Jeremiah= Chapter 31 (Part 2)

We left off at Jeremiah 31:22.markers

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.

consquences

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 ifanother 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

Jeremiah – Chapter 18

(God says He can change His mind)

Over 30 times in Jeremiah a chapter begins with something similar to “The Lord spoke to me about such and such or said…” Jeremiah was in constant contact with the Lord [1 Thessalonians 5:16-18].

In chapter 18 we find God telling Jeremiah that he is no longer satisfied with the Israel-Judah of His original design and is going to remake them. Remake them into what is a later chapter.

potter wheel

Verse 1: “And the Lord told…”  Jeremiah is about to get a visual lesson at a clay potter’s shop. There will be people there, in the streets and commercial center. Jeremiah is instructed to go there, observe the potter at work, and then speak to those around him when God puts the words in his mouth. In the same sentence (v2) Jeremiah may have been in a dream state as God tells him to RISE UP, arise,… The ERV leaves out the word “rise” but such a word indicates he is to get up. We know that in the working and waking hours craftsmen make their wares to sell in the afternoon markets. This is not of real important but we can glean from this that Jeremiah may have been hearing the Lord in a dream; i.e. in the spirit [John 4:24].

When Jeremiah “rises up” and gets there, the potter is busy. The potter however is in a sort of dilemma. He is not in the process of making what he originally planned with the lump of clay but is remolding it to something different. Why? V4 says: (ERV) “He was making a pot from clay. But there was something wrong with the pot.” Before going any further, this chapter is about God re-creating his chosen people of Israel-Judah into something other than his original plans… “But there was something wrong with the pot.” The potter was remaking the original pot into something still of value but different from his original design. But to remake or remold the clay, he had to first lay hands on it, clump it back into a heap, and then begin again.

  • The Potter represents God
  • The clay represents Israel-Judah

Verse 5: At this point Jeremiah gets the analogy of the clay, the potter and Israel. Note that it is NOT just Judah to which God is speaking through Jeremiah. How do we know (yada)? V6: “O House of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD…” (ESV). HOUSE OF ISRAEL? The ten northern Tribes of Israel were dispersed by the Assyrians into the neighboring lands far and near 120 years earlier. However, God still holds them as His chosen and His people. He isn’t pleased with them so chapter 18 explains what God plans. He is going to reshape them but using the same lump of clay. This will take many years and up to End Time. We will discuss this further in later chapters in this Jeremiah study.

Verses 7-10 God is declaring once again His total sovereignty over man. He can break us up, cast us out, reshape us or keep us under His thumb. It all depends on the attitude and heart of the kingdom, nation or people to which he is making this declaration; even America. Congress cannot prevent it and neither can some Circuit Court or federal judge. ifThe promise, as we have discussed so often in our bible blogs once again fits the “If you_____, then I will _____.” God tells Jeremiah that if the people of any (v7) nation or kingdom repent, I, God can change my mind. God is not arbitrary in that He is unrelenting or merciless. However, we once again glean from this passage that God includes ANY group of peoples; not just Judah. But it goes both ways. A given people must continue (v10) or return from their evil ways of rejecting God. He will “relent of the good he intended for them” if they don’t. Be careful America. We were once a Christian nation but former President Obama set the record quite straight when in his ignorance declared America to “not just be a Christian nation (anymore)” (emphasis mine).

In this given situation the CEV translation is good: “…but [if or when] its people start disobeying me and doing evil, then I will change my mind and not help them at all” (18:10). In a sense God is still offering Judah-Israel the chance to be redeemed; no 70 year bondage in Babylon but only if…! In carefully reading this passage we can also reason that God’s original plan for man is good, not bad. We still have chapters 19-52 to discuss so it doesn’t end here. However verse 12 tells us the Judeans refuse the offer. How blatant can one be? Proverbs 12:1 tells us “he who loves correction loves knowledge; but whoever hates correction is stupid.”

By using a correlation with the snowcapped mountains of Lebanon and the waters that flow from these mountains in verse 14, God renounces his protection of the people of Judah; the one’s he now identifies as “this people.” God recognizes all the Tribes of Israel as arrogant and self-centered. As he did with the Pharaoh of the time of Moses, he turns them over to their own ways without his intervention, protection or influence. He does not bring the disaster as some teach. He allows it to happen. Babylon is already on a military roll through the Middle East conquering even their former masters the Assyrians. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, is identified as God’s servant in Jeremiah 27:6. This isn’t what it might seem to be at first read. We will discuss this in greater detail when we get to chapter 27. If you can’t wait, go to our study of the Book of Daniel. It is explained in one of these articles.

“For they have forgotten me…” (v15).  A better translation of the word “for” in this verse would be “because.” “Forgotten” or epilanthanomai in the Greek, one of the longest Greek words used in scripture, means, to “put out of mind; totally neglect as opposed to reject.” God is not even a consideration by the peoples of Judah at this time. To put this in modern terms, absence does not breed a stronger bond; it breeds total forgetfulness. At this time in history, Judaism is no longer a way of life with God Jehovah, but it is a religion. We can see from this passage why 600 years later the Scribes, Priests, and Pharisees had no recognition of their Messiah Jesus when he was born in Bethlehem.

In verses 16 and 17 we get the purpose of the practice of modern day shunning or excommunication; a severing of all ties with an individual or group ostracized. (V17; ESV) Like the east wind I will scatter them before the enemy. I will show them my back, not my face, in the day of their calamity.” The Jewish Publication Society Bible (JPS) puts it differently. They say that God will look upon THEIR backside instead of their faces. Think about this difference.

At this point in chapter 18 Jeremiah shifts gears. He points out to God that his own people are planning ways to remove themselves from the words of Jeremiah. They do it, initially, by declaring the Law of Moses and the insight of the Levite priests to be of a greater value than these words from Jeremiah. They are declared words, not prophecies. Besides, during this time and in previous chapters Jeremiah mentions that there are others who declare themselves prophets with words contrary to what Jeremiah says; i.e. the tickling of their ears. Recall in chapter 7 of Jeremiah these people declare they have the Temple. They forget that it is God not the Temple that is their protection.

There is a saying that goes something like this: “No good deed shall go unpunished.” In essence this is what Jeremiah points out to God in verse 20. “I have been good to the people of Judah but now they are paying me back with evil…” (ERV). The ERV adds that not only are his fellow countrymen plotting to wage a war of tongues (debate) with Jeremiah but they plan to kill him. However, Jeremiah has the divine protection of God (Jeremiah 1:17, 18). By this time and as expounded upon in later chapters, Jeremiah is asking God to pour out His wrath. “Let their children starve and let women lose their husbands” he says to God in verse 21.

If we look closely at what Jeremiah is asking of God, he is asking for judgment upon his own people due to their total rejection of the message he delivered to them from God. Not only do the Judeans reject the message, but plot to kill the messenger. How might we see this in light of today? We are the messenger but is there a limit to our rejection? Is there a point of no return? Might there be a time we “shake the soil from our feet as we leave a place that has rejected God, the message and the messenger? [Matthew 10:12; Luke 10:10-11] Read these passages and judge for yourself.

miniJimRev. Dr. Jstark February 2017