Jeremiah Chapter 33: Promises to Natural Israel, Messiah, Third Temple

Nov 16th, 2009 | By | Category: Jeremiah, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Jeremiah Chapter 33: Promises to Natural Israel, Messiah, Third Temple

Jer. 33:1 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying,

As had happened previously, Jeremiah was given a vision in the king’s court where he was still shut up as a prisoner (Jer. 32:1,2).

Jer. 33:2 Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name;

The Lord Jehovah, the maker of Jerusalem and the nation of Israel, now spoke. The principle is the same with the earth. God made, formed, and established the earth to be inhabited, but in the beginning, before the surface was ordered, all was confusion, for darkness was upon the face of the earth. The objective is how the earth will be at the end of the Seventh Creative Day, for the earth was made to be inhabited by a suitable people, tried and proven. The same is true of Israel, of whom God said, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth” (Amos 3:2). If Jewish history is judged by present circumstances and the 2,000 years of exile, it would seem that God created His people, Israel, in vain. And here, in Jeremiah’s day, the king of Babylon was right outside Jerusalem, knocking on the door, ready to destroy the Jews. But God has a purpose in mind for His people, and although history seems to be slow in development and mixed with much confusion, the end product will be a very desirable people comprising not only natural Israelites but also Gentile proselytes. The answer to the Lord’s Prayer will then be fulfilled: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is [always done] in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). In other words, the Lord’s Prayer will not really be answered until the end of the Kingdom Age. This perfecting will be brought about by Jesus, who will be made King over the earth for that age.

Before Jeremiah went off the scene, he received happy information. The enemy was outside, waiting to destroy the city, but he could see way beyond the immediate trouble. Thus God blessed Jeremiah by crowning his faithful ministry with good news. He was told of the New Covenant, he received a deed to property in Anathoth, and he could see beyond the present scene.

Jer. 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

God gave Jeremiah an invitation, which he channeled to the people. Hence those of Judah who had a hearing ear were invited to call on God and receive understanding. Our desire—and the expression of such a desire—precedes our enlightenment. “If ye will inquire, inquire ye: return, come” is the principle (Isa. 21:12). We should keep on inquiring. The “great and mighty things” include both calamities and blessings to come on Israel.

Here God was inviting both Jeremiah personally and those of Judah who might have a hearing ear to call on Him. There were others besides Jeremiah who hearkened. Thus God was appealing to Jeremiah individually and to any of the people who were amenable. To such, this news would be particularly helpful in the current experience of the Babylonian siege.

Q: Can verse 3 also be applied antitypically to God’s promise to the Holy Remnant; namely, “All who call upon my name in that day shall be saved out of Jacob’s Trouble”?

A: Yes, that would be true in principle. And as Christians, we look beyond the current situation to our personal salvation and the privilege of lifting up the human race in the Kingdom Age if we are of the particular elect body that God is choosing. But the primary application was the natural picture back there. Jeremiah himself was being blessed in giving this uplifting message. He said to those with a hearing ear, “While trouble is knocking at the door, think and hope beyond this experience.” The same principle applies back there, today, and in the future. There is both bad news and good news; another holocaust is coming as well as blessings after the holocaust. We feel personally that Israel has to know about Jacob’s Trouble. That is the last thing the Jews want to hear, but that is the very thing they have to hear. It will be encouraging to find those who have the faith to respond while the opportunity is available to become identified with the Holy Remnant class.

Comment: If only good news is given, then when the trouble comes, the Jews will be very discouraged. But if they are instructed in advance that trouble must precede the blessings, they will be prepared.

Reply: The same principle applies when a person needs surgery. The patient is told that the operation is serious but that his chances for recovery are excellent. It is necessary for him to go through the ordeal and absorb the experience of the operation before good news can come.

Comment: The Pastor spoke similarly in the First Volume where he said, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psa. 30:5).

Jer. 33:4 For thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are thrown down by the mounts, and by the sword;

Jer. 33:5 They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill them with the dead bodies of men, whom I have slain in mine anger and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hid my face from this city.

The buildings of both the common people and the nobility would be torn down. The siege was already in progress. Three fourths of the city was encircled, and the cordon was being tightened. Here Jeremiah spoke (with words from the Lord) of the defeat in progress. The houses just outside the gate had been destroyed, and the city would be captured shortly.

Jerusalem was the capital of Judea. When the enemy came down, the people in the province of Judea all rushed to the city to defend it. But actually they were rushing into the pot that was to be boiled and stewed. It was in God’s design that the people go to Jerusalem and get squeezed and bottled in so that the city would be filled with dead bodies (except for the few survivors).

The small minority of right-hearted individuals would be spared, but the vast majority would die because of a wrong heart condition, even though they would cry out to God at the last minute. Even an atheist who is drowning will call on God for help—just in case He exists. For a person to be heard, a repentant mode has to precede a prayer for deliverance. Of course the great majority called on God when they saw the city actually being invaded and knew the battle was lost, but that was too late. The other element repented and called out to God earlier.

“Thus saith the LORD, … They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill them with the dead bodies.” In other words, the Jews in outlying provinces came to assist the residents of Jerusalem—they came to the aid of their brethren—but the nation needed a lesson. The city would be filled with dead bodies. Hence God purposed the destruction of the city and the death of the inhabitants by sword, pestilence, and famine. Among the Jews already in captivity, Ezekiel prophesied along the same lines, telling of the coming destruction of Jerusalem, the

Temple, and the people. He likened Jerusalem to a boiling cauldron whose stew meat was the inhabitants. Because of wickedness, God hid His face from those of Judah. By reading and then co-relating the accounts, we get a detailed picture of what happened. In back of Jeremiah were Baruch, the Ethiopian eunuch, and a small remnant of Jews.

In time, at the hands of the Medes and the Persians, the Babylonians would have the same experience that the inhabitants of Jerusalem were now having. Hence retribution would come.

Of course there is an antitype with the Chaldeans, etc., at the end of the present age. The handwriting is on the wall with professed Christendom (supposedly Christ’s Kingdom), as well as with Gog and Magog’s coming down against Israel. It will appear that Israel is being wiped off the face of the earth, for Jerusalem will be defeated momentarily, but then God will step in and rescue the Holy Remnant. In Jeremiah’s day, the “holy remnant” was taken to Babylon.

Jer. 33:6 Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.

This message of comfort came abruptly at a low point, for the people of Judah were dispirited.

Health and cure would come later. Like a physician, God must cut to heal. Thus Jeremiah was assuring the people that no matter what trouble might ensue, there would come a time beyond that trouble, in the future, when God would restore them.

The content of these verses seems to fit best at the end time of the Gospel Age. The bringing of “health and cure” after Jacob’s Trouble will be a process. The Kingdom will commence with a Holy Remnant, who will have “health” at the time of the Lord’s intervention on their behalf, for they will be contrite and will mourn for Jesus as for an only son. Verse 6 also applies to those who are in the grave and come forth in stages of retrieval.

The Jews’ remorse over what the nation of Israel did to the Messiah will eventually make their repentance deeper and more thorough. Moreover, the remorse will greatly humble their pride. Perhaps a much greater percentage of Jews will respond to the truth than of Gentiles. Not only will those who are steeped in sin in the present life reap what they sowed, but if there is a crystallization of character in sin, the individual is less likely to get life in the Kingdom Age.

Comment: The Lord’s statement “I … will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth” indicates that the Jews’ present condition is the opposite, namely, that the nation of Israel is experiencing war, ignorance, and error.

Reply: To date, their ears have not been unstopped, and their eyes have not been opened.

Certainly Jeremiah was a faithful minister in declaring the truth as revealed to him by God, but depending on the heart condition of the listeners, it was like talking to a stone wall. Thus a softening process must precede the message in order for it to be absorbed.

Jer. 33:7 And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first.

“I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return.” Not many of the ten tribes returned after the 70-year Babylonian captivity. In the present regathering of Jews to Israel, no one really knows what tribe he belongs to, but the Jews will know in the second regathering after Jacob’s Trouble.

“I … will build them [Judah and Israel], as at the first.” Isaiah 1:26 tells one way in which they will be rebuilt: “And I [God] will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.” With the phrases “as at the first” and “as at the beginning,” we begin to learn the Lord’s condescending vocabulary. Although the Bible was written by diverse people, the language of God has a common thread. The thoughts are probably on a much higher plane, but to speak to us down here, God uses a language we can understand. The Period of the Judges followed the Exodus, the 40 years in wilderness, and Joshua’s conquering of the land. Therefore, to restore “as at the first” would include the Israelites’ coming out of Egypt, their being established as a nation, and their being built up with judges for 450 years.

Q: Is the implication that miracles like the plagues, the opening of the Red Sea, and overrulings in the wilderness will occur again?

A: Yes. Many miracles will happen in connection with the establishment of the Kingdom. The second regathering of Jews to Israel will be similar to the Exodus from Egypt.

The people did not listen to the prophet of doom in the previous time of prosperity. Now, when they were in dire straits, Jeremiah spoke peace and comfort and told of God’s promise to restore Israel and Judah. That is true of the antitype as well. When the great Time of Trouble is about to break, the people will feel hopeless, but at the present time, they do not listen to the truth message. Jeremiah was saying, “Do not give up hope, for the sure mercies of David are coming. God’s promises are sure!”

Verse 7 refers to the Jews’ return to Israel in two portions: (1) now and (2) after Jacob’s Trouble. Israel and Judah will be restored to the zenith of glory as in Solomon’s day.

Jer. 33:8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.

The content of the prophecy continues to be the end time for various reasons. At that time, God will cleanse and pardon Israel’s and Judah’s iniquity, but that forgiveness will be conditional to a certain extent, for the people will first have to bend the knee and confess their sins. Knowing the end from the beginning, God sees that they will do this. Thus, based on His omniscient powers, He can use language that might on the surface seem to contradict principles of divine government. However, conditional nuances will take place that are not explained here, and since the Lord can foresee how thorough the conversion of the Holy Remnant will be, He just tells us about the end result rather than about the whole process.

Jer. 33:9 And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.

Israel, and more specifically Jerusalem, will be “a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth.” When eyewitnesses of the deliverance of the Holy Remnant return to their homelands, all nations will hear “all the good” that God does unto Israel. As a result, the Israelites will “fear and tremble” for all God’s goodness and prosperity to Jerusalem. We are reminded of how Joseph’s brethren trembled when he revealed his identity.

At the same time, Ezekiel, who was in Babylon, spoke of the two sticks (Judah and Israel) becoming one. “Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all” (Ezek. 37:19-22).

The problem of separation dates back to Rehoboam and Jeroboam following Solomon’s death.

Many Jews have died since that time, and the 12 tribes include those in the grave who will come forth with a background of enmity, jealousy, etc. As an illustration, if two reprobate sinners who were enemies are forgiven by God through various circumstances, the differences between them will evaporate not only because of the joy of getting a new outlook and a new start by God Himself but also because of looking upon one another in a different light. Having been forgiven, they will realize that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). That attitude will ameliorate or eliminate the tribal differences within Israel.

It is interesting that God spoke to Jeremiah a second time while the Babylonians were at the gates ready to invade the city and slaughter the people. Again He gave Jeremiah prophecies of peace and restoration.

Pictures can be carried only to a point. For example, Adam pictures Jesus but not in every respect, for Jesus did not sin. It is the same situation here. Jerusalem was about to be destroyed, and the antitype is the destruction of nominal Christendom. However, Israel will be restored, and nominal Christianity (the beast and the false prophet) will not.

Jer. 33:10 Thus saith the LORD; Again there shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast,

The land was not yet desolate but was in the process of being made desolate. No one would molest Jeremiah right now because all could see that God had indeed spoken through him. The people realized that he was a true prophet because what he had predicted and proclaimed publicly for many years was coming to pass.

On an earlier occasion, Jeremiah even wept when he prophesied of the coming trouble, showing he was emotionally distraught. He was so depressed at one point that he felt he could no longer be the Lord’s mouthpiece, but in two different ways, the Lord prodded him. He put his whole heart into the prophecies and spoke with strength but not in a vindictive manner.

After the city fell, the captive Jews would say, “This place is desolate, Jerusalem is destroyed, and the land is ravaged. Even the cattle are gone.” Israel and Judah were made desolate without inhabitant or beast in 606 BC.

Jer. 33:11 The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD.

At this time, the voice of Jesus and the Church will be heard in Jerusalem; the marriage will have taken place. (Compare the similar language of Jeremiah 25:10.) The voice of joy and gladness will also be heard. The omission in verse 11 of “the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle,” which pertained to Christendom, proves this later verse is a picture of the true Church and the Kingdom. The Law will go forth from Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. The people “shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD [Ezekiel’s Temple].”

There is a slight distinction between “the voice of joy” and “the voice of gladness.” In the voice of joy, there is more spontaneity in the expression of happiness. Some kind of explanation will attend the voice of gladness, whereas the other might be just a noise of joy, happiness, and singing. The voice of gladness is a little deeper in that it enunciates the reason for the happiness.

Comment: The voice of joy will be heard with the restoration of Israel, but the voice of gladness comes with the forgiveness of sins.

“Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD [the Third Temple]. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD.” As we become familiar with the Old Testament, in which God spoke many times on different occasions, we begin to note that He was slow to wrath. The very fact He has allowed His name to be blasphemed is rather startling. Many have concluded that because God does not interfere, He must not exist.

Only by studying the Old Testament and seeing how God dealt for centuries with Israel, a fractious people, can we perceive Him as the God of all patience. His patience, His mercy, is abiding grace. Yes, there are limits to that patience, but the great Creator could have just gotten rid of the mess down here and gone somewhere else. He could have reasoned, “How ungrateful they are to not even think of me as the Creator!” But instead His Wisdom sees that the permission of evil for a short time is the best thing that could have happened to reveal His own personal character. How would we ever know that God loved the world or His people except through the realization of our own undone condition before He called us? If sin had not been permitted, we could not see Him as being kind, loving, merciful, and patient. Of course what is a short time for God seems to be an extremely long time for us. Actually, however, the time is relatively short for each individual, for it is only the length of his own life—perhaps 80 years—even though the permission of evil covers more than 6,000 years. When man gets health and happiness in the general resurrection, the previous existence will seem like a bad dream in the past.

Also, without the permission of evil, how would we know of the sterling character of Jesus? By dying on a cross, he proved that he was most unusual. There are two ways to appreciate the permission of evil. We can think of it in a scholarly sense, or we can meditate on the subject and see the character of God and Jesus being revealed and understand why the Church will be honored with immortality in the future. All mouths will be stopped if God gives this grace to a humble people of nobodies because others refused the opportunity by having a deaf ear. God has developed a very wise plan. No wonder Jesus said, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes” (Matt. 11:25). And we are babes! Many noble people have stood for principles and been persecuted but not for God’s principles. To please God, one must not only believe that He exists but also diligently seek Him and feel that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6). Our faith in a future hope is a reality that makes sense. May we be faithful to that vision.

There seems to be a lesson that God wants to humble everybody and that no one can gainsay (contradict or declare to be untrue) any grace or goodness He shows in selecting and honoring individuals in the future. Where one fits into God’s program will be seen in due time. The longterm future good news of restoring things “as at the first” is far more meaningful than present short-term experiences and trials.

Jer. 33:12 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof, shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down.

“Again in this place … shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down.” Life in the Kingdom Age will be agrarian with pasturage for the animals. Thus the Kingdom will be a blessing to the animals as well. For example, it will be unlawful to kill a pregnant or a nursing animal. “When a bullock, or a sheep, or a goat, is brought forth, then it shall be seven days under the dam; and from the eighth day and thenceforth it shall be accepted for an offering made by fire unto the LORD” (Exod. 22:30; Lev. 22:27; Deut. 22:6,7). After the Kingdom Age, the people will probably eat the fruit of the trees, and the whole earth will become a Garden of Eden over time. There is no mention of Adam and Eve eating cereal and bread, for example.

Several Scriptures in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel give clues that life today is artificial. Running to and fro was predicted, but it is not natural. To the contrary, sitting under a vine and a fig tree is a contemplative life with both work and leisure.

Comment: Isaiah 51:3 reads, “For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.”

Jer. 33:13 In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the vale, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that telleth them, saith the LORD.

The theme of good, constructive news continued. In the midst of turmoil and confusion with the enemy surrounding Jerusalem, Jeremiah received this message and transmitted it to the people. No doubt those whose hearts were being moved to respond favorably to this message were taken captive to Babylon and not killed.

Verse 13 sounds like Jeremiah 17:26, and the detail shows this verse is literal. Places that are now arid and desolate will become fertile. Primarily Judah and Benjamin are being described here because the judgment was on them and also because Judah was larger than any other tribe. It is possible that Jeremiah pointed in the various directions as he spoke.

Comment: The principle of the last going into the grave being raised first in the general resurrection is interesting because we live in an artificial society today. The very ones who helped create this way of life will have to rearrange it. But how happy people will be, for most of us dislike society as it is with the selfishness, stress, corruption, etc.

Jer. 33:14 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.

God will do what He has promised.

Jer. 33:15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.

The “Branch of righteousness” will grow up unto “David,” that is, primarily unto Jesus, the Messiah, and secondarily unto the Church. In one sense, Jesus is the Branch, and in another sense, the Branch is collective with subsidiary twigs (the Church) attached to it. Since the covenant was made with David, it seems appropriate that he may be the first prince to officiate at the inauguration of the New Covenant. The term “grow up unto David” is rendered “spring forth for David” in the RSV. Not only was Jesus born of David’s line, but he is the Life-giver who will restore David from death.

Contrary to nature, the scriptural representation is that the Church grows up into Christ, the Cornerstone. Jesus himself grew up from a babe unto “David,” the Messiah. Of the stem of Jesse came forth a tender shoot. Messiah will “execute judgment and righteousness in the land.” This statement shows that the Kingdom network of authority will be beneficial in bringing forth fruit and blessing, but the structural part, the governmental aspect, the power, is necessary to produce the result. Verse 15 is a definite reference to Christ—and perhaps to King David too.

Isaiah 4:2 speaks of an earthly “branch,” the Holy Remnant. “In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.” When the Kingdom is inaugurated, the Law will go forth from Zion, the heavenly Branch, to those of Israel and Judah below (Micah 4:2).

Q: Do the phrases “in those days” and “at that time” indicate two specific references to time?

A: Yes. Although the process will not be instantaneous, judgment will be executed at a specific time. In other words, Jehovah is pictured as being in a seated position, and then He will arise to “shake terribly [mightily] the earth” (Isa. 2:21). Job 33:14 reads, “God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not”; the implication is that He will speak with authority the third time. But the time of that speaking will be preceded by very short “days [plural],” during which many miracles will attend the deliverance of the Holy Remnant. This short process will awaken mankind to see that God has arisen to shake the earth. The welcome pronouncement will follow: “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39).

Jer. 33:16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.

In the King James margin, the “The LORD our righteousness” is Jehovah-tsidkenu. In a play on words, Jeremiah 23:6 emphasizes the Lord as doing the righteousness, whereas here verse 16 speaks of those who are blessed in becoming the channel of righteousness.

Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell safely. To the Church will be given the name “Our righteousness of Jehovah.” However, Jerusalem will be the focal point of the earth through which the heavenly blessings are channeled (see verse 9). The RSV uses the pronoun “it” instead of “she”: “And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’” From the standpoint of the people down here, the natural element, the righteousness will pertain to Jerusalem, whence the word of the Lord goes forth. But the righteousness can also be considered as coming from the heavenly realm. Both are true, for “out of [the heavenly] Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (Isa. 2:3). The Law will go from Zion to Jerusalem and then out to the rest of the earth. Both the spiritual and the natural aspect are in verse 16 but from two different perspectives.

Jer. 33:17 For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;

Jer. 33:18 Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.

To understand what God was saying in these verses, let us start backwards with verse 18. When this prophecy was uttered, Jerusalem was under siege, so although Solomon’s Temple had not yet been destroyed, certainly meal offerings were not being offered at that time, for the people of Judah were starving. With the food supply cut off, the offerings ceased. Moreover, the Temple was leveled shortly thereafter, and for 70 years, the Israelite survivors were captives in Babylon without a Temple, so there were no continual burnt offerings at that time.

At the end of the 70 years in 536 BC, those who returned to the homeland from captivity gradually rebuilt the Temple. First, the altar and the structure, which is styled Zerubbabel’s Temple, were constructed; then the courts were added later over a period of time. Burnt offerings were offered, etc., but again those services and offerings were interrupted, for the Romans destroyed that Temple and Jerusalem in AD 69-70. And even today the Temple does not exist. Therefore, verse 18 applies to the Kingdom Age, when the Third Temple will be built and animal sacrifices will be reinstituted. At that time, there will be a priesthood and burnt offerings “to do sacrifice continually.”

“David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel.” The king at this time in Jeremiah’s day was Zedekiah, to whom it was stated, “Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: … I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him” (Ezek. 21:26,27). Not only were Solomon’s Temple and Jerusalem destroyed, but also, much like the offerings, the kingship ceased as far as having an individual to sit on the throne. After the 70 years of captivity, Israel was a satellite nation under Gentile control that was either strict or a little more liberal depending on who was in authority. Thus there was no mention of a king in Israel after the Babylonian captivity. The civil authority was called “governor” (Hag. 1:1,14; 2:2,21; Mal. 1:8). Therefore, we want to understand what God meant in saying that David would never lack a man “to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel.”

The fulfillment of this promise will commence with the future inauguration and establishment of the Kingdom. Then a nominal king, called the “prince,” will be on the throne, and the Zadok priesthood will serve in the Temple (Ezek. 40:46; 43:19; 44:3,15; 45:7,16,22; 46:2,4,8,10,12,16,18; 48:11,21,22). In the heavenly realm, the Lord will be King, and The Christ will be the Melchisedec priesthood (Psa. 110:4; Heb. 5:6,10; 6:20; 7:1,10,11,15,17,21). This “church-state” arrangement will be authoritative, but there will be representatives down here on earth. The Church will be both kings and priests up above, but Jesus and the Church will operate through earthly representation down here that is separated into the office of prince and the Zadok priesthood. Stated another way, in the heavenly phase of the Kingdom, church and state will operate together (in union), whereas in the earthly phase of the Kingdom, they will be separated into two divisions.

Notice what verses 17 and 18 do not say. The word “forever,” meaning “for eternity,” is not included. Bible pictures show that ultimately at the end of the Kingdom Age, all who pass the test in the Little Season will become kings as Adam was before he sinned. At that time, the Kingdom will be given to the children of men (Psa. 115:16). All who are faithful and enter into the age beyond the Kingdom, into the “world without end,” will be kings, so from that standpoint, there would be no problem even by extrapolation (Isa. 45:17).

Priests will not be needed beyond the Kingdom Age, for the function of a priest is to make atonement. If atonement is fully consummated, there will be no need for a priest to offer sacrifices for atonement of one kind or another, such as a thank or a peace offering. The Scriptures clearly teach that once Jesus steps out from his role as Mediator, tried and proven mankind will be at one with God.

The word “never” in verse 17 would be a problem without the King James margin alternate translation, “There shall not be cut off from David,” which indicates an application only during the Kingdom Age, not for eternity. If every man is a king, there will be no need for a throne in the usual sense. However, something else will be done.

The very fact man was first created here is significant. When Adam was made of the earth, he was the first human to appear on the scene, for none of the other universes were or are currently inhabited. Therefore, we believe that audiovisual representations of the happenings here on earth will be continually operative for eternity. After all, if the universe is illimitable from a human standpoint, the population will go on forever and ever, always enlarging, and the history of what Jesus did down here on earth will be perpetuated. Earth’s drama will be enacted again and again for a very long time down here. If the population of this planet is to be transferred elsewhere—and there seem to be some indications to this effect—then the formation and population of earth, the entrance of sin, the need for atonement, the call of Jesus, the necessity for his sacrifice, the call of the Church, etc., will all have to be known as a part of past history.

When future beings are created, wouldn’t they sin like Adam if they were as ignorant as he was? Yes. One reason Adam sinned was his lack of knowledge. In addition, he became too attached to Eve. While the great majority of future beings would live forever, reason says that some would fall away. However, if they see filmed records of what actually happened with the permission of sin on earth, their chances of living forever will be almost as good as those who are accounted worthy to enter into the age beyond the Kingdom (Luke 20:35,36). Although they will not be tested like mankind down here during the Little Season, the knowledge will be so convincing that very few will go into Second Death in the everlasting future. Moreover, such individuals would be cut off right away because sin will not be tolerated. For that very reason, Second Death remains eternal, as the Pastor said.

From that standpoint, the memory of earth’s history and the Kingdom arrangement will last forever—just as the smoke of Babylon will ascend forever. Filmed records of the history of earth will be shown into the ages of ages. When yet unborn generations on other planets see what actually happened here, they will vicariously and emotionally enter the experiences in a way that will be very effective and beneficial. As Christians, we believe the Bible by faith, but others will see audiovisual records of the actual persecutions in the dungeons, for example. As a result, they will not be tempted to open Pandora’s box of evils. Among many other things, they will see Satan (through the serpent) beguiling Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit, implying that it would make her wise. Satan posed as a patron, benefactor, and friend of the sinner. In fact, the Deceiver even deceived himself. How ironic that this Mastermind, who has been the enemy of God, became a victim of self-deception!

Incidentally, with regard to the future and interplanetary travel, etc., we can extrapolate just so far. To go too much further, we get a little frightened. We have thought on these subjects, but when we get into “iffy” territory, we want to stop right away.

Other promises show that the kingship scepter will not depart from the lineage of Jesus Christ. “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be” (Gen. 49:10). Jesus was a son of David, and from Mary’s lineage, he may even have been a son of Levi.

If the theory is correct that every saint who makes his calling and election sure will have an earthly representative down here, then couldn’t Jesus himself, as an individual, also have an earthly representative? This representative will be the office of the prince and the office of Zadok. In other words, Jesus will not have to come down here personally, for the office will represent him, even though different people will serve at different times.

Q: Since the Zadok priesthood will serve in the Third Temple, why does verse 18 mention the Levites?

A: Zadok was a particular Levite.

Comment: It is interesting that not only was David favored with the “sure mercies,” but also Zadok was high priest in his days.

The RSV renders “continually” as “for ever.” There will definitely be sacrifices in the Kingdom, but will they continue beyond? During the Kingdom, the world will be under a theocracy with iron rule, but after the Kingdom, it will be a (relaxed) republic. Verse 17 suggests that there will be at least a nominal representative as “king” here on earth into the ages of ages. Since the Ancient Worthies will get a spiritual resurrection after the Kingdom, the “king” will not be one of them. Jerusalem will be the capital of the world forever, the Temple will exist forever, the priesthood will continue forever, and the sacrifices will also continue but very minimally. The representative who will “sit upon the throne of the house of Israel” in Jerusalem will probably be selected from the Zadok priesthood, and it is likely that the representation will be rotational.

Thus there will be a ceremonial aspect in the ages to come.

Jer. 33:19 And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying,

Jer. 33:20 Thus saith the LORD; if ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season;

God’s covenant of day and night is continual. He is the Lord of “hosts,” both animate and inanimate. Here He was referring to His law of inanimate objects such as planets, the sun, etc., that determine day and night. “In their season” is a qualifying phrase because of the elliptical orbits that cause the length of days and nights to vary according to the time of year.

Jer. 33:21 Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.

God made this promise while Jerusalem was under siege and Nebuchadnezzar was about to capture the city. Just as the physical laws cannot be broken, so in the future, one of David’s  seed (that is, Jesus) will reign upon God’s throne. What great timing for this promise! Formerly a prophet of doom in time of peace, Jeremiah now prophesied hope in time of trouble.“Levites” (priests) are mentioned to show that the Temple arrangement will be reinstituted in the Kingdom. Zadok means “priests.” In David’s day, God made the promise of the “sure mercies of David” and also of future service for the Zadok priesthood.

Jer. 33:22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.

We cannot number the host of heaven or measure the sand of the sea—but God both numbers the stars and knows the name of each one (Psa. 147:4). He has His own celestial chart. To be “unnumbered [indefinite]” and to be “numberless [without end]” are two different things. The point is that the Levites will be very numerous in the future, and God knows the number, even if we do not. The universe is finite to God, but to man, it is infinite. To God, there is a definite number, but to man, the universe is numberless.

God will multiply the seed of the Levites, the priests, His ministers. He will reinstitute the priesthood under the New (Law) Covenant. Verse 22 is an indirect confirmation of the thought in the Book of Ezekiel that there will be marriages and children born of the Zadok priesthood.

Jeremiah was speaking of the future time when Jerusalem would thrive under God’s favor and be greatly blessed. He was saying in effect that the progeny of the Levites would be so prolific that no one would want to take the time to number them.

Jer. 33:23 Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,

Jer. 33:24 Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.

The “two families” are the northern and the southern kingdoms, the ten tribes and the two tribes, respectively. The ten-tribe kingdom was cast off first and the two-tribe kingdom later.

Jer. 33:25 Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth;

Jer. 33:26 Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.

If the ordinances, or laws, of day and night could be changed (which they cannot), God would cast off the seed of Jacob. God will take some of the seed of David to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Hence we know that there will be many Ancient Worthies and that they will serve on a rotational basis. Imagine Jeremiah’s giving these promises of future mercy while the city was under siege!

“I [God] will cause their captivity to return, and [will] have mercy on them [the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob].” Jesus said, “Many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 8:11). Thus the returning of the captivity refers not only to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob but also to their seed, their progeny.

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