Jeremiah Prophet for Today!
Over two and a half thousand years ago Jeremiah prophesied that Babylon would fall. He said it would become a deserted wilderness and that is exactly what happened. But the book of Revelation says that Babylon is going to fall at the end of this age. So who, or what, is this latter day Babylon? And how will its fall affect you?
Babylon was an ancient city located in the area between the Euphrates and the Tigris Rivers, known as Mesopotamia. Northern Mesopotamia was called Assyria and the southern area Babylonia (also Shinar - Genesis 10:10-11). The region was the cradle of the post-flood civilisation. Abraham came from the city of Ur located in Chaldea, an area in the southern Babylonia (Genesis 15:7). The whole region was constantly subject to power struggles resulting in a succession of empires throughout its history.
To the south-west of Babylon was the Kingdom of Israel which reached its peak of prosperity and power under King David and his son Solomon. After Solomon the Kingdom of Israel was split into two nations. The ten north tribes became the nation of Israel and the remaining southern tribes became the nation of Judah. Because Israel started following pagan deities God removed His protection and they were conquered by the Assyrians who were in power in Babylonia at that time (724B.C.). They took the people of Israel to Assyria as captives (II Kings 17:20-24). But Judah, who remained faithful to God, continued under His protection.
In 612B.C. the Assyrians were deposed by the Babylonians who became the significant world power of the time. When Nebuchadnezzar became king he conquered many nations bringing back skilled artisans and administrators to Babylon which became the largest and most amazing city on the face of the earth in those days.
By this time Judah had followed Israel’s footsteps by turning to paganism. God commissioned Jeremiah to warn that judgement would be executed on them as it had been on the nation of Israel. Because they refused to heed the warnings God removed His protection. During the four decades that followed Judah was conquered first by the Egyptians and then several times by the Babylonians, who took captives away each time (II Kings 23:29-35, II Chronicles 35:20-24, II Kings 24:1-4, 10-14, Jeremiah 37:5-9, 39:1-4.9).
To Pull Down
Jeremiah was ordained not only to prophesy about the future of Judah but also the future of other nations in the area, “…before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” and “I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:5, 10). He prophesied during the reigns of Josiah, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah until Jerusalem was destroyed in 587B.C. Jeremiah said that God was going to let Babylon utterly destroy Judah and its neighbouring nations, “Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.” (Jeremiah 25:9).
Neighbouring nations like the Syria, Moab and Ammon had been long time enemies of both Israel and Judah taking advantage when they were weakened by the various sieges (Psalm 83:1-18). Because of this God determined that they would be conquered along with Judah, “And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” (Jeremiah 25:11). Judgement was also be executed on the Babylonians themselves because of their actions, “And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations. And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations. For many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them also: and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands.” (Jeremiah 25:12-14).
Cup of Wrath
The execution of God’s judgment on the nations was prophetically portrayed as drinking from the cup of God’s wrath, “For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it. And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them.” (Jeremiah 25:15-16).
Jeremiah took the cup of wrath to those nations as instructed, “Then took I the cup at the LORD’S hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me: To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; as it is this day;” (Jeremiah 25:17-18).
Most of the book of Jeremiah is about his interaction with kings and officials of Judah. The first twenty four chapters comprise pronouncements made over the forty one year period against Judah. He was told to, “Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem…” (Jeremiah 2:1), so he stood at the gate of the temple at various times and proclaimed God’s words (Jeremiah 7:1 and 17:19). He also travelled throughout the towns of Judah (Jeremiah 11:6). Even when hiding in fear of his life he had Baruch his scribe prepare a scroll that was sent to King Jehoiakim. He also sent a scroll to Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon via Zedekiah’s scribe (Baruch’s brother). It was probably not the only time Jeremiah addressed Nebuchadnezzar because he was obviously known and respected by the King and his officials (Jeremiah 40:1-5).
Other Nations Condemned
As well as warning Judah Jeremiah also pronounced judgement on Egypt, Uz, Askelon, Gaza, Ekron, Ashdod, Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, Sidon, Dedan, Tema, Buz, Arabia and the mixed peoples of the desert, Zimri, Elam, Media, the nations of the north, and ‘all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth’ and finally Sheshack (Jeremiah 25:19-26). Sheshach is a cipher for Babel, or Babylon (see Jeremiah 51:41). Some of those pronouncements on those nations are recorded in the latter part of the book of Jeremiah, i.e. Philistines (Jeremiah 47:1-7), Moab (Jeremiah 48:1-47), the Ammonites (Jeremiah 49:1-6), Edom (Jeremiah 49:7-22), Damascus (Jeremiah 49:23-27) Ked and Hazor the coalition of Arab tribes (Jeremiah 49:28-33), Elam 49:34-39) and Babylon (Jeremiah 50:1 to 51:64).
God said that He would bring representatives of these nations to the gates of Jerusalem so that Jeremiah could speak to them face to face, “For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the LORD; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah. And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands. Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.” (Jeremiah 1:15-17 see also 27:3-11).
He probably visited various nations as well. Obadiah indicates that an envoy (ambassador) was sent among the nations to pronounce judgment, “Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle. Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised.” (Obadiah 1:1). He then recites a judgment against Edom similar to the one given by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 49:7-22). It is highly likely that the ambassador Obadiah mentioned was Jeremiah fulfilling his commission by going to the nations.
One way or another Jeremiah delivered the pronouncements to the nations in accordance with God’s will, “Then took I the cup at the LORD’S hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me:” (Jeremiah 25:17).
The Babylonians conquered the other nations as Jeremiah predicted and became a significant world power, but after the seventy years had passed they in turn received their judgement, “…and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.” (Jeremiah 25:11-12, see also 29:10 and Daniel 9:2).
The Babylonian empire was eventually conquered by the Medo-Persians led by Cyrus under whom the city of Babylon survived until after 312 BC when Seleucus built a new city 50 miles to the north. Babylon was buried under the desert sands until rediscovered in the early eighteen hundreds by archaeologists. Later the Medo-Persian empire was defeated by Alexander the Great, and after the Greeks came the Romans who dominated the world.
Although defeated the Babylonian legacy survived in many forms through the successive kingdoms that followed. This ancient empire set the pattern on which our modern society has been modeled, especially with regard to military, economic and religious systems. Even the methodology and practices used today in law, science, mathematics, philosophy and medicine have their origins in the early Babylonian civilization. The prophet, Daniel who was among the Judean captives in Babylon, interpreted a dream for Nebuchadnezzar in which God demonstrated the effect his empire would have down through the ages (Daniel 2:31-43). Babylon still exists today through the legacy that has been passed down through these successive empires.
Because of its dominating role in the ancient world Babylon has become a prophetic symbol for the global power. And indeed the book of Revelation refers to the world ruling power at the end of this age as being the ‘great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth’ which is ‘mystery, Babylon the great’ (Revelation 17:3-5). This global power will have religious and military domination controlling world resources in a time when it is predicted that one quarter of the world’s population will die from starvation and war (Revelation 6:1-8). The book of Revelation makes it plain that in the end-time there will only be two factions. Regardless of geographic boundaries, culture or ethnicity there will be those who are part of Babylon, who worship the Beast, and there will be God’s people – the saints.
In ancient times Babylon was used to conquer those who had been God’s people and had turned from God. God’s people in this age are not the Jews, but those whose names are written in the Book of Life and are sealed with God’s Spirit. The intention of the modern day Babylonian leaders will be to overcome God’s people – they will, “…make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him (the Beast) over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:7-8).
Judgement on Babylon
Because of this Christ, when he returns will execute God’s judgement on the end-time Babylon and its fall will be great, “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.” (Revelation 18:1-3). This passage indicates that all the nations of the world will be allied with Babylon.
Those who worship the one true God are warned to come out of modern Babylon, “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.” (Revelation 18:4-10).
The leaders of Babylon will be dealt with, “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” (Revelation 19:20). Babylon will be rooted out, pulled down, destroy, and thrown down as Jeremiah prophesied. It will be that last of the nations formed by man to fall.
Why Modern Babylon Must Fall
Because modern Babylon will rule the world its fall will affect everyone living at that time. It is therefore important that we understand why it must fall and why we are warned to come out it. In order to understand we must go back to when mankind was first created.
God is righteous, which means that all He says and does is right, good and just. He created mankind physically in His own image (Genesis 1:26) with the potential to become like Him spiritually once we learn to resist evil.
As the creator God set the standards of what is good and what is evil, and defined them for man by His law. What is right is good, or righteous, and what is wrong is evil, or unrighteous. In the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve, beguiled by the subtlety of Satan, were enticed to ignore the standards God had established and set their own. They determined what was right or wrong through their own senses. This was apparent when they considered the forbidden fruit of the ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’. It was ‘pleasant to the eyes’ and looked ‘good for food’, so they took to themselves the authority to set standards for which they were not spiritually entitled (I Corinthians 2:10-16).
By setting their own standards they became ‘as gods’ (Genesis 3:5-6) and chose a way that was cursed. They were meant to trust God in these matters because they did not have the spiritual discernment to set the right moral parameters. God knew that the way they chose would result in disaster, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 16:25). Through lying Satan had encouraged them to make a decision that put humanity at risk and caused a lot of misery and suffering for themselves and future generations.
By allowing their nature to be corrupted with evil they were estranged from God. There was no way He could allow humanity to have access to eternal life while evil was part of their nature so He withdrew access to eternal life until their unrighteous nature could be replaced with one that was righteous. He allowed this to happen because He knew mankind could be redeemed even though it would take the sacrifice of His own Son.
From that time man’s civilisation developed under an erroneous concept of right and wrong through which they determined their own moral standards. The Apostle Paul described the affect this had on man’s society as they moved further away from their Creator and started worshipping false gods that they created themselves. They,“…changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator… … And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Romans 1:18-32).
Through a nature that comprises both good and evil man has produced a society that has the appearance of good but is full of violence and deceit, “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war… … Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:1-4).
After seeing the results from the first sixteen hundred years of man’s existence God was grieved so much by the perverseness that filled the earth that He let the flood wipe out everyone except for Noah, his family, “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually… …The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” (Genesis 6:5 and 11).
After the flood when people began to repopulate the earth and gather themselves into cities God could foresee that nothing they imagined to do would be restrained from them (Genesis 11:6). He knew man’s flawed nature would eventually lead to the same problems that existed before the flood, “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:38-39). Because it was not His intention to let the six thousand years allotted to man to be prematurely completed, He slowed progress by confounding the language (Genesis 8:21 and 11:1-9).
They divided into groups that spoke the same language and spread out from the tower of Babel in Mesopotamia and families grew to become nations. History shows that the culture of violence, oppression and tyranny developed similar to pre-flood times as they fought among themselves. Two of the dominant nations in Mesopotamia were the Assyrians and Babylonians who were either at war with one another, or one was subject to the other depending on which nation was the strongest at the time. Assyria was in power when the nation of Israel was defeated in 722 B.C. The Assyrians were then conquered by the Babylonians in 612 B.C. who were in power when Judah was conquered.
The prophet Nahum described the City of Ninevah, capital of Assyria in Mesopotamia, as a “city full of crime, utterly treacherous, full of violence where killing never stops.” (Nahum 3:1 Jewish Study Bible JPS Tanahk Translation). Isaiah indicated that they were haughty and arrogant (Isaiah 10:12 NKJV).
When pronouncing judgement on the Chaldeans (Babylonians), Habakkuk, a contemporary of Jeremiah, provided an insight into their character. They had spoiled many nations with violence and because of that he described them as a ‘bitter and hasty’ people who were ‘terrible and dreadful’ (Habakkuk 1:1-11). Driven by aggressive ambitious and covetous greed, they took what was not theirs with violence (Habakkuk 2:5-19). They were renowned for dealing cruelly with those who rebelled against their rule.
The Babylonian nature was typical of the perverseness described by Paul in Romans 1:18-32 (above). He accurately described the nature of man as, “Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them”. (Romans 1:29-32).
Their unrighteousness led to idolatry and even greater perversity. Throughout the millennia that followed human nature has not changed. The same perverseness prevails today and will still prevail in the latter day Babylon, just before Christ returns.
The pages of history over the last six thousand years have been torn with violence and soaked in blood from wars and murder. This unrighteous world is rife with deceit, subterfuge, crime and injustice. The crimes that have been committed reveal that humanity is capable of the most perverse and corrupt behaviour imaginable.
The civilisation we have on earth today is the product of unrighteousness minds that are a mixture of good and evil. The situation cannot continue! That is why God calls us out of Babylon, as he previous called Abraham out. Those who ignore the warnings are in danger of being drawn back into the unrighteous ways of this world as both Israel and Judah were. And that is not the place to be when God finally executes judgment on Babylon, “And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” and “And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.” (Revelation 14:8, 16:19).
Eventually the perpetrator of man’s evil will also be destroyed, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever… …And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:10, 15).
To Plant and Build
Jeremiah’s commission was not only to pronounce judgement on the civilisation that unrighteous man has developed, but also to plant the seeds of a new civilisation that will be built in its place, “I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:10). That new civilisation is the Kingdom of God based on God’s righteous ways.
The people in the nations on which Jeremiah pronounced judgement will be restored to life at a later time and given the opportunity to receive an inheritance in the Kingdom of God that will be available to all human beings if they are willing to accept it, “Thus saith the LORD against all mine evil neighbours, that touch the inheritance which I have caused my people Israel to inherit; Behold, I will pluck them out of their land, and pluck out the house of Judah from among them. And it shall come to pass, after that I have plucked them out I will return, and have compassion on them, and will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man to his land. And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, The LORD liveth; as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built in the midst of my people. But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 12:14-17).
Jeremiah makes a number of significant statements that are important for us to understand. The Hebrew word translated ‘pluck out’ and ‘pluck up’ is the same word translated ‘root out’ in Jeremiah 1:10 which means to destroy (‘nathash’- Strongs 05428). Both Judah and the other nations were to be destroyed at that time. However, Jeremiah also said that they are going to be restored, ‘every man to his heritage’ and ‘land’. They will be resurrected back to physical life and the books of the Bible will be opened to their understanding as indicated in Revelation 20:11-13 and they will be judged according to how they respond.
In order to complete the creation in God’s image the corrupt and unrighteous human nature must be converted to a nature that is righteous like God’s. The conversion process begins when God calls individuals to salvation. By opening the mind God brings the individual to repentance, a point at which they can turn to God and choose His way. If they are willing to be converted they can be baptised and receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). The Holy Spirit is a portion of the very essence, mind and power of God that is imparted to them and produces His righteous nature within them. The fruit, or product, of His Spirit is a righteous mind which prepares them for eternal life in God’s Kingdom.
Jeremiah said that “if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name… …then shall they be built in the midst of my people.” (Jeremiah 12:16). If they repent of their unrighteous ways they will be sealed with the Holy Spirit to be among God’s people - members of the very household of God (Ephesians 2:19) as His sons and daughters (II Corinthian 6:18).
Just as the name Babylon is used prophetically in the Bible to represent the unrighteous kingdoms of man, the names ‘Jacob’, ‘Israel’, ‘Judah’ and ‘Zion’ are used prophetically to represent the righteous Kingdom of God. God’s people who in ancient times were the physical nation of Israel are, in this age, those who have God’s Spirit regardless of nationality, or race. They are the saints who are sealed with God’s Spirit and whose names are written in the Book of Life (II Corinthians 1:22, and Revelation 21:27) and will be in God’s Kingdom when they are resurrected to spirit.
As part of the God-head Christ has the power to give human beings an inheritance to be part of the very family of God for all eternity, “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:10-13 and John 14:2-3). Those who refuse this inheritance and chose to remain in an unrighteous condition will be ‘utterly’ plucked up, or destroyed for all eternity, which is the second and permanent death spoken of in Revelation. 20:14 and 21:8.
All Nations Included
Jeremiah spoke about the future restoration when all nations will be reconciled to the living God and given the chance to follow His way, “At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.” (Jeremiah 3:17). This is not only referring to the people of Israel and Judah, but is talking about the restoration of people from all nations including those to whom Jeremiah was sent, i.e. the Amonites (Jeremiah 49:6 NKJV, RSV or Moffatt) and Moab (Jeremiah 48:47 NKJV, RSV, or Moffatt).
Certain passages have been used to support the concept of a second captivity in the end-time, “I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah,” (Jeremiah 30:3). However, this verse and others like it have been mistranslated in the King James Version. The meaning can better be seen in other translations where it is interpreted more correctly e.g. the RSV. “For behold, days are coming, says the LORD, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the LORD,” and in the Tanakh JPS Translation, “when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah,”. Similarly in Jeremiah 30:18 and Joel 3:1. Bullinger (Companion Bible) describes the phrase ‘I will bring again the captivity’ as an idiom, which actually means that God will restore Israel - bringing them out from their original captivity rather than bringing a new captivity on them. Like the rest of world they have been held in spiritual captivity from which they will be released when Christ returns.
Ezekiel, who was a contemporary of Jeremiah said that Israel would be restored at the same time as other people, whom he described as Sodom and her daughters, and Sumaria and her daughters, "I will restore their fortunes, both the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters, and the fortunes of Samaria and her daughters, and I will restore your own fortunes in the midst of them,” (Ezekiel 16:53 RSV see also 39:25). Although the prophets were talking about a future restoration to a physical life the inheritance to which they will be restored is a spiritual inheritance in the Kingdom of God – that is what God’s plan is all about.
Ruled in Righteousness
They will have a righteous leader, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jeremiah 23:5-6). That leader is Christ.
They will know God and be His people, “For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up. And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.” (Jeremiah 24:6-7). In ancient times God established the physical nation of Israel to represent the spiritual nation He would build in the future. The future Israel to which people of all nations will come is the Spiritual Kingdom of God, was often referred to in prophecy as ‘Jacob’, ‘Israel’, ‘Judah’ or ‘Zion’.
They will be under the new covenant, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:31-33). This new covenant will apply to all people as they come into the spiritual nation of Israel.
Virgin Israel – a Spiritual Nation
Because they will have the Spirit of God they are of the family of God and are true Israelites to whom the spiritual promise that was made to Abraham applies “and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3). The word Hebrew word translated ‘families’ means families, tribes clans etc. from which nations are formed, “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed…” (Galatians3:8). “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith…(verse 14) … Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ…(verse 16) …But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Verses 25-29).
Jeremiah referred to the nation that is to be restored as ‘virgin Israel’, “Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets,” (Jeremiah 31:4). This is not the Israel of old who committed spiritual adultery and divorced because she was a whore (Jeremiah 3:8-10), it is the new Israel that has not committed spiritual adultery – it is pictured as a spiritual virgin. It is the spiritual Israel that was foreshadowed by the ancient physical nation of Israel. In other words it is God’s Kingdom, into which all other nations and people who are resurrected will have the opportunity to enter, including those who were part of ancient Israel. Through faith they will have to accept Christ as their saviour and be reconciled to the one true God.
Babylon’s Fall Brings Hope
Jeremiah was given a commission over two and a half thousand years ago to root out, pull down, destroy and throw down a number of ancient nations. It required him to announce to Judah and her adversaries that God intended to execute judgement upon them. They were to be defeated in battle and taken into captivity by an empire, whose political, economic and religious systems would still be a major influence in our modern society today. The final judgment on that Babylonian empire, the destruction of its systems, is to be executed when Christ returns at the end of this age.
The part of Jeremiah’s commission which is to plant and build is a message that should bring hope for all people. It is about Christ, in whom all families of the earth are to be blessed, who will restore their relationship with God so they can receive their inheritance of eternal life in God’s Kingdom.
Through the resurrection mankind is to be released from spiritual captivity and restored to their original inheritance. People from all nations including Israel and Judah will receive the opportunity to become part of the Kingdom of God, the spiritual Kingdom that was foreshadowed by ancient Israel. Jeremiah’s commission was to pronounce the judgment of God on this world, both in ancient times and today and to announce the good news of God’s coming Kingdom.
It was lack of faith that led Adam and Eve to fall from grace and is it only through faith that man can be restored to a right relationship with God. Mankind must learn to trust God’s judgment of what is right and wrong. Eventually every one will be given the opportunity to accept Christ as their saviour, to repent and be baptised so they can receive God’s Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the very mind, nature and essence of God Himself that will replace the flawed human nature and enable mankind to become righteous like God so the creation of man in God’s image can be fulfilled.
Was Jeremiah a prophet for today? Yes he certainly was!