Jeremiah 22:24-30 Out With The Old And In With The New.

Jeremiah 22:24-30 Out With The Old And In With The New.

Coniah (or Jehoiachin), Jehoiakim’s son, would have but a brief reign (598-597), and although the first of the deportations began in 609 B.C., the first invasion of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, would occur during Coniah’s reign. The second and final wave would occur under the last of the Davidic kings – Zedekiah in (597-586) (vv. 24-27 Cf. 16:13; 34:20). The nation had made of Coniah an idol, placing their political leadership in the position of the LORD their God (v. 28). The earth itself would bear witness to their captivity (v. 29 Cf. Dt. 32:1). Jehoiakim’s death would begin the end of the Davidic dynasty (v. 30 Cf. 36:20). The pastors or shepherds were also at fault for their failure to lead the people according to the law-word of the covenant. They were guilty of causing the people to be scattered and taken captive, and for this they would be punished (23:1-2 Cf. 10:21).

However, despite this near devastation of the entire nation, the LORD indicated that he still had a remnant whom he would eventually deliver out of every place to which they were scattered, to inherit the land as the LORD had promised (v. 3 Cf. 32:36-41; Is. 11:11-12, 16). It was always through a remnant that the LORD’s covenant promises of blessing found fulfillment. Along with this return would be the appointment of faithful pastors who would feed the people with knowledge and understanding, so that they would no longer fear or be dismayed, and they would lack no good thing (v. 4 Cf. 3:15; Ezek 34:23). The days would come when the Davidic throne would be re-established, but this time it would be occupied by the LORD’s Anointed one, the Messiah – “a branch of righteousness,” the King who would “reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth” (v. 5 Cf. Jer. 33:14-16).

Isaiah also spoke of these days (Cf. 4:2; 9:7; 11:1; 32:1, 18; 40:10-11). and the Psalmist (72:1-2). This would be the time when the Branch would branch out and build his temple (Zechariah 6:12). “Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD. He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on His throne; so He shall be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both” (Zech. 6:13) The sacrifices of the old temple would cease because the LORD’s anointed would “make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy” (Daniel 9:24). The gospels point to the fulfillment of these words in the coming of Jesus in the line of David (Mt. 1:1, 6; Lk. 3:31; Jn. 1:45; 7:42). We know from gospel fulfillment that Jesus is this Branch, and he began this reign when he ascended to the right hand of the Father.

Jesus came as the final hope for the remnant of the people of Israel and Judah. In his days the remnant would be saved and dwell in safety (31:7-8), and his name would be – “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (v. 6 Cf. Dt. 33:28; Zech. 14:11). This salvation would not be based on any righteousness of their own (Cf. Is. 45:24-25; Rom. 3:22; I Cor. 1:30). This point in salvation history would now hearken back to their deliverance from captivity to inherit and dwell in their own land (vv. 7-8 Cf. 16:14-15), because the LORD would do a new thing (Is. 43:5-6, 18-19). For the remnant the captivity was a chastening, the disciplining of their covenant LORD (30:10-11). This same promise concludes Amos’ prophecy (9:11-15), which Paul preached as finding fulfillment with the coming of Jesus, the Messiah, to include the Gentiles, and the whole earth (Acts 15:16-18).

Jeremiah 22:11-23 Josiah’s Sons Judged For Failing To Heed The Word.

Jeremiah 22:11-23 Josiah’s Sons Judged For Failing To Heed The Word.

Josiah’s son, Shallum, would not return to reign in his father’s place, but would die in captivity (vv. 11-12). Again, the judgment to come is against those who have forsaken the law-word of the covenant – to exercise righteousness, justice, and to give workers their wages due (v. 13 Cf. Lev. 19:23; Dt. 24:14-15). Instead, these political leaders built for themselves huge mansions, exquisitely adorned (v. 14). These politicians got it all wrong. Their forefathers did not place their confidence in their possessions, coveting ever more. Rather, they trusted in the LORD, and he blessed them for their covenant fidelity (v. 15). To judge for the poor and needy, is the fruit of those who truly know the LORD (v. 16). Instead, these leaders, and the people with them, gave themselves over to covetousness, “shedding innocent blood, and practicing oppression and violence” (v. 17).

Shallum (also called Jehoahaz, I Chr. 3:15) didn’t last long, being exiled to Egypt in 609 B.C. (2 Kin. 23:30-34). What follows is now directed to another son of Josiah – Jehoiakim. There would also be no mourning for his loss (v. 18), being “buried with the burial of a donkey, dragged and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem” (v. 19). They are challenged to cry out to their pagan allies, who were themselves destroyed (v. 20). In their prosperity they refused to listen to the LORD (v. 21). Their leaders, and their pagan allies, would together go into captivity for their wickedness, ashamed and humiliated (v. 22). The word ‘rulers’ is the same word rendered as shepherds at 23:1-2. It is a favourite word for Jeremiah, which the KJV renders as ‘pastors’ (Cf. 2:8; 3:15; 10:21; 12:10; 17:16). However, graciousness ceases when the pain of this kind of judgment comes (v. 23).

Jeremiah 22:1-10 Judgment For Rejecting The Law, Forsaking The Covenant.

Jeremiah 22:1-10 Judgment For Rejecting The Law, Forsaking The Covenant.

The LORD had another message for Jeremiah to deliver to the king of Judah who sat on David’s throne, and his servants. Political leadership, as servants of the LORD, were supposed to govern according to his law (vv. 1-2 Cf. 17:20), meaning to “execute judgment and righteousness, and deliver the plundered out of the hand of the oppressor. Do no wrong and do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, or the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place” (v. 3). This place was Jerusalem and the temple in particular, where judgments were to be rendered according to the law, also reiterated by Jeremiah elsewhere, the other prophets, and the Lord directly (Cf. 7:6; 21:12; Dt. 10:18; 24:17; Is. 58:6; Zech. 7:9-10; 8:16; Mic. 6:8; Mt. 23:23). If they heeded this word then the LORD promised a continuation of the Davidic monarchy (v. 4). However, if they continued to rebel, then the city and temple would become a desolation (. 5). They would go from conditions of blessing to cursing – a wilderness (v. 6). The LORD would send their enemies against them, to defeat them (v. 7). People passing by would look and wonder why the LORD had forsaken the nation (v. 8), and the reason being because they had forsaken the covenant, “and worshipped other gods and served them” (v. 9). A nation’s god is reflected in the laws they choose to be governed by.

Jeremiah 21 Judah And Jerusalem Will Be Defeated.

Jeremiah 21 Judah And Jerusalem Will Be Defeated.

Chapters 21-24 “narrate the end of the Davidic dynasty, making it clear that disaster and exile are God’s judgment on the sins of Judah’s kings and people. Jeremiah denounces false prophets who lead the people astray (ch. 23), but also sounds a note of hope as God promises to gather a remnant of His people from captivity under the leadership of a “Branch of righteousness” from David’s house (23:3-8). The twin messages of judgment and future restoration are repeated in Jeremiah’s vision of two baskets of figs (ch. 24).” (NGSB 1186) Zedekiah, the king of Judah, sent to Jeremiah two trusted men, Pashur (not necessarily the same as the one mentioned at chs. 20 or 38), and Zephaniah a priest, to know the LORD’s will concerning the threats from Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon who was determined to make war with Judah (vv. 1-2).

The message the LORD gave through Jeremiah was clear, Nebuchadnezzar would serve his purpose of punishing Judah, as with Israel, for their rebellion in their idolatry or spiritual adultery (vv. 3-4). In fact, the LORD would also fight against them directly, the inhabitants of the city given over to a pestilence (vv. 5-6). Those who survive the initial onslaught and the pestilence will also fall by the sword (v. 7). The ways of life and death were set before the people, so that those who fought against Babylon would perish, but all who defected to Nebuchadnezzar would live (vv. 8-9), for the city would be burned with fire so that nothing would remain (v. 10). Zedekiah and the house of David were commanded to do their job, according to the law, and defend the innocent from oppressors (vv. 11-12). Judah would be punished for the fruit of their doings (vv. 13-14).

Jeremiah 20 Jeremiah Opposed To The Apostates Including Pashur.

Jeremiah 20 Jeremiah Opposed To The Apostates Including Pashur.

Jeremiah’s words against the apostates in the nation did not go over well with them, so that Pashur, a priest and “chief governor in the house of the LORD” (v. 1), decided to take action against him. Jeremiah was also a priest, so Pashur must have assumed he was doing his job in striking Jeremiah and putting him in stocks, “in the high gate of Benjamin,” the family from which Jeremiah came (v. 2 Cf. 1:1). However, Jeremiah may have been born to be a priest like Pashur, but he was also called to be a prophet, and it was because of the word of the LORD that Jeremiah preached that Pashur treated him the way he did. So when the next day came, and Pashur released Jeremiah from the stocks, Jeremiah informed Pashur that his name would no longer be Pashur, but instead the LORD was calling him Magor-Missabib, meaning “fear on every side” (v. 3).

Such would be the condition of the people under the judgment of the LORD, even as the LORD would bring upon them death and captivity at the hands of the king of Babylon (v. 4). Furthermore, all the wealth of the nation would be carried away to Babylon (v. 5). As for Pashur, he and his whole family would be taken captive to Babylon, and there Pashur would die (v. 6a). Pashur claimed to be a prophet also, but with this outcome it would become clear to everyone that he was false and Jeremiah was true (v. 6b). The LORD had persuaded Jeremiah to fulfill his role as his prophet, being stronger than him, but it meant opposition from his own people (v. 7). Jeremiah cried out concerning the violence and plundering to come, but he wanted to cease preaching this message because it was met only with daily derision and mockery (vv. 8-9a).

However, the word of the LORD was in his heart, the very core of his being, “like a burning fire,” which he was weary in trying to hold back (v. 9b). He had been preaching that they would be overcome by fear on every side, just like Magor-Missabib, but instead they used this expression in an attempt to make Jeremiah fearful of them (v. 10). Nevertheless, Jeremiah had a strength which came directly from the LORD. From a human stand point he may have been alone, but he was in company with the LORD, and this was enough. He knew that his persecutors would stumble and be ashamed, they would not prevail in their efforts, nor would they prosper. Instead they would be given over to an everlasting confusion, the reward of those who reject the word of the LORD (v. 11). Jeremiah prays for the vengeance of the LORD, for only the LORD knows what is in the hearts and minds of men (v. 12).

The LORD also tests the righteous, to see if what they do and profess is indeed what is in  their hearts and minds. The remnant are those who agree with the LORD and live accordingly, and they praise the LORD when he delivers the life of the poor, like that of Jeremiah (v. 13). However, this was not necessarily something which Jeremiah himself cared to do. Instead, like Job, Jeremiah wished that he had never been born, asking for a cursing on the day of his birth, and a curse upon the one who announced his birthday, even wishing that he would have killed him instead (vv. 14-17). Jeremiah lamented that he seemed to be born for nothing but “labor and sorrow,” that his “days should be consumed with shame” (v. 18). However, it was better to be shamed by men, rather than by God, and Jeremiah was privileged to be the LORD’s spokesman. He himself acknowledge that the poor would find cause for singing and praising the LORD (v. 13).

Jeremiah 19 The Apostates Were Broken Vessels Doomed To Destruction.

Jeremiah 19 The Apostates Were Brocken Vessels Doomed To Destruction.

Once again Jeremiah is told to go back to a potter to get an earthen flask, taking some elders from church and state with him (v. 1). Then he was to go to the Potsherd (dung) gate and declare the words which the LORD would give him (v. 2 Cf. Josh. 15:8). It was a word to the political leadership and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that a catastrophic judgment was coming upon them from the LORD (v. 3). The crux of the matter was their foreign idolatrous worship, and the result of the blood of the innocent that were slain, because they actually offered their sons and daughters up as sacrifices, walking through the fire to Molech, something specifically forbidden in the law (vv. 4-5 Cf. 7:31; 32:35; Lev. 18:21; II Kgs. 23:10). The Valley of the Son of Hinnom would be called the Valley of Slaughter (v. 6).

The bottom line was that the LORD would “make void the counsel of Judah,” and his word of judgment would be fulfilled (vv. 7-8 Cf. 18:16; 49:13; 50:13). This was the promise of covenantal cursing (Lev. 26:17-29). So depraved would they be that they would cannibalize their own children (v. 9). Jeremiah would then break the Potter’s flask, a symbol of those vessels in the nation who were supposed to be vessels of honour, but who ultimately proved to be otherwise, by their words and deeds. Using the Potter’s vessel would recall the previous word through Jeremiah concerning the LORD’s sovereign predestinating plan and purpose that some, even within the covenant community, would be vessels of wrath (vv. 10-11 Cf. 18:1-11).

The city of Jerusalem would become like Tophet, a place which was prepared for the king, the place where they made their children walk through the fire (v. 12 Cf. II Kgs. 23:10; Is. 30:33). This would come because of their idolatry (v. 13 Cf. 7:18). Travelling from Tophet to Jerusalem, Jeremiah symbolized the movement of this judgment on the city. It was important that he spoke this word “in the court of the LORD’s house,” because it had come from the greater house in heaven, and it was a word to those within the covenant (v. 14). The city and surrounding towns were about to experience doom which the LORD had pronounced against them, ultimately because they had stiffened their necks, stubbornly refusing to heed his words (v. 15 Cf. Neh. 9:17, 29).

Jeremiah 18:18-23 No Atonement For Rejecting The Word.

Jeremiah 18:18-23 No Atonement For Rejecting The Word.

The apostates of the nation endeavoured to regard Jeremiah as a false prophet, that there would continue to be priests who would administer the law, counsel from the wise, and ultimately a word from the LORD through the prophets, but it all must be favourable to the dictates of their own evil hearts. Their chief weapon would be their words, bearing false witness against Jeremiah. They were determined not to heed the word through Jeremiah (v. 18). Jeremiah prays for the LORD to help him in light of this situation (v. 19). Jeremiah actually recounts how he had pleaded for these people before the LORD, to avert his wrath, making the evil they were devising against him all the more bitter (v. 20). Therefore, Jeremiah pleads for the LORD to bring the nations against them as the LORD had promised (v. 21). The apostates had dug a pit for Jeremiah, so to speak, a bearing of false witness against him, but Jeremiah pleads for the LORD’s judgment to come, in part based of his witness against them – confirming the LORD’s judgment (v. 22). Atonement would have been the only possible escape for them, so that Jeremiah prays that it be withheld from them (v. 23).

Jeremiah 18:12-17 Apostates Reject The Doctrine Of Predestination.

Jeremiah 18:12-17 Apostates Reject The Doctrine Of Predestination.

When some people learn about the sovereign predestinating work of God, such as taught by the LORD through the word given to Jeremiah concerning the potter and the clay (18:1-11), respond by saying that the doctrine is a hopeless one, that they will follow the dictates of their own hearts (v. 12). However, the doctrine itself ensures that these will follow the dictates of their own hearts, which are evil, which is what all people would do if the LORD did not change their hearts. These are apostates who have abandoned their covenantal oath, rejecting the pure waters of the LORD to go after idols, religion fashioned by human beings out of the dictates of their evil hearts (vv. 12-14). Idols are worthless, and the ways of idolatry are likened unto misleading paths taking travellers off the ancient highway of the true word of the LORD (v. 15). For this cause the LORD would scatter them before their enemies, as he turned their back on them, no longer showing them favour (vv. 16-17).

Jeremiah 18:1-11 The Potter And The Clay.

Jeremiah 18:1-11 The Potter And The Clay.

Jeremiah is told by the LORD to go to the Potter’s house, where he would hear His words (vv. 1-2). Here Jeremiah sees the potter reject a blob of clay, which did not come out as he intended so that he started over, making the vessel as seemed good to him (vv. 3-4). We then learn that this is something like how the LORD relates to individuals within the nation of Israel, as with all nations (vv. 5-6 Cf. Is. 64:8; II Tim. 2:20). As with the nations, so with the apostates within the covenant community, some vessels are for honour, and some are for dishonour, which was the same point made by Paul (Rom. 9:20-21 Cf. Prov. 16:4). Idolatry, beginning with the fall, seeks to reverse this order (Is. 29:16). Fallen and apostate humanity want to fashion a god of their own design, whom they may choose to reject at any time they want a different design. This plucking up, tearing down, and destruction refer back to Jeremiah’s call (vv. 7-8 Cf. 1:10). The same holds for building and planting of nations and individuals (v. 9 Cf. Ezek. 18:21; 33:11), who will also be plucked up and torn down if they rebel (v. 10). Given this wide scope, including all nations and peoples, Jeremiah is to point out to Judah that the same principle applies to them, including among those within the capital city of Jerusalem, and the temple (v. 11 Cf. 7:3-7; 26:3; II Kgs. 17:13).

Jeremiah 17:19-27 Political Responsibility To Uphold The Sabbath Rest.

Jeremiah 17:19-27 Political Responsibility To Uphold The Sabbath Rest.

Gates were places to gather for decision making and commerce. This is where Jeremiah needed to be. It was there where he needed to stand (v. 19). The task he was given was a simple one, say to the people, in particular the political leadership coming through the gate, the place of decisions, to “hear the word of the LORD” (v. 20). There is first of all a call to heed the fourth commandment, that there was a limit to their work, to the work of all, that amidst all the hustle and bustle of fulfilling the cultural mandate in the exercise of dominion, people needed to stop, rest, and remember their covenant LORD. It all begins with each keeping this Sabbath rest at home (vv. 21-22). Instead, they rebelled, and as the nation’s political leaders, they were in effect forcing everyone to work (v. 23). However, the promise was that if they kept this Sabbath rest (vv. 24-25), the faithful of the nation would stream into the city, that they might worship the LORD together, “bringing sacrifices of praise to the house of the LORD” (v. 26). If the political leadership refused to heed this word, they and their administrations would suffer defeat, a fire in their palaces that would consume and not be quenched (v. 27).