Jeremiah 20:1-18


Halley says this, “Jeremiah went from his vase-breaking rendezvous with the leaders in the valley of Hinnom to the Temple, and began to proclaim there the same message to the people.  For this, Pashhur, one of the chief officers of the Temple, put him in prison, stocks, [overnight].  “Stocks” consisted of a wooden frame in which feet, neck and hands were fastened so as to hold the body in a distorted and painful position…”  J. Vernon McGee has this to say about chapter 20, “When Jeremiah went down to Tophet [the Valley of the Son of Hinnom] and broke the bottle as the LORD had told him to do, the message he gave to the people of Judah was that they were going into captivity.  Josiah, the great and good king, is dead, and he has been followed by Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim [and Jeconiah---see].  Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, is now on the throne.  He is the worst and the weakest of all the kings who ever ruled Judah.  It is during his reign that the Babylonian captivity prophesied by Jeremiah will take place.  We will see a change take place in the life and ministry of Jeremiah.  When he gives out the Word of God, he’s adamant, he’s strong, and he’s hard-nosed, but personally, as a  man, he has a very tender heart.  When his beloved friend Josiah died, Chronicles records that Jeremiah wept for him.  The three evil kings who followed Josiah reject the ministry of Jeremiah in a very definite way.  He is given a cold shoulder, and his message is absolutely ignored…”  At this point, persecution increases, coming from Temple authorities themselves, verses 1-3.  J. Vernon McGee continues, and gives a scathing warning to today’s “liberal churches”, putting this passage in Jeremiah in context with some of today’s churches.  If the shoe fits, as they say, wear it.  “Notice with whom the persecution originates: It began in organized religion.  Today the Word of God is being hurt and hindered the most by the organized, ‘liberal church’ which has rejected the Word of God.  They will align themselves with some very shady characters boasting of their brotherhood, their love for everyone, and their broadmindedness.  But when it comes to accepting a fundamentalist, someone who stands for the Word of God, I have found that their broadmindedness and love disappears.  There is more opposition to the furtherance of the gospel originating in the organized church than there is in the liquor industry or in any political group that I know today.  This physical persecution of Jeremiah began in the organized religion of his day.  This intense persecution takes Jeremiah aback for a moment, verses 7-9, when he contemplates not preaching anymore.  But the Word of God was burning in his heart to get out, so he couldn’t stop.  But he rues the day he was born, verses 10-18.


“Now Pashhur the son of Immer, the priest who was also chief governor in the house of the LORD, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things.  Then Pashhur struck Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the LORD.  And it happened on the next day that Pashhur brought Jeremiah out of the stocks.  Then Jeremiah said to him, ‘The LORD has not called your name Pashhur, but Magor-Missabib.”  J. Vernon McGee says, “Magor-Missabib means ‘terror on every side.  Jeremiah is telling Pashhur that there is terror in store from him and for everyone connected with him.”   “For thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and your eyes shall see it.  I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive to Babylon and slay them with the sword.  Moreover I will deliver all the wealth of this city, all its produce, and all its precious things; all the treasures of the kings of Judah I will give into the hand of their enemies, who will plunder them, seize them, and carry them to Babylon.  And you, Pashhur, and all who dwell in your house, shall go into captivity.  You shall go to Babylon, and there you shall die, and be buried there, you and all your friends, to whom you have prophesied lies.’”


Jeremiah’s Unpopular Ministry


“O LORD, you induced me, and I was persuaded; you are stronger than I, and have prevailed.  I am in derision daily; Everyone mocks me.  For when I spoke, I cried out; I shouted, ‘Violence and plunder!’ because the word of the LORD was made to me a reproach and a derision daily.  Then I said, ‘I will not make mention of him, nor any more speak his name.’  But his word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.  For I heard many mocking:  ‘Fear on every side!’  ‘Report,’ they say, ‘and we will report it!’  All my acquaintances watched for my stumbling, saying, ‘Perhaps he can be induced; then we will prevail against him, and we will take our revenge on him.’  But the LORD is with me as a mighty, awesome One.  Therefore my persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail.  They will be greatly ashamed, for they will not prosper.  Their everylasting confusion will never be forgotten.  But, O LORD of hosts, you who test the righteous, and see the mind and heart.  Let me see your vengeance on them; for I have pleaded my cause before you.  Sing to the LORD!  Praise the LORD!  For he has delivered the life of the poor from the hand of evildoers.  Cursed be the day in which I was born!  Let the day not be blessed in which my mother bore me!  Let the man be cursed who brought the news to my father, saying, ‘A male child has been born to you!’ making him very glad.  [And Jeremiah’s dad was Hilkiah, the high priest in the Temple.]  And let that man be like the cities which the LORD overthrew, and did not relent; let him hear the cry in the morning and the shouting at noon, because he did not kill me from the womb, that my mother might have been my grave, and her womb always enlarged with me.  Why did I come forth from the womb to see labor and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?’”


Jeremiah 21:1-14


Halley has, “King Zedekiah, frightened at the approach of the Babylonian army, appeals to Jeremiah to intercede with God.  Jeremiah advises Zedekiah to yield the city to the Babylonians, in order to save the people from death.”  J. Vernon McGee has this to say, putting these verses into modern context, i.e. How should we apply these verses today, in today’s churches?  “It is interesting that when Zedekiah got into real trouble he went to the man he knew was giving the Word of God.  He went right past Pashhur and his crowd---he didn’t seek help from organized religion.  I find that a great many people today belong to a liberal church, but they listen to a Bible broadcast on the radio.  For some strange reason they feel they can reconcile the two things.  My friend, when you are in trouble nothing is going to satisfy you but the Word of God.”  And I might add to that, nothing is going to satisfy you but attaining a real relationship with God both through his Word and prayer.  And it also helps to be a part of a real Christian church which consistently teaches from the Word of God, undiluted or liberalized.  What should you do, if you’re in this boat and part of a “liberal” church?  Log onto and read through that Introduction section for some timely ideas on this subject.  Also read through the introduction to the Church History section at for more about Body of Christ and where it stands today, compared to where it stood years ago.  These circumstances are mirrored in the ‘organized religion’ in the Temple during Jeremiah’s time.  J. Vernon McGee goes on, “Zedekiah comes to Jeremiah but he doesn’t get any comfort from him at all.  Jeremiah tells him that Nebuchadnezzar is coming and he will destroy the city unless there is a turning to God…Now the choice before the people of Judah was to stay in the city and die or to surrender to the king of Babylon and live.”  This would have been the start of the three-year-long siege of Jerusalem (see, and Zedekiah is getting real nervous.


“The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD when king Zedekiah sent him to Pashhur the son of Melciah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, saying, ‘Please inquire of the LORD for us, for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon makes war against us.  Perhaps the LORD will deal with us according to all his wonderful works, that the king may go away from us.’  Then Jeremiah said to them, ‘Thus you shall say to Zedekiah, ‘Thus says the LORD God of Israel: Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, with which you fight against the king of Babylon and the Chaldeans who besiege you outside the walls; and I will assemble them in the midst of this city.  I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger and fury and great wrath.  I will strike the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast; they shall die of a great pestilence.  And afterward,’ says the LORD, ‘I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, his servants and the people, and such as are left in this city from the pestilence and the sword and the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those who seek their life; and he shall strike them with the edge of the sword.  He shall not spare them, or have pity or mercy.’ ‘Now this you shall say to this people, Thus says the LORD:  Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.  He who remains in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but he who goes out and defects to the Chaldeans who besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be as a prize to him.  For I have set my face against this city for adversity and not for good,’ says the LORD.  ‘It shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire.’


Message to the House of David


‘And concerning the house of the king of Judah, say, Hear the word of the LORD, O house of David!  Thus says the LORD:  Execute judgment in the morning; and deliver him who is plundered out of the hand of the oppressor, lest my fury go forth like a fire and burn so that no one can quench it, because of evil in your doings.  Behold, I am against you, O inhabitant of the valley, and rock of the plain,’ says the LORD, ‘who say, Who shall come down against us?  Or who shall enter our dwellings?  But I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings,’ says the LORD; ‘I will kindle a fire in its forest, and it shall devour all things around it.’”


Jeremiah 22:1-30


This chapter records God’s judgment given to Jeremiah to speak to three of Josiah’s sons, who became kings of Judah, one after another. What God has against all three kings is their favoritism of the rich at the expense of the poor.  This is described in verses 1-10. J. Vernon McGee has a lot to say about this, and I’ll let him have his say, because he’s right on the money, and has a real bone to pick with the very rich in our society.  Here goes, “It is very interesting that the Word of God has so much to say about the poor.  God pays so much attention to them, both in the Old and New Testaments, that we cannot ignore it…God has a great deal to say on this subject.  Jeremiah called attention to the fact that the rich men were heaping up wealth by the labor of others and treading down the poor.  In their pride and in their arrogance they built themselves palaces and lived as though God had forgotten their iniquitous means for the acquisition of their wealth.  In the New Testament we read: “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.  Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.  Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you…” (James 5:1-3).  There are two things for which God condemns the rich: the way they get their money, and the way they spend their money or the way they use it.  Have you noticed that everything is slanted for the rich?  I find that I am paying more taxes than some men who are worth a million dollars.  You would think I am a millionaire judging from the taxes I must pay!  The tax laws are geared to protect the rich.  [One reason for that, be it good or not, is that the rich invest their money creating companies, which creates jobs.  That is the reasoning behind some of that practice, or so it has been said.  How much truth there is to that, I don’t know.]  The politicians gear everything in favor of the rich, those who have given to their political campaigns.  That is what the rich people support.  Most of them don’t give to the work of the Lord; they don’t give in order to get out the Word of God.  God notices that.  He notices when the rich get rich at the expense of the poor, and he notices when they spend their wealth on themselves, building palaces to live in.  Very frankly, it is sinful to live in a mansion when there are so many people in such poverty.  I do not believe a Christian should do that.  There are a lot of poor Christians who need help from the wealthier Christians.  And I am not sure that Christian organizations should have plush and luxurious accommodations either.  May I say also that there is too much of a tendency for religion to cater to the rich.  I often hear preachers boast that they have a millionaire or two in their congregation.  I’d like to know what they are doing to get the Word of God out.  I played golf with such a man who is reported to be worth twenty million dollars.  I was told he might be interested in supporting our radio broadcast.  After he asked me about it, I told him all about the broadcast and the needs of the program.  He was interested, and he assured me he listens to the broadcast.  Do you know how much support he has given to the program?  Not one dime.  I give this isolated case as an example, but I would hate to be a Christian who left a millions dollars when I died and have to face the Lord to account for what I had done with my money.  [To see how much God thought of J. Vernon McGee’s THRU THE BIBLE radio broadcast ministry, after he died God made it possible for that broadcast to continue going out over the airwaves, and his radio broadcasts going through the Bible expositorily can still be heard.  Wonder what happened to the millionaire and his money?]  I do not think this means we are not to enjoy what the Lord gives us---the comforts that he has made possible---but if he has given to you wealth, he is going to hold you responsible for using it for his glory.  “He judged the cause of the poor and needy…was not this to know me? saith the LORD.”  God says, “Josiah knew me, and he knew that he could not be my follower and not have concern for the poor and needy.”  God says that he has a concern for these people.  Do you know who are the two groups of people that are the hardest to reach with the gospel?  They are the very rich and the very poor.  God wants to equalize that because he wants them to hear the gospel and be saved [i.e. receiving Jesus Christ into their lives by receiving the indwelling Holy Spirit, and living a life of spiritual growth and sanctification until the day of their death, burial and resurrection to immortality---being “saved” is a process.  One is not truly “saved” until their resurrection to immortality.  I prefer the term “being saved” to “saved” that evangelical Christianity uses so often.]  He wants the rich way up at the top to help those way down at the bottom.  And he is concerned that both be reached with the Word of God.  [the early Church in Asia Minor actually practiced this actively in the environment of the Roman Empire, which of itself had no welfare program for the poor and needy.  See]  The fundamental social problem in America today is not a racial or a class struggle.  It is a question of the rich and the poor.  Communism would never have risen in the world if it were not for the struggle between the filthy rich and the very poor.  [For a very interesting study on the rise of Communism and what brought it on, log onto: ]  And it is this inequality that God says he judges.”  That just gave us J. Vernon McGee’s expository teaching on god’s judgment of the rich who oppress the poor, which was a sin these three following kings had allowed to continue and probably had a hand in.  Of the three kings God’s judgment is against, the first there was Shallum, also called Jehoahaz, the first son of Josiah to rule after his father’s death.  Although he only rules three months, God judges him for his rulership.  That judgment is from verses 11-17.  Next there is Jehoiakim, who ruled for 11 years.  God’s judgment for him is found in verses 18-23.  Then the third king to rule, also a son of Josiah is Jeconiah, who again only ruled for three months.  God’s judgment of him is scathing.  It is found in verses 24-30. 


Verses 1-10, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and there speak this word, and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, O king of Judah, you who sit on the throne of David, you and your servants and your people who enter these gates!  Thus says the LORD: Execute judgment and righteousness, and deliver the plundered out of the hand of the oppressor.  Do no wrong and do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, or the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.  For if you indeed do this thing, then shall enter the gates of this house, riding on horses and in chariots, accompanied by servants and people, kings who sit on the throne of David.  But if you will not hear these words, I swear by myself,’ says the LORD, ‘that this house shall become a desolation.’  For thus says the LORD to the house of the king of Judah: ‘You are Gilead to me, the head of Lebanon; yet I surely will make you a wilderness, cities which are not inhabited.  I will prepare destroyers against you,  everyone with his weapons; they shall cut down your choice cedars and cast them into the fire.  And many nations will pass by this city, and everyone will say to his neighbor, Why has the LORD done so to this great city?  Then they will answer, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD their God, and worshipped other gods and served them.  Weep not for the dead, nor bemoan him; weep bitterly for him who goes away, for he shall return no more, nor see his native country.’”


Message to the Sons of Josiah: Shallum (Jehoahaz), reigns 3 months in Jerusalem


Verses 11-17, “For thus says the LORD concerning Shallum [Margin: Jehoahaz] the son of Josiah, king of Judah, who reigned instead of Josiah his father, who went from this place:  He shall not return here anymore, but he shall die in the place where they have led him captive, and shall see this land no more.’  ‘Woe to him who builds his house and his chambers by injustice, who uses his neighbor’s service without wages and gives him nothing for his work.  Who says, I will build myself a wide house with spacious chambers, and cut out windows for it, paneling it with cedar and painting it with vermillion.  Shall you reign because you enclose yourself in cedar?  Did not your father eat and drink, and do justice and righteousness?  Then it was well with him, he judged the cause of the poor and needy.  Then it was well.  Was not this knowing me?’ says the LORD.  Yet your eyes and your heart are for nothing but your covetousness, for shedding innocent blood, and practicing oppression and violence.’”


Jehoiakim, next king after Jehoahaz, reigns 11 years in Jerusalem


Verses 18-23, “Therefore thus says the LORD concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah [next king to rule after Jehoahaz (Shallum)]:  ‘They shall not lament for him, saying, Alas, my brother! or Alas, my sister!  They shall not lament for him, saying, Alas, master! or Alas, his glory!  He shall be buried with the burial of a donkey, dragged and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem.  Go up to Lebanon, and cry out, and lift up your voice in Bashan; cry from Abarim, for all your lovers are destroyed.  I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, I will not hear.  This has been your manner from your youth.  That you did not obey my voice, the wind shall eat up all your rulers, and your lovers shall go into captivity; surely then you will be ashamed and humiliated for all your wickedness.  O inhabitant of Lebanon, making your nest in the cedars, how gracious will you be when pangs come upon you, like the pain of a woman in labor?’


Message to Coniah


Verses 24-30,  “‘As I live,’ says the LORD, ‘though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet on my right hand, yet I would pluck you off; and I will give you into the hand of those who seek your life, and into the hand of those whose face you fear---the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the hand of the Chaldeans.  So I will cast you out, and your mother who bore you, into another country where you were not born; and there you shall die.  But to the land to which they desire to return, there they shall not return.  Is this man Coniah a despised, broken idol---a vessel in which is no pleasure?  Why are they cast out, he and his descendants, and cast into a land which they do not know?  O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD!’  Thus says the LORD: ‘Write this man down as childless, a man who shall not prosper in his days; for none of his descendants shall prosper, sitting on the throne of David, and ruling anymore in Judah.’”  J. Vernon McGee has this to say about Jeconiah, and this is interesting, because it gets into the genealogy of Jesus given in Matthew 1.  “…‘Coniah’ is Jehoiachin [not Jehoiakim] who was also called Jeconiah.  Why does God call him Coniah?  It is because the “Je” in Jeconiah stands for Jehovah.  God is saying, ‘Don’t identify me with that man!’  He goes on to say, ‘Why, if he were the ring on my finger, I would throw him away!’  God cries to the whole earth to be his witness: No descendant of Coniah will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah.  This is one reason that Joseph could not have been the [literal] father of Jesus.  Joseph was in the line of Jeconiah, and God says no child of that line will sit on the throne of David.  [see]  Does that mean the throne of David would be vacant from then on?  Listen to another prophecy:  “For thus saith the LORD: ‘David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel’” (Jer. 33:17).  [Comment:  Notice that said “upon the throne of the house of Israel”, not ‘upon the throne of the house of Judah.’  Where is Israel right now?  Good question for all you history sleuths.]  There will be Someone on the throne of David, but he will not be a descendant in the line of Jeconiah.  In Jeremiah 36:30 we read: “Therefore thus saith the LORD of Jehoiakim king of Judah: ‘He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David; and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost.’”  I remind you that Jehoiakim was the father of Jeconiah.  God cut off that line.  [see for the actual history of those events.]  Now the remarkable thing is that there are two recorded genealogies of Jesus Christ, and there is a reason for that.  The one recorded in Matthew chapter 1 leads to Joseph.  It comes from David, through Solomon and Jeconiah, to Joseph.  Joseph’s line gave Jesus the legal title to the throne.  But Joseph was not the [actual] father of Jesus.  Jesus is not the descendant of that line.  The second genealogy is in Luke 3:23-38.  This is the genealogy of Mary, and it does not come through Solomon but comes through another son of David, Nathan.  There is no curse and no judgment on that line.  The Lord Jesus Christ was virgin born, and he came through Mary’s line.  That is where he got the blood title to the throne of David.  I find this one of the most remarkable things that has occurred in this world!  That is why God calls the earth to listen: “O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD.”  He wants the earth to see that this is the way he has worked it out, God’s purposes will not be thwarted.  He is able to bring judgment upon whomever he wills; yet he was able to fulfill his promise that the coming Messiah would be a descendant of King David.”


Jeremiah 23:1-40


Verses 1-2 taken in context with God’s condemnation of false prophets in verses 9-40, this is about false prophets and preachers.  The whole chapter except for verses 3-8 addresses false prophets and pastors.  The word in the New King James is ‘shepherds’ in verses 1-2, but in the King James it is ‘pastors’.  This should give the context.  Jeremiah’s message from God was being ignored by the general populace because of what the false prophets and pastors, the priesthood right in God’s Temple, were preaching.  Verses 3 through 8 are prophetic for the Millennial Kingdom of God.  Verse 3, God promises to regather the remnant of his flock from all countries.  His flock is not just Judah, the House of Judah, but as we’ve seen, is also composed of the “ten lost tribes of Israel.”  Verses 5-6 are proof of this, prophecying the coming of the Messiah to rule the entire world, and that in his days “Judah will be save, and all Israel will dwell safely.  This is a prophecy about the Lord Jesus Christ’s 2nd coming.  Verses 9 through 40 again go back to God’s scathing condemnation of false prophets and priests, pastors, who are turning people away from the true Word of God and God’s warning, in this case through Jeremiah.  In today’s day and age, these false prophets would more than likely be from the dead and dying denominations which have turned “liberal.”  They teach a false grace, decoupled from any responsibility for the believer to obey God’s Law.  They teach a warped version of Bible Prophecy, which attempts to do away with God’s clear teaching about the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ and the set-up of the Millennial Kingdom of God under Christ’s gentle but firm rule, which verses 3 through 8 have just predicted.  Also realize, this is a pattern.  When one or even a few of God’s Prophets are giving a warning of impending doom, Satan always brings out his prophets to counter the message, muddy the waters of understanding, which often leads to the doom of those being warned.  The blood, in the end goes on Satan and his false prophets.  Whoever they are, just as in Jeremiah’s time, they will pay with their lives in the coming horrible Day of the LORD, make no mistake about it, and at the hands of the invading enemy.  This corrupt priesthood died in the Temple when Nebuchadnezzar’s army breached Jerusalem’s walls and burned and tore down the Temple.


“‘Woe to the shepherds [King James Version: pastors] who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!’ says the LORD.  Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel against the shepherds who feed my people: ‘You have scattered my flock, driven them away, and not attended to them.  Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings,’ says the LORD.  [verses 3-8]  But I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.  I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,’ says the LORD.  ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment [margin: justice] and righteousness in the earth.  In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is his name by which he will be called:  THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.  Therefore, behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that they shall no longer say, As the LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt, but, As the LORD lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I had driven them.’  And they shall dwell in their own land.”


False Prophets and Priests (Pastors)


Verses 9-40, “My heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake.  I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine has overcome, because of the LORD, and because of his holy words.  For the land is full of adulterers; for because of a curse the land mourns.  The pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up.  Their course of life is evil, and their might is not right.  For both prophet and priest are profane; yes, in my house [the Temple] I have found their wickedness,’ says the LORD.  ‘Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery ways; in the darkness they shall be driven on and fall in them; for I will bring disaster on them, the year of their punishment,’ says the LORD.  And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria:  They prophesied by Baal and caused my people Israel to err.  [Comment:  That was verse 13, and is referring back over 120 years before, when the northern House of Israel was brought down by Baal worship, when God used the Assyrian Empire to drive Israel from their land which was just north of Judah.  See, and read through that series.  This verse 13 is looking back at that event.]  Also I have seen a horrible thing in the prophets of Jerusalem:  they commit adultery and walk in lies; they also strengthen the hands of evil doers, so that no one turns back from his wickedness.  All of them are like Sodom to me, and her inhabitants like Gomorrah.’  Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets: ‘Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall; for from the prophets of Jerusalem profaneness has gone out into all the land.’  Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you.  They make you worthless; they speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the LORD.  They continually say to those who despise me, The LORD has said, You shall have peace; and to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say, No evil shall come upon you.  For who has stood in the counsel of the LORD, and has perceived and heard his word?  Who has marked his word and heard it?  Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD has gone forth in fury---a violent whirlwind!  It will fall violently on the head of the wicked.  The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has executed and performed the thoughts of his heart.  In the latter days you will understand it perfectly.”  The last part of verse 20 here shows this prophecy applies to just before the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ, as well as it applied to back in the late sixth century BC when it was written.  Next God addresses the false, self-appointed prophets of that day, as well as those self-appointed pastors and ‘prophets’ of our day.  Scary stuff, to fall into the hands of the Living God.  “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran.  I  have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.  But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings.  Am I a God near at hand,’ says the LORD, ‘and not a God afar off?  Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?’  says the LORD.  ‘Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ says the LORD.”  On that last statement, God’s Holy Spirit is holding every single atom in the vast universe together.  In that sense, God is everywhere.  And if he decided to let go, so all the atoms in this universe were no longer held together by that invisible force physicists can’t identify, this universe would blow up into quadrillions of sub-atomic particles in the biggest thermonuclear explosion imaginable.  God is literally omnipresent everywhere.  No hiding from God.  “‘I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed!  How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies?  Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart, who try to make my people forget my name by their dreams which everyone tells his neighbor, as their fathers forgot my name for Baal.’  ‘The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; and he who has my word, let him speak my word faithfully.  What is the chaff to the wheat?’ says the LORD.  Is not my word like a fire?’ says the LORD, ‘and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?  Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,’ says the LORD, ‘who steal my words every one from his neighbor.  Behold, I am against the prophets,’ says the LORD, ‘who use their tongues and say, He says. ‘Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,’ says the LORD, ‘and tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies and by their recklessness.  Yet I did not send them or command them, therefore they shall not profit this people at all,’ says the LORD.  ‘So when these people or the prophet or the priest ask you, saying, What is the oracle of the LORD? you shall to say to them, What oracle?  I will even forsake you,’ says the LORD.  And as for the prophet and the priest and the people who say, The oracle of the LORD!  I will even punish that man and his house.  Thus every one of you shall say to his neighbor, and every one to his brother, What has the LORD answered? and, What has the LORD spoken?  And the oracle of the LORD you shall mention no more.  For every man’s word will be his oracle, for you have perverted the words of the living God, the LORD of hosts, our God.  Thus you shall say to the prophet, What has the LORD answered you? and, What has the LORD spoken?  But since you say, The oracle of the LORD! therefore thus says the LORD:  Because you say this word, The oracle of the LORD! and I have sent you, saying, Do not say, The oracle of the LORD! therefore behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you and forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and will cast you out of my presence.  And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.’”  That was God’s condemnation of false prophets and priests who presumed to speak in the name of the LORD, but were actually speaking lies and fables instead of God’s truth.  The modern application of that is found in ‘the liberal churches and denominations,’ as well as those of the ‘health & wealth’ persuasion, who are always uttering ‘prophecies’, with their hands out for your money and contributions while promising you health and wealth in return (of course, through God’s blessings if you do).  Money is needed through genuine offerings to promote the real Gospel of Salvation around the world, but the ministries of these professional hucksters never ends up promoting the genuine Gospel of Salvation going to the world (log onto to see what that Gospel really is, and then to see some real honest groups that promote the spread of the real Gospel around the world, and how you can support this too, without necessarily supporting any particular ‘church or denomination.’  That real Gospel of Salvation is not, and should never be tied to any one denomination of true Christianity, but stand alone, and be embraced by them all, which all of the genuine ones do, whether that be the various denominations of the Sabbatarian Churches of God, Messianic Jewish congregations and groups, or those of Gentile Christianity.  The Gospel is the Gospel, which was preached by Peter and Paul, as described in that link above.  The entire Body of Christ should be united in that one thing, their understanding of what the true Gospel really is, regardless of how ‘unified’ they are in other doctrinal matters.  As Paul warned, ‘If they come to you and preach not this gospel, let them be accursed.’]


Jeremiah 24:1-10


The Two Baskets of Figs:  Halley says, “The good figs representing the best of the people, who had been carried away to Babylon in Jehoiachin’s (Jeconiah’s) captivity (597BC), and earlier, including Ezekiel and Daniel; the bad figs, those who had remained in Jerusalem, minded, with Egypt’s aid, to resist Babylon (read II Kings 24:10-20) J. Vernon McGee says, “Chapter 24 is a sort of appendix, relating a vision given after Jeconiah  had been carried away into captivity [remember God called him Coniah in chapter 22, the last king before Zedekiah, log onto].  Therefore it was during the early part of Zedekiah’s reign.  In a vision Jeremiah was shown two baskets of figs (the fig tree is a well-known symbol of Judah).  One basket contained good figs and the other very bad figs.  They symbolized two classes of people in Judah.  Notice [in verses 5-6] that God had sent them away into captivity “for their good.”  He promises to watch over them and eventually restore them (a remnant) to their land.  That their restoration to the land does not refer to the return under Ezra and Nehemiah is clear from the final words “and not pluck them up.”  Obviously they have been plucked up again [during and right after the Bar Kochba Revolt against the Roman Empire 135AD].  The reference is to their restoration during the Millennium when “they shall return unto me with their whole heart” (verse 7).  The bad figs represented Zedekiah and those who remained in Jerusalem and finally [even those who] went down to Egypt in defiance of God’s Word [24:9].


“The LORD showed me, and there were two baskets of figs set before the temple of the LORD, after Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and the princes of Judah with the craftsmen and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon [597BC].  One basket had very good figs, like the figs that are first ripe; and the other basket had very bad figs which could not be eaten, they were so bad.  Then the LORD said to me, ‘What do you see Jeremiah?’  And I said, ‘Figs, good figs, very good; and the bad, very bad, which cannot be eaten, they are so bad.’  Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel:  Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge those who are carried away captive from Judah, whom I have sent out of this place for their own good, into the land of the Chaldeans.  For I will set my eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land; I will build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up.  Then I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart (verses 6-7).”  Some of these good figs have returned to their ancient land in Judea, Palestine, in 1948 when the State of Israel was reborn.  These are Israeli Jews.  Verse 7 refers to the period of time in Zechariah chapter 12 at the return of Jesus Christ, when those same Israeli Jews will “recognize the one they’d pierced”, their Messiah, Yeshua haMeshiach, Jesus Christ, who in his pre-incarnate form was Yahweh.  So some of the good figs have returned to their land and now make up the Israeli nation. The remaining good figs will be regathered from throughout the world right after the tribulation.  Verses 8-10, “‘And as the bad figs which cannot be eaten, they are so bad’---surely thus says the LORD---‘so I will give up Zedekiah the king of Judah, his princes, the residue of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who dwell in the land of Egypt.  I will deliver them to trouble into all the kingdoms of the earth, for their harm, to be a reproach and a byword, a taunt and a curse, in all places where I shall drive them.  And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence among them, till they are consumed from the land that I gave to them and their fathers.’”


Jeremiah 25:1-38


Seventy Years’ Captivity Predicted.  Halley has, “This was in the early part of Jehoiakim’s reign, about 604BC.  The remarkable thing is that the exact duration of Babylon’s sway is foretold (verses 11-14; 29:10; II Chronicles 36:21; Ezra 1:1; Daniel 9:2; Zechariah 7:5).  An amazing prophecy.  No possible way for Jeremiah to know that, except by direct revelation from God.  J. Vernon McGee has this to say, “This prophecy deals with a prophecy which was given about seventeen or eighteen years before that of the previous chapter.  (Keep in mind that the Book of Jeremiah is not arranged in a chronological order.)  The son of Josiah, Jehoiakim [608-598BC] was on the throne.  He was very different from his godly father, as 2 Kings 24:4 records: “…he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the LORD would not pardon.”…When God is dealing with the nation of Israel [or Judah] he deals with the calendar.  He spells out “time” in relation to their history.  When God deals with the Church [Body of Christ], he does not give any times [although he has tentatively spelled out or outlined that the Church would have seven more or less distinct and successive era’s. See the study on Revelation, chapters 2-3, starting at:]  The seventy-year period of time is very significant [spelled out for the duration of Judah’s captivity in Babylon].  When the people of Israel [all 12 tribes] were about to enter the land, the LORD told them that every seventh year was to be a Sabbath in which the ground was to lie fallow [unplanted] (see Lev. 25).  Not only did God promise blessing if his Word was obeyed, but he warned of judgment if it was not.  If they walked contrary to him, he would walk contrary to them.  Notice that God foresaw their disobedience: “Then shall the land enjoy her Sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.  As log as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it” (Lev. 26:34-35).  For approximately 490 years the sabbatic year was not kept---seventy Sabbaths had been neglected [70 x 7 = 490].  God says through Jeremiah that for seventy years they will live in a strange country while their land has its rest.  Then after the lost sabbath years have been made up, Israel [Judah, the rest of Israel having gone off into the Russian steppes] will be permitted to return to the land”, Jeremiah 25, verses 1-13. 


Verses 1-13, “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 (which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people of Judah and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying: ‘From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah [8 years old + 13 years = Josiah’s 21st year, he was 21 years old], even to this day, this is the twenty-third year in which the word of the LORD has come to me; and I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear.  They said, ‘Repent now everyone of his evil way and his evil doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD has given to you and your fathers forever.  Do not go after other gods to serve them and worship them, and do not provoke me to anger with the works of your hands; and I will not harm you.  Yet you have not listened to me,’ says the LORD, ‘that you might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.’  Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Because you have not heard my words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,’ says the LORD, ‘and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, against its inhabitants, and against these nations all around, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, a hissing, and perpetual desolations.  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 lamp.  And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.  Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says the LORD; ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation.  So I will bring on that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah has prophesied concerning the nations.  (For many nations and great kings shall be served by them also; and I will repay them according to their deeds and according to the works of their hands.)’”


Taken in context on the wording of verses 29 and 33, verses 15-38 apply not only the conquering of Nebuchadnezzar’s army throughout the Middle East, and later Greece and Rome, which was a prior fulfillment,  these verses apply to the period just before the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.  God is preparing to give the cup of the wine of his wrath to all nations, probably right now as you read these verses.  Verses 15-38,  “For thus says the LORD God of Israel to me: ‘Take this wine cup of fury from my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send you, to drink it.  And they will drink and stagger and go mad because of the sword that I will send among them.’  Then I took the cup from the LORD’s hand, and made all the nations drink, to whom the LORD had sent me:  Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, its kings and its princes, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, a hissing, and a curse, as it is this day; Pharaoh king of Egypt, his servants, his princes, and all his people [have you ever wondered what happened to the original race of Egyptians.  Most of the people who call themselves Egyptian today are of the Arab race, and are not true Egyptians.]; all the mixed multitude, all the kings of Uz, all the kings of the land of the Philistines (namely Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod); Edom [modern Turkey], Moab [modern Jordan], and the people of Ammon [also part of Jordan, Jordan’s capital city is called Ammon], all the kings of Tyre, all the kings of Sidon, and the kings of the coastlands which are across the sea [this would be the Phoenician Empire, including where it spread to, it’s vast network of colonies such as Carthage, Gadez (modern Cadiz), and Tarshish, and along the European and English coastlands], Dedan, Tema, Buz, and all who are in the farthest corners; all the kings of Arabia and all the kings of mixed multitude who dwell in the desert; all the kings of Zimri, all the kings of Elam [Persia, modern Iran], and all the kings of the Medes [going up into southern Russia], all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another; and all the kingdoms of the world which are on the face of the earth.  Also the king of Sheshach shall drink after them.  ‘Therefore you shall say to them, Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Drink, be drunk, and vomit!  Fall and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you.’  And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup from your hand to drink, then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: You shall certainly drink!  For behold, I begin to bring calamity on the city which is called by my name, and should you be utterly unpunished?  You shall not be unpunished, for I will call for a sword on all the inhabitants of the earth,’ says the LORD.  Therefore prophesy against them all these words, and say to them: ‘The LORD will roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he will roar mightily against his fold.  He will give a shout, as those who tread the grapes.  Against all the inhabitants of the earth.  A noise will come to the ends of the earth---for the LORD has a controversy with the nations; he will plead his case with all flesh.  He will give those who are wicked to the sword,’ says the LORD.  Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Behold, disaster shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the farthest parts of the earth.  And at that day the slain of the LORD shall be from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth.  They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall become refuse on the ground (verse 33).  Wail, shepherds, and cry!  Roll about in the ashes, you leaders of the flock!  For the days of your slaughter and your dispersions are fulfilled; you shall fall like a precious vessel.  And the shepherds will have no way to flee, nor the leaders of the flock to escape.  A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and a wailing of the leaders to the flock will be heard.  For the LORD has plundered their pasture, and the peaceful dwellings are cut down because of the fierce anger of the LORD.  He has left his lair like the lion; for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppressor, and because of his fierce anger.’”  The king of Babylon along with the Babylonian Empire was used by the LORD as a tool for his punishment of Judah, and then God punished the Babylonian Empire in similar fashion, allowing it to be conquered.  In similar manner, as other prophecies show and back up this one, God starts his judgment of the nations with Judah and Jerusalem, and then Israel, wherever they may be, and then in the final battle called the Battle of Armageddon, God will judge and defeat the destroyer of his people, the one he used to punish them.  Verse 33 here, mirrors Revelation 19:11-21, where the land will be covered with so many bodies that normal burial won’t be possible, as Isaiah 26:19-21 also shows about this final battle, where it says, “For behold, the LORD comes out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain.”  [ie, too many bodies to bury.]


Jeremiah 26:1-24


Halley has, “His accusers were the priests and false prophets.  But Jeremiah had friends among the princes, especially one Ahikam, who saved him from death.  However, one of Jeremiah’s fellow prophets, named Urijah, did not fare so well (verses 20-24). J. Vernon McGee has, “You may recall that in chapter 7 Jeremiah was told to stand at the ‘gate’ of the LORD’s house and speak to the people.  Here he is told [verse 2] to stand in the ‘court.’  This is a message that he had already given in the time of Jehoiakim.  Now it is repeated at the time of Zedekiah.  Chapters 26-30 record the message which delivered the final words of God to these people before the captivity.  I am of the opinion that the people were still coming to the temple as usual.  There was this outward show of worship, and there was prosperity in the land at that time; nobody seemed to be complaining…but in actuality the people were far from God, and there was awful sin in the land.”  From verse 8 onward through the chapter we see where Jeremiah is threatened with death, and they actually do try to kill him.  It would appear this gets complicated, as McGee says, “because there are three groups in this section: the princes, the priests and the prophets, and the people.  The priests and the prophets were of one mind; they had determined his death.  They never changed their minds about that at all.  However, the princes decided they had better hear Jeremiah, and the people who had been of the same mind as the priests and prophets came over on the side of the princes…Let’s keep in mind that it was considered blasphemy when Jeremiah prophesied that the city and the temple would be destroyed.  This branded him as a heretic.  The false prophets were saying that God would never let the temple fall.  It was his (God’s) temple, and Jerusalem was his (God’s) city.  God would not let that happen.  Jeremiah said, “You are entirely wrong.  You are disassociating religion from morality.”  This is a problem with a number of people who are very fundamental in their belief.  They make the Word of God almost a fetish.  I don’t believe there is anyone [J. Vernon McGee talking about himself here] more fundamental in his doctrine than I am.  People say that I lean backwards, I am so fundamental.  But I do want to say that it is entirely wrong to divorce morality from your faith, be it ever so fundamental.  One can make religion and the Word of God a sort of good-luck charm…I point out again how interesting it is that the priests and the false prophets did not change their minds about putting Jeremiah to death.  The princes did, and that is the thing that saved the life of Jeremiah [i.e. God used the princes to save Jeremiah, it was a God-thing all along].  The princes were willing to hear him.  It has been my experience that when a spiritual authority becomes corrupt and debased it is far more evil than when the politicians become corrupt and debased.  When the civil authority is corrupt, that is bad; but when the [a] religious authority becomes corrupt, that is a lot worse.  Let me remind you that it was the ‘priests’ who put the Lord Jesus Christ to death on the cross.  It was the religious rulers who insisted that he must die; they were the ones who persuaded the people to shout, “Crucify him!”  And the ‘religious’ leaders in Jeremiah’s time were determined to kill him.”


Verses 1-6, “In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came from the LORD, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD:  Stand in the court of the LORD’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’s house, all the words that I command you to speak to them.  Do not diminish a word.  Perhaps everyone will listen and turn from his evil way, that I may relent concerning the calamity which I propose to bring on them because of the evil of their doings.  And you shall say to them, Thus says the LORD:  If you will not listen to me, to walk in my law which I have set before you, to heed the words of my servants the prophets whom I sent to you, both rising up early and sending them (but you have not heeded), then I will make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.’


Reaction of the priests and false prophets, then that of the princes


Verses 7-19, “So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD.  Now it happened, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak to all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people seized him, saying, ‘You will surely die!  Why have you prophesied in the name of the LORD, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate, without an inhabitant?’  And all the people gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the LORD.”  Things were getting a little bit tense for Jeremiah right here, a crowd gathering headed toward Jeremiah to seize him, and they did seize him.  But as you’ll see next, the princes come to his rescue, God obviously inspiring a curiosity within them for Jeremiah’s message.  The princes weren’t there to hear the message, but someone must have sent word to the king’s house where they were gathered.  The princes then went to the temple.  Jeremiah is actually being physically held by the people now, at the instigation of the priests and false prophets.  “When the princes of Judah heard these things, they came up from the king’s house to the house of the LORD and sat down in the entry of the New Gate of the LORD’s house.  And the priests and the prophets spoke to the princes and all the people, saying, ‘This man deserves to die!  For he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your ears.’  Then Jeremiah spoke to all the princes and all the people, saying:  ‘The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against the city with all the words that you have heard.  Now therefore, amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; then the LORD will relent concerning the doom that he has pronounced against you.  As for me, here I am, in your hand; do with me as seems good and proper to you.  But know for certain that if you put me to death, you will surely bring innocent blood on yourselves, on this city, and on its inhabitants; for truly the LORD has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.’  So the princes and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, ‘This man does not deserve to die.  For he has spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God.’  Then certain of the elders of the land rose up and spoke to all the assembly of the people, saying:  ‘Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and spoke to all the people of Judah, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts:  Zion shall be plowed like a field, Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins, and the mountain of the temple like the high places of the forest.’  Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah ever put him to death?  Did he not fear the LORD and seek the LORD’s favor?  And the LORD relented concerning the doom which he had pronounced against them.  But we are doing great evil against ourselves.’


Death of the LORD’s prophet Urijah


Verses 20-24, “Now there was also a man who prophesied in the name of the LORD, Urijah the son of Shemaiah of Kirjath Jearim, who prophesied against this city and against this land according to all the words of Jeremiah.  And when Jehoiakim the king, with all his mighty men and all the princes, heard his words, the king sought to put him to death; but when Urijah heard it, he was afraid and fled, and went to Egypt.  Then Jehoiakim the king sent men to Egypt:  Elnathan the son of Achbor, and other men who went with him to Egypt.  And they brought him to Jehoiakim the king, who killed him with the sword and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people.  Nevertheless the hand of Ahikam the son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah, so that they should not give him into the hand of the people to put him to death.” ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE:  Urijah; Elnathan; Nedabiah; Shallum.  Urijah fled to Egypt (20-24).  King Jehoiakim sent “Elnathan,” one of the princes (22; 36:12), to Egypt, to bring him back.  One of the “Lachish Letters” (see under chapter 34), makes reference to “The commander of the host, Chebariah, son of Elnathan, having passed by on his way to Egypt.”  This seems like a reference to the incident told in verses 20-24.  The Lachish Letter also speaks of “The letter of Nedabiah, servant of the king, which came to Shallum from the prophet.”  Nedabiah was grandson of king Jehoiakim (I Chronicles 3:18).  Shallum (Jehoahaz) was brother of Jehoiakim (II Kings 23:30,34, I Chronicles 3:15; Jeremiah 22:11), who had been taken to Egypt.”  [pp. 314-315, Halley’s Bible Handbook.]

Continue to Jeremiah Part 2