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Jeremiah

Jeremiah 1

Jeremiah was called to be a prophet during the reign of Josiah.  Josiah was only 8 years old when he became king, and he reigned for 31 years.  Jeremiah began his ministry when Josiah was 22 years old, and he prophesied during 18 years of Josiah's reign. 

After Josiah, Jehoahaz reigned for 3 months.  Then Eliakim (Jehoiakim) reigned for 11 years.  Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, took him captive to Babylon and placed Jehoiachin on the throne at Jerusalem, and he reigned only 3 months and 10 days.  Nebuchadnezzar took him captive to Babylon, and placed Zedekiah on the throne, and he reigned for 11 years.  Then Nebuchadnezzar attacked and destroyed Jerusalem, and he killed the sons of Zedekiah, put out Zedekiah's eyes, and took him captive to Babylon.  Jeremiah continued his ministry to the remnant left at Jerusalem. 

Jeremiah was called to the prophetic office before his birth.  The Lord told him this in order to give him courage and conviction.  When Jeremiah was about 20 years old, he showed reluctance and hesitation in being a prophet, citing that he was just a "child," and just a "young man."  However, God empowered Jeremiah, and He put His words in his mouth. 

The sign of a rod of an almond tree - The almond tree is called "waker" because it's the first to wake and bloom in the spring.  Jeremiah was to wake the nation from a life of ease luxury, and indifference to the coming danger. 

The sign of the seething (boiling) pot in the north - Egypt and Assyria were no longer a danger to the southern kingdom of Judah, but the boiling pot in the north was the rising power of Babylon, which eventually would destroy the nation of Israel. 

Jeremiah was to alert the nation to the new danger from Babylon, but the people would resist and reject his warning.  In fact, they would attempt to destroy Jeremiah because of his negative prophecies. 

Jeremiah 2

This is the beginning of Jeremiah's prophecies to Judah and Jerusalem prior to Zedekiah's reign.  Jeremiah told of a twofold condemnation of Judah:  1) Judah rejected God; and, 2) Judah raised their own gods. 

In days past, the people had loved God, and He had blessed them.  However, the priests turned away from God, and the people followed, raising raised their own gods and idols.  God asks them to return to Him. 

Jeremiah 3

The people had turned to pagan gods, even though God had brought the enslaved people of Israel out of the land of Egypt.  Judah had betrayed God, and his judgment including withholding rainfall from their land.  however, He also looks forward to a time (still in the future for us) when He will return the people to Zion, and they will return to Him.  This is the millennial kingdom--God's earthly kingdom which will reign for a thousand years. 

Jeremiah 4 - 6

Jeremiah then prophesies about the coming destruction at the hand of Babylon, because of the sins of the people.  Essentially everyone in Judah was guilty.  They were guilty of adultery, deceit, and coveting.  They were rich, but they had forgotten their God who had provided their riches.  Specifically, God indicted the tribe of Benjamin, but they didn't listen to Him. 

Jeremiah 7 - 12

Jeremiah then went to their places of worship, confronting those who came to honor God.  However, even these were corrupted.  They had transformed true worship of God into nothing but formal rituals.  Jeremiah pleads with them to turn from their dead religion in order to escape the coming judgment from God. 

It's interesting to note that God already knows, of course, that the people will not turn back to Him.  However, Jeremiah is called to deliver God's message to them.  He was responsible for preaching God's Word, but he wasn't responsible for the response from the people, whether good or bad.  This was the primary sin of the people--rejecting God's Word.  False prophets were preaching false messages, and the people revolted all the more, and with no shame or contrition for their sinful acts.  Soon it would be too late for contrition. 

Jeremiah sees the continued rebellion of the people against God, and it makes him want to run away from his own people.  He warns them that their nation will be scattered among the Gentile nations (as we now see that it was).  If only they could see that spiritual maturity is worth more than material possessions.  God is one who is the Creator of all things--not the pagan gods that the people were worshiping.  Again Jeremiah refers to the Exodus, because the sins of the people showed their disobedience of the covenant that God made with them during their 40 years roaming the wilderness. 

When Jeremiah delivers his prophecy to the people, he is rejected by both his own family and the people in his hometown. 

Jeremiah 13 - 20

God told Jeremiah to act out a prophecy by hiding a linen belt (waistband / girdle) by the Euphrates River.  This act symbolized the people Israel, being bound to God as though with a belt, but then being exiled to Babylon because of their sin.  God said that terrible judgment (in the form of captivity) was coming for Israel, and that it was now at hand, because Israel was incapable of doing good.  They're even past the point where prayer would do them any good (even if Moses or Samuel were to pray for them).  The false prophets were saying that there would be no famine or war in the land, but they were wrong. 

The coming disaster would be terrible.  Jeremiah 16:4 says, "They will die of deadly diseases, they will not be lamented or buried; they will be as dung on the surface of the ground and come to an end by sword and famine, and their carcasses will become food for the birds of the sky and for the beasts of the earth." 

Yet, there will be hope for Israel, in the future, after this great tragedy.  God will eventually bring them back to their land. 

God says that the people must put their trust in God, not in man.  However, the truth is that men's hearts are so deceitful that only God knows just how evil man is. 

God then sent Jeremiah to a potter's house, using the potter and his clay as an analogy.  The potter (God) has absolute power over the clay (Israel).  God is sovereign, and Israel is at His mercy.  Jeremiah broke a jar in order to symbolize how God was about to break Israel. 

Then the priest Pashhur had Jeremiah beaten and put into stocks.  When he was released, he prophesied against Pashhur, and then he pitied himself for the sorrowful duty that God had called him to. 

Jeremiah 21 -23

When King Zedekiah became fearful, he turned to Jeremiah for guidance.  Jeremiah told Zedekiah that the people needed to turn from their disobedience and return to God.  He once again warned of imminent danger if they continued to reject God. 

Then God proclaimed a specific prophecy against the kingly line.  Not only did he repeat the short-term prophecy of their upcoming defeat by King Nebuchadnezzar and their exile into Babylon, but he included a long-term prophecy as well.  The lineage of the present line of kings, including Jehoiakim and his son Jehoiachin, would not be extended.  Jehoiachin was the last king from the line of David's son Solomon, and it was expected that the Messiah would be born in this line.  However, of Jehoiachin, Jeremiah 22:30 says, "Write this man down childless, a man who will not prosper in his days; For no man of his descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah."  Instead, the Messiah would ultimately come from the line of David's son Nathan.  This is the line of Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 3:31).  (However, Mary's husband Joseph did come from the line of Solomon, as seen in Matthew 1:11). 

However, despite the near-term disaster, God affirms that there will be brighter days for Israel.  God will re-gather His people and they will return to their land.  Jeremiah 23:5 says, "Behold, the (HM)days are coming... when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land."  The "Branch" here refers to Jesus Christ, and the time frame will be that of the millennial reign of Christ on the earth. 

Jeremiah 24 - 29

After the exile into Babylon, God made an analogy with a basket of good figs and a basket of bad figs.  The good figs represented the captives of Judah whom God would eventually return to their land.  The bad figs were the bad captives, including King Zedekiah and his officials.  God would destroy those bad captives with war, famine, and pestilence. 

God used the Parable of the Yokes in order to include other nations in the prophecy concerning Babylon.  King Nebuchadnezzar would place a yoke around the necks of the surrounding nations, and they too would feel his wrath.  However, for Israel, this yoke would eventually be broken, and Israel would return to her land. 

Jeremiah 30 - 33

Then God turned to a series of prophecies that deals with the end times, a time frame that is still in our future today, and it affirms that Israel will never be completely destroyed.  He proclaimed a time when both Israel and Judah would be returned to their land, and this will occur during the Christ's earthly kingdom.  However, immediately before that time, there will be "the time of Jacob's trouble," reference in the book of the Revelation as the time of the "Great Tribulation" on the earth. 

Israel will be re-gathered and redeemed as a nation.  God will keep His promise to King David, even though the people had sinned against Him.  However, God will also make a new covenant with the twelve tribes of Israel.  This covenant will be written upon the hearts of the people, it will signify the forgiveness of their sins, and this covenant will never be broken. 

Jeremiah is imprisoned for conveying these prophecies from God, and he is in prison at the time of the Babylonian exile.  He later purchases land in Israel in order to demonstrate his confidence in the future blessings for Israel from God. 

Jeremiah 34 - 37

Jeremiah predicted that the king of Babylon would burn Jerusalem with fire.  However, Jeremiah commissioned Baruch to deliver his prophecies to King Jehoiakim, and the king cut up the prophecies with a knife and then burned up the pieces.  Jeremiah then painstakingly recorded the same prophecies again, and once again he sent them to the king.  We are reminded here that nobody in the line of King Jehoiakim would ever sit on the throne of David. 

Jeremiah 38 - 52

While Jeremiah was in prison, he still pleaded with Zedekiah to obey God.  He was eventually released from prison and he chose to stay in Israel instead of going to Babylon.  Then a remnant of the people promised to obey God.  Jeremiah warned them no to go to Egypt for refuge because King Nebuchadnezzar would also invade Egypt.  However, the remnant did go to Egypt, and they even took Jeremiah with them. 

Jeremiah prophesied that, after King Nebuchadnezzar would conquer Egypt, the nation of Egypt would become a second-rate power.  The great cities of Egypt would be destroyed, along with surrounding cities and nations.  We know today that all of these places were indeed destroyed, and are non-existent today. 

After God used Babylon to invade Israel, the Media-Persia empire would then rise up and destroy Babylon. 

Owen Weber 2010