Jeremiah the Prophet (Come, Follow Me: Jeremiah 1-29) – powered by Happy Scribe
Hello, I’m Lynn Hilton Wilson, part of bookamormorman central’s team on the Book of Jeremiah for our come, follow me. Jeremiah is a prophet to the nations who had to foretell the destruction and exile of Jerusalem. The southern kingdom of Judah is going to be taken down, and it’s Jeremiah’s call to do that. It’s a difficult call, and his theme throughout the whole book is the Lord is asking him to root out, to pull down, to destroy that which is wrong and bad, and then to plant and build up that which is good. Take out the old, let’s start again and try to build.
There’s always hope in the Lord’s promises. First of all, let’s start looking at the background to see how he fits in. If you want to check out the history, go to Second Kings, the last two chapters or Second Chronicles, the last couple of chapters all talk about this time period. I have a chart here to show you that Jeremiah falls at the same time as Nahum and Obediah, Habakkuk, Zephaniah and Lehi, and then in the Babylonian Empire with the prophet Daniel and prophet Ezekiel. He also prophesied during the time of the last four kings of Judah, josiah for 18 years, Johos for just three months, jeho Kim for eleven years, Joho Chinhong for three months, and then Zedekaya for those nine years.
We don’t know how much longer he serves after the destruction of Jerusalem, but it appears that it covers this very broad time period. Also, Jeremiah is not just called to preach to the Jews in Jerusalem. He is also called to the nations around the amirites, the Moabites, everyone else around, just like our bishops, are in charge of the people in their entire geographic area. So was Jeremiah called, and he has several chapters to the other nations as well. Interestingly.
He’s a Levite. He will be able to serve in the temple if the temple will stand that long. And so we have a beautiful combination of temple and his scriptures as well. We know his scribe, and the whole book is compiled together with his sermons, his poems, his prophecies, sort of like an anthology. And Baruch in the latter end tells us that he has compiled everything together.
And in the compilation it appears that there’s five major sections. The end is just a chapter that has sort of a summary or an appendix there that reviews everything. It’s somewhat chronological, but not quite. And the center section is always in Hebrew. The center is the most important.
And that’s where we get you see in my chart here, chapter 30 to 33, the Promise of Hope, that Jeremiah prophecies that after 70 years of exile, the Jews will return, as well as a prophecy of the David Messiah coming. But my assignment is in chapter one, and we begin jeremiah’s prophecies at the same time as the Book of Mormon begins. So I want to start with one Nephi one, verse four, there came many prophets prophesying unto the people that they must repent or the great city of Jerusalem will be destroyed. And then you remember when MiFi brings back the brass plates and his father begins reading them. And in chapter five, verses twelve to 13, it reads a record of the Jews from the beginning, even down to the list of you.
And it says the mouth of Jeremiah. Again, in chapter seven, there’s another mention of Jeremiah. And this comes as one of the times that Jeremiah was arrested or put in prison. Quote, the spirit of the Lord ceaseth soon to strive with them. Or behold, they have rejected the prophets and Jeremiah have they cast into prison.
Now, there’s been some contention on this first, because Jeremiah is also cast into prison after 600 BC, his final imprisonment. But as we learned in the Book of Mormon central’s know why, I think it’s number 463. Jeremiah was put in prison at least four times in our record. And sometimes you think, are these flashbacks what’s going on here? But it appears historically, as we are very careful to look at the history, that there were many arrests.
And the prophecy in the Book of Mormon refers to one of those earlier ones. As I look at the brass plates and witness of Jeremiah and witness of Lehi, it’s interesting that they all fall at the very beginning of the reforming done by King Josiah. Remember, King Josiah was this very young king put on the throne at age eight. And the priests at the temple go through the temple and clean it out and show it to young Jeremiah or young Josiah. And Josiah says, we need to have some reformation, we need to reform.
And he pulls down all the idols and he tears his clothes and he begins reading back in the Book of Deuteronomy and has it read to everyone. I think that during this time of reform is when we have Lehi and Jeremiah beginning their listening ears and called to be a prophet, because we’re told in Jeremiah, chapter one one, that this is when he fits in. Perhaps this is even when the brass plates were written out and that’s why they included. Something about Jeremiah is they are written out. Possibly during this time of Josiah’s reforms, they may have been collected way earlier in the northern tribes and brought down by the families of Joseph, because we know Lehi is from Manasseh and Laban was his relative who was keeping the plates.
But let’s jump in the text of Jeremiah. Now, as we look at chapter one, verse one, we learn that Jeremiah lived in the land of Anatole of Benjamin. Now, Benjamin was just north of Judah, but it’s so close that even though Jeremiah is from the tribe of Levi, it’s just very close to the temple. In fact, you can walk there in 45 minutes from the BYU Jerusalem Center if you head due north. And as you look at my map here, you can see just where that is.
Jeremiah’s call begins. In chapter one, verse four, it says that Josiah’s 13th year of his reign. So that means Josiah was 21 years old, and Jeremiah was probably much younger because he refers to himself as a child in King James or in his youth. But in chapter one, verse five, the Lord refers to Jeremiah’s premortal existence. Let’s read that text in King James.
Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee. And before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee to a prophet to the nations. I like the NIV or the new international version as well. Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. And before you were born, I set you apart.
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. This beautiful call of Jeremiah happened years before. We know for all of us that there was a premortal existence, that the Lord knew us and gave us callings and assignments, and that we agreed and that we shouted for joy and that we were willing to come down. Joseph Smith says, all the prophets received this message and call before they were born. They were foreordained.
But Jeremiah, like most prophets, felt unworthy and unprepared for this great call. And it says in verse six, lord God, behold, I don’t know how to speak, for I am only a youth. And this is in the English Standard version, the ESV of the Bible. And King James I mentioned it says child. But the Lord says to him in verse seven, in response, say not I am a child, for thou shalt go to all that I send thee.
And whatsoever I command thee, thou shalt speak. That is, of course, all of our prayers. It is our opportunity to give a lesson or to share a sermon, or to be a missionary or to even teach in our families, with our neighbors and our communities, is that we will speak the word of the Lord. And the Lord promised to Jeremiah that he would give him his words, because Jeremiah, he knew, would be a righteous man. Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
May the Lord put his words in your mouth in all of our mouths as we teach the Scriptures, as we dive into Jeremiah and try to understand what his message is. And then in verse ten, we read I have this day set over the nations and over the kingdoms to root out, to pull down, to destroy, to throw down. He wants to yank out all that is wicked. He wants to tear out the dead wood in the sense of Israel being a tree or Judah being an old tree. He wants to uncover the wickedness and take out that which is bad.
But in the same verse, he also wants he gives the promise that I want to build and to plant. Now this theme from chapter one, verse ten, is repeated seven other times in chapter 18, in chapter 24, 29, and then in chapter 31 and 42. It’s twice each this hope of going down to the basics and cleaning out, going down to the very building studs, as it would be referred to in a home, in order to have something pure. Start again. Let’s try again.
The Lord is always merciful when there is a destruction. There is the hope of his grace, and let us try again to build something clean. And it is so merciful of God even to tear down. It’s merciful to root out the wickedness so that purity and truth can be taught. We can never find happiness and wickedness.
We have to have God’s truth in the pure land coming again. And in the book of Jeremiah, he even tells them don’t even have children now. The destruction is so close. I don’t want children coming in this wicked world. I want them to wait until the truth is restored.
And in verse eleven one, he harkens back to the theme from Aaron. Do you remember Aaron had that rod that was an almond branch and it sprouted and it bore even almond fruit to show Erin’s authority that the ironic priesthood was to be set up through Aaron. We have a reference to that in verse eleven. See a rod, an almond tree. I want you, Jeremiah, you a descendant of the same tribe of Levi, to receive my voice, to receive my authority and to act under my priesthood, to use my power to proclaim the Gospel.
As we skip down to verse 16, I really appreciate the BSB, which is the Berian study Bible, a very excellent translation. I will pronounce my judgments against them for all their wickedness, because they have forsaken me to burn inns to other gods and to worship the works of their own hands. That’s why I said Jeremiah is so much a prophet for our day and age too. We are doing the same things. We are worshiping other gods who are the creation of our own hands, our own electronics, our own houses, our own cars.
We put our time and energy into things that can corrupt. And the chapter ends in verses 17 to 19. Get yourself ready, stand up. Say to them whatever I command you, and do not be terrified to them. They will fight against you, they will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you.
So even though the people will not listen to you, even though you’re going to have to see the entire destruction of your people, I will stand beside you. They do not have power over you. And I believe that that is the promise of our temple covenants, that God will protect us, he will sustain us when we are doing his work, and we can be protected when we are his voice. When we are purified and sanctified by his spirit and our hearts are returned, he can use us to build a righteous kingdom. And I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ.