Jeremiah – Chapter 35

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” (mike@witzend.info). These were a tent-dwelling desert people who had a concern per the advancing Babylonian armies.tent

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 ifman 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

Dr JStark.Dr. jStark

Advertisements

Jeremiah – Chapter 34

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.

chessIn 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.

Dr. jStarkDr. JStark

September, 2017

Jeremiah – Chapter 33

Book of JeremiahAssurance, 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.

if
“…(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.

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…”

miniJimRev. Dr. Jstark
August, 2017

 

Jeremiah – Chapter 32

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, apolo loading32, & 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.Anathoth map

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.

Dr. JStarkDr.J2

September, 2017