JEREMIAH 25:15-CH.26 - Jeremiah On Trial
JEREMIAH – CHAPTER 25:15-38 – THE WINE CUP OF FURY
Chapter 26 – Jeremiah on Trial
Tuesday Morning Bible Study
June 22, 2021, the Year of Our Lord
Pastor Carolyn Sissom
Jer. 25: 15-16 NIV: This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: Take from my hand this cup filled with the wine of my wrath and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. When they drink it, they will stagger and go mad because of the sword I will send among them.
I have no doubt the Lord is again making the nations drink from His cup filled with the wine of his wrath. All the nations have gone mad!
I believe the “sword” of death has been released in the United States through the “lawless one” with the shootings and killing in our streets and cities.
In a prophetic vision, Jeremiah sees a cup in the Lord’s hand---a cup filled with the wine of his wrath. Obviously, Jeremiah is to perform this act symbolically as part of the vision. It is implausible to think that he actually goes to the foreign rulers with this message. It would be impossible for him to get to all these locations. By His authority as God’s prophet, there is no distance in the Spirit, and He could indeed cause them to drink by His spoken word, which is the Word of God. The only other explanation would be that He was translated.
The effect that drinking this wine has on these nations will be dramatic. They will become crazed or act as though crazed and act like a madman. His instrument of judgment to all of these nations is the sword of Nebuchadnezzar.
25:17-26: So, I took the cup from the Lord’s hand and made all the nations to whom he sent me drink it…and all the kings of the earth near and far, one after the other---all the kingdoms on the face of the earth, and after all of them, the king of Sheshach will drink it too.
Jeremiah complies as part of the visionary experience while standing before the LORD ---which we can presume he spoke to each of the nations by the Spirit, commanding them to drink. Significantly, the list of nations begins with Jerusalem and Judah in keeping with the principle of Amos 3:2: You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore, I will punish you for all your sins.
Great privilege means great responsibility. “To whom much is given, much is required” (Lk. 12:48b).
1 Peter 4:7: Judgment begins with the house of God.
If God judges his own people, he will certainly judge the nations.
Next on the list is Egypt (Vs.19). Judah’s neighbor is a major part of the power struggle brought about by the fall of Assyria and the rise of Babylon. From Egypt, the geographical sweep is extensive. Roughly half the nations listed here receive specific oracles of judgment.
The geographical context of these areas is quite wide. From Egypt in Northeast Africa, Jeremiah lists the kings of Uz (probably the Negev); the Philistine cities along the coast; The Transjordan states (Edom, Moab, Ammon) and back to the coastal regions in the north (Phoenicia). The coastlands beyond the sea refer to Cyprus and other islands. Jeremiah then traverses south across northern Arabia (Dedan, Tema and Buz; Akkadian-Bazu in Arabia). He skips Mesopotamia (the land of Babylon) and travels to southwest Iran (Elam and Media). He then summarizes by adding “all the kings of the earth.” As we will see when we get to chapters 50 and 51, the LORD has reserved for himself a special judgment for Babylon. The specific areas mentioned in these verses were all terrorized by Nebuchadnezzar.
The scope of the word (verse 26) underscores Yahweh’s lordship over the whole earth as well as the sinfulness of the peoples of the earth. He is the judge of all and all deserve judgment. When each of the nations have drunk, the king of Babylon (written in code as “Sheshach” will drink too.
25:27-29: Then tell them, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: drink, get drunk and vomit. Fall to rise no more because of the sword I will send among you. If they refuse to take the cup from your hand and drink, tell them, this is what the Lord Almighty says, you must drink it! See, I am beginning to bring disaster on the city that bears my Name, and will you indeed go unpunished? You will not go unpunished, for I am calling down a sword on all who live on the earth, declares the Lord Almighty.
These verses expand the initial vision and commission. The divine directives are more detailed. Jeremiah is told exactly what to say to the nations, bringing them an order from the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel consisting of five imperatives:
2. Get drunk
5. Do not rise. (Rise no more)
How can they refuse to drink what the Lord of Hosts compels them to drink?
We can rule out that Jeremiah actually confronted kings from these nations, unless there was a G7 or in this case G13 kingdoms. No! I can comprehend that he was translated by dream or vision to each king of the nations. The question would then seem to be more or less rhetorical, since it is assumed that all the nations will refuse the cup, with the refusal being denied.
Their choice then is to drink willing or unwillingly. Either way, they will drink.
Now, in apocalyptic language, the prophetic eye of Jeremiah sees the Lord sweeping across the entire earth as in the day of the Lord. The day of the Lord is a “day” when the Lord visits the earth in judgment or blessing.
25: 30-31 (KJV): Now prophesy all these words against them and say to them: The Lord shall roar from on high, and utter His voice from His holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon His habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord has a controversy with the nations. He will plead with all flesh. He will give them that are wicked to the sword, says the Lord.
God is pictured as a roaring lion, thundering forth from heaven from his holy dwelling, shouting like those who tread the grapes. This image specifically refers to the end of the harvest season (Feast of Tabernacles), a time of great festivity and celebration.
The same God who wept and mourned earlier in Jeremiah, now raises a battle cry and roars against his pasture. His controversy is with all the nations. He will now enter into judgment resulting in the sword of war for the wicked. The disaster which began in Jerusalem and Judah, now spreads from nation to nation.
25: 32-33 NIV: This is what the Lord Almighty says: Look! Disaster is spreading from nation to nation. A mighty storm is rising from the ends of the earth. At that time, those slain by the Lord will be everywhere---from one end of the earth to the other. They will not be mourned or gathered up or buried, but will be like refuse lying on the ground.
Just as Jeremiah prophesied that in Judah and Jerusalem there would be too many dead to be buried or mourned (8:2), so it will happen to the nations. The dead are descried as “slain by the Lord,” an expression found elsewhere only in Isaiah 66:16, and eschatological passage that shares vocabulary similar to these verses.
We can compare this to the cup of the Lord’s wrath of Revelation 14 and 16 and the judgment of the nations in the last days. The language used to describe these historical judgments are characteristic of the judgements of the closing of this age. For Jeremiah, only one topic concerns him, the massive calamities and terrible suffering that await the nations of the earth as the king of Babylon wields his sword.
God now addresses the shepherds of the nations just as he addressed the shepherds of Judah (23:1-4).
25: 34-37 NIV: Weep and wail, you shepherds, roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock. For your time to be slaughtered has come. You will fall and be shattered like fine pottery. The shepherds will have nowhere to flee, the leaders of the flock no place to escape. Hear the cry of the shepherds, the wailing of the leaders of the flock, for the LORD is destroying their pasture. The peaceful meadows will be laid waste because of the fierce anger of the Lord.
Pastors and spiritual leaders bear special responsibility for their nations, and they are here specifically marked for slaughter. It is the LORD who is against them. Ministry is serious business. Shepherds will be held more accountable than those to whom they are sent. The sins of the sheep or of a nation do not excuse ministers from their call to preach the Word of God.
Had we as pastors preached through tears a message of repentance toward God and reverence to His Name and commandments, the world would not be in the condition it is today. If we had stood in the Word of God and preached, churches would not be compromising with the ‘cancel culture” and “liberals” to stay relevant and popular to gain numbers.
25:38: Like a lion he will leave his lair, and their land will become desolate because of the sword of the oppressor and because of the Lord’s fierce anger.
Because of the fierce anger of the LORD, the divine lion has gone forth from his lair. The Lord doesn’t want His flock scattered, his sheep starved and uncared for. He will not tolerate the “moderators or mendacity” to be the mediators of His Word. God will not continue to tolerate those responsible for rationing the amount of the Word or determining the type of the Word so as not to “offend” popular people- culture.
“How have we gotten where we are?” That question was raised by Jeremiah before the captivity and re-iterated by Ezekiel after the captivity. Both were correct in saying, “blame the clergy.”
How can the Spirit approve what God does not?
“It is never easy being a true prophet, nor is it easy to be a false one! Jeremiah chapters 26-29 form a collage of faces of those who rose up against Jeremiah. He had a word for all of them and they stood as fools in history. Imagine a venue, where every prophetic voice, but yours, was wrong and filled with error” (Leonard Ravenhill).
Chapter 26 begins with the Lord sending Jeremiah to the court of the Lord’s house with an address for all the cities of Judah and its worshipping people. (If any group should have heeded the prophet, it ought to have been this group.) His message infuriated the false prophets.
Jeremiah 26: 2-3 NKJV: Stand in the court of the LORD’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’s house, all the words that I command you to speak to them. Do not diminish a word.
The admonition not to “diminish a word,” was a strong warning. Do not water down what my word Jeremiah. Preach what I tell you to preach, not something pleasing to the ears.
Jeremiah’s prophecy was spoken to the most pious crowd to be found anywhere on earth. The object for his doing this was to cause a spiritual awakening, a wholesale repentance and return to God. It carried with it a curse for not turning.
26:4-6 NKJV: If you will not listen to Me, to walk in My law which I have set before you, to heed the words of My servants the prophets whom I set to you, both rising up early and sending them (but you have not heeded), then I will make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.
The very mention of Shiloh usually sent a shiver down spines. Shiloh was the place where the demise of the tabernacle of testimony took place, the place of defeat and scattering of the people of God. This was the place of shame for priests, as revealed in Hophni and Phinehas. This was the birth place of Ichabod. Shiloh presented the scene of the carrying away of the Ark of the Covenant. This was the place of judgment as characterized in the death of the high priest, Eli. It represented the epitome of ruin, disarray, and marked the entering of one of the darkest periods of the people of God…the end of God’s appointed Judges and the loss of the word of God through them. Shiloh represented the end of an era. It was caused by the clergy!
With every true preachment, there arises opposition. No stone hurts worse than those thrown by a prelate, especially if he or she is a fellow clergy (ask Stephen). Wherever a priest or prophet decides to bid for popularity and seek the King’s favor, there is where error reigns.
Should a true priest or prophet arise, he or she is sure to incur the false prophet’s wrath.
26: 7-9 (NKJV): So, the priest and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD. Now it happened, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak to all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people seized him, saying “You will surely die! Why have you prophesied in the name of the LORD, SAYING, ‘this house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate, without an inhabitant?’” All the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the LORD.
The ear of the people often is more tuned to established authority than to God. Congregations hold allegiance and loyalty to those most admired by the multitudes. That is precisely why every “majority” rule vote taken by Israel was the wrong path according to God. “Stone him” thinking is still prevalent in the 21st century.
Jeremiah’s defense was no defense at all. He retold the necessity of repenting and following God then threw himself upon them---not fearing death.
His accusers were the priests and false prophets. Jeremiah had friends among the princes, a man named Ahikam, who saved him from death.
25:10-15 NIV: When the officials of Judah heard about these things, they went up from the royal palace to the house of the LORD and took their places at the entrance of the New Gate of the Lord’s house. Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and all the people, “this man should be sentenced to death because he has prophesied against this city. You have heard it with your own ears! Then Jeremiah said to all the officials and all the people: “the Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the things you have heard. Now reform your ways and your actions and obey the Lord your god. Then the Lord will relent and not bring the disaster he has pronounced against you. As for me, I am in your hands. Do with me whatever you think is good and right. Be assured, however, that if you put me to death, you will bring the guilt of innocent blood on yourselves and on this city and on those who live in it, for in truth the LORD has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.
This is the message for the church today. Jeremiah was not intimidated by this threat upon his life. He submitted to it, if they could prove his guilt. He warned them of their guilt if they should shed innocent blood. The prophet was warned (16: 1-2) against diminishing God’s words, which would be a tendency because of his timidity and the people’s hostility. Jeremiah was faithful to speak all that God had commanded him (26:8). He was courageous in hostility and refused to be quieted or silenced (26: 6-13). He submitted to threats of violence in quiet confidence of having done his duty (26:14). His confident reaffirmation convinces his enemies of the truth of his assertion (26: 15-16). The fulfillment of God’s earlier promise (“I am with you to deliver you”- 1:19) is evidenced here! By submitting to possible death, Jeremiah lived, and, as a consequence, continued to prophesy.
The voice of reason came from one of the princes of the realm, not from the clergy.
The prince reminded the crowd of two prophets
26:16-19 NIV: Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, “this man should not be sentenced to death! He has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.” Some of the elders of the land stepped forward and said to the entire assembly of people, “Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah, king of Judah, he told all the people of Judah, “This is what the Lord Almighty says:
Zion will be plowed like a field. Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble. The temple hill, a mound overgrown with thickets.
Did Hezekiah, king of Judah, or anyone else in Judah put him to death? Did not Hezekiah fear the Lord and seek his favor? Did not the Lord relent, so that he did not bring the disaster he pronounced against them? We are about to bring a terrible disaster on ourselves!”
However, one of Jeremiah’s fellow prophets, Uriah, fled in fear to Egypt, but was fetched back and executed (Jer. 26: 20-23). By fleeing to save his life, Urijah died, and, as a consequence, ceased to prophesy. This revealed a central truth to all of Judah: If you submit to the dealings of God, you will live and be restored; if you resist or fight them, you are dead!
26:20-24 NIV: Now Uriah, son of Shemaiah from Kiriath Jearim was another man who prophesied in the name of the LORD. He prophesied the same things against this city and the land that Jeremiah did. When King Jehoiakim and all his officers and officials heard his words, the king sought to put him to death. But Uriah heard of it and fled in fear to Egypt. King Jehoiakim, however, sent Elnathan, son of Achor, to Egypt, along with some other men. They brought Uriah out of Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim, who had him struck down with a sword and his body thrown into the burial place of the common people. Furthermore, Ahikam, son of Shaphan supported Jeremiah, and so he was not handed over to the people to be put to death.
Who was this man Ahikam?
2 Kings 22: 12-13: When the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Achbor, the son of Michaiah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah, a servant of the king, saying, “go inquire of the LORD for me, for the people and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found; for great is the wrath of the LORD that is aroused against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.” (They were sent to the prophetess Huldah).
Ahikam risked life, limb and reputation to stand beside the true prophet.
Mission Impossible: Weep, and warn a deafened Judah of idolatry.
The hour of doom was about to strike. The international situation was a three-cornered contest for world supremacy with Assyria, Egypt, and Babylon. For 300 years Assyria with Nineveh as its capital had ruled the world, but now it was growing weak. Egypt in the Nile Valley, which had been a world power 1000 years earlier, was again becoming ambitious. Babylon won the contest by the sovereignty of the Hand of God in the middle of Jeremiah’s ministry.
Pastor Carolyn Sissom
Eastgate Ministries Church
Scripture from KJV; NKJV; NIV. I entered into the labors of Michael L. Brown commentary on Jeremiah and The Road to Captivity by Dr. C. R. Oliver. Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those who I entered into their labors.