WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY? By now there may be those who are asking why does Reverend J.A. Layman persist in presenting what seems to be an unending listing of Bible verses on this topic? And the answer, according to Layman, is plain and simple: “There are so many Scripture references in the Bible on this topic; indeed, the idea of the failure of the Israelites and the one tribe from among them which is referred to in the name of ‘the Jews’ (Judah), is one of the main topics of the prophets, whose prophecies, in part, were to try and explain to the Jews why they were experiencing the calamities that came their way. It is impossible to truly read the Bible, especially the prophets, and not come to understand the utter failure of the Jews, the chosen people of God, to have remained faithful to their covenant with God! In our last discussion” Layman says, “we were twenty-one chapters into the prophecy of Jeremiah, and there is where we must resume our look at what the Bible says. Remember that Rabbi Simmons presented a short article with a grand total of 22 Scripture references: 16 from the Old Testament, and 6 from the New Testament. There are 23,214 verses in the Old Testament, and 7959 verses in the New Testament. Are we to believe that the Rabbi’s presentation of 16 out of 23,214 verses in the Old Testament, and 6 out of 7959 verses in the New Testament adequately represent the teachings of either of those testaments? Those figures represent far less than 1% of the total verses in either testament! Further, the rabbi’s closing remarks in his article cite Maimonides, reputed to be ‘a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher, one of the greatest Torah scholars of the Middle Ages. (Wikipedia, “Maimonides”) which is like a Christian citing Martin Luther, John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, or, considering how far removed from the writers of the Old Testament Mainonides was, citing Jerry Falwell, Chuck Swindoll, David Jeremiah, or D. James Kennedy, rather than BIBLE! Speaking of which, let us return to our examination of the Scriptures concerning these matters. We left off in our last article looking at Jeremiah 21:5, so we need to resume our examination of the Scripture from there.”
In Jeremiah 23:3 we read concerning the remnant and regathering of “my flock” which specifically in the context refers to the Southern kingdom of Judah, but also is reminiscent of other similar passages which speak of the regathering of the other tribes of the Northern kingdom of Israel.
Jeremiah 23:11 both prophet and priest are profane
According to Jeremiah 23:16 the prophet asserts that “both prophet and priest are profane”.
In Jeremiah 16:16 we read concerning those prophets:
16 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. [REFERENCE: Good sermon text.]
Later in the same chapter, Jeremiah 23:30-31, the prophet concludes “THEREFORE” God “is against the prophets”.
Continuing in Jeremiah 23:32; the prophet says that God is against those that prophesy false dreams; they shall not profit Judah at all.
In Jeremiah 23:33 it is stated that God will forsake Judah.
In Jeremiah 23:36 Jeremiah offers one reason for these calamities: Judah has perverted the words of God.
Once again, after offering his evidence, Jeremiah concludes, “THEREFORE”, God will forsake Judah. Jeremiah 23:39-40
Jeremiah continues his thoughts in Jeremiah 24:1-6 warning that Judah will be carried away captive into Babylon, but that God will maintain a remnant and regather His chosen people back into their homeland in Canaan.
Jeremiah 24:7 states that God will give Judah “an heart to know”; God will open their eyes to recognize “the Lord” and He “will be their God”, and Judah shall return to God with their whole heart.
In Jeremiah 24:9 the prophet returns to discussing what shall befall King Zedekiah and his people, DISPERSION.
Jeremiah 25:9 identifies Nebuchadnezzar, as God’s servant; an heathen King used by God to fulfill His purposes. This idea is repeated in several places in the Scriptures, and should quell the claims of some preachers that God cannot use a sinner to accomplish His will; for clearly this part of the history of the Jews from the King James Bible teaches otherwise. And incidentally, Nebuchadnezzar is not the ONLY heathen that the Bible records was used by God to fulfill His purposes, but King’s Darius and Cyrus of the subsequent Medo-Persian empire are also referred to as God’s servants in some passages of Scripture. When these ideas are pressed to their logical conclusion, we learn that God is and has been actively involved in the history of the world, not merely in that of the nation of Israel; active in accomplishing His will for Jew, Gentile, and eventually the church! (See Jeremiah 27:6)
Jeremiah continues his warning about the imminent captivity in Babylon providing further details in Jeremiah 25:11; that captivity will last 70 years.
In Jeremiah 27:9-11 the prophet warns Judah to hearken not to their prophets who prophesy lies. The false prophets contradicted Jeremiah and claimed that the king of Babylon would NOT come, and that captivity in Babylon would NOT come to pass. Jeremiah was even imprisoned for a short time because of his insistent prophecies of the impending and imminent captivity in Babylon. The story of the differences in the prophecies of Jeremiah and the false prophets is a microcosm of the prophetic word and the alleged interpretations and understandings of the Jews; and the question to be answered is who was prophesying right and truth, Jeremiah or the false prophets? Which does history prove was right?
In Jeremiah 27:14, 16 the prophet continues the same thought line: hearken not to the prophets that prophesy lies about NOT serving the King of Babylon.
The same ideas are conveyed in Jeremiah 29:8-9; the prophets that prophesy there will be no captivity prophesy falsely.
In Jeremiah 29:10 the prophet reiterates the prophecy of 70 years and God’s promise of maintaining a remnant which He will regather into the land of Canaan.
Jeremiah 29:14 reiterates the idea of the regathering.
In Jeremiah 29:18-19 the prophet warns that those who refuse to obey and go to Babylon will be persecuted by GOD.
So far in this series of articles we (Layman and this Examiner) have presented and commented briefly on each, a listing of Scripture references from the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah (and we are roughly half way through Jeremiah’s prophecies). We have to finish looking at Jeremiah’s prophecies and then consider two other of the major prophets, Ezekiel and Daniel (although the prophet Daniel does not prophesy much concerning the same themes as the other major prophets, but offers God’s plans concerning the Gentiles, rather than God plans for the Jews (and Israelites). Then, in addition, there are some passages concerning these Jews and their disobedience before God which are found in three of the Minor Prophets: Hosea, Amos, and Micah. Once we have examined those, then we will consider a few related passages dealing with the Scripturally accurate ideas surrounding the “blindness” of the Jews, and the manner in which they understand and interpret their own Scriptures.
The sheer overwhelming number of Scripture references that speak of the disobedience of the Jews makes it extremely difficult to explain those references and the message of the prophets contained in them away!