The study of the book authored by the Prophet Jeremiah reveals that, though he lived and served as prophet to the Jews–the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi who lived in Judea–his message from the Lord was also meant for the Lost Tribes of Israel–the ten northern tribes who had been defeated and scattered throughout the known world. The 20 verses on which we will focus in this series are meant to be learned, believed and acted upon by modern Israel–the United States and Britain–as well as spiritual Israel–God’s true church. As God told the young prophet in chapter 23:20 and 30:1,2 that he was to write what he spoke to the Jews in a book which was to be understood by God’s true saints in the “latter days”–the days in which we now live. In 30:4 the Lord stressed that He was sending the message to both Judah and Israel whom He would send into captivity AGAIN if they continued in their sins. Jeremiah continually warned the Jews for some 50 years before they went into captivity in Babylon. His words would also be delivered to the other ten tribes whom God had sent into slavery over 100 years earlier. In his book Jeremiah wrote to and warned latter day Israel saying: YOU HAVE REBELLED AGAINST THE LORD. REPENT AND RETURN TO HIM OR YOU ALSO WILL BE DEFEATED AND SLAUGHTERED. THE FEW WHO SURVIVE WILL BE ENSLAVED IN THE LANDS OF THE VICTORS. Through the book bearing his name, Jeremiah is speaking to the United States and Britain in general and to God’s church”–“spiritual Israel” in particular.
In the chapters leading up to our focal passage (7:1-20), the Lord, speaking through the prophet, warned Judah and Israel that they must turn from their wickedness and embrace Him in order to avoid the wrath with which He would afflict them for their sins. They had sown the wind. Beginning in chapter seven He warns them about the whirlwind to come. Keep in mind that He is addressing both ancient Judah–the Jews–and modern day Israel–the United States and Britain. We will conduct this approach God’s message verse by verse.
But before we begin I will address the most common argument against using the Old Testament in teaching New Testament people. What is most often heard is: “The Old Testament concerned God the Father’s dealings with the ancient Israelites. Jesus now leads a Gentile church in an entirely different way. The Israelites were governed by the law; we are under grace. The Old Testament and its emphasis on the law was nailed to the cross. Therefore, Old Testament teachings have no place in the New Testament Church.” Let us respond with some of the Lord’s statements found in the New Testament. In Ephesians 2:20 the Apostle Paul tells us that the New Testament Church was founded on the teachings of both the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles. This tells us that the words of the prophets carry the same spiritual weight as do the teachings of the apostles. In 1 Corinthians 10:11 Paul tells us that the Lord’s dealings with ancient Israel were recorded for OUR (the New Testament Church) instruction. GOD’S PEOPLE THEN ARE HIS PEOPLE TODAY. HIS INSTRUCTIONS TO HIS PEOPLE ANCIENTLY WERE THE SAME AS HIS INSTRUCTIONS TO HIS PEOPLE TODAY. It is written in the Book the church claims to believe: “I am the Lord; I change not.” “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.” “In Him there is no shadow of turning.” With these Truths in mind, we will begin to focus in on the “the Temple of the Lord” and its relation to the modern church. L.J.