The Biblical prophet Jeremiah has an amazing message for our world, especially the English-speaking world. Why is it that so few know about this man when 52 chapters in the Bible cover some forty years of his life? What do you personally know about him? Do you know to whom his prophecies were directed? Do you know the time of their fulfillment? And do you know Jeremiah's warnings for us today?
[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]
The Biblical prophet Jeremiah has an amazing message for our world, especially the English-speaking world. Why is it that so few know about this man when 52 chapters in the Bible cover some forty years of his life? What do you personally know about him? Do you know to whom his prophecies were directed? Do you know the time of their fulfillment? And do you know Jeremiah’s warnings for us today?
Stay with me here at Tomorrow’s World, because I’ll be explaining one of the most amazing prophecies ever given through a human being. It’s a shocking and fascinating story that explains much of what we see in today’s world. This is news that you need to hear. So, stay with me as I’ll be back in a moment!
Welcome to Tomorrow’s World, where today I’m going to give you fascinating information from the Bible that I’m sure most of you have never heard. And it’s important information that is affecting your life right now.
If you were to ask many young people today who Jeremiah was, they would likely think of a silly song and reply “a bullfrog.” But the prophet Jeremiah was no bullfrog, and he didn’t proclaim a silly song. His message came from God, and we will see those predictions being fulfilled right before our very eyes.
God called Jeremiah while he was young, probably in his teen years. He describes himself as “a youth,” and he prophesied about 40 years.
In Jeremiah chapter 1 and verse 5, we read of how important this man was to God.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5).
Then comes God’s commission to Jeremiah. This is something, my friends, that people read right over and never think twice. For that matter, they probably never stop to consider, even once, what these words mean:
“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:9–10).
Jeremiah wasn’t a man spewing personal opinion. He had a commission from God. And it would be God’s words in his mouth. But,
What does it mean to be set over nations and Kingdoms?
What does it mean to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down?
What was meant by, to build and to plant?
The first point is understandable. While Jeremiah’s messages were clearly for the Jews and the city of Jerusalem for the time in which he lived, his messages go far beyond that. He prophesied against Egypt and Babylon, Moab, Damascus, and more. We read these prophecies in chapters 46 through 51, and the timing of some of them was for a long time into the future, as seen from these statements:
“But it shall come to pass in the latter days…” (Jeremiah 49:39)
“‘Yet I will bring back the captives of Moab in the latter days,’ says the LORD…” (Jeremiah 48:47).
Perhaps the most famous passage that applied to the future is that of the promised New Covenant. Paul speaks of this is Hebrews 8, but he quotes directly from Jeremiah 31. I’ll only read a portion of this for the sake of time:
“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah…. I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts… I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:31, 33, 34).
Clearly, Jeremiah’s prophecies were for far more than his nation or for his time, but what does it mean in the commission that he would, “root out and pull down, destroy and throw down, build and plant?”
We are looking today at Jeremiah’s amazing commission. So far, we’ve seen that he was a prophet for more than his own people and for more than his time. Let’s review God’s commission to Jeremiah as given in the first chapter of the book by his name and in verse 10:
“See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the Kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:10).
Jeremiah was to prophesy the destruction of his own nation, how it was going to be pulled down, destroyed, and thrown down. This also applied to other nations, but what was meant by,
“…to build and to plant”?
It’s impossible to understand this without knowing something that few people are ever taught in their churches today. Only those who read the Bible, and in this case, what is called the Old Testament, can understand. Yes, it’s impossible to really understand Biblical prophecy, and the full message of the Bible, without this knowledge. And yet it’s right there in front of us, and as John Ogywn titles the Preface to his booklet on The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy,
The Lost Master Key – Found!
So let’s go back to Jeremiah’s prophecy regarding the New Covenant and look at the obvious. This time I’ll read from the Apostle Paul in the book of Hebrews, chapter 8:
“…Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah…” (Hebrew 8:8).
What is the obvious in this passage of scripture? Simply put: We are reading here of two separate nations—the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Now why is this important? The beginning book of the Bible known as Genesis clearly shows that God was working through one man and his family and gave great and wonderful promises to that family. Here is the beginning of those promises as given to Abram, if he left his country and his father’s house:
“I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2–3).
Perhaps this chart will clarify what I am describing. Abram’s name was later changed to Abraham, and he had two sons of significance: Ishmael and Isaac. The descendants of these two sons have been at war in the Middle East for centuries. According to the Bible, the promises to Abraham were expanded and made more specific through Isaac and his descendants.
Abraham’s son Isaac had two sons: Jacob and Esau. Their descendants are also part of the problem in the Middle East. And Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel, had twelve sons. The firstborn was Reuben. Judah and Joseph were two other sons among the twelve. Judah is the father of the Jews. God’s spiritual and physical blessings were divided between Judah and Joseph. Note this clear and amazing statement in 1 Chronicles 5 and verses 1 and 2:
“Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel—he was indeed the firstborn, but because he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph, the son of Israel, so that the genealogy is not listed according to the birthright; yet Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him came a ruler, although the birthright was Joseph’s…” (1 Chronicles 5:1–2).
Why is this important? Most church going people have no idea that the terms Israelite and Jew are not synonymous. People think the terms are entirely the same, but as we are seeing, one promise went to the Jews while another promise went to an entirely different tribe of Israel. Also, again, church goers are often ignorant of the fact that the promises to Israel are only partially fulfilled in Christ. Now that is the most important promise, of course, but not the only one.
Most professing Christians are aware of the spiritual promise of grace through Jesus Christ, but after a short break, we’ll look at some of the physical promises made to the children of Israel, and knowing what they are, brings our modern world to life.
As we’ve seen, Judah was given the promise of a ruler that we understand to be that of the Messiah, Jesus the Christ. But it was more than a single king. It was a dynasty of kings that would continue throughout time. In the 49th chapter of Genesis, we see Israel predicting what would become of his sons at the end of the age. Notice the time setting in verse 1:
“And Jacob [Israel] called his sons and said, ‘Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days’” (Genesis 49:1).
As part of Judah’s blessing we read the following in verse 10:
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people” (Genesis 49:10).
The marginal reference says that a scepter is, quote: “a symbol of kingship.” Shiloh is a reference to the Messiah. Great emphasis in the Bible is put on the dynasty of David, but many casual readers and scholars believe that his dynasty ended when the house of Judah fell and went into Babylonish captivity. And here is where the prophet Jeremiah comes in, but first let’s notice this dynastic promise made to David in 2 Samuel 7:
“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Samuel 7:12–13).
Now some people think that this promise was conditional on obedience of the kings to follow, but this is not the case. Neither was this promise of establishing his throne forever referring to the Messiah. Yes, the Messiah, Jesus Christ is the ultimate fulfillment, but the promise as stated here refers to physical kings ruling from generation to generation. How can we be so sure of this? Well, notice these strong words that follow in verses 14–16:
“…If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:14–16).
Did Christ commit iniquity or sin? Not hardly, or He could not be our Savior! So this was talking about David’s dynasty, that it would be established forever. This promise is also recorded in the 89th Psalm.
“Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before Me; it shall be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky” (Psalm 89:35–37).
Do you see that, my friends? God swore by His holiness; He would not lie to David. As sure as the sun and the moon, His seed would have an everlasting throne. So why do people think it ceased to exist from around 586 B.C. until the coming of Christ some 600 years later? And did Jesus come as a king sitting on the throne of David at that time?
Now we come back to Jeremiah’s amazing commission. After about 40 years of warning the Jews that destruction was on the way unless they repented, the end finally came. In the 9th year of king Zedekiah, Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar besieged the city of Jerusalem and, two-and-a-half years later, breached the walls. Seeing the inevitable, King Zedekiah and the men of war attempted to escape by night, but were captured. What happened next we read in Jeremiah 39:6–7:
“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. Moreover he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, and bound him with bronze fetters to carry him off to Babylon” (Jeremiah 39:6–7).
Thus ended David’s dynasty…or so people think. But now we come to one of the most amazing truths of scripture that is almost universally overlooked. If you can stop the sun or moon from coming up, then the covenant God made with David can be broken—so say the scriptures! But before we get to the most interesting part of this story, let me give you another part that anyone who reads his Bible should know.
After the twelve tribes of Israel came out of Egypt, they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years before entering the promised land. They were ruled as a theocracy, until the people demanded a king like all the nations around them and a man by the name of Saul was chosen. But Saul disobeyed God, and when he died, David became king. David’s son Solomon followed him, but in his later years Solomon turned away from obedience to God and God fulfilled what we read earlier would happen if David’s son disobeyed. Ten of the twelve tribes of Israel rebelled against Solomon’s son, King Rehoboam. Thus the nation was divided into two—the house of Judah and the ten-tribe house of Israel. They never again were united. What people call Israel today is made up of Jews, along with the tribe of Benjamin and some from the tribe of Levi.
In the course of time, the house of Israel went into captivity to the Assyrians. One hundred years later the house of Judah (the Jews) went into Babylonian captivity. And that brings us to how Jeremiah’s strange commission was fulfilled, just as God said it would be.
But before giving you the details of this absolutely fascinating story, I want to remind you again of today’s offer: The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy. It’s given absolutely free of charge as others have already paid for it. Even the shipping and handling is without cost to you, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
I left you with the explanation that the Israelite nation was divided in two. The ten tribes that broke off from king David’s grandson formed a new nation known as the house of Israel. They went into captivity around 720 B.C. and never returned to the land now called Israel. The Jews and Benjamites, along with some from the tribe of Levi, were known as the nation or the house of Judah, and went into captivity to Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon. Now we pick up the story from Jeremiah.
About a year and a half before the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., Jeremiah gave a prophecy from prison. He spoke of a time when both houses would return.
“And I will cause the captives of Judah and the captives of Israel to return, and will rebuild those places as at the first” (Jeremiah 33:7).
The entire 33rd chapter is filled with good news.
“‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah’” (Jeremiah 33:14).
And then he gave a remarkable prophecy. If a prophet of God was ever wrong, Jeremiah must have been, for notice what he predicted less than a year from what appeared to be the end of David’s dynasty.
“For thus says the LORD: ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel’…. ‘Thus says the LORD: ‘If you can break My covenant with the day and My covenant with the night, so that there will not be day and night in their season, then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and with the Levites, the priests, My ministers’” (Jeremiah 33:17, 19–21).
And if that were not clear enough, he went on to say:
“If My covenant is not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, then I will cast away the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his descendants to be rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Jeremiah 33:25–26).
Again, these bold predictions were made a year or less before David’s dynasty, in the minds of most scholars, ceased to exist. Never again did the Jews have a Jewish king ruling over them, except for Christ who was born to be king and will return to take over David’s throne in the future, for as we are told in Zechariah 14:9:
“And the LORD shall be King over all the earth…” (Zechariah 14:9)
The context is clear. It is talking about a time yet to come. Don’t believe me just because I say this. Read the whole of Zechariah 14 for yourself.
Were God’s predictions through Jeremiah wrong? Or are we missing something? As we have seen, Zedekiah was taken into captivity and all his sons, heirs to the throne, were killed. But, notice this little known detail! Those who were not taken captive to Babylon were taken to Egypt. You can read of this in Jeremiah chapters 41 through 43. We are told specifically that among those who were taken to Egypt, were:
“…the king’s daughters…and Jeremiah the prophet and [Jeremiah’s scribe] Baruch…” (Jeremiah 43:6).
Now let’s go back to God’s predictions through Jeremiah. Notice carefully where He says David’s throne would be—no longer over the house of Judah (the Jews), but over the house of Israel! That is the northern ten-tribed nation!
“For thus says the LORD: ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel’…. ‘If My covenant is not with day and night…then I will cast away the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his descendants to be rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob’” (Jeremiah 33:17, 25–26).
Remember that Jeremiah’s commission was:
To root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down
To build and to plant
David’s throne was pulled down and planted in another nation and the evidence is with us today. Sadly, I’m out of time, but the story of how God, through Jeremiah the prophet, fulfilled His prediction is found in our publication, The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy. Truly truth is stranger than fiction.
Be sure to come back next week at this same time when Richard Ames, Wallace Smith, Rod McNair, and I will continue to share with you the teachings of Jesus Christ, the good news of the coming Kingdom of God, and the exciting end-time prophecies and their meaning. See you then.
More than 60 years ago, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong (1892–1986) wrote a book entitled The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy. This book builds on Mr. Armstrong’s research, and that of other authors, to point the reader not simply to the history of the past, but to history written in advance!