Day 174: A Scientific Fact

Jeremiah 44:1-10

The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews who lived in the land of Egypt, who lived at Migdol, and at Tahpanhes, and at Memphis, and in the country of Pathros, saying, “Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have seen all the evil that I have brought on Jerusalem, and on all the cities of Judah. Behold, today they are a desolation, and no man dwells in them, because of their wickedness which they have committed to provoke me to anger, in that they went to burn incense, to serve other gods that they didn’t know, neither they, nor you, nor your fathers. However I sent to you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, “Oh, don’t do this abominable thing that I hate.” But they didn’t listen and didn’t incline their ear. They didn’t turn from their wickedness, to stop burning incense to other gods. Therefore my wrath and my anger was poured out, and was kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted and desolate, as it is today.’

“Therefore now Yahweh, the God of Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Why do you commit great evil against your own souls, to cut off from yourselves man and woman, infant and nursing child out of the middle of Judah, to leave yourselves no one remaining, in that you provoke me to anger with the works of your hands, burning incense to other gods in the land of Egypt where you have gone to live, that you may be cut off, and that you may be a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the earth? Have you forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, the wickedness of the kings of Judah, the wickedness of their wives, your own wickedness, and the wickedness of your wives which they committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? They are not humbled even to this day, neither have they feared, nor walked in my law, nor in my statutes, that I set before you and before your fathers.’

This sure was a depressing time in the history of Israel. When we were reading through the history books, the story goes by pretty fast, but when we hear the emotions of God as recorded by Jeremiah, and feel the events as they unfold, from God’s perspective, it really shows us how bad things had become.

We are in the 43rd chapter of Jeremiah and we also read through all 66 chapters of Isaiah and God spent page after page warning Israel and Judah that they would be destroyed. First, God took down Israel. Judah saw it but they still sinned by disobeying God and purposefully choosing to follow strange gods. Then, God finally took down Judah and Jerusalem, but left a remnant of Judah behind. Now, even they, after moving to Egypt, started to worship other gods! I hope it is obvious that this doesn’t make any sense.

In our world there are many people who refuse Jesus and the Bible because it isn’t logical and reasonable and contains miracles and things that can’t be real. These claims are false as I am constantly exposing, but the thing that is really absurd is that these same people believe in evolutionism which isn’t logical or reasonable and contains things that have never been seen to happen before. When a belief contains things that have never happened before, we call those things miracles. They are being hypocritical and are refusing God, just like this remnant of Judah was doing. When you won’t listen to reason and, instead, accept a false set of gods in place of the real God, it is a scientific fact that you are going to be destroyed as demonstrated by several experiments recorded here in the Bible. God clearly holds us accountable for our behavior under these conditions. Just because our world’s miracles are different and our gods are even stranger, doesn’t mean that we are any better than the remnant of Judah or that we will escape God’s punishment.

Day 132: What God Says

Jeremiah 31:15-17

Yahweh says:
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children.
She refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more.”

Yahweh says:
“Refrain your voice from weeping,
and your eyes from tears,
for your work will be rewarded,” says Yahweh.
“They will come again from the land of the enemy.
There is hope for your latter end,” says Yahweh.
“Your children will come again to their own territory.

God talks so much about His intentions to restore Israel that it’s almost exhausting. This book is about a prophet that was sent to warn Israel about the fact that they were about to be punished and destroyed as a nation, yet it talks so much about the restoration of Israel, that I am forced to bring it up over and over again. I am guessing that I have brought this subject up about ten times in Jeremiah, and we are only about half way through the book.

Here, God is quoted as talking about Rachel weeping for her children. One interesting thing that I realized about Rachel’s children is that they were only two or sometimes three of the 12 tribes of Israel. One of them was Joseph which was often split into the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh and the other was Benjamin. Another interesting fact is that the families of these two children were separated from each other when the nation split. Joseph’s children went to the northern kingdom of Israel and Benjamin’s children ended up with the children of Judah in the southern kingdom. The fact that God mentions Rachel weeping for her children implies that both the southern and northern kingdoms are destroyed.

God also is quoted as saying that Rachel should stop crying. He mentions that her work will be rewarded. It is interesting that Rachel died after giving birth to her second son Benjamin. I am not sure but perhaps the work that God is referring to here is Rachel’s difficulty getting pregnant and when she finally was pregnant, it was hard as well. The Bible is very clear that hard work brings a profit and God appears to be recognizing the hard work of motherhood. It’s important that women realize that God knows, recognizes and honors the differences between men and women. I believe that the Bible is clear that motherhood represents a part of God’s own work.

Perhaps, the most important thing to recognize about this short passage is how many times it mentions that it was spoken by God. It says: “Yahweh says” two times and “says Yahweh” two times. It’s pretty obvious what God’s will is when He makes it so clear isn’t it? If you ever are wondering what God’s will is, you might consider the fact that God wants Israel to become a great nation. Praying for Israel is a very wise thing to do.

Day 130: Survival in the Wilderness

Jeremiah 31:1-6

“At that time,” says Yahweh, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people.”

Yahweh says, “The people who survive the sword found favor in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.”

Yahweh appeared of old to me, saying,
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love.
Therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness.
I will build you again,
and you will be built, O virgin of Israel.
You will again be adorned with your tambourines,
and will go out in the dances of those who make merry.
Again you will plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria.
The planters will plant,
and will enjoy its fruit.
For there will be a day that the watchmen on the hills of Ephraim cry,
‘Arise! Let’s go up to Zion to Yahweh our God.’ ”

This writing is still very mysterious to me but I see a correlation to parts of the Bible that are much less mysterious. If I am right about the previous passage’s relating to the “Day of the Lord,” then this passage is merely a continuation of the discussion about the Israelis living at that time.

It does fit that this is talking about the same things. We read more detail about that time in the book of Revelation. In that book, God reveals that there will come a time in which a part of Israel will hide from the terror of a wicked world leader. At first they think he’s good, but they suddenly discover that he is the worst of the worst.

Revelation 12:13-14

When the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. Two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, so that she might be nourished for a time, times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

As you can see this passage uses symbolic language and if God allows us to make it all the way to Revelation, I intend to discuss it more, but for now, it’s important to know that the dragon is understood to be Satan and the woman the Israelis. At that time, these Israelis will run away “into the wilderness to her place.” So, God has planned a place to protect the Israelis from this evil in the wilderness and they will survive.

It’s also good to understand the part at the end of our passage, that talks about people from Ephriam and Samaria, delighted to go up to Zion. People living back at the time of Jeremiah and even up to now, know that this is not something that one would expect. If you remember back to what we read in the history of Israel, the nation split into two parts. The northern part set up its capitol in Samaria and that was the place where people from that part of the country were told to worship God instead of Jerusalem. The woman at the well in the book of John actually mentions this issue. Here we read that the people from Samaria will again long to go to Jerusalem to worship which is quite a departure. A day is coming when Israel will be united again and will have one king who will rule from Jerusalem. Israel will be at peace and will live happily ever after, but only after a false king attempts to rule there first.

Day 129: In the Latter Days You Will Understand

Jeremiah 30:18-24

Yahweh says:
“Behold, I will reverse the captivity of Jacob’s tents,
and have compassion on his dwelling places.
The city will be built on its own hill,
and the palace will be inhabited in its own place.
Thanksgiving will proceed out of them
with the voice of those who make merry.
I will multiply them,
and they will not be few;
I will also glorify them,
and they will not be small.
Their children also will be as before,
and their congregation will be established before me.
I will punish all who oppress them.
Their prince will be one of them,
and their ruler will proceed from among them.
I will cause him to draw near,
and he will approach me;
for who is he who has had boldness to approach me?” says Yahweh.
“You shall be my people,
and I will be your God.
Behold, Yahweh’s storm, his wrath, has gone out,
a sweeping storm:
it will burst on the head of the wicked.
The fierce anger of Yahweh will not return until he has accomplished,
and until he has performed the intentions of his heart.
In the latter days you will understand it.”

At the time that I make this, Israel is its own country and is in its own land, yet, I can’t say that it is ruled by a prince who has the boldness to approach God Himself. It’s clear to me that this passage is, once again, talking about the very last days when Jesus Himself rules in Israel. The Bible makes it clear all over, including Daniel, Jesus’ words about the end in Matthew and Luke, and in the book of Revelation, that a time of great distress will come at the very end. This is the time when Jesus will have vengeance on a world that has rejected God and Him as their savior. It’s the time of God’s “fierce anger.” It’s difficult to find a time in the Bible that is discussed more than this one. God doesn’t want people to go through this time and has given us all a way to escape it if we will believe Him.

The book of Revelation is especially clear about this time in history. In it we read that God will first build up the people who have rejected Him and then, suddenly, unleash His wrath against them all. In the process, Jesus will kill all of His enemies and free the group of His people, Israel, that believe in Him and are in hiding. The book of Revelation is very clear that there will be a world war against Israel at one point. Jesus will destroy an enormous army and their leader and usher in world peace, making Israel the world capitol. As we read back in Isaiah, Israelis will be shipped at the expense of the other nations, back to Israel to live and serve in this now great country.

I like how this passage tells us that we will understand it “in the latter days.” It’s difficult to imagine a day when God’s way is the only way that anyone wants to go. Rebellion against God is the rule of our time, but in that day we will understand.

Day 128: The Curer of the Incurable

Jeremiah 30:12-17

For Yahweh says,
“Your hurt is incurable.
Your wound is grievous.
There is no one to plead your cause,
that you may be bound up.
You have no healing medicines.
All your lovers have forgotten you.
They don’t seek you.
For I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy,
with the chastisement of a cruel one,
for the greatness of your iniquity,
because your sins were increased.
Why do you cry over your injury?
Your pain is incurable.
For the greatness of your iniquity,
because your sins have increased,
I have done these things to you.
Therefore all those who devour you will be devoured.
All your adversaries, everyone of them, will go into captivity.
Those who plunder you will be plunder.
I will make all who prey on you become prey.
For I will restore health to you,
and I will heal you of your wounds,” says Yahweh;
“because they have called you an outcast,
saying, ‘It is Zion, whom no man seeks after.’ ”

This is one of those passages that would be confusing to a person who feels the need to prove the Bible without considering it as a worldview. Here God says that Israel’s “pain is incurable” and then He immediately tells them that He “will restore health” to them. Isn’t God being inconsistent? How can He say that something is incurable and then say that He will cure it? I think that doubts like this can only arise when we fail to assume God’s word to be true. When you doubt God’s word and then attempt to judge it, it leads to confusion like this.

When we assume God’s word to be true, we first assume that God isn’t being inconsistent and that we are making a mistake in our understanding of what He’s saying. How can something be incurable and still be cured by God? I think that the most natural and consistent interpretation is that God intended to cure what they could not cure on their own. From this perspective, it’s pretty clear that God was going to make sure that they fully understood that they were unable to do anything good for themselves. They were going suffer and have no ability to fix it without His involvement.

I can’t think of any more incurable thing than to die, can you? God is even able to cure that according to the Bible. It’s important for us to treat the Bible as it claims to be. It claims to be the words of God which define truth. That’s the nature of a worldview. It’s the set of beliefs we assume without evidence and we all have those. If you think you don’t, that very thought is an example one.

So here we read that things were to get so bad for Israel that it would take a miracle for God to bring them back together as a nation and that’s what God intended to do. He also intended to punish the great nations that brought them down which would also would have probably have seemed impossible. God is supernatural and cannot be stopped by the natural world that He created. No matter what seems possible to us, God’s word will always come true.

Day 127: The Full End is Coming

Jeremiah 30:4-11

These are the words that Yahweh spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah. For Yahweh says:
“We have heard a voice of trembling;
a voice of fear, and not of peace.
Ask now, and see whether a man travails with child.
Why do I see every man with his hands on his waist, as a woman in travail,
and all faces are turned pale?
Alas, for that day is great, so that none is like it!
It is even the time of Jacob’s trouble;
but he will be saved out of it.
It will come to pass in that day, says Yahweh of Armies, that I will break his yoke from off your neck,
and will burst your bonds.
Strangers will no more make them their bondservants;
but they will serve Yahweh their God,
and David their king,
whom I will raise up to them.
Therefore don’t be afraid, O Jacob my servant, says Yahweh.
Don’t be dismayed, Israel.
For, behold, I will save you from afar,
and save your offspring from the land of their captivity.
Jacob will return,
and will be quiet and at ease.
No one will make him afraid.
For I am with you, says Yahweh, to save you;
for I will make a full end of all the nations where I have scattered you,
but I will not make a full end of you;
but I will correct you in measure,
and will in no way leave you unpunished.”

In this section, God makes it clear who He is going to permanently reject and it won’t be Israel. This is one of the most alarming things about those who claim to be Christians and teach that God is finished with Israel. God says the opposite, that those who say things like that are the ones He intends to destroy. Here it says: “I will make a full end of all the nations where I have scattered you.” Concerning Israel, God says: “but I will not make a full end of you.”

Does this mean that Israel is going to get away with their sin? Not at all! This future time is called: “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” It’s just that “he will be saved out of it” and his enemies will not be. They will be completely destroyed and there won’t be anyone left to “make him afraid.” It’s pretty obvious that this final end has not come yet, but it should scare us. Everything that the Bible has predicted has happened up to this point. This end is coming and people have a responsiblity to be ready.

Christians should not be acting as if they are better than the Jews. Here we see that those who do will be destroyed. This is not just “an Old Testament thing.” It’s amplified in the New Testament. This is what is written in the book of Romans:

Romans 11:16-21

If the first fruit is holy, so is the lump. If the root is holy, so are the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the root and of the richness of the olive tree, don’t boast over the branches. But if you boast, remember that it is not you who support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.” True; by their unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by your faith. Don’t be conceited, but fear; for if God didn’t spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.

Day 126: Carefully Considering God’s Word about Israel

Jeremiah 30:1-3

The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, saying, “Yahweh, the God of Israel, says, ‘Write all the words that I have spoken to you in a book. For, behold, the days come,’ says Yahweh, ‘that I will reverse the captivity of my people Israel and Judah,’ says Yahweh. ‘I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they will possess it.’ ”

I know that something is seriously wrong in our world when so many people who claim to be believers think that God is no longer involved with Israel as a nation. God repeats the fact that He intends to “reverse the captivity” of His people so many times, it actually get’s kind of monotonous. Once again, God says in this passage: “I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they will possess it.” How much more clearly does it need to be stated?

I’m going to guess that most Christians, were like me. They simply never read Jeremiah. Or, like me, they may have read it very quickly and didn’t really study it. When we look back over the history of Israel, we see that they actually returned to the land more than once, and we also read in the words of the prophets that they will be returning again in the future. It’s OK for us to argue that the current return of Israel may not be the final one, but it isn’t OK to argue that God is done with Israel. You’d have to really ignore or subjectively symbolize many passages in the Bible and once you do that, you could make the Bible say pretty much anything. You’d also create a problem. You’d have to consider the possibility that salvation from Hell is only symbolic and perhaps even for someone else other than you. Could Jesus’ words to Christians have been only symbolic?

In this passage, God told Jeremiah to write these words because Israel and Judah would return and posses their land. It’s pretty obvious that Jeremiah and all those who would go into captivity would not expect these words to be merely symbolic. I do believe that how God treats Israel is symbolic of how He treats Christians today, but that doesn’t help those who believe that God has rejected the nation of Israel. If God were to throw away Israel after promising them their land like this, wouldn’t that mean that God will also do the same to Christians symbolically?