Jeremiah – Chapter 31 (Part 1)

Dr. JNOTE: Jeremiah 31 is a rather long chapter and covers much so it will be divided into two parts. This is part 1.end time.jpg

Chapter 30 to 33 is eschatological; i.e. End Time centered.  It is about ISRAEL and God’s promise to forgive them in the end for betraying HIM as a people and as a nation. Remember that the Old Testament is about a nation (Israel) and the New Testament is about individuals. God is the husband of Israel and Jesus is the husband of the church of believers. This distinction is seldom taught but straight out of scripture.

(God) Husband of Israel – Isaiah 54:5; Jeremiah 3:14; Hosea 2:16.

(Jesus) Husband of the New Testament church – II Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 19:7-9.

CAUTION: There are several references to the God-head husband in Revelation but read it with due caution. Most of the references in Revelation is a reminder and promise of God as husband to Israel/Jerusalem; not Jesus and the church of believers.

The very first verse in Jeremiah 31 is specific… (ESV) “At that *time, declares the LORD, I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people.” A side note: God is not talking about the church. He is specific in that it is God of all the clans of Israel. The dichotomy of the realm of Jesus and the Father God is in the words used. They are distinct yet in most ways, parallel. Parallel does not mean the same path. This is often argued by those who don’t fully understand why the Old Testament Covenants are Israel and the New Testament Covenants do not nullify the O.T. Covenants, rather they are specific to born again individuals.

*That time is a continuation of chapter 30 being a prophetic view for Israel and End Time. This is covered in verses 1-9. God assures his people that in That Time, he alone will protect their existence and they will not be eliminated from populating the earth.

Israel has been an unfaithful wife but Jeremiah 31:3 is specific. “I (God) have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” God continued his love for Israel even when she abandoned him over and over. An Old Testament and very specific example of this relationship is the life of Hosea (Hosea 1:2-4). Hosea is a God-given example of his relationship with Israel. It is THE THEME of the entire Book of Hosea. If space allowed, which it doesn’t, this would be a good time to give a review of Hosea but the reader/student can do this on his or her own.

Verse 5: Again you shall plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant and shall enjoy the fruit.

Verse 8: I will bring them from the North Country and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, the pregnant woman and she who is in labor, together; a great company, they shall return here. (Here being Jerusalem).

Is there any reason to attempt to spiritualize these verses??? NONE, but history and bible revisionists attempt to warp its obvious meaning. These verses are straight forward and must be taken as God intended Jeremiah to present them to the captive Judeans now in or under Babylonian control. However, the problem comes in when we misunderstand that God is not talking about 70 years later when Daniel reminds the King Cyrus (the Mede) of the promised release and return. God is telling Jeremiah about a time even today is yet to come. Watch the news today and study the Apocalyptic End Times. We are extremely near this time if not one foot not already in the doorway. Everything is in place even as you read this article.

We know that this TIME has not yet occurred as the promises found in Jeremiah 31:9, 10 & 11 have not yet happened. Israel and Judah have yet to reunite as a single identity of people even though Gentiles have corrupted their identities by calling all of them Jews. The word Jews is never mentioned in the Bible until the nation of Israel has divided and the King of the Northern Ten Tribes prepares to go to defend itself from the “Jews” of Judah [I Kings 12:24]. This is the first time in scripture the word “JEW” is ever used. However, and depending on which Bible translation is referenced, some scholar’s point to II Kings 2:6 where most of the translations correctly use the name “Jew” as an identity of the Tribe of Judah.

The next several verses in Jeremiah 31 continue to explain (Prophecy) how God will reunite all of Israel (descendants of Jacob) and what will be waiting for them via God’s own hand. Note that the church is never mentioned or even indicated to be a part of any of this eventuality. This is God’s Covenant with his chosen. Jesus’s followers have a similar but different Covenants. In short, this is when God intervenes in world events and returns his blessing upon his chosen sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The world (other nations) will recognize this fact and whatever the New Covenant God enacts with ISRAEL, we can only speculate.

Jeremiah 31:17 makes it totally clear; “There is hope for your future, declares the LORD, and your children shall come back to their own country.” We are discussing a covenant with Israelis here, not just Judean Jews. Why hope in the future and not then? Verse 18 explains this if one understands how an unruly or untrained calf is treated by their shepherd; one that continues to violate the “rules of the shepherd” and repeatedly wanders off. The shepherd will break the leg of the animal making it totally dependent upon the shepherd to carry it. This is what Hosea points out with his prostitute wife exemplifying how Israel treats their God-husband. God will need to break the leg of Israel in End Time so that she can do absolutely nothing on her own. They will then realize there are totally dependent upon their God (shepherd).hope

Verse 21 of Jeremiah 31 is of particular insightfulness. It hints of other bible passages and promises being fulfilled. “There is hope for your future, declares the LORD, and your children shall come back to their own country.” There is hope for Israel but it will be many generations later and through their children’s children. For there is a new thing on earth that God has or was about to initiate. Most commentaries avoid discussing it but we will offer suggestions; i.e. V22 “and woman will encompass a man.”

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, “encompass” means: to completely go around; group a task or tasks; a thick fog; encircle. Encompass: sâbab (H5437)

  1. Some translations state that a woman will protect a man. But, is this a “NEW THING” as stated in verse 22? Doubtful as even back in the time of Jacob when he had issues with his twin brother Esau, the women lead their return and reunion upon the death of their father Isaac. In a sense, they lead the way to protect Jacob from the fury of Esau.
  2. The control phrase is “God is creating a NEW THING on earth.” In a world that had traditionally held women at bay and in a sense, servitude, God is going to bring women to the forefront; beginning a form of dominance over their male counter-part.
  3. Some commentaries see this as a hint of the Virgin Mary bringing Jesus into the world by birth. This could mean that the strategy of God has now officially changed. He is moving from a nation to individual relationships with the God-head. That is shifting from the Old Testament concepts of Judaism to the New Testament relationship between God (Jesus) and mankind.
  4. In the spiritual relationship which the prophet has in view, this male/female relationship will now begin to be inverted. Israel, the erring but repentant wife, shall woo her Divine husband. The history of Gomer in Hosea 2:14-20 again presents a striking parallel. A like inversion of the normal order is indicated, though with a different meaning. Men traditionally woo the woman.
  5. Israel will eventually press herself to her God-husband and seek him out for eternity.
  6. Personally, this author sees it as the beginning of role reversal. This is very evident in today’s society and cultures with exceptions like in Islam. Men have defaulted to women to take leadership roles, head of households, guiding the man instead of the man guiding his family and wife.

This is an oft debated verse. We leave it to your discretion and interpretation as to its meaning. It is there so it is something that God intends us to grasp. It most likely suggests that someday God will make things on earth as different as a woman controlling man; role reversals

miniJimRev. Dr. Jstark

 

Jeremiah – Chapter 19

potters hand.jpgOnce again Jeremiah writes at the beginning of a chapter…”and the Lord told me to________.” Chapter 18 finds Jeremiah visiting a potter’s shop to see how a potter formed his pots; reminiscent of God’s creation of Adam. Now he is going to use a pot to demonstrate to the leaders (Civil and religious) of Judah how God is going to deal with them for their sinful and reluctant hearts.

JIV: There is something more than meets the eye and it is found here in chapter 18. Why would God have Jeremiah VISIT a potter’s shop? I have read up on pot making. It can be formed, shaped and made functional when it is soft clay; pliable to the molding of a potter’s hands. Once it is fire-hardened, it can only be patched or tossed away. When Adam and Eve sinned, their bodies became cracked or destined to die for it is now “been appointed once for a man to die” (Hebrew 9:27). In the meantime, God will patch us up spiritually if we are pliable spiritually.

Yes, Judah still has the Temple at this time in their history but they have forgotten that it is to be a place of monotheistic worship; i.e. one God. It had become “just another place of Judean worship but no longer just one God. They were still making sacrifices but one will shudder to learn they were sacrificing their own children to foreign gods. Some theologians suggest it is excused in their minds as parallel to Abraham taking his own son Isaac up to sacrifice him. It sounds more like it is post-birth abortion.

Deuteronomy 12:31 (see also Leviticus 20:2-5, Jeremiah 32:35, Ezekiel 20:26, Isaiah 57:4-5) tells us: You must not worship the Lord your God in their [foreigner’s] way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.

These people (Tribe of Judah and their Levite priests) already knew this passage from Deuteronomy, Leviticus and Ezekiel. In the time of Jeremiah, it is several hundred years after these passages were written in Israeli histories. Even if they thought it may be similar to the Abraham and Isaac history, it violates these Old Testament and Hebrew books/scrolls.

If you, the reader, read this website’s article about SHIN then this next paragraph will make more sense. It has to do with the Valley of (Ben)Hinnom, sometimes identified as Tophet. This is a location south-east of Jerusalem where their garbage, animal bones, and wasted sacrifices were dumped and burned. This is also where the bible tells us these Judeans required their children to “walk through the fire” in honor of Moloch. Not much different than today’s abortion clinics…a child dies. The word “Tophet” means drums. The drums were beat so loud that the cries of children (babies) being sacrifices could not be heard. As if they didn’t know it was wrong? God did and so did they. Why else beat the drums loudly to cover up cries if it was a right thing in God’s eyes?

Valley of (Ben)Hinnom was renamed by God as the Valley of Slaughter. There is so much more to this but not in this article. We will address it more as we go through Jeremiah and later chapters.

JIV NOTE: Verse 3b of chapter 19 says: (ERV) “…the God of the people of Israel, says: I will soon make a terrible thing happen to this place! Everyone who hears about it will be amazed and full of fear.”  This is a prophecy soon to happen and parallel to End Time. The invasion (Armageddon) of Jerusalem may very well come through that valley and from that direction. To come from the other direction would require troops and machinery to cross two valleys and mountainous land. This also refers to the direction of Nebuchadnezzar’s (Babylonian) invasion of Jerusalem after he finished dealing with the Egyptian army. In a bit of what some so-called historians would call a coincident, this valley is also the placement and ritual of heathen god worship by Judah and their leadership; Valley of Death.

Jeremiah 19:4 amplifies the JIV NOTE.

An interesting but evasive to this author’s understanding or piece of mind is, why this is even mentioned in the bible; i.e. the bottle or pot Jeremiah used in his demonstration of God’s destructive plan for Judah is called a “burbuk” or “bubuk.” That name represents the chugging sound a liquid makes when coming out of a thin-necked bottle or pot. If someone has an idea or opinion as to its application or implication, e-mail me at drjstark1@gmail.com. Please provide evidence as to the conclusion or thoughts. I have plenty of opinions. Archeologists of the 20th century have found an amazing number of burial or crypt sites in this same area of Judah.

For a deeper understanding of this historical area, click here… http://www.kinghussein.gov.jo/his_nabateans.html

petraPetra: Not mentioned in Jeremiah 19 but relevant as we will see in later articles. It is speculated by some theologians that this is to where the people of Israel/Judah will flee in End Time Tribulation. This impressive city was hidden away in a cleft in the rock with access through a narrow crack in a mountain. The crack is over 1200 meters long and 3 to 6 meters wide, flanked by 100-meter high canyon walls. Why hide a city? http://nabataea.net/who.html NOTE: The Nabateans were also known as Edomite’s. But then, Genesis 25:13 gives us another possibility. It is Isaac’s half-brother Ishmael’s eldest and first born son’s name (Nebaioth/Nebayoth).

Jeremiah 19:5 is a very specific declaration. God says that the Judeans “burned their sons” and that “he did not ever tell them to do this; it never even crossed his mind to do such a thing.” However, this sin was but one reason God was holding Judah accountable as even more sinful than their northern cousins in the then nonexistent Kingdom of Israel (10 Tribes).

Jeremiah is told in 19:7-9 to instruct prophetically to the leaders of Judah their horrible consequence for betraying their God and as His chosen people. Verse 10 then says for Jeremiah to break the Burbur (pot) in front of them. We find that the death blow on Judah by the Babylonians will be so extensive that there will remain no one to bury the dead and no place left to bury them. God says “he will make this land (Jerusalem) like Topheth; a place of death.

Verse 13 in chapter 19 needs explaining. It mentions “roof offerings.” It is obvious in this verse that offerings of sacrifice were also done on roof tops. But why? The answer is geographical. Most of this land area is flat and has no “high places” upon which to lift up their offerings/sacrifices. This is also a parallel to the New Testament command to “lift up the name of Jesus.” This includes the eternal sacrifice made by Jesus when “For he was lifted up on the cross to pay the debt of our sin.” Isaiah 6:3 is a great example of lifting up for the correct reason.

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.

Jer 19:15  “Listen, everyone! Some time ago, the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, warned you that he would bring disaster on Jerusalem and all nearby villages. But you were stubborn and refused to listen. Now the LORD is going to bring the disaster he promised.” [CEV translation]

When we take Jeremiah 18 and 19 together as the content, we get the context of the potter working us, molding us, making us. In chapter 19 the potter breaks us when we become as useless as a cracked pot. This is God’s message to all of Judah. They still didn’t listen.

miniJimDr. J. Stark

Jeremiah – Chapter 12

jeremiah

There are three divisions in this chapter: (Jeremiah 12:1-6) which register’s Jeremiah’s complaint, (Jeremiah 12:7-13) which recounts God’s judgment upon Judah and her enemies, and (Jeremiah 12:14-17) that promises the return of Israel from captivity and the conversion of Gentiles, both of which are conditional.

“Wherefore… doth the wicked prosper …” (Jeremiah 12:1)? Jeremiah got to the point at once; and the problem here presented before the Lord in faith and humility was indeed an old one. Habakkuk had struggled with it; the patriarch Job (Job 21:7) was perplexed by it; and the Book of Psalms devotes at least two chapters to a discussion of it (Psalms 37 and Psalms 73).

Why do the wicked prosper? Why is crookedness a prime prerequisite for success in this world? Lord, you plant these scoundrels, and they grow. Why? They are pious frauds who mouth words of religion but have no real love for you in their hearts.”

God’s answer to Jeremiah is somewhat shocking. The Lord rebuked him. We might paraphrase in this manner:

Look, Jeremiah, why should you be bothered about the prosperity of wicked men? If, in your race for me, you have been worn out by men, what are you going to do when you have to run against horses? If you have trouble feeling secure on level ground, what is going to happen to you when you have to pass through the “pride of the Jordan?” You have hardly seen anything at all yet. Buckle your seat belt, the worst is yet to come! NOTE: In essence God is telling Jeremiah why be distracted by the successes of the wicked or this world. I called you to prophecy the destiny of Judah and Israel, not the earth-bound prosperity of the evil. Jeremiah is asking the wrong question of God.

  1. The values focused upon in Christianity are not temporal and physical at all, but eternal.
  2. The favor and prosperity enjoyed by wicked men are not marks of God’s approval
  3. God’s world is an orderly world; and there are certain rewards and penalties that derive from that order. It happens that in many instances wicked men are more skilled or aggressive in his or her goals, ambitions, and (earthly) achievement(s).
  4. The success of people of this world is that they make no other choice but this world in which to live and prosper. They think the grave ends it all.
  5. This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.

Jeremiah 12:7 refers to a house. This is not the House of the Temple but Israel as a people. The two teachings in Jeremiah 12:7 are (1) the Lord removed his presence, or Spirit, from the Jewish temple, and (2) he forsook the apostate nation, the “righteous remnant” alone being exempt.

It is apparent that Israel along with other heathen nations prefers a god one can see, touch and move to other places. The invisibility of God-Jehovah is their issue. Truth in their eyes comes only by seeing. Very forgetful memories have the people of Judah.

Reading a glowing book

Verse 10 of Jeremiah 12 is also something of interest to the bible student. The word Shepherds in this verse is sometimes translated “pastors” from the Hebrew. Some translations suggest the best translation should be “rulers.”  However, this is not the point in this verse. It is what they have done to God’s flock that is primary. “They have trodden my (God’s) portion under foot; striped my vines of its fruit; laid waste a once bountiful land.”

This is another one of those dual or double-meaning verses. Sheep graze the land and often pull up the grass by the roots. They leave the land desolate by their eating habits. What isn’t eaten to the root is “trodden under foot.” The second thought is the sheep being Israelis. They have grazed God’s grace and left no remnant of belief and faithfulness (seeds) behind through the upbringing and training of their children.

The next verse points out the desolation of the land. Recall that when the twelve Tribes of Israel first moved into this land, it was a land of “milk and honey.” It was a land area we call today the Levant; rich soils and great crops with plenty of rain. This has all changed and gets worse as we move to chapter 14 a b it later.

Verse 14 [a new paragraph within chapter 12 changes the subject] is both a double promise to both Judah during this time in history and to Judah’s neighbors in a future as discussed in Daniel 11. His warning is against “all mine evil neighbors that touch the inheritance which I caused my people Israel to inherit” [ESV]. Note very carefully that this verse does not identify the land as Israel’s but God identifies it as “HIS LAND by calling other nations “MY NEIGHBORS.” There are two things in this verse. God will pluck or remove the evil peoples next door from their land and remove the Israelis from their Promised Land. The neighbors who take advantage of this temporarily vacated land will themselves be *“plucked out of their own home and land in the future.”

*To understand this better, one might wish to go back to the Book of Daniel articles to re-read his prophecies. In particular, read chapter 11 of Daniel. This is events of a future 300 years after Jeremiah was writing his book.

But the very next verse also states that God will eventually “…bring them again [this could mean after the 70 year captivity in Babylon] every man to his heritage and every man to his land” [End Time prophecy and the Millennial Reign of Christ.

Verse 16 is a promise that also is an indication of End Time prophecy; i.e. yet to be fulfilled. It is a verse with promise: “…if they [non-Jewish peoples or Gentiles] will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, as Jehovah liveth; even as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built up in the midst of my people”. All this will be fulfilled during the reign of the Messiah during the Millennial Reign of Jesus. God is here talking about the Gentile races, not Israel itself. He is talking New Testament times, belief in Jesus and God, but written in the Old Testament some 600 years before the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.

The end of this chapter as written in the Contemporary English Version is self-explanatory…

Jer 12:15  But later, I will have pity on these [foreign] nations [people] and bring them back to their own lands.

Jer 12:16  They [foreign people] once taught my people to worship Baal. But if they admit I am the only true God, and if they let my people teach them how to worship me, these nations will also become my people.

Jer 12:17  However, if they [foreign nations outside of God] don’t listen to me, I will uproot them from their lands and completely destroy them. I, the LORD, have spoken.

The Christians today are also God’s people; i.e. the one-body church with Jesus at the head; not intended to refer to or infer any particular congregation within any denomination or church building. V17 is totally End Time New Testament prophecy… if they [foreign nations outside of God] don’t listen to me, I will uproot them from their lands and *completely destroy them. I, the LORD, have spoken. 

*The Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20:11-15 (Matthew 7:23; Mark 9:43-48; Romans 2:16; Hebrews 9:27.

Amen,

miniJimRev. DrJstark

January 2017

In Search of Purpose

Young people today are looking for their purpose in life. The world offers external stimuli that caters to the feelings and emotions of the younger generation. The Rev Paul Hoffmasterproblem with the secular approach is the ever changing satisfaction level of the recipient. When the level of acceptance begins to diminish, something new and exciting must be offered to fend off complacency. The world strives to feed the hungry seekers with high energy experiences that it hopes will fill the void in their lives. The problem with these approaches is they are temporary and ever changing. Apologist Ravi Zacharias once said, “People listen with their eyes and think with their feelings.” So many people are influenced by what they read and hear. Whatever goes through the air waves seems to carry an hypnotic affect on the hearers. If it is presented through the media outlets, many believe it must be right. Television and its cohorts, the news, and social media, all carry an invitation to experience truth through opinionated editorials. The evidence of this is the post election exchanges. To hear people’s reactions to the election evidences the biased rhetoric they have adopted from their selected sources. Young people are swayed to a large degree by what they see and hear. The world’s invitation to personal fulfillment is only a temporary fix to a permanent need.

What is the Church doing to counter the world’s offers? What can the Church do to attract young people from the wilderness of endless wanderings? Young people are looking for honesty, truthfulness, and integrity. They are tired of trying different things that continue to change seasonally. Young people listen to what they see and if it doesn’t fulfill their void, they will reject it for something else. Since the Church is made up of people, the younger generation will judge the validity of its claim by Christians themselves. If they see hypocrisy, they will dismiss the Church as just another movement that is trying to enlist their involvement. The Church is failing to understand what the younger generation is saying.

The Church seems to be caught up in the world’s methodology. Music is changed to cater to the emotions of the hearers. If you were to take the words out of Christian contemporary music, you could not tell the difference from the world’s music. Many churches are having two Sunday morning services; one a traditional worship, the other a contemporary gathering. Instead of keeping the unity of the Believers, there is a division. Family worship was just that, but today many young people never sit with their parents due to competing services or programs. One local church advertised a second service with an invitation that if they felt uncomfortable with worshiping in their sanctuary, they could come to their alternate service that meets in their gym. Pastors are shedding their suits and ties for jeans and sandals. The efforts that the Church is taking to reach the unchurched is meeting with little or no success. Yet the Church charges on with the hope that somehow they will find an answer for numerical growth.

The biggest problem facing the Church today is Christians who are not complementing Biblical teachings. It is not the type of worship that draws people to the Church, it is the One whom we promote. The younger generation wants unfaltering Truth. The kind of Truth that will set them free! They don’t want a cleaned up worldly approach. They want Truth with integrity.

In these changing times, it is not time for the Church to change from what has worked for generations. It is the proclaimed Word, not the logistics that makes the difference. It seems we sing “more like the world, we shall ever be,” instead of singing, “more like the Master I will ever be.” When we stay faithful to His Word, God will add to the Church!