Jeremiah 22 & The Immaculate Conception

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the-book-of-JeremiahIn the year 586 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar invades Judah and destroys Jerusalem, just as the prophet Jeremiah had been warning for some time.  After conquering Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar exiles many of the ruling class and installs Zedekiah as ruler over the enslaved Israelites left in their homeland.  In chapter 22, Jeremiah has shifted from recording his prophetic warnings to Zedekiah (post-invansion) to recording his warning to Jechoniah – the king of Judah at the time Babylon invaded.  Jechoniah would only reign as King for 3 months before Nebuchudnezzar would overthrow him and lead him into captivity into Babylon.

In chapter 22:18-19 Jeremiah warns Jechoniah of this impending disaster, telling him that he would not be mourned as a normal king, buried in the King’s Tombs in Jerusalem, but instead would be tossed into a field to rot.  (This is imagery of him being led into slavery in Babylon – where he died).  Another interesting note by Jeremiah in this chapter is the subtle change of name used in vs. 24 & 28.  God gives Jeremiah a prophetic warning of His rejection of Jechoniah due to his disobedience.  Instead of using the name Jechoniah (which means “Jehovah established”), God has Jeremiah use the name Choniah (which would be just “established” without the Jehovah prefix).  In essence, God is telling Jechoniah (and everyone else) that He was withdrawing His hand of Blessing from the King and the people of Judah.

Sadly, Jechoniah ignored him.

In the final verse of chapter 22 – Jeremiah records a prophetic curse that is a major part of our understanding who Jesus is.

Thus says the Lord: Write this man [Coniah] down as childless, a man who shall not prosper in his days, for no man of his offspring shall succeed in sitting upon the throne of David and ruling any more in Judah.– Jer 22:30 AMP

God says that Jechoniah’s line would never again sit upon the throne of David in Jerusalem as Israel’s King.  Yet, we are also told that the Messiah would be a descendant of David and would reign as King upon David’s throne (recorded in 1 Kings, 1 Chron).  How can this be?  How can one curse say the line of David would end with Jechoniah and another blessing say that the Messiah would be from the line of David?

The answer is contained within the genealogies as recorded in the beginnings of Matthew and Luke.  Joseph, the father of Jesus, was a descendant of Jechoniah – part of the cursed royal lineage.  Therefore, Joseph could never be the father of the Messiah – due to his cursed heritage.  But, Mary was also a descendant of David’s line (through Nathan) – so Mary was NOT part of that curse!

Now you can hopefully see why the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary (in essence bypassing Joseph).  The Immaculate Conception was actually part of God’s plan to continue His promise to David, yet fulfill he curse He imposed upon Jechoniah.

God’s Word is true…

 Be Fruitful & Multiply,

 

PK

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Running with Horses (Jeremiah 12)

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running with horsesJeremiah has just finished declaring that God is “uncompromisingly righteous and rigidly just” (Jer 12:1 AMP) – yet here he is bringing some strange questions to God that reveal his limited understanding.

              Why do the wicked prosper?

             Why are those who do wicked things so happy?

              How long will the land mourn and wither?

These questions reveal much about what Jeremiah understands of God.  They present a truly perplexing problem to those who are under the impression that God rules the earth and everything that happens comes from Him.  This teaching is called “Sovereignty of God” and is a staple of Calvinism.

Asaph had this same misunderstanding in Psalm 73:2-17.

When God is understood as an exerciser of blessing and grace to a people who He has endowed with Free Will – then the answers to these questions are easy.

Why do the wicked prosper?

Satan is the god of this world’s system, the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that works in the children of disobedience (2 Cor 4:4, Eph 2:1-3, Rev 12:9).  Many times he helps the wicked to prosper and hinders the righteous who have not yet learned to seek and get the help of God in their financial situation/business.  Therefore, if a wicked man prospers the Christian should not stumble over that fact.  They (the Christian) can prosper more than the wicked if they will be led of God and appropriate the promises to his own life.

 Why are those who do wicked things so happy?

This is because the wicked (those who reject God’s rule over their lives) enjoy being wicked and gaining through ungodly means.  They are as their name suggests.

 How long will the land mourn and wither?

The land is mourning and the grass is withering due to being plundered and destroyed by the wicked.  Again, the prophet assumes that God somehow sitting back and letting that happen.  In actuality, it is happening due to the disobedience of God’s people (Judah) which has circumvented the Blessing of protection over the land.  All of creation is groaning, waiting for that curse to be lifted (Rom 8:20-22).

 In the end – God rebukes Jeremiah for this inaccurate understanding, as well as informs him that this is just the beginning of what is going to happen due to the people’s disobedience.  “If you can’t understand this – and grow weary and discouraged running with the footmen – how will you run with the horses when you need to?”

 Are there any horse-runners out there? (Isaiah 40:31)

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

Jeremiah 5

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JeremiahIn 722 B.C. the aggressive Assyrians invade the northern kingdom of Israel and conquer her, forcing many of her citizens into slavery and basically destroying the kingdom.  But the southern portion (Judah) was basically left alone as Assyria’s attention turned to more important threats elsewhere.  So Judah was left to continue on as a small kingdom for the next 140 years or so.  One would think that the warnings sent to Israel about the coming destruction (in response to their disobedience and sinful lifestyle) would motivate the Judahites to turn back to God and repent in an effort to avoid the same fate as her northern sister.  Unfortunately, this was not the case.

It is within this span of 140 years that the prophet Jeremiah comes on the scene.  Born in the village of Anathoth, north of Jerusalem (Jer 1:1), Jeremiah was the son of Hilkiah, a priest.  He grew up and began his prophetic ministry in the “thirteenth year of Josiah” (1:2).  (If you remember, Josiah was the young king who would find a copy of the book of Deuteronomy in the Temple and usher in a great reform through Judah in 2 Kings 22ff).  So Jeremiah began traveling throughout the countryside proclaiming the unfortunate future of the nation and warning the people to repentance while Josiah was attempting to reform the wayward people from his throne.  In the end Josiah’s efforts fail and the nation plunges further into rebellion and sin.  The entire span of Jeremiah’s ministry is 40 years, through the Babylonian invasion and destruction of Judah in 586 B.C.  Jeremiah would eventually be part of a Jewish group that flees into Egypt – where he will live out his days.

Jeremiah has been labeled the “Weeping Prophet” due to the doom and gloom nature of his message.  (This will stand out even more when we get into Lamentations). I believe this is an unfair stigma for Jeremiah to carry because the only people who stand to be hurt by what the future holds are those in disobedience.  Unfortunately – this pretty much included everyone.  When reading through Jeremiah it is difficult to miss the constant pleas by God for His people to turn and repent.  In fact – in chapter 5 we see this clearly laid out in it’s opening verse:

Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now and take notice! Seek in her broad squares to see if you can find a man [as Abraham sought in Sodom], one who does justice, who seeks truth, sincerity, and faithfulness; and I will pardon [Jerusalem—for one uncompromisingly righteous person]. – Jer 5:1 AMP

You can hear God’s heart come out in this opening section of the chapter.  It is almost as if He is begging Jeremiah to locate just one as an excuse for Him to save them.  Sadly, in the next few verses the Prophet reveals the outcome of that search; “they refused correction” (vs 3), “they refused to repent” (vs 4).  After that Jeremiah seeks the leaders for “surely they know the way of the Lord” (vs 5), but they too had turned away.

The rest of the chapter deals with the impending destruction that will come from the north in the form of Babylon.  Pictured as a lion and a wolf, the Babylonians will sweep in and destroy God’s sinful people.  This result isn’t due to God being mean or unfair.  The people had numerous warnings and pleadings to return to what they knew to be true, yet they ignored it.  

It wasn’t God who did this to them – it was their own choices.

“Your iniquities have turned these blessings away, and your sins have kept good [harvests] from you.– Jer 5:25 AMP

As we have seen repeated over and over throughout our reading of the Bible, it is sin which leads to trouble and calamity.  Sin leads to heartache and destruction.  Sin leads to poverty and sickness.  In direct opposition to that – it is God who continues to extend mercy and grace to His wayward, rebellious, adulterous people.  Three different times in the last two chapters God shows His true nature; “I will not destroy you completely” (vs 10, 18, 4:27).  God longs to save His people, protect them, rescue them from danger, hold them in the palm of His hand and shelter them.  But He knows they must choose for themselves – and they continue to choose sin.

My friend, God loves you.  He longs to save you, protect you, rescue you from danger.  He longs to hold you in the palm of His hand and shelter you. 

But you must choose to repent and obey His ways.

The Prince of Babylon is coming from the north…

Be fruitful & multiply,

PK