A good wife is a wonderful helpmate to have! Yesterday, my own wife, Rebecca, showed me a verse she had just read in Jeremiah. I was as struck by it as she had been! We felt like we had found a lost key designed to unlock several different mysteries at the same time! We share it here with all “watchers on the wall” -Why is there so much hatred toward Israel?
“Say to them, This is what the Lord says: ‘If you will not listen to me and obey my word I have given you, and if you will not listen to my servants, the prophets – for I sent them again and again to warn you, but you would not listen to them – then I will destroy this Temple as I destroyed Shiloh, the place where the Tabernacle was located. And I will make Jerusalem an object of cursing in every nation on earth’” (Jeremiah 26:4-6).
This passage contains two prophecies. The first – the destruction of the Temple – was fulfilled just a few short years after Jeremiah delivered this message, in about 600 B.C. This is a good example of what I call a “double-burst prophecy.” It resembles the way that a sky-rocket will explode at 200 feet and then again, a second time, at 400 feet in an even larger display! Solomon’s Temple was indeed destroyed in 586 B.C., as per Jeremiah’s prophecy.
Yet a second fulfillment of this same prophecy came about in 70 A.D., when the Roman armies destroyed the Second Temple, just as Jesus also predicted they would. This was the “second burst” of prophetic fulfillment, and its effects were even greater than the first!
The second prophecy contained in the Jeremiah 26 passage was this: “And I will make Jerusalem an object of cursing in every nation on earth.”
In 135 A.D., sixty-five years after Jeremiah’s first prophecy came true, the Romans expelled the remaining Jewish population from Jerusalem and renamed the city in Latin. From that point on, Jerusalem has become a curse among the nations.
The diplomatic diatribes from every corner of the earth attest to the truth of God’s Holy Word 2,600 years later! Interestingly, 300 years before Jeremiah’s prophecy, the Lord spoke the very same warning to King Solomon just after he completed the building of the First Temple. Here is that passage in 1 Kings 9:6-9:
“But if you or your descendants turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples.
“This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the LORD their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why the LORD brought all this disaster on them.’”
So the “key” we found in Jer. 26:4-6 helps us to unlock the 4 mysteries below:
1 – It tells the Jewish people why their two great temples were destroyed.
2 – Along with Deuteronomy 28, it supplies the Jewish people with the reason for their sufferings over the past 2,600 years!
3 – It helps us understand why, even today, most countries are still so blind to the truths of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
4 – This passage also lays the groundwork to explain why the nations of the world will one day descend on Jerusalem to fulfill their historical curses upon it as described in Revelation 16.
But something has been left out. It is the saddest part of all. What was the reaction of the Jewish leaders to the word of the Lord which Jeremiah spoke? Verses 7-8 are as follows:
“The priests, the prophets, and all the people listened to Jeremiah as he spoke in front of the Lord’s Temple. But when Jeremiah had finished his message, saying everything the Lord had told him to say, the priests and prophets and all the people at the Temple mobbed him. ‘Kill him!’ they shouted’” (Jer. 26:7-8).
You can read the rest of the chapter for yourself and see that, after a brief trial, Jeremiah’s life was spared; but tragically, the word he delivered was rejected!
What are the lessons which we as “watchers on the wall” can pass along to others in these last days? I would like to suggest three:
Firstly, that clerical robes do not guarantee those who wear them will also possess the mind of God.
Just as the religious leaders of Jeremiah’s day rejected God’s word through him, the religious leaders of our day reject God’s word through Christ.
I discovered this to be true for myself when I disagreed with the teachings of my Jewish rabbis and decided to believe that Jesus was my own long-lost Jewish Messiah. I have many friends who have made similar spiritual decisions by refusing the teachings of their own priests, ministers and imams. We must encourage our tradition-bound friends and family that they must leave the culture of their religion in order to cleave to the culture of Christ.
Secondly, that the trustworthiness of our scriptures has always been verifiable in the fulfillment of its prophecies. No other “holy book” of any other religion can say this.
Thirdly, that God is still in control of the future of Jerusalem and of His people Israel. For just as He has pronounced curses which have plagued them for 2,600 years, He has also promised to them His ultimate deliverance and vindication in the eyes of all nations.
The Lord God Himself gives us this promise below in Jeremiah 32:37-42, the same prophet through whom He sent the previous word of judgment:
“I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. They will be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them.
“I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.
“This is what the Lord says: ‘As I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will give them all the prosperity I have promised them.’”
But how will the Lord bring such a wonderful transformation about? How will He change His own curse into a blessing for Jerusalem and for all Israel?
“Look, a righteous king is coming! And honest princes will rule under him. Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a parched land. Then everyone who has eyes will be able to see the truth, and everyone who has ears will be able to hear it” (Isaiah 32:1-3).
Let every “watcher on the wall” pray that God will accomplish this speedily and in our day!
Asher Mandel, e: firstname.lastname@example.org
(I will be glad to respond to all emails after I take my precious helpmate to dinner!)