Jeremiah – Chapter 23

Little is new to this chapter of Jeremiah. God once again requests that Jeremiah go to the King of Judah and restate and remind them of God’s promises but only IFif the Judeans and leadership of Judah follow God’s commandments. There is a bit of “new look” in that God refers to the leadership of the Kingdom of Judah, both secular and religious, as shepherds. But according to the claim of in verse one, how have these Judean leaders scattered them and driven them away?

This is a two-fold answer:

lost sheepFirst: By them not being an example unto God, the sheep have followed in the examples set and taught by of their so-called leadership. They even have hired false prophets who claim ‘all is well.’ After all they claim, “we have the Temple” is what they stand behind so we (Kingdom of Judah) are protected even if God isn’t front and center in their individual lives. They saw their northern cousins in the Kingdom of Israel carried away 120 years earlier and nothing has happened to ‘good ol’ God protected Teflon’ Judah for decades.  Conclusion? They must be blessed.

In the short of it, Judean leadership has chased its people away from worshiping and depending on the one true God of Israel.

Second: The religious and ruling sectors of Judah have been cruel to the poor, taken advantage of them for personal gain, lied to them, given them false prophetic hope, and slanted the judicial system to the advantage of the ruling class. Jeremiah 23:2c states, (ESV) “Behold, I (have yet to) will attend to your evil deeds, declares the Lord.” They are going to get their deserved punishment and it comes with God’s promise attached to it.

Jeremiah 23:3 jumps to a prophecy yet to be fulfilled and only will be fulfilled after the Tribulation. God will re-gather his people (sheep) scattered throughout the globe and eventually bring them home to a much larger and totally safe Israel (Zion/Jerusalem). A fascinating little comment in verse 4… “ánd none will be missing.” Any question left with this comment that NONE will be missing? Since verse 6 says the *one that will be raised up to execute a future and prophesied justice, fairness, righteousness, and rule with wisdom is named “The LORD is our righteousness.” There is only one who can fit this bill; i.e. Jesus.

*It is in his day JUDAH and ISRAEL will be saved [23:6a).

In HIS day… This is at the 2nd advent of Christ. NOTE: This verse declares that the divided nation of old Israel; Kingdoms to the north and the south, will be united in Israel (Judah and Israel) when Christ returns to the Mount of Olives and calls or brings them back to their promised land.

Jeremiah 23: 11-15 is another example of “if you (us) ____, then I (God) will _____.” God points out the injustice in Judah and then explains to Jeremiah the consequence of such a life style. Even the false prophets are accused of prophesying in the name of Baal. These prophets are so arrogant they no longer even claim to be prophets of God Jehovah; any god will be fine as a so-called prophet. However, one must still keep going back to the promise to Israel (not the church) in verse 8:

[CEV] “…instead, you will call me the Living God who rescued you from the land in the north and from all the other countries where I had forced you to go. And you will once again live in your own land.”  This verse does suggest that we are talking about an Israel after-the-fact of the Tribulation.

In a very real sense, but cannot be proven with scripture, this is possibly similar to the Promised Land for the church of real believers. We will once again live in a Garden of Eden. This is not the actual promise but it is symbolic enough to put our faith and trust in Jesus so we get to the Promised Land as believers.

Jeremiah 23:17 is very similar to today: False declarations and promises by false ministers within shallow denominations. Today’s church tends to be a mile wide and only 1” deep in the Word of God and understanding. We see banners and signs in churches and billboards that read, “God is Love.” There is nothing wrong with this statement as it is true, but only tells us of half the truth. It is what is left out by these half true statements that we discover in the last sentence of v17. According to their false prophets and many ministers today is the claim that  “The Lord has promised that everything will be fine” (CEV). What is missing is the fact that God is also a JUST GOD; Revelation 20:11-13. So, what was true of false prophesy back then is inadvertently still true today. Yes, God is love, but he is also a just God. If this is not so, then why is there any reason for a final judgment; Bema Seat or Great White Throne? We have false proclamations in the very churches we attend.

Jer 23:20  The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intents of his heart. In the latter days you will understand it clearly.

Do you catch the meaning of this verse and the last sentence? In the latter days YOU will understand it clearly. This does suggest a scenario of after the fact of the Tribulation. It also may suggest the gained knowledge is too late and the life God gave us is now on trial.

Verse 22 is very similar to what is going out from shallow preaching of the Word of God. It reads…Jer 23:20  But if *they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds.  *Who is the THEY in this verse? This is any who give out false doctrine and promises of anything God has not ordained as solid truth. Sadly and so true, those who wish to tickle the ears of their congregations fall into this same truth. They preach what sounds politically correct and not from what Ephesians 5:13 states; i.e. being a light that reveals evil; i.e. expose it, not to try and learn tolerance.

23:28b is like a summary of the above frustration of God. It asks in part…”What has straw in common with wheat declares the LORD?” Many people if not most can tell the difference between straw, hay and wheat. In a way they look similar but the difference is in its value. Wheat has a nutritional value to all; humans and animals alike. Straw fills the belly but has no food value. One can and will die of starvation even if his or her stomach is full (of straw). The straw here is the false doctrine preached via the prophets and today’s empty message sermons.

Jeremiah 23:30 is another warning too often missed by the reader and sometimes the teacher/preacher. There are two thoughts that come from this verse; the obvious and the more subtle. Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who steal my words from one another. The obvious is limited to the prophets. They sing off the same song sheet without regard to its truth. Just like we today sing songs in church declaring our faithfulness, worship and/or faith, but only sing the words without applying or intending to apply what the words say. We quote the Lord’s Prayer but don’t live the words we are reciting. Similar to today’s political battle grounds where so-called reporters say the same thing as if they have, and they have, mutually agreed upon.

The second thought is those who steal God’s words then spin them to fit motives, agendas, and political correctness.Truth Text Red Black Burst

So, in conclusion, what do we do about all of this? The answer is given to us in Jeremiah 23:33.

“When one of this people, or a prophet or a priest asks you, ‘What is the burden of the LORD?’ you shall say to them, ‘You are the burden,…”

We may find this appalling; violating every rule of political correctness by being so honest. But then, why do we need to say this exposing evil? Simple, the truth shall set us free – John 8:32.

miniJimDr. JStark

June, 2017

Jeremiah – Chapter 22

Book of Jeremiah Chapter 22 Summary

Student Note: Chapter 22 deals with the last four kings of Judah, though not in chronological order. The historical order was: Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah

  • God tells Jeremiah to go to the King of Judah and bring him a message.

22:3 Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.

  • The resident alien??? Hmmm. This means the outsider; i.e. non-Jewish person who still lives within Judah. Even today this is true of Arab citizens of Israel. They get the same protection, opportunities, and justice as does some Judean or Israelite living in Judah; 2017.
  • Jeremiah’s supposed to go through the usual repentance speech: change your ways and stop oppressing widows and orphans, don’t shed innocent blood, and make sure you punish robbers, (yadda-yadda).
    • 22:4 “If you do__?___, then I will__?__.”  Just as every promise or covenant in the Old and New Testaments, all is conditional on us to first follow God and Jesus allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us. It is obvious Jeremiah is delivering a message of “stop that sinning” to the rulers. God’s patience is growing short.
  • If they, Judah, heed this advice, they’ll have righteous kings in the future. But if they don’t, the city will be destroyed and without a Jewish king [until the return of Jesus].
    • What is confusing about this prophecy from Jeremiah to the King(s) of Judah, administrators and Priests? Nothing is confusing or complicated about it. However, it seems to be too simple for the simple minded leaders of Judah to comprehend, desire, and put into action. They want to create a god in their self-centered ways instead of the other way around.
  • At that time, per Jeremiah, things in and around the Judean palace might seem as lush as Gilead or Lebanon. But God will turn the land into a desolate waste if the rulers don’t respond accordingly.

Gilead or Lebanon?  22:6b Thou art Gilead unto me, and the head of Lebanon; yet surely I will make thee a wilderness, and cities which are not inhabited.

Sadly this is precisely what eventually happens to Judah. After their Babylonian 70 year captivity, they were little more than a shadow of their previous self and greatness. America has need of this same understanding. We may have been given a temporary reprieve with the election of someone who respects Israel and more than once has been seen with a bible in hand.

  • The destroyers will cut down their best cedars and burn them.
    • Hebrew is a fascinating language since it has specificity in the use of words even when they appear closely related. The word “destroyers” is shaw-khath’ and the word for “worship”, is shaw-khaw; the opposite or antithesis of “destroyer,”. This is precisely why this author encourages bible students and readers to use multiple translations in personal bible study. So close in spelling are these two words but so antipathetic to each other in meaning by changing ONE LETTER.
  • All the nations will see Judah’s destruction and gossip about how they were destroyed for disobeying God.
    • The word “nations” in some translations should read “Gentiles of other nations”; i.e. those outside of Israeli descent. It may be discussed within other nations by gossip, wonder, or awe, but it will be those in-the-know who will wonder what happened to a once powerful and religious nation. Did their God desert them?
  • Don’t weep for the dead, says God—weep for the people being sent into exile.

Jeremiah 22:10 [God] says to not weep for the dead but pray for those who will be taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. The “he” mentioned in this verse is King Jehoahaz who is soon to be taken captive to Egypt. Shallum, the second king of the four remaining kings of Judah, also called Jehoahaz, was the son of Josiah. He was carried captive into Egypt and died there without seeing his native land any more.

God says that King Shallum [Jehoahaz] will die in exile and never see Jerusalem again.

dielikedonkeyHow to Die like a Donkey

  • God says that rulers who exploit their workers to build fancy palaces for themselves will end up suffering.

o   Jer 22:17  But you have eyes and heart only for your dishonest gain, for shedding innocent blood, and for practicing oppression and violence.”

Might this be a close description of the world news today, here and around the world; N. Korea, Syria, Middle East, Iran, Turkey, Yemen, Ukraine, Politburo of Russia, the streets and courts of America?

  • A bigger palace doesn’t make someone a true king—ruling righteously does.
    • This is the center of issue with Israel since day one. They put so much emphasis on THINGS and little on worship. They even claim protection as they have the Temple of God, their religious ceremonies, Grand Pupa priests, Pharisees, and Sadducees; a class order similar today as is true in India.
  • Regarding King Jehoiakim and his arrogance, God says that people won’t lament his death and he’ll be buried like a donkey. He also burned the scrolls of Jeremiah.

o   Jer 22:19  With the burial of a donkey he [Jehoiakim] shall be buried, dragged and dumped beyond the gates of Jerusalem.”

Wish a better description of “buried like a donkey?”  Jehoiakim, the third king, built his palace with unpaid labor and would be dragged . . . out of . . . Jerusalem, to die unlamented. He would be buried with the burial of a donkey that is, tossed into a ditch so says Jeremiah. What a way to win friends and influence people. He must have missed that Dale Carnegie book or course.

  • The people should go cry in Lebanon and other places since their lovers (allies) have been crushed.
    • Too many ministers and bible students miss the meaning of verse 20; chapter 22. Judah is told to cry with others outside their own country as they too will suffer similar fates at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar.
  • The people of Israel seldom obeyed God for long. It’s been like this for generations.
    • During prosperous times God forewarned all of Israel and Judah that their prosperity may get in the way of their worship; i.e. pay a tithe and move on without much consideration of fellowship with God the rest of the week. What about us (you and me)? Does our prosperity or deprivation bring us closer to God?
  • So they’ll all get taken into captivity along with their allies.
    • The word “allies” may be a bit misunderstood. How were they allies? In part as neighbors who lived at this time without wars between them and Judah. But more so, allies in the cruelty about to be brought upon each of them by the Babylonians and Nebuchadnezzar.signetring
  • As for the next king after Jehoiakim, Coniah (aka: Jehoiachin), God says that even if Coniah wears the signet ring on his hand, he will tear him off. He and his mother will both be sent into exile in Babylon, where they will eventually die; never return to Judah.
    • Verses 25 – 27 offer a bit of insight as to why Zerubbabel in 538 B.C. returned to Jerusalem after 70-year Babylonian captivity with less than 1% of those taken into the Babylonian captivity. It isn’t that so many will die in Babylon before Cyrus the Mede releases the Jews from captivity. It is because so few will desire to go back to Jerusalem where the homes and city are in total ruins and be required to rebuild the Temple.
    • Zechariah had a vision about him (Zechariah 4).;
    • Haggai prophesied to him (Haggai 1 and 2).

miniJim

Dr. JStark

June, 2017

The Powerful Little Word

Rev Paul HoffmasterMany of the Biblical promises rest upon the action of the reader or hearer.  The little word “if” plays a big role in experiencing the Word.  In the Bible, this two letter word contains the option to either accept or reject the Word.  The Word of God is limited to man’s response.  The Scripture lies dormant until man responds to its content.  If man chooses to ignore the Word, it becomes nothing more than a conglomeration of phrases and sentences hidden under a book cover.

Reading a glowing book

The Living Word of GOD -Connecting the dots of the history of mankind

If it was not for the Bible, we would have no knowledge of God and His love for mankind.  If it was not for the Bible, we would not be aware of Jesus and His earthly ministry.  If it was not for God’s Word, we would never come to the knowledge of what Calvary was all about.  Without the Scriptures, man would be like a ship without a rudder, a car without an engine, or a plane without wings.  Without His Word, man would flow with the tide of changing opinions and life styles.  Without the Bible, mans’ hope for purpose will never be achieved.  Sixteen times in the book of Hebrews, this powerful word highlights the responsibility of the individual.  In chapter three, verse six, the Believer is likened unto a house that is built by Jesus; but if, by the actions of Christians, the world sees a creation that is no different from its own life, what would draw it to seek our building Contractor?  There are a lot of “prefab” Believers that build their faith around convenience and self-fulfillment, and, as a result, turn off prospective “buyers” of the Faith.  The problem is many treat the salvation experience as an “upgrade” to their lives instead of as a total rebirth experience. Continue reading