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Jeremiah, Chapter 18
God’s Promises Always Conditional
The Parable of a Potter
In this chapter we have, a general declaration of God's ways in dealing with nations and kingdoms, meaning that He can easily do what He desires with them, just as easy as the potter can with clay (v. 1-6), but that He will always do what is just and fair with them. But, when He threatens their ruin, upon their repentance He will return in mercy to them, and when He comes to them in mercy, nothing but their sin will stop the progress of His favors (v. 7-10). A particular demonstration of the folly of the men of Judah and Jerusalem in departing from their God to idols, and so bringing ruin to themselves even though fair warnings were given to them, along with God's kind and loving intentions towards them (v. 11-17). The prophet's complaint to God of the sordid ingratitude and unreasonable malice of his enemies, persecutors and slanderers, and his prayers against them (v. 18-23).
God's Ways in Dealing with Nations and Kingdoms,
As Easy as the Potter with Clay (Jer.18:1-6)
This discourse is supposed to have been delivered sometime in the reign of Jehoiakim, most likely within the first three years.
Jer. 18:1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, (KJV)
More than likely, there was only one potter near the place, or if there was one more well-known than the rest, to whose house the LORD here sends Jeremiah, intending there to further tell him what He would have him announce as His mind and His will to these people.
Jer. 18:2 Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. (KJV)
The potter’s house was located in a clay-field to the South of Jerusalem, just beyond the valley of Hinnom. This potter's field was made eternally famous by Zech. 11:13 who named this field as the place for which the blood-money for Christ Jesus would be used as a purchase price, a prophecy remarkably fulfilled when the thirty pieces of silver which Judas received for betraying Christ was actually used to buy a plot there for the burial of strangers. Mat. 27:9-10 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; 10 And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me. (KJV)
Many scriptures refer to the potter, the potter's house, the clay, the vessels, and other features of the potter's industry. (1 Chr. 4:23; Isa.12:25; 64:8; Jer.18:1-4; 19:l; Dan. 2:41; Zec.11:13; Mat.27:7-10; Rom.9:21). The most applicable of all these verses to the situation here in this and the succeeding chapters is the remark of Paul, who make it clear what kind of vessel it was that the Potter (God) finally made out of the marred clay (Israel) . . . it was a vessel unto dishonour. Rom. 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? (KJV)
Jer. 18:3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. (KJV)
Jeremiah was obedient to the command of God, although he did not know God's meaning in it, and found the potter at work upon wheels or frames on which he formed his clay, to bring it into that form which he desired. For the true form of those frames or instruments it is hard to affirm anything, because such instruments differ not only in several countries, but according to the different fancies of the workmen.
The potter's wheel was made of a flat upper stone on which the clay was formed, and a lower stone that was connected by a vertical shaft. The lower stone was pushed by the foot, or spun with the help of an assistant, and could attain high speeds for the craftsman to shape vessels. This type of wheel is known in ancient Egypt from illustrations and can still be found in parts of the Middle East today.
*****Go down to the potter's house . . . by this likeness God shows the absolute state of dependence on Himself in which He has placed mankind. We are as clay in the Hands of the Potter; and in reference to everything here below, He can shape our destinies as He pleases. Even though while under the God’s providential care, we may go morally astray, and pervert ourselves, yet we can be reclaimed by the Almighty and All-wise Operator, and become vessels as seem good for Him to make. In considering this parable we must be careful not to disgrace the goodness and supremacy of God.
Jer. 18:4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. (KJV)
The vessel was marred in the hands of the potter. It did not stand up in the working; it got out of shape; so that the potter was forced to knead up the clay again, place it on the wheel, and start over; until it was a vessel that seemed good to the potter.
Jer. 18:5-6 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. (KJV)
God now explained to the prophet why He wanted him to go to the potter's house, it was to instruct and/or confirm him in the power that He had over His creatures. For the LORD said, as is the clay to the potter, so is the house of Israel to Him, and actually, so are ALL the sons and daughters of men, to the LORD. God has the same power over them that a potter has over the clay, and a perfect right to do what He pleases with them,
than any potter has over the clay. The clay is only the potter's purchase, not his creature, but man is God's creature. God, by His prophet Isaiah, made use of the same likeness. Isa.45:9 Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? (KJV) So does the apostle Paul: Rom. 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? (KJV)
This parable refutes the Judean’s false sense of security. They believed that because they were God's elect people, God would never cast them off or reform them. But if the potter, a mere creature, has power to rework the vessel, how much more does God, the Creator, have the right to do with Israel (and us) as He wishes.
*****That God has an absolute sovereign power to do what He pleases with the work of His Hands, cannot be denied by any man with common sense. Whether God uses His sovereignty in the eternal punishment of sinners, is another thing; He absolutely does have a sovereign power, but He also does act as a just and righteous Judge, rendering to every man according to his works. (Pro.24:12; Mat.16:27; 2 Cor11:15; 2 Tim.4:14).
The LORD can do with us the same as the potter does with his clay. He has a right to do with a people whom He has created, as His reason and justice may require. If they do not answer God’s purposes, He has the right to act as a potter, and make a new vessel out of that which at first did not succeed in His Hands, or He has the right to reject and destroy them. A very good lesson here for us all!
Nothing but Their Sin Will Stop the Progress of His Favors
Jer. 18:7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; (KJV)
At what instant . . . in a blink of an eye, when the nation least expects it; abruptly, suddenly. I shall speak concerning a nation . . . God's pattern is to warn (through His prophets) of His plans to bring judgment . . . before bringing destruction. Isa. 48:16 Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the LORD GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me. (KJV) Am. 3:7 Surely the LORD GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. (KJV) . . . This pattern of warning is applied to all nations, showing that God extends grace equally among all kingdoms.
God here speaks concerning nations and kingdoms more immediately in His Word, or and intervene by His prophets and ministers; he told Jeremiah: Jer. 1:10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant. (KJV)
Jer. 18:8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. (KJV)
If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil . . . if that nation leaves those sinful courses which I have by my prophets threatened with judgments; I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them; I will also turn from the methods of my severe providence which I had determined in case of their refusal to repent, to proceed against them. There is a big difference between repentance in man, and repentance as it is attributed to God . . . repentance in man must not only be a change in action, but a change of heart; repentance as attributed to God never meant a change of heart, or purpose, or counsels, but only a change in action, or an alteration of the course of His providence. God in Scripture is said to repent, as in this text, and Jonah 3:10. And it is also said of him, that He is not as man that He should lie or repent (Num. 23:19; 1 Sam.15:29). God never changes His counsels or purposes, although He often varies His actions of wisdom, according to the behavior of His creatures.
Jer. 18:9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; (KJV)
When God comes towards us in mercy, if any stop be given to the progress of that mercy, it is sin that stops it. If God speaks concerning a nation to build and to plant it, to advance and establish all the true interests of it, it is His husbandry and His building (1 Cor. 3:9), and, if He speak in favor of it, it is done, it is increased, enriched, enlarged, its trade flourishes, its government is in good hands, and all its affairs prosper and succeed. But if this nation, which God loads with benefits, does evil in His sight and does not obey His Voice, if it becomes corrupt and profane, if religion grows into contempt, and there be a overall decay of serious godliness among them, then God will turn His Hand against them, and will pluck up what He was planting, and pull down what he was building (Jer. 45:4).
Jer. 18:10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them. (KJV)
Sin is the great troublemaker between God and people; sin forfeits the benefit of God’s Promises and spoils the success of their prayers. It defeats the LORD’S kind and loving intentions concerning them (Hos.7:1) and baffles their beautiful expectations of Him. It ruins their comforts and peace, extends their complaints, brings them into tight spots, and hinders their deliverance (Isa.59:1).
*****In all God's threats and Promises, there is a condition either expressed or understood. God's threats of evil must be understood with this condition . . . unless men and women repent and turn from their evil ways His threat would follow. And His Promises of good must be understood with this condition . . . if those to whom the Promises are made are a willing and obedient people, and hold onto the way of the LORD'S statutes, blessings will follow.
The Folly of the Men of Judah and Jerusalem
Departing From Their God to Idols (Jer.18:11-17)
Jer. 18:11 Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good. (KJV)
The LORD was considering a calamity against the men of Judah, as they were forming a plan against the prophet. This shows that the status of God's Israel at this time was that of a nation which God had determination to pluck up, to pull down and to destroy. This explains the additional demand that Israel repent and turn from their wickedness. It is still not too late for them to stop the wrath of God, but the time was growing short. The immediate future for Israel is evil. Return ye now . . . the invitation to repent is issued yet again.
2 Ki. 17:13 Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets. (KJV)
Jer. 18:12 And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart. (KJV) . . . There is no hope of us . . . the response of the people is, the prophet labored in vain talking to them; for they were hopelessly entrenched in their sins, and were determined to run on in our former race. It cannot be thought that they would call the imaginations of their hearts evil, unless it was in scorn. This point seems to confirm that the people were like clay, which has a tendency to resist the shaping hand of the potter (v.18:4). In spite of what appears to be a negative message stemming from this parable, it would be through the bitter experience of the exile that God would reshape the Israelites to be a vessel fit for divine service.
*****The sum of what the people said was: Jeremiah, you say and do nothing but talk to us, don’t waste your breath, we don’t want to hear it! We will continue to live as we want to live, no matter what you say. We will every one do the imagination of our evil heart, walking persistently on our course. We are resolved to stand with our ways, we will not listen to you.
Jer. 18:13 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ask ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things: the virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing. (KJV)
God was moved at this despairing stubbornness and hardness of these people's hearts.
The willfulness of Israel in forsaking the LORD, their God was without parallel in the ancient world, as Jeremiah had already mentioned (Jer.2:9-13; 5:20-25; 8:7). The horror is intensified by calling her a virgin. She had indeed been a virgin hedged about by the LORD to protect her holiness.
Ask ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things . . . there are no known examples where ancient peoples ever forsook their ancestral or tribal gods; but Israel certainly had denied the very God who delivered them from slavery and made a mighty nation of them.
The virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing . . . Israel had forsaken her status as a virgin and had prostrated herself shamefully before the sensuous fertility gods of ancient Canaan, the worship of which was a key factor in God's proscribing and displacing the Canaanites in order to give the land to Israel! It was not just horrible, but unbelievable as well. Their sin was as ridiculous as it was tragic.
*****The horrible thing which Israel had done was their forsaking God, their God, a thing very unusual among the heathens, for even among Israel's heathen neighbors, abandoning their gods for foreign gods was unheard of, as God tells them in: Jer.2:10-13 For pass over the isles of Chittim, and see; and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing. 11 Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. 12 Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. 13 For 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. (KJV) . . . But Israel forsook the One and Only TRUE God for foreign false gods. Their identity as a supposed virgin to whom God was specifically betrothed, only enhances their guilt. Amos 5:2 The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land; there is none to raise her up. (KJV)
Jer. 18:14 Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken? (KJV)
Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? . . . there is a difference of opinions as to the meaning of these words. The over-all sense is clear, that it is stupid for people to forsake God, who is the Fountain of all good and refreshment. But for the language of the words, it is not so clear. Lebanon was a mountainous place, in which were rocks; it also had fruitful valleys; snow fell on those rocks, and when it would melt, it ran down into the lower places, and was grateful to them, as it moistened them, and made them more fruitful.
Or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken? . . . this part of the verse is just as difficult. One version translates them, Shall other cold flowing waters be forsaken? Another says: Or shall the water fail, violently snatched up or taken away with the wind? Another says: So the rain waters that come down, and the waters of the fountain that spring, shall not fail. . . . It is very hard to know the particular sense of these phrases, because it depends on customs of those places, which we are not acquainted with.
Jer. 18:15 Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up; (KJV)
Because my people hath forgotten me . . . forgotten and forsaken are pretty much the same thing, differing only as the cause and the effect . . . IF men remembered God as they should, they would NOT forsake Him. Forgotten me (Jer.2:32).
They have burned incense to vanity . . . vanity means idols; which are called vanity, not only because they are in themselves nothing of what they are pretended to be, and because the worshipping of them is a high degree of sin, which is often called vanity in Scripture, but serving them is of no use, no profit, no advantage; and expecting anything from them is totally idle and vain.
And they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths . . . it is not certain here, whether the false prophets or the idols are what caused them to stumble by withdrawing from the ancient paths (Jer.6:16). The ways of Truth are the most ancient ways; the ways in which Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all the ancient patriarchs did walk.
To walk in paths, in a way not cast up . . . meaning not fit for God's people to walk in. The way of the righteous is said to be a way made plain (Pro.15:19). Wicked men, in opposition to right ways, are said to walk in a way not cast up.
Jer. 18:16 To make their land desolate, and a perpetual hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished, and wag his head. (KJV)
Not that this was their end that these people aimed at, none wished ill or did anything intentionally to bring evil upon himself; but it was certainly the end these courses would end in. They would bring the land of Judah to desolations, and it would be a reproach; for as strangers that were accustomed to admire the prosperity of these people above any other, would stand dumbfounded, and wag their heads at them in contempt and scorn (2 Ki.19:21).
Jer. 18:17 I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will shew them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity. (KJV)
The east wind was the fiercest wind, at least in those parts. Just as the east wind scatters the chaff, so God said, He would scatter them (Deut.:27; 28:64; 30:1-3). And when they would be in great calamity and misery, He would not listen to them. He would not turn His Face to them, but would instead turn His Back to them. He would not regard their crying, nor hear their prayers. Isa. 1:15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. (KJV)
Jeremiah’s complaint to God of the Malice of his enemies,
And his prayers against them (Jer.18:18-23)
Jer. 18:18 Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words. (KJV)
Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah . . . Jeremiah’s faithfulness to the LORD only angered and infuriated them against him. They plot against the prophet, on how to get revenge on him, because he would not prophesy as they wanted him to do. They did not want to hear right things, the Truth, they wanted him to speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits (Isa.30:10).
For the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet . . . the way that they looked at it, they had the church on their side, and the priests and the other prophets, and they knew God's Mind as well as Jeremiah did. There was a saying that the Law shall not perish from the priest, nor the word from the prophet . . . and their priests and prophets were telling them different things than Jeremiah did.
Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words . . . they laid their heads together to see what they could do against him, both to get revenge on him for what he had already said and to stop him from saying more in the future. The enemies of God's people and ministers have often been very deceitful, and unite with one another, to do them mischief. When they cannot act to the prejudice of religion separately they will try to do it by joining together. The wicked ones always plot against the righteous. Caiaphas, and the chief priests and elders, did so against our blessed LORD Jesus Himself (Jn.18:28).
Isa. 30:10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: (KJV)
Jn. 8:45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. (KJV)
Gal. 4:16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? (KJV)
*****Two things they implied: (1). That Jeremiah could not be a TRUE prophet, but was a pretender and a usurper, because he was not commissioned by the priests, nor did he agree with the other prophets. His authority therefore was despised and they wanted him to be stopped. (2). The prophecies he brought could not be from God, because it revealed the prophets and priests for their deceitfulness. He had charged them with being the ringleaders of all the mischief (Jer.5:31) and deceiving the people (Jer.14:14); he had foretold that their heart would perish, and be astonished (Jer.4:9), that the wise men would be dismayed (Jer.8:9-10), that the priests and prophets would be intoxicated (Jer. 13:13). It seemed that this galled them more than anything else.
Presuming upon the Promise of God's Presence with their priests and prophets, these people could not believe that God would ever leave them.
Jer. 18:19 Give heed to me, O LORD, and hearken to the voice of them that contend with me. (KJV)
The following verses, to the end of this chapter, contain the prophet's prayer by way of appeal to God against those wicked men. LORD, he says, although they are determined to pay no attention to my words, yet do You give heed to them, do You see how those men oppose me? Take notice of what they say, not to confirm, but to cross out their desires, and to get revenge on them. Jeremiah took his case to the LORD and reminded Him that he had only obeyed Him in seeking to turn wrath away from them, and now that he was rewarded evil for good, they should be judged accordingly
Jer. 18:20 Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have digged a pit for my soul. Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them, and to turn away thy wrath from them. (KJV)
Shall evil be recompensed for good? . . . to repay good for evil is Godly, for God maketh his sun to shine, and his rain to fall, upon the just and unjust (Mat.5:25) to repay evil for evil, or good for good, is human nature, but to retaliate evil for good is of the devil, and it is the character of those that are the children of the devil (1 Jn.3:10).
For they have digged a pit for my soul . . . Jeremiah said this to the LORD . . . they have done this, they have laid snares for my life.
Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them . . . the LORD knew that as His prophet, Jeremiah stood before Him, both preaching and praying only for their good. But the people’s wrath had reached a great height against the prophet.
And to turn away thy wrath from them . . . LORD, remember this, both for good to me, and for vengeance upon them. God knew very well how Jeremiah had interceded on Judah's behalf (Jer.17:16), and it was God who ordered Jeremiah to stop his pleading for them (Jer.14:11-12; 15:1).
Jer. 18:21 Therefore deliver up their children to the famine, and pour out their blood by the force of the sword; and let their wives be bereaved of their children, and be widows; and let their men be put to death; let their young men be slain by the sword in battle. (KJV)
Therefore deliver up their children to the famine . . . a dreadful curse; we also see this in (Jer. 11:20; 15:15; 17:18). We also find several such curses in the Psalms (Ps.35:4; 40:14; 69:22-25, 27; 109:6-10).
And pour out their blood by the force of the sword . . . the prophet prayed them to be killed.
And let their wives be bereaved of their children, and be widows . . . children would be killed, causing mothers to grieve, and be widows.
Let their young men be slain by the sword in battle . . . (Jer.11:22; 48:15; 49:26; 50:30; 51:3).
*****SO . . . a question . . . is it lawful for God's servants to pray for evil against their enemies? Here is something that makes us doubt this is Christ's command to us to pray for them that persecute us: Mat. 5:43-44 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (KJV) . . . And also Stephen's words:
Acts 7:60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (KJV) . . . There is no doubt that we should pray for the conversion, forgiveness and eternal salvation of even our worst enemies, because Christ Jesus prayed for these things, and Stephen too . . . but neither of them prayed for their outward prosperity in their persecution and rage. Without a doubt we should pray against God's enemies, that God would tie their hands, weaken their power and confound their plans.
It would seem that Jeremiah was very hardhearted to pray for the destruction for his people, but he knew full well how sinful they were and how impossible it was to save them from the judgment he had been predicting upon them. He had been praying, making intercession in their behalf, and for them to be saved, and he certainly wept over them (Jer. 4:10, 19; 9:18,21; 10:10). It seems that he simply submitted to the will of the LORD in bringing God’s judgment on such rebels. I really think that the prayer here (Jer. 18:19-23) is more of an agreement and approval of what God had inspired him to predict in so many of His prophecies, instead of revealing Jeremiah’s personal hatred because of their hostility and opposition to him. It could be that he was saying Amen to the LORD’S decisions.
Jer. 18:22 Let a cry be heard from their houses, when thou shalt bring a troop suddenly upon them: for they have digged a pit to take me, and hid snares for my feet. (KJV)
Let a cry be heard from their houses . . . meaning, let the enemy break into their houses, and cause such cries and screams be heard, as was in such cases, for their vicious seeking my life by their secret practices.
When thou shalt bring a troop suddenly upon them . . . Nebuchadnezzar’s army from the north.
For they have digged a pit to take me, and hid snares for my feet . . . digged a pit (verse 20; Ps.57:6; 119:85).
Jer. 18:23 Yet, LORD, thou knowest all their counsel against me to slay me: forgive not their iniquity, neither blot out their sin from thy sight, but let them be overthrown before thee; deal thus with them in the time of thine anger. (KJV)
Yet, LORD, thou knowest all their counsel against me to slay me . . . LORD, You know I do not charge them falsely, even though their plans have been secret against my life. Forgive not their iniquity, neither blot out their sin from thy sight . . . forgive not . . . do not atone. It seems that Jeremiah was so bitter and resentful that he could not bring himself to forgive nor did he want God to pardon those who wanted to destroy him. I wonder, IF we were in Jeremiah’s position, what would we do? The LORD Jesus set a different kind of example. Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. (KJV) . . . and it was followed by one of His disciples.
Acts 7:57-60 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (KJV)
Neither blot out their sin from thy sight, but let them be overthrown before thee . . . Jeremiah was so bitter and hurt that he did not want God to erase their deeds from His account book (Rev.20:12).
Deal thus with them in the time of thine anger . . . the Bible tells us that God is slow to anger (Ex.34:7; Jon.4:2) and when He does become angry, His anger is short-lived (Ps.30:5; Isa. 54:7, 8). Jeremiah wanted God to judge these people during that short time period of His anger.
*****Again, I think that the curses in these verses should be considered as simply prophetic declarations of the judgments which God was about to pour out on these wicked people. I do not think that Jeremiah prayed for these people to be condemned to eternal death (the lake of fire (Rev.20:15). I really think that the prayer here (Jer. 18:19-23) is more of an agreement and approval of what God had inspired him to predict in so many of His prophecies, and not a display of Jeremiah’s personal hatred because of their hostility and opposition to him. It seems to me that he could have been saying Amen to the LORD’S decisions.
Seventeen appeals of Jeremiah:
1. Give heed to me (Jer.18:19).
2. Hearken to the voice of them that contend with me (Jer.18:19).
3. Remember that I stood before You to speak to them, to turn away Your wrath from them (Jer.18:20).
4. Therefore deliver up their children to the famine (Jer. 18:21).
5. Pour out their blood by the force of the sword (Jer.18:21).
6. Let their wives be bereaved of their children (Jer.18:21).
7. Let their wives be widows (Jer.18:21).
8. Let their men be put to death (Jer.18:21).
9. Let their young men be slain by the sword in battle (Jer.18:21).
10. Let a cry be heard from their houses when You bring a troop suddenly upon them (Jer. 18:22).
11. They have digged a pit to take me (Jer.18:22).
12. They have hid snares for my feet (Jer.18:22).
13. Thou knowest all their counsel against me to slay me (Jer.18:23).
14. Forgive not their iniquity (Jer. 18:23).
15. Neither blot out their sin from Your sight (Jer.18:23).
16. Let them be overthrown before Thee (Jer.18:23).
17. Deal thus with them in the times of Your anger (Jer.18:23)
It would seem that Jeremiah was a very hardhearted man to make such a prayer of destruction for this people, but not so. He knew just how backslidden they were and how impossible it was to save them from the judgment the LORD had been foretelling upon them. Jeremiah had been praying, making intercession in their behalf, suffering because of the sorrow he felt and dreadful sorrow that would soon come upon them. He prayed for them to be saved, and wept much over them (Jer. 4:10,19; 9:18, 21; 10:10). Now he simply submitted himself to the will of the LORD in bringing judgment on these rebels. The prayer here (Jer. 18:19-23) is more of a confirmation of what God had inspired him to predict thus far in his many prophecies, instead of a show of personal hatred because of their opposition to him. It was like saying Amen to the divine decisions.
The End of the Wicked is Eternal Death
Dan. 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (KJV)
Matthew 25:41-46 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (KJV)
2 Thes. 1:8-9 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (KJV)
Rev. 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (KJV)
Rev.21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (KJV)
What Is Hell Really Like?
The Bible very clearly describes it:
Please read carefully!
Everlasting Punishment. Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. [KJV]
Everlastion Fire. Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: [KJV]
Everlasting Burnings. Isaiah 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? [KJV]
A Furnace of Fire. Matthew 13:42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. [KJV] Matthew 13:50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. [KJV]
A Lake of Fire. Rev. 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. [KJV]
Fire and Brimstone. Rev. 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: [KJV]
Unquenchable Fire. Matthew 3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. [KJV]
Devouring Fire. Isaiah 33:14 above.
Second Death. Rev. 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. [KJV]
Outer Darkness. Matthew 8:12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [KJV] Matthew 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [KJV] Matthew 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [KJV]
No Way Out. Luke 16:26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. [KJV]
God is NOT There. 2 Thes. 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. [KJV]
Book of Jeremiah
Jer.Ch.1 . . Jer.Ch.2 . . Jer.Ch.3 . . Jer.Ch.4 . . Jer.Ch.5 . . Jer.Ch.6 . . Jer.Ch.7 . . Jer.Ch.8 . . Jer.Ch.9 . . Jer.Ch.10 . . Jer.Ch.11 . . Jer.Ch.12 . . Jer.Ch.13 . . Jer.Ch,14 . . Jer.Ch.15 . . Jer.Ch.16 . . Jer.Ch.17 . . Jer.Ch.18 . . Jer.Ch.19 . . Jer.Ch.20 . . Jer.Ch.21 . . Ch.22 . . Ch.23 . . Ch.24 . . Ch.25 . . Ch.26 . . Ch.27 . . Ch.28 . . Ch.29 . . Ch.30 . . Ch.31 . . Ch.32 . . Ch.33 . . Ch.34 . . Ch.35 . . Ch.36 . . Ch.37 . . Ch.38 . . Ch.39 . . Ch.40 . . Ch.41 . . Ch.42 . . Ch.43 . . Ch.44 . . Ch.45 . Ch.46 . . Ch.47 . . Ch.48 . . Ch.49 . . Ch. 50 . . Ch.51 . . Ch.52 . . Jer. End Times Signs . . Jer. Special Commemnts . . . Home Page