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Bible: What Does Jeremiah 24-5 Teach Us About the Righteous Remnant and Worldwide Judgment?
The Fig Tree
Good Figs and Bad Figs
The LORD favored using object lessons to teach, and it is easy to see why: they drove home a point more forcefully than mere words could do.
Here He employs two baskets of figs to demonstrate to Jeremiah the two kinds of Judeans.
The good figs represent exiles whom God will bless, and the bad figs, those whom He will curse (vv. 2-4).
Verse one presents a strange scene: two baskets of figs have been set before the now deserted temple—objects so commonplace and simple, in a place so impressive, at a time so momentous that they obviously draw attention to themselves.
One can almost picture a camera panning in from a shot of the entire city, destroyed and desolate, to the sight of the temple (the centerpiece of the people's life and culture) in order to focus on two small baskets of figs sitting there.
[The prophet's vision here is very similar to the one he experienced at the beginning of his ministry (see Jer. 1:11-13 for the vision of the almond tree branch and the boiling pot).
The same kind of conversation ensues in other circumstances involving prophets (for example, see Zechariah 4:2; 5:2)].
God reveals His plans for the "good figs" (vv. 5-7).
Exiled for good purposes, He will bring them back, build them up, and establish them with a right and whole heart, knowing God and being called “His people.”
[After seventy years, how many of those exiles will actually be alive to return to the Land?
Could this prophecy have eschatological implications? Cf. Jer. 30-32]
On the other hand, verses eight through ten disclose the sorry end of the "bad figs": given up to trouble, reproach, sword, famine, and pestilence (See Jeremiah 29:17ff).
Specific details of the time Jeremiah foretold the duration of the Babylonian captivity introduce this chapter.
They mention significantly the end of the Israelitish rule and the beginning of foreign rule in Judah (vv. 1-3).
[This period of history is also known as the "times of the Gentiles."]
Not since Jeremiah 1:1-3 has the prophet placed such an emphasis on the time during which something remarkable happened.
Verse three recalls this prologue (1:1-3) as providing the dates during which the man of God faithfully, though vainly, preached repentance to Judah.
Not only he, but other God-sent prophets, attempted to bring back the nation to the King, yet Israel rejected each one (vv. 3-4).
[The figure Jeremiah uses is a strange one, referring to God’s “rising early and speaking.”
It, of course, is anthropomorphic language.]
Their messages emphasized repentance from evil deeds, from serving false gods, and from idolatry (vv. 5-6).
Terminii of the Captivity
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God calls the nation's disobedience deliberate (v. 7); consequently, He determines to bring Babylon to destroy her and the land completely (vv. 8-9).
Community life will cease (v. 10), and Judah's servitude will last seventy years (v. 11).
[The explanatory note in the reference section indicates the terminii of this period as c. 605 B.C. and c. 536 B.C.]
Yahweh does not belabor or dwell upon their punishment here; instead, He discusses the demise and servitude of Babylon that would transpire after Judah's seventy years (vv. 12-14).
[The thirteenth verse suggests that Jeremiah's prophecies against Babylon and various nations placed at the end of his book exist for a special reason: chronology is not an issue at this point].
Worldwide Judgment: Is it Fair?
Do you think it is fair for God to judge the whole world?
"Worldwide" Judgment: Then and Future
The prophet lists all the nations that God had determined to judge and to which He would send His spokesman (vv. 15-26).
This devastation would cause a type of insanity comparable to that resulting from a drinking binge (v. 16).
Jeremiah records the fact that he preached faithfully to all the designated countries (v. 17). Heading this account, of course, is first Jerusalem and Judah (v. 18); Egypt then follows (v. 19).
Others include the Philistines (v. 20), Edom, Moab, and Ammon (v. 21), Tyre and Sidon (v. 22), other Arabian countries (vv. 23-24), and the Elamites and Medes (v. 25).
In fact, the purge becomes worldwide; the prophet mentions Babylon last (v. 26).
God commands the prophet to preach this very strong word as confirmation that Yahweh Sabaoth is the One bringing calamity upon the earth and that no one will be exempt from it (vv. 27-29).
The text then provides a taste of God's mighty prosecution of the world and its result: great loss of life (vv. 30-33).
He addresses the shepherds (cf. 23:1) and instructs them to weep, for they are about to face judgment (v. 34).
Escape is impossible (v. 35); the LORD's fierce anger will surely make the land desolate (vv. 36-38).
[Does the worldwide judgment mentioned in this passage have any eschatological application, or does it just refer to God’s wrath upon the nations in this particular region of the world during this particular time?]
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