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Tuesday, May 8 2012

Jeremiah's Letter To Babylon

The people of ancient Israel, ironically, of all people (considering that they saw the LORD personally and directly; see Appearances Of The LORD God), had a chronic and always fatal attraction to idolatry. Amazingly, they even worshipped an idol at Mount Sinai, while Moses was being given the Ten Commandments (see The Stones Of Mount Sinai and The Holy Place In History And Prophecy).

"32:1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

32:2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. 32:3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 32:4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt [see The Mount Sinai Riot]." (Exodus 32:1-4 KJV)

King Solomon was one of the wisest men that ever lived, while he was young, but in his later years he became an idol-worshipping fool (see A History Of Jerusalem: The Glory Of Solomon).

Solomon Sacrificing To Idols

"11:1 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; 11:2 Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. 11:3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. 11:4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father [see A History Of Jerusalem: The City Of David]. 11:5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 11:6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.

11:7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. 11:8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.

11:9 And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice [see Appearances Of The LORD God], 11:10 And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. 11:11 Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. 11:12 Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. 11:13 Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen." (1 Kings 11:1-13 KJV)

As stated in the verses above, it was because of Solomon's idolatry that the LORD caused the division of Israel into two separate kingdoms, "Israel" and "Judah," that were never united again (see Rehoboam's Answer). The northern kingdom of Israel lasted for less than three centuries before the LORD had them conquered and taken away, by the Assyrians, for their gross idolatry (see The Galilee Captivity and No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes?). The "lost ten tribes" of Israel returned.

The Division of The Kingdom under Rehoboam

"17:6 In the ninth year of Hoshea [see Hoshea Of Israel] the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

17:7 For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, 17:8 And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made." (2 Kings 17:6-8 KJV)

A little over a century later, the people of the southern kingdom, known as "Judah," became as idolatrous as the northern kingdom had been. The LORD therefore had them conquered and taken away into exile too, by the Babylonians (the Assyrian Empire had by then been overtaken by the Babylonian Empire). For the sake of the Messiah's city of Jerusalem however (see A History Of Jerusalem: The Capital Of Judah and A History Of Jerusalem: The Coming Of The Messiah), the people of Judah were allowed to return, as a nation, after seventy years i.e. most of those taken away never returned, while most of those who returned had never been "home" before.

The prophecy of their return after seventy years was given by the LORD to the prophet Jeremiah.

"25:1 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah [see Jehoiakim Of Judah], that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; 25:2 The which Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, 25:3 From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year, the word of the LORD hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened.

25:4 And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets [see The Prophets: North and South], rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear. 25:5 They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever: 25:6 And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt.

25:7 Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the LORD; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt." (Jeremiah 25:1-7 KJV)

Unlike Israel however, Judah's exile would last only seventy years.

"25:8 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words, 25:9 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations. 25:10 Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle. 25:11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years." (Jeremiah 25:8-11 KJV)

At the end of the seventy years, the LORD would both bring Judah back and bring down that original Babylonian Empire (see What And Where Is Babylon Today?).

Back To Babylon

"25:12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations. 25:13 And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations. 25:14 For many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them also: and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands." (Jeremiah 25:12-14 KJV)

They ignored all of the warnings that the LORD gave to them, so Judah was taken away, "To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years."

"36:15 And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: 36:16 But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.

36:17 Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand. 36:18 And all the vessels of the house of God [see The Temple Vessel Prophecies Today], great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon. 36:19 And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.

36:20 And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia:

36:21 To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years." (2 Chronicles 36:15-21 KJV)

"To fulfil the Word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah"

The LORD had informed the people of Judah that they would be exiled. The LORD also made known to them that they would return, as a nation, seventy years later. That knowledge was also delivered through the prophet Jeremiah, by a letter "that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon."

Jeremiah lamenting over the destruction of Jerusalem

"29:1 Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon; 29:2 (After that Jeconiah the king, and the queen, and the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the carpenters, and the smiths, were departed from Jerusalem;) 29:3 By the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, (whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent unto Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon) saying,

29:4 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon; 29:5 Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; 29:6 Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished. 29:7 And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace. 29:8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. 29:9 For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the LORD.

29:10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 29:12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 29:14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.

29:15 Because ye have said, The LORD hath raised us up prophets in Babylon; 29:16 Know that thus saith the LORD of the king that sitteth upon the throne of David, and of all the people that dwelleth in this city, and of your brethren that are not gone forth with you into captivity; 29:17 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will send upon them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and will make them like vile figs, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil. 29:18 And I will persecute them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and an hissing, and a reproach, among all the nations whither I have driven them: 29:19 Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the LORD, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; but ye would not hear, saith the LORD.

29:20 Hear ye therefore the word of the LORD, all ye of the captivity, whom I have sent from Jerusalem to Babylon: 29:21 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, of Ahab the son of Kolaiah, and of Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, which prophesy a lie unto you in my name; Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall slay them before your eyes; 29:22 And of them shall be taken up a curse by all the captivity of Judah which are in Babylon, saying, The LORD make thee like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire; 29:23 Because they have committed villany in Israel, and have committed adultery with their neighbours' wives, and have spoken lying words in my name, which I have not commanded them; even I know, and am a witness, saith the LORD.

29:24 Thus shalt thou also speak to Shemaiah the Nehelamite, saying, 29:25 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, Because thou hast sent letters in thy name unto all the people that are at Jerusalem, and to Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, and to all the priests, saying, 29:26 The LORD hath made thee priest in the stead of Jehoiada the priest, that ye should be officers in the house of the LORD, for every man that is mad, and maketh himself a prophet, that thou shouldest put him in prison, and in the stocks. 29:27 Now therefore why hast thou not reproved Jeremiah of Anathoth, which maketh himself a prophet to you? 29:28 For therefore he sent unto us in Babylon, saying, This captivity is long: build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 29:29 And Zephaniah the priest read this letter in the ears of Jeremiah the prophet. 29:30 Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying, 29:31 Send to all them of the captivity, saying, Thus saith the LORD concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite; Because that Shemaiah hath prophesied unto you, and I sent him not, and he caused you to trust in a lie: 29:32 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite, and his seed: he shall not have a man to dwell among this people; neither shall he behold the good that I will do for my people, saith the LORD; because he hath taught rebellion against the LORD." (Jeremiah 29:1-32 KJV)

A copy of that letter to the exiles in Babylon was included in the scroll, known today as the "book of Jeremiah," that the LORD also commanded Jeremiah to write i.e. "Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book."

"30:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 30:2 Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book. 30:3 For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it." (Jeremiah 30:1-3 KJV)

The prophet Daniel, who had been taken away in the exile while young (see The Royal Eunuchs) was given many revelations directly by the LORD. One however was given to him, by the LORD, through what the LORD had commanded Jeremiah to write i.e. "I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem."

The Prophet Daniel

"9:1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; 9:2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem." (Daniel 9:1-2 KJV)

For Daniel, it wasn't a matter of prophecy alone; it was also a history lesson, as written by Jeremiah.

"9:3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:

9:4 And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said,

O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; 9:5 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: 9:6 Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

9:7 O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee. 9:8 O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. 9:9 To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; 9:10 Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. 9:11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.

9:12 And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem. 9:13 As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth. 9:14 Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.

9:15 And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly. 9:16 O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.

9:17 Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the LORD sake. 9:18 O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. 9:19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name." (Daniel 9:3-19 KJV)

Fact Finder: When did the people of Judah return, exactly as the LORD said that they would return?
See A History Of Jerusalem: Ezra And Nehemiah


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This Day In History, May 8

413: Amidst the political and military crumbling of the Roman Empire, Emperor Honorius signed an edict for tax relief for the Italian provinces of Tuscia, Campania, Picenum, Samnium, Apulia, Lucania and Calabria, who were then being plundered by the Visigoths because Rome could no longer defend its own internal borders.

1429: The siege of Orleans ended when French troops stormed the English forts in the Hundred Years War.

1541: Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto discovered (it wasn't a discovery for the tribes of native people who lived there) the Mississippi River. He called it Rio de Espiritu Santo ("the Holy Spirit River").

1559: The Act of Supremacy was passed by which the new Queen Elizabeth I became "Supreme Governor" of the Church of England; the Act of Uniformity was passed and a Common Prayer book was introduced.

1792: British captain George Vancouver sighted and named Mount Rainier on the west coast of the continent of North America.

1794: Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, "the father of modern chemistry" (he identified the element oxygen) was guillotined in Paris by the Revolutionary Convention.

1811: The British under the Duke of Wellington defeated the French in Portugal.

1852: The Treaty of London was signed by Britain, France, Russia, Prussia, Austria and Sweden, guaranteeing the integrity of Denmark.

1882: The vast Northwest Territories of Canada were divided into 4 districts: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Assiniboia and Athabaska.

1886: Atlanta pharmacist John Styth Pemberton invented Coca Cola as a patent medicine (as its name indicates, the original formula for "coke" contained the ingredient from which cocaine is produced).

1895: China ceded Taiwan to Japan under the Treaty of Shimonoseki.

1902: The eruption of Mt. Pelee, near St. Pierre, Martinique, destroyed the town within minutes, killing all but 2 of the town's 30,000 inhabitants.

1921: Capital punishment was abolished in Sweden.

1943: Mordecai Anielewicz, 24, the leader of the Jewish "Warsaw Uprising" against the Nazi Waffen-SS, was killed in battle.

1945: At the end of the Second World War, King Leopold of Belgium was freed from Nazi detention.

1949: The Basic Law, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), was adopted by the Parliamentary Council at Bonn.

1977: David Berkowitz pleaded guilty to the "Son of Sam" (also known as the "44 Caliber Killer") shootings that terrorized New York City. He was sentenced to 365 years in prison.

1987: Canada officially minted the first $1.00 coins. Made of a nickel with a gold-colored aureate coating, the "loonie" (a nickname from the picture of the aquatic bird, known in North America as the loon, on one side of the coin) is estimated to have a lifespan of 20 years, as compared to 9 months for the traditional $1.00 bill that it replaced.





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