In Jeremiah 7:4 we find the focal statement for this series. All people are religious, meaning that every human being of reasoning age has a god–a power that affects their lives. Atheists are as religious as the most zealous churchite or Muslim. The difference is that atheists view themselves as the master of their lives. Within what is called the “Christian community” there is a god–a force which adherents point to as the power to which they hold allegiance. Ask 100 church people to prove that they are Christians and the vast majority will respond by identifying the church to which they belong. In Jeremiah 7:4 we find their ancient ancestors using the same response to “prove” that they were God’s children.
In this focal verse we find God speaking through Jeremiah, saying: “Trust not in lying words, saying ‘The Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord ….'” Here we find the reason the Israelites of old believed that they could ignore God’s commands, make their own rules, direct their own lives and get away with it. They could live their own way because they had “The Temple of the Lord” in their midst. They pointed to the “House of God”–the place where they went to worship Him, which He had placed in their midst–as “proof” of their right standing with Him. Proof of their oneness with Him lay in the fact that they belonged to “The Temple of the Lord,” just as their modern descendants “prove” their right standing with God by proclaiming that they belong to a particular denomination, universally referred to as “the Church.” Which “church” was “the” church depends on the religious proclivities of the person making the statement.
When Jeremiah told the Jews that they were about to be defeated and taken into slavery they would remind him that the Lord’s Temple–His earthly dwelling place complete with the Holy of Holies where sat the Ark of the Covenant He had made with them at Mt. Sinai–was the centerpiece of their capital. Common sense told them that because they had the Temple in their midst the Almighty would never allow them to be defeated, destroyed and enslaved. The Temple would be the first thing destroyed by enemy invaders. Defeat? Enslavement? Destruction of God’s house? Never! After all, were they not the children of Abraham? Had not the Lord delivered their ancestors from Egyptian slavery? Had He not performed signs, wonders and miracles for them? Had He not removed the heathen from the Holy Land and placed them in it? Had He not built His Temple in which they met with Him? All of which was true. Therefore, the Jews concluded, He would never turn His back on them. Bottom line: They had “The Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord.” They were God’s ekklesia–His congregation, His chosen people, His elect. They had His Law. Therefore, GOD WOULD NEVER DESTROY THEIR NATION. This in spite of the fact that their Israelite brethren, who had received the same blessings from God, had earlier gone down in military defeat, had been slaughtered and the survivors taken into Assyrian slavery, and for the same reason–rejection of God’s Word and acceptance of man’s word.
Many years after the Jews had been taken to Babylon as slaves, the Apostle Paul would warn the church at Rome that they were following in their ancestors’ spiritual footsteps. He would tell them that, though they had the advantage of possessing the Word (oracles) of the Lord, this did not release them from having to obey Him (Rom. 3). Why would Paul feel the need to warn the church of his day about their attitude toward the Holy Scriptures? Because they were doing what Jesus had accused them of doing–lying to themselves/ going through the religious motions/ hypocrisy: “These people draw near to me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. They worship Me in vain by obeying the commandments of men and rejecting My doctrines (Mat. 15:8,9). “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,” then refused to do what I command you? (Lk. 6:46).
Nothing has changed. The church still “worships” Jesus while rejecting His Words and substituting the words of men. But all is well, for they have “The Church, the Church, the Church.” For this reason God will send foreign nations to defeat, slaughter and enslave Americans, Brits and all other so-called “Christians” from all other so-called “Christian nations.” The clouds of war, death and destruction are gathering. The wind the false church has sown is about to produce the deadly whirlwind the Lord has promised. L.J.