February 18, 2012 ©Homer Kizer
Commentary — From the Margins
Four Missing Years
Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. For because of the anger of the LORD things came to the point in Jerusalem and Judah that he cast them out from his presence. And Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. And in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came with all his army against Jerusalem, and laid siege to it. And they built siegeworks all around it. So the city was besieged till the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.
On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine was so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land. Then a breach was made in the city, and all the men of war fled and went out from the city by night by the way of a gate between the two walls, by the king's garden, while the Chaldeans were around the city. And they went in the direction of the Arabah. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. And all his army was scattered from him. Then they captured the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, and he passed sentence on him. The king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and also slaughtered all the officials of Judah at Riblah. He put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him in chains, and the king of Babylon took him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death.
In the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month—that was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon—Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, who served the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem. And he burned the house of the LORD, and the king's house and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down. And all the army of the Chaldeans, who were with the captain of the guard, broke down all the walls around Jerusalem. … This is the number of the people whom Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive: in the seventh year, 3,023 Judeans; in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar he carried away captive from Jerusalem 832 persons; in the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Judeans 745 persons; all the persons were 4,600. (Jer 52:1–14, 28–30 emphasis added)
How is it that the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar can also be the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar; for Nebuzaradan did not twice carry away captives from Jerusalem? Nor did Nebuzaradan camp in the demolished city for four years. Thus, there is in Jeremiah’s account a not-easily-explained three and a half year, or four year discrepancy between when Nebuzaradan razed the temple and the city, and when he carried away captives from Jerusalem to Babylon.
But Jeremiah chapter 52 was not written by the prophet Jeremiah, who went down into Egypt with Johanan and the people of Israel that Nebuzaradan had left in the land; so Jeremiah in Egypt would not have known that Evil-merodach (אֱוִיל מְרֹדַךְ) king of Babylon in his short reign (562–560 BCE) released Jehoiachin from prison. If Jeremiah had left Egypt to emigrate to western lands, he would not have known what Nebuchadnezzar’s son did. If Jeremiah had remained in Egypt when Nebuchadnezzar sacked the land, he would not have known what the king’s son did afterwards. Only if Jeremiah returned to Babylon with the men of Nebuchadnezzar could Jeremiah write about the king’s son—and there is no record of Jeremiah beyond the end of chapter 51, which concludes with, “Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.” The implication is that beyond this point, the words are not those of the prophet.
The usual explanation for the three exiles of Israel from Jerusalem and all of Judea is plausible and begins with the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar camping at Riblah about twenty miles south of Hamath and using this fruitful city as his base of operations (as had Pharaoh Necho after defeating King Josiah of Judah) against Zedekiah and the city of Jerusalem, then using this same city as his base for his siege of Tyre. According to rabbinical Judaism, while campaigning against Tyre, Nebuchadnezzar sent Nebuzaradan back to Judah to deal with the rebellion of Ishmael son of Nethaniah who had struck down Gedaliah son of Ahikam whom Nebuzaradan had left in charge of the Land beyond the River … the account of Ishmael’s treachery is told in Jeremiah chapter 41.
But there are problems inherent with rabbinical Judaism’s explanation for Nebuzaradan carrying away captives four years after he razes the temple and burns the city of Jerusalem, the foremost of which is where did Nebuzaradan find 745 persons, probably all adult males, in the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar.
Although Ishmael was of Judah’s royal family, he did not have the backing of the people who remained in Judah after Jerusalem was razed … after the extended seige of Jerusalem, the people of Israel had no stomach for resisting the Chaldeans, or even living peaceably under their authority. And the people of Israel were not going to follow Ishmael, especially not after Ishmael filled the large cistern King Asa had built for defense against Baasha king of Israel with Israelite corpses. Thus, when Johanan son of Kareah came against Ishmael at the great pool in Gibeon, the people joined with Johanan: Ishmael and eight men escaped, and the people of Israel with Johanan feared the Chaldeans because of what Ishmael had done in striking down Gedaliah whom the king of Babylon had made governor so they sought the will of the Lord through Jeremiah, then ignored what Jeremiah told them and fled into Egypt.
Jeremiah told Johanan and the people of Israel:
Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your plea for mercy before him: If you will remain in this land, then I will build you up and not pull you down; I will plant you, and not pluck you up; for I relent of the disaster that I did to you. Do not fear the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid. Do not fear him, declares the LORD, for I am with you, to save you and to deliver you from his hand. I will grant you mercy, that he may have mercy on you and let you remain in your own land. But if you say, “We will not remain in this land,” disobeying the voice of the LORD your God and saying, “No, we will go to the land of Egypt, where we shall not see war or hear the sound of the trumpet or be hungry for bread, and we will dwell there,” then hear the word of the LORD, O remnant of Judah. … If you set your faces to enter Egypt and go to live there, then the sword that you fear shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine of which you are afraid shall follow close after you to Egypt, and there you shall die. All the men who set their faces to go to Egypt to live there shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence. They shall have no remnant or survivor from the disaster that I will bring upon them. For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: As my anger and my wrath were poured out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so my wrath will be poured out on you when you go to Egypt. You shall become an execration, a horror, a curse, and a taunt. You shall see this place no more. The LORD has said to you, O remnant of Judah, “Do not go to Egypt.” Know for a certainty that I have warned you this day that you have gone astray at the cost of your lives. For you sent me to the LORD your God, saying, “Pray for us to the LORD our God, and whatever the LORD our God says declare to us and we will do it.” And I have this day declared it to you, but you have not obeyed the voice of the LORD your God in anything that he sent me to tell you. Now therefore know for a certainty that you shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence in the place where you desire to go to live. (Jer 42:9–22 emphasis and double-emphasis added)
When Jeremiah, at seventeen years of age, was called by the Lord to do a work for Him, the Lord told Jeremiah, “‘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 1:10) … To pluck up, to destroy, to build are physical things and are the mirror image of to break down, to overthrow, to plant, as the first Adam is a shadow and type—the mirror image—of the last Adam, Christ Jesus. In declaring that He was the Alpha [Α] and the Omega [Ω], the beginning and the end, Jesus as the King of kings and Lord of lords plucks up and plants, the first a physical act and the latter a spiritual act, with both acts declared by the words of Jeremiah.
Jeremiah would not need to physically go anywhere to accomplish the three things he was commissioned to do; for in prophesying against nations, including against Jerusalem and the house of Judah, Jeremiah plucked up and destroyed nations according to the will of the Lord God. He would plant and not pluck up the people of Israel if these people remained in the land of Judah. As it is, he did plant a new people of Israel, not one merely circumcised in the flesh, but a people who would be circumcised of heart within a nation of Israel that returned to sin and open rebellion against God.
A farmer planting a field first tills the field, destroying what is already growing in that field. If the field has lain fallow for a period of time, the farmer must clear the field, removing from it logs or stones, brush piles, the debris of culture before the farmer can till under the weeds that have taken root. And so it was with the Promised Land of God’s rest: the Lord had to remove from Jerusalem and the land of Judah the people of Israel that were a stench in His nostrils because of their idolatry. He didn’t intend to leave any of rebellious Israel in the land He had given to His firstborn son, but He relented after the sacking of Jerusalem for that would seem to be enough punishment—would seem to have been a sufficient calamity to befall Israel, His firstborn son—that the people of the land would have repented and returned to God with their whole hearts (a euphemistic expression for their inner selves, their souls) and with the thoughts of their minds. But this was not the case.
After hearing the word of the Lord about which Johanan and the people of Israel had said to Jeremiah, “‘May the LORD be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to all the word with which the LORD your God sends you to us. Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God to whom we are sending you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the LORD our God’” (Jer 42:5–6 emphasis and double-emphasis added), Johanan and the insolent men of Israel told Jeremiah, “‘You are telling a lie. The LORD our God did not send you to say, “Do not go to Egypt to live there,” but Baruch the son of Neriah has set you against us, to deliver us into the hand of the Chaldeans, that they may kill us or take us into exile in Babylon’” (Jer 43:2–3 emphasis and double-emphasis added).
So Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces and all the people did not obey the voice of the LORD, to remain in the land of Judah. But Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces took all the remnant of Judah who had returned to live in the land of Judah from all the nations to which they had been driven—the men, the women, the children, the princesses, and every person whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan; also Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch the son of Neriah. And they came into the land of Egypt, for they did not obey the voice of the LORD. And they arrived at Tahpanhes. (Jer 43:4–7 emphasis added)
Who was left in the land of Judah for Nebuzaradan to take to Babylon in the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar? Ishmael and the eight men with him? No, they didn’t stick around. So if Jeremiah is to be believed, all of Israel over whom Nebuzaradan had left with Gedaliah went down to Egypt where they perished; for the Lord was determined to cleanse “‘the land of Egypt as a shepherd cleans his cloak of vermin’” (Jer 43:12).
There is only one time when Nebuzaradan took the people of Israel hostage to deliver them to Babylonia: this one time occurred after Jerusalem was sacked in Nebuchadnezzar’s nineteenth year, and this one time isn’t after Johanan takes the people that Nebuzaradan had left with Gedaliah down into Egypt. So rabbinical Judaism’s explanation that the exile of Judah in Nebuchadnezzar’s twenty-third year came after Ishmael’s rebellion doesn’t pass the test of Scripture … unless Nebuzaradan held the men of Judah he had taken from Jerusalem in captivity for three and a half years as a rail yard holds cattle to be shipped in stock pens, there is no explanation for an exile of Israel in Nebuchadnezzar’s twenty-third year. And if Nebuzaradan held the men of Israel as a stockyard holds cattle were the case, then Nebuchadnezzar took men of Israel and of Judah dwelling in outlying cities captive at the beginning of his year and a half long siege of Jerusalem and shipped them off to Babylonia in his eighteenth year as Jeremiah records, which now backs up when Judah’s prominent men were first taken to Babylonia by a calendar year.
According to rabbinical sources that kept/keep the beginning of the year in the autumn, an unscriptural practice, the first exile from Judea occurred in the year 597 BCE, and took place in connection with the first conquest of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar II. At this time, the king of Babylon with his army was intent upon punishing Josiah’s son Jehoikim who had renounced his allegiance to Babylonia and had instead, relying upon a treaty with Egypt, sought to return Jerusalem to the autonomy it had under Hezekiah when the Lord had turned back the Assyrians led by Sennacherib. But Jehoikim wasn’t Hezekiah; so after a short defense, the King of Judah surrendered, and Nebuchadnezzar ordered that Jehoikim, his court and the most distinguished men of Judah, as well as artisans and smiths and the most valuable treasures of the temple and the palace be carried off to Babylonia, with the prophet Ezekiel among the captives …
King Josiah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but his righteousness did not extend to his own sons or to the people of Israel that had ceased circumcising their sons but were instead sacrificing their firstborns to the Canaanite gods of the peoples Israel dispossessed when they fought against them in the days of Joshua. King Josiah had compelled the people of Jerusalem and of Judah to cease making sacrifices to the Canaanite gods and to worship only the Lord, and to keep the Passover of the Lord as it was described in the Book of the Covenant (2 King chaps 22–23), and the people were bitter about the reforms of Josiah as will be seen. However, the Lord had already determined that He was going to pluck up Israel and cleanse the land of the cultural debris that had been dumped on it as if the land representing His rest [heaven] were a rural ravine of a century ago where farmers and city dwellers cast their empty tin cans, patent medicine bottles, and burnt-out woodranges—where today, a trash landfill lays.
After King Manasseh’s reign over Judah, no amount of repenting could save the people (2 Kings 23:26–27): the Promised Land would be cleansed. The human debris that had grown from the seeds of Canaanite idolatry would be plucked up and the stubble remaining would be burned by fire. And the first plucking up—first wagonloads of debris—were the great and mighty people of Judah that were hauled off to Babylonia where these Israelites, in their perceived sense of righteousness, were certain that they would shortly return to Jerusalem and the cities of Judah where they would resume their idolatrous worship of the queen of heaven, whom they identified as the consort of the Lord [YHWH]. … It is this same queen of heaven that Catholic Christians worship as the mother-of-god, the Virgin Mary.
But the great and mighty of Judah and Jerusalem—like the nation of Israel that left Egypt in the days of Moses—would never return to their homeland. Rather, they would die in Babylonia as their unbelieving ancestors died in the wilderness. Only a remnant returned to Jerusalem, with but a few old enough to remember the glory of Solomon’s temple: these old men wept when they saw how insignificant the rebuilt temple was in comparison to the former house of God.
But one pass through the Promised Land wasn’t adequate to remove from it the cultural debris; so the Lord sent Nebuchadnezzar to make a second pass throughout the entirety of the Promised Land, then a third pass through Jerusalem itself, the pass that would cleanse the temple mount so that the Body of Christ could be built on this sacred location.
After the temple mount was cleansed of its cultural debris, the Lord was ready to replant Israel in the Promised Land, but He had no good seed remaining. He would have to bring seed down from heaven.
Apparently it had been the Lord’s intention to use the poorest of the poor, those Israelites that Nebuzaradan had left in the land to keep it from going to ruin as the seed stock from which He would rear a new crop of sons. But even these Israelites were polluted by the idolatry of the priests and the mighty men and women of Judah and Jerusalem … they were as open pollinated corn grown in the United States today, corn that shouldn’t be but that is polluted by GMO genes carried by wind-blown pollen. They, too, would have to be removed from the Promised Land, but the Lord allowed them to remove themselves from His rest by returning to Egypt, the land representing sin:
The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah “concerning all the Judeans who lived in the land of Egypt, at Migdol, at Tahpanhes, at Memphis, and in the land of Pathros” (Jer 44:1),
Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: You have seen all the disaster that I brought upon Jerusalem and upon all the cities of Judah. Behold, this day they are a desolation, and no one dwells in them, because of the evil that they committed, provoking me to anger, in that they went to make offerings and serve other gods that they knew not, neither they, nor you, nor your fathers. Yet I persistently sent to you all my servants the prophets, saying, “Oh, do not do this abomination that I hate!” But they did not listen or incline their ear, to turn from their evil and make no offerings to other gods. Therefore my wrath and my anger were poured out and kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, and they became a waste and a desolation, as at this day. And now thus says the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel: Why do you commit this great evil against yourselves, to cut off from you man and woman, infant and child, from the midst of Judah, leaving you no remnant? Why do you provoke me to anger with the works of your hands, making offerings to other gods in the land of Egypt where you have come to live, so that you may be cut off and become a curse and a taunt among all the nations of the earth? Have you forgotten the evil of your fathers, the evil of the kings of Judah, the evil of their wives, your own evil, and the evil of your wives, which they committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? They have not humbled themselves even to this day, nor have they feared, nor walked in my law and my statutes that I set before you and before your fathers. Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will set my face against you for harm, to cut off all Judah. I will take the remnant of Judah who have set their faces to come to the land of Egypt to live, and they shall all be consumed. In the land of Egypt they shall fall; by the sword and by famine they shall be consumed. From the least to the greatest, they shall die by the sword and by famine, and they shall become an oath, a horror, a curse, and a taunt. I will punish those who dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence, so that none of the remnant of Judah who have come to live in the land of Egypt shall escape or survive or return to the land of Judah, to which they desire to return to dwell there. For they shall not return, except some fugitives. (Jer 44:2–14 emphasis added)
Again, Jeremiah was commissioned to pluck up, destroy, and then plant as a farmer might pull weeds from his fields before they go to seed, then plow under his fields before planting his fields with barley or wheat. What Jeremiah didn’t understand was that the people of Israel were the shadow and type of endtime Christians who would, after the Lord purges sin and death from greater Christendom by filling every Christian with the breath of God, return to sin where these Christians whom the Lord planted in righteousness will utterly perish. So yes, Jeremiah plants in the Promised Land before he leaves the seed of righteousness that will sprout and bear fruit albeit centuries later.
Israel was to be planted in fields representing life [the Promised Land], not sin [Egypt] or death [Assyria], with the house of Israel being taken into captivity by the Assyrians and the house of Judah going into captivity from first Egyptians then Chaldeans camped at Riblah of Hamath in the modern nation of Syria … the king of Babylon was himself a shadow and type of the spiritual king of Babylon (see Isa 14:4), the present prince of this world. Therefore, when Nebuchadnezzar took the inhabitants of Judah and of Jerusalem captive and took the men of Jerusalem to Babylonia, Nebuchadnezzar served as the shadow and type of the spiritual king of Babylon taking the Christian Church captive, with the form of Christianity that survived [Trinitarian Christendom] serving the prince of this world as the leading men of Jerusalem and the smiths and craftsmen of Judah served the physical king of Babylon.
Gothic Christendom and all other forms of Arian Christendom disappeared for a millennium as the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel disappeared for about a millennium … about a millennium after the Vandals [Arian Christians] sacked Rome and shortly afterwards disappeared into history, Arian ideology [Unitarianism ] resurfaced in Poland, then in England: most Christian denominations that have originated in the United States are Arians.
So what was to be physical—the planting of the poorest of the poor of Israel in the Promised Land after the land had been cleansed of idolatry—didn’t occur because the remnant of Israel that remained in the land went down to Egypt. Rather, Jeremiah’s planting of Israel occurred in the spiritual realm, and featured a remnant of Israel returning from Babylon by order of King Cyrus to build again the temple that would morph into the Body of Christ … the prophet Daniel records,
In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by descent a Mede, … I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and made confession, saying, "O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. To us, O LORD, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him. … ” (Dan 9:1–11 emphasis added)
The remnant of Israel that was to be planted in the Promised Land following the plucking up of Israel by the king of Babylon was, again, the poorest of the people, those Israelites who were not actively engaged in making transactions. It was only the poorest of the poor that the Chaldeans intentionally left in the land. However, even the poorest of the people would not abandon their idolatry …
Johanan and the people of Israel’s treachery against the Lord in going down into Egypt was as great as Ishmael’s treachery in raising his hand against Gedaliah, but in Johanan and the people of Israel going down to Egypt, the people of Israel removed themselves from Judah and were temporarily beyond the reach of the king of Babylon by returning to sin. However, contrary to the teachings of British Israelism, neither Johanan nor Jeremiah took princesses of the royal house of Israel out from Egypt: none of the royal house escaped from Egypt and sailed across the Mediterranean Sea and eventually to Ireland if the word of the Lord is to be believed. Rather, they perished in Egypt: the words of the Lord were, Know for a certainty that you shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence in the place where you desire to go to live (Jer 42:22).
So, realize that there is a problem with rabbinical Judaism’s explanation that the exiles of Nebuchadnezzar’s twenty-third year were of the poorest people of the land for Johanan and all the commanders of the forces took the remnant of Judah—every person whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan—down into Egypt (Jer 43:5–7) where they openly rebelled against the Lord:
Then all the men who knew that their wives had made offerings to other gods, and all the women who stood by, a great assembly, all the people who lived in Pathros in the land of Egypt, answered Jeremiah: "As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD, we will not listen to you. But we will do everything that we have vowed, make offerings to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we did, both we and our fathers, our kings and our officials, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no disaster. But since we left off making offerings to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine." And the women said, "When we made offerings to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, was it without our husbands' approval that we made cakes for her bearing her image and poured out drink offerings to her?" (Jer 44:15–19 emphasis added)
The arrival of this remnant of Judah doomed Egypt:
Then Jeremiah said to all the people, men and women, all the people who had given him this answer: "As for the offerings that you offered in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your fathers, your kings and your officials, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them? Did it not come into his mind? The LORD could no longer bear your evil deeds and the abominations that you committed. Therefore your land has become a desolation and a waste and a curse, without inhabitant, as it is this day. It is because you made offerings and because you sinned against the LORD and did not obey the voice of the LORD or walk in his law and in his statutes and in his testimonies that this disaster has happened to you, as at this day." Jeremiah said to all the people and all the women, "Hear the word of the LORD, all you of Judah who are in the land of Egypt. Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: You and your wives have declared with your mouths, and have fulfilled it with your hands, saying, 'We will surely perform our vows that we have made, to make offerings to the queen of heaven and to pour out drink offerings to her.' Then confirm your vows and perform your vows! Therefore hear the word of the LORD, all you of Judah who dwell in the land of Egypt: Behold, I have sworn by my great name, says the LORD, that my name shall no more be invoked by the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, 'As the Lord GOD lives.' Behold, I am watching over them for disaster and not for good. All the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end of them. And those who escape the sword shall return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah, few in number; and all the remnant of Judah, who came to the land of Egypt to live, shall know whose word will stand, mine or theirs. This shall be the sign to you, declares the LORD, that I will punish you in this place, in order that you may know that my words will surely stand against you for harm: Thus says the LORD, Behold, I will give Pharaoh Hophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies and into the hand of those who seek his life, as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, who was his enemy and sought his life." (Jer 44:20–30 emphasis and double-emphasis added)
According to the word of the Lord, those few who would escape the sword in Egypt would return to the land of Judah, and not escape to western lands. While men of the house of Israel and the house of Judah fled from their lands to the east and to the west during the drought declared by Elijah the prophet, the people of Judah did not—if Jeremiah is to believed—escape to western lands either immediately before or in the decades after Nebuchadnezzar surrounded and sacked Jerusalem. British Israelism as taught by splinters of the former Sabbatarian Churches of God is a false doctrine.
The Apostle Paul taught what is sometimes derided by endtime Sabbatarian super-apostles as Replacement Theology; i.e., the circumcised-of-heart nation of Israel replaces the merely outwardly circumcised nation of Israel as prophetic endtime Israel. Jeremiah recorded the Lord declaring,
Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will punish all those who are circumcised merely in the flesh—Egypt, Judah, Edom, the sons of Ammon, Moab, and all who dwell in the desert who cut the corners of their hair, for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart. (Jer 9:25–26)
Judah was a nation uncircumcised in the flesh—this is what Jeremiah records—whereas the house of Israel that had gone into captivity a century before Judah went into captivity was circumcised in the flesh but not of heart … the New Covenant about which Jeremiah wrote (chapter 31, verses 31–34) is not made with the house of Judah and the house of Israel, but with the single people, Israel, the nation circumcised-of-heart, with this New Covenant taking effect when God writes the Torah on the hearts of Israel and places the Law inside every Israelite so that all know the Lord. This has not yet happened. This will happen; however, it happens when the Second Passover liberation of Israel occurs.
For those Sabbatarian Christians who would belittle Paul and belittle endtime disciples who build on the foundation that Paul laid, this foundation constructed from the premise that Christians are the Body of Christ; that Christians are the temple [the house] of God; that the Christian Church is circumcised-of-heart Israel, with Christians bearing to natural Israel a relationship analogous to the relationship that the wood and stone temple Solomon assembled bears to the Body of Christ assembled from living stones, disciples of Christ—to these physically minded Sabbatarians, let it here be declared that British Israelism is a doctrine of demons, not because the peoples of northern Europe cannot be of the house of Israel but because endtime Israel is not a physical nation, but the nation of living inner selves [souls] born of God as sons through receiving a second breath of life, the breath of God [pneuma Theon] in the breath of Christ [pneuma Christos]. Any Christian theologian or pastor who teaches that endtime Israel is a physical nation descended biologically from the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is false; is of the Adversary regardless of how well-intentioned the person is.
Besides, the basis for Herbert W. Armstrong’s two-Israel doctrine, which has both nations of Israel being physical peoples, a teaching that was (and remains) contrary to what the Apostle Paul taught (“For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter” — Rom 2:28–29) rests on Jeremiah taking the princesses of Judah that went down into Egypt on to Ireland … the teaching that Britain and its former colonies, the English-speaking peoples of world, represent the biological endtime descendants of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh has no factual basis; plus, it is the French who still cannot say “Shibboleth” [שבלת], not the English who use a /ʃ/ phoneme as in shoe. French, today, lacks the /ʃ/ phoneme that has aspiration on the /s/; hence it would be logical that if anyone in Europe were descended from ancient Ephraim it would be the French, who have been the leader in culture for a millennium. But if the French are descended from the people of Ephraim that could not pronounce Shibboleth (Judges 12:5–6) when the Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan instead of the Brits, everything Armstrong taught about prophecy is stood on its head.
Again, Josiah, king of Judah, unlike his father Amon and his grandfather Manasseh, did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in the ways of David, his ancestor, not turning to the right or to the left, with sin and death being to either side of the way of the Lord. Josiah commanded Jerusalem and all of Israel to keep the Passover as it was described in the Book of the Law, for the Passover had not been kept as it should have been since the days of Joshua. But Josiah couldn’t undo what his grandfather Manasseh had done: he couldn’t undo the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked the Lord: “And the LORD said, ‘I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and I will cast off this city that I have chosen, Jerusalem, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there’ (2 Kings 23:27). Therefore, the Lord rescinded the promise He had made to Solomon concerning the temple:
As soon as Solomon had finished building the house of the LORD and the king's house and all that Solomon desired to build, the LORD appeared to Solomon a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. And the LORD said to him, "I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you have made before me. I have consecrated this house that you have built, by putting my name there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time. And as for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my rules, then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, 'You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.' But if you turn aside from following me, you or your children, and do not keep my commandments and my statutes that I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land that I have given them, and the house that I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight, and Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And this house will become a heap of ruins. Everyone passing by it will be astonished and will hiss, and they will say, 'Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?' Then they will say, 'Because they abandoned the LORD their God who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore the LORD has brought all this disaster on them.'" (1 Kings 9:1–9 emphasis added)
Rabbinical Judaism denies that the glory of the Lord ever left Jerusalem, insisting that the Lord’s promise to Solomon is irrevocable: I have consecrated this house that you have built, by putting my name there forever. But rabbinical Judaism is without understanding.
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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."