Excerpts from My Paper, "Verse-by-Verse Studies of Selected Prophecies from the Book of Jeremiah," Part 1
The 68 page paper from which these excerpts were taken is located on my internet site: karlkempteachingministries.com or Google to Karl Kemp Teaching. The format there permitted me to use bold letters for the verses of scripture, italics, footnotes, underlining, etc., which is helpful for verse-by-verse teaching of prophetic passages like the ones we are discussing from the book of Jeremiah. These passages are quite important, and I wanted to make these excerpts available on this Christian article site, but if you find this format difficult I suggest you go to the original article on my internet site.
"Scripture Quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible, Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)
I'll quote from the "New American Standard Bible," 1995 edition, unless otherwise noted. Frequently I'll make comments in the middle of quotations in brackets [ ] or [[ ]] to make them more obvious, and sometimes I'll use double quotation marks (( )) to make them more obvious.
I'll comment briefly on the content of each of the chapters of this paper:
Jeremiah chapter 3. This chapter is typical of much of the prophecy of the Old Testament. There is a strong emphasis on the seriousness of the sin problem of large numbers of the people of Israel/Judah, very much including the serious sin of "worshiping" other gods along with Yahweh, which was rebellion against God and His Law and spiritual adultery against Him. To make matters even worse, their worship of the other gods often involved things like demonic immorality, and even human sacrifice along with the idolatry. And there is an emphasis on God's intense judgments that came on the northern kingdom (often called Israel) and the southern kingdom (often called Judah) because of their sin. (The nation split into two kingdoms after the death of King Solomon.)
Also, as is typical for many such prophecies, there is hope for the future. Eventually the end-time remnants of both kingdoms will repent and return to God (after His end-time shaking), and they will be saved with a very full salvation. They will be saved with new-covenant salvation in the Messiah (see Jer. 31:27-34, for example). In Jeremiah 3:16 Yahweh says, "they will no longer say, 'The ark of the covenant of the LORD [Yahweh].' And it will no longer come to mind, nor will they remember it, nor will they miss it, nor will it be made again." The ark of the covenant, which played a major role in the old covenant, will not be needed in the new covenant, which goes very far beyond the old covenant in glory and is able to solve the sin, spiritual death, bondage to sin problem; to totally overthrow Satan and his hosts; and to ultimately take us to God's new heaven and new earth with its new Jerusalem, where we (true Israel) will reign with God and His Son forever (see Revelation chapter 22, for example). True Israel embraces all of the believers from the Old Testament and all true Christians.
This chapter includes the common prophetic theme that God will also save the repentant remnant of the other nations at the end of this age (after His end-time judgment of the world). This chapter doesn't mention God's end-time judgment of the world that is often mentioned by the Old Testament prophets and in the New Testament. Sometimes these prophecies don't make it clear that they have jumped from dealing with things that were happening in the days of the prophets (like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, or Zechariah, for example), or things that were prophesied to happen in subsequent years, to the end of this age, but this happens quite often in these prophecies, which becomes obvious when you study these prophecies from our present point of view, which includes the light we have from the New Testament. And these prophecies often make it clear that they are speaking of things that will come to pass at the end of this age by using words like in the last days, at the time of the end, or by saying things like God will make His people righteous and they will never go astray again.
Jeremiah 16:14-21. These verses, like so many of the verses we are studying in this paper, look to the end of this age when God will save the repentant end-time remnant of the people of Israel after intensely judging them. These verses also include the familiar prophetic theme that He will save the repentant end-time remnant of the nations after His end-time judgment of the world. God will awaken the end-time remnant of the nations and bring them to repentance through the things that He does, which includes His powerful acts of saving and judging.
Jeremiah 23:1-8. Yahweh starts out in this passage rebuking the shepherds (leaders) of Israel, who played such a major role in the sinfulness and consequent judgment of the people of Israel. (Verse 6 shows that this passage includes the people of the northern and southern kingdoms, Israel and Judah). But then He comes to the familiar good news that the time will come (at the end of this age) that He will gather and save the repentant remnant of Israel and He will raise up righteous and good shepherds for them.
Those shepherds center in the Lord Jesus Christ. I'll quote verses 5, 6. " 'Behold days are coming,' declares the LORD [Yahweh], 'When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch [which prophesies of the Lord Jesus Christ (who in one sense is a descendant of King David), who is the only one able to save God's people]; and He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land. (6) In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, "The LORD [Yahweh] our righteousness." ' " The Lord Jesus Christ is the only one able to solve the spiritual death, bondage to sin problem and make believers righteous with the imputed and imparted righteousness of Yahweh, through His atoning death, resurrection, and subsequent ministry. So too, He is the only one able to overthrow the enemies of God's people, starting with the devil.
Jeremiah Chapter 30. The prophecies contained in this chapter look to the end of this age when God will judge Israel (both the northern and southern kingdoms are mentioned) and then save the remnant of Israel with a very full salvation through the Messiah, and judge their enemies. I'll read verse 7, "Alas! For that day is great, There is none like it: And it is the time of Jacob's [Israel's] distress, but he will be saved from it." The great distress (or we could translate, "the great tribulation") that Jeremiah prophesied about for Israel here has a lot in common with what Daniel prophesied in Dan. 12:1, which includes the words, "there will be a time of distress (or tribulation) such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time...."
There is widespread agreement that Jesus words about the short great tribulation of Matt. 24:21, 22 build on Dan. 12:1. That time of distress/tribulation will start for Israel at the time of Antichrist's abomination (about a month before the middle of Daniel's 70th week), and it will be over by the time the Lord Jesus returns and the rapture takes place, right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. Based on Zech. 13:8, we can apparently see that some two-thirds of the people of Israel will be cut off at that time, but the third (the end-time remnant of Israel) will be saved by the Messiah (the Lord Jesus). They will be saved, but not in time to be taken in the (mid-week) rapture. Daniel 12:1 and all of these details are discussed in my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." Also see my papers that deal with the end times on my internet site.
Jeremiah 30:9, 21 prophesy of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. I'll quote these verses, "But they [the repentant, saved end-time remnant of Israel] shall serve the LORD [Yahweh] their God [God the Father] and David their king." "David their king" here refers to the Lord Jesus Christ (as in Ezek. 34:23, 24; 37:24, 25; compare Jer. 23:5; 33:15, 16; Hos. 3:5; see under Jer. 30:9 in this paper). And I'll read Jer. 30:21, "Their leader [referring to the Lord Jesus Christ] shall be one of them, And their ruler shall come forth from their midst; And I will bring him near and he shall approach Me; For who would dare to risk His life to approach Me?' declares the LORD [Yahweh]." Once we understand that the Lord Jesus Christ is God the Son, who became a man, the God-man (a Jew in physical descent), we can fully appreciate these prophetic words. What a salvation plan! What a Savior!
Jeremiah Chapter 31. The words of the first line of verse 17 summarize a big part of God's prophetic message for the future of Israel (including both kingdoms), " 'There is hope for your future,' declares the LORD [Yahweh]." This chapter puts some emphasis on God's saving the remnant of the northern kingdom, but Judah is very much included in this chapter. Ultimately the end-time remnant of the people of Israel will return to God, and He will save them, and they will be faithful to Him. There is widespread agreement that the unusual words at the end of verse 22 prophesy of that faithfulness. I'll quote verse 22, "How long will you go here and here, O faithless daughter [referring to the people of Israel]? For the LORD [Yahweh] has created a new thing in the earth - A woman will encompass a man."
Verses 31-34 show how God will change the heart of the repentant people of Israel at the end of this age and make them righteous and holy - through new-covenant salvation. I'll quote these super-important verses, " 'Behold, days are coming,' declares the LORD [Yahweh], 'when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, (32) not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of Egypt, My covenant which they broke [God didn't give the old covenant to fully solve the spiritual death, bondage to sin problem. The new birth didn't become available until the Lamb of God had solved the spiritual death, bondage to sin problem through His all-important atoning death (and resurrection).], although I was a husband to them,' declares the LORD [Yahweh]. (33) 'But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,' declares the LORD [Yahweh], 'I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it [[This saving work of God is accomplished through the Lord Jesus Christ and His atoning death. After His resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God the Father, He received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit to pour out on all those who repent and submit to God's new covenant plan of salvation in faith. This saving work redeems believers from spiritual death and bondage to sin and enables them to live in the righteousness and holiness of God. For one thing, instead of giving them the Law (as at Mt. Sinai) and telling them to take the Law into their hearts and to live in line with that Law, He puts His moral Law into their hearts through new-covenant salvation. In Hebrews chapters 8 and 10, the writer of Hebrews quotes and discusses these prophetic words and confirms this interpretation. See my book, "Holiness and Victory Over Sin," on pages 159, 160 and 156-163.]]; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (34) They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD [Yahweh],' for they will all know Me [as His born-again, sanctified children], from the least of them to the greatest of them,' declares the LORD [Yahweh], 'for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.' " Total forgiveness is an important part of new-covenant salvation, but the new birth and transformation to the righteousness and holiness of God are even more important. Total forgiveness and the new birth and transformation to the righteousness and holiness of God come by the saving grace of God in Christ, through faith, based on the atoning death of the Lamb of God.
Jeremiah 32:36-44. These verses prophesy of God's gathering His people out of all the lands where He had driven them in judgment and His giving them "one heart and one way, that they may fear [Him] always, for their own good" (Jer. 32:39). He "will make an everlasting covenant with them" (Jer. 32:40), the new covenant of Jer. 31:31-34, that will once-for-all solve the sin problem.
Jeremiah Chapter 33. I'll quote verses 15, 16, which are verses of key importance, "In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth [These words refer to the Lord Jesus Christ, who in one sense was a descendant of King David.]; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth. [In this context, one of the first things He will do is to save the end-time remnant of Israel/Judah and make them righteous with new-covenant salvation. By the time He has finished His end-time work of saving and judging worldwide, He will have established righteousness throughout His worldwide kingdom. The unrepentant will have be removed by judgment, and the end-time remnant of the nations will be converted and submit to the Lord Jesus Christ and the One who sent Him.] (16) In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she [referring to Jerusalem] will be called: the LORD [Yahweh] is our Righteousness."
God is the only source for righteousness, holiness, life, real love, etc. He will make His people (which includes the end-time remnant of Israel/Judah and the end-time remnant of the nations) righteous by forgiving them and imparting His righteousness to them through "the righteous Branch of David." By the time His work is finished, God will have established His new heaven and new earth with its new Jerusalem, where everything will be permeated with His righteousness. No one will have a place in that eternal kingdom whose name is not found in the Lamb's book of life (Rev. 21:27), which means that they have been saved through the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jeremiah 48:47; 49:6, 38, 39. These verses prophesy of God's salvation of the end-time remnants of Moab, Ammon, and Elam after His end-time judgment of the world. These three ancient nations are representative of the end-time remnant of the nations worldwide that God will save after His end-time judgment of the world. This remnant of the nations will enter the millennial kingdom, which is pictured, for example, in Rev. 15:4; 20:3.
Jeremiah chapters 50, 51. Jeremiah chapters 50 and 51 prophesy at some length of God's judgment of ancient Babylon, the nation that destroyed Jerusalem and the temple and carried Judah into exile (in 587/586 BC). ((I had a footnote here in the original paper: It is clear that the prophetic words contained in Jeremiah chapters 50, 51 include God's judgment of ancient Babylon. Consider, for example, Jer. 50:17, 18; (which mention Nebuchadnezzar [also see Jer. 51:34] and speak of God's judgments of ancient Assyria and Babylon); Jer. 51:11, 28 (which mention the Medes, who played a major role in the overthrow of ancient Babylon); Jer. 50:2; 51:44 (which mention Bel, the chief god of the Babylonians); and Jer. 51:59-64 (verses that include God's judgment of ancient Babylon), but these prophetic words will not come to pass in a full sense until God judges the world at the end of this age).)) The Assyrians had already carried the people of the northern kingdom into captivity before the days of Jeremiah; Samaria, the capital city of the northern kingdom, fell in 722/721 BC.
One feature that makes these prophetic chapters so interesting and important is that a large number of these verses prophesy of things that will not come to pass, or will not come to pass in a full sense, until the end of this age, ((I had a footnote: I am not suggesting that Jeremiah fully understood that God would judge Babylon in the near future (cf. Jer. 25:12; 29:10) but that much of his prophecy of Jeremiah chapters 50, 51 (for example) would not be fulfilled until the end of this age. I don't know how much he understood, but the important thing is that the God who gave Jeremiah his prophecies fully understood. Sometimes, for example, the Old Testament prophets would combine in one prophecy things that would come to pass at Jesus' first coming with things that will come to pass at His second coming, with no apparent recognition of His two very different comings (cf., e.g. Isa. 9:1-7; 11:1-10; and 61:1-3). The prophets were dependent on how much God chose to reveal to them. God's revelation is progressive. From our perspective, now that Jesus' first coming has been accomplished, we can better understand many Old Testament prophecies, but we still are dependent on God to enable us to fully understand many prophecies. It's important for us to understand just how dependent we are on God and His grace in every area.)) when God judges the world (("Babylon" is used as a symbol for the world-kingdom; cf., e.g., Isaiah chapters 13, 14; Rev. 14:8; 16:19; 17:1-19:6 [I had a footnote: Isaiah 13:6-13 and chapter 14 are discussed verse-by-verse in my paper dealing with selected eschatological prophecies of Isaiah. Revelation 14:6-19:21 are discussed verse-by-verse in another paper. Both papers are included on my internet site (Google to Karl Kemp Teaching).])) and saves the end-time remnants of Judah and Israel (cf. Jer. 50:4, 5, 20, 33, 34; 51:5) and the remnant of the nations (cf. Jer. 50:3, 8, 16, 28, 34; 51:6, 9, 10, 44, 45 with verses like Jer. 3:17).
The book of Revelation devotes some three prophetic chapters to God's judgment and total removal of Babylon the great, where Babylon is a symbol for the world (whose god is the devil). Those prophecies build (to some extent) on Jeremiah chapters 50, 51 and on other Old Testament prophecies. The book of Revelation shows that God uses Antichrist and his associates and forces to destroy Babylon (Rev. 17:16-18). After that He destroys Antichrist and his followers, after gathering them to Armageddon (Rev. 16:13-16; 19:11-21), He will cast the devil (and undoubtedly the evil angels and demons along with him) into the abyss for the duration of the millennial kingdom. These judgments constitute a big part of what God's end-time judgment of the world is all about. ((I had a footnote: God will leave true Israel (which includes all true Christians, including the end-time remnant of Israel and all the believers from the days of the Old Testament) and the remnant of the nations to enter the millennial kingdom. I believe all the members of true Israel will be glorified by the time the millennial kingdom begins. (See pages 243-247 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture.") After dealing with the Gog and Magog rebellion at the end of the millennium, casting Satan (and his followers) into the eternal lake of fire, and the great white throne judgment of Rev. 20:11-15, God will have completed his judging of Satan and his kingdom, including His kingdom of this world.))
I'll quote a few sentences from what Derek Kidner says here ("Message of Jeremiah" [Inter-Varsity Press, 1987], page 149). "...Revelation 17-18 opens our eyes to another dimension of the Babylon of these chapters: as the embodiment of this world's corrupt power and glory, and the archetypal opposite of Zion the city of God. That passage borrows directly from these oracles [in Jeremiah chapters 50, 51], speaking of the golden cup with which she makes the nations drunk [Jer. 51:7; Rev. 17:2, 4]; of her judgment reaching up to heaven [Jer. 51:9; Rev. 18:5 (her sins)]; of her fall, to rise no more [Jer. 51:63-64; Rev. 18:21]; summoning God's people to flee from the midst of her, lest they share her punishment [Jer. 50:8; 51:6; Rev. 18:4]. In this capacity, the Babylon of these visions will have no gentle [gradual or incomplete] downfall, but one as catastrophic as anything that the language of ancient warfare can depict."
I'll quote a few sentences from what John L. Mackay says here ("Jeremiah," Vol. 2 [Mentor, 2004], page 517). "...Babylon...became the epitome of evil in the New Testament (Rev. 14:8; 16:19; 17:5; 18:1-24). What was revealed to Jeremiah regarding its future often anticipates this eschatological world view, so that what the prophet is seeing is a vision not simply of the end of Babylon, but through that, or against that background, of the total destruction of all that opposes God and his people. A similar vision had earlier been granted to Isaiah in terms of the destruction of Edom, which is also set against a much broader background (Isa. 34 [also see Isa. 63])." Edom serves as a symbol for the kingdom of the world in Isaiah chapters 34 and 63.
I am putting most of the emphasis of this study of Jeremiah chapters 50, 51 on the verses that clearly look to God's saving and judging at the end of this age. Especially see Jer. 50:4, 5, 8, 19, 20; 51:6, 15-24, 45, and 58. But also see Jer. 50:2, 3, 12, 13, 21-27, 38-40; 51:24-26, 29, 36-44, 54-58, and 62-64; these verses are also very important to demonstrate that much of the prophecy of Jeremiah chapters 50, 51 looks beyond God's judgment of ancient Babylon to His total destruction of the devil's world-kingdom of Babylon in His end-time judgment of the world. God's judgment of ancient Babylon didn't even destroy the city, much less did it totally destroy and remove forever that kingdom and those committed to that kingdom.
For these excerpts I'm skipping Jeremiah chapter 3 and most of the verses of Jeremiah chapters 50, 51.
[These verses, like so many of the verses we are studying in this paper, look to the end of this age when God will save the repentant end-time remnant of the people of Israel. These verses also include the familiar prophetic theme that He will save the repentant end-time remnant of the nations.] " 'Therefore behold, days are coming,' declares the LORD [Yahweh], 'when it will no longer be said, "As the LORD [Yahweh] lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt [at the exodus from Egypt, under the leadership of Moses.]," (15) but, "As the LORD [Yahweh] lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them." For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers. [These verses speak of God's restoring the remnant of Israel at the end of this age. Compare, for example, Isa. 11:11-16; Jer. 3:18; 23:7, 8; 24:6; 30:3, 18; and 32:37.] (16) 'Behold, I am going to send for many fishermen,' declares the LORD [Yahweh], 'and they will fish for them [cf. Amos 4:2; Hab. 1:14, 15]; and afterwards I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and every hill and from the clefts of the rocks [cf. Amos 9:1-4]. [[Verses 16-18 revert back to the negative message of the intense judgments that will come before God's end-time salvation of His people. See Jer. 16:9-13. I'll quote Jer. 16:13, "So I will hurl you out of this land into the land which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers; and there you will serve other gods day and night, for I will grant you no favor." God's people were, of course, responsible for the serious sin of continuing to serve other gods before and after He hurled them out of their land.]] (17) For My eyes are on all their ways [cf. 2 Chron. 16:9; Job 34:21, 22; Prov. 5:21; 15:3; Jer. 23:23, 24; 32:19; and Zech. 4:10]; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes. (18) I will first doubly repay their iniquity and their sin [[Compare Isa. 40:2; Jer. 17:18; and Rev. 18:6. I'll quote part of what Charles Feinberg says here ("Expositor's Bible Commentary," Vol. 6, [Zondervan, 1986], page 481). "The double penalty has been understood by some scholars to mean double punishment...as though his judgment was in excess of what the nation deserved. But this...does not harmonize with the biblical doctrine of God. The word 'mishneh' ('double') cannot be understood outside the context of the Hebrew viewpoint, which used the term to express ample, full, complete punishment (cf. Isa. 40:2) (so Harrison, KD). According to an Alakakh (in the plain of Antioch in Syria) tablet, the word may be better rendered 'proportionate' (so Wiseman, cited in Harrison)...so the punishment will be commensurate in full with the offense."]], because they have polluted My land [cf. Num. 35:33, 34; Isa. 24:5; Jer. 2:7; and 3:9]; they have filled My inheritance with the carcasses [[The BDB Hebrew Lexicon gives the basic meaning of the Hebrew noun used here ("nibelah") as carcass, corpse, but takes the meaning here in the special sense of lifeless idols. The NIV translates, "the lifeless forms of their vile images." I'll quote part of what J. A. Thompson says here ("Book of Jeremiah" [Eerdmans, 1980], page 412). "The expression the corpses of their detestable idols...is a suggestive one. The idols which were used in worship were lifeless, and seemed to Jeremiah [God is the One speaking here] like so many corpses defiling Yahweh's land (cf. Lev. 26:30)." I'll quote Lev. 26:30 from the NIV and NASB, "I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars and pile your dead bodies on the lifeless forms of your idols, and I will abhor you" NIV; "I then will destroy your high places, and cut down your incense altars, and heap your remains on the remains of your idols, for My soul shall abhor you" NASB; the margin of the NASB mentions that the more literal meaning of the Hebrew noun translated "remains" twice in Lev. 26:30 (which happens to be a different Hebrew noun than the one used in Jer. 16:18) is "corpses." This verse makes it quite clear that the idols polluted God's land - like corpses, they were defiling, but more so.]] of their detestable idols and with their abominations [cf. Jer. 7:30, 31; Ezek. 11:18, 21].' (19) [The format of the NASB, NIV, and NKJV show that verses 1-18 are prose in the Hebrew and that verses 19-21 are poetry.] O LORD [Yahweh], my strength and my stronghold, And my refuge in the day of distress [Compare Psalms 18:1-3; 28:7, 8; 59:9, 16, 17; Isa. 25:4; and Nah. 1:7. Jeremiah is the one speaking here.], To You the nations [[Typically (but not always), as here, "the nations" in the Old Testament refer to all the nations excluding Israel/Judah, the Gentile nations. Jeremiah is prophesying here of the repentant end-time remnant of the nations. The following words of this verse and the words of the next verse show that this remnant will be repentant. The things that God does at the end of this age will suffice to awaken this remnant and lead at least most of them to repent and submit to Him, including the visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the rapture; His salvation of the end-time remnant of Israel; His judgment and removal of Babylon the great harlot and of Antichrist and his followers; and very much including the fact that He has left them as a remnant and is calling them to repentance and salvation.]] will come From the ends of the earth [cf., e.g., Psalm 22:27; Isa. 2:2-4; Jer. 3:17 (see under Jer. 3:17); and Rev. 15:4; 20:3] and say, 'Our fathers have inherited nothing but falsehood, Futility and things of no profit.' [Compare, for example, Isa. 44:9, 10; 1 Pet. 1:18. Verse 20 confirms that Jeremiah was speaking here of the idolatrous religions of the Gentiles that are worthless, and worse than worthless, in that they are not of God (many of them came directly from the devil and his hosts) and actually lead people further away from God.]
We'll finish the last two verses of this chapter in the second article.
Copyright by Karl Kemp
http://www.karlkempteachingministries.com Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.
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