“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
Jeremiah is the only prophetic book in the Bible that records the fulfillment of its main prophecy: the fall of Jerusalem and the captivity of the Jews in Babylon. Chapters 34 through 44 tell that part of the story; the siege of Jerusalem is in chapters 34—38, its fall in chapter 39, and the events after the fall are found in chapters 40—44. We are now in chapter 35.
Once again Jeremiah takes a step back in Judean history under King Jehoiakim, to bring to the forefront another example of a willing and faithful heart by contrast to that of the chosen people; i.e. Judah. He is told (35:2) “Go to the Recabite family and invite them to come to one of the side rooms of the LORD’S Temple. Offer them wine to drink.”
What is unusual about this? The Racabites were not even a Hebrew people. They were Kenites first mentioned in I Chronicles 2:55…
“...and the clans of scribes who lived at Jabez: the Tirathites, Shimeathites and Sucathites. These are the Kenites who came from Hammath, the father of the house of Recab.”
However, they were nomadic but followers of Yahweh/Israel’s God as far back as Israeli captivity in Egypt; long faithful to Yahweh. In a shorter way of remembering them, they were related to Jethro the Midianite who was the father-in-law of Moses. As a people they had taken the a similar Judaism vow of a Nazarite. Strong opposition to cutting of hair or drinking strong drink of any kind. They had been and remained more faithful to God than any of the twelve Tribes of Israel.
“Chapter 35 has one purpose: to contrast the remarkable obedience of the Recabites with the consistent disobedience of Judah. The Recabites had come to Jerusalem at this time seeking refuge from the Babylonian armies. Under the direction of God, Jeremiah was to go to the Recabites, offer them sanctuary in one of the rooms in the Temple and a drink of wine” (email@example.com). These were a tent-dwelling desert people who had a concern per the advancing Babylonian armies.
NOTE: Some denominations use the Recabites as an example and reason for complete abstinence per strong drink. This is a false pretense for forcing such a practice of total abstinence on others. They took a vow by choice, like the Nazarites of that time; just as they vowed to follow Jehovah-God and to be independent desert tent-dwellers. The fact that Jeremiah is about to offer them “strong drink” points to the fact it was available to Jeremiah IN THE TEMPLE.
[ESV] But they answered, “We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, ‘You shall not drink wine, neither you nor your sons forever. (Jeremiah 35:6)
Keep this comment per wine within context. The Racabites were also told to not live in cities, build houses, plant vineyards (or juice or otherwise), or grow crops. How many denominations with which one might recall this too being an all-inclusive edict or statute from God?
What was or could be God’s reasoning behind this? At first swipe one might think it a test of the Racabites, but that would be a false supposition. Jeremiah 35:12-17 gives us the answer. God wanted this to be a LIVING EXAMPLE of obedience. The Racabites were not even people of the “chosen,” but outsiders who none the less listened and obeyed God.
The power within the “If you ____, then I (God) will ____” covenant between God and man is found throughout the bible (Old and New Testaments). It is again so apparent. God rewards the outsiders (Racabites) for their obedience. This chapter closes with God telling the Racabites:
Jer 35:18 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father and kept all his precepts and done all that he commanded you,
Jer 35:19 therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Jonadab the son of Rechab shall never lack a man to stand before me.”
Lack a man to stand before me???? This means God promised this clan of people that there will always be Racabites’ descendants until End Time. Their clan will never die out
What a fix! According to Jeremiah 34, the world’s armies under the command of King Nebuchadnezzar are aligned against Jerusalem and the other cities in the Kingdom of Judah. “Nebuchadnezzar had with him all his army and the armies of all the kingdoms and peoples in the empire he ruled” (34:1b). It is easy to see how this is another two-fold bible prophecy; one is the matter at hand and other is the End Time (Tribulation) alignment of nations against Israel.
Jeremiah is told once again to go to King Zedekiah of Judah and declare the end results; Babylon will trample the city, burn it, and take King Zedekiah a captive to Babylon. Recall in a previous article, it was Nebuchadnezzar who originally replaced King Jeconiah (aka: Coniah/Jehoiakim) with his uncle Zedekiah. Even secular records from the Babylonian Chronicles themselves reflect the same historical event- [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zedekiah]. This event happened around 597 B.C. The Babylonian Chronicles were published in 1956, after extensive research and archeological exploration.
Soon to be disposed King Zedekiah is assured by Jeremiah that God promises to let him die peaceably by something other than the sword but he will never again set foot in Jerusalem and languish in the hands of the Babylonians. His sons were not so lucky. They all were killed in the sight of Zedekiah. Then he lost his sight [2 Kings 25:1-7]. Zedekiah was the last king in the line of King David to sit on any throne in Judah or Israel, for all that matters. The next king to sit on that throne will be Jesus himself.
NOTE: Some people and theologians want to point to King Herod sitting on the throne in Judah however he was appointed through the Romans and was not in the line of David. [Herod the Great then Herod Antipas; the latter in the time of John the Baptist and Jesus].
Jeremiah 34:5 is something of assurance to Zedekiah. God promises through Jeremiah royal regalia upon Zedekiah’s death in Babylon. However, he remained under the authority of another.
There wasn’t much of a kingdom left by this time. Only three cities were even fortified in Judah; Jerusalem, Lachish, and Azekash. All were taken at the same time by Nebuchadnezzar’s armies.
In a desperate move as in chess, Zedekiah decided to order all of his citizenry to “release all slaves and bondsmen.” Jeremiah 34:9 “Everyone was supposed to free their Hebrew slaves. All male and female Hebrew slaves were to be set free. No one was supposed to keep another person from the tribe of Judah in slavery” [ERV]. However in a sense, a way to underscore the selfishness of all the Jews in Judah, verse 11 tells us that they didn’t like it being without bond servants so they put each one back into servitude.
God reminds his people through Jeremiah that even when one Jew had another under servitude, every seventh year s/he was to be released, debt forgiven, and able to return to his or her home. They could be held as servants for six years but MUST be released on the seventh year. God points out that HE took them out of bondage in Egypt but not so they could hold a fellow Jew in bondage forever. God did not order that no slave be held, but he did instruct them on the conditions and then their release.
In a way, this may have been an out from the Babylonian oppression. God says through Jeremiah that it was a good thing to let them go, but since they almost immediately re-servitude then, HE was going to allow Nebuchadnezzar to do the same to them; times 10; i.e. 70 years captivity in Babylon. Note that there is nothing said about non-Hebrew slaves in Judah. The God-agreement was only to release all fellow Hebrews. Nothing God said was honored by these Judeans at this time and God finally called them on it.
There was a solemn practice [Genesis 15: 9-11, 17-18] back then that was God sanctioned; actually it was God initiated. Cut a calf in half and walk between the two parts as a blood agreement. Nothing was to be exempt. It was the same thing as taking an oath in the name of God himself. The second commandment is misunderstood by far too many today. They read “Thou shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” This is not just in reference to one swearing as an outburst, but also in taking an oath such as in court, “so help me God?” To take an oath of office or make a promise to another in the name of Lord God is a solemn or serious matter. To break it is not only an affront to one’s worthiness, but an affront to God [Matthew 5:33-37]. God initiated this way to take a solemn oath; one that cannot be broken.
Since there were the haves and the have-nots in Judah, the ones considered the “haves” were the elite. It is these to whom God states in Jeremiah 34:19…These are the people who walked between the two pieces of the calf when they made the agreement before me: the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the important officials of the court, the priests, and the people of the land.
34:20…”these are the Jews I will give to the Babylonians” (Chaldeans); “to be taken as captives.” Note that this does leave an out from being removed from Judah. If one did not have Hebrew slaves or did not return them to servitude, HE (God) by default did not forcibly have them removed.
NOTE: Think back about 1,500 years from this point in time. Abraham was originally from the Land of UR, Chaldean (another name for what we now read as Babylon) country.
The Babylonians had (temporarily) withdrawn by this time. It is speculation but probable because the Hebrew slaves had been freed, God backed off the armies of Babylon and its allies. When the Hebrew slave owning Jews saw this, they re-enslaved their fellow Hebrew people. Consequently, God brought back the Babylonians.
I recall one time as another pastor told me when a man came to him wanting earnest prayer for a certain predicament in which he found himself. He wanted a way out of it. We began to pray and I believe at the time the man was not only desperate but willing to do whatever to defer the problem. They began to pray together beseeching God to intervene. Suddenly, and without notice, he stopped praying and told us that he had figured out what to do so he didn’t need our prayers or God this time around. HMMMMMM? I wonder from where the answer came to him?
Thus was the fate of Judah, its kings, sovereignty and independence. They saw the Babylonians fall back from their gates and they in turn fell back from an oath taken in the name of God. The last verse in Jeremiah 34 is the conclusion. We should take personal note of this in our lives. Verse 22 states that “God gave the order for the Babylonians (or personal issue) to return and finish the consequences” [paraphrased]. Not only did he call them (the problem) back, but this time around they destroyed the very existence and essence of a kingdom or we might say one’s personal existence.
The Learning Pyramid: Awareness – Knowledge – UNDERSTANDING.
Assurance, insurance, warranty, guarantee. What more can one ask of God? We can add His personal word to this list. This is precisely what Jeremiah 33 is all about. This is the assents and absolutes of chapter 33. It is all about a time in history that has yet to happen. This is true God sanctioned covenant-prophecy.
We begin this article by starting with the final two verses in chapter 33:
Jer 33:25 Thus says the LORD: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed order of heaven and earth,
Jer 33:26 then I will reject the offspring of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his offspring to rule over the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.” (ESV)
We have two very profound issues in these closing verses of Jeremiah 33.
1. God establishes his “Red Line” by stating what it will take to cause him to reject his chosen.
2. This explains why in Daniel 7:25 we find that the anti-Christ will try to change the seasons, time, and day and night.
This chapter comes through Jeremiah while he is still imprisoned; “shut up in the court of the guard.” God begins by reminding Jeremiah that it is HE who created all that is created (John 1:1-3). Meaning: it is all in HIS (God’s) hands and wishes. In the Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) God uses his name Jehovah three times in one verse. Jehovah is the Jewish national name for God. He is underscoring that this is HIS to do and it will be done.
“…(secrets) which thou knowest not” (KJV)… God wishes to reveal secrets (knowledge and understanding) but man must first ask. This is another example of the “If you____, then I will____.” These are secrets that no one has yet understood and cannot without the help and insight of Jehovah-God. There is a key word in this promise from God to reveal secrets yet unknown and answer a request from any of God’s chosen. It is the word “IMPORTANT.” (ERV) “I will tell you important secrets; You have never heard these things before.”
Not only is it important to God, it is a secret that no one has any knowledge of up to this point. Oddly, we do not read specifically what that secret is since God continues his monologue with Jeremiah. Jeremiah does not pray or ask for incite in this chapter. He only continues to listen and record.
Regarding Jerusalem’s and Jeremiah’s current circumstances, Jeremiah 33:4 even explains how Nebuchadnezzar will invade and conquer the cities of Judah; specifically Jerusalem. Then immediately in the next verse, God changes the tone of his anger to a future prophecy of total security for both Israel and Judah; i.e. all 12 Tribes of Jacob (Israel). The CEV (Contemporary English Version) puts it …”Then someday, I will heal this place and my people as well, and let them enjoy unending peace.” Three covenants in one sentence:
1. Jehovah-God will heal this place;
2. heal his people;
3. and give them never ending peace.
That someday has yet to occur. There is no recorded history that reveals this has already happened even to this very day. This makes it an End Time event. From verse 7 forward to the end of the chapter God reveals what it will include. Most importantly to keep perspective, God specifically identifies both Judah and Israel in these covenants of a future yet to happen. Keep in mind that the Old Testament is about a nation; the New Testament is about individuals. One can present a valid argument that God is over Israel well into the End Time and millennial reign just as Jesus is over his church or body of believers. Every covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be fulfilled. The covenants with Israel as a twelve tribe unit of Gods’ chosen is unambiguous.
Jeremiah 33:9 makes a point that too many theologians want to ignore, spiritualize, or otherwise cast doubt upon it.
When that happens, all nations on earth will see the good things I have done for Jerusalem, and how I have given it complete peace. The nations will celebrate and praise and honor me, but they will also tremble with fear. [CEV]
A simple reading of this verse renders it exclusive, not inclusive of the *church or the world. The argument is a question… when will this happen? The answer is relatively easy to conclude. It is the millennial reign of Christ and God in Jerusalem after the Tribulation and Jacob’s Trouble. Satan is bound for a thousand years and cannot influence world events one way or another. Let’s look at it this way. During the 1,000 year Kingdom on Earth with Jerusalem being the focal point, there will remain other nations but since the verse includes that “**people will tremble with fear” we can also conclude that Satan may be bound but we still have a free will; choices.
*Church: If it has been raptured pre or mid tribulation, it is no longer in anticipation of some additional blessing or assurance or redemption.
**People: this identifies other nations since the Hebrew word goy refers to Gentiles or people outside of the chosen of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
When Israel under the guidance of Joshua entered the Promised Land, it was identified as a land flowing of milk and honey. The word “desolate” in V11 means “parched, dry, a wasteland.” We know from recent history that when the land was given back to the Jews in 1948, it was sparsely unoccupied, barren, and considered a wasteland. At that time even the Arabs didn’t want it. God (Jehovah) promises to return it to the original fertile grounds with an abundance of crops, grazing herds, and HIS chosen people living there in total peace. There will once again be bride and bridegroom, children, elderly and middle aged, exchanging of goods and services, and much to the surprise of far too many theologians, animal and grain sacrifice will be offered up once again at the alter in Temple; offered by those by those of Levite DNA.
The end of verse 14 once again reiterates that this is exclusive and not inclusive. We read: when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. This is all a covenant yet to be fulfilled to those descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We find (read) more evidence of its ‘targeted to Israel’ scenario in verse 15 through 17. King David’s lineage is once again mentioned as a ruler or branch that will once again sit on the throne over Israel. One should note that it does not say David himself will be resurrected to do the ruling, but a branch from the lineage of him will now sit on the throne. Jesus is of the lineage of David; i.e. the Tribe of Judah.
Verse 18 is where we get cries of fowl or spiritualizing the exclusiveness of this time. WE read from the ESV:
“…the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.”
Did you read that? Offer burnt offerings!!!! No longer will the burnt offering be a sign of repentance and forgiveness of sin, but it will now be a sign of homage or reverence. Yes, Jesus Christ paid the penalty for the worlds’ sins however the burnt offerings by those of the Levitical line will be a sign of honor to God.
Jeremiah 33:24 is where modern day Arabs point to as evidence that the land in Palestine no longer belongs to Israel. Israel lost their stolen birthright, so they say, due to not honoring God and their being scattered thought the four corners of the earth. They surrendered it just as did Esau when he sold his birthright to Jacob. He states to Jeremiah that others point out that God-Jehovah has rejected his first choice and it now reverts to the Arabs. This can be found in almost any dialogue in modern day news or political jockeying.
The final two verses present an opportunity for the anti-Christ to change the seasons, day and night time hours (Daniel 7:25). It is only under the (impossible) probability that God will turn his back on Israel if and only if the “TIMES” and “SEASONS” can be changed. So much for global warming changing the seasons. This is not supported in scripture.
(ESV) Jer 33:25 “Thus says the LORD: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed order of heaven and earth,
Jer 33:26 [only] then I will reject the offspring of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his offspring to rule over the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…”
A very interesting statement is that God told Jeremiah to PRESERVE a copy of the purchase deed. He was to make one copy as a public notarized ownership, and the other to be put in a clay jar, sealed and then stored. One must wonder if God plans on this jar and deed being “discovered” by archeologists at, near to, or at the onset of the 7 year Tribulation. Such a discovery today would rock the world per the argument over Palestinian Arabs thinking it is they who own this land. Arabs now claim the Abraham birthright because God had the Israelites removed from the land via Assyrian and later, Babylonian armies.
Jeremiah 30, 31 can be summarized as a song of restoration in end time. Chapter 32 is the signet-seal on that promise of restoration. Keep in mind that chapters 30, 31, 32, & 33 are End Time passages; i.e. eschatology chapters.
The setting for chapter 32 is one year BEFORE Jerusalem fell, was burned, and became desolate. We know this timing as Jeremiah identifies it in the opening 2 verses. *Zedekiah is on the throne and will soon rebel as a serf-state owing allegiance to Babylon. Zedekiah was put on the throne by Nebuchadnezzar when he first conquered this territory by removing Jehoiakim. Israel was caught, at that time, between two dynamic Middle East powers; Egypt and Babylon.
Egypt had earlier conquered Judah; Babylon defeats the Assyrians; then Egypt falls to Babylonian armies. Pharaoh Necho had put Jehoiakim on the throne. In 605 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar defeated Egypt at the Battle Carchemish. Jehoiakim was removed from the Judean throne by the Babylonians putting his uncle Zedekiah on the throne.
*Zedekiah will be the last in the line of King David to sit on the throne.
Jehoahaz (or Shallum), was chosen king by the Judeans but the Egyptian conqueror Necho took Jehoahaz to Egypt captive and made Jehoiakim king. Jehoiakim reigned under the protection of Necho for some time and paid heavy tribute. When the new Chaldean (Babylonian) Empire under Nebuchadnezzar defeated Egypt at the Battle of Carchemish (605), Jehoiakim changed his allegiance from the Egyptian king to Nebuchadnezzar. He remained loyal for three years and then revolted against Nebuchadnezzar. After several battles and invasions, Nebuchadnezzar led the decisive invasion against Judah and besieged Jerusalem (598 B.C.). [Britannica encyclopedia].
Zedekiah was the last in history to be a Judean king in the DNA lineage of King David. It was also the end of the temporal Kingdom of Judah. Jeremiah, sitting in prison at this time, was still proclaiming God’s message of “don’t fight the Babylonians.” Surrender and prosper while in captivity or surrender to God once again and remain in charge of their lands. They chose poorly.
“Even though Zedekiah, previously known as Eliakim, witnessed the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s previous prophecies but he was angry enough to imprison him, as if this could alter what was happening. Such is the irrationality of unbelief” (Feinberg). In short, Zedekiah did not like Jeremiah’s prophecy and message from God so rather heed the warnings, he imprisoned the messenger. This is as dumb as hearing that the weather is going to rain on one’s parade so go and imprison the weather man.
While in prison, Jeremiah hears from his uncle’s son, Hanamel. He wants Jeremiah to purchase his land (31:6-12). This means they were cousins in the first degree. The land Jeremiah purchased was in his own hometown of Anathoth within the territory originally assigned by Joshua to the Tribe of Benjamin. Anathoth is located about 3 miles from Jerusalem. The interesting fact is that the Babylonians had already conquered and occupying this very same land in and around Anathoth. If this isn’t a step of faith, it will be difficult to grasp the meaning of faith. JIV: Hanamel was quite willing to sell land that was now occupied by enemy forces.
Jeremiah was following God’s instructions. It is very probable that Hanamel figured Jeremiah a fool. They both knew that “the spoils of war go to the conqueror.” There is a very bright side to this selling and buying of a land already dominated by Babylons. God is assuring that this land will be returned to Israeli’s in the End Time millennial reign of God/Jesus. It is a bit like selling a car that has already been stolen and both parties understand it that way. It is also speculated that Hanamel in a back-handed way, was challenging Jeremiah as to his real belief of a return to Judah/Israel by the 12 Tribes of Israel. In modern day terminology we call it, “putting one’s money where one’s mouth is.” We also have a saying that goes, “don’t tell me; show me.”
These two copies of the land deed were then given to Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe. Jeremiah 32 is the first mention of Baruch the son of Neriah (Jeremiah 32:12). Baruch was a scribe and an assistant to Jeremiah. Jeremiah spoke to him so that others in the prison and courtyard would bear witness to this odd transaction.
Putting this deed in a clay pot then sealing it is precisely why the Dead Sea Scrolls were found so well preserved over 2600 years later. It is fairly obvious that God has future plans to point back at this transaction and someone’s claim to ownership. We still do not know where the deeds are geographically hidden but what a powerful testimony as to Jeremiah’s understanding and belief in God’s covenants with Israel. The real aha moment is not the transaction by itself. The documents were sealed and stored “so that they will last preserved (to exist) for many days.” The deeds are never brought up for discussion again. This odd selling, buying, witnessing and burying of the deed have something to do with God’s plans for a future Israel; return and once again occupy the Promised Land. Keep your eyes on the evening news.
JIV NOTE: This transaction is exclusive to Israel but does not include the Christian church.
32:17-25 is the prayer Jeremiah offered up to God as he handed the deeds over to Baruch. In a sense, this was the beginning of a kinship relationship between the Jeremiah and Baruch.
Once again Jeremiah makes note of God speaking to him. Once again God addresses his comments to both the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah; a once again a combined people preserved for End Time; the sons of Jacob.
Jeremiah 32:35 brings to the forefront God’s disgust with his chosen people. This passage also explains the evilness of Israel and their practice of worshiping foreign gods (Molech). However 32:37 is a reminder that God will deliver his people out of ALL BONDAGE and all countries and territories to which he scattered them; yâshab beṭach…”to dwell in a safe homeland that only God can insure and guarantee its existence.”
From 32:39 on, God explains to Jeremiah that at the time End Time, he will actually seal his words in the minds and heart of all Israelis. V41, “with my whole heart and my whole soul.” This is total commitment as goes a covenant. Israelis won’t be able to break this covenant as God is the one issuing it as a seal upon THEIR minds and heart. This is one of the very few places in the bible where a covenant is not an ”if you do _____, then I will do _____”´promise/covenant/contract. This is all in God’s hands at this time.
JIV: After over twenty years of Jeremiah prophesying the same message, it finally comes to fruition. It is possible that God intended this long time prophesying before their fall to the Chaldeans to parallel the long time between the dispersion of Israeli’s and their calling home during the millennial reign. I once heard a man state… You cannot pray by faith for God to fulfill His promises to you or to His church if you’re not obeying Him at whatever point obedience is difficult.
We left off at Jeremiah 31:22.
Jeremiah tells those who are taken into captivity by Babylon to leave markers on their travels on their way into Babylon so they can follow them back to Jerusalem upon their release 70 years hence. This is a very rare occurrence for anyone mentioned per travels in the Bible. In America when pioneer travelers ventured west, it was common to do the same thing in order to mark and follow the trails others used to get out west. We can also see the spiritual implication; a roadmap. The very same markers of life that lead us into spiritual captivity will also tell us not only how we got into a spiritual backslide, but also what needs to be done to return to a good relationship with God and Jesus.
God assures his chosen people that eventually (End Time) he will do something different in order to bring them back under his shepherding and their worship of him. His comparison is “as a woman protecting (encompassing) a man from harm instead of the traditional man protecting the women activities” [v22].
We might make note here that when the ten northern tribes were dispersed by the Assyrians, every man, woman and child was removed from their home land. None were left behind. In this situation of the dispersion of the southern tribe and Kingdom of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar did leave behind a remnant, mostly consisting of the very poor. These were primarily the Hebrew (Jews) people remaining in Judah 600 years later at the beginning of the New Testament who have now resettled the land and becoming a nation once again in 1948. A remnant did return from Babylon but it was less than 1% of those taken into captivity.
If anyone is deluded into thinking that modern day Israel will ever give up Jerusalem to Islam or Arab *Palestinians, they totally miss God’s plan for them. Jerusalem will eventually, if not already, the focal point of global politics and world nations putting pressure on Israel to give it to Islamists. IT WON”T HAPPEN! Keep in mind Isaiah 1:26…”I will restore your leaders as in days of old, your rulers as at the beginning. Afterward you will be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.”
*We must note for the knowledge and understanding of each reader, Palestine is a name of a place, not a people. This means anyone living within the area called Palestine is Palestinian. For political purposes alone, this is why history revisionists and media sources try to convince us that a certain group of Arabs are the only Palestinians. Not true! Anyone living within these boundaries, just as is true of Americans, s/he is soon an American. Those who live in Jordan are Jordanians, but also called Arabs.
Jeremiah has it correct in Lamentations where he writes.., [Lamentations 5:7] “our ancestor (fathers of old) have sinned thus we suffer the consequences of those sins.” Jeremiah 31:27 is a clear End Time, road to passage, and promise to Israel.
“The days are coming,” in that time says the LORD, “when I will help the family of Israel and Judah to grow. I will help their children and animals to grow too…” [ERV].
This passage in Jeremiah (31:29-31) is from where this writer gets the statement, “the old testament is about a nation; the New Testament is about individuals (paraphrased). ”People (N.T.) will die for their individual sins no longer suffering the consequences of the ancestral family or sin of their fathers.” But once again we are assured this is a future prophecy since verse 31 addresses both the people of the Northern Kingdom (ten lost Tribes) and the Judeans Jews.
It isn’t redundant but it makes a solid point to repeat in verses 32 and 33 we read “This message is from the Lord.” It add authority since in is upon his own name he makes this oath. No longer will it be a matter of faith (v33). No one will need to teach family, neighbors or friends about God. He will write it upon their heart. In short, they no longer will have a choice of faith. They will know. This is the true meaning of the Hebrew word “yadda.”
Jeremiah 31:34b… (in-part) “I will forgive them for the evil things they did. I will not remember their sins.” But it gets even better. We now have a window of insight into the eventual activities of Satan (Book of Daniel and Revelation; End time events of the anti-Christ). God declares to Israel that if he does not fulfill his exclusive and specific promises to Israel (all Tribes of Jacob/Israel) then his upholding them as a people will be nullified [v36, v37]. He even puts forth the challenge that the heavens are too expansive to be searched/measured and the depths of the earth cannot be explored by man. However, if they can be searched out, then his covenants with Israel will no longer exist. This is precisely why Satan tries to change God’s creation during the Tribulation. It is his only chance and he knows it quite well.
This is another example of “If you _____; then I _____.” Verses 38 – 40 tell us the exact marking posts and border of the New Jerusalem to come; the one John of Patmos discusses in (Revelation 21:1). The city that Jeremiah is told of is a city that will not only be spacious and well outside of its borders of today or Old Testament times, but both “holy to the Lord,” that is, freed from all pollutions, and everlasting ( Joel 3:17 Joel 3:20 , Revelation 21:2 Revelation 21:10 Revelation 21:27
Chapter 32 is a continuation of End Time statements and promises or covenants with Israel as a total people.
Rev. Dr. Jstark August 2017
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)