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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.
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).
"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.
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.
"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.
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.
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?).
"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.
"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."
"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,
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."
"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:
Fact Finder: When did the people of Judah return, exactly as the LORD said that they would return?
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.