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Call to the LORD
Jeremiah is confined, but that does not prevent the LORD from sending His message to this man of God (Jer 33:1; 2Tim 2:9). The LORD first directs Jeremiah’s attention to Himself as “the LORD Who made” it (Jer 33:2). He is the God Who works it, whatever it is – except sin, for it is not in Him and He cannot sin. Jeremiah may know that, like Paul (Eph 3:1; Eph 4:1), he is a prisoner of Him. The LORD forms His plan and establishes His purpose. He works on a plan and also carries it out. “LORD is His Name.” That is the guarantee of everything.
When He has thus presented Himself, He encourages Jeremiah to call to Him, the LORD (Jer 33:3; Mt 7:7-8). He assures him that He will answer him. In that answer, He will make known to him “great and mighty things”. The things that Jeremiah does not know and no man can know, because they are beyond his human understanding and knowledge, the LORD will tell him when he calls to Him.
This is also a great incentive for us to call to Him. He wants to make known things that are beyond human understanding and require Divine revelation.
Certainty of the Fall of Jerusalem
First the LORD speaks of the houses of Jerusalem, both of the common man and of the kings (Jer 33:4). He points out that they are broken down to make siege ramps and defend themselves behind them with the sword. They do everything they can to defend themselves against the Babylonians (Jer 33:5). It will all be in vain, for the LORD has taken away His favor from them because of “all their wickedness”.
What they have built to defend themselves will be filled with the dead bodies of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Those dead bodies have been slain by Him. The Chaldeans are doing what He wants to bring upon them in His anger and wrath because of the wickedness of the city. He can no longer look upon the city because it is full of sin. Here we see the folly of disobedience. When we go our own way and follow our own will, disaster is the result.
Days of Return and Joy
Then suddenly the word of restoration and healing sounds (Jer 33:6). The LORD Himself will work that. The result will be an abundance of lasting peace. It will not be the case that after a period of rest the people will turn away again, as has so often been the case in the history of Israel and as we see for example in the book of Judges. This promise is a wonderful grace. God is indeed the God of all grace. We too have lasting peace if we walk in fellowship with Him in His way and surrender all our needs and concerns to Him, trusting that He will make it well (Phil 4:6-7).
The LORD will work that reversal (Jer 33:7). A small pre-fulfillment is the return from Babylon, but there is no lasting peace then. The full fulfillment will take place in the realm of peace. Then the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel will be over and they will be built up as before, in the days when they entered the promised land. There are two captivities here, one of Judah and one of Israel. Both empires have been in captivity in diverse ways. Judah has been in Babylon and Israel has been in the scattering.
In order to bring them into that blessing, the LORD must first cleanse them from all their iniquity (singular) with which they have sinned against Him (Jer 33:8). We can think here of the sinful nature, the source from which all their iniquity sprang. He will cleanse them by pardoning them all their iniquities (plural) with which they have sinned against Him and rebelled against Him. They are two forms of iniquity: that of sin and that of rebellion. Both are sins against God. One is more general, doing one’s own will in a way of unbelief and disobedience. The other is more violent, rejecting any correction.
The city will then become to the LORD a name of joy, praise and glory (Jer 33:9). Now Jerusalem is still a name that brings shame and causes sorrow to the LORD. That will change. Jerusalem means “foundations of peace”. All the nations of the earth will praise the city for its splendor. They will hear all the good that the LORD will do to it.
Also, they will fear and tremble, precisely because of all the good and all the peace that the LORD provides for His people. They have always thought they could oppress Israel and always tried to wipe it out. Now they see the LORD blessing the people. They see themselves facing the power of the LORD, Who is on the side of the people they wanted to destroy.
The LORD goes on to speak of the profound change that the city and the land will undergo in that time of good and peace (Jer 33:10-11). A partial fulfillment of this we see in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, but the final, full fulfillment takes place again in the millennial realm of peace. All kinds of sounds of joy will again be heard in the ruined and desolate city.
It is now no joy without the LORD. All this joy is expressed in praising the LORD, that He is good because His lovingkindness is everlasting. This is the characteristic expression for the realm of peace. The praise of the LORD will be expressed in the offering of a thank offering in the house of the LORD, the temple.
All this will happen through the reversal that the LORD will bring to the captivity of the land. As a result, the land will become as it was at first, says the LORD. Not only the people has been in captivity, but also the land has been in captivity. The land is the LORD’s land, but it has been in foreign hands because He had to surrender it to them because of the unfaithfulness of His people. This will also come to an end in the reversal that He is working. Then the land and all that it yields and everyone who lives in it will be completely dedicated to Him.
The LORD points out again that all these glorious things will happen in the place that is now desolate and waste (Jer 33:12). In Jerusalem and in all the cities of Judah, there will again be pasture land where shepherds rest their flocks. It shows a scene of care and peace, rest and security. All the sheep that are there will be counted (Jer 33:13). Not one will be missed. That is what the LORD will do to His people. It will happen, because the LORD says so. Each time we read “says the LORD” as a confirmation that it will definitely come because He has said so.
Restoration of Kingship and Priesthood
The LORD points to the days to come as days when He will fulfill “the good word” that He has spoken concerning the house of Israel and the house of Judah (Jer 33:14). That fulfillment is fully connected with the coming of the “righteous Branch” Whom the LORD will cause to arise for David in those days and in that time, the time of the realm of peace (Jer 33:15). That is none other than the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, through Whom the LORD will do justice and righteousness on earth as an introduction to the establishment of a thousand years of peace. Any restoration has Him as its centerpiece; it depends entirely on Him. Without Him there is no restoration.
Justice and righteousness are also the hallmarks of His government during the realm of peace. He is the Prince of peace. Judah is then delivered from all its enemies (Jer 33:16). Jerusalem is in safety and lives untroubled. The city is then called by the name by which previously the LORD, that is, the Lord Jesus, was called (Jer 23:5-6). Jerusalem is a glorious city because of the glory of the LORD that He has placed upon it, a glory that it will never lose.
This is because the Davidic kingship will not come to an end (Jer 33:17). The King Who reigns then will reign in everlasting faithfulness. The Levitical priesthood will also have no end (Jer 33:18). Always the priests will offer the sacrifices that will always remind the LORD of the basis for that glorious time: the perfect and glorious work of His Son on earth. Those sacrifices will be offered “continually” or “all the days”.
Again it is said that the word of the LORD comes to Jeremiah, again that certainty that what follows is sure because He says it (Jer 33:19). The confirmation of what the LORD has said is underlined even more powerfully by His reference to His covenant with the day and His covenant with the night (Jer 33:20). As impossible as it is to break the cycle of day and night, it is impossible to break God’s covenant with David “My servant”, and with the Levites, “My ministers”. David’s kingship remains and so does the Levitical priesthood (Jer 33:21). Here again we see the close connection between kingship and priesthood.
There will even be a posterity of David and of the Levites that is compared to the way the posterity of Abraham is described (Jer 33:22; Gen 22:17a). This indicates that the offspring of Abraham, that is all the people, will be a royal priesthood (Exo 19:6a). Thus, they will serve the LORD.
Confirmation of the Promises
Again the word of the LORD comes to Jeremiah (Jer 33:23). The LORD asks Jeremiah if he has also noticed how the people speak of what He, according to them, has done to His people (Jer 33:24). They speak of the fact that He has now rejected the two generations that He had chosen – by this they mean that of David and that of Levi about which the LORD has just said such wonderful things. They blame Him for the misery they are in and declare that God’s people are no longer His people.
Jeremiah should just not be fooled and discouraged by that talk. Once again the “thus says the LORD” is heard followed by a repetition of the declaration of God’s covenant with the day and the night (Jer 33:25). An additional assurance is added and that is that He also established the fixed patterns of heaven and earth. Just as He will not overturn those two fixed certainties, neither will He reject the descendants of Jacob and that of His servant David (Jer 33:26). That would be tantamount to saying that He would not take rulers from the descendants of David to rule over the descendants of the patriarchs to whom He promised.
The mention of the names “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” of whom they are “the descendants” gives the greatest possible assurance of the fulfillment of the promises made to them. The unchanging promises He has made to them guarantee that He will see to it that the descendants about whom and the rulers of whom He has spoken will be there. For this He will bring a reversal in their captivity. He will not leave His people to their fate, but will take care of them.
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Jeremiah 33". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 22 / Ordinary 27