R1371-59 Bible Study: Jehoiakim’s Wickedness

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LESSON VIII., FEBRUARY 21, Jer. 36:19-31

Golden Text—”To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”—Heb. 3:15

The incident of this lesson seems at first sight a very trivial one, but when we look into it more closely it assumes the importance of a solemn warning to a special class under very similar circumstances. Glancing back to the beginning of this chapter, we read that “This word came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, ‘Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah (Chap. 1:2) even unto this day. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.'”

In obedience to this command Jeremiah employed Baruch the scribe to write all the words of this prophecy as he dictated it, and though that roll was burned by the defiant king Jehoiakim, it was re-written by Baruch from the dictation of Jeremiah, and thus it has come down to us. And that it has come down to our day for a purpose, and for the purpose expressed in verse 3, is manifest; for the prophecy is not only against Israel, but “against all the nations.” And glancing back to chapter 25:29-38, we see that the Prophet is foretelling the great time of trouble spoken of by Daniel and by our Lord, which is due to take place in the end or harvest of this Gospel age—a period of forty years, from A.D. 1875 to 1915—in the very midst of which time we are now living, and the signs of which trouble are now manifest to all thinking minds.—See MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. I., Chapter xv.

The Prophet declares that the trouble is to be upon “all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth” (25:26); “for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations.” (25:31.) No trouble that has ever yet come upon the world answers to the many prophetic descriptions of this one, and none has ever yet involved all nations. In chapters 50 and 51 we have the significant prophecies against Babylon—not merely the Babylon of old, although it was included, but especially against Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots, which the literal Babylon symbolized—the Babylon of Revelation. And when it is remembered that the Book of Revelation was given as a prophecy of things then future (Rev. 1:1), and that literal Babylon was in ruins centuries before this prophecy concerning mystic Babylon was written, it requires only a little comparison of the two prophecies to show that the major portion of Jeremiah’s pertains to mystic Babylon, and is just about to find its fulfilment upon “Christendom” so-called. Compare Jer. 50:15,29 with Rev. 18:6; Jer. 50:38 with Rev. 16:12; Jer. 50:46 with Rev. 18:9; Jer. 51:6 with Rev. 18:4; Jer. 51:7,8,9 with Rev. 14:8; 17:4; 18:2,5,9,11,19; Jer. 51:13 with Rev. 17:1,15; Jer. 51:33 with Rev. 14:15,18; Jer. 51:37,45,63,64 with Rev. 18:2,4,21.

As we read the words of Jeremiah spoken by divine authority against “Great Babylon”—”Christendom”—and compare them with those of similar import by the Revelator, we call to mind the Lord’s words to the last phase of the Nominal Church—Laodicea, Rev. 3:14—in the midst of which we are living; and while noting the applicability of the description—”knowest not that thou art poor and blind and miserable and naked”—we note also the warning, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire [divine truth], that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment [that faith which justifies], that

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thou mayest be clothed and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve [the eyesalve of simplicity and sincerity which will remove the films of prejudice and duplicity], that thou mayest see.”

“As many as I love [as many as are honest and at heart loyal to God] I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore and repent. … To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne.” The promise here is to the individuals: the great nominal church systems will not repent and leave the traditions of men for the pure word of God, but the individuals who hearken to the Lord’s voice and obey his word (Rev. 18:4), and thus, by overcoming the influence and power of error, prove their love of the truth and their loyalty to the Lord, will receive the great reward—a share in the kingdom which shall break the chains of error and superstition and sin and “bless all the families of the earth.”—Gal. 3:16,29.

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But the great systems of error, both civil and religious, which in these days join hands to fortify and uphold each other, and which, calling themselves Christian nations and Christian churches, dishonor the Lord and his Word by their false teachings and evil practices, shall feel the righteous indignation of the Lord. It matters not if their great ones follow the example of Jehoiakim in destroying the parchment upon which the words of warning and counsel are written, and if they refuse to believe the testimony of the prophets and apostles against them; the word of the Lord is nevertheless sure; and both the individuals and the systems which despise his word and cast it from them shall feel his hot displeasure, while those who humbly hear and heed shall be blessed.

In view of these things, how appropriate are the words of our golden text—”To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”


— February 15, 1892 —