We [come to] the prophet Jeremiah in his trials and sufferings. His life was one of the loneliest and saddest in Scripture. His personal experiences were bitter. The message of disaster he had to proclaim was depressing and unwelcome. And the times in which he lived were of unparalleled national calamity. His efforts were foredoomed to failure. It was a lost cause from the beginning. He was everywhere hated and misunderstood. While intensely loving and grieving for his countrymen and his nation, he was despised and persecuted as an enemy and a traitor.
But amidst all this background of thick gloom, there shines in a few chapters in the center of the book the glorious picture of the eternal kingdom of righteousness that will finally triumph, and in which this rejected prophet will have an honored part.
"Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise up into 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" - chapter 23.
Chapter 31 - "He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock."
Jeremiah was born in the closing years of the long evil reign of Manasseh. This king's reign sealed the doom of the kingdom and brought to an end God's much-tried longsuffering and patience. Jeremiah records, in chapter 15, God speaking,
"I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for that which he did in Jerusalem...I am weary with repenting."
The evil Manasseh was born during the fifteen years that were added to Hezekiah's life, when he pleaded with God. Far better for Hezekiah and for Israel, if Hezekiah had submitted to God's wisdom and gone to his rest with his glorious record of faith unsullied, as God in His mercy had planned.
Jeremiah begins his ministry in the reign of the good king Josiah. It was a bright brief interlude of righteousness, but it did not last. Josiah began to reign when he was eight years old. When he was sixteen, he dedicated himself to serve God, and when he was twenty, he set about purging Judah from all their wickedness and idolatry. Jeremiah began his ministry in the next year - the thirteenth of Josiah's reign. Jeremiah would be about the same age as Josiah - about twenty.
It is truly a touching picture of these two young men - king and prophet - laboring to turn the nation to righteousness, as the smoldering judgments of God hovered over the land, just as two young men - a prophet and a king, John and Jesus - did in the days of the nation's final judgment.
It is notable that Jeremiah's ministry began just 40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem and the burning of the temple by the Babylonians. We remember that Jesus began his ministry just 40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem and the burning of the temple by the Romans. In each case a 40-year period of final probation was given to the city.
Jeremiah's mission was to witness for God against apostate and worldly Israel. The Jews today still jealously preserve and revere the prophecy of Jeremiah, though it contains their condemnation as a nation and the record of God pleading in vain with them to return and be saved.
Jeremiah's work was not only as a witness of condemnation. It had a far more glorious purpose. It was principally to encourage and strengthen the scattered faithful remnant of his own day and of all ages since. In this sad time of present crisis for the Truth, its message of comfort has great and sustaining power.
Bro Growcott -- BYT 4.17.
Jeremiah 1 Introduction
It was Jeremiah's lot to prophesy at a time when all things in Judah were rushing down to the final and mournful catastrophe; when political excitement was at its heights; when the worst passions swayed the various parties; and the most fatal counsels prevailed... to see his own people whom he loved with the tenderness of a woman, plunge over the precipice into the wide, weltering ruin.
His name signifies "He whom Yah appoints and exalts" (see ch. 1:5), and he was to minister to the kingdom of Judah for a period of approximately 40 years. He was a prophet-priest, called to the ministry at an early age, but was reluctant to take the service, pleading his youth, inexperience and deficiency of speech as an excuse. But the prophecy that comes from his pen is one of the most vital and important of all.
He ministered at a time when the city of Jerusalem was under threat, and saw the deterioration of a nation that commenced in all the glory of the reigns of David and Solomon. He became a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and thus was typical of the greater servant, the Lord Yahshua Christ.
He was to stand as an iron pillar, which cannot be broken down; as a brazen wall that cannot be breached; and to testify against the princes, priests and people of the land, because all were guilty.
In a desperate age, this man was completely faithful. Though his sensitive nature shrank from the task set him, he continued it to the bitter end, feeling the pain of his message, yet determined to do the bidding of Yahweh though none should hearken.
We commence the reading of this prophecy, to learn of the environment of an age so similar to our own, and to understand the divine wisdom that brings judgment against the evil.
He has to speak against Princes, Priests and People (v. 18), as an iron pillar that cannot be broken down, and brazen walls that cannot be breached or battered. He was not to relinquish his responsibility to speak boldly against the errors of the people, and in this example we continue the spirit of Jeremiah in the last days.
- GEM, Logos.
Prophet of doom and hope.
Jeremiah was Yahweh' s reluctant prophet to Judah and:Jerusalem through the reigns of Josiah (l8 yrs) Jehoahaz (3 months) , Jehoiakim (ll yrs), Jehoiachin (3 months) and Zedekiah (ll yrs), Judah's last king until he come whose right it is. This is a total of 40yrs, when Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar (compare Mtt.23, 24 AD70 - 40 yrs on from the beginning of Christ's ministry). Jeremiah types Christ in his escatology and sufferings.
His message was essentially one of warning of pending judgment on the apostate house of Judah, and is no different to the end of Gentile times and the state of the ecclesial camp which fails to heed the warnings. The political setting and background is Babylon.
Jeremiah was hated because of his message and was despised and rejected by the Jewish (ecclesial) elders, suffering persecution and potential death (Jer. 11.21, Jer.20.2, Jer.38.6), prefiguring Christ at the hands of the elders of Judah. He had few friends, and was a valiant man standing alone amidst a sea of Apostasy, but with saving words to those few who would listen (Jer.l7.7,8). At times he desired to flee away (Jer.9.2), and wished that he had never been born, so aggrieved was he, at the end of his tether with contending against error and apostasy (Jer.20.l4-18).
He was instructed to keep separate, but to pluck out the precious from the vile (Jer.l5. 17,19), and so as to highlight Judah as the faithless bride, who Yahweh rejected, he was instructed not to marry (Jer.l6.8), nor even to pray for them (Jer 4. 11). They were so far gone that even the greatest of lsrael's intercessor's (Moses and Samuel) could not have availed any (Jer.l5.1) ,
Jeremiah warned and prophesied of the 70 years captivity in Babylon (Jer.25), but also he
held out the prospect of a glorious national restoration under Messiah (e.g. Jer.30, 31, 33),
coincident with the destruction of their enemies.
Bro Richard Lister
The Apocalyptic Messenger, Sept 2019
When the terrible judgments came, it would appear that God had completely repudiated Israel and that all hope was gone. But the lonely prophet with his message of eventual glory was a symbol that God was still concerned with them, though they were unfaithful. And his prophecies gave comforting assurance that those who held fast would never be forgotten. And that though these dreadful evils were to come, still the latter end would be blessing and peace.
The name Jeremiah has become in the world proverbial for a 'killjoy,' for one who foresees only doom and disaster. But we know Jeremiah better than that. The world hates those who call attention to its wickedness and folly, and who raise their voice to warn of the judgments that will come upon it. The Jews of Jeremiah's day are typical of human nature everywhere. Though they recognized that he was sent by God, still they blindly hated him for his faithful testimony and resented his foreboding of disaster.
The world powers at the beginning of Jeremiah's time were Assyria and Egypt. During his ministry the Assyrian Empire was completely obliterated, and its mighty and splendid capitol Nineveh, long the wonder and terror of the whole earth, was leveled to the ground so completely that it was soon forgotten and lost. Only in modern times have the ruins of Nineveh been found and identified. And during Jeremiah's time, Egypt was cast down from its age-old preeminence and has ever since been a base kingdom, enslaved and ruled by foreigners.
Jeremiah's day marked the beginning of the great image of Nebuchadnezzar-the kingdom of men- just now running out.
Jeremiah prophesied during the reigns of Judah's last five kings-Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. The chapters of the book of Jeremiah are not in chronological order. Unless this is noted and effort is made to get the right sequence of events, it would be quite confusing to attempt to place these various kings in relation to each other.Bro Growcott - BYT 4.17.