Here are five interesting scripture references in the book of Jeremiah from the NKJV where the word “time” is used: (More …)
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In Jeremiah’s condemnation of Moab, he mentions a number of its cities along the length of the nation, which lay to the east of the Dead Sea. Among them, this one:
City of Madmen, you will also be destroyed.
A destructive army will march against you.
Madmen is a Hebrew word, not English. It is not where mad men live. (More …)
Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-29:27 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. Proverbs 30-31 were added and preserved by the Holy Spirit. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 30:11-14: “There is a generation that curses its father, And does not bless its mother. 12 There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness. 13 There is a generation-oh, how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up. 14 There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, And whose fangs are like knives, To devour the poor from off the earth, And the needy from among men.”
After Jacob had worked 14 years to “earn” his wife, his father-in-law, Laban, said, “I have learned by experience that the LORD has blessed me for your sake” (Genesis 30:27). “Experience” is a great teacher, and often, a hard teacher. It has been truly said, “Happiness will never come to those who do not appreciate what they already have.” “A generation” without the experiences of life becomes (v.11) Loveless; (v.12) Hypocritical; (v.13) Arrogant; and (v.14) Cruel, and will need few enemies, for it will self-destruct. Children whose world consists of a video screen, whose mind is filled with make-believe, and whose heart seldom connects with real people, have no experiences to help them grow, and become slaves who serve without conscience! It is a lost generation that never sees “the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied” (Ecclesiastes 3:10).
Verse 11: Those who disrespect the two who gave them life will not appreciate The God, His plan, and the life they have been given, “For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God” (1 Corinthians 11:12). Although the prevalence of divorce and single-parenthood has shattered the “DNA” of marriage, and taught successive generations this disrespect, those who turn to God’s Way will start a new generation of parental respect. It is when sin abounds that “the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12).
Verse 12: It is difficult, almost impossible, for one to see one’s own sins. To such a generation, God send Jeremiah to say: “’For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, Yet your iniquity is marked before Me,’ says the Lord God. How can you say, ‘I am not polluted’” (Jeremiah 2:22-23). The Apostle Paul wrote: “For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord” (1 Corinthians 4:4). Any generation that is known for major problems with drunkenness, irresponsibility, sexually-transmitted diseases, drug abuses, recklessness, and hatefulness (Titus 3:3) has its hands full and should not be pointing fingers at the previous generation(s)! Jesus Christ condemned those who “outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:28).
Verse 13: Jesus Christ described this attitude when He said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:29-33) While a generation may protest against their parents sins, it becomes guilty of its own sins, many of which are even worse than before (1 Kings 16:25)!
Verse 14: The cruelty is seen because they don’t care about the “poor” and “needy.” Selfishness is so narrow-minded that it cannot admit, nor allow, others to benefit who have greater needs. Jesus Christ said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation” (Matthew 23:14)!
A generation may be changed if enough of them “are converted and become as little children…Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4). Obeying the command to “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” will let a soul “Be saved from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:38, 40).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
False teachers (or prophets) are a continual problem for any and all of God’s people. What makes them doubly dangerous is that many of those identified as God’s people are uninformed concerning the Lord’s many warnings; because they are uninformed they fall for the trap set and then sprung by Satan’s minions (servants). Jeremiah preached and preached, but still the people fell into the trap set by Satan. They fell for Satan’s ploy because of two primary reasons. First, they wanted to believe the Lord would not forsake them (even though they abandoned the Lord and His way). Second, they failed to see that they were guilty of any actual wrongdoing (16:10). This uninformed understanding about their circumstances was not because the Lord did not tell them, but because they did not want to hear. Third, they gained prosperity as they joined themselves to the people of the lands around them. This gave them a false security because they thought that surely their prosperity was the result of the Lord being pleased with tem and giving them bountiful blessings (cf. 17:7-11).
There is an application for us in this. Just because we have prospered financially does not mean—at all—that we have the Lord’s favor. Satan is a mighty powerful being in this world; he can deceive man into thinking any number of things, like the Lord is blessing him when it is factually not the case (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Not only does this apply to one’s financial standing, it can very much apply to a congregation’s standing also. In Revelation 2 and 3 there are five warnings concerning the various churches hearing what the Lord had to say. We need to do the same; it may be that our numerical standing in the community will not be large, but does that matter? To a great many it does, and it is easy to fall into this way of thinking because we measure our successful we are (or not) in relationship to numbers. To the Lord, however, what does matter is the faithfulness of one’s life to His way in behavior and thinking and one’s faithfulness to the Lord’s mission (Luke 19:10). It is OUR job to teach the gospel to a world lost in sin; we can do this where we live. RT
This chapter can be broken into three parts. First, Zedekiah imprisoned Jeremiah because of Jeremiah’s continual warning concerning Jerusalem’s fall. This imprisonment did not stop the Lord from telling Jeremiah that he needs to make a land purchase (32:1-15). Second, Jeremiah did not understand why the Lord would have him purchase land that was on the verge of being taken by the Babylonians, thus he expressed himself to the Lord in regard to this (32:16-25). Third, the Lord told Jeremiah that He is not controlled by the affairs of man and, in fact, the execution of the deed transfer is indicative of what the Lord prepared for those who will eventually return (32:26-44).
NOTES ON CHAPTER 31
This chapter is well-known because of 31:31-34 (repeated in Hebrews 8), but the interpretation of this chapter, apart from what the Holy Spirit said in Hebrews 8, is not as clear as one might hope. For instance, in the JSB (Jewish Study Bible), the chapter refers exclusively to the return of those in Babylonian exile. This is to be expected, however; if they gave room for a Messianic application, then the only fulfillment is seen in Jesus. Coffman comments regarding this chapter (31:2-26): “It is impossible to construe these verses literally, because nothing even remotely resembling these predictions ever occurred I the historical racial Israel” (p. 341). This is complemented by Jewish scholar Michael Brown when he dealt with an objection that would be offered by orthodox Judaism concerning Jeremiah having lied (or being a false prophet); the words clearly apply to physical Israel. Brown remarks, in a rather long sentence, that they did happen, but not with what was expected by those interpret this as a physical application (Objections, volume 4, p. 289).
When the Lord commissioned Jeremiah to preach, Jeremiah was told that he would tear down, but also build up (1:10). The building up and rejoicing is what we can see occurring in this portion of the chapter (31:1-9). To who does these verses apply? In 31:1, it is to “all the families of Israel,” and in 31:7, it is to the remnant of Israel. With that being said, it is also inclusive of those who return from exiled lands (31:2, 8, 16-17). Though Israel (both the northern and southern nations) had to experience a painful captivity, the Lord will bring them back (31:18-22). As God’s covenant nation (as both the northern and southern nations were under one king at one time), the Lord dealt with them as nations, and not individuals. Thus, when the Lord punished, when the Lord spoke, it was to nations. The days are coming, the Lord said (31:27-34), when it will be the individual that will experience the pain of one’s individual (negative) response to the Lord. The days are coming, moreover, that God’s covenant with the nation will be on an individual basis, rather than corporately. Under the old covenant, a male was circumcised (not the female) at a time when there was no personal response, but under the new covenant the response by both male and female will be their own. The remainder of the chapter speaks to God’s fidelity in keeping this promise (31:35-40).
As you remember the substance of C-29, it is easy to see somewhat of a transition to this chapter, often considered a portion of what is known as the “Book of Consolation” with Jeremiah (chapter 30-33). In C-29, Jeremiah writes and exhorts the people in captivity to stay put and not fret. In this chapter there is a reminder concerning why they went into captivity (30:12-15), but a word of encouragement concerning what the Lord has planned for them in the coming days (3:18-22). Within this chapter there is a promise of a ruler (governor) that will come of the Davidic line (30:21, 9). Exactly who is in view is unstated. Many think Zerubbabel is view (see Haggai), but while others may see this to include him, there is something greater in view: “The immediate reference is to Zerubbabel and the elders who returned from the Captivity; but there is a larger significance than any merely human personage could exhaust or satisfactorily correspond to. There can be no doubt as to the Messianic character of this promise” (Pulpit Commentary). The Jewish Targum identifies this as Messianic also. “The Targum interprets these words of him; ‘their King shall be anointed from them, and their Messiah shall be revealed from the midst of them.’ And so it is applied to him in the Talmud (e), and in other writings of the Jews (f). Kimchi on the place says, ‘it is known that the King Messiah shall be of Israel’” (cited by John Gill, E-Sword).
The time frame of this chapter, which is an official correspondence from the Lord (through Jeremiah) to the people taken in captivity to Babylon, is about 598 B.C. The nature of the correspondence is two-fold; first, the Lord wants those who were taken into captivity to know and remember that the Lord will watch over them; second, because the Lord will watch over them, they are to settle themselves in this new land. At the proper time, after seventy years, the Lord will return those who desire to return back to the land from which they came, Israel. As you read this chapter be mindful of why this is taking place. The obvious reason is because of their sin, but the Lord turned an unfortunate experience that people of Israel endured into a positive many years later. With Jewish influences in other parts of the world, the Lord’s apostles had an audience to spread His message that is introduced in C-31. However, while the people reside in their new land/home, the Lord gives warning that those who are self-appointed prophets (called “demented” in the NKJV) will meet with the Lord’s disapproval; thus, let not any of those who reside in Babylon’s territory listen to these false teachers.
There are quite a number of lessons to be learned from these chapters. First, the Lord can and has used nations that have sprung up but for a short time to bring established nations (Assyria and Judah, just to name two) to their end. From this we learn the Lord is beholden to no peoples if His will is rejected. Second, it does not matter that the positive economic policy of the king (governmental leader) or the popularity of the king has with the people. If the Lord is against the king, the king (government) will fall and so will his subjects. Third, God’s preachers and servants walk, many times, a lonely road. As one looks about him (or her) there is much popularity and fanfare with religious entities that seems to grow by leaps and bounds. It was this way in Jeremiah’s day and it is this way in our day as well. Jeremiah could have easily given thought to “What am I doing wrong that all these people are flocking to these groups who are not teaching the Lord’s way in its purity?” Jeremiah could have thought this and been greatly discouraged. The Lord, however, is less interested in great gatherings than He is with the faithful preaching, teaching, and living of His word. God’s servants must find their comfort and confidence in God’s word. Of course, God’s servants don’t need to be deceived in thinking they are doing right when, in fact, they are not. There are a great many people who think they are faithful to the Lord when they are not, and this because they have substituted a “thus saith the Lord” with a “this is what I think.” If any man is going to speak anything of God, let him speak only that which God said (1 Peter 4:11; Isaiah 8:20); to speak or do more than what the Lord said is to move into the area of presumption—and that is never a good place to be.
The goings on at about this time in the secular world was a conspiracy to thwart the rule and might of Babylon by not just Judah, but other nations as well. Jeremiah preached to the people the Lord’s word in this circumstance—it will not work, so don’t align yourself with the conspiracy. Hananiah, one of the false prophets Jeremiah spoke against through his preaching, stood and negated what Jeremiah said in the previous chapter (27:2) concerning the symbolic yoke; in fact, Hananiah’s “prophetic” word made what Jeremiah said, in effect, a lie. A peripheral application of Hananiah’s words was that Judah could align themselves with the conspiratorial group and by so doing be relieved of the oppression inside of two years. This, of course, went straight back to the author of those words—the Lord. The Lord was not pleased with what transpired, and told Jeremiah that he needs to go back to Hananiah and tell him of the Lord’s displeasure and judgment against this false prophecy, having made the people believe in a lie.
By this time the king of Babylon has already made his “visit” to Jerusalem. This brings us to knowing exactly who is king; in 27:1 it is Jehoiakim (NKJV, ASV, JPS, KJV, YLT), but in 27:3 we read that it is Zedekiah. In fact, some translations (NIV, ESV, NET, Amplified) will have Zedekiah in 27:1 instead of Jehoiakim. The reason for the variation is in manuscript evidence; there are some manuscripts that have Jehoiakim, but some have Zedekiah. The actual balance of manuscript evidence favors Jehoiakim, but scholarship favors Zedekiah based on context. Not all Bible expositors/scholar accept Zedekiah; there are some, as shown by Humphries (pages 293-295), who argue for Jehoiakim receiving this word, but the implementation of God’s word occurring during the time of Zedekiah. In any case, the year of the events described occurred in about 594/593 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar had already made one pilgrimage to Jerusalem (about 606/605 B.C.), yea, even a second (597/596 B.C.), carrying off people and possessions each time. Jeremiah’s word has vindicated him with Babylon’s destructive force. With that, the Lord gives another warning via an object lesson. Jeremiah was to bind a yoke upon himself, with the yoke being a symbol of all those who are in bondage to Babylon (27:1-8). Unfortunately, the prophets of Israel were in continual delusion. They kept preaching a message that had political loyalty, but not godly loyalty (27:9-11). Jeremiah then appeals to the reasonableness of the king, Zedekiah, not to listen to these prophets; already they have been shown to be false, and Jeremiah confirms it to the king from the Lord (27:12-18) saying, moreover, that to refuse to heed is to watch when Babylon’s king comes in and takes the remainder of the religious articles (and whatever else he wants) that are in the temple (27:19-22).
The first 25 chapters of Jeremiah are the words of the prophet calling on Judah to repent, or suffer the planned doom the Lord has prepared. In this chapter and the ones following, the tone is more narrative than sermonic. Additionally, in this chapter, we have Jeremiah’s preaching and the people’s response. In fact, there are a great many who think the words of C-7 are connected with this chapter. In other words, as Jeremiah preached against the people’s loyalty to the Temple (rather than the Lord), they took strong exception to Jeremiah’s words and arrested God’s prophet. If the connection is successfully made, then we have what occurred (in brief) after he preached. A summary of the chapter is as follows: Jeremiah was told to preach the Lord’s word, not diminishing a single bit of it (26:2); the Lord had Jeremiah do this in order to get them to change their ways. This continuing theme of Jeremiah also had a continuing response—NO! The response was strong (26:8-9), and when Jeremiah was put on “trial” before those who stood as his judge, he said two things. First, he called upon them to repent so the Lord will relent and, second, “do with me whatever you will, but be sure if you kill me you will bring innocent blood on you” (26:10-15). The remainder of the chapter has two parties standing up in relation to Jeremiah’s trial. One stood up defending Jeremiah’s exoneration, while the other stood up seeking to bring capital punishment against him (26:16-24).
For over 20 years (23:3) Jeremiah has been preaching to a people not the least interested in turning from their evil ways. The people were politically interested in the affairs of the land, but not spiritually. Now, on the outskirts of Judah and Jerusalem sat an army waiting to lurch out to the prey. Jerusalem saw this and they feared greatly. One can imagine how they appealed to the Lord for help with such a foe outside the immediate boundaries of Judah, but when the Lord gave counsel and they refused to hear, He now has refused to hear their appeal. In fact, He not only refused to give them relief, but He makes clear that this is the beginning of their captivity, and this captivity would last 70 years (25:11-12). There is some dispute concerning whether this 70 years was exact or just a round number to indicate a long time, but when one thinks of Daniel’s prayer (Daniel 9:1-2), there is no reason to think of the number but in an exact context. The beginning of this 70 year period starts about the time of Jeremiah’s reference in verse 1, about 605-604 B.C., the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s rule. It was about this time that a significant regional war took place between Egypt and Babylon; as the two vied for position and pre-eminence, Judah was stuck in the middle. This was the historical significant battle at Carchemish (2 Kings 23:34-36). *** Jeremiah gives a summary of his work for the 23 year period of his preaching (25:1-7), but as the people rejected, and with Babylon having won a significant victory over Egypt, the Lord’s servant (25:9) was making his way to Jerusalem against a people that refused to hear the Lord; now, their next experience was going to be a period of captivity—70 years (25:8-14). As you look at verse 14, it is clear that verse 15 starts with a new point of emphasis; that point of emphasis is the Lord’s wrath (“wine cup of fury” NKJV) given to the nations, and there is no escape (25:15-38). Interestingly, in the LXX (Greek version of the Old Testament), chapters 46-51 are inserted after Jeremiah 25:13. The nations identified, including Babylon, will have to drink from this cup. In Coffman’s commentary, he cites the following words, “This a cup from which all men have to drink, i.e. that consequences of our wrong choices. Life places it to our lips, and its contents can be very bitter, whether the recipient be a nation or an individual” (p. 256).
NOTES ON CHAPTER 23
The shepherds of Judah are reprimanded by the Lord; some uncertainty exist in determining exactly who is (or are) identified. In Ezekiel the shepherds are the leaders of the nation, the kings (Ezekiel 34). This seems to be the case here when we think about the (singular) “King” (23:5) mentioned as being raised who will shepherd God’s people (23:3-6) in righteousness. This king was from the “house of David.” Thus, Jeremiah’s rebuke is probably to the shepherd kings Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. But just as there is a reprimand of the shepherds there is also a reprimand of the prophets and the priest, with the preponderance of the reprimand on the (false) prophets. These men were guilty; they were nothing more than “ear ticklers” who turned the ears of the people away from the Lord. As the Lord warned, these false prophets neutralized the Lord’s warnings (through Jeremiah) with the words “peace” (23:17). In 23:14 there is an association of which they are also guilty; they see the evil deeds of the people and they support them in those evil deeds. The Lord makes it abundantly clear that these prophets are nothing more than “prophets of deceit” (23:26).
This chapter is a perplexing chapter because we naturally read sequentially, but it is thought by most that the chronology of chapter 22 precedes chapter 21 (for what reason the Holy Spirit put the words of Jeremiah in this place we can only surmise). Again, Jeremiah is to appeal to the king (or kings) of Judah with regard to the Lord’s pending judgment. If they hear (obey) the Lord, then that which the Lord planned will be “turned away;” on the other hand, if they do not hear and heed the Lord, then the Lord will sure bring it to completion (22:1-5). While the kings of Judah put a premium emphasis upon “stately cedar wood” for their place of residence, the Lord said He would make the place from where this cedar wood came a desolate place like He will make Jerusalem desolate (22:6-9). Whereas the first 9 verses are thought to have a direct application to Zedekiah, the next three pertain to Shallum (or Jehoahaz). He reigned for but a short time and was then taken into captivity by Egypt, who then placed Jehoiakim (his older brother) on Jerusalem’s throne (22:10-12). Jeconiah (also known as Jehoiachin or Coniah) was king over Jerusalem, but reigned only three months (2 Kings 24:5-9). The Lord looked upon his ascension to the throne and said that he would not reign and, in fact, he would not be the Lord’s representative on David’s throne (including any descendants of his). Into captivity Jehoahaz went (never to return), and for him the people should have wept. This was illustrative of what would soon happen to Jerusalem/Judah. With Jehoiakim now the new king (the older son of Josiah, but rejected by the people), the king lavishes upon himself the luxuries of all-things associated with being king. The Lord speaks against Jehoiakim (22:13-17), telling him what will be his reward (22:18-23).
BIBLE DIFFICULTY: When one looks at Matthew 1:11-12 it is seen that Jesus is a descendent of Joseph, who is also a descendent of Jeconiah. Thus, we understand that Jesus was a direct descendent of Jeconiah (who sat on David’s throne). This, however, does not “square” with Jeremiah 22:30 where it plainly declares the Jeconiah will not have a descendent on David’s throne. Various solutions: Some reply to this by saying 1) Jesus sitting on David’s throne would not apply because the word of the Lord applied to “immediate descendants only” (Brown, p. 308); 2) that Joseph was a “step” father (not actual) and, thus, what we have in Matthew is a legal line rather than an actual descendent-line as recorded in Luke. In other words, through Joseph (as recorded by Matthew) it can be shown that Jesus is the legal heir of David’s throne (Homer Hailey). Luke emphasizes, through Joseph and some different descendants, that Jesus was an actual descendent of Joseph (Scofield Bible) through the line of Mary (Luke 3:23-38).