Monday, May 10, 2010

Back to Zion - Jeremiah 50

Jeremiah 50:4-5 "In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go and seek the LORD their God. They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten."

This is a prophecy from Jeremiah. He is looking forward to the end of the 70 years of captivity. Most of the original captives have probably died by now. When they left Zion, the people were worshipping idols and all sorts of things. I doubt there was much teaching going in in the households about Israel and Judah and the ways of the LORD. But in this prophecy there is a longing for the homeland which most of them have not even seen.

v2 "Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not; say, Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces."

The punished for rebellion is now over and those who took the Lord's punishment to the extreme of their own volition are now going to be punished. I cannot guess when this chapter may have been written. Jeremiah may have been in Egypt at the time but we cannot tell from this writing. Babylon is going to fall though.

v9 "For lo, I will raise and cause to come against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country; and they shall set themselves in array against her; from thence she shall be taken; their arrows shall be as of a mighty expert man; none shall return in vain."

Verse 11 explains it for us, as to why the Chaldeans are being judged after they did the Lord's bidding.

v11 "Because ye were glad, because ye rejoiced, O ye destroyers of mine heritage, because ye are grown fat as the heifer at grass, and bellow as bulls,"

It seems to be that Babylon has gotten proud and boastful as if they brought themselves to greatness. They took the punishment of God's chosen beyond what God intended. We learned that the captivity was to be an instrument to keep Israel together as a people while the land laid in sabbath. The Chaldeans gave out their own punishment.

The passage is a lament over the condition of Israel.

v17 "Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away; first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones."

v18 "Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria."

Then the Promise:

v19 "And I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan and his soul shall be satisfied upon mount Ephraim and Gilead."

I am bringing my people home.

Not only that but I will take away their sin.

v20 "In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found; for I will pardon them whom I reserve."

I do not think this prophecy has been completely fulfilled. They came back to build the wall again (Nehemiah) but we will have to study more. There are references to Babylon in Revelation which are not all together clear to me. I do believe there was a physical Babylon and I believe there is a spiritual Babylon where the same things worshipped in the old nation are carried forward to a broader kingdom that worshipped or worships the same way. See Revelation. I will leave this difficult subject to the expert Bible scholars of prophecy.

I will leave this chapter with these two verses.

v33-34 "Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The children of Israel and the children of Judah were oppressed together: and all that took them captives held them fast; they refused to let them go. Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of hosts is his name; he shall thoroughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon."

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