March 2, 2015 ©Homer Kizer
Commentary — From the Margins
The word that came to Jeremiah from [YHWH]: "Stand in the gate of the Lord's house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the Lord. … Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words: 'This is the temple of [YHWH], the temple of [YHWH], the temple of [YHWH].' For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever. Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, 'We are delivered!'—only to go on doing all these abominations? Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it …. Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it because of the evil of my people Israel. And now, because you have done all these things …, and when I spoke to you persistently you did not listen, and when I called you, you did not answer, therefore I will do to the house that is called by my name, and in which you trust, and to the place that I gave to you and to your fathers, as I did to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I cast out all your kinsmen, all the offspring of Ephraim. (Jer 7:1–15)
The offspring of Ephraim was the House of Israel, the northern kingdom of Samaria that had gone into Assyrian captivity a little more than a century earlier [ca 720 BCE]. And in what the Lord told the House of Judah [all that remained in the Promised Land of the children of Israel that had eight centuries earlier crossed the Jordan behind Joshua] about casting them away because of the abominations they commit; in what the Lord told Jerusalem and what remained of Israel about looking to Shiloh as an example of what He would do to the temple because of the evil the people commit; in speaking persistently to Jerusalem and to the men of Judah who came into the temple to worship the Lord by day then burned their firstborns by night, thereby shedding the blood of Israel—the people of Israel becoming Cain’s rejected sacrifice—the Lord testified that He Himself had witnessed the evil of the people, this evil being of a sort different from the abominations of the House of Judah’s neighbors in that after doing what their neighbors did, the men of Judah in a showing of feinted righteousness would enter the gates of the temple and repeat what were for them magic words, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord,” as if these men of Judah were praying the rosary. And in a way, they were; for the vain repetition of praying the rosary draws the Lord’s attention to the hypocrisy of the ones praying and not their prayers.
The utterance of words—regardless of what the words are—will do a person no good unless those words are backed up by manifested righteousness. No theft. No adultery. No swearing falsely. Having no other God but the Lord. Caring for the fatherless and the widow. Not oppressing the sojourner. Not excusing abominable behavior such as a man lying with another man as he would with a woman. Not murdering society’s most helpless, unborn infants.
The Apostle Paul identified the collective Christian Church as the temple of God:
Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple. (1 Cor 3:16–17)
What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty. (2 Cor 6:16–18)
The Christian Church is also collectively and individually the Body of Christ: “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Cor 12:27). As such, Christ, uncovered Head and covered [garmented by grace] Body, is the temple of God—and endtime Christians need to look to earthly Jerusalem, to earthly Samaria, to Shiloh to see what God will do to His temple when the people of Israel will not listen to His words, uttered by the prophets of old or by endtime prophets doing works analogous to what Jeremiah did … the prophet Jeremiah was extremely unpopular within the walls of Jerusalem as Nebuchadnezzar’s army lay siege to the city; for from when Jeremiah was seventeen years old until he was forty, he prophesied against the status quo, against the priests that did the bidding of the king, against the king and the people. Although both Daniel and Ezekiel were in Babylon, Jeremiah was virtually alone in Jerusalem: he alone was delivering what seemed to be a treasonous message, surrender to the King of Babylon and become his slave and your lives will be spared …
The message Jeremiah delivered is more complex in its chiral image than what the words Jeremiah uttered would have seemed to be to those who heard his treasonous utterances.
The Apostle Paul who laid the foundation for the resurrected temple of God (1 Cor 3:10–11) said that all of humanity has been consigned [concluded] to disobedience so that God can have mercy on all (Rom 11:32); that all of humanity is humanly born as sons of disobedience, ruled by the prince of the power of the air (Eph 2:2–3). In John’s Gospel, Jesus speaks of the prince of this world who has been disqualified to reign over living creatures. Yet in Daniel’s visions and in John’s vision, this prince of this world retains dominion over living creatures until halfway through seven endtime years of tribulation (see Dan 7:9–14, 26–27; Rev 11:15–18; 12:7–12). And by this stripping of dominion from the Adversary and his angels and giving this dominion to the Son of Man, Matthew 28:18 can be dated, which will now have Matthew’s Jesus being the indwelling Jesus in every disciple truly born of spirit.
If—since—humanity has been consigned to disobedience, every person is humanly born as a slave of the Adversary, the spiritual king of Babylon … every person is outside the walls of spiritual Jerusalem and is, in analogy, besieging the holy city. And this is the scenario seen in Revelation:
Then I [John] was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, "Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth." (Rev 11:1–3)
To get inside of spiritual Jerusalem, a person has to hear the word of Jesus and believe God, thereby keeping the Commandments with the heart and the mind of the person, which will have hands and body doing those things that the Law requires … Jeremiah was inside of Jerusalem. He was permitted to stay inside the city and in the land if he so chose to stay. He wasn’t dragged from the city and marched off to Babylon or slain immediately, the fate of those who occupied Jerusalem while not amending their ways, ridding themselves of their idolatry.
In the analogy Jeremiah begins and that Matthew’s Jesus extends—“‘From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force’” (Matt 11:12)—slaves of the Adversary, the spiritual King of Babylon, have taken the kingdom by force, forcing their way into spiritual Jerusalem and occupying this holy city, which is why on the court outside of the heavenly temple will be heard the rosary being prayed throughout the ministry of the two witnesses—and not only the rosary being prayed but the Spoken Word uttered between songs by the Tabernacle Choir.
The unrighteous cannot hold the temple—
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from [YHWH], when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur the son of Malchiah and Zephaniah the priest, the son of Maaseiah, saying, "Inquire of the Lord for us, for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is making war against us. Perhaps the Lord will deal with us according to all His wonderful deeds and will make him withdraw from us."
Then Jeremiah said to them: "Thus you shall say to Zedekiah, 'Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands and with which you are fighting against the king of Babylon and against the Chaldeans who are besieging you outside the walls. And I will bring them together into the midst of this city. I myself will fight against you with outstretched hand and strong arm, in anger and in fury and in great wrath. And I will strike down the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast. They shall die of a great pestilence. Afterward … I will give Zedekiah king of Judah and his servants and the people in this city who survive the pestilence, sword, and famine into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and into the hand of their enemies, into the hand of those who seek their lives. He shall strike them down with the edge of the sword. He shall not pity them or spare them or have compassion.' And to this people you shall say: 'Thus says the Lord: Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. He who stays in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, but he who goes out and surrenders to the Chaldeans who are besieging you shall live and shall have his life as a prize of war. For I have set my face against this city for harm and not for good … it shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire.' And to the house of the king of Judah say, 'Hear the word of the Lord, O house of David! … “Execute justice in the morning, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed, lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of your evil deeds.” Behold, I am against you, O inhabitant of the valley, O rock of the plain, declares the Lord; you who say, 'Who shall come down against us, or who shall enter our habitations?' I will punish you according to the fruit of your deeds … I will kindle a fire in her forest, and it shall devour all that is around her." (Jer 21:1–14 emphasis added)
The unrighteous cannot long hold spiritual Jerusalem—and while the man of perdition on day 220 of the Affliction will take his seat in the temple of God and declare himself God (2 Thess 2:3–4), sincerely believing that the angel inside him is Christ Jesus, not knowing that he is actually possessed by the Adversary, this lawless one will have entered the temple through professed belief of God manifested in good works that come to an abrupt end when the uncovered and unredeemed firstborn of his household are suddenly slain at the Second Passover liberation of Israel. This Arian Christian shall be overwhelmed by anger that becomes bitterness. He will then do what he presently fears: darkness will hover over him, the darkness he has long dreaded, the darkness he thought he escaped. And in seeing no other way, he will seek to take control of the temple by declaring himself God. He will say that he speaks for God, when he speaks the words of the Adversary. And he will wage war against those Christians that pray the rosary as well as against those Christians who have within them the spirit of God through the indwelling of the spirit of Christ.
Americans and American Christians have no modern frame of reference by which to compare what Jeremiah proclaimed: surrender to the King of Babylon and live; resist the King of Babylon and die—die through being martyred as their brothers in the 1st-Century were martyred (Rev 6:9–11).
Surrender and live, but live for how long and under what conditions?
The Christian who surrenders to the spiritual King of Babylon will necessarily have to take upon him or herself the identifying mark of greater Christendom, the mark of the Cross: the tattoo [stigma] of Christ’s [chi] cross [xi] (Rev 13:18, in Greek).
Once spiritual Jerusalem and the heavenly temple are besieged by the servants of the spiritual King of Babylon, there will be no escaping from the city other than swearing fidelity to the Adversary—and a mass exodus from the temple and from the city will take place. After all, those Christians who abandon Jerusalem are simply obeying God, is that not correct? Is this not what Jeremiah declares … hold this question in the forefront of your mind for a while.
What nation has been powerful enough to be able to lay siege to the United States? Certainly not Nazi Germany, or Communist Russia, or North Korea or North Vietnam or Iraq. So while Americans can intellectually understand what it’s like to be besieged as Israel was inside of Jerusalem—as Randy Weaver was besieged in Idaho, or as David Koresh was besieged at Waco—intellectually knowing what it’s like to be besieged and actually experiencing being besieged are hardly the same. So who knows what you as a Christian will do when you are inside the temple and spiritual Gentiles trample courtyards? You don’t, even though you think you do. You don’t even know what it will be like to be truly hungry.
The Christian who is today your buddy, your friend, will be the one who betrays you, perhaps believing that you are strong enough spiritually to withstand what will come upon you when betrayed; perhaps believing that you have made a spiritual mistake and are no longer worthy of divine protection; perhaps with no thinking involved at all, an utterance cried out in a vain attempt to save him or herself.
Americans are not today a “tough” people as ancestors were; as even Depression-era Americans were. No, not collectively. Individually, tough Americans still live, but few of those who are mentally tough identify themselves as Christians … most American Christians are a squeamish lot, turning their heads away when blood is shed, when evil comes near them. They are not at all psychologically prepared to engage, say, ISIS thugs. So the Affliction is about toughing ideologically effeminate Christians, men and women
But for all of American Christian squeamishness, do Americans collectively oppress the sojourner—the illegal immigrant [the undocumented person]?
The question cannot be answered either yes or no … I was in the Fine Arts Building on University of Alaska Fairbanks’ campus at two-something in the morning, and I met up with a crew of Chinese immigrants, none of whom could speak English, cleaning the building. This was in 1989, and I would have then been willing to bet that none of the Chinese workers were documented, and that none were being paid an Alaskan wage; that the crew was being exploited by a labor contractor. I would have bet that night and at that late hour that America was oppressing these Chinese sojourners, this oppression occurring far from lettuce fields in California, better known for American exploitation of undocumented farm laborers. Their oppression was occurring under my nose—and their oppression was really none of my business, unless I made it my business. I didn’t.
Does America shed innocent blood? Yes, in keeping Americans safe, mistakes are made. Raids are made at wrong addresses. Innocent home owners have been shot, with the police becoming a civilian army, well able to terrorize the citizenry, ordering the citizens of Boston to stay in their houses, not something that even King George’s soldiers could do. … What a submissive nation America has become, psychologically conditioned to follow orders, obeying the dictates of the spiritual King of Babylon while ignoring the Laws of God, especially the Sabbath Commandment.
Do Americans worship gods other than the Lord, the God of Abraham? Certainly they do. One famous television personality said she couldn’t worship a jealous God—and the God of Abraham identified Himself as a jealous God (Ex 34:14).
Back now to the question: Are those Christians who abandon the spiritual temple and flee from spiritual Jerusalem simply following the dictates of the Lord? Why didn’t Jeremiah flee? Why won’t the two witnesses flee?
Jeremiah had involuntarily entered into a covenant with the Lord:
Now the word of [YHWH] came to me, saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." Then I said, "Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth." But [YHWH] said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a youth'; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you …." Then [YHWH] put out His hand and touched my mouth. And [YHWH] said to me, "Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant." (Jer 1:4–10)
When the Lord made this covenant with Jeremiah, putting His words in Jeremiah’s mouth, setting Jeremiah over nations and kingdoms although Jeremiah never had physical authority in this world, Jeremiah would have been exposed to all of Jerusalem’s and the men of Judah’s idolatry—and this would have been before Jeremiah was drafted into going wherever the Lord sent him and speaking whatever the Lord commanded him to say. But because of his age, Jeremiah would not have been a participant: he would have been too young. He needed to be twenty before he was considered a male member of the community and thirty before he could serve in the priesthood. Therefore, by drafting him when he was seventeen, the Lord brought Jeremiah to Himself so that He could groom Jeremiah for the task that lay before him.
When the Lord put His words into Jeremiah’s mouth and set Jeremiah over nations and kingdoms, the Lord effectively wrote the Law on Jeremiah’s heart and placed the Law in Jeremiah’s mind thereby filling Jeremiah with spirit without Jeremiah being born of spirit. Thus, Jeremiah would be analogous to every Christian within greater Christendom immediately after the Second Passover liberation of Israel from indwelling sin and death … Jeremiah in Jerusalem forms the shadow and type of every Christian in the Affliction before day 220, when the son of perdition declares himself God. And those Christians who remain in covenant with the Lord after day 220 will die as martyrs unless they become the personification of Jeremiah, speaking the words of the Lord while suffering as Jeremiah suffered.
Again, Daniel and the prophet Ezekiel were in Babylon, taken there by armies of Nebuchadnezzar, but Jeremiah wasn’t. So while Daniel and Ezekiel deliver messages of chirological importance to endtime Israel, Jeremiah is the prophet that stands between Moses and the two witnesses. And about Jeremiah, more will be written.
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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."