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Jeremiah—Message and Messenger—Chapter 26

 

Acropolis © Val J. Lee

The Acropolis, Athens, Greece                           © Val J. Lee

For Jeremiah commentaries chapters 1-17 please link here: https://vallee7.wordpress.com/2009/03/27/jeremiah-the-message-and-messenger/

For chapters 18-25 please link here: https://vallee7.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/jeremiah-the-message-and-messenger-part-2-2/

We have arrived at the halfway mark of the book of Jeremiah segmented by chapter count. Don’t you feel as if you have accomplished much?  Well, you should as this is a large book and its content challenging at times. Thanks for hanging in there with Jeremiah through all his trials including the trials of his death warrants. Fortunately, this man of faith was willing to die for the LORD His God. Many have stood in his shoes including the approximate 100,000 believers around the world who sacrifice their lives for their Savior each year. Of course, no one knows for sure the exact number. Notorious North Korea persecutes Christians and leaves no record of lives lost. This nation is the greatest consumer of innocent, human lives. Tens of thousands of Christians are tortured, imprisoned and murdered for their faith in this closed nation. A Korean will receive a 15-year prison sentence of hard labor in a prison camp if caught with a Bible. When Korea was free, Christianity flourished. This previous to the Korean war—1950-1953.

“Islamic oppression fuels persecution in 8 of the top 10 countries where persecution exists.”

“Every day six women are raped, sexually harassed, or forced into marriage to a Muslim under threat of death due to their Christian faith . . . ” This according to persecution news.

Sincerely, coming to the Savior means willingly carrying our large stake down the road of death if necessary. Christ made it clear that all must count the cost before coming to Him. And as God states, we do not know what a day may bring. 

Easy believe-ism today sets before the unsaved world a facade representation that says it’s all about activities and having fun—akin to joining a social club. This is how the contemporary church presents salvation in Christ. He never painted such a picture! His pattern for us was a bloody sacrifice nailed to a tree. (And as I have stated previously the Greek word is “tree” or “stake.”  “Cross” is not located in the ancient texts and crosses have been used in pagan worship close to the beginning of time.) 

And some have given there lives in America for refusing to deny Christ in a most bloody way: 

“An anti-Christian gunman stormed into a classroom at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College in 2015 and this is what ensued:

Kortney Moore was inside the classroom. She told the Roseburg News-Review that the shooter ordered students to get on the ground — and then told them to stand up and state their religion.

‘And they would stand up and he said, ‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second,’ Stacy Boylan said in a televised report. ‘And then he shot and killed them.’

His 18-year-old daughter was struck in the back by a bullet – that traveled down her spine. She survived. Miss Moore, too, survived.

Davis Jaques, publisher of the Roseburg Beacon News, said he received a text message from a student who said she was inside the classroom.

‘The shooter was lining people up and asking if they were Christians,” the message read. ‘If they said yes, then they were shot in the head. If they said no or didn’t answer, they were shot in the leg.”  

Yes, today’s American martyrs.

Another Oregon report: ROSEBURG —”Lacey Scroggins, an 18-year-old, wouldn’t have been sitting in church Sunday if it weren’t for the classmate who saved her life.

Her father, the pastor, is certain of that. On Sunday, after addressing congregants at a church service, Randy Scroggins spoke with The Oregonian/OregonLive and described how one of his daughter’s classmates shielded his daughter from the hail of bullets that killed nine people and wounded nine others at Umpqua Community College on Thursday …  He pointed the gun at a student and shot without hesitation. Lacey was lying on the ground, her forehead pressed against the backs of her hands.

‘You, in the orange,’ the shooter said to a student. ‘You, in the orange shirt, stand up.’ The shooter asked if he was a Christian, Lacey told her father. The student said yes. Lacey heard a pop, then a thud.

He called another student to the front of the room and asked the same question regarding being a Christian. Lacey heard him yell that he’d been shot, too.

At some point during the chaos, Chris Mintz, a student in a nearby classroom, an Army veteran, came to see what was wrong. He was shot multiple times in the doorway. Mintz is recovering in a hospital and has been praised as a hero for reportedly running at the shooter to save other students.

Lacey told her dad she remembers a barrage of gunfire when the police arrived. When it was safe, she got up and used her scarf as a tourniquet on a victim. She helped another by telling them to plug a bullet wound with a finger.

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And we have the martyrs in Sutherland Springs, Texas, who were gunned down by a demonic madman while in a church in 2017. Survivors still request prayer as the pain lives on.

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In this chapter of Jeremiah, we are set under the rulership of the King Jehoiakim, possibly his first year, as it states “in the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim.”

Jeremiah is commanded by God to stand in the court of the temple or Lord’s house as he is to speak to all the cities of Judah who congregated for worship. This may have been a Sabbath day; that is, a Saturday. 

God reminds Jeremiah he is not to omit a word from God’s Words.  When it comes to revealing Scripture, we are never to omit words; what is spoken or written is never to deviate from God’s true intent. We are grateful the translators of the Bible have held to this command and we possess several accurate translations from the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek—actually, Koiné Greek which is a later development of Classical Greek—more complicated Greek used by scholars. Koiné is considered Biblical Greek or Hellenistic.  It is considered the everyday language of Greeks. It is similar to present-day Greek.

(When we were in Athens, Greece, we traveled up the walkway leading to the ancient hill of The Acropolis. Along the walk, you view the apostle Paul’s message to the people of Greece set on a plaque; his message preached to the Greeks on Mars Hill and recorded in Acts 17. The message on the plaque is in Greek, written for the people of Greece. It reminds people that God hates idol worship in any form and salvation is found in the only true God of all, “in whom we live, move and have our being.”)

Laban (Rachel’s father) and King Nebuchadnezzar spoke in Aramaic as well as others. The Jews spoke Aramaic when they returned from Babylon. Christ spoke it a few times as well. Though there is a bit of Aramaic in both testaments, most of the New Testament was penned in Greek and the Old Testament in Hebrew.  

Informative video on ancient languages including Hebrew and its small part in creating the English language: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-Bqe5rfl5s

We know God desires that every man be saved so none suffer through all eternity in the Lake of Fire. Verse 3 of this Jeremiah chapter reveals this and so does 1 Timothy 2:4. God discloses His concerned love and tender heart here as He lets Jeremiah know He desires none perish and all repent. From verse 3—“that I may relent concerning the calamity which I purpose to bring on them because of the evil of their doings.” 

God keeps Jeremiah keeping-on even though He knows their future of non-repentance. Though these Jews did not take heed, this book was placed in the hands of countless numbers to reveal God’s love so future generations would turn to Him and away from evil.

 Of course, the whole discourse of Jeremiah is a revelation of God’s longsuffering charity which could not be denied. 

What always irked God was the fact, He faithfully sent His servants to His disobedient children, yet there was never a time of prolonged obedience. They would not listen to most of these devout prophets till after the judgment blade fell upon them; verse 5.

In verse 6, the city of Shiloh is set before us. Genesis 49:10 informs us, this is a title for the Messiah. This exalted appellation was also conveyed to a city in Israel which was the original place of worship when the Jews entered the land under Joshua. This was where the tabernacle sat and where worship ensued. Isn’t it interesting their original place of worship was named in Christ’s honor, but because of sin, God had to destroy it? Shiloh seemed to flourish during the time of righteous Eli who acted as judge, but when his evil sons, Hopni and Phinehas, came on the scene, desecrating the tabernacle with their promiscuous sins and disrespect for priestly service, all took an evil turn. And young Samuel was warned of God’s arriving judgment which would ensue, “In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them. And therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.” (From 1 Samuel chapter 3)

The first act of judgment took place when the ark of the covenant, stationed in Shiloh, was allowed to be removed by Israel’s enemy—the Philistines. The vile, idolatrous Philistines suffered in a humorous way for extracting the ark of the covenant. Please read 1 Samuel chapter 5. 

And then came the judging deaths of Hophni and Phinehas as they warred with the Philistines.

Shiloh was destroyed during the time of Samuel. God could have rained down judgment in fire. However, no one knows any details of Shiloh’s slide from existence or its vanishment. Some write the Philistines destroyed Shiloh; however, after God’s judgment fell upon them, they were fearful of nearing Israel during this period in history. We do know God made sure Shiloh left nothing behind. 

As I stated, “Shiloh” is another name for Christ Jesus. The Jews Messiah, Shiloh, had to be destroyed too due to all transgressions of mankind.  Shiloh will someday stand before all and every person will bow their knee to Him and confess He is LORD.  Genesis 49:10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”

God is saying, as Shiloh was destroyed so will be Judah.

Shiloh was a place of worship and God did not spare it even though it bore one of the titles of Christ. Jerusalem will not be spared even though its root meaning is “peace.” Shiloh means tranquility or peace as well.

“You must die!” This is the pronouncement made in the court of the temple, verse 8, upon Jeremiah. The people are all disgruntled for his prophecy of temple destruction. All the people, priests, and prophets are ready to murder Jeremiah for speaking convicting truths. 

The woman at the well claimed to have concern for the proper place of worship. She seemed to deem it as being of utmost importance as did these lawless Jews in Jeremiah’s time. In John 4, we observe her concern expressed as she sought Christ’s opinion on where one should worship. (I believe she was attempting to sound super-pious and wanted to change the subject away from herself.) She brings this up as she did not worship at the designated location—Jerusalem, but at Mt. Gerizim in Samaria. She seemed to desire to know if it mattered. Mt. Gerizim was close to where Shiloh once stood. The Samaritan, Gerizim temple was fairly large before its destruction in 128 BC. To this day, 800 Samaritans worship on Mt. Gerizim without a temple, simply among historical, lauding, building remains. And these Samaritans perform the sacrifice of Sheep for Passover on Mt. Gerizim. 

Christ informed the Samaritan woman the place of worship was inconsequential as He had come to bring holy change; whereby, the Holy Spirit would dwell within for personal communion. Of course, now, houses of worship are everywhere in the world; a concept incomprehensible to all Jews at this time.  

It would have been a scary thing to be in Jeremiah’s shoes at this point, knowing he may soon die for not relenting on God’s Words concerning the temple’s destruction. The judgment of death has been passed by all, but Jeremiah is walking in total strength and not by his might but by the LORD’S might.

Remember, Christ was crucified by the descendants of these Jews because He rightfully called Himself God—He existed before Abraham was—John 8:58. And He is the great “I Am.”

It seems to take little to madden the hearts of men when truth convicts hearts. In 2 Chronicles 24:20-21, we read of the Spirit of God coming upon Zechariah (not the Zechariah of the prophetical book) who was a priest and he foretold the words of God speaking this, “Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD and do not prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD and He has forsaken you.” Then we read “so they conspired against him and at the command of the king, they stoned him to death in the court of the Lord.”  

This is the same place where Jeremiah is preaching his prophecy and where Jews currently desire his death.  Godly Zechariah died many years previous, during the reign of King Joash, but the same convicting malice lived on. 

Christians too can get angry—acutely angry when their worldly ways are exposed as wicked through Scriptural admonishment. They do not kill when they hear strong preaching, but their lips can pour forth much hatred. Almost every godly pastor has received angry words from a parishioner who did not desire strong Bible admonishment from the pulpit. I have been personally amazed at the number of believers who simply desire a social setting which pleases all ears. They will do all they can to keep convicting, inductive teaching out of their church and Sunday school.  They will maneuver to change the subject to a worldly, non-threatening topic in a Sunday school class setting. They will even complain to leadership to remove teachers who are on-fire for the Word. They will make excuses such as the teacher didn’t provide enough discussion time because he just taught the Bible or the teacher was taking too much time covering one book.  One lady told me she was leaving a church because the pastor was preaching excessively through the book of Revelation. And I will add, he was doing an exceptional job of it.

In verse 10, we witness in mind’s eye, royal officials leaving the king’s palace, where governmental matters transpired, to see what was going on at the temple. They arrive at the New Gate, an entrance heading into the temple area where all this livid hatred was in full swing.  It may have resembled a mob scene with loud screaming and yelling being directed at Jeremiah. These officials may have come running after hearing the public uproar. 

The accumulated Jews are telling these officials, in verse 11, a death sentence must be handed down from them to Jeremiah. You can envision all the irritated, twisted faces pouring forth these demands in earsplitting, soaring tones.

Jeremiah presents his defense in verse 12, stating he was simply speaking the Words of the LORD . . . “Just speaking the Words of the LORD” can ignite a fuming crowd!  

Jeremiah appears not to be afraid here and he is obviously filled with the Holy Spirit as he continues to pour forth truth. He reveals no dread even though his life is held in the balance. He even displays more boldness, verse 13, to further proclaim they must amend their ways and obey God so He will withdraw His demise decree.

These people know the Scriptures; conscious of the fact they are not obeying. But they don’t want to hear it anymore. They have had enough!

Believers today know much of the Scriptures but choose not to obey. They make all excuses for their worldly views and activities. They choose not to be friends with those who are on fire for Christ and His Word. They maintain their own comfort zone of lukewarm associates, oftentimes a clique. 

Jeremiah exudes in Christ-likeness in verse 14, submitting to the authorities that be, complying with the words, “I am in your hands; do with me as is good and right in your sight.” Christ too let the religious officials take him as a silent lamb. Christ did not fight with words or fists nor did Jeremiah. 

A true man of God, akin to Jeremiah, will possess peace to endure whatever may come when he is standing and not wavering. He prevails, but not in his own strength. Many Christians, up to this present day, have endured great pain, dying in silence for their LORD God at the hands of their persecutors. They trusted their supernatural peace was a witness to their murderers.

In verse 15, Jeremiah places the fear of the LORD into these people, reminding them, if they murder him, he will die in innocence.

He has only been a microphone for his LORD and nothing he has stated has contradicted the Word. God’s judgment falls on the disobedient, hateful heart.  Everyone pays for what they do, even believers. Consequences don’t disappear even through forgiveness. An alcoholic may come to Christ, be forgiven, and cease drinking; but it doesn’t automatically heal his body of all consequential, physical disorders. And a murderer may come to Christ while in prison, but it doesn’t open prison doors. It also doesn’t resurrect the murdered victim nor take away the pain of those who still ache from the act. 

We do know God can heal our bodies from sinful, chosen activities, though oftentimes He chooses not to so all view there are penalties to every evil action.  

If these self-righteous Jews had murdered Jeremiah and later repented of their murderous ways, “misfortune” would still be upon them. It was pre-declared by God. 

What Jeremiah has wisely laid-out sinks in their minds, verse 16, as the officials and the people waiver the death sentence. They know their history and the fact their God is to be feared; plus, moving action to this deadly point would only serve their harm. 

And how could they forget the fact righteous King Josiah stood with Jeremiah and Jeremiah’s father, High Priest Hilkiah, when Josiah brought revival to the land. And it was Jeremiah who brought lamentation at Josiah’s funeral: “Then Jeremiah chanted a lament for Josiah. And all the male and female singers speak about Josiah in their lamentations to this day. And they made them an ordinance in Israel; behold, they are also written in the Lamentations.” (2 Chronicles 35:25)

These Jews are aware Jeremiah is totally upright and they can’t make any accusations concerning him being unrighteous or evil. 

It’s like all the people awakened from a Rip Van Winkle sleep, in verse 18, to the fact that Jeremiah is speaking true words which do not contradict Scriptural records. They could have also cited Moses who was the first one to say if they went after idols, they would be destroyed and the land. They chose, however, to cite a more current prophet, Micah of Morsheth. Micah warned the people in the days of King Hezekiah of Jerusalem’s destruction. They quote Micah 3:12 in this verse. We know this is the same Micah as Micah 1:1 states the Word of the Lord came to Micah of Moresheth.   

Micah lived during the period of Isaiah and may have prophesied with him in 2 Chronicles 32:20-22. This is where Hezekiah prayed with Isaiah for Judah’s deliverance from the Assyrians. God answered these humble intercessions and sent an angel who destroyed every totally, equipped Assyrian warrior.  Angels are God’s mighty, prevailing, male messengers. We read it only took one to annihilate all!

Fortunately, Micah was one prophet who was not put to death and the people here are obviously glad about it.  They, at least, didn’t kill every prophet who spoke God’s Word in convicting truths. Though they persecuted all of them.

The Jews also know, because Micah was spared during King Hezekiah’s days, God didn’t bring “misfortune” against the Jews. They know if they continue down this angry road at this point, they will dreadfully feel the consequences; verse 19.

Church attendees who have dismissed a pastor or teacher because he convicted them through uncompromising Biblical messages certainly paid the consequences in one way or another. God would not overlook such a vile act. I’ve been told of a situation where some people have maneuvered to remove a pastor because they want one who is contemporary or worldly; one who knows how to be styling to bring in more numbers. God sees all and we know from Revelation, He does not overlook the sins of worldly, compromising churches but deals accordingly. 

2 Peter, Chapter 2 explains why we must be careful. “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned.” Chapters 2 and 3 of 2 Peter are chapters which we must keep in mind for discernment-sake.

Jeremiah chapter 26, verse 20, takes us to an interesting situation as there seems to be another prophet who was also preaching destruction to Jerusalem. His name was Uriah but instead of standing strong with Jeremiah, this man runs away to Egypt in fear. This causes one to wonder if he was truly called of God and moved in His power or he only preached to gain an audience. The protection of God was not placed on this runaway, being he was put to death by King Jehoiakim (second son of Josiah) who made sure he was sought and found.

And we do not read God spoke through Uriah anywhere. He did speak truth but there is no indication of prophetical calling. He may have been a Jeremiah imitator. Remember, God condemned the prophets who stole each others’ words in Jeremiah 23:30—”Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,” declares the LORD, “who steal My words from each other.” No doubt, this is addressing plagiarism to make it appear as if all have a special communication with God when many did not . . . “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.”  This is true of liberal preachers today who do not truly believe in the infallibility of the Word of God and its holy and separated callings.

It is interesting Uriah is buried among the common people; God ensured his burial was not honorable; chapter 26, verse 23. We will know for sure the man’s motive when we reach heaven and learn all things. ( 1 Corinthians 13:10—“but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.”)

We see God’s protection continuously upon Jeremiah, His true called spokesman. God employed Abikam, an influential government official, to keep Jeremiah from the Jews who desired to slay him rather than be convicted of sin; verse 24. Ahikam is the hero of this chapter.

God held His protective hand over Jeremiah as He revealed He would from the beginning of Jeremiah’s calling.

In Him who oversees all,

Val Lee

  

July 10, 2019 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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