(All Bible texts are in the NKJV Bible unless otherwise indicated)
7 And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.
The first years of Jehoiakim's reign were filled with warnings of approaching doom. The word of the Lord spoken by the prophets was about to be fulfilled. The Assyrian power to the northward, long supreme, was no longer to rule the nations. Egypt on the south, in whose power the king of Judah was vainly placing his trust, was soon to receive a decided check. All unexpectedly a new world power, the Babylonian Empire, was rising to the eastward and swiftly overshadowing all other nations.
Within a few short years the king of Babylon was to be used as the instrument of God's wrath upon impenitent Judah. Again and again Jerusalem was to be invested and entered by the besieging armies of Nebuchadnezzar. Company after company--at first a few only, but later on thousands and tens of thousands--were to be taken captive to the land of Shinar, there to dwell in enforced exile. Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, Zedekiah--all these Jewish kings were in turn to become vassals of the Babylonian ruler, and all in turn were to rebel. Severer and yet more severe chastisements were to be inflicted upon the rebellious nation, until at last the entire land was to become a desolation, Jerusalem was to be laid waste and burned with fire, the temple that Solomon had built was to be destroyed, and the kingdom of Judah was to fall, never again to occupy its former position among the nations of earth.
Those times of change, so fraught with peril to the Israelitish nation, were marked with many messages from Heaven through Jeremiah. Thus the Lord gave the children of Judah ample opportunity of freeing themselves from entangling alliances with Egypt, and of avoiding controversy with the rulers of Babylon. As the threatened danger came closer, he taught the people by means of a series of acted parables, hoping thus to arouse them to a sense of their obligation to God, and also to encourage them to maintain friendly relations with the Babylonian government.
To illustrate the importance of yielding implicit obedience to the requirements of God, Jeremiah gathered some Rechabites into one of the chambers of the temple and set wine before them, inviting them to drink. As was to have been expected, he met with remonstrance and absolute refusal. "We will drink no wine," the Rechabites firmly declared, "for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons forever."
"Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, ill ye not receive instruction to hearken to My words? saith the Lord. The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father's commandment." Jeremiah 35:6, 12-14.
God sought thus to bring into sharp contrast the obedience of the Rechabites with the disobedience and rebellion of His people. The Rechabites had obeyed the command of their father and now refused to be enticed into transgression. But the men of Judah had hearkened not to the words of the Lord, and were in consequence about to suffer His severest judgments.
"I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking," the Lord declared, "but ye hearkened not unto Me. I have sent also unto you all My servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto Me. Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them; but this people hath not hearkened unto Me: therefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them: because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered." Verses 14-17.
When men's hearts are softened and subdued by the constraining influence of the Holy Spirit, they will give heed to counsel; but when they turn from admonition until their hearts become hardened, the Lord permits them to be led by other influences. Refusing the truth, they accept falsehood, which becomes a snare to their own destruction.
14 Moreover all the leaders of the priests and the people transgressed more and more, according to all the abominations of the nations, and defiled the house of the Lord which He had consecrated in Jerusalem.
He said to me,
Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house
of Israel do in the dark, every man in the room of his idols? For they
The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.
22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man - and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
1 Now King Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah. 2 But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land gave heed to the words of the Lord which He spoke by the prophet Jeremiah.
Zedekiah the king sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the
son of Maaseiah, the priest, to the prophet Jeremiah, saying,
to theLord our God for us. 4 Now Jeremiah was coming and going among
the people, for they had not yet put him in prison. 5 Then Pharaohs
army came up from Egypt; and when the Chaldeans who were besieging
Jerusalem heard news of them, they departed from Jerusalem.
the word of the Lord came to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, 7
the Lord, the God of Israel, 9 Thus says theLord:
Thus you shall say to the king of Judah,
who sent you to Me to inquire of Me:
Behold, Pharaohs army which has
come up to help you will return to Egypt, to their own land. 8 And the
Chaldeans shall come back and fight against this city, and take it and
burn it with fire.
Do not deceive yourselves,
The Chaldeans will surely depart from us, for they will not
depart. 10 For though you had defeated the whole army of the Chaldeans
who fight against you, and there remained onlywounded men among them,
they would rise up, every man in his tent, and burn the city with
15 But he rebelled against him by sending his ambassadors to Egypt, that they might give him horses and many people. Will he prosper? Will he who does such things escape? Can he break a covenant and still be delivered?
As I live, says
the Lord God,
surely in the place where the king dwells who made him
king, whose oath he despised and whose covenant he broke - with him in the
midst of Babylon he shall die. 17 Nor will Pharaoh with his mighty army
and great company do anything in the war, when they heap up a siege
mound and build a wall to cut off many persons. 18 Since he despised the
oath by breaking the covenant, and in fact gave his hand and still did
all thesethings, he shall not escape.
Shephatiah the son of Mattan, Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, Jucal the
son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchiah heard the words that
Jeremiah had spoken to all the people, saying, 2
Thus says the Lord:
He who remains in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by
pestilence; but he who goes over to the Chaldeans shall live; his life
shall be as a prize to him, and he shall live. 3 Thus says the Lord:
This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylons
army, which shall take it.
4 Therefore the princes said to the
Please, let this man be put to death, for thus he weakens the
hands of the men of war who remain in this city, and the hands of all
the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man does not seek
the welfare of this people, but their harm.
5 Then Zedekiah the
Look, he is in your hand. For the king can donothing against
you. 6 So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah
the kings son, which was in the court of the prison, and they let
Jeremiah down with ropes. And in the dungeon there was no water, but
mire. So Jeremiah sank in the mire.
4 But Jesus
said to them,
A prophet is not without honor except in his own country,
among his own relatives, and in his own house.
1 In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem, and besieged it. 2 In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, the city was penetrated.
3 Then all the princes of the king of Babylon came in and sat in the Middle Gate: Nergal-Sharezer, Samgar-Nebo, Sarsechim, Rabsaris, Nergal-Sarezer, Rabmag,with the rest of the princes of the king of Babylon.
4 So it was, when Zedekiah the king of Judah and all the men of war saw them, that they fled and went out of the city by night, by way of the kings garden, by the gate between the two walls. And he went out by way of the plain. 5 But the Chaldean army pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. And when they had captured him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he pronounced judgment on him. 6 Then the king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes in Riblah; the king of Babylon also killed all the nobles of Judah. 7 Moreover he put out Zedekiahs eyes, and bound him with bronze fetters to carry him off to Babylon. 8 And the Chaldeans burned the kings house and the houses of the people with fire, and broke down the walls of Jerusalem. 9 Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive to Babylon the remnant of the people who remained in the city and those who defected to him, with the rest of the people who remained. 10 But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left in the land of Judah the poor people, who had nothing, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time.
1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord after Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he had taken him bound in chains among all who were carried away captive from Jerusalem and Judah, who were carried away captive to Babylon.
2 And the captain of
the guard took Jeremiah and said to him:
The Lord your God has
pronounced this doom on this place. 3 Now the Lord has brought it,and
has done just as He said. Because you people have sinned against
theLord, and not obeyed His voice, therefore this thing has come upon
you. 4 And now look, I free you this day from the chains that were on
your hand. If it seems good to you to come with me to Babylon, come, and
I will look after you. But if it seems wrong for you to come with me to
Babylon, remain here. See, all the land is before you; wherever it
seems good and convenient for you to go, go there.
5 Now while
Jeremiah had not yet gone back, Nebuzaradan said,
Go back to Gedaliah
the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has made
governor over the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people.
Or go wherever it seems convenient for you to go. So the captain of
the guard gave him rations and a gift and let him go. 6 Then Jeremiah
went to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, to Mizpah, and dwelt with him among
the people who were left in the land.
Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to
Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying, 12
Take him and look
after him, and do him no harm; but do to him just as he says to you.
6 Then Jeremiah went to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, to Mizpah, and dwelt with him among the people who were left in the land.
7 And when all the captains of the armies who were in the fields, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam governor in the land, and had committed to him men, women, children, and the poorest of the land who had not been carried away captive to Babylon,
13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
1 Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the remainder of the elders who were carried away captive - to the priests, the prophets, and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 (This happened after Jeconiah the king, the queen mother, the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the smiths had departed from Jerusalem.) 3 The letter was sentby the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, saying,
4 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon:
5 Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. 6 Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters - that you may be increased there, and not diminished. 7 And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace. 8 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. 9 For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them, says the Lord.
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. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.
it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the
blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to
mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you, 2 and
you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all
that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and
with all your soul, 3 that the Lord your God will bring you back from
captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the
nations where the Lord your God has scattered you. 4 If any of you are
driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord your
God will gather you, and from there He will bring you.
29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.
7 And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.
11 And this whole land shall be a
desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king
of Babylon seventy years. 12
Then it will come to pass, when seventy
years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that
nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, says the Lord;
and I will make it a perpetual desolation.
21 to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.
2 in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
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.
4 but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to the Lord. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard.
34 Then the land shall enjoy its sabbaths as long as it lies desolate and youare in your enemies land;
then the land shall rest and enjoy its sabbaths.
43 The land also shall be left empty by them, and will enjoy its sabbaths while it lies desolate without them; they will accept their guilt, because they despised My judgments and because their soul abhorred My statutes.
It is not for you to Know the Times or the Seasons
shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being
seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the
kingdom of God: and, being assembled together with them, commanded them
that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of
the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly
baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not
many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of
him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to
Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or
the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power (Acts 1:3-7).
disciples were anxious to know the exact time for the revelation of the
kingdom of God; but Jesus tells them that they may not know the times
and the seasons; for the Father has not revealed them. To understand
when the kingdom of God should be restored, was not the thing of most
importance for them to know. They were to be found following the Master,
praying, waiting, watching, and working. They were to be
representatives to the world of the character of Christ. That which was
essential for a successful Christian experience in the days of the
disciples, is essential in our day.
And he said unto them, It is not
for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in
his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is
come upon you. And after the Holy Ghost was come upon them, what were
they to do?
And ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in
all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth
(Acts 1:7, 8).
This is the work in which we also are to be engaged. Instead of living in expectation of some special season of excitement, we are wisely to improve present opportunities, doing that which must be done in order that souls may be saved. Instead of exhausting the powers of our mind in speculations in regard to the times and seasons which the Lord has placed in His own power, and withheld from men, we are to yield ourselves to the control of the Holy Spirit, to do present duties, to give the bread of life, unadulterated with human opinions, to souls who are perishing for the truth.
Satan is ever ready to fill the mind with theories and calculations that will divert men from the present truth, and disqualify them for the giving of the third angels message to the world. It has ever been thus; for our Saviour often had to speak reprovingly to those who indulged in speculations and were ever inquiring into those things which the Lord had not revealed. Jesus had come to earth to impart important truth to men, and He wished to impress their minds with the necessity of receiving and obeying His precepts and instructions, of doing their present duty, and His communications were of an order that imparted knowledge for their immediate and daily use.
This is life eternal, that they might know thee
the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent (John 17:3).
All that was done and said had this one object in view - to rivet truth in
their minds that they might attain unto everlasting life. Jesus did not
come to astonish men with some great announcement of some special time
when some great event would occur, but He came to instruct and save the
lost. He did not come to arouse and gratify curiosity; for He knew that
this would but increase the appetite for the curious and the marvelous.
It was His aim to impart knowledge whereby men might increase in
spiritual strength, and advance in the way of obedience and true
holiness. He gave only such instruction as could be appropriated to the
needs of their daily life, only such truth as could be given to others
for the same appropriation.
He did not make new revelations to men, but opened to their understanding truths that had long been obscured or misplaced through the false teaching of the priests and teachers. Jesus replaced the gems of divine truth in their proper setting, in the order in which they had been given to patriarchs and prophets. And after giving them this precious instruction, He promised to give them the Holy Spirit whereby all things that He had said unto them should be brought to their remembrance.
We are in
continual danger of getting above the simplicity of the gospel. There
is an intense desire on the part of many to startle the world with
something original, that shall lift the people into a state of spiritual
ecstasy, and change the present order of experience. There is certainly
great need of a change in the present order of experience; for the
sacredness of present truth is not realized as it should be, but the
change we need is a change of heart, and can only be obtained by seeking
God individually for His blessing, by pleading with Him for His power,
by fervently praying that His grace may come upon us, and that our
characters may be transformed. This is the change we need today, and for
the attainment of this experience we should exercise persevering energy
and manifest heartfelt earnestness. We should ask with true sincerity,
What shall I do to be saved? We should know just what steps we are
to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs
of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say,
If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been
partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.