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JEREMIAH AND THE MESSIAH
Praise for the Precise and Previewed Panorama
In Jeremiah, there are many words that have directly or more indirectly, to do with the Messiah and the Gospel of which that Person of just fame in prediction and fulfilment, is the key and cornerstone, the Agent and the Actualiser.
It is comparatively well-known that Isaiah contains the Gospel and the focus on the Messiah to the point that not only did Luther call him the evangelical prophet (though in fact the evangelical thrust is to be found most broadly), but Isaiah 53 is so profoundly basic to the Gospel that some who reject it, such as many of the Jews, exclude its reading. Indeed, in Isaiah, chapters dealing with the Messiah and the Gospel which He embodies, in one way or another include 2, 4, 7, 9, 11-12, 22, 28-29, 32, 35, 40, 48-50, 52-55, 60-61, 63, 65-66, that is at least 24 out of 66 or about 37%, over one third.
Jeremiah, while not as effulgent with the Messiah, gives to Him a notably substantial coverage, which we here consider at least initially. Indeed, this area will be viewed under three headings: THE CATEGORY, PRE-GOSPEL THEMES and GOSPEL COMPONENTS.
As the progressive pronouncements concerning the then coming Messiah are made, we shall seek to show their significance, cohesion and cumulative result. Nothing more important than the Messiah either could or did happen on this earth, for when God calls on the select planet for the elect persons whom He has foreknown, and to charge, challenge and seek all according to His heart (Colossians 1:19ff.), that is the acme of adventure and the topic of the centuries. When however He so calls not for a plenipotentiary visit, but to save a depleted residue of mankind, who though statistically increasing, is spiritually decreasing, it becomes far graver. Yet it is when this call becomes a clear invitation to those in a situation of desperation, awaiting judgment in ever increasing turmoils of evil and sallies of sinfulness, then this visit is not merely far more than a terrestrial tour: it becomes a celestial challenge, as if the Titanic had a message before its impact, to lower speed and increase prudence IMMEDIATELY.
With these things in mind, as seen before in such sites as Barbs ... 17, SMR Ch. 9, we consider then the Messiah in Jeremiah.
In so doing, we see the sickness of the secular, insidiously seeking to control the spiritual life of a sin-sodden nation, ostensibly the Lord's, the diametric opposition of the sacred, announced by God and instilled into man from his creation, despite its deadly diseases, and the sublime beauty and truth of the truth concerning God, which is linked by opportunity to the rescue, redemption and release of man from the snarling appetite of sin. How ? It is by this same Messiah.
I THE CATEGORY
Messiah Himself and For the Gentiles Too
1. The Wonder for the Gentiles - Jeremiah 16:19-20
Of these, many will forsake their naturalistic and other idols with joy, realising the source of life is God Himself, whom Israel rightly presented at His bidding, but wrongly treated (cf. Isaiah 49:7).
Here we find that the Gentiles are in need, like the Jews of old. Unlike the latter, however, in their fallen state of dismissal of covenant, though the Lord remains faithful (Ezekiel 36:22), in the killing of their King, the Gentile world is here shown to have a substantial realisation of the necessity of God, the revealed God, the holy and just God.
As the Lord appeared to Abraham, to many Gentiles will His truth reach, and with relish they will turn to the living God from the dead depictions of foolish philosophies and clamant political wares.
Like an enlarged and illuminated Abraham, many of them are to turn from the works of their own culture to the lively works and astounding testimony of the God of truth and power, whose name does not change, though men invent a thousand pseudonyms, and asinine evasions.
They will cast away their nonsenses, their nature worshipping elements such as so fascinated Israel to its virtual but not complete destruction (Jeremiah 16:19), the 'vanities' or idols of their vulture cultures, their deadly diseases of heart, mind and soul. As God sought out Israel and used it to bring both the Old Testament and its predictions of the Messiah and the Gospel of grace in Him, so He will move to the Gentiles so that it will be like a swath cut through a vast crop, and many of the Gentiles will seek Him, disgusted by being gulled for so long, delighted to find Him.
Those who do this, like Abraham will be no means be the whole culture, the entire tapestry of counter-truth which men invent. It will however be a substantial slice of mankind which may be so characterised. Gentile for God, not by new ideas from the calls of nature, of psychological effusion, or even satanic confusion, but by the longstanding testimony of unchanging and unchangeable truth: this will be the program.
That is the prediction of Jeremiah around 600 B.C., and its fulfilment has been occasioned over some 2000 years. Indeed, so vast has been the Gentile impact of the Gospel, that those who grow weary are inclined to call it the Post-Christian Age. It is in fact the trial leading to the great tribulation such as earth never had or will have again (Matthew 24:21). This 'falling away' is itself predicted (II Thessalonians 2), as is its outcome as some try to sound the Last Post for Christ, and post the world to its doom, by their letters of introduction from forces so malignant, that the present bundle of news and depravities, is merely like spots before measles, an announcement.
Thus Jeremiah is here showing the follow-on from the call to Israel, as Gentiles trash their flash follies with joy and seek the God of truth and power, where He IS to be found, which is precisely where He has always to be found: the Creator who has provided and verified His word, both in history and in the Messiah, who has done all things well, precisely in all points as predicted, and proceeds to the end.
What then of the Gentiles who are here predicted to come home to their God, the living God of truth and power, where lies and delusions cease: the lie stops here!
Their varied naturalistic inventions will, like organic evolution, Freud, Marx and Darwin, all logically ludicrous and evidentially barren, be tossed aside as vulgar folly and inept vanity*1. Such is the style and spirit of the word of Jeremiah in 16:19-20. "Will a man make gods for himself which are no gods!" the Lord there expostulates! (in parallel for the case of the Jewish people, Israel, as in Deuteronomy 32:19-22,37). Such is the aura and sense of things as people awake amid the Gentiles when that time comes (as it did come some 600 years later, and has come for some 2000 years since), and form a phalanx over history, loving the light of the Lord.
Like the harvested segment of Israel at the end (Romans 11:25ff., Micah 7), so the harvesting of the Gentiles is that which was to come, has come and will be completed in its time (cf. Revelation 6:10-11). How long ? we see the saints in heaven ask, concerning the completion of the sufferings on the earth ? It must go on till all who are the Lord's have been added, the saints in salvation and those to be killed for Christ in their roles! in effect is the reply (cf. Revelation12:11).
Richly throughout the prophetic works of the Old Testament, the avenue to the coming of Christ, is the way for the Gentiles shown, in that same Messiah. It is He who is the basis, and the same is the only thing to rescue either of Jew or Gentile, the GOSPEL as in Isaiah and other prophets, and in the New Testament as accomplished. If Israel slew Him, fulfilling the entire outline of events in Isaiah for example, then the Gentiles who knew Him were but a minority among their ilk, most of whom seemed more concerned to pry Him out of their lives or hearts or spirits or cultures or nations, though many did otherwise. Yet MANY did come, kings and at times, at least outwardly, Gentile nations. It is of this that Jeremiah here speaks.
2. The LORD our righteousness - Jeremiah 23:5-6
Here Jeremiah is used to introduce the Davidic King, who is also the divine donation to man, by whom salvation will come to the people. His righteousness is under gift to those who receive. It is HE who is their righteousness, and not their own productions. It is in HIM that they are to find the salvation from God.
The words for three verses are nearly identical to those in Isaiah 33, and this topic is followed more in Number 13 below. There is however, as will be seen, an impressive difference in one point.
In Jeremiah 23, this reference is to the King whose name is "the Lord our righteousness", donating righteousness freely granted, assigned and consigned (as in Isaiah 55 and Romans 5:17, with Psalm 32); and it leads on to the total depravity of false prophets to come before those wonderful days. There is always this contrast, actual or implied, in the foreground or the background between the false and the true, the authentic and the dissipated, the concluded call of God and the eluded responsibility, the word of God and the word of man, often in religious pretentious and devious dubiety, subtly programmed for pollution at first and hopelessness in the end. Thus it is false prophets which occupy much of Jeremiah 23, in contrast to the King of equity and truth, the Messiah through David's line on the human side, so often foretold.
But what of this name, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, here given to the Messiah ?
In Jeremiah 33, it is Jerusalem which gains this name (33:16); but it is clear that the Lord is the One who actions give such a name to the site, as the famed locale for His action: it is then a sort of evangelical city, as exhibited so beautifully in Isaiah 60, where it is apparent, the Gospel wonder is at work, so that it becomes a symbolic transparency, with walls which are salvation.
In Jeremiah 33 again, the context leads on to the Lord's absolute guarantee of these things, making them more certain than astronomical periods and fixtures, and the point that the King will not lack, nor the priests. The reality of these things to come to the land of Israel and to the world (Jeremiah 16 cf. Isaiah 42:6, 49:6) are not illusory, or lost in symbolism. Though this be used, it must not be confused with vapidity as with idols. It WILL HAPPEN. The Messiah would happen, the death would happen as in Isaiah and Daniel 9, the sufferings would happen for Him, the death and the resurrection (Psalm 16) would happen, the restoration of Israel would happen (cf. SMR Appendix A); but no more would Israel be the light-house, but the Lord. No nation would be exalted but the Lord only (Isaiah 2).
Yet for all that, it would all happen, and Jerusalem in Judah would become transformed from the site of the slaying of the Messiah, to a very exhibit of His Gospel!
Since the Messiah is the King, abundantly identified, then of course whether it is a case of "Thy land, O Immanuel" as in Isaiah 8:8 (the name given it when Assyria enters this sacred arena, being used by God to punish Israel for her sins), or the continuing Messiah resurrected (as in Isaiah 26:19, Psalm 2 and 16), He is always there (Jeremiah 33:17). Introduced in Isaiah 7, Immanuel, God with us, is the name of the child from the virgin (see 12 below, and SMR pp. 770ff.), whose advent was a phenomenon of unique kind and divine splendour (Isaiah 7:11), as seen also in Jeremiah 31:22.
Even in the millenia following His rejection by Israel, He IS alive, available, His Gospel operative, His mercy to be found, His strength to be accessed through faith; and HIS PRIESTLY power continues (Hebrews 7:25). His work is granted to those who receive Him, and it is HIS that the land is, until as in Romans 11:25ff., the blindness of Israel being at length dispelled, many in Israel at last come to their King and find Him, whose coming back is heralded not least by this event.
Thus first He is to be received in Spirit (Zechariah 12:10), as crucified and neglected Messiah, with great grief by a vast spiritual movement to come to Israel; and then He appears in direct coming to the land (as in Zechariah 14:5, Isaiah 59, Psalm 67, 110, Isaiah 11), with Himself bearing the glory. This glory neither Jew nor Gentile has, for the Lord will not give His glory to another (Isaiah 42:8), with papal or a nation. Nevertheless, then as with Moses, His glory will be seen upon them (Isaiah 60:1ff.), who were the offscouring - but it is HIS.
The site of His Cross will indeed have a divine illumination and the sites of hearts where His Spirit is implanted, will echo to His joy. Indeed, He showers the earth with blessing (Psalm 72) before the NEW HEAVENS and NEW EARTH being created, are consummated.
II PRE-GOSPEL THEMES
3. The Compassion of God Jeremiah 9:1-6
The tears, the weeping like a fountain, the lachrymose lingering in pangs, pain and anguish of Jeremiah, all of this is amazingly set in such a style that it is attributed to the Lord Himself. While we can understand that "in all their affliction, He was afflicted" (Isaiah 63:9), this is a beautiful exposure of the tenderheartedness of the Lord, who though not suffering folly to rule, is longsuffering to the uttermost
Thus, poignant is the grief for what Jeremiah foresees, and the Lord knows. Pity does not murder the truth, however, nor does justice become inequitable; it is in the constantly provided mercy to which Jeremiah repeatedly exhorts, that the pity has place. In its refusal, truth is unremitting...
So for a time seem Jeremiah's tears to be, as in 9:1ff..
But to gain the full impact, consider the context. In Jeremiah 9:22, it is the LORD who is speaking, as seen in 8:19, "Why have you provoked Me to anger ... " Jeremiah muses, to be sure in communion: "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved" - although strictly it is the Lord who is speaking, and at the least, this is the Lord-engendered empathy reaching through Jeremiah.
In Jeremiah 9:3, we find the words, "and they do not know ME, says the LORD." It is then in 9:1ff., a direct translation of the Lord's own grief, precisely as in Matthew 23:37ff., Luke 19:42ff., when He sojourned on this earth, the Father HIS Father (John 10:30,33), as He was encompassed by a woman.
This pity, compassion, active practical anguish and solicitation is true of the Lord Jesus Christ, whether pre-incarnate as Lord as in Jeremiah 9, or incarnate as in Matthew 23:37ff.. It is one God to whom the knees will bow, whether as LORD as in Isaiah 45:22-23, or as Christ as in Philippians 2. We are told in that very place, that there is NO OTHER. God it is and was and will be. He does not change.
It is this pity which led to His humiliation as in Philippians 2, to BE in the form of a servant, to BE assailed by ecclesiastical and other ruffians, to BE immersed in the hypocrisies of enemies, without imbibing from their worthless wares, to BE on the Cross and to BE the subject of hilarity while on it, as if to come down would prove deity, whereas NOT to come down was the actual proof. Why is this so ? It is because it is that which led to the fulfilment of the sacrificial method, and the rebuttal of death in the resurrection, without which man is mere triviality, potential depotentiated, a nothing.
Here then is one of the tender bases of the Gospel of grace, for who wants cold charity, overbearing disregard and noble arrogance! It is not so with God!
4. The Prophet as a figurative precursor of THE LAMB - Jeremiah 11:19-20
"I was like a docile lamb brought to the slaughter..."
Jeremiah not only shares the sense of intense compassion that is the Lord's, as His emissary and envoy (in the sense of Jeremiah 1:4-18). His is persecution that is resolute and vigorous with a desperation to save the city without reformation at its base, and a distaste for the Lord's own will, ways and work, as a dynamic, as his enemies move on their own appointed way to the desolation that was soon to come to their city.
Like a steam-roller going on a sharp downward slope, they career with a sense of the splendour of (contrary) motion; and resent what stops the rolling force of their thrust. They do not understand what they do, but they DO know, or could and should, that it is the merest of folly. It is along the lines of Zephaniah 1:13-15, where they say in disbelief, and naturalistic self-confidence: "The Lord will not do good, nor will he do evil." So did they mock, as they do so often today in many educational establishments, corrupters of youth, His reality, personality, power, application and judgment. This does NOTHING to remove that judgment, but much to enhance it, as it comes, as now, step by step, ever closer, ever more deserved.
Let us see it in setting. It was Zephaniah, great-grandson of Hezekiah, who appears to have prophesied somewhere in the region of 30-40 years before the calamitous devastation of Jerusalem by Babylon. He was one who warned, in Jeremiah's general time-slot ...
"And it shall come to pass at that time
That I will search Jerusalem with lamps,
And punish the men
Who are settled in complacency,
Who say in their heart,
‘The Lord will not do good,
Nor will He do evil.’
"Therefore their goods shall become booty,
And their houses a desolation;
They shall build houses, but not inhabit them;
They shall plant vineyards, but not drink their wine.
"The great day of the Lord is near;
It is near and hastens quickly.
The noise of the day of the Lord is bitter;
There the mighty men shall cry out.
That day is a day of wrath,
A day of trouble and distress ..."
The day of the Lord! That was a world-class exhibit for comparison with the ultimate day of the Lord for Jew and Gentile alike, which comes, as the moaning tornado comes, as the whirling howl comes to the land (Isaiah 24 for example - where the whole world faces it, as indeed in Matthew 24:20-22). It is in that terminal, that consummate, that universal day of the Lord that all flesh is then involved.
Then it will be as in the flood, and relatively few escape (cf. Luke 17:26-37, Matthew 7:15, 21-22), who are chosen, the elect. It is marvellous how people will howl. though it is not as if they are excluded by some academic or governmental body. In this matter, it is not possible to be excluded unless you exclude the Lord! (I Timothy 2, Colossians 1:19ff.).
The VERY PRINCIPLE of condemnation on the part of the Lord, who DID NOT COME TO JUDGE (in His offer and gift of salvation), but that the world might be saved, it is NOT that God was not interested in being helpful. Death on the Cross is not an incident of indifference. It IS that God is not willing to defeat truth, and if one PREFER darkness WHEN LIGHT HAS COME into the world, even the relevant light in context, that of Jesus Christ, then THIS IS the condemnation. It is for the one who does this, his, it is her, very own. Those who dislike the light, are moving in more and more darkness. In this, when the challenge, the crisis comes, they act the part. This is for millions, a matter of murder. History has been replete with Islamic, with Roman, inquisitorial murders, wrought in the name of religion*1A, executed with non-commissioned executive power,as if gods were present, when they are but men.
Thus in these developments, naturally enough, many are slaughtered (Revelation 12:11, 6:11). The spirit is much the same, that of denial and depravity, arrogance and arrogation, even of men's lives by the unruly and the boisterous, the bucolic and the belligerent, the auto-motivated and the explorers as it were, out of hell, to find new denizens. Of these, there are many.
In the day of Jeremiah, he was threatened clearly enough with death, intimidated in a mud-based well, complete with mire, ideal for sinking, but without water, needful for life! He was falsely accused, falsely tried, wrongfully imprisoned, disregarded or mocked. In all of this he was a type of Christ. He even used of himself, the very image of a Lamb, meek before her slaughterers (Jeremiah 11:19-20). Jerusalem itself was like Christ, to be devastated with evil force, yet it would come again. With it, however, its sins were the cause; with Christ sin also was the cause, but not His own, but rather the sins of such as Jerusalem, or those in it who sought the Lord: it was these that took the toll love was prepared to pay.
With Christ the various differences are of course immense. His suffering was foreseen, foreknown and planned by Himself as God the Word; it was redemptive and vicarious in kind; it was without rescue, and without kindness shown, as by Ebed-Melech, wonderful in kindness, an Ethiopian eunuch, who rescued Jeremiah from his pit.
It was God Himself, who by the Spirit raised His only begotten Son from the grave, far more advanced in requirement than raising Jeremiah from the slimy murk; and with far greater results.
Jeremiah then showed something of the longsuffering meekness in the night of pain and contempt, that Christ had done, not resisting arrest or creating a furore for his physical comfort. In this, there is an underlying comparability with the exterior mode of Christ's submission. It helps one to understand the Gospel, at least laterally, to consider it.
It is a prelude to the nature of the perseverance, endurance and determination of the Lord, that the prophet brings. In his work in Israel of old, as a servant, like a docile lamb, Jeremiah was led in this way of scorn and through incidents on the way, towards a threatened death.
It is of course in Isaiah 53 that we read of Christ, "As sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth"!
5. The Inherence and Depravity of Man's Sin - Jeremiah 17:5-12
Jeremiah 17 has forcible components. It speaks of the depravity of man, the irresponsibility of his heart in the ultimate setting of absolute truth, before the mind of God in His intense purity and wisdom, of the folly of trusting in man and the blessedness of trusting in one's creator, manufacturer, sustainer and Lord.
"Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes..."
On the other hand,
"Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD, for he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes..."
A certain dimness obscures the light, prevents wisdom and awareness, is concerned with what is not ultimately profitable for persons, is not immune to corruption, whether by pride or apathy, is listless before the actual God of power, purity and peace. There are no other options; there is no other God; there is no other good. Anything which is less, has holes in its bottom, and sprinkles its wares as it goes.
As to the heart of man! of this we read in 17:9:
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it ?
I the LORD search the heart, I test the mind..."
You get what is coming to you, it proceeds to declare.
This fits with the nature of Gospel presentation as in Romans 1-2, Ephesians 4:17-19, Ephesians 2, Mark 9. Neither is there any other way to God but the one in Jesus Christ, the Messiah whom He has presented, nor is there any other purity, nor is there any other remedy BECAUSE the heart of man is DESPERATELY WICKED. When it is not preening itself, or declaring its own purity, like a company content without auditor, or defending its depression or arrogance as the case may be, or rationalising its moral wares, or oppressing what it uses, or exalting itself in its own helpfulness, it is busy in distancing from the Lord, incapacitating itself from serving Him by various nugatory nations, walking in its own way, seeking what can be gained from the universe, what profit, what power or what content, as if IRRESPONSIBILITY were KING.
From such a heart, and thus world, Christ has come to deliver us. It is trust in Him, the Lord, not in ANY OTHER, that is necessary. There are no other solutions to this problem, and one should be cardinally grateful that ... there IS ONE!
There is no compulsion, no alternative and no hope without Him. All this Jeremiah makes clear, indeed, in Jeremiah 4 he shows the world as if departing, as if being undone, to match the undoing power of sin on man, despatched to his environment in impactive imagery.
Before we proceed with the oncoming Numbers 6 and 7, and in part as a prelude to the force of Number 6, let us amplify the testimony of Jeremiah in these features, and consider the cost to him and to Israel and see further how it arose like a wintry sea covered in vast deep clouds, and surged like a forthcoming tidal wave, how it paused as God gave them repeated opportunities and appeals, and then struck at last, showing the ground for the vast sorrows of Jeremiah as in Ch. 9, where he felt as if already present what for the follies of Judah, inveterate and continued, was to come.
We see in Number 4 above, Jeremiah cast in the type of Christ as the Lamb, assailed by inveterate slanderers, oppressed by shameless seducers, those far from the Lord but high in appearance, while he is led as a lamb to the slaughter, reminding us of Matthew 20:28, where we find that although CHRIST ONLY is the Redeemer, yet that particular spirit of sacrificial service which with Him led to the Cross, ransoming His elect and offering sincerely to all the same result, is to be copied, yes inbreathed by all who are His!
So Jeremiah showed in his vast impediments and acute sufferings of shame, being outcast, a ‘man of contention’ (Jeremiah 15:10) and of strife, some inkling of the casting out of Christ, EVEN WHILE He was leading many from the false spiritual servitudes to corrupt cultures into blessed purging and rest. With Jeremiah, it was Jerusalem which would be the painful exhibit of the picture of sin, not vicariously or victoriously, as in Christ’s vicarious offering of Himself, but in its own high mood and mode of rejecting the God of their Creation and the Way of their salvation!
In surveying these evangelical, these pre-Gospel themes, we can find a path for instruction and edification. Thus we may move on from the Number 5 above, with its exposure of the depths of depravity in sin, the concourse of corruption which like giant spiritual boils tries to obliterate health, yet here, not in the skin but in the very heart of man (Jeremiah 17). At once, we come to the recognition of the regal wonders of the actual Maker of man, from whom he has slewed and yawed in his spiritual journey, and the recall the realities. It is HE who is the hope of Israel, not psychology, militarist intervention, not compassion without morals or ideology without power because without truth, be it on the left, to submerge man into himself, or on the right, to make of him a victorious beast or rather devil.
Thus did man lurch then, and so does he incline now, so great is the carnal and faithless, futile and feeble preoccupation with power and scheming, cruelty and disregard. Indeed, to this very hour in the 21st century, Mumbai is not the only folly of travesty of truth and injury to man, but the world reels with devilishness, as it forsakes the Lord, whether in the poison gases emitted by TV or radio, from the Middle East in its rebellion against God and effort to take over Israel, itself still far from the Lord as a nation, or in the near genocide in Sudan or the ignominious and continued follies in Zimbabwe, the adventurism in militarism in Russia with its flaying of Georgia, or indeed in the prisons of China.
As man distances himself from God, the God so long preached, so we remember the word of Jeremiah 17:13, that those who forsake the Lord will be ashamed; and this is a living shame, eating like worms of corruption and flaming like those of the furnace. It sears, and does not heal. Indeed, further we find that those who depart from the Lord “will be written in the earth” Why ? It is “because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.”
There is an inscription for revolt, and a writing for rebellion, a record for urbane departures and the thoughts of man, when they would displace those of the Lord. It reminds one of the Books Opened as in Revelation 20, the Book of Life for the redeemed, and of works for those to be damned for their self-trust and refusal of redemption, the only way home.
The LORD, we learn in 17:13, is the Hope of Israel. Clearly then a departure from Him makes life a malady. If we turn in this theme back to Jeremiah 2:25, we find a sheer cliff-like message. “Withhold your foot from being unshod and your throat from thirst!” comes the divine counsel. As Isaiah earlier showed (Isaiah 52-53), their feet should be shod with the shoes of the Gospel of peace, not mere knock-about boots. Keep your throat from thirst! He implores those who have SIWs because of stubborn sin. It is the fountain of living waters which should inspire the life and refresh the soul (cf. John 7:37, 4:14). What then! As in Proverbs 1, BECAUSE they refuse this gracious divine offer, therefore … the dire negativities follow.
Clear in outline is the aweful fact: “Because you say, ‘There is no hope! No, I have loved aliens, and after them I will go!’ ”, because of commitment to naturalism (2:27) and to blindness without operational knowledge of the counsel and company of the Lord; indeed because “they did not receive correction” but instead “your sword has devoured your prophets,” and because they say “I have not sinned” (2:35), after many remonstrations and loving entreaties in Jeremiah 3-8, we find results accruing. These come to the chronically rebellious who SHUT eyes and ears in order to be doomed, “Behold I will send serpents among you, vipers which cannot be charmed, and they will bite you.”
In other words, irreparable evils will mount, sodden spiritual decay will rot in them leaving insoluble problems. This comes after Jeremiah 9, when the prophet is seen, yes reflecting the intense compassion of the Lord, as one to weep continually for those already seen as slain in the coming holocaust in the BC era, the devastation about to strike. The site of rebellion, intensified, outrageous, continued and unrepentant, will move into irreparable clamour of determined onset. It will become a centre for devastation. Jeremiah 37:10 shows the perfected parallel of the surging onslaught to their rebellious obstinacy and surging shame of spirit. Even if the army to come lay wounded, they would arise to assault!
As man distances himself from God, the God so long preached, so we remember the word of Jeremiah 17:13, that those who forsake the Lord will be ashamed; and this is a living shame, eating like worms of corruption and flaming like those of the furnace. It sears, and does not heal. Indeed, further we find that those who depart from the Lord “will be written in the earth”
Why ? It is “because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.” There is an inscription for revolt, and a writing for rebellion, a record for urbane departures and the thoughts of man, when they would displace those of the Lord. It reminds one of the Books Opened as in Revelation 20, the Book of Life for the redeemed, and of works for those to be damned for their self-trust and refusal of redemption, the only way home.
The LORD, we learn in 17:13, is the Hope of Israel. Clearly then a departure from Him makes life a malady. If we turn in this theme back to Jeremiah 2:25, we find a sheer cliff-like message. “Withhold your foot from being unshod and your throat from thirst!” comes the divine counsel. As Isaiah earlier showed (Isaiah 52-53), their feet should be shod with the shoes of the Gospel of peace, not mere knock-about boots. Keep your throat from thirst! He implores those who have SIWs because of stubborn sin. It is the fountain of living waters which should inspire the life and refresh the soul (cf. John 7:37, 4:14). What then! As in Proverbs 1, BECAUSE they refuse this gracious divine offer, therefore … the dire negativities follow.
The FEELING that there was no hope becomes the fact of doom BECAUSE they did not HEED the Lord, the HOPE of Israel, and so lacked willfully what was offered. God will not tolerate this hopelessness, because it is a fruit of the tree of rejection, and a daring and inflammatory assault on His own office, function and offer, by an entrenched unbelief that does not, because it will not see itself as it is, concentrating on the disease and ignoring the cure, like some naughty child caught up in a welter of wilful tears and woeful rebelliousness of spirit.
The HOPE of Israel we moreover see in Jeremiah 14:8. Jeremiah asks the Lord, the Hope of Israel why He should be as a traveler who turns aside for a night, as if an alien, a visitor when the persistent and consistent care is needed for the nation! We are called by YOUR NAME, do not leave us! cries the prophet. But the truth is not capable of evaporation: “Thus they have loved to wander; they have not restrained their feet. Therefore the LORD does not accept them. He will remember their iniquity now and punish their sins.” The fallacy of dysfunction is what James so searchingly asserts. What is alive, lives, what is dead is merely nominal. Faith works: we are indeed saved without works but not without faith and faith works!
We move in view of this progressive tenderness, these repeated yearnings (such as in Jeremiah 5, where he is seen as one searching Jerusalem to find one man righteous in the Lord, looking with candles!) to Jeremiah as a man himself. Where is HE in all of this ? He is mouthing the warning, delivering the entreaties, making the offers (which go on as in Jeremiah 17’s monumental, last minute offer as devastation waits in the wings, to envelop the whole city): but what is his own position. He laments.
In Jeremiah 15:10ff., he is clamorous. “Woe is me, my mother, that you have borne me, a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent for interest nor have men lent to me for interest. Every one of them curses. “O LORD,” he continues in 15:15ff., “You know. Remember me and visit me… in Your enduring patience, do not take me away. Know that for Your sake, I have suffered rebuke. Your words were found and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.” He had not joined the mockers, but sat apart.
In other words, this is no vacation on the Gold Coast, but a fight on the front-line!
“Why is my pain perpetual!” – he cries. Horrified at his rejection, astounded at the cursings which accompany his integrity and his faithfulness, he cries to God. Indeed, almost a little like Job, he permits himself a moment of somewhat outrageous grief: ”Will You surely be to me like an unreliable stream, as waters that fail!”
To this audacity in the extremities of grief, the Lord replies sagely:
“IF YOU RETURN, THEN I will bring you back; you will stand before Me.
If you take out the precious from the vile, you will be as My mouth.
“Let them return to you, but you must not return to them. And I will make you to this people a fortified bronze wall.
“They will fight against you, but they will not prevail against you, for I am with you to save you …”
This is the CALL to Jeremiah, or since he had already been called (Jeremiah 1), the RECALL! From his grief and measure of something not far from contumely, he is recalled sharply but kindly. You WONDER but you WANDER! RETURN and get on with the task, and be assured of the power and protection of the Lord, only be faithful and DO IT!
Then we find where we began in Jeremiah 17, but a little later the RESPONSE of Jeremiah to this RECALL.
“Heal me O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me and I shall be saved; for You are my praise. Indeed they say to me, ‘Where is he word of the LORD ? Let it come now!”
So he responds in entreaty for pardon and power, renewal and reinvestment which, already offered, is provided. As in Psalm 145, HE hears the cry of His people! ”Do not be a terror to me!” he entreats, finding the capacious cup of social ostracism and burning hatred from those whom he has to warn, like poison, which one to be overcome in the power and the strength of the Lord (reminding us of the end of Mark’s Gospel). The Lord immediately takes him up, and sends him.
“Thus the Lord said to me, ‘Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people …. And tell them, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, you kings of Judah and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem’ “ – giving national message.
It was a message of vast pity and tender solicitude as so often in Jeremiah: but they were as those deaf.
“‘ Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day,
nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem …’ ”
The Lord reminds them how they had neglected this precious day, as is quite customary this day in many churches, where the sanctity of the Lord and His spiritual refreshing should come richly, but where little things, minor episodes are allowed like a furrowed brow, to disturb their peace and indeed become emblematic of this furore without faith. Indeed GOD even at that late point actually OFFERS that if they but did this simple spiritual consecration, this simple obedience concerning HIS DAY OF REST, then “shall enter the gates of this city kings and princes sitting on the throne of David …” It would be changed. But they put not their hand to the switch, but preferred it to strike, a disciplinary switch, to their unmoving legs.
If ONLY they would LISTEN, and DO, then they would be delivered. But … “there is no hope!” remained in their hearts, an endlessly effective reminder to all, that one should ALWAYS and in ALL THINGS HOPE in the Lord for it is HE who IS the hope of His people, and ACTS for the one who waits for Him (Isaiah 64:5).
It is now that we turn to further evangelical themes before moving on to the direct Gospel components, to which we go when we have finished exploring some of the keen, evangelical themes in Jeremiah.
6. The Scale of the Departure of the People from the Lord - Jeremiah 18:13-14
Indeed, it is not as if man were a little unworthy, due for a little counselling chat with the Lord, so that he might find some rapprochement, some method, some measure and meeting of minds. THERE IS NO OTHER NAME, but that of Christ (Acts 4:11-12). God has sent His only begotten Son and endured and paid and raised Him, and will return Him to this earth and THAT IS ENOUGH! It is indeed FINISHED (Ephesians 1:10). There is nothing more, nothing less.
In view of this, the departure of a people from the ways of the Lord, as in ancient Israel in Jeremiah's time, of the nation, just as is the case in the post-Christian contemptuous arrogance of 21st century man in some nations, is in itself like stealing from children and whipping them. The Lord has made Himself vulnerable in order to save; He has not been arrogant, but humble, not tempestuous in truth, as He appeals, but tempered with kindness. To reject HIM when He has so shown and done (as He had even in Israel's day from Exodus on), is like rejecting snowy waters from fine mountains, conveying purity and thirst quenching beauty to the fortunate soul, and instead ? Instead ... doing what ?
Instead, man is like one who goes to some well, a cracked one which does not contain its water, and seeks to sustain himself, to motivate and to rescue himself with that.
You left THAT for THIS! Ask among the Gentiles, says God of Israel. Who has heard of such a thing! At that time, few of the Gentiles KNEW God, so that the very concept of LEAVING such knowledge IF you had it, would seem as perverse as it is. When however the Gentiles DID get such knowledge, as in Israel, after large impacts, personal and national, they became jaded more and more, often using the power which resulted from obedient living on the part of parents, so that the new generation should become a degeneration, purity, respect, dignity, the fear of God, all increasingly dumped along with jadedness imported. Such has been the trend, while power love, money hunger, work without divine direction or protection, the abasement of spirit and the inurement of the mind through endless information surges.
The indictment of Jeremiah stands in our midst, his exhortation a good prelude to the Gospel, giving perspective for purification, and information for activation, for repentance and faith in the GOD FOR WHOM NOTHING is too hard!
7. The Foretelling of a Generation Soaked with False Prophets - a Latter Day one
Jeremiah as we have seen in Ch. 23, deals not a little with false prophets. They run, but are not sent. They speak their own words, their own dreams ... I HAVE A DREAM, they say ... they are nightmares for man, since their tongues are not forged by truth, on the anvil of divine preparation, but of their own hearts, the dictates of their own minds.
Whatever may be their own opinions, this is their situation: be it culture, ideals of some kind or another, hopes or incantations: they speak of things divine or their substitutes, without divine warrant; and whether men heed them or not, they do not procure divine approval. In fact, they gain divine scorn. If they speak as if from God, it is blasphemous intrusion, protrusion of personality and inclusion of the stolen words that do not come from God, but merely imitate or even in some cases, as with sects, execrate the truth! When some become competitive with God, let us examine their records over a few millenia, and compare this with the work of the word of God! It is time to be honestly rational, and not obliterative in obstruction. Nothing is removed that way, except the opportunity to know God.
Appalled at all this, Jeremiah is
instructed to make clear their disenfranchisement, the distance of false
prophets from God.
"Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall; for from the prophets of Jerusalem profaneness has gone out into all the land." "Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you," the Lord continues. Why ?
"They make you worthless, they speak a vision of their own heart,
not from the mouth of the Lord.
"They continually say to those who despise Me, 'The LORD has said,
"You shall have peace,'' and to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say, 'No evil shall come upon you.' "
The great relevance of this to our time is this: Jeremiah 23:20 tells us that in the latter days, the time near the end of the Age, this phenomenon will be understood perfectly. It is, in our day, in other words, not to get better, but if anything worse. By that time, our own, this fraudulent misuse of the name of the Lord, this false approach to God, will be consummated. Its ways will be world-wide and its charms inveterate to those who visit the harridans of fraud (cf. Ezekiel 16:35ff.).
That is precisely what I Timothy 4, II Timothy 3-4, II Peter 2, II Thessalonians 2, Matthew 24:12,24 tells us.
But this is not all.
In addition there is the horror of it all. The Lord Jesus Christ, in Luke 11, scolds the scribes. He tells these fountains of false learning and imposing traditions, from man and not from God (cf. Mark 7:7ff.), that they had the key of knowledge. They COULD have used what they knew, but they 'blew' it, they put out the light carefully conserved for them to pass on (as in II Timothy 1:13, 2:2), and instead spoke their own ideas. IF however they HAD spoken the world of the Lord, then they would have turned others to the Lord. What a travesty! religious detractors, ambassadors in ruins, or even as in II Peter 2, living well while securing damnation for others. This point is made clear in Jeremiah 23:2.
If, says the Lord,
" ...if they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words,
then they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings!"
These are the very canons of the Gospel at that level. It must be first of all pure, from a purified heart, from a good conscience (I Timothy 1:5-6). It must be relayed WITHOUT ANY CHANGE (Galatians 1, 3, 5). There must be neither addition nor subtraction (cf. Revelation 22:18-19, Proverbs 30:6, Mark 7:7ff.).
"Do I not fill heaven and earth!"
the Lord declares in confrontation (Jeremiah 23:24).
"The prophet who has a dream, let him speak a dream; and he who has My word,
let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat?"
This is the situation, as it was then. If GOD has this or that to say, this is infinitely important since He is infinitely wise and superior to man as the unbounded Creator, and only Saviour. If man has something to say, this can be considered, but NOT in the domain of the doctrine of God!
As to man's musings, religious programs and pronouncements, often even daring to use the name of the Lord, as he puts forth his constructions, what have they increasingly become ? Now the presentation, it is passionately pluralistic, demonically divided, exponentially multiplying, and the very care and conscientiousness of Jeremiah's challenge from the Lord, is utterly applicable to this day.
And that ? It concerns centrally ... the Messiah (Jeremiah 23:5-6), who after all, is the KING. He is also the same, yesterday, today and forever, not changed by the passage of His invention, time (Romans 8:36ff.), as if the concept of waiting and working in a staid environment in some way caught the very Creator of it! When He comes, it is HIS WORDS which will judge accordingly (John 12:48-50). Those who put out their own words in His name do well to be thrifty with them; but far better yet, to remove them forever.
It is better so, than being so removed oneself. Let the Lord be Lord, and God be God, and do not meddle with His mouth!
"Is not My word like a fear ?' says the LORD,
'and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces.' "
Assuredly it is, and for that
matter, is not Christ when His mercy is neglected and His wisdom despised, like
a stone which falling on one, grinds to pieces (Matthew 21:44). May that be the
lot of none who read this, if it please Him. It is aweful to be killed because
of sick serendipity or rank rebellion, and for love to be despised, not from the
great, but from God, it is sorrow itself to contemplate it. The way lies open,
like a path by the lake, with the distant sun gleaming on the pure waters, and
peace with the lappings of the deep.
III GOSPEL COMPONENTS
8. A day of great impending ruin will be turned to become that of the Messiah, 'David their King' at hand - Jeremiah 30:9
Although, for their own part, their "affliction is incurable", yet in this work of God, "their Governor shall come from their midst", as befits those with "David their king". As very much has to occur first, this is assigned to "the latter days" - Jeremiah 30:21. See further in 9 below.
The category is clear as in Jeremiah 30:10. Addressed ? An established, called, covenanted recipient of promise called ‘Jacob’. His status during address: “My servant” in the Lord’s designation. His immediate future ? Dispersion from his land. His later status: The Lord will “save thee from afar.” Further – the Lord will “save thy seed from captivity.” We are looking squarely at the Lord’s dealing with Israel, but this in terms of a promise as premiss (30:17) with a royal additive included (30:21), with one of David’s covenanted line (30:9), and this whole thing in mind is to have its consummation “in the latter days” (30:24). On these things further see SMR Appendix A.
The double application therefore, the Messianic and that to Israel is found, the restoration of the one is not merely national, but ultimately spiritual, and that not for all, but for many (Zechariah 12:10-13:1, Isaiah 11:10-11).
As very much has to occur first, this is assigned to "the latter days" - Jeremiah 30:21.
9. With Jeremiah 30:21 goes this statement:
" 'Then I will cause Him to draw near,
And He shall approach Me;
For who is this who pledges His heart to approach Me,'
says the Lord."
David their King, in the fabulous Messianic role assigned, as in Psalm 110, 45, 2, in fulfilment of the promise to Abraham (Genesis 12) is thus exposed. The impact is made profound by the Lord's asking (perhaps as with 'selah' in the Psalms) one to meditate and ponder the meaning, in other words, to wake up to the underlying significance. WHO IS THIS ? Indeed, the movement is from His approaching God, being caused to do so, to the query, Who is this WHO PLEDGES HIS HEART to approach Me! It is as if a King in isolation from current social impact, should have someone come to him with assurance and initiative to seek him out.
It is indeed someone of very true and due confidence, being given access freely. WHO IS THIS ? asks the King. Since the question is made with evident approbation in its tone, it is as if the unspoken answer were something like this: Is it not the Prince, my heir who does so! Welcome my son...
This identification by interrogation procedure finds echoes elsewhere in Jeremiah.
That is the POSITIVE presentation. Then in Jeremiah 49:19 and 50:44 comes the negative contribution to the definition of this KING.
Thus 50:44, in the midst of the speech on the ruin of Babylon, deliverance of Israel from it, and the oppressor's punishment, asks a question:
"And who is a chosen man that I may appoint over her.
For who is like Me ?
Who will arraign Me ?
And who is that shepherd
Who will withstand Me ?"
The 'drawing near' in 30:21 relates to the work of the priest, here special and in Messianic proportions. In Numbers 16:5,40, we see that what draws near in priestly function unsolicited can create havoc, but in 30:21 we find God "will cause Him to draw near", not only a call but a commission, as of course is the perpetual inheritance of the Messiah (Micah 5:3), as brought to light in Jeremiah 23 and 30. Who is LIKE ME, He asks to have divine dower ? who could withstand ? God is one and has no surrogates.
In 50:44 however, we find the obverse of this. Just as the Messiah, David their King, is CAUSED to draw near, and gives His heart as Messiah to God from whose domain He came, so we see that ONLY what God appoints will stand, and what He does not, has limited tenure, defaceable at the divine will (cf. Ezekiel 21:26-27). Indeed, all crowns and authority will have a time and a disposal, will be overturned, overturned, as the prophet declares from the Lord, UNTIL He whose right it is, does come. This is that same One, the Messiah, before whose coming all temporal is temporary, and only in Him is there any permanence (as in Isaiah 28:16, 33:5-6).
Here in Jeremiah 50:44, then, Babylon is naked, without ground or commission, inveterate in sin, cruel in imposition on Judah (Jeremiah 51:33-35), and here terminus comes. Is any going to put God in the dock and arraign Him ? Far from it, for what He is about to do, will be done, even though the fabulous imperial city is to be sunk like a battle-ship.
By contrast with the affirmative question, about the Governor of Israel to come, this indicates that the support and decision of the Lord for any such post in the midst of the major players, like Babylon, Israel, is decisive, is of His own initiative, is not the flotsam of history but its determinant; and that just as HE will bring forth the Messiah as Governor, so what would resist His emplacement will have to find some power superior to God's own, to do it; will in fact fail.
HE will have His own will and way, amidst the multitudes of evil fruits of man's misused liberties, both in putting down an ill-governed Babylon and bringing on AT THE LAST, a newly governed Israel where equity, regality, truth and mercy abound (cf. Psalm 72, where we see it spread to all the earth as in Isaiah 11). In the latter case, He Himself (as in Isaiah 48:16), will cause it to happen. He it is who is sent, meant, Messianic, commissioned, vacating heaven to adorn the earth, to establish His will and fulfil all things.
╬But let us examine this verse more fully.
Here in Jeremiah 30:21 we have part of that amazingly brilliant and beautifully comforting pair of chapters, 30-31. Let us see it then with some sense of its place in the sequence.
First came the announcement of the Messiah to come as King (30:9) , then of the beautiful governor from their own midst who will rule (30:21), then the sadness of the weeping for young children in these arenas of time (31:15), a national sadness, next arrived the sensational account of the woman to encircle, encompass a man, a new thing in the world (31:22). Finally, dashing onto the silent screen we find the outcome, the New Covenant then to come, but which has now arrived with the Messiah Himself, Jesus Christ (31:31). That was the collection of tableaux, developing like a flower opening, or an oak with seasonal pictures of its beauties.
Thus it builds from the Messiah to His coming from among their very own midst, to rule (having been born in Bethlehem as in Micah 5), on to the calamities from surging murders, which concentrate like a mad rebellion of crusty, worldly power at His coming (cf. Revelation 12:4), to the virgin birth (entirely new and therefore not parthenogenesis). Here it is the Fatherhood of God, which brings the virgin to this incarnation, as in Isaiah 7-9, so that He is "the mighty God" (cf. Isaiah 7:14, 8:8, 10:21, Micah 5:1-3), though on earth as a servant (Isaiah 42, 52), indeed receives power and honour, assuming His Messianic place, in the end, "on the throne of David," to bring blessing to all nations; and it is He who proceeds in everlasting glory and dominion (Isaiah 9:7, 49:5, Psalm 102:15-22, Phil. 2:8-10, Ephesians 1:10), one God with the Father and the Spirit (Isaiah 48:16).
So does the glory of it flourish into the New Covenant, which results as in Isaiah 53, from the shedding of His blood as He expiated the sin to be unloaded upon Him, the Lamb of God, in death, or as Zechariah 3:9-10 puts it, the engraving on Him as the stone, which clears the iniquity in one day.
At the Governor from themselves phase, the question is asked: WHO IS THIS WHO PLEDGED HIS HEART TO APPROACH ME! (30:21). In other words, here is an Old Testament parallel to Christ's question to His disciples, Who do you say that I am ? (Matthew 16) ?
Peter answers the question only because the Father gave it to him so to recognise Christ as the Son of the living God, a fact which Christ notes (Matthew 16:17). Thus the Rock was identified, as in I Corinthians 10:4. “THAT ROCK was Christ!” Again, it is as in II Samuel 22:32. God, David declares is his strength and power, and thus he asks, ”WHO is God, except the LORD, and who is a rock, EXCEPT OUR GOD!” Indeed in Isaiah 44:8, we are told that "there is no other Rock. I know not one!" The speaker ? God in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
To contest this identification, you have to conceive yourself wiser than God. Peter, the name meaning stone, failed at once in seeking to have Christ avoid the Cross, after this! (Matthew 16:22-23), but being corrected could be used with the rest as fitting. The word used by Christ to designate the Rock on which the Church was built was a different one than that of Peter's name, one meaning rock, a living mass. The Rock, it is a different thing to stone, the stone that moved!
This ? IT WAS THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION: WHO IS JESUS ? HE is the ROCK as seen by FAITH as happened with Peter. It is on that, Christ founded His Church: that is, on Himself, Lord, realised as the Son of God and resurrected, unable to be defeated because God incarnate, the only Saviour, the Lord of the Old Testament expressed in human form: it is on this the Church is built.
Who is this who pledged His heart to approach the Lord ? It is this King, the Messiah, the Governor, the One to bring in the New Covenant as in Jeremiah 31, the next Chapter: it is the Lord, strong and mighty, as in Psalm 24:8ff..
"Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory."
On this identification BY FAITH (so that you act on it), all depends. It is foundational to the entire Church. If you do not give to Christ this place, you are no part of His Church. If someone else takes it, he is no part of the Church. The Church of Jesus Christ is therefore founded on Him, pledged, crucified, risen, and on no other, be it individual or regime (cf. Psalm 40, Matthew 26:39). He did not come to be bypassed, but to be found. He CANNOT be surpassed. He is found by faith, attested by fact, viewed through repentance, coming soon to reign (Luke 24:26, Acts 1:7ff., I Thessalonians 1). The world wriggles, but Christ remains.
10. Next Jeremiah 31:15 brings us to an astonishing prophecy. We see "Rachel weeping for her children " with "lamentation and bitter weeping", this signifying a massive national loss of young lives. There is in view a devastating obliteration of human life, seen in maternal terms and figured sensitively; but this is met with a correlative comfort. "Refrain your voice from weeping ..."
What does this signify ? It is that Israel is not to be void, though all nations should attack her, nor is her contribution to be in vain, however much she may sin. God has proposed her work and it will be rewarded (as in Isaiah 49, 61) in multiple dimensions (cf. Romans 9:3ff., 11). Indeed, though she will herself be removed from the land (as foretold at the first in Leviticus 26) for her follies, even from that horror, she will be rescued (Jeremiah 31:16 cf. Ezekiel 36-37, and the 'dry bones').
When the time comes, "your children shall come back to their own border." This has two features, the near and the far. As to the near, it was to be some 70 years (Jeremiah 25) and as to the far, that is for the 'latter days', an era now with us and moving fast towards its consummation (Jeremiah 23:5-6,20, 30:18-24) with 'David' their King (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5, SMR Appendix A).
To the Messiah this is indeed
relevant, as it was to be a funereal prelude to His adulthood, in the Pharaoh-like
ugliness of Herod's assault on the babes, killing those up to two years of age
as broadly as seemed apt, in order to net the Messiah and so presumably,
establish his own highly unmessianic dynasty, self or whatever other form of
desire may have possessed his murderous soul. Get rid of the KING, thought
Herod, and establish MY OWN way. That of course is precisely what millions do,
in their hearts, spirits and heads, reasoning that if they ignore Christ, avoid
Him, His Church, His word, shut the eyes to what it costs, and simply continue
with an excluded if not execrated Christ, then it will all be JUST AS THEY WANT.
Herod after this was not to last much longer; nor is this world, after that. Judgment is elemental; truth is unobscurable; reality is irresistible. It is the image of God in man which, sequestrated for man's own purpose, gives him the illusion of a pseudo-divine power to avoid the truth. Blindness however does nothing to remove the things that sight would have shown were to be avoided, or included. Collision with reality loses nothing of its pangs or pains, indeed its destiny, by shutting the eyes.
11. Not only is this lamentation of Rachel here to be found, but as we see just 7 verses later, in Jeremiah 31:22, we are in an environment of terms which moves on first to REPENTANCE, set out in a vast national abhorrence of their sin and a seeking of the Lord, and then an amazing entry of the virgin birth. It is this partly because in its very statement there is the reproach "How long will you gad about!" set after the repentance vignette just noted. After this comes the connective 'for'. It is then in the context of a WOMAN ENCOMPASSING A MAN in a way which is "a new thing in the earth" that this challenge comes.
In other words, right in the very wonder of this new thing, from Isaiah 7,9, Psalm 45, 2, obviously God using mankind's form and format to encapsulate the Messiah*2 so that as God He could yet be man, as seen in Micah earlier (5:1-3), so that He might fulfil personally His pledge of Hosea 13:14 HIMSELF to be the plagues of death 'ransoming' from hell and 'redeeming' from death: there is the new adversity. Israel is STILL bent on gadding about -or as in Isaiah 49:7, its first national reaction was negative. Indeed as there seen they ABHORRED their Messiah at the NATIONAL level, in their judicial system (as in Micah 5:1, when the Judge of Israel is slapped on the cheek with a rod, as of course happened).
As to a woman encompassing a man as a NEW thing, it could be parthenogenesis (God knowing all), nor was it. This was neither the intention nor the text. What had NEVER happened before and what at the same time meant that in HUMAN terms there was only one participant for what came to the birth, and was not mere genetic unlikelihood as can occur, was what would require a divine paternity, such as envisaged in the sending of GOD from GOD in Isaiah 48:16, sent with the Spirit to act on this earth.
Yes, He whose goings are from eternity (Micah 5) would become man and be born as in Isaiah 9, Micah 5, and be Judge, though initially violently rejected. Worse, as Isaiah 52-53 showed, this work of the Saviour (God alone being this - Isaiah 43:10-11) would be associated with something like the pulping of His features and He would go so far as to BEAR iniquities, in THIS way justifying not all, but MANY (Isaiah 53:10-11).
The thought of evacuating the context of the Messiah, brought into it so categorically in Jeremiah 30, and sustained afterwards, and trying to remove the application is all but incredible. The Hebrew term may mean to encircle or surround and is often so used. In Hosea 7:2 Israel is surrounding itself with its sins in the very presence of God (just as here God is surrounding His incarnation with the very womb of the virgin). In Psalms 17, 109, 118, there is encompassment by enemies, while when rescued, the saint finds himself encompassed with songs of deliverance (Psalm 32:7,10).
The sense of such encompassing, surrounding, entire environmental cover is this found both in negative and positive contexts, very often in lively ones, in ones dealing with danger and deliverance, with danger and triumph, and is MOST fitting for the purpose in hand. Efforts to try to make this meta-metaphorical, and to mean Israel going forth with strength or something of this kind are so imaginary as to present an addition, so contrary to context as to present an abortion of what is there, and so divergent from the immediate context, where Israel is rebuked in this very situation, as to be almost impossible to believe.
Even Calvin erred here, an excellent example of not trusting in the mighty, and never breaching the scriptural admonition, DO NOT FOLLOW THIS OR THAT NAME (I Corinthians 3), which "Calvinists" apart from all content, in fact do! One pastor told the author that this was convenient; so is much sin! But the results are worse than inconvenient, they tend to thoughtlessness, pride, contention and blindness. Barrackers for this and that footy team will know what is here meant.
It is only when the true CHAMPION Jesus Christ is in view that such championing of His will, words and ways is fitting. This of course is precisely what Paul is saying in I Corinthians (e.g. 3:11 in disjunction from the forbidden options).
As to a woman encompassing 'a man', not a 'babe', the term for 'man' is one of a select nature. Its root tends to suggest valour and strength. The point of the passage is to show the NOVELTY of it all. Not only does a woman encircle, surround encompass the male, but it is seen proleptically in terms of its mission, in marked contrast to its current vulnerability in the womb, thus presenting a double shock to the mind, and a deft means of using this to awaken thought and then understanding. WHEN GOD ACTS (as with the long day of Joshua), the improbable becomes the accomplished, the 'naturally' impossible becomes the divinely done, and the contrast is intentional, to demonstrate who it is that is acting, as God often reminded Israel. That a woman (not good normally in battle) should be ENCIRCLING one to be of strength is not a misfit, but a mission, not an anomaly but the point in view. WHO is that man ?
The context in Jeremiah has shown this in
30:9, shows it again nearer yet in 30:21 with the Governor, picks it up in the loss of so many
children in 31:15 and discourses on it all in the New Covenant in 31:31ff..
Israel in no HUMAN sense is going to gain the victory for its victories are OF
THE LORD (as in Zechariah 12, in Exodus 14-15, as stressed in Psalm 106-107).
Here it is the action of the Lord as DISTINCT from any resource in Israel, and
hence in the woman, as representing the participation of Israel, it is fitting
that the sense of weakness and vulnerability should be shown, since this is
contrast proper in spiritual and actual context for a work of God Himself.
with the King, the Messiah at the outset
(Jeremiah 30:9), as on a distant and
From this survey, then, Jeremiah
proceeds to extend the topic of the
the loss of Israel's own actual
children in marked measure,
It is then, 7 verses on
from that, 31:22, that we meet this female person,
This is more than covering the
loss of lament with the gain of the creation in the womb
The terms are correlatives: what
is virgin with child is
Nor is this all, just 9 verses later
comes the emphatically heralded New Covenant
One is left all but dazed at the very concept of such avoidance of the contextually constrained and verbally impactive facts of these predicted acts of God, as if one heard a Beethoven Concerto, and his neighbour said, What is that cacophony of idle sound! They should have more musical education!
After the announcement of the virgin's deployment in a work of divine creation, Jeremiah is filled with a sense of dream and sweetness, which leads not on to victory but more drubbing for Israel. It is then that it is introduced to the BASIS of this sweetness, the outcome of the thing which God has created, the womb as carrier for His advent to earth. What is this ?
It is the New Covenant which being brought in by the Lord's new thing, which HE CREATED, brought out of no internal natural ingredient. The womb's encompassment is now stretched out, with the mighty man's work free. No longer encompassed, His work is seen for construal and blessing. No wonder the sleep was sweet, despite the forthcoming horrors for Israel, and small surprise that there is comfort for Rachel and such an accolade to the CREATION which the Lord is here announcing. A New Thing, a New Governor, a New Creation, a New Covenant: this is divine NEWS summary! It all transcends but uses the natural, is the miraculous, the MESSIANIC, in which all these terms find their form and moulding.
It is new like the advent of the universe, but now amid lamentation, as at the flood, and at divinely wrought earthquake of spiritual power and significance (Numbers 16:30), it is precariouisly held and in vast need for the work of God to create deliverance. With the repeated emphasis on the stringency of the need in Jeremiah, there is also with promise, as with the rainbow, which brings sweetness. The context is cohesive, constrictive, constraining and any other approach is in ludicrous collision with it, unwarranted by the terminology, an affair of imaginary imagery, neither fitting nor given contextual warrant, but rather in such an oblivion to its progressive statement as to present one of those blind spots which in motoring can be so disastrous.
Let us review a little.
What is to be found in the interval between 30:9 and 31:22 ? It is a word in the main of comfort, located in a distant future, which incorporates the fact that "the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of one stronger then he", with the additive that "I will satiate the soul of the priests with abundance, and My people shall be satisfied with My goodness". Nothing like this is to be seen, except in the coming of that PRIEST beyond priests (as in Zechariah 6:4), who would and could combine properly the double function, forbidden to mere man, prince and priest simultaneously; for HE shall "bear the glory" as Zechariah announces.
From this we move back to nearer and more mournful realities (as in Isaiah 7, after announcing the virgin birth cf. SMR pp. 770ff.), on to the creation of the woman encompassing a man, something new unlike any mere victories, in which Israel had been a major participant for centuries, and then we gain correlative impact like bullets from a machine gun, on the New Covenant. How LUDICROUS for Israel to keep on 'gadding about', that is using this idol and that, seeking help from this nation or that, using this conception or that, when the LORD has in mind the CREATION of the new thing, an absolute combination of the term 'create' and new, meaning unknown. NOTHING else meets the case. THIS is the contextually constrained and inevitably presented MESSIAH. So goes the text:
"How long will you gad about, O you backsliding daughter ?
For the Lord has created a new thing in the earth - a woman shall encompass a man."
Thus the lamentation has its setting, the incarnation its call and the new creation its requirement. WOMAN is seen in the lament of Rachel, the backsliding of the 'daughter', the nation, and then in the encompassment which SHOULD lead to a cessation of all the
struggle and movement to and fro.
Moreover, the NEW THING has NEW RESULTS in a NEW COVENANT, while the ground for this has been given and the ultimate result at the head, with the Davidic, Messianic King to come (Jeremiah 30:9). What is new is this, that the Ancient of Days, God Almighty has come to earth, starting at the beginning, not cheating or making for undue facility, but through very and veritable infancy, Himself the imparter of life to the womb, it moves to that King who is not unwilling to call brethren, His subjects, since He Himself became one of them. It is as in Hebrews 2.
It is high time that Jeremiah was realised as Isaiah has long been, for the depth of his message, the cohesion of his presentation and the shock tactics of his annunciations. It is as in Jeremiah 4:23ff. where the earth is seen as receding from its multi-design specifications, this OLD THING, as if it were being 'undone' (in both senses of the term here). The earth is as if brought back to the mind's eye, to its beginning being "without form and void" - Jeremiah 4:23, stripped down because of sin, hopeless mess unless there be divine intervention.
In Jeremiah 31, here by contrast, a NEW THING brings by creation, a wonder for a stricken people ("you have stricken them, but they have not grieved, you have consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction. They have made their face harder than rock; they have refused to return.") Nothing less than the transfer of God to man, of the Messiah, of His salvation, of His new covenant, could be sweet now! Here is the Davidic 'Branch', Deity as man*2.
The sublimity of it is this: it is not merely TO BE DESIRED as a dream. It is, though dreamed of, to be FOUND. It was to come and it has come, and its suffering mode is past and its glory mode impends! (Luke 24:26-27). God has not forgotten man, but largely, man has forgotten God. God has not left man in desolation, though he induces it continually, but with NEWS (Isaiah 40:9-10, 52:7, Jeremiah 31:23-37) of what is NEW in kind. To be kind (Titus 2:2:11ff., 3:4ff.), He has become one of our kind, but without sin, being incarnate, sent by the Father and the Spirit (Isaiah 48:16).
13. Jeremiah 33:14-17
Oddly enough arithmetically, this is highly parallel to Isaiah 33:17-22, where they see the coming impartation and sense the sight of the King in His beauty, of the land that is very far off, and are delivered from the aggressive intruders in one of the most beautiful visions in the Bible.
Here in Jeremiah we learn that "the days are coming", so bringing to us as so often the sense of distant futurity past the intervening sorrows (just as Christ reminded or taught the disciples that He was to be first a man of sorrows, of grief, and only then to come to the phase of glory - Luke 24) when God will perform that good thing He has promised. Indeed, as in Hosea 3, it is after MANY DAYS. "In those days, and at that time ..." the Lord pursues as so often, the vision to be made real.
There at last, He again is their God and they are His people. That is in Hosea, but now in Jeremiah 33:33:15) there is another reference to the Messiah, for "In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David, a Branch of righteousness *1 ; He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell safely." What is the NEW NAME for the city (coming from the NEW THING and the NEW COVENANT): it is this. "The LORD our righteousness". No meretricious self-regard, national or personal is in view.
It is THE LORD who created the New Thing, the mighty man through the virgin's womb, God Himself the Father, and so has come the New Covenant, the direct access and divine glory in internal inscription of the word of God into the hearts (Jeremiah 31:33), and so gives the NEW NAME. It is the name of GRACE IN PLACE, grace in the divine face (as in Ephesians 2), where not the cavils of formalistic functionaries seeking pride of place, not the efforts of do-gooders trying to escalate for better placement in heaven, but the name of grace governs, so that salvation is all of grace, without works (as in Romans 3). The very righteousness which is OURS is the LORD. It does not even touch our works (as in Isaiah 55, where it is free).
So does Jeremiah tie it all up, and so does the Lord present that totality of the picture of newness, not denuded by blindness, but invigorated by consistent contextual LIGHT.
From all of this, we praise the Lord, for He has shown and man has known and been shown, and He has neither communicated it all in one way or another, but in a multitude of words and images He has shown to man (cf. Hosea 12:10), in this parable, in that impactive terminology, in pathos and in belligerence, in touching gentleness and in militant vigour, what is required. It is required that one RECEIVE what He says, WHO He is and WHAT He has done, freely. It is required that the New Name and the New Covenant and the New Thing created in the womb, applied in a new heart and a new spirit, the word of God therein inscribed afresh, so that His people themselves are called by a new name (as in Isaiah 65:13-15, 62:2), new trees planted by God in His righteousness, by Him Himself (cf. Isaiah 61:3).
How marvellous are His words and magnificent and manifold His works!
Before we leave this section,
some attention is needed to the term applied to the Messiah,
"A Branch" in the phrase, "A branch of righteousness" (Jeremiah 33:15), the fulfilment of the long foretold blessedness through Abraham, and the long-predicted Son through the line of David (II Samuel 7, Psalm 2, 22, 45, 110). This is added at *2 below, and may be referred to from time to time, as the context above makes apposite.
Let us now before proceeding further add a very personal element into the sequence to be found in Jeremiah. Here in this very same pair of delightful, Messianic chapters, we find the Lord, even while showing the judgments to come, showing the way for repentance, since here is the Lord available, the King coming, the Governor from their own midst. Is not this what is needed by Israel ? If the END to which they are moving is horrific, yet the BEND which their knees need to know, before this same God, their Rock, this is going to come, must come, and is the only way home for Israel.
God shows His heart-warming and delightful, kindly fatherly love for the straying people, designated by the name of a major tribe, Ephraim as if a single person. First we see the long last repentance come to heart for many in that land (31:18-19).
"I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself:
‘You have chastised me, and I was chastised, like an untrained bull;
Restore me, and I will return, for You are the Lord my God.
Surely, after my turning, I repented; and after I was instructed, I struck myself on the thigh;
I was ashamed, yes, even humiliated, because I bore the reproach of my youth.’
Then the love of God is poured out in such a tender mercy, that it is an eternal beauty to hear it. The love there shown is as toward all the world, even those who were not of Israel, but are to be born of Israel's God, to whom they will in large measure, indeed, soon return (Zechariah 12:1-13:1, Ezekiel 36ff., Romans 11:25ff.).
"Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a pleasant child?
For though I spoke against him, I earnestly remember him still;
Therefore My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him,
says the Lord."
Here then is the final question.
Will you come to the Lord, surrendered in faith, to trust Him utterly ? With repentant heart you may come and seek the Rock, to love Him and His word, and in Him, find strength and pardon and power and peace. It is to be found nowhere else; God is no one else! He is to be worshipped in spirit and truth, not by bits and fits, but by a living faith.
In Jeremiah 31, there is a further beautiful and enlightening feature. Just before 31:22, the virgin birth prophecy, and immediately after the 31:20 endearing challenge to and concerning Ephraim at which we have just looked, there is a fascinating transition. God in 31:21 invites, indeed commands the people to set up sign-posts, to make landmarks, to set their heart towards the highway (cf. Isaiah 35:8, the highway of holiness).
Thus after the endearment is the cost crisis. There is action to take. There is orientation to gain, and there are sign-posts to follow. We are reminded of Christ speaking in John 5:39-40. They searched the scriptures, He said, thinking in them to find eternal life, but they WOULD NOT COME TO HIM, to gain it. It was thus like a sign-post, the scripture, but like a prescription not followed, wholly useless in itself. Right ? Of course. Useful ? undoubtedly. Correct ? Precisely. It is FOR THAT VERY REASON that NOT following it to the ONE of whom it speaks resembles someone without a sign-post, too dead to think; or one with a sign-post, too neurotic to act. It is the Lord Himself who gives life.
However here the Lord through Jeremiah declares this: SET UP the SIGN POSTS AND, yes there is a second point, TURN BACK. In this case, you must ACT on what the sign says. Be oriented but also activated! It is indeed a ‘backsliding daughter’ to whom the Lord speaks, however great the endearment. But eternal life is not in word only, but in deed. TURN BACK! He cries. How LONG will you ‘gad about’! He exclaims. Then comes this remarkable word “FOR”.
What of this then ? Not only are these things so, but they have a basis. Entreaty is one thing, offer is another, but the GROUND of the offer is a third. Large donations require a large pocket, and great provisions from the love of the Lord require great cost and this is to be paid.
How ? By the incarnation and its aftermath as seen in this very verse 31:22. 'Gadding about' is not to the point; for the Lord has made a provision.
It is as if to say this: Look, you have a ten million dollar gift coming, and it is already directed. How ludicrous that you should gad about in your feverish littleness when such grand vastness is already in store!
A reason thus is given amidst these cries. Why should the backslider turn back ? It is because there is a way prepared for doing so. What is to be gained in so acting ? It is what God has given which is to be gained. What then is this ? It is the ONE whom the woman encompasses, the one of crucial manhood to come, envisaged here however as still in the womb. It is HE who is to be found. Who then is He ? It is the Lord (as in Isaiah 7, and 9:1-7), the “mighty God” who through THIS BABE when so grown, will rule a Kingdom never to end, which will continually increase! How beautiful is the transition, and how intense these findings fitted so artistically and powerfully together in Jeremiah!
In Jeremiah 31, following this, He speaks next of the fact that as He cast down because of sin, so in view of these Messianic marvels, so consistently and persistently announced in Jeremiah 30-31 (as in 23:5), He will build. More than a country, He will build, indeed He will INAUGURATE a NEW COVENANT. You could flatten astronomy, He declares, more readily than remove one particle of this new thing, for “from the least of them to the greatest of them” what ? It is this: “They shall all know Me!” As in Jeremiah 9:23 puts it, concerning this saving knowledge of the Lord, the only Saviour (Isaiah 43:10-11): “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
“ ‘Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches:
‘But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
‘That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,’ says the LORD.”
Thus from Israel will come a remnant (as in Isaiah 11:11); and the Lord as man, He will rule (Isaiah 11:1ff.).
It is the Messiah as Governor, Lord and King, it comes despite the horrendous multitude of children slain by Herod, in the slaughter of the innocents, as it is called, traced in Jeremiah 31:15. It comes through the virgin who encompasses in human format in her womb (31:22), the Christ, that new thing that enters thus this world, the incarnation. It comes amidst enduring endearment (31:20) despite the catastrophes from sin; and it comes with the cry to RETURN, HEED the sign, be oriented and seek the original, the only, the Lord God, through His incarnate Ruler and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
Yes, this New Covenant comes (31:31ff. cf. Hebrews 8:7ff.), and through whom ? WHO IS THIS WHO PLEDGES HIS HEART ? you recall this from Jeremiah 30:21 ? Let us answer that. It comes through Him who sanctified Himself because of the brethren, for whom He died (John 17:19). But what is His prayer there ? In John 17:17 we find out. “Sanctify them by Your truth, Your word is truth.” Of whom does He speak, but of His own! “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”
Let us then one and all hear the call, set up the sign-posts and FOLLOW THEM to Him. If any be not yet His, then let it be in repentance that Christ is called on, so to find His salvation in this New Covenant in His own blood. Indeed, the sign is already set, for His day has now come, so let His word reign supreme in our hearts BECAUSE IT IS HIS! As to those already His, let us be sanctified wholly in mind spirit and body (I Thessalonians 5), and while not perfect, constantly seek to be so (Matthew 5:48). Even that does not mean sinless, but COMPLETE and brought to the fulfilment of what is intended for us, like sculptures with the finishing touches, not the tarnishing breakages. Let us avoid WILFUL sin as driving on the wrong side of the road, or diving into sulphuric acid.
Sin is a cruel ruler and a fool creator. Sanctification IN CHRIST is a kind contribution, by the power of His Spirit and the operation of His word. Be then thankful and rest in His redemption, be active in His directions and be calm in His favour; and rejoice, for there is nothing lacking in Him, whose pity is profound and whose peace is as deep.¶
15. Jeremiah 51:20ff. Now we move to those vast chapters of foretelling and foretelling, of doom and delight, which pass from our immediate intent; but may be added just for complement. Here we find Israel, given its place, site and some of its significance, as in Zechariah 14 and so often before as in the day of Hezekiah and Solomon, Asa and Jehoshaphat. Here is what God uses, especially when it is WEAK, as with Hezekiah, when it is made strong and by, direct divine support as in Isaiah 37:21-38), prevails. A battle-axe, this has been part of its mission among the nations, but it has been obvious that unless the Lord acted, there would be just a little axe lying still. That was shown to King Asa in no uncertain manner, when after defeating a vastly superior army from Ethiopia with notable trust in the Lord, in servile pragmatism he sought the aid of Syria in a later military confrontation.
THAT is not the way God is pleased to use Israel, not the New Covenant Church which has followed it. The prophet approached the King, Might in works as the King had been, his slither was foreign spiritually to the ways of the Lord, who acts by grace through faith in His people. Thus Hanani the prophet made his age-characterising statement to the King. It was this.
"Were the Ethiopians and the Lubim not a huge army
with very many chariots and horsemen ?
"Yet, because you relied on the LORD, He delivered them into your hand.
"For the eyes of the LORD run to and from throughout the whole earth,
to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.
"In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars."
Asa was in high dudgeon at this, and behaved very foolishly in wrath and persecution. SO does the Lord test the greatest and abase the lofty. Though Asa still served the Lord, there was to be no small purging in his heart! The Christian is wise to consider these things.
Israel often moved into cultural proclivities with surrounding nations, just as the Christian Church, or at least local segments which once had been part of it, has done with various ideas of folly, practices of evil and ways of unwisdom; and many are the churches which are now in name only just as Peter foretold (II Peter 2), and Paul (II Thessalonians 2, II Timothy 3). But our current concern is ancient Israel, that teaching manual of instruction, as well as pathway for the incarnation through the virgin birth.
In turning from the Lord, they showed their weakness to be real, since then He did not always help them, but in fact eventually turned them over to their enemies as foretold in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 32. However, at last, when the time comes near the end of the Age, the Lord again, seeing them helpless (Deuteronomy 32:36ff.), at the right time, perhaps that of Zechariah 12, acts in eminent power to deliver them. Indeed in Micah 7, the action is made directly to parallel that of the Exodus! When the Lord so acts towards the end of the Age, we shall see another sight, this time not on some film, but before our very eyes, in the deliverance of Israel. In this He is showing His vast mercy, delicate compassions, immense pity and true faithfulness, as Micah 7 sharply exhibits! (cf. Micah 7:8-9).
It is in the end ONLY the Lord, who became the Messiah (cf. Isaiah 45 with Philippians 2), who saves them, both from their sins, and at the climacteric time of their return, from their would-be, all engulfing enemies. They have no Old Covenant STANDING (Isaiah 65:13-15), though the Lord does and will fulfil every last jot and tittle of His sublime undertakings concerning them; for even now they are back in their land, and His pathway for faith is being prepared in these latter days (as in Zechariah 12, this tableau moving with spiritual force especially from 12:10-13:1).
As He saves them, and vindicates His passion and compassion in filling this earth with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11, Habakkuk 2:14), so He saves others till the complement full, the foreknown gathered, the extent of love consummated as it approaches all and wins some, the end draws near. In that end, the very heaven and earth disappear. They have served their turn.
If this has been their magnificence, what is to be that of the new heavens and the new earth (Revelation 20)! But whatever that may be, it is consonant with that of the Lord Himself, who having made all, has given for all what is sufficient for all, though many despise it as they despised Him when He came: the New Covenant, in the new creation made in terms of the NEW THING created in womb-condition, Him who though eternal in Himself (Micah 5:1-3), thus took human form. God as God has sought man.
It is thus that God as man has caught many, as fisherman; God as judge will not compromise truth, which is a wonder and a marvel; but God in mercy is willing to receive all who would be with Him, by the chosen NEW COVENANT of His grace, signed in the blood of the Lamb.
FOR MORE ON THIS PROPHECY OF JEREMIAH SEE:
The Biblical Workman Ch. 1;
Tender Times ... Ch. 1;
Walking in the Light and Keeping Your Eyes Open Chs. 5, 8;
Thy Word is Wonderful Ch. 2, *3
(excursion: rather large and detailed exposition of many features in Jeremiah).
On this see:
Freud and Reductionism
Spiritual Refreshings Ch. 9, incl. End-note 1 (esp. programmatic psychology and its ilk), Marvels of Predestination and the Ways of Will Ch. 7, including *1;
News 80; 44,
Repent or Perish Ch. 7, Extension 1 ;
The True God has Go, Gives Growth and Glory Ch. 2,
See also SMR Index under Freud and Jung;
NEWS 51, 52, 152, 166,
Lord of Life Ch. 5,
Red Alert Ch. 1 ;
Beauty of Holiness Ch. 2 (human psychiatrists).
Marx and Communism
The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy Ch. 9,
Aviary of Idolatry, Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic Ch. 5,
News 37. 44, 69, 97 (the exploiters, the fanciful,
the Communists, the de-godders and the realities), 98,
News 150 - Taiwan,
The Grating Grandeur and Aggrandisement of Man,
and the Meekness of the Majestic Messiah Ch. 2
Beauty for Ashes
Hong Kong, and the movement of nations in the last century a
Tender Times for Timely Truth
SMR pp. 925ff., 971-972;
Beauty of Holiness
(war and force, rising downwards, Tiananmen and truth),
Ch. 4 (liberty, Tiananmen, worship and its direction in time, its terms and code of truth); History, Review and Overview Ch. 1,
Impossible to Men, Open to God Ch. 5
See also Lord of Life Ch. 8.
Darwin and Evolutionism
Highway of Holiness Chs. 5 4, with The Glow of Predestinative Power Ch. 7
on material expressions of super-natural qualities in creation;
cf. Life, what is it ?
Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic Ch. 4 (and Darwin dead); Ch. 2 - drifting doesn't do it));
News 84 (broad setting, as in Spiritual Refreshings Ch. 13),
Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Ch. 9,
Worn-Out World and Coming King Ch. 3 );
SMR Chs. 1-2; TMR Chs. 1, 6-7
Stepping Out for Christ Ch. 9 (tesselation and its tassels, concerning the truth -
the Magpie's contribution).
See *3 of Chapter 2, above, More Marvels ... Ch. 4, Divine Agenda Ch. 6, SMR pp. 911ff., 1032-1088H, Highway to Hell.
This Messiah, the one through David to bring incalculable blessings, to die the atoning death for all who received Him, the Saviour and King, Lord of all, member of the trinity, God the eternal word, is also sometimes referred to as "the branch". For convenience, this theme can be traced here so that in the text above it will be better understood.
He is met under this name in Jeremiah 23:5-6, Number 2 above, as in Jeremiah 33:14-17, Number 14 above. He is seen anew in Zechariah 6:13 as in Isaiah 11:1 before Jeremiah wrote. In Zechariah, mixing vocation as Prince and Priest, utterly forbidden as King Uzziah found out to his sorrow, being gifted with leprosy for imaging that as King he could offer sacrifices in priestly mode, and resisting correction in anger (II Chronicles 26:19), the BRANCH is seen, as One who will "bear the glory".
The "counsel of peace" will be between the two roles... how ? It is because as the Lord gave Him the Spirit without measure (John 1), and His goings are from everlasting (Micah 5), and He was sent as One of the Trinity (Isaiah 48:16), and moreover, His mission as God to man is to include both the suffering for salvation and the glory for rule (as in Luke 24).
Indeed, in Isaiah 11, we find this same Branch explicitly the forecast, plenipotentiary (Psalm 110) descendant on the human side, of David, designated in those terms as follows.
"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse and a Branch shall grow out of his roots; and the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD."
It is "with His mouth" that He slays the wicked, for just as God by His word, created the universe (Genesis 1), and a heart heart and spirit in those who receive His salvation in this same "Branch" (II Corinthians 4:6), so as the word of divine power, He thus simply slays the wicked. One word from Him incorporates the power that made the universe and the mind of man.
In Isaiah 11, we find that in that day, "there shall be a root of Jesse who shall stand for an ensign of the peoples; to him will the nations seek, and His resting place shall be glorious."
Such was the word found in Matthew 11:28-30. WHY is His rest glorious ? It is because He is. What is His resting place ? It is the Gospel of grace and salvation, by which the lost are saved and the saved sanctified, in His own presence (Colossians 1:27). WHY is it proper to rest in Him, when trust in man is a deceitful and foolish thing ? (as in Jeremiah 17), associated indeed with curse ? It is because He being the Saviour, and God the ONLY Saviour (Isaiah 43:10-11), indeed He the PAYOR in salvation (Isaiah 53) by His own blood, it is rest in GOD HIMSELF!
What has Jesse to do with it ? He was David's earthly father, and the mention of this line, with its commencment in history when Samuel came to that house to find the lad who would become David the King, and the promises successively applied to the selected youth from that household constituted a fast movement in the development of the Messianic line. The mention of his father, Jesse, emphasises the lineage aspect.
When therefore the BRANCH is mentioned in Jeremiah, there is a considerable heritage already given on the BRANCH in earlier gifts of divine writ from God, and there would be a considerable addition in Zechariah.