Basic Facts from Jeremiah (Part 3)

Basic Facts from Jeremiah (Part 3)

One of the most valuable lessons we can learn from the prophet Jeremiah comes from his own experience in faithfully serving the Lord. True commitment to the Almighty means persisting in His way, with His message even when those around us don’t want to hear it. In Jeremiah 20:7-9, the servant of the Lord laments that he “got more than he bargained for” in obeying the Lord’s call to be His prophet: The people mocked him for his message, until Jeremiah finally decided he would just “keep quiet,” but then his dedication to God and His word became so urgent within him that he could not keep silent about it (verse 9). How easy is it for you to keep quiet about God and His will?

We find a very important piece of biblical information in Jeremiah 22:24-30 — there, God’s man is told to declare that king “Coniah” would be “childless” (verse 30), seemingly ending the royal lineage of the house of David. (This is king Jehoiachin, 2 Kings 24:8-16; also called Jeconiah in Esther 2:6.) Note, however, that his children are mentioned in verse 28, and his “offspring” in verse 30! This apparent contradiction is resolved when we know that the meaning of the word translated as “childless” in verse 30 means desolate or destitute rather than “without a child.” The Greek translation of the old testament (the Septuagint), produced over 100 years before the birth of Jesus, describes Coniah as “cut-off” or “banished.” The Lord did NOT say here that the royal lineage would die with Coniah; His point lies in the words “…no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.” These words are most important for us, because they show that Jesus (the seed of David, John 7:42) could not “prosper” as king if He ruled on an earthly throne in the physical land of Judah. No wonder He told Pilate “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36)! Premillennial denominations, whose members are looking for a modern-day restoration of (ancient) national Israel and an earthly reign of Jesus in Jerusalem must make Jeremiah (and therefore God, also) a liar in order to support such a false doctrine.

A very sobering thought presents itself in Jeremiah 23:24, when the Lord asks if there is anywhere, any “secret place” where a man can hide, where God cannot see him. The Lord’s profound declaration, “Do not I fill heaven and earth” emphasizes that all of us live each moment in His presence, seen by and fully exposed before Him (cf. Hebrews 4:13).

Notice next in Jeremiah 25:8-9 (also in 27:6) that God describes Nebuchadnezzar, the idolatrous heathen king of Babylon, in a very surprising way! Even though the Lord would later banish him to live like an animal in the field (Daniel 4:31-33), here He describes the king as “my servant.” This simply emphasizes the truth of Daniel’s repeated declaration that “God rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever HE pleases” (Daniel 4:17, 25, & 32). Even though Nebuchadnezzar never became a devoted believer in the One God, the Lord was still able to use him for His purpose!

In Jeremiah 26:2, the Lord Himself set the standard for faithfulness in preaching and teaching His word when He instructed Jeremiah to “speak…all the words that I command…do not hold back a word” (ESV). More than 500 years later, the apostle Paul would tell the Ephesian elders “I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27 – emphasis mine, DR), and Peter would urge all Christians to “…speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11). A corollary to Jeremiah 26:2 comes in chapter 29:13, when the Lord declares to the exiles of Judah that “ye…shall find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Our God does not seek “part-time” followers or “Sunday-only” Christians! He demands our complete conviction and commitment.

Jeremiah 31:31-34 is commonly recognized in Christendom as a prophecy of the “coming kingdom;” it is important that we understand, however, that the inspired writer of the letter to the Hebrews applied these exact words to the church which already existed at the time he was writing; not to some “far-distant, millennial kingdom” still to come. Jeremiah’s prophecy of the coming of a new covenant foretold the establishment of the church, during the lifetimes of the apostles, just as Jesus told them in Mark 9:1. This is exactly the point the Hebrews writer makes in Hebrews 8:13.

-Dave Rogers

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