Dr. J The setting and time is evident with the opening verse in chapter 25; “the fourth year of Jehoiakim…, the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon” This passage pretty much demonstrates that the Book of Jeremiah is more random in its recording of events than a sequence of events; none the less, the events are factual. Judah is about to go into a 70 year captivity of Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar that is the entire essence of Jeremiah’s writings.
By this time in chapter 25 and for 23 years Jeremiah has been warning the leaders of Judah, both religious and secular, including the people of Judah that their captivity and deportation was coming. By this time it is a bit like the kid that cried “WOLF” over and over yet no wolf ever appeared; not yet anyway. However, the warnings of Jeremiah are about to come about. Jeremiah 25:1 tells us that Nebuchadnezzar is now the ruler in Babylon. However, the flip side of this is not Jeremiah crying wolf and no wolf, but how patient God has been with his people in the Kingdom of Judah.
There is a strong reminder and a bit of an oxymoron found in verse 5…”the Lord has given to your fathers of old (and forever)? There is an old gospel song that goes something like…”forever is a long, long time.” The people of Judah, as were the people of the now dispersed 10 Tribes of the Northern Kingdom Israel have held to the promise that the Lord God promised this possession and land as a FOREVER covenant. One of Jeremiah’s earlier encounters with the people of Judah is their claim to the fact “We have the Temple” [Jeremiah 7:4]. It isn’t so much that they can hide behind this building and God will simply keep his end of the Abrahamic Covenant. It is Judah rubbing the noses of the dispersed tribes of the Northern Kingdom in the fact that they did not have the Temple of Jerusalem but Judah did. The Northern Kingdom had Samaria in an attempt to prevent the northern Israelites from going to Judah to worship.
Jeremiah takes us back to the age-old condition of every single covenant and promise made to man in both the Old and New Testaments; “If you (do such and such first), then I” God will do what I promised. Judeans did not honor or worship God alone so they violated the contract covenant of God; a stupid thing to do.
25:9 is reminiscent of Jeremiah 1:15, both parallel prophecies of a near and a far distant future prophecy of end time. Kingdoms will come against Jerusalem and set troops and military at the next to the last word of verse 9; i.e. “perpetual.” In the Hebrew it is ‛ôlâm. This Hebrew word means now and in the distant future; past, present and always; a (still true today) fight over this land promised to Israel. Can we even look at the daily news and not see that this is still true today? Remember that denial is a river in Egypt (the Nile).
We know that this passage in Jeremiah is present and future prophecy as John writes in Revelation 18:22 a very similar passage regarding the same people of God (Israel as a whole) and the Promised Land.
“…and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters, will be heard in you no more, and a craftsman of any craft will be found in you no more, and the sound of the mill will be heard in you no more, and the light of a lamp will shine in you no more…” [Compare this Revelation 18:22 passage to Jeremiah 25:10]
“I will banish from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the grinding of the millstones and the light of the lamp. This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste” [Jeremiah 25:10]
Why, as many have asked, does God say in verse 11 after the 70 years of Babylonian captivity which God himself initiated will he then punish the Babylonians. On the surface this is a very good question. God even identifies Nebuchadnezzar in Jeremiah 25:9 as “His [God’s] servant.” If one checks secular histories, we can find the answer. Nebuchadnezzar was given opportunities to accept the God of Israel as his God. However, he and his kingdom treated many of these captives with distain.
We see this in a short future when reading the book of Esther. The scene is still Babylon even though the Jews were released to return to Jerusalem decades earlier by the Persian King Cyrus. [Hmmmm? Do Iranians read their own history?) Esther, a Jew, has become the queen of Babylon, by now a province of Persia. Without spending time retelling this history of the how and when as the bible student can rediscover by reading the book of Esther, there is a plot at hand to destroy all remaining Jews in Babylonian provinces. It is thwarted through Esther, but the bottom line is the hate these Babylonians have and had toward; their citizens from Judah.
For those who are geographically challenged as am I, this Babylonian territory is known today as Iraq and a goodly area of western Iran (old Persia). With this in mind, Jeremiah’s prophecies as noted above, are perpetual; i.e. ‛ôlâm. In short, this is the destruction that is also found during the Tribulation; the 7 seals, 7 vials and 7 trumpets and the doomed kingdom and attempted world rule of the anti-Christ. [See Jeremiah 25:13, 14 and 15]
Jeremiah 25:17 reads as if Jeremiah personally went throughout the lands and kingdoms and brought the “curse of the cup of wrath” to each nation and kingdom. He did no such thing. This is the future of end time prophecy even yet today to become history. Verse 19 through 26 makes it obvious it is inclusive of a future prophecy of end time. The list goes on and on per who is involved in this drinking from the cup of wrath from God. Who this includes in the closing events of what we know as this earth and heaven today is reinforced in verse 29… “kole yashab eretz;” all the inhabitants of the earth. We know that Nebuchadnezzar’s forces did not conquer the world and all its inhabitants so this is obviously a prophecy of end time.
JIV NOTE: I must add some historical knowledge for the reader at this point. In Jeremiah 25:25 where a few nations and kingdoms within the list of “soon to be destroyed” or required to end time [25:15] “drink of God’s wrath-wine” is a place called Elam. This area currently within Iran was settled by descendants of Shem, one of Noah’s three sons who survived the Great Flood. How soon we forget our DNA lineage. (ESV)
Verse 26 entrenches this future prophetic fact. It leaves no room to think otherwise; ”…all the kings of the north, far and near, one after another, and all the kingdoms of the world that are on the face of the earth.” Where is their question or doubt as to this prophecy being a future event yet to happen? Secular histories do not record such an event as already happened.
Gill’s Commentary clearly writes: “his [God’s] judgments should come upon them in such a manner as that they should be obliged [drink of the wine] to part with all their riches, power, and authority; and should fall and sink into such a ruinous condition, as that they should never be able to the more to a prosperous one.” (emphasis mine)
Jeremiah 25:29 – 33 leaves even less room to wiggle out of this prophecy taking a giant leap into the future and end time prophecy. It is powerful and pointed. Note what is highlighted to help grasp the facts of this event. (ESV)
Jer 25:29 For behold, I begin to work disaster at the city that is called by my name, and shall you go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished, for I am summoning a sword against all the inhabitants of the earth, declares the LORD of hosts.’
Jer 25:30 “You, therefore, shall prophesy against them all these words, and say to them: “‘The LORD will roar from on high, and from his holy habitation utter his voice; he will roar mightily against his fold, and shout, like those who tread grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth.
Jer 25:31 The clamor will resound to the ends of the earth, for the LORD has an indictment against the nations; he is entering into judgment with ALL flesh, and the wicked he will put to the sword, declares the LORD.’
Jer 25:32 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: Behold, disaster is going forth from nation to nation, and a great tempest is stirring from the farthest parts of the earth!
Jer 25:33 “And those pierced by the LORD on that day shall extend from one end of the earth to the other. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall be dung on the surface of the ground.
What we know per Zechariah 14:4, this passage in Jeremiah, the 7 Sealed Scrolls of Revelation (chapters 5-8), and Daniel 12:4 is Jerusalem will be surrounded and attacked by anti-Christ (Satan) and the nations of the world. Then Jesus will return with feet (boots on the ground) Mount of Olives. He will then destroy the global powers attacking Israel/Jerusalem. Go those who wonder, the USA is not mentioned as excluded. This highly suggests that the Christian believers have been raptured and all that is left is those who reject the Holy Word of God and the salvation offered through Jesus Christ.
Rev. Dr. Jstark June, 2017