Topical Studies

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What the Bible says about Jeremiah's Prophecies
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Jeremiah 1:6-10

Above all others, Jeremiah is the "Axial Man," prepared by God. God told him that he was a prophet not only to Israel and Judah, but to many other nations and kingdoms, and his job was to root out, pull down, destroy, throw down, build, and plant. Jeremiah 25:15-30 greatly fleshes out Jeremiah's commission.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prophecy and the Sixth-Century Axial Period

Jeremiah 1:6-10

Above all others, Jeremiah is the "axial" man prepared by God. God told Jeremiah, a prophet not only to Israel and Judah but to the nations and kingdoms, to root out, pull down, destroy, throw down, build, and plant. Many of us understand this verse in light of Jeremiah's influence on the destruction of Judah and the replanting of David's dynasty in Ireland. However, Jeremiah 25:15-29 shows that his responsibility extended much farther than Israel and Judah.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prophets and Prophecy (Part 3)

Jeremiah 3:12-13

Jeremiah, pleading for Israel to repent, to "acknowledge your iniquity" (verse 13), asks that his words be proclaimed "toward the north." Jeremiah, remember, lived at the time of Judah's fall to the Babylonians, some 130 years after the Kingdom of Israel had been forcibly moved out of its homeland. So, he was not writing to Israelites domiciled within a hundred miles north of Jerusalem—residing in and around Samaria. No, he is addressing a people living somewhere else further north.

Charles Whitaker
Searching for Israel (Part Eight): The Scattering of Ten-Tribed Israel

Jeremiah 17:27

About 2600 years ago, God said that He would kindle a fire in Jerusalem's gates which would devour the palaces, "and it shall not be quenched"! From this example in Jeremiah, we see that an unquenchable fire is not a fire that burns forever. If that were so, Jerusalem would still be burning! When Jesus said that the fire would not be quenched (Mark 9:43), He meant that it would burn until everything flammable was consumed, and then it would go out. This is what happened in the Valley of Hinnom, which Jesus used as a type of the fire into which the wicked will be thrown. Once the residents of Jerusalem stopped throwing their garbage into that valley, the fire burned out.

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Basic Doctrines: The Fate of the Wicked

Jeremiah 25:15-30

This is a tremendously broad commission to lay on one man's shoulders! His ministry embraced the totality of the biblical world, and some verses can be understood to encompass the entire world. Many of these nations had existed from the time God scattered the people by confusing the languages at Babel (Genesis 11). Did Jeremiah actually, in person, deliver this warning to these nations? We do not know because records are so rare. Jeremiah's writings include specific prophecies against Egypt, Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Damascus, Elam, Kedar, Hazor, and Babylon. Did he deliver these prophecies in person, or does the duality principle apply so that the literal fulfillment will occur in a time like ours, when rapid transportation and communication systems exist?

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prophecy and the Sixth-Century Axial Period

Jeremiah 28:1-4

Previously, God told Jeremiah to make a number of wooden yokes for himself and for various neighboring kings (Jeremiah 27:1-11), which symbolized servitude to Nebuchadnezzar. Through this, God was instructing to submit to Babylonian rule. Even though doing so would be humbling for Judah, it would be better for them than to resist Nebuchadnezzar, and thus God's will.

But not everyone in Judah was ready to accept this reality. Even though God specifically warned against false prophets who spoke against submitting to Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 27:9-10), this is exactly what happened in the case of an obscure prophet named Hananiah.

Jeremiah had previously prophesied that Judah would be in exile in Babylon for a full seventy years (Jeremiah 25:11-12). He also foretold that Jeconiah (Coniah) would die in a foreign land (Jeremiah 22:24-26) and that the vessels of the Temple would remain there until the day that God brought them back (Jeremiah 27:19-22). Now, though, Hananiah came with a message that directly contradicted Jeremiah's prophecies. In Hananiah's vision of the future, Judah's restoration was just around the corner; everything would be back to normal within two years.

David C. Grabbe
Hananiah's Error

Jeremiah 28:5-9

With a note of sarcasm, Jeremiah replies that he would be thrilled if Hananiah's vision were correct—it would be a remarkable turn of events. Then he points out that the prophets before them had all prophesied calamity rather than prosperity. Hananiah's words were completely out of sync with God's pattern of warning His people through the prophets.

Prior to Jeremiah, God had sent Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, and Nahum to the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. He had also sent Jonah to the empire of Assyria. All of them warned of tragedy and disaster if the people did not turn to God. Such warnings reach all the way back to Moses, who recorded the "Blessings and Curses" of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28, detailing what God will do to a people who reject Him. Further, God also warns His people to be skeptical of those proclaiming a message of peace that lacks repentance (Jeremiah 4:10; 6:14; 8:11; 14:13; Ezekiel 13:10, 16). But, as God instructs in Deuteronomy 18:21-22, if what Hananiah said did not come to pass, it would be evidence that God had not sent him.

David C. Grabbe
Hananiah's Error

Jeremiah 28:10-11

Hananiah ignored Jeremiah's words of caution and broke the God-ordained yoke that symbolized Nebuchadnezzar's authority over the kingdoms. Jeremiah probably enjoyed a measure of relief at no longer having to wear the yoke, but the gravity of what Hananiah had done overshadowed it.

David C. Grabbe
Hananiah's Error

Jeremiah 38:7-10

It is not likely that Ebed-Melech sways the king by humanitarian or moral considerations. He simply stresses to the king his belief that Jeremiah is a prophet about to die. Zedekiah probably acts to return Jeremiah to the relatively posh digs of the royal guards because he too realizes that Jeremiah is a prophet. He does not want to lose his crystal ball. Evidently, the king holds an audience with Jeremiah just after his release from the pit (verse 14).

Charles Whitaker
Servant of God, Act One: Going Around, Coming Around

Ezekiel 36:25

Jeremiah's prophecies preceded Ezekiel's, so we see an unfolding of how this will be accomplished. In Jeremiah 5, we find people setting their wills and choosing to forsake God. They cannot sustain the relationship with Him. In Jeremiah 31, God says He will propose a New Covenant, and the flaw will be taken away. Ezekiel 36 takes it one step further by beginning to tell us how this will be done.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part Eleven)

Daniel 9:2

The prophet Daniel was by this time an old man. He had been taken as a captive to Babylon when he was a young teenager, probably made a eunuch, and trained to serve in Nebuchadnezzar's court. Now, with the defeat of the Babylonians by the Medo-Persians, Daniel was in service to a new king and a new empire, Darius the Mede of the Persian Empire. If the prophet was removed from Jerusalem in 604 BC, the year of Nebuchadnezzer's first invasion, and assuming he was, say, 12 years old at the time, he was now approaching 80 years old (Darius' first year would be c. 537 BC).

And the 70 years of the prophecy were just about up—in fact, they would expire in the next year or so. The prophecy, which Daniel found in "the books" (more correctly, "letters"), had been penned many years before by Jeremiah the prophet. It is found in Jeremiah 29:10: "For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place."

Daniel 9:2 can be read as if Daniel was just coming to the understanding of the seventy years, but that may not be the case. He had probably had access to the letter from Jeremiah for several decades, and he had probably understood that the Jews' exile in Babylon would be only seventy years. However, he may not have known when to commence the count of years, since the Babylonian invasions had been successive and had not finished until about 586 BC. Should he count from 604 BC, from 586 BC, or one of the other incursions?

It is likely that, with his access to the halls of power, Daniel had come to know that Cyrus planned to announce that the Jews could return to the land of their fathers in the next year or two. A little simple math told him that the 604 BC date was the one to begin with. The seventy years was almost complete.

But that brought him up short. He realized that the Jews in Babylon were little better for their captivity than when they left Judah in chains. They were still full of sin. They had not repented of their idolatrous ways. So he falls on his knees to utter his great prayer of confession, of which Daniel 9:10-11 is a sample:

We have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets. Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him.

He ends with the well-known supplication: "O LORD, hear! O LORD, forgive! O LORD, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name" (Daniel 9:19).

The obvious lesson for us is that we know that the return of Jesus Christ is not far off. Do we have a similar repentant attitude as Daniel had?

Richard T. Ritenbaugh


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