This prophecy was most likely given in the days of Josiah the king. While Josiah was righteous, the people were not. He made sweeping changes to stem the tide of wickedness but was never able to get the people to repent of worshipping Baal, oppressing the innocent, and defiling the temple.
Jeremiah 2:2 Thus saith the Lord; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth
“The symbolic betrothal of the bride (the house of Israel) to the Bridegroom (Jehovah) took place in the Sinai wilderness after the Exodus. There, characteristic of Hebraic betrothal, the Lord entered into a covenant relationship with Jacob’s descendants. Jehovah renewed the Abrahamic covenant with the children of Israel and laid this proposition before them:
If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation (Ex. 19:5–6).
“…In consideration of the gross infidelity of the unrepentant bride, the Bridegroom finally set aside the betrothal covenants with a humiliating and symbolic public divorce of the Northern Kingdom (Israel)—the Assyrian conquest of Israel. But Judah did not learn a lesson of fidelity from her sister’s humiliation.
Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot.
And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it.
And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery [or idolatry] I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also (Jer. 3:6–8).
“For their wickedness the Jews also were divorced publicly, as it were, via the Babylonian captivity. The gods, or symbolic lovers, to whom they turned for help did not come to their aid: ‘All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not’ (Jer. 30:14; see Jer. 30:10–17); ‘Among all her lovers she [Judah] hath none to comfort her’ (Lam. 1:2). Recalling the former ardor the Israelites had for him, the Lord says: ‘I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness’ (Jer. 2:2). And reaffirming his fidelity, the Lord tells the house of Israel, ‘You only have I known of all the families of the earth’ (Amos 3:2).
“Patiently and with great love, the Lord vowed to win back his bride. Though the betrothal had been temporarily suspended, this ‘divorce’ was not to be permanent. There was to be a separation, so to speak, for a time, but the door was left open for reconciliation in the day that the bride experienced remorse and repented of her adulterous ways.” (Richard K. Hart, “The Marriage Metaphor,” Ensign, Jan. 1995, 24-27)
Jeremiah 2:10 pass over the isles of Chittim, and… send unto Kedar… see if there be such a thing
The isles of Chittim refer to the island of Cyprus in the Mediteranean; Kedar refers to the Arabian Peninsula. Chittim was northwest; Kedar was southeast. The Jews are challenged to consider all the neighboring nations; none of them switched gods! So why did the Jews? Certainly, it is one thing to switch from one false god to another, but it is much worse to switch from a true god to a false one. What were they thinking?
Jeremiah 2:11 Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods?
Bruce R. McConkie
Israel was scattered because she apostatized; because she broke the Ten Commandments; because she rejected the prophets and seers and turned to wizards that peep and mutter; because she forsook the covenant; because she gave heed to false ministers and joined false churches; because she ceased to be a peculiar people and a kingdom of priests. When she became as the world, the Lord left her to suffer and live and be as the world then was.
"Hath a nation changed their gods?" Jehovah asked his people. Have they accepted gods "which are yet no gods"? he asked. "My people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit," he said. "Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the Lord. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, and that can hold no water." (Jer. 2:11-13.) Israel forsook Jehovah, from whom living waters flow, and worshipped other gods. Israel no longer drank the living water, which, if men drink, they shall never thirst more. Rather she made her own churches, her own cisterns—"broken cisterns," false churches—which can hold none of the waters of life. (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 187)
Jeremiah 2:13 they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns
Jehovah is “the fountain of living waters.” Jesus Christ declared the same thing to the Samaritan woman:
If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water… whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:10, 14)
“Jehovah pronounced a scathing denunciation upon most of mankind: ‘My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water’ (Jer. 2:13). All people thirst for the living waters, even those who do not know they do. And, unfortunately, many spend endless hours and needed strength in digging their own wells or searching for water when the cooling draught of the Redeemer is within easy reach.” (Robert L. Millet, An Eye Single to the Glory of God: Reflections on the Cost of Discipleship [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 4)
I would like to encourage all men to be kind to themselves, and to worship the living and true God. Come out of your broken cisterns, that hold no water; cease your idolatrous practices and the worship of an imaginary God, without body, parts or passions; and come to the light of the glorious Gospel of the Son of God. We have done this, and I tell you it is glorious. (Conference Report, April 1901, Second Day—Morning Session 37 - 38)
Joseph B. Wirthlin
The Lord provides the living water that can quench the burning thirst of those whose lives are parched by a drought of truth. He expects us to supply to them the fulness of the gospel by giving them the scriptures and the words of the prophets and to bear personal testimony as to the truth of the restored gospel to alleviate their thirst. When they drink from the cup of gospel knowledge, their thirst is satisfied as they come to understand our Heavenly Father’s great plan of happiness.
As at Jacob’s well, so today the Lord Jesus Christ is the only source of living water. It will quench the thirst of those suffering from the drought of divine truth that so afflicts the world. The words of the Lord to ancient Israel spoken by the prophet Jeremiah describe the condition of many of God’s children in our own day: “My people … have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out … broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Too many of our Heavenly Father’s children spend their precious lives carving out broken cisterns of worldly gain that cannot hold the living water that satisfies fully their natural thirst for everlasting truth.
On the last day of the feast of tabernacles, the Savior, now returned to Jerusalem, extended this timeless, universal invitation: “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” (John 7:37)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie defined living water as “the words of eternal life, the message of salvation, the truths about God and his kingdom; it is the doctrines of the gospel.” He went on to explain, “Where there are prophets of God, there will be found rivers of living water, wells filled with eternal truths, springs bubbling forth their life-giving draughts that save from spiritual death.”
The Lord has declared that “whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” We are blessed to live in a day when prophets and Apostles live on the earth. Through them we are refreshed continually by an abundant stream of eternal truth that, if obeyed, brings the living water of the Lord into our lives. Echoing those Samaritans who listened to the Savior at Jacob’s well, we, too, can say with faith and with firm conviction, “We have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” (“Living Water to Quench Spiritual Thirst,” Ensign, May 1995, 19)
Jeremiah 2:14-15 Is Israel a servant? Is he a homeborn slave? Why is he spoiled?
After the days of King Solomon, the tribes of Israel split into two nations: the Northern Kingdom (or the Kingdom of Israel), and the Southern Kingdom (or the Kingdom of Judah). Here the Lord asks the Jews about their neighbors to the north. About 100 years before this prophecy in the year 721 BC, the Assyrians sacked the Northern Kingdom and took the “ten tribes” as slaves even further north. Never before had the nation of Israel been captive, but even their children were born slaves when Jeremiah received this prophecy.
The question is, “what happened to Israel?” “Why is he spoiled?” Isn’t it because as a nation they had forsaken the Lord in following other gods? Isn’t it because their wicked kings encouraged idolatry and wickedness? If so, then what should we expect for Jerusalem? The Lord is asking the Jews if they want history to be repeated. The Northern Kingdom’s cities were “burned without inhabitant” (v. 15). So would be the cities of Judah.
Jeremiah 2:16 the children of Noph and Tahapanes
Biblical Atlases don’t identify the land of Noph. Tahapanes is felt to refer to the land of Goshen in Egypt (Jer. 43:7-8). If Tahapenes refers to rural Egypt, we may safely assume Noph is a rural area in the land of Assyria (see v. 18, 36-37). The Israelites are chastised for trusting Egypt and Assyria instead of the Lord, “for the Lord hath rejected thy confidences (thy allies Egypt and Assyria), and thou shalt not prosper in them” (v. 37). Before the Babylonian captivity, Zedekiah would foolishly trust in the Egyptians for help (Jer. 37:1-10). Even worse, a large remnant who survived the Babylonian attack decided to seek for safety in Egypt against Jeremiah’s express counsel. They were told to stay in the land of Judah and they would be safe. But they didn’t listen. Little did they know that Babylon would attack Egypt next and most of them would be killed (Jer. 42-44).
Jeremiah 2:17, 19 Hast thou not procured this unto thyself?... Thine own wickedness shall correct thee
The reason the wicked will not complain to God at the judgment bar is because they will be convicted of their own guilt (see 2 Ne. 9:14; Mormon 9:4-5). They will understand that they have brought judgment upon themselves. They know they deserve what they get. The Lord can fairly ask them, “Hast thou not procured this unto thyself?” They get what they deserve.
The earth is pure in and of itself, having kept the law of its creation; and mankind have actually brought on themselves all the sin, all the distress, all the anguish, pain, sickness, and death that are upon the earth.
Since man has brought this upon himself, who but man can effect a restoration from sin to purity? From death to life? If I injure my neighbor in any way, I am the only person that can make restitution and obtain the forgiveness of my injured friend, neighbor, or brother. When a child revolts from under a good parents' control, it is the place of that child to return to his father, like the prodigal of old, and reinstate himself in the friendship and good feelings of his injured parent.
Mankind have forfeited the right they once possessed to the friendship of their Heavenly Father, and through sin have exposed themselves to misery and wretchedness. Who is to bring back to the sin-stained millions of earth that which they have lost through disobedience? Who is to plant smiling peace and plenty where war and desolation reign? Who is to remove the curse and its consequences from earth—the homestead of mankind? Who shall say to the raging and contending elements, "peace, be still?" and extract the poison from the reptile's tooth, and the savage and destructive nature from beast and creeping thing?
Who placed the dark stain of sin upon this fair creation? Man. Who but man shall remove the foul blot, and restore all things to their primeval purity and innocence? But can he do this independent of heavenly aid? He can not. To aid him in this work heavenly grace is here; heavenly wisdom, power, and help are here, and God's laws and ordinances are here; the angels and spirits of just men made perfect are here; Jesus Christ our Great High Priest, with Prophets, Apostles, and Saints, ancient and modern, are here to help man in the great work of sanctifying himself and the earth for final glorification in its paradisiacal state. All this will be accomplished through the law of the Holy Priesthood. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 10: 301)
James E. Faust
Indeed, moral standards must be maintained. In large measure, those who are disobedient punish themselves. As the Lord said through Jeremiah: “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee.” (“The Weightier Matters of the Law: Judgment, Mercy, and Faith,” Ensign, Nov. 1997, 54)
Jeremiah 2:21 how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?
This rhetorical question from the Lord corresponds perfectly with Jacob’s allegory. Just as the children of Israel were compared to an olive tree by Zenos (Jacob 5), Jehovah compares them to a grape vine. But the vine degenerated, and the olive tree waxed old, such that “the main top” of the olive tree “began to perish” (Jacob 5:3-9). The tame olive tree no longer produced good olives, so the Lord’s plan was to “pluck off those main branches… and… cast them into the fire that they may be burned.” (Jacob 5:7) Wouldn’t the Master of the vineyard do the same thing with “the degenerate plant of a strange vine?”
Jeremiah 2:24 A wild ass used to the wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure
A donkey is a stubborn beast. A wild ass that is used to the wilderness is one that hasn’t had to follow a master. Wild and stubborn, the ass will respond to no man. Why bother trying to tame such a stubborn ass? The ass has no master, obeys no commands, and lives at his own pleasure. Such is the Jewish nation. Though the Lord or one of his prophets call, the ass is just too stubborn to follow—a rather damning comparison.
Jeremiah 2:32 my people have forgotten me
This is one of the big themes of chapter 2, that the Jewish nation has forgotten and forsaken the Lord. The Lord cries, “they are gone far from me” (v. 5), “they have forsaken me” (v. 13), “thou hast forsaken the Lord” (v. 17), “thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God” (v. 19), “ye have all transgressed against me” (v. 29), and “my people have forgotten me” (v. 32). The Lord warned them from the beginning:
Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments…
when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied;
Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. (Deut 8:11-14)
And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.
As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God. (Deut. 8:19-20)
Dean L. Larsen
“Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; … and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God” (Hel. 12:1–2).
It is one thing to look back upon the events of history. It is another to regard our own time. We have the Lord’s assurance that he will bless and prosper his people if they will keep his commandments and remember to look to him as the source of their blessings.
On the other hand, we must not forget that these blessings are conditional… As the world continues to ripen in iniquity, our lives of necessity must become increasingly different from the world and its standard. It will be a great challenge for us. We must be better than we have ever been before. As we succeed, we have the sure promise of the Lord that he will prosper us in every way necessary for our well-being. (“The Lord Will Prosper the Righteous,” Ensign, Nov. 1992, 42)
Jeremiah 2:35 Yet thou sayest, Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me
A big part of rebellion from God is denial. Hypocrisy thrives on it. The proud raised to be religious must convince themselves they are in the right—that they are innocent. This, of course, is the danger of believing that “all is well in Zion,” when in reality, their covenants hang by a thread (2 Ne. 28:21).
Laman and Lemuel were contemporaries of Jeremiah. They were swimming in the river of denial just as Jeremiah prophesied, “we know that the people who were in the land of Jerusalem were a righteous people; for they kept the statutes and judgments of the Lord, and all his commandments, according to the law of Moses; wherefore, we know that they are a righteous people” (1 Ne. 17:22). Oh really? In reality, Jehovah had caught Israel playing the harlot and with blood on her skirts, meaning she was guilty of both adultery and murder—adultery with Canaanite idols and murder of innocent prophets.
Jeremiah 3:1 If a man put away his wife, and she go from him and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again?
After a second failed marriage, does it make sense to return to the first spouse? This was strictly forbidden in the Mosaic Law:
If the latter husband… sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;
Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin… (Deut. 24:3-4).
In the marriage metaphor, Israel and Judah, two sisters were both married to the Lord Jehovah. After playing the harlot with many lovers in flagrant idolatry, it would pollute the land for them to return to their first love. The Jews understood this principle. It was part of their culture. The woman was “defiled” by her adultery. But in this case, the Lord makes a special exception. The Lord will bring Judah and Israel together again in the last days; they will return to the marriage with the kindness, holiness, and love (Jer. 2:2-3) that the Bridegroom deserves.
Thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the Lord… for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion (Jer. 3:14).
Jeremiah 3:3 the showers have been witholden, and there hath been no latter rain
Again from Deuteronomy: If ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments… I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thy oil. (Deut. 11:13-14)
“Israelites grew up watching the annual cycle of storms: the first (or "former") rains in October-November, the rainy season from January-March, and the ‘latter’ rains in April-May. (See Deut. 11:14; Jer. 5:24; Joel 2:23.) First rains served to loosen the soil after the long, hot summer and prepare it for planting, and the latter rain, some weeks after the heavy winter rains had passed, kept the crops growing until the harvest time approached. ‘Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.’ (James 5:7.)” (D. Kelly Ogden, Where Jesus Walked: The Land and Culture of New Testament Times [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 59)
Jeremiah 3:6-11 Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done?
What is the saying, “those who choose not to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”? The kingdom of Israel had forsaken the Lord before the kingdom of Judah. Because of their wickedness, they were sacked by the Assyrians and taken north in 721 BC. Now Judah was in the same precarious position, worshipping idols of “stones” and “stocks” upon every high hill.
This was during the time of Josiah the king. Josiah had done all he could to curb this idolatry. He purged the high places and groves where the idol worship was performed; he broke down the altars of Baalim and burned them; he cleansed the temple of all the idolatrous vessels that defiled the temple; he destroyed the upper chambers of the temple because they had been built up for idol worship; and he slew “all the priests” of the high places (2 Chron. 34, 2 Kgs. 23).
His righteousness was legendary, but the people were so steeped in their idolatry that they didn’t repent. They waited for the death of Josiah so they could return to their idolatrous ways. During his reign, the Lord declared of them, “Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the Lord” (Jer. 3:10). They placated Josiah with feigned righteousness, honoring the Lord with their lips but their hearts were far from Him (Isa. 29:13, JS-Hist. 1:19)
Jeremiah 3:14 I will take you, one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion
You remember the words of the prophet Jeremiah. He said the day would come when it should no longer be said, “The Lord liveth, that brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, the Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel … from all the lands whither he had driven them” (Jer. 16:14–15) and that he would send for many fishers and they would fish them, and for many hunters and they would hunt them from the hills and from the mountains and from the holes in the rocks (see Jer. 16:16). That’s the thirty thousand missionaries scattered throughout the world gathering in scattered Israel.
Jeremiah said, “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you.” (Jer. 3:14.) What a covenant! Isn’t it wonderful to think that if we will heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit, it will be like a relationship of being married unto Him?
Then Jeremiah adds, “And I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:
“And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” (Jer. 3:14–15.)
Search your histories of the world. You can’t find anywhere else where people have been gathered one of a city and two of a family like they have to these valleys of the mountains and where they have been given by God the Eternal Father pastors after his own heart such as you have listened to here in this conference today, and as you will on the morrow. (“Be Ye Prepared,” Ensign, Nov. 1981, 29)
Gordon B. Hinckley
As we heard Sister Okazaki speak to us this afternoon, we were touched by the power of the Spirit to reach into the heart of a little girl in Hawaii, a girl of non-Christian upbringing, and touch that heart until she came to believe, and believing came to know. As we have listened to the testimony of Brother Kwok Yuen Tai, we have again sensed the miracle and the wonder of this work. This little Chinese boy in Hong Kong came to a meeting at the invitation of a friend, and his heart was touched over a period of time. I remember those days when he was a boy in Hong Kong when he joined the Church. I next saw him in Sydney, Australia, where he was getting a degree in chemistry. Then he was in London working for a great chemical organization, and then handling the work of that organization in Taiwan and Hong Kong. The Lord has led him, guided him. He has since served as a mission president and now as a General Authority of the Church.
Those miracles—and miracles they are—are occurring all across this world. This is a work of miracles, and the power of the Spirit is resting upon the heads of men and women and boys and girls all across the globe. Someone has said that the Holy Ghost can teach us things that we cannot teach one another. How true that is. How wonderfully true that is! Said the prophet Jeremiah,
And I will take you, one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion.
And I will give you pastors according to mine heart. (Jer. 3:14–15.)
That is the miracle that is taking place. (“A Prophet’s Testimony,” Ensign, May 1993, 93-94)
Gordon B. Hinckley
It is an inspiring experience . . . to witness the manner in which the Lord is weaving the tapestry of his grand design in those foreign parts of the earth. He is gathering his children there as elsewhere—"one of a city and two of a family." He is remembering the promises made of old as he works among those who have seen so much of poverty and misery and evil and oppression. He is answering the prayers of those who have gone before, and who struggled to establish a foothold for the gospel in those distant places. . . .
. . . The work is becoming very much enlarged. It does require a commensurate accumulation of men and means. It requires an expansion of mind and energy, ability and perseverance. Let us prepare ourselves more diligently for the great assignment which God has laid upon us to carry this work to the children of the earth wherever we may be permitted to go. (Conference Report, April 1962, p . 71, 73.) (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 367)
It would appear that Jeremiah wrote a portion of the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints approximately 2500 years before it occurred. (Israel! Do You Know? [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 177)
Jeremiah 3:15 I will give you pastors according to mine heart
Here Jeremiah prophecies of a day when the people will be led in righteousness. In contrast to Jeremiah’s day, the last days will be blessed with pastors, or bishops and stake presidents, who will feed the people “with knowledge and understanding.”
“Most bishops are men who have been schooled in the ways of the Lord: they know how to pray, how to search the scriptures, and how to discern and respond to the promptings of the Spirit. They understand the processes of repentance. In addition, they have had many of the common experiences of life, which have given them wisdom and empathy. They counsel out of love and with the inspiration of the Spirit.
“If the bishop feels he needs additional help, he may counsel with the stake president and receive added inspiration from him. Or he may ask the stake president to counsel with the individual. If he feels professional help is needed, he may refer the individual to a Church Social Services counselor.
“When we seek guidance from our bishop or local priesthood leaders, we can have confidence in them as spiritual and temporal counselors, even though they may lack professional training and—like all of us—are subject to human weakness and imperfection. We can be assured that they have the authority and may receive the spiritual blessings necessary to give inspired counsel.” (D. Jack Dunn, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, Feb. 1985, 51)
Gordon B. Hinckley
We have more than 18,000 bishops in the Church. Every one is a man who has been called by the spirit of prophecy and revelation and set apart and ordained by the laying on of hands. Every one of them holds the keys of the presidency of his ward. Each is a high priest, the presiding high priest of his ward. Each carries tremendous responsibilities of stewardship. Each stands as a father to his people…
God bless the good bishops of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints… I bear testimony of the strength and goodness of the bishops of this Church. I pay tribute to counselors who help them and to all who serve under their direction in response to the calls they make. (“The Shepherds of Israel,” Ensign, November 2003)
Jeremiah 3:16-18 in those days… they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord
Can you think of a prophet who has a more depressing message than Jeremiah? He is a gloom-and-doom prophet for sure. After a while, it can be depressing to read about all the wickedness and destruction. But in the end of this chapter, we finally get some good news. The last days will be glorious. The wickedness is turned to righteousness. The destruction is for the enemies of the Lord’s people.
Isaiah’s prophecies contain the same pattern. The beginning of the chapter is full of negativity but the end of the chapter is positive and uplifting (see Isaiah chapters 30, 59, and 65). Like Isaiah, Jeremiah prophesies of the redemption of Jerusalem in the last days. He prophesies of the Lord sitting on his throne in Jerusalem, actually dwelling in the midst of the people, reigning with all the military glory of King David and all the wisdom and riches of King Solomon. Historically, the ark of the covenant represented the presence of the Lord with the people. No need to mention the ark when the Lord Himself is sitting on his throne. Instead of being scattered, Israel and Judah will be gathered. Instead of being enemies, Israel and Judah will come together (Isa. 11:13). Instead of having their lands taken by their enemies, the Lord will give them the lands of their inheritance. Instead of turning from God to worship idols, they will turn to God and call him, “My Father.”
Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age.
And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the LORD of hosts.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country;
And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness. (Zech. 8:3-8)
Sterling W. Sill
What a great time to be alive, when Christ himself will be our lawgiver and righteous men and women, from both sides of the veil, will live and reign with Christ for a thousand years. (Conference Report, April 1967, First Day—Morning Meeting 15)