By most standards, Jeremiah 22 is an obscure chapter. It is almost never quoted or referenced. Yet, this chapter is a particularly fascinating vignette of the relationship between Jeremiah and King Jehoiakim. In essence, Jeremiah tells him, “Your brother is never coming back; you yourself will be killed by your enemy and thrown out of the walls of Jerusalem; and your son will be taken captive to Babylon and die there.” Ouch! And if that isn’t bad enough, “never again will any of your descendants rule in Jerusalem.” How would you like to deliver that message to the king? The courage and fortitude of Jeremiah is nothing short of amazing—to deliver such a message at the peril of his own life!
In classic prophetic style, Jeremiah comes in, tells him exactly what is going to happen and what he can do to avoid it. In classic prophetic fashion, his message is rejected.
“In the spring or early summer of 609 BC, Necho II (Pharaoh of Egypt) began his first campaign against Babylon, in aid of the Assyrians. He moved his forces along the coastal route Via Maris towards Syria, along the low tracts of Philistia and Sharon and prepared to cross the ridge of hills which shuts in the Jezreel Valley on the south. There he found his passage blocked at Megiddo by the Judean army led by Josiah, who sided with the Babylonians. After a fierce battle Josiah was killed. The Assyrians and their allies the Egyptians fought the Babylonians at Harran. The Babylonian Chronicle dates the battle from Tammuz (July–August) to Elul (August–September) of 609 BC. Josiah was therefore killed in the month of Tammuz, 609 BC, or the month prior, when the Egyptians were on their way to Harran. Chronological considerations related to his successor limit the month in which Josiah was killed and Jehoahaz took the throne to Tammuz.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehoahaz_of_Judah)
The righteous king Josiah is now gone. It appears that his 4th son, Shallum, is made king by the people and renamed, Jehoahaz (1 Chron. 3:15; 2 Kgs. 23:30-31). Would Shallum (Jehoahaz) continue in his father’s footsteps? He would not. In only 3 months, he demonstrated sufficient evil to be forever remembered by Jewish historians as wicked (2 Kgs. 23:32). Therefore, Josiah represents the last of the righteous Jewish kings and the last possible influence for good other than Jeremiah and a few righteous souls. Consequently, top-down wickedness means the beginning of the end for Jerusalem. Mormon mused, “behold, how much iniquity doth one wicked king caus to be committed, yea, and what great destruction!” (Mosiah 29:17) We might add, and if the iniquity and destruction will be great with one wicked king, how great will be the iniquity and destruction if there be many wicked kings? The Jews are about to find out.
“During the reign of Jehoahaz, Pharaoh-nechoh came from Egypt and dethroned Jehoahaz and placed Jehoiakim (also known as Eliakim) on the throne.” (Garth A. Wilson, “The Mulekites,” Ensign, Mar. 1987, 62)
Jehoahaz’ brother, Jehoiakim (Eliakim), was Josiah’s second son (1 Chron. 3:15). This is about the time when Jeremiah pays the royal residence a prophetic visit—Jehoahaz has been taken by the Egyptians and Jehoiakim has just taken the reins. The Lord has a special message for him.
Jeremiah 22:1 Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there this word
This king is not named but must be Jehoiakim. It appears that he was acting as an interim king pending the return of Shallum (Jehoahaz) from exile. Part of Jeremiah’s message is that Shallum will never return (v. 11).
Jeremiah 22:3 Execute ye judgment and righteousness… do no wrong, do no violence… neither shed innocent blood
The Millennial King of Jerusalem is prophesied to “execute judgment and righteousness in the land” (Jer. 33:15). Jehoiakim is commanded to execute “judgment and righteousness” as well; indeed, he has the remarkable opportunity to be a type for Christ’s millennial reign!
The LORD is great in Zion; and he is high above all the people.
Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy.
The king's strength also loveth judgment; thou dost establish equity, thou executest judgment and righteousness in Jacob. (Ps. 99:2-4, italics added; see also Isa. 33:5)
Joseph F. Smith
God will judge the nations of the earth and the people of the world, and He will mete out justice and judgment and righteousness unto them; we do not have to do that. (Conference Report, October 1910, Afternoon Session. 127 - 128)
Jeremiah 22:4-5 if ye will not hear these words… this house shall become a desolation
Jeremiah is trying to tell the king what is at stake here. The line of Jewish kings is about to end. A dynasty is at stake. The royal palace is at risk. If Jehoiakim is righteous, there will continue to be Jewish kings and royal families enjoying the security of the palace. If not, the unthinkable will happen—Gentiles will overrun the city, the temple, and the king’s residence. The royal line will be cut off. Of Jehoiakim, Josephus declared, “he was of a wicked disposition, and ready to do mischief; nor was he either religious towards God, or good-natured towards men.” (Antiquities of the Jews, Book X, 5:2) So, 11 years after Jeremiah’s warning, his words are fulfilled.
Jeremiah 22:5 I swear by myself
God can swear by no greater, so He swears by Himself. (Heb. 6:13; see also Matt. 5:33-37)
Jeremiah 22:6 Thou art Gilead unto me, and the head of Lebanon
Gilead was the highlands of the north (see Bible Dictionary), apparently very desirable. The capital of Lebanon was famous for its beauty and refinement. So the Lord compares his chosen people to the best of real estate—to the greatest cities of the known world. Instead of Jerusalem remaining a great city, people were soon to ask, “what happened to this great city?” “Why did the Lord destroy them?” (v. 8)
Jeremiah 22:9 Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God
Joseph Fielding Smith
Now these people go into the temple; instruction is given them there that these ordinances are sacred, and holy, and must be kept. They raise their hands, and they enter into a covenant that they will observe and keep these covenants which they receive in the house of the Lord. Then straightway they go out, and, like the man that James speaks of who looked into the glass, saw his face, and then went away and forgot what manner of man he was, so do they. (James 1:22-25)
I say unto you the Lord is not bound, unless you keep the covenant. The Lord never breaks his covenant.
When he makes a covenant with one of us, he will not break it. If it is going to be broken, we will break it. But when it is broken, he is under no obligation to give us the blessing, and we shall not receive it. There are people who go into the house of the Lord and receive covenants which are based on faithfulness, who go out and are unfaithful, shall they not receive their reward? (Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 2: 257)
A great many of you have had your endowments, and you know what a vote with uplifted hands means.
It is a sign which you make in token of your covenant with God and with one another, and it is for you to perform your vows. When you raise your hands to heaven and let them fall and then pass on with your covenants unfulfilled, you will be cursed.
I feel sometimes like lecturing men and women severely who enter into covenants without realizing the nature of the covenants they make, and who use little or no effort to fulfil them. (Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 396)
Jeremiah 22:11-12 touching Shallum the son of Josiah… He shall not return thither any more
Everyone in the royal palace thinks that Shallum is coming back to resume his reign as Josiah’s successor. But Pharaoh-Necho was upset with Josiah for trying to block his military campaign (2 Chron. 35:21). With Josiah gone, Pharoah gets to decide who reigns in Jerusalem. He intends to make a vassal state of Judah and exacts an annual “tribute of an hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold” (2 Kgs. 33:33). It was the Jewish people who established Shallum (Jehoahaz) as the successor. Pharoah apparently intended to be the one to decide who would be king. “And Pharaoh-nechoh made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the room of Josiah his father, and turned his name to Jehoiakim and took Jehoahaz away” (2 Kgs. 23:23) .
“Jehoahaz had ruled for three months when Necho II appointed his older brother Eliakim as king, changing his name to Jehoiakim. Necho brought Jehoahaz north to Riblah and imprisoned him there. Necho proceeded with his first campaign, joining forces with the Assyrian Ashur-uballit II and together they crossed the Euphrates and laid siege to Harran, which they failed to capture and the Assyrian Empire collapsed. On his return march, Necho brought Jehoahaz back to Egypt as his prisoner, where Jehoahaz ended his days… Jehoahaz was the first king of Judah to die in exile. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehoahaz_of_Judah)
Jeremiah 22:17 thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness and for to shed innocent blood
Some of the innocent blood that Jehoiakim intended to shed belonged to a righteous prophet called Urijah who like Jeremiah, prophesied against the city and the king . This so angered the king that he “sought to put him to death,” and sent men into Egypt to arrest him. When they brought him to Jehoiakim, he “slew him with the sword, and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people” (Jer. 26:23).
“He was of a wicked disposition, and ready to do mischief; nor was he either religious towards God, or good-natured towards men.” (Antiquities of the Jews, Book X, 5:2)
Jeremiah 22:19 He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates
“The king of Babylon made an expedition against Jehoiakim, whom he received [into the city], and this out of fear of the foregoing predictions of this prophet, as supposing he should suffer nothing that was terrible, because he neither shut the gates, nor fought against him; yet when he [Nebuchadnezzar] was come into the city, he did not observe the covenants he had made, but he slew such as were in the flower of their age, and such as were of the greatest dignity, together with their king Jehoiakim, whom he commanded to be thrown before the walls, without any burial.” (Antiquities of the Jews, Book X, 6:3)
Jeremiah 22:21 This hath been thy manner from thy youth, that thou obeyedst not my voice
Jehoiakim was like Laman and Lemuel. His father was righteous; he should have known better, but his nature was to be disobedient. We imagine that he did “murmur against [his] father… [because he] knew not the dealings of that God who had created [him]. Neither did [he] believe that Jerusalem, that great city could be destroyed according to the words of the prophets.” (1 Ne. 2:12-13)
Jeremiah 22:24-26 Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah
We can’t help but wonder who was present in the royal court the day that Jeremiah made his visit. He is about to prophecy slavery for the king’s son and wife. Coniah, also referred to as Jehoiachin or Jeconiah (just to be confusing), could have been listening to this prophecy with his mother, Nehushta (2 Kgs. 24:8). How would he have responded? How would she? He is told, “I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life… even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar… and I will cast thee out, and thy mother that bare thee, into another country, where ye were not born; and there shall ye die.”
“Most of what is known about Jeconiah is found in the Hebrew Bible. Records of Jeconiah's existence have been found in Iraq, such as the Jehoiachin's Rations Tablets. These tablets were excavated near the Ishtar Gate in Babylon and have been dated to c. 592 BCE. Written in cuneiform, they mention Jeconiah ("Ia-'-ú-kinu") and his five sons as recipients of food rations in Babylon…
“During his excavation of Babylon in 1899–1917, Robert Koldewey discovered a royal archive room of King Nebuchadnezzar near the Ishtar Gate. It contained tablets dating to 595–570 BC. The tablets were translated in the 1930s by the German Assyriologist, Ernst Weidner. Four of these tablets list rations of oil and barley given to various individuals—including the deposed King Jehoiachin—by Nebuchadnezzar from the royal storehouses, dated five years after Jehoiachin was taken captive.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeconiah)
Jeremiah 22:30 no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah
Kings always want to leave a name for themselves and to leave a legacy long to be remembered. Jehoiakim and his son Coniah are told they the end of the royal line—words that must have stung their ears and hearts. Certainly, they did not want to believe what Jeremiah was saying.
Jeremiah 23:4 I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them
Mormon Bishops are one of the miracles of the kingdom’s marvelous work and a wonder. Without ecclesiastical degree, without remuneration, without relief from their vocational duties, Mormon bishops have nurtured and cared for their flocks with remarkable success. Their sermons are not rehearsed nor refined; their counseling is by the Spirit not by the book; their trust is in the Lord. While other churches are seeing fewer and fewer in their pews, the LDS sheep just keep coming back, in part because they trust their shepherds.
Under-qualified by the world’s standards, Bishops meet the Lord’s criteria:
The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh—
But that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world;
That faith also might increase in the earth;
That mine everlasting covenant might be established (D&C 1:19-22)
Dallin H. Oaks
We now have over 15,000 bishops and over 8,000 branch presidents in this Church. When we count their counselors, the total serving in bishoprics and branch presidencies is over 65,000. We praise and honor these worthy shepherds of the flock, judges in Israel, leaders and teachers of the people, men who love and are loved by those whom they serve as undershepherds of the Lord Jesus Christ. God bless these good men! And God bless their faithful wives, whose loyalty and support make their service possible.
…the nature of our local leaders’ callings has not changed, nor has their compensation. They are totally uncompensated by the coin of mortality. For the reward of their labors, all rely on the Lord’s deferred compensation plan. (“Bishop, Help!” Ensign, May 1997, 23)
Neal A. Maxwell
Real shepherds… care for, feed, and watch over the flock constantly… There is no human condition in which the unconditional love of a true shepherd is wasted. (“Unto the Rising Generation,” Ensign, Apr. 1985, 10)
Jeremiah 23:5 a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper
In the Millennium, Christ will reign as Branch and King. Not only will he be King of kings, but he will also be the Branch of branches, meaning he will be the sustaining protecting home for all the scattered branches of Israel. In the Millennium, the natural branches will begin to “grow and thrive exceedingly” (Jacob 5:73). As a hen gathereth her chicks or as a branch protects nesting birds, the Branch will protect the scattered branches of Israel.
Bruce R. McConkie
Christ is the Branch, a name applied in ancient Israel to point attention to the great truth that the promised Messiah would come in the lineage of Israel and of David, that he would be a branch or part of that illustrious line. (Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], 102)
Russell M. Nelson
As a child, the Savior was brought to the village of Nazareth. Why Nazareth? Again, to fulfill prophecy. Jeremiah foretold:
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper. (Jer. 23:5.)
I am intrigued with the symbolic significance of the fact that some scholars suggest that the word Nazareth is derived from the Hebrew word neser, which means “branch.” Jesus, the divine Branch, was to be reared in the place with the name meaning “branch.” Jeremiah further prophesied that the Lord would “cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.” (Jer. 33:15.)
We read in the Book of Mormon of another interesting connection between “branch” and “Nazareth.” Do you remember the reply after Nephi had asked the Lord the meaning of the tree of life? The Lord then revealed to him a glimpse of the city of Nazareth, where Nephi beheld in vision “a virgin, most beautiful and fair.” She was destined to become the mother of the Son of God. (See 1 Ne. 11:8–18.) Isn’t it interesting that the little town of Nazareth, which name signifies “branch,” was shown to Nephi in vision after his inquiry about the tree of life? (“Why This Holy Land?” Ensign, Dec. 1989, 15)
Jeremiah 23:7 they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt
The story of the Exodus has been the rallying cry of Israel for millennia. When Stephen is accused before the Sanhedrin, he defends himself by recounting the story of the Exodus (Acts 7). When Nephi reprimands his brothers for not believing God had the power to help them get to the promised land, he recites the Exodus story (1 Ne. 17). When the Book of Hebrews speaks of faith, the story of Moses is recited (Heb. 11:23-29). It was the common theme, the historical event which solidified Israel with a national identity, the identifying event that proved the God of Israel as a God of power and that the Jews were his chosen people.
Jeremiah saw the day when it should no longer be said:
The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;
But, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them. … (Jer. 16:14–15.)
Just contemplate that statement for a few moments. Think how the Jews and the Christians all through these past centuries have praised the Lord for his great hand of deliverance under the hands of Moses when he led Israel out of captivity, and yet here comes Jeremiah with this word of the holy prophet, telling us that in the latter days they shall no more remember that, but how God has gathered scattered Israel from the lands whither he had driven them. (“In the Mountain of the Lord’s House,” Ensign, June 1971, 98)
Bruce R. McConkie
With increasing power and in great glory, we have gathered, from their Egyptian bondage as it were, the dispersed of Ephraim and a few others, initially to the mountains of America, but now into the stakes of Zion in the various nations of the earth. The gathering of Israel is a reality. When the ten tribes return they will come at the direction of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for he now holds and will then hold the keys of presidency and direction for this mighty work. (“This Final Glorious Gospel Dispensation,” Ensign, Apr. 1980, 22)
Parley P. Pratt
Now, it has ever been the case with Israel, when they wished to express the greatness of their God, to say, The Lord liveth, which brought up our fathers out of the land of Egypt. This saying at once calls to mind the power and miracles of that memorable event, and associated with it all that was great and grand, and was calculated to strike the mind with awe, under a lively sense of the power of Israel's God. But to our astonishment! something is yet to transpire which will cast into momentary forgetfulness all the great events of that day, and the children of Israel shall know that their God liveth, by casting their minds upon events of recent date, which shall have transpired, still more glorious and wonderful than their coming out of Egypt. They will exclaim, The Lord liveth, which recently brought the children of Israel from the north, and from all lands whither he had driven them, and hath planted them in the land of Canaan, which he gave our fathers. With this idea will be associated every display of grandeur and sublimity, of wonder and amazement; while they call to mind the revelations, manifestations, miracles, and mercies displayed in bringing about this great event, in the eyes of all nations. (A Voice of Warning [New York City: Eastern States Mission [189-?], 31 - 33.)
Jeremiah 23:9-40 Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets
“While true prophets cried of war and desolation, the citizens refused to take either them or their warnings seriously. Pacified by false prophets who chorused peace, they felt so secure that… they pressed Zedekiah to break his oath of allegiance to Nebuchadnezzar. With that act, the countdown to the destruction of the city began.
“A grinding year-and-a-half siege preceded Jerusalem’s fiery end. As Jeremiah had predicted, thousands of citizens died by famine, fire, and sword. Jerusalem and Solomon’s magnificent temple became rubble and ashes. Zedekiah, the proud monarch, saw his sons slain, before having his eyes put out. Contrary to promises made by false prophets, tens of thousands more of Jerusalem’s citizens became Babylonian captives. The few survivors eventually fled to Egypt for safety…
“The people’s preoccupation with sensuality was matched by their covetousness and dishonesty. Jeremiah lamented, “From the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.” (Jer. 6:13; Jeremiah referred to false prophets simply as prophets, as the context makes clear.) He challenged anyone who doubted his words to search the streets and plazas of Jerusalem to see “if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth.” (Jer. 5:1.)…
“As covetous, dishonest, and adulterous as that generation was, it carefully maintained its self-respect by rationalizing good into evil, and evil into good. Carefully, it called and anointed prophets who were made in its own mold. Because of these soothsayers’ perverse influence, Jeremiah said, ‘Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets.’ (Jer. 23:9.)
“Of these false, immoral testators, the Lord said: ‘I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.’ (Jer. 23:14.)
“How carefully such false prophets assured citizens that wickedness really was happiness! How well they insulated them from the pangs of conscience! How thoroughly they convinced them that sensual, materialistic lives were better than ones lived in the peace of the Spirit!” (Keith H. Meservy, “Jerusalem at the Time of Lehi and Jeremiah,” Ensign, Jan. 1988, 23-24)
Bruce R. McConkie
One of these false prophets was Hananiah, who had a great confrontation with Jeremiah "in the house of the Lord, in the presence of the priests and of all the people." Using the Lord's name, Hananiah prophesied that the yoke of the king of Babylon had been broken and that the vessels of the Lord's house would be returned to Jerusalem within two years. To dramatize his sayings, Hananiah broke a yoke of wood. The word of the Lord that then came through Jeremiah acclaimed that the king of Babylon would "put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these nations," which could not be broken. As to the false prophet, Jeremiah said: "Hear now, Hananiah; The Lord hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie. Therefore thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the Lord. So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month." (Jer. 28:1, Jer. 28:14-17.)
Wherein does this differ from what goes on today in the religious world? False ministers, in their houses of worship, before their fellows, and in the presence of the people, profess to tell what the Lord has said about salvation, when he has said no such thing. They speak, as it were, in his name—on the authority of the Holy Book, as they express it—telling men who live in Babylon to do this or that and be saved. Their doctrines are false; they teach people to trust in a lie. God has not sent them; they are blind guides who lead blind followers into pits of despair. (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 427)
Jeremiah 23:11 both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness
While most of this chapter focuses on the wickedness of false prophets in the days of Jeremiah, the priests were apparently just as bad. Those who should have been teaching the people and performing ordinances were instead profaning the Temple and the Priesthood. What happens if the priests profane the Lord’s house? Well, then He has nowhere to stay. His Presence no longer belongs in the Temple. His Presence no longer belongs among the people.
Part of the Lord’s Plan of Restitution includes a Plan of Repentance for the profaning priests of Solomon’s temple. These priests had really angered the Lord.
…ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations.
And ye have not kept the charge of mine holy things: but ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel.
And the Levites that are gone away far from me, when Israel went astray, which went astray away from me after their idols; they shall even bear their iniquity. (Ezek. 44:7-10)
Part of the Millennium will include a restoration of animal sacrifice, just as it was practiced in ancient Israel. This is part of the “restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21). Consider the prophesy of Jeremiah, “The anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly” (v. 20). What this means is that the Lord will require a sacrifice of righteousness from the Levites. In the Millennium, the Lord will require them to make good. Ezekiel saw the fulfillment of this plan of the Lord. He saw the day when the Levites would perform their duties in holiness and righteousness before the Lord.
Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having charge at the gates of the house, and ministering to the house: they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister unto them.
Because they ministered unto them before their idols, and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity; therefore have I lifted up mine hand against them, saith the Lord GOD, and they shall bear their iniquity.
And they shall not come near unto me, to do the office of a (high) priest unto me, nor to come near to any of my holy things, in the most holy place: but they shall bear their shame, and their abominations which they have committed.
But I will make them keepers of the charge of the house, for all the service thereof, and for all that shall be done therein. (Ezek. 44:11-14)
Just as there are today, the millennial temples will be partitioned with areas of the temple which are off limits to those of the Aaronic Priesthood. The Levites will not be allowed into those areas where ordinances pertaining to the Melchizedek Priesthood are performed. Yet the priests will have a place to perform the ordinances of the Aaronic priesthood. All this will be done to fulfill the words of John the Baptist to Joseph Smith—that the Aaronic Priesthood was to remain on the earth until this eventful day—the day when the priests and Levites would once again offer an offering to the Lord in righteousness.
…this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness. (JS-Hist. 1:69)
Why? What is God’s purpose in reinstituting animal sacrifice? Because the priests had so angered and offended the Lord in the days of Jeremiah and Ezekiel that He is giving them one last chance to redeem themselves.
Jeremiah 23:17 they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart. No evil shall come upon you
This lie of Satan is an old one, “Do what you want, nothing bad will happen.” Korihor taught that whatever “a man did was no crime” (Alma 30:17). The technique is flattery—tell people that they are great; nothing is wrong with them (Jacob 7:4). You can even be evil and retain a sense of religion, Satan says:
Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us…
Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God. (2 Ne. 28:7-8)
Jeremiah 23:33-38 What is the burden of the Lord?
A burden in this context is a prophetic pronouncement. The Lord grew tired of false prophets proclaiming to have authority to speak in his name when He never sent them. False priests and prophets would pretend they spoke on behalf of the Lord—that they were authorized to reveal “the burden of the Lord.” These verses make a little more sense if the phrase, “word of the Lord,” is substituted for the phrase, “burden of the Lord.”
The punishment for the false prophets is declared:
Therefore, behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and cast you out of my presence:
And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten. (v. 39-40)