Jeremiah 6:1-30


Vs. 13, it seems the entire nation was obsessed with covetousness.  This is also a great sin in America, coveting of gold and silver, riches, fame, and the neighbor’s wife.  Vs. 14, a surface level reformation took place, but the cancer under the skin still existed. “Peace, peace, but there is no peace” is the precarious position the world has often found itself in, inbetween the major wars which have been waged.  Between the end of WWII to the present, major wars like Korea, Vietnam, the war in Lebanon, first and second Gulf War, 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan, as well as the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.  Right now the world is just waiting in a period of uneasy peace for the beginning of WWIII.  This “peace, peace, but there is no peace” was also the situation as the Babylonians were preparing militarily, and the Pharaoh of the time was preparing to unsuccessfully stop them in a series of battles, one of which get’s Josiah killed in action.  Verse 16 gives us a general formula for returning to the Lord, it tells us to look back to when the nation was godly, go back to those ways and do those things, as compared to what you are doing now.  It would be sort of like looking back to the 1950s and emulating the conduct of people back then, when music and televised programming was far more wholesome and godly than it is now, and adultery and pre-marital sex were severely frowned upon.  That’s how we would apply verse 16 as a nation.  Did Judah follow God’s advice?  The very end of verse 16 gives Judah’s response.

  Vs. 19, in rejecting God’s Word they’ve essentially rejected God.  When people reject God, as this verse shows, then God rejects them. This also is a major sign of our times that God is being rejected in the United States wholesale, the mention of his name, or praying openly to him is banned from our schools and government buildings.  Historically, whether we deserved it or not, it has been seen that God’s protecting hand has been protecting America and the British peoples.  But now English speaking peoples are actively rejecting God.  God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, so let’s see what happens to a nation that rejects God (verse 30).

Halley says “over and over he warns, with pathetic insistence, that Repentance would be their only last possible chance to escape ruin.   

A vivid prophetic description of the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonian invaders (verses 22-26), which later came to pass within Jeremiah’s own lifetime.


“O you children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee from the midst of Jerusalem!  Blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up the signal-fire in Beth Haccerem; for disaster appears out of the north, and great destruction.  I have likened the daughter of Zion to a lovely and delicate woman, the shepherds with their flocks shall come to her.   They shall pitch their tents against her all around.  Each one shall pasture in his own place.  Prepare war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon.  Woe to us, for the day goes away, for the shadows of evening are lengthening.  Arise, and let us go by night, and let us destroy her palaces.’  For thus has the LORD of hosts said: ‘Cut down trees, build a mound against Jerusalem.  This is the city to be punished.  She is full of opposition in her midst.  As a fountain wells up with water, so she wells up with her wickedness.  Violence and plundering are heard in her.  Before me continually are grief and wounds.  Be instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from you; lest I make you desolate, a land not inhabited.’  Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘They shall thoroughly glean as a vine the remnant of Israel; as a grape-gatherer, put your hand back into the branches.  To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear?  Indeed their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot give heed.  Behold, the word of the LORD is a reproach to them; they have no delight in it.  Therefore I am full of the fury of the LORD.  I am weary of holding it in.  I will pour it out on the children outside.  And on the assembly of young men together; for even the husband shall be taken with the wife, the aged with him who is full of days.  And their houses shall be turned over to others, fields and wives together; for I will stretch out my hand against the inhabitants of the land,’ says the LORD.  Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely.  They have also healed the hurt of my people slightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ when there is no peace.  Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination?  No!  They were not at all ashamed:  nor did they know how to blush.  Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time I punish them, they shall be cast down,’ says the LORD.  Thus says the LORD: ‘Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.  But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’  Also, I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’  But they said, ‘We will not listen.’  Therefore hear, you nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them.  Hear, O earth!  Behold, I will certainly bring calamity on this people---the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not heeded my words nor my law, but rejected it.  For what purpose to me comes frankincense from Sheba, and sweet cane from a far country?  Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet to me.’  Therefore thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will lay stumbling blocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall on them.  The neighbor and his friend shall perish.’  Thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, a people comes from the north country, a great nation will be raised from the farthest parts of the earth.  They will lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel and have no mercy; their voice roars like the sea; and they ride on horses, as men of war set in array against you, O daughter of Zion.  We have heard the report of it; our hands grow feeble.  Anguish has taken hold of us, pain as of a woman in labor.  Do not go out into the field, nor walk by the way.  Because of the sword of the enemy, fear is on every side.  O daughter of my people, dress in sackcloth and roll about in ashes!  Make a mourning as for an only son, most bitter lamentation; for the plunderer will suddenly come upon us.’  ‘I have set you [the LORD talking to Jeremiah] as an assayer and a fortress among my people, that you may know and test their way.  They are all stubborn rebels, walking as slanderers.  They are bronze and iron, they are corrupters; the bellows blow fiercely, the lead is consumed by the fire; the smelter refines in vain, for the wicked are not drawn off, people will call them rejected silver, because the LORD has rejected them.’”


Jeremiah 7:1-34


Growth in numbers verses spiritual growth


The time period is now around 621 BC “in the eighteenth year of King Josiah,” (2 Kings 22:3,8; 2 Chronicles 34:8,14) when the Book of the Law was found in the Temple.  As J. Vernon McGee brings out in his commentary, “The prophecies given in chapters 7-10 were given after the Law of the LORD had been discovered in the Temple during the time of the cleansing ordered by the young king Josiah (who is now 26 years old).  Josiah was greatly concerned about his people, which revealed that he had a personal relationship with God as a young man.  He and Jeremiah were approximately the same age and both zealous for God, and were probably good friends.  Hilkiah the priest, who was evidently the father of Jeremiah, is the one who found the law of the LORD.  The temple was cleaned out and repaired and back in use, which was, of course, a wonderful thing.  Now Jeremiah stands in the gate of the LORD’s house and gives a prophecy to his people.  This is the way chapter 7 opens…”(verses 1-2)  J. Vernon McGee goes on to give the theme of the chapter, and essentially the whole book of Jeremiah, “It is evident that, although they are going to the temple and are returning back to the temple worship, there is no real change in their lives.  They are still living as they did when they were worshipping idols.  It is only an outward revival at this time…at this point it is only a surface movement.” (vs. 3-4)  “Although the people were talking about how wonderful the temple was, they were still worshipping Baal.  Their philosophy was that, since the temple was repaired and they were at least tipping their hat to God on the Sabbath day, he would protect them…” (vs. 9-10)  I am going to quote the entire paragraph on page 369 of J. Vernon McGee’s commentary because it helps us see just how the Book of Jeremiah fits out modern day and age, right now.  It’s scary, because it means judgment is coming, and probably in our lifetimes, probably soon.  “I know of no book that fits into the present hour with a message for us better than this Book of Jeremiah.  After World War II there was a little wave a revival.  There were several evangelists out at that time, and the crowds came.  During that time I began my Bible studies which were said to have the largest attendance of any midweek service in America.  During that time we would hear pastors say that church attendance had doubled and tripled.  They were putting chairs in the aisles and building new buildings.  Churches were moving out to the suburbs.  One pastor I know built a very wonderful church out in suburbia, and he was packing them in---two thousand people in a service.  He said, ‘The trouble was that when I got a new church, I didn’t get new people.  The same people should have been made new, but they were not.’  [i.e. no spiritual change, no spiritual growth was taking place within the people.]  It was the same old people in a new church.  They mistook growth in numbers for spiritual growth and development.  This is the point that Jeremiah is making.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, portions take from pp. 368-369]  From a the historic perspective the real reason Judah is “going along” with Josiah’s and Jeremiah’s reforms, are that five or six of the ten tribes of Israel, the Black Sea Scythian-Israelites who had swept down conquering most of the Middle East all the way to the Egyptian border, were now residing in their old homeland to the north of the territory of Benjamin. They had been the part of Israel that gave up idol worship or had never been a part of it.  They supplied much of the money for the restoration of the Temple. 2 Chronicles 34:8-9-14 and 35:17-19 reflects this, but the Bible calls them by their real tribal names, and not their historic names, the Black Sea Scythians, so most Bible scholars have missed the significance of this.  It was they and their military forces that gave the idol worshipping Jews pause, and added force to Josiah’s and Jeremiah’s reforms.  But God sees through the insincerity of the Jews worship toward him and expresses this through Jeremiah.  This whole period is described in 2 Kings 22:3-8 and all the way through 2 Kings 23:1-25 and 2 Chronicles chapters 34-35.  This is the eighteenth year of his reign, Josiah is 26 and it is 621BC.


 “The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, ‘Stand in the gate of the LORD’s house [i.e. the Temple], and proclaim there this word, and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, ALL you of Judah who enter in at these gates to worship the LORD!’  Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.  Do not trust in these lying words, saying ‘The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD are these.’  For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, or walk after other gods to your hurt, then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land I gave to your fathers forever and ever.  Behold you trust in lying words that cannot profit.  Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, and then come and stand before me in this house which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations’?  Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of thieves in your eyes?  Behold, I, even I have seen it,’ says the LORD.  [Comment by Pastor Chuck Smith on this passage, putting it in context with our day and age, within our ‘Christian churches’: “God said Judah was trusting in lying words.  Don’t think attendance at Calvary Chapel is going to be a substitute for a righteous holy life.  It just does not work that way.  You are trusting in lying words if you come and say, ‘Oh, Calvary Chapel, where the Spirit of God is at work and the Bible is being taught.’  [While that may be true]---Trusting in your membership in any church for salvation is like these people saying, ‘The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD are these.’  If you are not giving heed, if you are not living according to the Word, then you are resting in a false hope.  Do not trust in lying words, but thoroughly change your ways.  Live a life that is pleasing to God.  Live a life of purity.  Live a life of holiness.  Take up your cross and follow Jesus, and then you will have true security.]  ‘But go now to my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel. [Comment:  Shiloh is within the territory of the tribe of Ephraim, just north of Benjamin’s territory within the territory of the Northern House of Israel which was taken captive by the Assyrian Empire in 721BC.]  And now, because you have done all these works,’ says the LORD, ‘and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I called to you, but you did not answer, therefore I will do to the house which is called by my name, in which you trust, and to this place which I gave to you, and your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.  And I will  cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren---the whole posterity of Ephraim.’ [That was addressed to the Jews, warning them that he would do to them what he did to the whole ten tribes of Israel, Ephraim mentioned here being the head tribe, where the capital city of Samaria dwelt, and also Shiloh was in Ephraim’s midst. Now the LORD starts speaking to Jeremiah]  Verses 16-27, ‘Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to me; for I will not hear you.  Do you not see what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?  The children gather the wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.  Do they not provoke themselves, to the shame of their own faces?’  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Behold, my anger and my fury will be poured out on this place---on man and on beast, on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground.  And it will burn and not be quenched.’  Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat meat.  For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices.  But this is what I commanded them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people.  And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.  Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.  Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have even sent to you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them.  Yet they did not obey me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck.  They did worse than their fathers.  Therefore you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not obey you.  You shall also call to them, but they will not answer you.’


Judgment on Obscene Religion


Verses 28-34, “So you shall say to them, ‘This is a nation [Judah, not Scythian-Israel that is still sojourning with them] that does not obey the voice of the LORD their God, nor receive correction.  Truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth.  [Now that is a condition which is taking over in our ‘western Judeo-Christian nations.’]  Cut off your hair and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on the desolate heights; for the LORD has rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath.  For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight,’ says the LORD.  They have set their abomination in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it.  And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into my heart.  [Comment:  The Phoenician city-states of Tyre and Sidon, who had a strong trade-naval alliance with the ten tribed House of Israel up to the time of their banishment from Palestine (which took place from the 740s to 721 BC), as well as their North African colonies, were heavily into Baal worship.  This strong trade-naval alliance between Tyre and Sidon and the ten tribes of Israel and Samaria’s kings from Jeroboam onward especially through Ahab and Ahaziah his son, had polluted and caused the northern kingdom of Israel to become steeped in Baal worship with its brutal practice of frequent child-sacrifice.  This is what Judah has gotten heavily involved in right now, in spite of the Lord’s attempts at bringing about a reformation about through Josiah and Jeremiah.  The LORD already knows the reformation started by king Josiah and Jeremiah isn’t going to work.  The following quote about Baal worship in Phoenicia and Carthage explains exactly what the LORD just accused Judah of doing, but in greater detail:  “Carthage was notorious to its neighbors for child sacrifice.  Plutarch (ca. 46-120AD) mentions the practice, as do Tertullian, Orosius and Diodorus Siculus…The Hebrew Bible mentions what appears to be child sacrifice practiced at a place called Tophet (“roasting place”) by the Canaanites [Phoenicians], ancestors of the Carthaginians, and by some Israelites.  Some of these sources suggest that babies were roasted to death on a heated bronze statue.  According to Diodorus Siculus, “There was in their city a bronze image of Cronus extending its hands, palms up and sloping toward the ground, so that each of the children when placed thereon rolled down and fell into a sort of gaping pit filled with fire.”…Sites within Carthage and other Phoenician centers revealed the remains of infants and children in large numbers; some historians interpret this as evidence for frequent and prominent child sacrifice to the god Ba’al Hammon.”  See and  How does this apply to modern America, and the  so-called Western Judeo-Christian nations?  What would be the equivalent of these horrible child sacrifices?  Abortion, for one.  And in late-term abortions, the unborn child is conscious and can feel what is being done to him or her.  Also the sin of child pornography, that essentially mentally programs hosts of sexual perverts, the many of whom become child sex-offenders, sexual predators.  The abduction, brutal rape and killing of many children by these sexual predators is a constant and growing occurrence in our nations.  God is no respecter of persons, he had the ten tribed northern Kingdom of Israel conquered and deported by Assyria, and as we will read further on, did the same thing through Babylon to the southern Kingdom of Judah.  Do you think  for a moment God won’t do the same thing to the nations that allow the same brutal killing of its children?  You’re living in a fools paradise if you think God will not act, sooner or later.  America is running out of the financial ability to maintain its superpower status and military hardware.  “The handwriting is on the wall.”  Look at what God prophecied would happen to Judah, and it actually happened in 586BC.]  ‘Therefore behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘when it will no more be called Tophet, or the Valley of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter; for they will bury in Tophet until there is no room. The corpses of this people will be food for the birds of the heaven and for the beasts of the earth.  And no one will frighten them away.  Then I will cause to cease from the cities of Judah and from the streets of Jerusalem the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride.  For the land shall be desolate.”


Jeremiah 8:1-22


People just don’t listen when times are good


Realizing the Jews are just not listening, God through Jeremiah modifies his prophecies of impending doom of Jerusalem as if it has already happened.  But false prophets and the people looking at the OK ‘here and now’ economic conditions in the land was part of Jeremiah’s most difficult problem.  J. Vernon McGee applies Jeremiah chapter 8 very well to America’s day and age---a day leading directly into our own impending doom.  He says, “Chapter 8 continues Jeremiah’s message as he stands in the gate of the LORD’s house.  Their crowning sin is that they are rejecting the Word of the LORD.  This is the crowning sin of America also.  The prevailing feeling is that if our economy is all right, we are all right.  However, many folk are beginning to realize that the economy can be all right and we can be all wrong.  After World War II we hastened to get the atom bomb into our arsenal of weapons.  Of course we need to protect ourselves, but we forgot that any nation, any church, or any individual disintegrates from the “inside”.  It is not what happens on the outside, but what happens on the inside that is the crucial issue.” .  [ibid. p.371]

 I remember right after the Muslim terrorists had flown into the Twin Towers in New York City, church attendance throughout America double, tripled and quadrupled all across the nation, and this trend lasted for about three months.  But alas, when everyone saw we were safe, and successfully girding on our military sword to counter the danger at hand, church attendance went back down to it’s normal dismal low in America.  People know where to find God when they’re in trouble, but just don’t care to when they’re not.  Verse 8 is a very scary one for all religious writers and pastors who twist the Word of the LORD so that their pet doctrines no longer properly fit what the Word of God has to say.  I’d be very careful, if I were you.  verses 14-16 is looking forward into time, the time of the actual invasion of Babylon into the land of Judah.

Jeremiah 6:13-14 is an exact duplicate of Jeremiah 8:10-11.  Whenever God repeats a verse somewhere else in his Word, it denotes its importance, God is giving that verse extra emphasis, and we should take heed.  As the king of Babylon was solidifying his political and military power to the north, making Babylon ready to assume Empire status and conquer the known world in the Middle East, Judah doesn’t have a clue.  And she would, because the LORD is giving Judah what would amount to in our day “solid military intelligence” as to what’s going on to their north.  But because it’s God giving the warning, and everything looks OK, conditions of “peace, peace” and economic prosperity exist on the surface, no one is listening to God or his prophet Jeremiah.  God will use the Babylonians to punish the House of Judah and specifically the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  It happened, it is history.  The LORD will yet use the Assyrians to punish the English speaking peoples, and America in particular.  Turn back to the Isaiah commentary, which deals with this.


“‘At that time,’ says the LORD, ‘they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of the princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves.  They shall spread them before the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven, which they have loved and which they have served and after which they have walked, which they have sought and which they have worshipped.  They shall not be gathered nor buried, they shall be like refuse on the face of the earth.  Then death shall be chosen rather than life by all the residue of those who remain in all the places where I have driven them,’ says the LORD of hosts. 


The Peril of False Teaching


Verses 4-22, “Moreover you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD: ‘Will they fall and not rise?  Will one turn away and not return?  Why has this people slidden back, Jerusalem, in a perpetual backsliding?  They hold fast to deceit, they refuse to return.  I listened and heard, but they did not speak aright.  No man repented of his wickedness, saying, ‘What have I done?’  Everyone turned to his own course, as the horse rushes into the battle.  Even the stork in the heavens knows her appointed times; and the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow observe the time of their coming.  But my people do not know the judgment of the LORD.  How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us’?  Look, the false pen of the scribe certainly works falsehood [verse 8].  The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken.  Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD; so what wisdom do they have?  Therefore I will give their wives to others, and their fields to those who will inherit them; because from the least even to the greatest, everyone is given to covetousness; from the prophet even to the priest everyone deals falsely.  For they have healed the hurt of my people slightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ when there is no peace.  [‘Peace, peace’ an exact duplicate passage from Jeremiah 6:13-14.  Duplicate Scriptures are God’s way of strongly emphasizing a principle, law or teaching in Scripture.  The superpowers are in a state of flux right now (between 621BC and 612BC), the Black Sea Scythian-Israelites have just dealt a mortal wound to the Assyrian Empire, freeing up the Babylonians so they can pursue empire-building.  In less than ten years they, with the withdrawing Scythians as their allies, will destroy Nineveh.  Six years after that, the Babylonian army will be marching toward the land of Judah and Benjamin.  The Middle East is at this time in Judah’s history is in a state of flux, unstable, as power vacuums are being created and then filled  This is sort of like the world we live in right now---China growing militarily powerful, assuming super-power status, the Russian Federation re-arming itself, reclaiming its super-power status, and Europe uniting both politically and militarily, while we slip from super-power status.  Can you see the parallels yet?]  Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination?  No!  They were not at all ashamed, nor did they know how to blush.  Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; in the time of their punishment they shall be cast down,’ says the LORD.  ‘I will surely consume them,’ says the LORD.  ‘No grapes shall be on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things I have given them shall pass away from them.’  ‘Why do we sit still?  Assemble yourselves, and let us enter the fortified cities, and let us be silent there.  For the LORD our God has put us to silence and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against the LORD.  We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and there was trouble!  The snorting of his horses was heard from Dan.  [This would be a reference to battle-horses, war-horses and chariots.]  The whole land trembled at the sound of his strong ones; for they have come and devoured the land and all that is in it, the city and those who dwell in it.  For behold I will send serpents among you, vipers which cannot be charmed.  And they shall bite you,’ says the LORD.  ‘I would comfort myself in sorrow; my heart is faint in me.  Listen!  The voice, the cry of the daughter of my people from a far country:  Is not the LORD in Zion?  Is not her King in her?  Why have they provoked me to anger with their carved images---with foreign idols?  The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!  For the hurt of the daughter of my people I am hurt.  I am mourning; astonishment has taken hold of me.  Is there no balm in Gilead, is there no physician there?  Why then is there no recovery for the health of the daughter of my people?’”


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