We have been inside only two books of the Bible, Isaiah and Jeremiah, for seven months! It felt like the doom and gloom would never end. But living so intensely with the direct words of God has left me, as I hope it has left you, with an indelible regret for my sins, a deep and healthy fear of God, and most of all an unquenchable thirst for our Messiah, King Jesus.
We still have Lamentations, Ezekiel, and the Minor Prophets to go, but by relative page count, we have now approached the threshold of grace at the door of the New Testament. I can’t wait!
The unexpected rush through the final 16 chapters of Jeremiah comes from two “clean-up” activities undertaken by Jeremiah through the inspiration of God.
Chapters 37 through 44 are Jeremiah’s presentation of the historical narrative of Israel’s exile as already reported in the books of the Kings and Chronicles. So I have chosen to record the verses according to the classification system of the Cycle, but not try to pull out blog messages that we have already seen.
Chapters 45 through 52 contain a total of 270 verses, 262 of which are prophesies of doom for all the nations not named Israel, including Babylon itself. God is basically saying, “Yes, my children messed up big time and they will pay a terrible price. But they are still my children, for whom I have never-ending love and eventually I will restore them to their homeland. You other nations who tempted them to disobey my commandments and oppressed them mercilessly shall be permanently wiped off the face of the earth. Do not mess with my children!”
Note to readers: choose carefully which side of God to be on – the one that disciplines but loves unconditionally, or the one resulting in annihilation, sooner or later!
The remaining eight verses speak of restoration at a time yet to come:
“In those days and in that time…the people of Israel and the people of Judah shall come together…and they shall seek the Lord their God” (50:4, ESV).
“They shall ask the way to Zion…saying, ‘Come, let us join ourselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will never be forgotten…My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds led them astray…Flee from the midst of Babylon…” (50:5-6,8).
“In those days and at that time…iniquity shall be sought in Israel, and there shall be none…for I will pardon those who I leave as a remnant” (50:20).
“Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is his name. He will surely plead their cause, that he may give rest to the earth, but unrest to the inhabitants of Babylon” (50:34).
“Not like these is he who is the portion of Jacob, for he is the one who formed all things, and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance; the Lord of hosts is his name” (51:19).
The first three quotes above appear to refer to the historical Jews of Jeremiah’s time – the remnant that was pardoned. But note the last two quotes carefully: the Redeemer doesn’t need to plead their case if he is God the Father. He is God the Son, Jesus, who pleads our case as our Redeemer. He is Jesus, in perfect unity with God, who inherited the crown of David through the line of Judah.
And so there is a double prophecy here – first the historical Babylon of Jewish exile 400 years before Jesus; but also a Babylon to come, in which all the nations of the world will be destroyed, leaving only the remnant of those in perfect unity with the Redeemer.
As modern times swirl about, are you leaping forward toward Jesus and leaving Babylon behind?
Never forget: we have a glorious future!