Jeremiah

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The Book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament is a collection of the writings of the prophet by the same name. Jeremiah foresaw the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II. Jeremiah said the disaster was ordained by God and recommended that the people offer no resistance. His messages of doom and gloom hurt morale so much that the rulers of the city threw him into a dry well. When Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem just like Jeremiah said he would, the Babylonian King was so grateful for the psychological warfare waged by Jeremiah to soften up the Jews that he had him taken up out of the cistern and Jeremiah was allowed to go anywhere he wished.

Jeremiah 3

Some people have nothing better to do than to look for the Ark of the Covenant. The bible makes no mention of the Ark after the Babylonians sacked the temple and carted off its gold. The ark is not present in Ezra's second temple, or Herod's third temple.

According to the prophet Jeremiah, modern Israel will not even think about the Ark. For it is written (Jeremiah 3:16) "And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more."

In fact, there is evidence that God has recalled the Ark to heaven, for it is written in another place (Revelation 11:19) "And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail."

Nevertheless, some people who think these are the end times believe the Ark will be found, and will be part of the rebuilt fourth temple, so that the Antichrist will have something to desecrate.

Jeremiah 31

The New Covenant

After Jerusalem was sacked by Nebuchadnezzar and most of the leading citizens were taken captive to Babylon, the Prophet Jeremiah was set free because he had spent years telling the people to accept Nebuchadnezzar's rule as fait accompli, the will of almighty God. Jeremiah made his way to Egypt and found some Jews there doing very well without the temple sacrifices, thank you very much. This moved him to make a crucial prophesy that more or less gave birth to the whole Christian idea six hundred years later:

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Note that this "new" covenant was to be made with the Israelites - the house of Israel and the house of Judah - not the Gentiles. It was not a matter of tit-for-tat, obey these commandments and get these blessings. The non-Jewish strangers who lived in Israel, who didn't receive any promises from God, were obliged to observe the Law as well. Numbers 15:15 One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD.

At the same time, the Promise passed from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob to Judah, thence to the Kings of Judah, and finally rested (Christians believe) on the Son of Man, Jesus Christ. And Christians partake of this Blessing simply by allowing Christ to abide within us, to literally live his risen life through us.

Paul speaks of the holy heathens, who knew not the Law, yet lived according to its precepts based on the dictates of their own conscience. He says there is no sin imputed where there is no Law. After Calvary, as a side-effect of the redemption of the world (1 John 2:2) there no longer remains an excuse for sin based on ignorance of the Law. It's essence is now encoded within the human heart.

According to St. John in the same epistle, sin is the transgression of the Law. For Christians, it is the transgression of the moral Law, since the ceremonial aspects of the Law were "nailed to the cross" (Col. 2:14). Some theologians say in the Kingdom Christians will not sin, but this is stated by the Christians in the Reformation tradition as a purely legal definition which is imposed on us, forensically, by decree, from above, rather than the bottom-up objective sanctification of the soul which is the result of man freely cooperating with grace. In the former view, the New Covenant is seen as a global but staged process because sin is still present in Christians at this time. In the latter view, the New Covenant is a completed work by Christ on the cross, but is always "under construction" in its practical application to the individual Christian as we individually become refined like gold until all impurity is gone. At that point, we retain our free will and the possibility of committing sin, but we won't sin because it would go against our transformed nature.

Christ was the founder of an innovative sect of Judaism which was proselytizing in character. Until his ministry, all sects of Judaism were triumphalist and self-contained, provincial to the point of forbidding even marriage outside of the cult (in the extreme), and outside of the House of Israel (at the very least). Never were procedures for a proselyting "mission" stated in the Old Testament, only prophecies that the family of nations would come to Mount Zion to worship, somehow drawn by the light. The Great Commission, then, represents a new command from the Father, communicated to us by the Son on the cusp of his return to glory.

In Jeremiah 33:7 the prophet Jeremiah predicted the return of Judah from captivity in Babylon and their restoration to their prior state, but he went one further and predicted the return of the ten lost tribes of Israel, the northern kingdom, from their captivity as well.

The problem with this is that intermarriage and a deliberate policy by the conquering Assyrians to eliminate the tribal identity of their subjects has totally destroyed most of the components of the northern kingdom. They are truly scattered. Only the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi (including the Coens, or Kohanim, direct descendants of Aaron) remain more or less intact, and these have been absorbed in turn into the construct we call "Jews".

Jesus appointed the twelve apostles to "sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Matt 19:28; Lk 22:30).

Christ's authority as Messiah needed to be established in the context of the fulfillment of a variety of Jewish scriptures pointing forward to him, including the symbolism of twelve apostles representing the original twelve tribes. But this was solely metaphorical, since the twelve tribes no longer existed as intact and ongoing concerns even in Christ's time.

Even the Jews no longer comprise a tribe, because a tribe is a cohesive unit larger than a clan that lives in a certain geographic area. When the Jews were dispersed worldwide in onesey-twoseys following the burning of Jerusalem in 70 AD and Masada in 132 AD, the Jewish tribe ceased to exist. Their spoken language, Hebrew, disappeared from the face of the earth (but lived on in written form in the scriptures) and had to be reconstructed from scratch by the Zionist project.

We can look at how Christ interpreted the other scriptures to derive his concept of how Israel's restoration related to his kingdom. In many ways, Christ's hermeneutic was so loose and fastened on such shaky points it would shock modern students. I'm thinking of his defense of the afterlife by pointing out the use of the present tense when God is called "The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob". Or his use of the "Ye are gods" passage in Psalm 82 to defend against the charge of blasphemy.

With these insights into Christ as a rabbi, we can well imagine that he would call a small movement within Judaism (The Way) a full restoration, in the same way he declared that John the Baptist was really Elijah come again.

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