremiah.
What was to happen to them? Were they to also come under the wrath of God? Did their faith not commend some mercy from His hand? There was good news here. Anyone who knew the Lord and knew Jeremiah to be His spokesman had options that led to safety during those trying times. This is not to say that safety meant life as usual, or that it did not mean suffering. There was still loss, and great at that. But the path of safety led to hope and a future.