“Bible History IS Secular History when given the truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.
Paul Harvey, during his daily radio broadcasts, made famous the statement “The Rest of the Story.” He would tell the unfamiliar stories behind the familiar stories of men, feats, events and situations. Did you know the same is true of many “bible stories” found in the Old and New Testament scriptures? The following may not be quite the same as Mr. Harvey’s reviews of history, events and people, but they can be just as stunning, revealing, informative, and mind opening.
This publication will look at dozens of these surprising “aha moments” from scripture. Some will startle, some readers will find them particularly satisfying, and some will realize that history and the Bible are the same thing; a review of what was and remains an actuality. The Bible stories in scripture are space-limited and cannot publish everything surrounding, coinciding, or consequential to these stories. Some Bible time events are well-known and others not quite as well known but none the less found in scripture with a correlating “aha moment”. NOTE: The Bible and history are contemporaneous.
Included in this website are messages from others who serve our God; i.e. studied individuals such as ministers and Bible teachers.
Let’s explore some of these aha moments in scripture and have a ton of fun while doing so!!
– Dr. J
Dr. JNOTE: Jeremiah 31 is a rather long chapter and covers much so it will be divided into two parts. This is part 1.
Chapter 30 to 33 is eschatological; i.e. End Time centered. It is about ISRAEL and God’s promise to forgive them in the end for betraying HIM as a people and as a nation. Remember that the Old Testament is about a nation (Israel) and the New Testament is about individuals. God is the husband of Israel and Jesus is the husband of the church of believers. This distinction is seldom taught but straight out of scripture.
(God) Husband of Israel – Isaiah 54:5; Jeremiah 3:14; Hosea 2:16.
(Jesus) Husband of the New Testament church – II Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 19:7-9.
CAUTION: There are several references to the God-head husband in Revelation but read it with due caution. Most of the references in Revelation is a reminder and promise of God as husband to Israel/Jerusalem; not Jesus and the church of believers.
The very first verse in Jeremiah 31 is specific… (ESV) “At that *time, declares the LORD, I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people.” A side note: God is not talking about the church. He is specific in that it is God of all the clans of Israel. The dichotomy of the realm of Jesus and the Father God is in the words used. They are distinct yet in most ways, parallel. Parallel does not mean the same path. This is often argued by those who don’t fully understand why the Old Testament Covenants are Israel and the New Testament Covenants do not nullify the O.T. Covenants, rather they are specific to born again individuals.
*That time is a continuation of chapter 30 being a prophetic view for Israel and End Time. This is covered in verses 1-9. God assures his people that in That Time, he alone will protect their existence and they will not be eliminated from populating the earth.
Israel has been an unfaithful wife but Jeremiah 31:3 is specific. “I (God) have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” God continued his love for Israel even when she abandoned him over and over. An Old Testament and very specific example of this relationship is the life of Hosea (Hosea 1:2-4). Hosea is a God-given example of his relationship with Israel. It is THE THEME of the entire Book of Hosea. If space allowed, which it doesn’t, this would be a good time to give a review of Hosea but the reader/student can do this on his or her own.
Verse 5: Again you shall plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant and shall enjoy the fruit.
Verse 8: I will bring them from the North Country and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, the pregnant woman and she who is in labor, together; a great company, they shall return here. (Here being Jerusalem).
Is there any reason to attempt to spiritualize these verses??? NONE, but history and bible revisionists attempt to warp its obvious meaning. These verses are straight forward and must be taken as God intended Jeremiah to present them to the captive Judeans now in or under Babylonian control. However, the problem comes in when we misunderstand that God is not talking about 70 years later when Daniel reminds the King Cyrus (the Mede) of the promised release and return. God is telling Jeremiah about a time even today is yet to come. Watch the news today and study the Apocalyptic End Times. We are extremely near this time if not one foot not already in the doorway. Everything is in place even as you read this article.
We know that this TIME has not yet occurred as the promises found in Jeremiah 31:9, 10 & 11 have not yet happened. Israel and Judah have yet to reunite as a single identity of people even though Gentiles have corrupted their identities by calling all of them Jews. The word Jews is never mentioned in the Bible until the nation of Israel has divided and the King of the Northern Ten Tribes prepares to go to defend itself from the “Jews” of Judah [I Kings 12:24]. This is the first time in scripture the word “JEW” is ever used. However, and depending on which Bible translation is referenced, some scholar’s point to II Kings 2:6 where most of the translations correctly use the name “Jew” as an identity of the Tribe of Judah.
The next several verses in Jeremiah 31 continue to explain (Prophecy) how God will reunite all of Israel (descendants of Jacob) and what will be waiting for them via God’s own hand. Note that the church is never mentioned or even indicated to be a part of any of this eventuality. This is God’s Covenant with his chosen. Jesus’s followers have a similar but different Covenants. In short, this is when God intervenes in world events and returns his blessing upon his chosen sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The world (other nations) will recognize this fact and whatever the New Covenant God enacts with ISRAEL, we can only speculate.
Jeremiah 31:17 makes it totally clear; “There is hope for your future, declares the LORD, and your children shall come back to their own country.” We are discussing a covenant with Israelis here, not just Judean Jews. Why hope in the future and not then? Verse 18 explains this if one understands how an unruly or untrained calf is treated by their shepherd; one that continues to violate the “rules of the shepherd” and repeatedly wanders off. The shepherd will break the leg of the animal making it totally dependent upon the shepherd to carry it. This is what Hosea points out with his prostitute wife exemplifying how Israel treats their God-husband. God will need to break the leg of Israel in End Time so that she can do absolutely nothing on her own. They will then realize there are totally dependent upon their God (shepherd).
Verse 21 of Jeremiah 31 is of particular insightfulness. It hints of other bible passages and promises being fulfilled. “There is hope for your future, declares the LORD, and your children shall come back to their own country.” There is hope for Israel but it will be many generations later and through their children’s children. For there is a new thing on earth that God has or was about to initiate. Most commentaries avoid discussing it but we will offer suggestions; i.e. V22 “and woman will encompass a man.”
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, “encompass” means: to completely go around; group a task or tasks; a thick fog; encircle. Encompass: sâbab (H5437)
- Some translations state that a woman will protect a man. But, is this a “NEW THING” as stated in verse 22? Doubtful as even back in the time of Jacob when he had issues with his twin brother Esau, the women lead their return and reunion upon the death of their father Isaac. In a sense, they lead the way to protect Jacob from the fury of Esau.
- The control phrase is “God is creating a NEW THING on earth.” In a world that had traditionally held women at bay and in a sense, servitude, God is going to bring women to the forefront; beginning a form of dominance over their male counter-part.
- Some commentaries see this as a hint of the Virgin Mary bringing Jesus into the world by birth. This could mean that the strategy of God has now officially changed. He is moving from a nation to individual relationships with the God-head. That is shifting from the Old Testament concepts of Judaism to the New Testament relationship between God (Jesus) and mankind.
- In the spiritual relationship which the prophet has in view, this male/female relationship will now begin to be inverted. Israel, the erring but repentant wife, shall woo her Divine husband. The history of Gomer in Hosea 2:14-20 again presents a striking parallel. A like inversion of the normal order is indicated, though with a different meaning. Men traditionally woo the woman.
- Israel will eventually press herself to her God-husband and seek him out for eternity.
- Personally, this author sees it as the beginning of role reversal. This is very evident in today’s society and cultures with exceptions like in Islam. Men have defaulted to women to take leadership roles, head of households, guiding the man instead of the man guiding his family and wife.
This is an oft debated verse. We leave it to your discretion and interpretation as to its meaning. It is there so it is something that God intends us to grasp. It most likely suggests that someday God will make things on earth as different as a woman controlling man; role reversals
Rev. Dr. Jstark
Jeremiah is finally told to “ what he has seen and heard in a book” [30:2] Thus, we get the book of Jeremiah. Take note of the specificity at the beginning of verse 2…”Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel:…” [ESV]. This is not just God speaking to people on earth but HE is specifically identified as THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL. HE identifies himself as the God of Israel. Recall that Israel; i.e. the Kingdom of…” has not existed for over 120 years yet God identifies himself as speaking to all of Israel; not just Judah. This is our first hint of what will follow in this chapter; one people reunited as a nation. What Jeremiah is told to write about is future tense; the two sticks of Ezekiel 37:16.
Verse 3 expands this thought. [ESV] “For behold days are coming when I will restore the fortunes of my people.” Jeremiah has now gone beyond the sorrowful days confronting the Judean Tribe in captivity in Babylon. It is of particular value to understand the wording. God says, I will BRING THEM BACK to the land promised to their fathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). He isn’t going to send them back, but LEAD THEM BACK. This suggests that God is present when this happens. This also suggests it will occur at the end of the Tribulation when Christ returns to the Mount of Olives as their Messiah. Later verses in this, and the next three chapters, underscore this eschatological view or window into which we can peer into the window of the future.
Again, in verse 4 both Israel and Judah are mentioned together. Israel (Kingdom of) has long been gone. The ten tribes are dispersed into the hinterlands of no-man’s lands by the Assyrians and natural wanderings or exile exploring which Israelis are very good at doing. The Judeans in Babylon MUST RETURN FIRST as Christ is to be born in Bethlehem, Judea another 500 years after Jeremiah. Jesus is of the Tribe of Judah. This means chapter 30 must be taken as a distant prophecy of things to come LONG after the70 years in Babylon have past. Jeremiah has shifted from his concerns over his fellow Judeans to things in a far distant future. It is called eschatology. God instructed him to specifically “write this down.” Why write? It is for our sake and understanding today.
However, the Judean Jews (Tribe of Judah) will go through more troublesome times far beyond this captivity in Babylon. Other nations will despise them, attack them, and try to humiliate them, push them around from exile to exile, execute them, and turn on them as a group. This is the punishment of a nation of God’s chosen who continually fall back into wanting things other than God. The worse is yet to come via the second half of the Tribulation called the Great Tribulation or Jacob’s Trouble [Jeremiah 30:7].
Thinking back, when Jacob was born, he had a hold of his non-identical twin brother Esau’s heel; an issue or omen of conflict that has never been solved and won’t be until the coming of Jesus to establish “His Kingdom on Earth.” This blog is not the time or place to take us back to some of the original passages in Genesis that underscore this conflict but don’t let this stand in one’s way of personally searching it out.
God does make a promise (covenant) at this moment with Jeremiah listening and writing. God says that he will “save Jacob (Israel as a twelve tribe nation) out of it.” That doesn’t bode well for the Gentiles of this time however. There will be panic but not for the true believers. The only church of believers (not an institution), will already be raptured. We can’t return with Christ to rule with him if we are still here on planet earth during this time.
Verse 8 tells us exactly what will happen when God brings his people back to the whole Promised Land in which they will enter the New Jerusalem; 1,400 miles by 1,400 miles (Revelation 21:16). Israel at present is only 9.3 miles wide at its narrowest point between the west bank and the Mediterranean Sea. It is only 263 miles from south to north. Israel is about the size of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
“I will break the yoke from the necks of the people of Israel and Judah, and I will break the ropes holding you. People from foreign countries will never again force my people to be slaves…” (ERV).
Jeremiah 30:10 is a great help toward deeper understanding and perspective. In the ERV it states that it will be “their descendants” who will be *saved and returned to the Promised Land. This makes it even clearer that this goes well beyond the 70 year captivity and their eventually ‘small in number’ return to Jerusalem. Well over 98% of the captives still alive or born during the Babylonian captivity opt to remain in this territory; not return to Judah with Zerubbabel or Ezra upon the decree of Cyrus the Great for their release. Even Daniel remains in Babylon and does not return to Jerusalem.
*However, it does not mean their immediate descendants. This chapter and the next three; 31, 32, and 33 are eschatology chapters. This reference is to a far future generation. Chapters 30 – 33 are the perpetuity of Israel. Other nations will vanish (by name) but Israel will be here.
Although Israel (Kingdom of) and Judah (Kingdom of) are mentioned multiple times, they are addressed in the singular; a people once again united in End Time and not scattered throughout the world. God scattered them. He will reunite them but this time around he will change their hearts and be THEIR God and them HIS people.
Due to the greatness and constant or repeated rejection of God, opting for things over him, religious symbolism versus worship, God brought this judgment upon them. As New Testament Christians we must learn from this. Even though we see many banners and signs reading “Gods is Love,” this example of Israel also tells us that God is also just (justice) and will hold his children accountable. Yes, God is love, but that does not mean turning a blind eye toward our sins in perpetuity. There is a limit. We will be disciplined if we continue down a path of self-destruction and ignorance of God’s Word. Blessed are the poor in spirit, meaning they do not have the resources to grow in knowledge, but we do not have that excuse if even just reading this website.
The yoke referred to in chapter 30 is the oppression of other peoples (Gentiles) over the Israelites throughout history; even to this very day. Verse 11 specifically states that God will destroy these “oppressing” people, “I will not destroy you.” However the last part of verse 11 also reads, “You must be punished for the bad things you did, but I will discipline you fairly.”
Jeremiah 30:12-15 underscore the perpetual wound or sore, perhaps omen, the Tribes of Israel carries with them. It cannot be healed under present circumstances. What Jeremiah is actually suggesting is that Israel has made many agreements with other nations, but these same nations turn a blind eye toward Israel’s continual blights and contentions with the world around them. This recognition or distinction of Israel apart from other people came from a prayer Moses offered up 800 plus years earlier when the Israelites were wandering in the Wilderness. Exodus 33:16, 17 explains this beginning point. Moses is in one of his “Tent Meetings” with God. Moses asked God:
“If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”
God replies, (v17) “this very thing that you have spoken I will do…” From this point forward to this very day, Israelites have been unique. Persecuted for this identity for which Moses asked of God to make them, “so we are distinct.” God basically answered Moses by saying, “Okay, if this is what you want I will grant this also” (JIV).
We need to mention something here since this chapter and the next three are eschatological chapters. In verse 14 of Jeremiah 30, Israel and Judah are correctly accused of being “lovers” of other nations and their not so godly customs. They compromise accepting political correctness as okay. God points out that these lovers desert them without blinking an eye. Again, since this chapter and the following three are End Time prophetic chapters, we can see in the news today how people and nations are once again aligning against the very existence of Israel. As long as other nations can get something for their troubles of aligning with Israel, they will hang around. Once that leeching ends, they abandon Israel; back in the time of Jeremiah and again in End Time. This is why God identifies Israel as a prostitute.
Jeremiah 30:16 once again shows an eye for an eye…God says these nations that abandon Israel will get the same thing in return. 16c… “…all who prey on you I (God) will make (them) prey.” [emphasis mine].
Do we wonder in which direction the modern day debates over who owns and will occupy Jerusalem will ultimately go? Jeremiah 30:18 answers this without opinion. “Thus says the LORD: Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob and have compassion on his dwellings; the city shall be rebuilt on its mound, and the palace shall stand where it used to be.” The nation of Israel will once again be in charge of all Jerusalem and all of the Promised Lands. We do not have any need to be concerned as God has spoken. Israel is his people of End Time. As Moses asked in Exodus 33:16, 17, so it will be.
Let’s conclude this article with the last sentence at the end of chapter 30… “In the latter days, you will understand.”
Rev. Dr. Jstark August, 2017
And the beat goes on… Jeremiah 29:11 is one of those controversial and taken out of context verses. Jeremiah empowered by God’s promises to Israel is speaking of Israel in this verse using as present and far-future tense. Using the YLT (Young’s Literal Translation) it reads:
29:11… “For I have known the thoughts that I am thinking towards you–an affirmation of Jehovah; thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give to you posterity and hope.”
Let’s however begin with the 29:1 then explain the controversy of verse 11 a bit later.
Jeremiah laments that he is “left in Jerusalem” while his brethren and fellow Judeans have been taken as captives to Babylon. The royalty, skilled labor/craftsmen, and the brightest of the youth (including Daniel) have been removed to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar hopes to leverage their skills, contacts, and *governing potentials. These are mostly men of value to any economy, politics, and society.
*Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed Nego became government officials of Babylon. So did many others whose names have not been recorded in scripture.
King Jehoiachin and the royal leaders/family are no long residents of Jerusalem and never will be again. This includes a truck load of prophets, priests, and religious leaders. Jehoiachin’s (aka: Jeconiah) uncle Zedekiah is placed on the throne in Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. This eventually becomes another issue for Nebuchadnezzar but we will address it later in our study. A letter is sent to Nebuchadnezzar and the captives in Babylon that points out that it was God who allowed ol’ Neb to even capture Israel and the people of Jerusalem…”Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all the captivity, whom I have caused to be carried away captive from Jerusalem unto Babylon.” In a very real sense, this letter reminds all of them that Jeremiah warned and they refused to listen. He (God) is also putting Nebuchadnezzar on notice. We find this in the Book of Daniel.
Basically God tells these captives to dig in and thrive because they will be there for quite a while (70 years). God even explains that HE does not want their numbers to diminish but increase while there. Let’s go back several lessons for a minute. God promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob the Promised Land. It included a much greater territory than they ever conquered or occupied through the Judges, Saul, David and Solomon, and the divided kingdoms; about 800 years by this time. He promised that if they follow and worship him, HE will expand their borders. Well, Israel did not follow God but God is not slack in his covenants in either the Old or the New Testaments.
The Assyrian captivity and dispersion of the northern Kingdom of Israel 120 years earlier spread these people into lands that were to be Israel’s if they kept their end of the covenant. They didn’t. So they (Judean-Israelites) do occupy the land but are not rulers within them the same is true of the southern borders of the covenant with Israel. Sooooo, Babylon takes them captive moving large numbers of Judean-Israelis east of their small homeland. By doing so, they now occupy lands God had promised them; BUT…they are not rulers within this territory. God actually tells his chosen people to work with not against their captives. He tells them to pray to him for the welfare of their captivity people in Babylon. WOW!
At the same time God through this letter and Jeremiah once again cautions these Judeans to not lend listening ears to the false doctrines and prophecies of those within their midst. Go back to our article on chapter 28 and re-read how Jeremiah dealt with on of them named Hananiah. It cost him his life for his false statements. You can believe several of these false prophets moved with them into captivity. God had ill plans for them but they are not recorded in scripture. Prophesying is one thing but to do so (lie) in God’s name….!!!! (See 29:21 to 26; 30 to 32). God will deal with all false teachers of the Old Testament and today per the New Testament. Vengeance is HIS!
Now we get into the controversial discussions of Jeremiah 29:; i.e. verses 10, 11, and 12. Here they are in the ESV:
Jer 29:10 “For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.
Jer 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jer 29:12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.
The primary issue is that it appears according to history as we know it, God did NOT make things better for them. Fact is, they got even worse after returning to Jerusalem 70 years later. There were the Greeks, Romans, Turks (Ottomans), WW I, WW II, Arabs and eventually Islamists. So where is the promised prosperity? This is where one must understand that God is referring to a distant future meaning when Jesus returns and sets up his millennial kingdom in Israel. Things are still going to get even worse for these people, i.e. Jacob’s Trouble in the latter half of the Great Tribulation. That is at least 2,700 years in the future from this time Jeremiah is lettering.
Author and blogger Mary DeMuth has another worthy opinion. She says, Jeremiah 29:11 Doesn’t Mean What You Think. As she explains, “the heart of the verse is “not that we would escape our lot, but that we would learn to thrive” in the midst of it.” There is some value to her thoughts but the fact is Jeremiah is referencing a prophecy yet to be fulfilled even today. Of course this is not what the new captives wanted to hear. They wanted to make it a short tenure in Babylon then return to the “prosperity” of their home in Judah. Therefore, it is easy to conclude that they didn’t even fulfill this commandment; i.e. to pray for the prosperity of Babylon, not just their personal health and wealth. Most of those taken into captivity would die during the 70 years. (More on this in a later blog)
Dr. Coffman puts it: “The crowd of false prophets similar to Hananiah were circulating the same falsehoods in Babylon; and the letter in this chapter was written by Jeremiah in order to counteract and frustrate the evil campaign of the false prophets.” It is no easy task to accept what one does not want and then learn how to live with it in praying for the prosperity of one’s enemies; in this case, the Babylonians.
Jeremiah 29:14 makes verse 11 clearer and more obvious. God restates that he will regather all of Israel from all of the nations where they have and continue to this day to be scattered. What is the condition? ”When you finally decide to follow me” says God. This explains the WHY in the second half of the Great Tribulation; aka: Jacob’s Trouble. God needs to FORCE these bull-headed people into finally accepting and seeking HIM.
God even tells these exiles, through Jeremiah, that those who remain in Jerusalem, the poor farmers and undesired of Nebuchadnezzar, he will (verses 17-19) bring upon them the things that later bible writers like Daniel and John of Patmos (Book of Revelation) prophesied; pestilence, the great sword, make them a horror, a curse, burden and reproach to “all” other nations. We see this in the daily news today. It is a prophecy yet to be completed. This is another example of this author’s often noted statement… “God says, if you ____, then I will ____.
Today we are at the threshold of seeing this Jeremiah 29:11. We are opening the door of this End Time history soon to be played out. It is all around us; nation against nation (meaning territorial and political fighting) and kingdom against kingdom (meaning political, racial, religious, petty family feuds, political and literal fighting and sabotage, fake news, spreading of the soon to be southern kingdom of Daniel prophesies; i.e. Islam, border wars, … You name it. This is what the passage in Matthew 24:6 means when correctly translated.
Just like the Fake News of today on liberal TV and radio, Jeremiah is dealing with Fake Prophecy in a man called Hananiah. Oddly he is called a prophet and is the son of one also [Jeremiah 28:1].
Hananiah was a Gibeonite: These people descended from the line of Ham; a son of Canaan. They are a mix of the Hivites and Amorites. NOTE: Amorites are not the descendants of Lot’s daughter; i.e. the Ammonites. 400 years earlier during the time of *Joshua (he replaced Moses as their last kingless leader), the Gibeonites, fearing the mass of Israelis coming into the land, tricked Joshua into signing a “non-aggression” peace pact of sorts. After signing an agreement with them, Joshua soon realized these were not a people of a great distance, but were in the land God had instructed him to conquer. They eventually melded into the Tribes almost becoming one of them. (Find this history in Joshua 9)
*After Joshua died, Israel (all 12 tribes) was more of a confederacy and ruled by judges. This is what the Book of Judges is all about.
God had told Joshua to not sign any peace agree with the inhabitants of the Promised Land. He was tricked so God told Joshua to honor his word and signature. After 400 years of living amongst them, King Saul violated this “non-aggression pact.” The history is gruesome but God expected King Saul to continue honoring Joshua’s word and peace agreement. It cost Saul 7 of his sons by hanging as retribution. Oddly enough, after these hangings, the Gibeonites are not mentioned again in scripture.
Hananiah claims to have heard from God and what he says is prophecy goes directly against what Jeremiah already knew was going to continue to happen. Hananiah says the “He has broken the yoke of bondage on the captive Israelites (the Jews/Judeans of the Kingdom of Judah). What was stolen from the Temple in Jerusalem and those taken into captivity would all be returned within the next two years.
He says: “I will also bring the king of Judah, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, back to this place. And I will bring back all the people of Judah that Nebuchadnezzar forced to leave their homes and go to Babylon,’ says the LORD. ‘So I will break the yoke that the king of Babylon put on the people of Judah.” (ERV)
However, in a previous article on Jeremiah we learned that Jehoiachin, who had been on the throne of Judah for only 3 months, would never see his homeland again dying while in captivity. He was released by Nebuchadnezzar’s son Evil-Merodach after 36 years in a prison but remained in Babylon. Evil-Merodach ruled Babylon for two years before being assassinated. (https://www.biblicaltraining.org/library/evil-merodach)
JIV NOTE: Jehoiachin was also known by the names Jeconiah and Coniah.
This short chapter in Jeremiah gives us insight into false news or prophecy. This can include in modern terms, fake news concerning Israel. There is always going to be a price to pay for violating God’s hand chosen people Israel. Jeremiah humors Hananiah and the witnesses in the Temple. He acts delighted that this may be a good, no, a great thing if it were true.
Jer 28:6 Jeremiah said to Hananiah, “Amen! May the LORD do that. May the LORD make the message you say come true. May he bring the things of the LORD’S Temple back to this place from Babylon. And may he bring all those who were forced to leave their homes back to this place.
Jer 28:7 “But listen to what I have to say to you and to all the people.
Jer 28:8 There were prophets long before you and I became prophets, Hananiah. They spoke against many countries and great kingdoms and always warned that war, hunger, and disease would come to them.
Jer 28:9 So the prophet who says that we will have peace must be tested. (so…) People can know that he really was sent by the LORD only if his message comes true.” (ERV)
All of this conversation and predictions or prophetic declarations happened, as Jeremiah 28 tells us, during the “the fifth month of the fourth year Zedekiah (appointed by Nebuchadnezzar to rule) sat on the throne.” Jeremiah 28:15 – 17 tells us the rest of the history though very short-lived. It reads in the ERV:
Jer 28:15 Then the prophet Jeremiah said to the prophet Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah! The LORD did not send you. But you have made the people of Judah trust in lies.
Jer 28:16 So this is what the LORD says: ‘Soon I will take you from this world, Hananiah. You will die this year, because you taught the people to turn against the LORD.'”
Jer 28:17 Hananiah died in the seventh month of that same year.
Jeremiah 27 (an amazing aha moment)
If we carefully read chapter 27 of Jeremiah, and have studied end time events according to the Minor Prophets, Isaiah, Zechariah, 2 Thessalonians, especially Daniel 11, and let’s throw Revelation in just for a kicker, we can see some amazing future events; i.e. End Time.
First…why is it called End Time? Good question? Let’s jump back to the very first book and chapter in the Bible: Genesis1:5&6, “He named the light ‘Day’ and the he named the darkness ‘night’.” There was evening and there was morning. This was the first day.”
Second…there is nothing here to suggest this was a Sunday or any other day of the week. It simply states this is the beginning or creation of time. God is infinite so the saying, “a day is as a thousand years to God” simply means time is a creation; not an eternal thing without beginning, without end or without measure. Thus, “End Time” simply means the same thing as a new earth and a new heaven. It is timeless. It will have a beginning but is eternal so time will then not exist.
We know from psychological studies that there are three types of learners; The visual, auditory and kinesthetic. God leaves no stone unturned in Jeremiah. The words spoken by Jeremiah are good for the auditory learner but, they challenge the kinesthetic and visual learner. Chapter 27 considers this. God is so wise. He has Jeremiah put on a visual demonstration that the kinesthetic can also relate to in order to GET THE MESSAGE LOUD AND CLEAR.
“This is what the LORD said to me: “Jeremiah, make a yoke out of straps and poles. Put that yoke on the back of your neck.”
This is a visual and touchable (Kinesthetic means using our other senses other than hearing or seeing) example of the same warning. But this time it includes those visiting Jerusalem from Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon. Jeremiah’s message is sent via the ambassadors and visitors of these countries to the King of Judah. We won’t take the time to repeat previous lessons, but these mentioned countries have direct connections with Abraham beginning 1500 years earlier.
- Edom or people of Mt Sier are descended from Esau.
- Moab is a descendant of Lot through one of his two daughters.
- Ammonites are the same as Moabites but through a second daughter of Lot.
- Tyre and Sidon are territories where The Tribe of Dan migrated making alliances with during the time of the judges when they were not satisfied with Judaism. Also, some members of the original Tribes of the dispersed Northern Kingdom of Israel fled there during the Assyrian dispersion of these ten tribes.
Amazing aha moment in scripture: Here is the futuristic probability and parallel prophecy as stated about Israel’s End Time; i.e. Jacobs Trouble and the Tribulation. These are very likely to be the battle grounds between the king of the north and the king of the south as prophesied in Daniel 11. This addresses both the future End Time and the immediate future of these kingdoms specifically mentioned in 27:3. These same territories will be the battle ground of Nebuchadnezzar’s military march to which Jeremiah has consistently prophesied in Israel.
These territories are also part of the Promised Lands Joshua and his leadership never conquered or took possession. God promised to “enlarge the land holding of Israel: if they followed his commandments and worshiped only him. They didn’t so God didn’t enlarge; at that time. (See the study on Revelation in this website.)
What a proclamation God makes in 27:5…”I made all things including eretz (earth). I can give it to whomever I wish.”
In the very next verse, close examination of words used is critical. 27:6 begins by saying. “and now I have given all these lands to…” (the Babylonians). Look at the phrasing. It does not say God has given these lands to the Babylonians. It is written, God has now given… The word “now” is ‛attâh which means, at this time. It also means that there will be times when he gives this land to others such as End Time. Once again God calls Nebuchadnezzar “His Servant.” This is better explained in Daniel, Ezekiel and Ezra, but not at this time in this article.
Another learning moment: Jeremiah specifically states Babylonian ruler-ship will follow “his son and his son’s son.” This should do away with the debate of other so called theologian experts that there are other kings of Babylon fitted between the rule of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. Belshazzar falls to the Medes and Persians per Daniel’s interpretation of the writing on the wall in the king’s parlor while he is entertaining his other kingdom Lords.
Verse 8 in Jeremiah 27 is a bit of an oddity. God is not only cursing Israel (Jerusalem) but its neighboring nations. He says (v8) that if they do not put their neck under the “yoke” of Babylon, he will punish them; i.e. the other nations or kingdoms around Judah. It almost appears that somehow Nebuchadnezzar and God Almighty are somehow in cahoots. God call Neb His servant, yet Neb has other gods in his kingdom.
Let’s understand this phenomenon. Nebuchadnezzar probably did not know that he was a servant or instrument of God. God identifies Nebuchadnezzar as his servant mostly because he is fulfilling God’s will over those nations (v3); all of them are related to Abraham. This means, like Israel and Judah, they all once knew the true God. Also like Israel and Judah, they have taken other gods into their culture of worship.
Some bible students including ones who call themselves scholars get the names and reigns of of this quick change in leadership in Judah. Here is why…In 598 BC, Jehoiakim died during the siege of Jerusalem and was succeeded by his son Jeconiah (also known as Jehoiachin). Jerusalem fell within three months. Jeconiah [aka: Jehoiachin] was deposed by Nebuchadnezzar, who installed Zedekiah, Jehoiakim’s brother, in his place. Scripture is not confusing who is king of Judah. It is those trying to cut the fine line of Judean kings into conflicting dates; often to the dismay of a bible student.
27:12 tells us that God instructed Zedekiah to “Bring your neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people and live. Jeremiah raises the question: “Why will you and your people die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, as the LORD has spoken concerning any nation that will not serve the king of Babylon?” Great question but the answer is too obvious. We don’t wish to be in bondage to Babylon!!! King Zedekiah remained a vassal of Nebuchadnezzar for 10 years then he rebelled. He paid a high price (v15) for doing so.
Obviously there were many false so-called prophets in the lands during this time. True prophets don’t lie. Those contradicting Jeremiah’s prophets would better be identified as Sooth-Sayers. The rest of chapter 27 is Jeremiah challenging the false prophets to approach God and ask him to protect the Temple vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had not yet removed and taken to Babylon. Whether they did is not recorded. Then Jeremiah concludes this chapter by telling them in a soon but later date, even these precious Temple vessels will be removed to Babylon, but God promised that they will be returned after the 70 years of Babylonian captivity ends.
Read Daniel and discover how and when this happens. All of it according to what Jeremiah had said would happen. Jeremiah 52:6 elaborates a bit on this fall of Jerusalem. Ezekiel also discusses this time and fall of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 40:1) as does 2 Kings 25:27. This is ten years after Nebuchadnezzar installs Zedekiah on the throne in Jerusalem; i.e. 588/587 B.C.
Next blog: Chapter 28. A false prophet named Hananiah challenges Jeremiah and makes a prediction (or false prophecy) about the captured people of the Tribe of Judah and the Temple vessels. It is a very bold statement but…. (see the next article on Jeremiah 28)
Jeremiah 26 (The Trial of Jeremiah continues)
“…believing that they (Judeans) were safe from the consequences of their actions (Jer. 7:10). As a result of their continual rejection of God’s Torah and their belief that the Temple would guarantee their safety, Jeremiah announced that the Lord would destroy the Temple of Jerusalem in the same way he had allowed the sanctuary at Shiloh to be destroyed” http://jbq.jewishbible.org/assets/Uploads/421/JBQ_421_5_mariottiniuriah.pdf
We all know the old saying, “here we go again.” This is poor Jeremiah’s task once again even after so many years of warning his people to actually sound like it is him who threatens them, even after his trial of sorts in chapter 2 (and 26). We pointed out in two previous blogs per this Jeremiah study that the people of the Kingdom of Judah held the Temple (Jerusalem) in greater esteem than they did their worship of God. In fact, those in Judah felt God had an to them since the Temple stood in Jerusalem; not the place of worship their northern brothers (cousins from the ten other tribes) had set up in Samaria; now defunct and emptied of Israelites in the Kingdom of Israel.
JIV NOTE: Chapter 26 is history prior to chapter 25 and 24; it was the first year of Jehoiakim’s rule as king. Chapter 24 is after Jehoiakim is taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. Chapter 25 is during the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s rule and the first year of Nebuchadnezzar’s rule in Babylon. In a very real sense, Jeremiah is not a sequence of events but a list or recorded history of them. I as the web page blogger will eventually summarize Jeremiah putting the chapters into a sequence for the sake of the bible student and blog reader.
If we think back in secular-bible history, perhaps the reader may just now be discovering and made aware of this knowledge, *Shiloh was the former place of worship (a tent) prior to the Temple being built by Solomon. It is where the Ark of the Covenant was placed then stolen by the Philistines. It was as now in Jeremiah, a time that the people had fallen back into self-gratification over worship of Jehovah God. At that time of the Judges (400 years) and King Saul, King David, then King Solomon (120 years), Israel was a confederacy of tribes, then a combined nation; not two separate kingdoms North and South with individual kings. The Kingdom of Judah was always ruled by descendants of King David.
*Psa 78:60 “He [God Jehovah] abandoned his place at Shiloh, the Holy Tent where he lived among the people.” (here we go again)
Where is Shiloh? Here the tabernacle was set up after the Conquest ( Joshua 18:1-10 ), where it remained during all the period of the judges till the ark fell into the hands of the Philistines. It was in central Palestine, totally secluded, and forgotten until it was rediscovered by Dr. Robinson in 1838. It was in the Tribal Territory of Ephraim on the north side of Bethel (http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/shiloh/).
Can God change His mind? Read Jeremiah 26:3 “…if they change (their ways), then I will change my mind about my plans to punish them…” (ESV).
However 26:5 pretty much establishes the weak probability of these Israelites (Tribe of Judah) paying attention to Jeremiah. It says, “I have sent my prophets to you again and again, but you did not listen to them.” If they didn’t listen “again and again,” it is highly unlikely they will do so now, but God is patient. (here we go again)
Verse 6 of Jeremiah 26 is and became the consequence of the Judeans not changing their ways and returning to their God-Jehovah. It tells us that God assures them that not only will the Temple in Jerusalem be demolished with Him abandoning it like in the Tent of Worship in Shiloh, so will the great city of Jerusalem fall to rubble; all at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar.
JIV NOTE: Since this is a dual or parallel prophecy in Jeremiah, it is also a prophecy of End Time yet to happen in history; i.e. Zechariah and Revelation prophecies. Consequences are similar. (here we go again)
It must absolutely be pointed out that there is a Hebrew word of huge significance to the End Time parallel prophecy of Jerusalem in 26:2. It is the use of the word “curse” in the King James Version. In the Hebrew this word is qelâlâh, pronounced *kel-aw-law’. It means total vilification by others. Is this not what is happening right now in our time? The status and acceptability of Israel as a whole and Jerusalem in particular is vilified by nation after nation, Arab after Arab, global leaders, Hollywood stars, Prime Ministers, Presidents (not Trump however), and even large numbers of those nation-states that are members of the United Nations.
So does the reader still think that End Time is a far-off distant event? Think again my friend. Read the newspaper and watch the news. Even the fake news has some degree of prophetic truth….”deceitful warnings and news intended to lead people astray.” (here we go again)
*kel-aw-law’ (total vilification) is from the root word kaw-law’ in Hebrew; “the end, finished, completed, terminated, destroyed, or to cease.” Remarkably, it is the same word used in End of Time prophecy discussed in the Old Testament.
Jeremiah 26:6-11 point out the typical human response. If one kills the messenger that action somehow voids the message. The rulers and people call for Jeremiah’s death. How similar to the life of Jesus some 600 years later. Killing the messenger was the solution to voiding his message. The Priests and religious leaders during the time of Christ thought: crucify Christ; void his message. How dumb! Go ahead and jump off of a 1,000 foot cliff after being warned it is a death jump. Don’t text while driving. Just visit the doctor but not follow his instructions. YES, just kill the messenger then take that leap. We will be safe because we killed the messenger. (here we go again)
Jeremiah does not back down at the threat of death by the hands of his tribal family members and Levite Priests. He simply says to do with him as they see fit but cautions them: to kill a true prophet of the Lord is to bring condemnation upon themselves and their precious city/country/kingdom [v 14 & 15]. This makes them decide that perhaps there is precedent to let him speak and go in peace. Jeremiah 25:19 reflects a time past when during the reign of Hezekiah the Prophet Micah gave the same warning as Jeremiah. He was released.
However, as the old Rock n’ Roll song goes…”and the beat goes on….”. Jeremiahs prosecutor(s) say: Jer 26:20 In the past there was another man who spoke the LORD’S message. His name was Uriah son of Shemaiah from the city of Kiriath Jearim. Uriah said the same things against this city and this land that of Jeremiah.
Jer 26:21 King Jehoiakim, his army officers, and the leaders of Judah heard Uriah and became angry. King Jehoiakim wanted to kill Uriah, but Uriah heard about it. Uriah was afraid, so he escaped to the land of Egypt.
Jer 26:22 But King Jehoiakim sent Elnathan son of Acbor and some other men to Egypt.
Jer 26:23 They brought Uriah from Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim ordered Uriah to be killed with a sword. Uriah’s body was thrown into the burial place where the poor are buried. [ERV]
We have two different consequences for two different prophets who carried the same message. As students of the Word of God (Old Testament), we must wonder by now why God has been so patient and why these people of Israel so stubborn? Perhaps if we look closely at our own lives, we should ask the same question. The question to be made in Jeremiahs “day in court” before the people and leaders is which precedent do they follow; death as in the case of Uriah (King Jehoiakim) or life as in the case of Prophet Micah (King Hezekiah)?
Verse 24 gives us the answer… “There was an important man named Ahikam son of Shaphan who supported Jeremiah. He kept Jeremiah from being killed by the priests and prophets” (ERV).
JIV OBSERVATION: Many of us know about the prolonged movie series Star Wars. Many of the character actors are Jews; especially the heroes. Note their names and the parallels with bible names but usually with a slight change in their spelling. Ahikam is very similar in name to the Star Wars good guy Anakim. No spiritual application in this suggested correlation of names, but check out some of the other names. Here is today’s modern church and modern Christian…we know more about Star Wars than we do about the true historical beings in the bible. Go ahead and do some movie and bible study on your own. Don’t simply take my word for it. Seek and you shall find. (here we go again). This comparison is loaded with aha moments.
Dr. J The setting and time is evident with the opening verse in chapter 25; “the fourth year of Jehoiakim…, the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon” This passage pretty much demonstrates that the Book of Jeremiah is more random in its recording of events than a sequence of events; none the less, the events are factual. Judah is about to go into a 70 year captivity of Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar that is the entire essence of Jeremiah’s writings.
By this time in chapter 25 and for 23 years Jeremiah has been warning the leaders of Judah, both religious and secular, including the people of Judah that their captivity and deportation was coming. By this time it is a bit like the kid that cried “WOLF” over and over yet no wolf ever appeared; not yet anyway. However, the warnings of Jeremiah are about to come about. Jeremiah 25:1 tells us that Nebuchadnezzar is now the ruler in Babylon. However, the flip side of this is not Jeremiah crying wolf and no wolf, but how patient God has been with his people in the Kingdom of Judah.
There is a strong reminder and a bit of an oxymoron found in verse 5…”the Lord has given to your fathers of old (and forever)? There is an old gospel song that goes something like…”forever is a long, long time.” The people of Judah, as were the people of the now dispersed 10 Tribes of the Northern Kingdom Israel have held to the promise that the Lord God promised this possession and land as a FOREVER covenant. One of Jeremiah’s earlier encounters with the people of Judah is their claim to the fact “We have the Temple” [Jeremiah 7:4]. It isn’t so much that they can hide behind this building and God will simply keep his end of the Abrahamic Covenant. It is Judah rubbing the noses of the dispersed tribes of the Northern Kingdom in the fact that they did not have the Temple of Jerusalem but Judah did. The Northern Kingdom had Samaria in an attempt to prevent the northern Israelites from going to Judah to worship.
Jeremiah takes us back to the age-old condition of every single covenant and promise made to man in both the Old and New Testaments; “If you (do such and such first), then I” God will do what I promised. Judeans did not honor or worship God alone so they violated the contract covenant of God; a stupid thing to do.
25:9 is reminiscent of Jeremiah 1:15, both parallel prophecies of a near and a far distant future prophecy of end time. Kingdoms will come against Jerusalem and set troops and military at the next to the last word of verse 9; i.e. “perpetual.” In the Hebrew it is ‛ôlâm. This Hebrew word means now and in the distant future; past, present and always; a (still true today) fight over this land promised to Israel. Can we even look at the daily news and not see that this is still true today? Remember that denial is a river in Egypt (the Nile).
We know that this passage in Jeremiah is present and future prophecy as John writes in Revelation 18:22 a very similar passage regarding the same people of God (Israel as a whole) and the Promised Land.
“…and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters, will be heard in you no more, and a craftsman of any craft will be found in you no more, and the sound of the mill will be heard in you no more, and the light of a lamp will shine in you no more…” [Compare this Revelation 18:22 passage to Jeremiah 25:10]
“I will banish from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the grinding of the millstones and the light of the lamp. This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste” [Jeremiah 25:10]
Why, as many have asked, does God say in verse 11 after the 70 years of Babylonian captivity which God himself initiated will he then punish the Babylonians. On the surface this is a very good question. God even identifies Nebuchadnezzar in Jeremiah 25:9 as “His [God’s] servant.” If one checks secular histories, we can find the answer. Nebuchadnezzar was given opportunities to accept the God of Israel as his God. However, he and his kingdom treated many of these captives with distain.
We see this in a short future when reading the book of Esther. The scene is still Babylon even though the Jews were released to return to Jerusalem decades earlier by the Persian King Cyrus. [Hmmmm? Do Iranians read their own history?) Esther, a Jew, has become the queen of Babylon, by now a province of Persia. Without spending time retelling this history of the how and when as the bible student can rediscover by reading the book of Esther, there is a plot at hand to destroy all remaining Jews in Babylonian provinces. It is thwarted through Esther, but the bottom line is the hate these Babylonians have and had toward; their citizens from Judah.
For those who are geographically challenged as am I, this Babylonian territory is known today as Iraq and a goodly area of western Iran (old Persia). With this in mind, Jeremiah’s prophecies as noted above, are perpetual; i.e. ‛ôlâm. In short, this is the destruction that is also found during the Tribulation; the 7 seals, 7 vials and 7 trumpets and the doomed kingdom and attempted world rule of the anti-Christ. [See Jeremiah 25:13, 14 and 15]
Jeremiah 25:17 reads as if Jeremiah personally went throughout the lands and kingdoms and brought the “curse of the cup of wrath” to each nation and kingdom. He did no such thing. This is the future of end time prophecy even yet today to become history. Verse 19 through 26 makes it obvious it is inclusive of a future prophecy of end time. The list goes on and on per who is involved in this drinking from the cup of wrath from God. Who this includes in the closing events of what we know as this earth and heaven today is reinforced in verse 29… “kole yashab eretz;” all the inhabitants of the earth. We know that Nebuchadnezzar’s forces did not conquer the world and all its inhabitants so this is obviously a prophecy of end time.
JIV NOTE: I must add some historical knowledge for the reader at this point. In Jeremiah 25:25 where a few nations and kingdoms within the list of “soon to be destroyed” or required to end time [25:15] “drink of God’s wrath-wine” is a place called Elam. This area currently within Iran was settled by descendants of Shem, one of Noah’s three sons who survived the Great Flood. How soon we forget our DNA lineage. (ESV)
Verse 26 entrenches this future prophetic fact. It leaves no room to think otherwise; ”…all the kings of the north, far and near, one after another, and all the kingdoms of the world that are on the face of the earth.” Where is their question or doubt as to this prophecy being a future event yet to happen? Secular histories do not record such an event as already happened.
Gill’s Commentary clearly writes: “his [God’s] judgments should come upon them in such a manner as that they should be obliged [drink of the wine] to part with all their riches, power, and authority; and should fall and sink into such a ruinous condition, as that they should never be able to the more to a prosperous one.” (emphasis mine)
Jeremiah 25:29 – 33 leaves even less room to wiggle out of this prophecy taking a giant leap into the future and end time prophecy. It is powerful and pointed. Note what is highlighted to help grasp the facts of this event. (ESV)
Jer 25:29 For behold, I begin to work disaster at the city that is called by my name, and shall you go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished, for I am summoning a sword against all the inhabitants of the earth, declares the LORD of hosts.’
Jer 25:30 “You, therefore, shall prophesy against them all these words, and say to them: “‘The LORD will roar from on high, and from his holy habitation utter his voice; he will roar mightily against his fold, and shout, like those who tread grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth.
Jer 25:31 The clamor will resound to the ends of the earth, for the LORD has an indictment against the nations; he is entering into judgment with ALL flesh, and the wicked he will put to the sword, declares the LORD.’
Jer 25:32 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: Behold, disaster is going forth from nation to nation, and a great tempest is stirring from the farthest parts of the earth!
Jer 25:33 “And those pierced by the LORD on that day shall extend from one end of the earth to the other. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall be dung on the surface of the ground.
What we know per Zechariah 14:4, this passage in Jeremiah, the 7 Sealed Scrolls of Revelation (chapters 5-8), and Daniel 12:4 is Jerusalem will be surrounded and attacked by anti-Christ (Satan) and the nations of the world. Then Jesus will return with feet (boots on the ground) Mount of Olives. He will then destroy the global powers attacking Israel/Jerusalem. Go those who wonder, the USA is not mentioned as excluded. This highly suggests that the Christian believers have been raptured and all that is left is those who reject the Holy Word of God and the salvation offered through Jesus Christ.
Rev. Dr. Jstark June, 2017
Figs are not uncommon in the Middle East particularly in Israel. Just as olives, figs are native to this land. However, not too many people have visions or figs. Jeremiah did in chapter 24. He saw two baskets of figs. One basket was full of good figs, but the second basket of figs was too rotten to eat.
God’s message to Jeremiah is another example of the pending doom and gloom for the Kingdom of Judah. We will return to this thought in a paragraph or two. First, Jeremiah 24:1 gives us a specific example of who Nebuchadnezzar desired to first be taken into captivity to Babylon. It reads in the ESV:
“After Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken into exile from Jerusalem Jeconiah [aka: Jehoiachin and Coniah] the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, together with the officials of Judah, the craftsmen, carpenters and the metal workers,…” [emphasis mine]
Nebuchadnezzar knew what he wanted per resources and skilled labor. The empire of Babylon was growing and he needed skilled labor, not just laborers or captive slaves. This included the likes of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (aka: Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego). He took the best of the best.
Interesting but not sure of its implication is the fact Jeremiah described the figs were VERY good or VERY bad; not just good or bad. Jeremiah 24:4 states that this is when he gets it; i.e. the message of the Lord came to him.
Oddly God tells Jeremiah that the good figs represent the Judeans taken into captivity, not the ones left free to roam in their homeland. Verses 6 and 7 go on to support this by saying:
 I will set my eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up.
 I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.
If one reads on we discover that very few of these captives returned to their home land. Not so much due to dying there, but by choice NOT to return when release after the 70 years of Babylonian captivity. So, what does God mean in verses 6 & 7 of Jeremiah 24? Let’s begin by looking at the first sentence in verse 6…I will bring them back to this land.” A quick read of this first sentence leaves the assumption this means after the 70 years of captivity. This is not what it actually states. That is a false assumption. God has always promised as in covenanted with the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (aka: Israel) to bring them back to the Promised Land. This is end time prophecy yet to be fulfilled.
The bad figs are those people who will remain as in left behind, in Judah. Jeremiah 24:8 to the end of this chapter paints a very gloom ending for these who are left behind. In a sense, it parallels the people of earth who remain after the Rapture of the church. Few theologians see this in this passage so I will qualify it as a JIV (Jim’s Introspective View). However, in my heart of hearts I see the strong parallel.
God says I will punish them with terrible disasters, people will tremble with fear, people will be forced to seek refuge or forced to go to foreign lands, they will be cursed and called names, war and hunger will be rampant, disease and sword will strike them down, they will finally disappear from the land… (this is key to JIV), and the land will be *void of these rotten figs.
*This is the New Earth and the New Heaven prophecy, void of those who refused Christ. The rotten (sin) will be gone as Satan is bond then a thousand years later is cast into eternal Lake of fire from which there will be no escape or another chance given to him or others who ultimately reject the Holy Spirit and Christ.
Little is new to this chapter of Jeremiah. God once again requests that Jeremiah go to the King of Judah and restate and remind them of God’s promises but only IF the Judeans and leadership of Judah follow God’s commandments. There is a bit of “new look” in that God refers to the leadership of the Kingdom of Judah, both secular and religious, as shepherds. But according to the claim of in verse one, how have these Judean leaders scattered them and driven them away?
This is a two-fold answer:
First: By them not being an example unto God, the sheep have followed in the examples set and taught by of their so-called leadership. They even have hired false prophets who claim ‘all is well.’ After all they claim, “we have the Temple” is what they stand behind so we (Kingdom of Judah) are protected even if God isn’t front and center in their individual lives. They saw their northern cousins in the Kingdom of Israel carried away 120 years earlier and nothing has happened to ‘good ol’ God protected Teflon’ Judah for decades. Conclusion? They must be blessed.
In the short of it, Judean leadership has chased its people away from worshiping and depending on the one true God of Israel.
Second: The religious and ruling sectors of Judah have been cruel to the poor, taken advantage of them for personal gain, lied to them, given them false prophetic hope, and slanted the judicial system to the advantage of the ruling class. Jeremiah 23:2c states, (ESV) “Behold, I (have yet to) will attend to your evil deeds, declares the Lord.” They are going to get their deserved punishment and it comes with God’s promise attached to it.
Jeremiah 23:3 jumps to a prophecy yet to be fulfilled and only will be fulfilled after the Tribulation. God will re-gather his people (sheep) scattered throughout the globe and eventually bring them home to a much larger and totally safe Israel (Zion/Jerusalem). A fascinating little comment in verse 4… “ánd none will be missing.” Any question left with this comment that NONE will be missing? Since verse 6 says the *one that will be raised up to execute a future and prophesied justice, fairness, righteousness, and rule with wisdom is named “The LORD is our righteousness.” There is only one who can fit this bill; i.e. Jesus.
*It is in his day JUDAH and ISRAEL will be saved [23:6a).
In HIS day… This is at the 2nd advent of Christ. NOTE: This verse declares that the divided nation of old Israel; Kingdoms to the north and the south, will be united in Israel (Judah and Israel) when Christ returns to the Mount of Olives and calls or brings them back to their promised land.
Jeremiah 23: 11-15 is another example of “if you (us) ____, then I (God) will _____.” God points out the injustice in Judah and then explains to Jeremiah the consequence of such a life style. Even the false prophets are accused of prophesying in the name of Baal. These prophets are so arrogant they no longer even claim to be prophets of God Jehovah; any god will be fine as a so-called prophet. However, one must still keep going back to the promise to Israel (not the church) in verse 8:
[CEV] “…instead, you will call me the Living God who rescued you from the land in the north and from all the other countries where I had forced you to go. And you will once again live in your own land.” This verse does suggest that we are talking about an Israel after-the-fact of the Tribulation.
In a very real sense, but cannot be proven with scripture, this is possibly similar to the Promised Land for the church of real believers. We will once again live in a Garden of Eden. This is not the actual promise but it is symbolic enough to put our faith and trust in Jesus so we get to the Promised Land as believers.
Jeremiah 23:17 is very similar to today: False declarations and promises by false ministers within shallow denominations. Today’s church tends to be a mile wide and only 1” deep in the Word of God and understanding. We see banners and signs in churches and billboards that read, “God is Love.” There is nothing wrong with this statement as it is true, but only tells us of half the truth. It is what is left out by these half true statements that we discover in the last sentence of v17. According to their false prophets and many ministers today is the claim that “The Lord has promised that everything will be fine” (CEV). What is missing is the fact that God is also a JUST GOD; Revelation 20:11-13. So, what was true of false prophesy back then is inadvertently still true today. Yes, God is love, but he is also a just God. If this is not so, then why is there any reason for a final judgment; Bema Seat or Great White Throne? We have false proclamations in the very churches we attend.
Jer 23:20 The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intents of his heart. In the latter days you will understand it clearly.
Do you catch the meaning of this verse and the last sentence? In the latter days YOU will understand it clearly. This does suggest a scenario of after the fact of the Tribulation. It also may suggest the gained knowledge is too late and the life God gave us is now on trial.
Verse 22 is very similar to what is going out from shallow preaching of the Word of God. It reads…Jer 23:20 But if *they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds. *Who is the THEY in this verse? This is any who give out false doctrine and promises of anything God has not ordained as solid truth. Sadly and so true, those who wish to tickle the ears of their congregations fall into this same truth. They preach what sounds politically correct and not from what Ephesians 5:13 states; i.e. being a light that reveals evil; i.e. expose it, not to try and learn tolerance.
23:28b is like a summary of the above frustration of God. It asks in part…”What has straw in common with wheat declares the LORD?” Many people if not most can tell the difference between straw, hay and wheat. In a way they look similar but the difference is in its value. Wheat has a nutritional value to all; humans and animals alike. Straw fills the belly but has no food value. One can and will die of starvation even if his or her stomach is full (of straw). The straw here is the false doctrine preached via the prophets and today’s empty message sermons.
Jeremiah 23:30 is another warning too often missed by the reader and sometimes the teacher/preacher. There are two thoughts that come from this verse; the obvious and the more subtle. Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who steal my words from one another. The obvious is limited to the prophets. They sing off the same song sheet without regard to its truth. Just like we today sing songs in church declaring our faithfulness, worship and/or faith, but only sing the words without applying or intending to apply what the words say. We quote the Lord’s Prayer but don’t live the words we are reciting. Similar to today’s political battle grounds where so-called reporters say the same thing as if they have, and they have, mutually agreed upon.
The second thought is those who steal God’s words then spin them to fit motives, agendas, and political correctness.
So, in conclusion, what do we do about all of this? The answer is given to us in Jeremiah 23:33.
“When one of this people, or a prophet or a priest asks you, ‘What is the burden of the LORD?’ you shall say to them, ‘You are the burden,…”
We may find this appalling; violating every rule of political correctness by being so honest. But then, why do we need to say this exposing evil? Simple, the truth shall set us free – John 8:32.
Book of Jeremiah Chapter 22 Summary
Student Note: Chapter 22 deals with the last four kings of Judah, though not in chronological order. The historical order was: Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah
- God tells Jeremiah to go to the King of Judah and bring him a message.
22:3 Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.
- The resident alien??? Hmmm. This means the outsider; i.e. non-Jewish person who still lives within Judah. Even today this is true of Arab citizens of Israel. They get the same protection, opportunities, and justice as does some Judean or Israelite living in Judah; 2017.
- Jeremiah’s supposed to go through the usual repentance speech: change your ways and stop oppressing widows and orphans, don’t shed innocent blood, and make sure you punish robbers, (yadda-yadda).
- 22:4 “If you do__?___, then I will__?__.” Just as every promise or covenant in the Old and New Testaments, all is conditional on us to first follow God and Jesus allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us. It is obvious Jeremiah is delivering a message of “stop that sinning” to the rulers. God’s patience is growing short.
- If they, Judah, heed this advice, they’ll have righteous kings in the future. But if they don’t, the city will be destroyed and without a Jewish king [until the return of Jesus].
- What is confusing about this prophecy from Jeremiah to the King(s) of Judah, administrators and Priests? Nothing is confusing or complicated about it. However, it seems to be too simple for the simple minded leaders of Judah to comprehend, desire, and put into action. They want to create a god in their self-centered ways instead of the other way around.
- At that time, per Jeremiah, things in and around the Judean palace might seem as lush as Gilead or Lebanon. But God will turn the land into a desolate waste if the rulers don’t respond accordingly.
Gilead or Lebanon? 22:6b Thou art Gilead unto me, and the head of Lebanon; yet surely I will make thee a wilderness, and cities which are not inhabited.
Sadly this is precisely what eventually happens to Judah. After their Babylonian 70 year captivity, they were little more than a shadow of their previous self and greatness. America has need of this same understanding. We may have been given a temporary reprieve with the election of someone who respects Israel and more than once has been seen with a bible in hand.
- The destroyers will cut down their best cedars and burn them.
- Hebrew is a fascinating language since it has specificity in the use of words even when they appear closely related. The word “destroyers” is shaw-khath’ and the word for “worship”, is shaw-khaw; the opposite or antithesis of “destroyer,”. This is precisely why this author encourages bible students and readers to use multiple translations in personal bible study. So close in spelling are these two words but so antipathetic to each other in meaning by changing ONE LETTER.
- All the nations will see Judah’s destruction and gossip about how they were destroyed for disobeying God.
- The word “nations” in some translations should read “Gentiles of other nations”; i.e. those outside of Israeli descent. It may be discussed within other nations by gossip, wonder, or awe, but it will be those in-the-know who will wonder what happened to a once powerful and religious nation. Did their God desert them?
- Don’t weep for the dead, says God—weep for the people being sent into exile.
Jeremiah 22:10 [God] says to not weep for the dead but pray for those who will be taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. The “he” mentioned in this verse is King Jehoahaz who is soon to be taken captive to Egypt. Shallum, the second king of the four remaining kings of Judah, also called Jehoahaz, was the son of Josiah. He was carried captive into Egypt and died there without seeing his native land any more.
God says that King Shallum [Jehoahaz] will die in exile and never see Jerusalem again.
How to Die like a Donkey
- God says that rulers who exploit their workers to build fancy palaces for themselves will end up suffering.
o Jer 22:17 But you have eyes and heart only for your dishonest gain, for shedding innocent blood, and for practicing oppression and violence.”
Might this be a close description of the world news today, here and around the world; N. Korea, Syria, Middle East, Iran, Turkey, Yemen, Ukraine, Politburo of Russia, the streets and courts of America?
- A bigger palace doesn’t make someone a true king—ruling righteously does.
- This is the center of issue with Israel since day one. They put so much emphasis on THINGS and little on worship. They even claim protection as they have the Temple of God, their religious ceremonies, Grand Pupa priests, Pharisees, and Sadducees; a class order similar today as is true in India.
- Regarding King Jehoiakim and his arrogance, God says that people won’t lament his death and he’ll be buried like a donkey. He also burned the scrolls of Jeremiah.
o Jer 22:19 “With the burial of a donkey he [Jehoiakim] shall be buried, dragged and dumped beyond the gates of Jerusalem.”
Wish a better description of “buried like a donkey?” Jehoiakim, the third king, built his palace with unpaid labor and would be dragged . . . out of . . . Jerusalem, to die unlamented. He would be buried with the burial of a donkey that is, tossed into a ditch so says Jeremiah. What a way to win friends and influence people. He must have missed that Dale Carnegie book or course.
- The people should go cry in Lebanon and other places since their lovers (allies) have been crushed.
- Too many ministers and bible students miss the meaning of verse 20; chapter 22. Judah is told to cry with others outside their own country as they too will suffer similar fates at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar.
- The people of Israel seldom obeyed God for long. It’s been like this for generations.
- During prosperous times God forewarned all of Israel and Judah that their prosperity may get in the way of their worship; i.e. pay a tithe and move on without much consideration of fellowship with God the rest of the week. What about us (you and me)? Does our prosperity or deprivation bring us closer to God?
- So they’ll all get taken into captivity along with their allies.
- The word “allies” may be a bit misunderstood. How were they allies? In part as neighbors who lived at this time without wars between them and Judah. But more so, allies in the cruelty about to be brought upon each of them by the Babylonians and Nebuchadnezzar.
- As for the next king after Jehoiakim, Coniah (aka: Jehoiachin), God says that even if Coniah wears the signet ring on his hand, he will tear him off. He and his mother will both be sent into exile in Babylon, where they will eventually die; never return to Judah.
- Verses 25 – 27 offer a bit of insight as to why Zerubbabel in 538 B.C. returned to Jerusalem after 70-year Babylonian captivity with less than 1% of those taken into the Babylonian captivity. It isn’t that so many will die in Babylon before Cyrus the Mede releases the Jews from captivity. It is because so few will desire to go back to Jerusalem where the homes and city are in total ruins and be required to rebuild the Temple.
- Zechariah had a vision about him (Zechariah 4).;
- Haggai prophesied to him (Haggai 1 and 2).