Jer 32:1-15 The Covenant is Sealed 1/21/2001
#1. God Chose Jeremiah (Jer 1:4-5, Deut 18:18-19, Jer 1:7,9)
#2. A City Under Siege (Jer 32:1-5, I Cor 10:11)
#3. The Deed in an Earthen Vessel (Jer 32:11-15)
Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Jeremiah, chapter 1. What do we know about Jeremiah? Some of you will say: "He was the weeping Prophet". That is certainly true, but there is more to say about Jeremiah. Can you remember that: "Jesus wept over Jerusalem"? That is the sense in which Jeremiah wept over Jerusalem. Let's read from Jeremiah, chapter 1, verse 1.
Jeremiah 1:1 ¶ The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin:
The name "Jeremiah" means: "Jehovah will rise", or "Jehovah is high", or "Jehovah is exalted". These are not three different names, but these names reflect the meaning of the Hebrew word which indicates "to rise up", or "to be high", or "to be exalted". Therefore, who does the name Jeremiah remind us of? Who did rise up from His grave, and who was lifted up high and exalted? God says in:
Phil 2:9, Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.
Moreover, Jeremiah was the son of Hilkiah, and the name Hilkiah means: "Portion of Jehovah". Think of it, "Portion of Jehovah" is a vague reference to the Father as one of the Persons of the Triune God Jehovah. Now, I am sure that the father or mother of Hilkiah did not have all this in mind when they named their child Hilkiah, and named their grandchild Jeremiah, but God designed it this way, for us, so that we would see through all this how Jeremiah is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jeremiah was from a family of priests who lived in Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin. The name Benjamin means: "Son of My Right Hand". Who else is named Son of My Right Hand? God says in Heb 10:12, But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God. Jesus Christ sat down at the Right Hand of God. But who else is sitting there at the Right Hand of God?
In Eph 2:6 God is addressing the Body of Believers, and God says that:
Eph 2:12, He hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Therefore, when God mentions Benjamin in the Bible, and when it requires any spiritual meaning, Benjamin is a picture of the Body of Believers. We are the Benjamin of God. Let's read on in Jer 1:2,
Jeremiah 1:2, To whom the word of the LORD came (2X) in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.
Jeremiah 1:3, It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month. (What is God saying here?)
#1. God Chose Jeremiah (Jer 1:4-5, Deut 18:18-19, Jer 1:7,9)
It was not Jeremiah who studied hard to become the Prophet of God, but it was God who chose Jeremiah to declare the Word of God to the people. God made Himself known to Jeremiah. Likewise, today, we do not accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, but Christ must make Himself known to us.
Jeremiah had a long message. Jeremiah preached for more than 40 years. He began to preach in the days of Josiah, king of Judah. Josiah was a good king, and the Lord was with him and with the nation of Judah as long as Josiah was on the throne. But already 18 years before the death of Josiah, Jeremiah began to preach and to warn the nation of Judah for the destruction that was coming. That destruction came in "the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month". After Josiah died, three sons of Josiah and one grand-son became king of Judah, and one after the other was taken captive and carried away. God began to warn the nation of Judah already 40 years before He destroyed them. We read in verses 4-5,
Jeremiah 1:4 ¶ Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Jeremiah 1:5 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 a prophet unto the nations.
Can you see how this language is pointing to the Lord Jesus Christ? I already knew thee from before the foundation of the world. I sanctified thee, which means I have set thee apart. I ordained thee to be my prophet unto the nations; not just to the nation of Judah, but also to the nations, plural.
Be careful with the translation: The word "ordained" in Hebrew is actually not ordained. Th Hebrew word means, "given". Was Christ given as a Prophet unto the nations? We read in Deut 18:18-19,
Deut 18:18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. (2X)
Deut 18:19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
Which Prophet is God speaking about in Deut 18? God is speaking about the Lord Jesus Christ. But look how perfectly this language fits the Prophet Jeremiah. We read in Jer 1:7 and 9,
Jer 1:7, But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
The Lord Jesus said: "I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me".
Jer 1:9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
God's words were put in the mouth of Jeremiah. Gods words were also in the mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ. He became the very essence of the Word of God.
Let's look at the analogies between:
Jer 1:10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.
That is an awesome power that God gave to Jeremiah. Actually, Jeremiah did not have this power but only God has this kind of power. God wrote these words to make us realize that Jeremiah is a picture of Christ, because Christ does have this power over the nations of the world.
But look carefully at the sequence in verse 10. First he is "to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down", and after that he is "to build and to plant". What could this possibly mean? When we compare Scripture with Scripture we find in Jer 31:27-28, (Please turn to Jer 31)
Jeremiah 31:27 ¶ Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast.
Jeremiah 31:28 And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the LORD.
These words are identical to Jer 1:10. But who is God speaking about here in Jer 31:27-28? Is God speaking about the Jews who are returning to their homeland there East of the Mediterranean? No, not at all, because in Jer 1:10 God speaks about nations and kingdoms. Perhaps you have noticed that these words in Jer 31:27-28 are a lead, into the New Covenant that God introduced beginning in verse 31. The words in Jer 31:27-28 speak about God's method of salvation. Christ is first destroying the old man before He builds the new man. Christ does that regardless of nation's boundaries, or whether they are Jews or Gentiles. God will save for Himself a people from every tribe and tongue and nation of the world. And did you see in verses 27-28 "Who" is doing all that? God says: "I will do all that. I will pluck up and destroy, and I will build and plant". But in Jer 1:10 God says that Jeremiah will do all that. Is it not clear that God is drawing this parallel between Christ and Jer?
There is one difference between Christ and Jeremiah: The Lord Jesus Christ was born sinless. The only other person on record who was born already saved was John the Baptist. But the passage in Jer 1 does not teach that Jeremiah was born saved.
Let's look at the wording of Jer 1:5,
Jeremiah 1:5 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 a prophet unto the nations.
We already know that the word "sanctified" does not mean saved, and that the word "ordained" does not mean ordained, but it means "given". But suppose I am wrong, and suppose that "ordained" was a right translation. We know from Eph 2:10 that our good works have been "before ordained", even before we were born, and before we were saved. Therefore "ordained" does not mean saved.
God said to Jeremiah: "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee". Before Jeremiah bodily came into existence, and before his soul was created, God says that He already knew him. Was that good or bad? That was very good for Jeremiah. When God says that He already knew us, God does not mean to say that He was already aware of our existence. On Judgment Day, when God will say to the false prophets: "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity", God does not mean that He was never aware of them, or that He never knew that they existed. When God says that He already knew us, it means that God knew us intimately, in Christ.
God knew us before we came into existence. How did God know us? What did God see when He looked down the corridors of time? Did He see a faithful servant who would serve Him from the day he was born? If that was the case, then Christ did not have to come down to earth to die on a cross. If there would be only one person in the world who did not need the grace of God, then Christ did not have to come. God would point to him and say: "What is wrong with you? He did it and so can you".
But that is not how God saw us. When God looked down the corridors of time, He only saw wicked sinners, who were all in rebellion against God. There was not one righteous. Have you heard about the four Roman NONE's in the Bible?
Please turn to Romans, chapter 3. God says in Rom 3:10,
Rom 3:10, As it is written, There is NONE righteous, NO, NOT ONE: (There is the first NONE)
Rom 3:11, There is NONE that understandeth, there is NONE that seeketh after God.
Rom 3:12, They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is NONE that doeth good, NO, NOT ONE. (This is how our birth certificate reads)
All of us started out as sinners, in rebellion against God. Spiritually we ALL were dead in trespasses and sins. And because we were dead, God says: "There is NONE that seeketh after God". But why are you here? Why are you listening to all this? Why are you are seeking after God? It is because God had mercy on you and He brought you here to listen to God's Word. But why had God mercy on you, and not on your neighbor, who needs the Word of God just as much as you do? That is God's sovereign good pleasure. God says: "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy".
You see, If God would not interfere in the hearts of man, then nobody would become saved, because we ALL were dead in trespasses and sins. Which means that we all were voluntary slaves of sin and Satan, and NO ONE would repent or seek after God.
But God does interfere in the hearts of man, and God chose to save a people for Himself from every tribe and tongue and nation of the world. God chose, or God elected these people to salvation.
#2. Now, let's look at: A City Under Siege (Jer 32:1-5, I Cor 10:11)
Please turn with me to Jeremiah, chapter 32, beginning at verse 1. The time in history was about one year before the city of Jerusalem was going to be destroyed by the nation of Babylon.
Jeremiah 32:1 ¶ The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar.
Jeremiah 32:2 For then the king of Babylon's army besieged Jerusalem: and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the prison, which was in the king of Judah's house.
Jeremiah 32:3 For Zedekiah king of Judah had shut him up, saying, Wherefore dost thou prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it;
Jeremiah 32:4 And Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall surely be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him mouth to
mouth, and his eyes shall behold his eyes;
Jeremiah 32:5 And he shall lead Zedekiah to Babylon, and there shall he be until I visit him, saith the LORD: though ye fight with the Chaldeans, ye shall not prosper.
Jerusalem was under siege for one and a half years before it was destroyed. This was a terrible disaster for Judah and for Jerusalem. The children of Israel had been a nation for about 900 years.
In 1447 BC they walked out of Egypt, where they had been slaves for hundreds of years. They conquered most of the land of Canaan and they established a kingdom under David and Solomon, which was a picture of the Kingdom of God. After Solomon the kingdom was split into a northern kingdom, called Israel, and a southern kingdom, called Judah. In 709 BC the northern kingdom of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians, and in 587 BC the southern kingdom of Judah was destroyed by the Babylonians. That was 860 years after they walked out of Egypt.
God had sent His prophets hundreds of years before this, to warn them that God would forsake them if they continued to worship idols. But they would not listen. They continued to worship on the High Places. Now the time had come for God's judgment to fall on Jerusalem. It was absolutely God's plan to utterly destroy the city of Jerusalem.
When we read in the Bible this history of Israel and Judah, don't read it as just history. God says in
1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
Therefore, the history of the nations of Israel and Judah are word pictures of what is happening and is going to happen to the N.T. Church. Like judgment came upon O.T. Israel because of apostasy so judgment will come upon the N.T. Church, because "Judgment must begin at the house of God".
We have read in Jer 32:2 that "Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the prison, which was in the king of Judah's house". We have also seen that Jeremiah was a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. Was Christ ever in prison? Well, Christ was in a literal prison only a short time before His execution. But spiritually He was in the prison of the wrath of God from the time that He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, Thursday evening, until the time that He died on the cross, on Friday afternoon, on April 3 in the year AD 33.
God says in Isa 53:8,
Isa 53:8, He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
God ties together Christ's prison and His Judgment, which was the time when He was subject to the wrath of God. When God chose a people for Himself to become the Bride of Christ, those people had a great debt to pay for their sins, which prevented them from coming into God's holy heaven. Since God is a Righteous Judge, the only way their sins could be washed away was by someone who is absolutely Righteous taking their place to pay for their sins. Therefore the Father sent the Lord Jesus Christ into the world to wash away our sins.
When the Lord Jesus was laden with our sins, He could not go back into God's holy heaven without paying this payment for our sins, which God's Law determined to be an eternity in Hell. Since Jesus Christ is God, He could pay this huge payment in a finite amount of time. Christ did not go to a place called Hell, but He suffered in His Body and in His Spirit the condition of being under the wrath of God, to the extent that it was equivalent to an eternity in Hell. He paid for His elect people a full satisfaction for their sins. But as long as Christ had not completed the full payment on the cross, He was spiritually in prison, unable to go anywhere.
The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Jeremiah was put in prison because He was the voice of God in Judah and in Jerusalem. Jeremiah made it clear that the whole nation was engulfed in wickedness, and there is Hell to pay. The Lord Jesus was put in prison (spiritually) because He not only was the voice of God, but He was totally identified with the message of God that there is Hell to pay.
But now, while Jeremiah was in prison a strange thing happened to him: God came to him and told him to buy a piece of land. WOW. Here we see land purchase number 6 peeking around the corner. God is developing another aspect of His salvation plan. Just like all the other land purchases, this land purchase is also closely tied to the cross of Christ. God says to Jeremiah:
Let's read verses 6-10
Jeremiah 32:6 And Jeremiah said, The word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Jeremiah 32:7 Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee, saying, Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is thine to buy it.
Jeremiah 32:8 So Hanameel mine uncle's son came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the LORD, and said unto me, Buy my field, I pray thee, that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is thine, and the redemption is thine; buy it for thyself. Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD.
Jeremiah 32:9 And I bought the field of Hanameel my uncle's son, that was in Anathoth, and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver.
Jeremiah 32:10 And I subscribed the evidence, and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances.
This land purchase occurred shortly before Babylon completely destroyed Judah and Jerusalem. Jeremiah knew that, and God knew that. What is going on? What is God telling us through this story?
God has prompted Hanameel, the cousin of Jeremiah, to come to him with this land deal. Hanameel means "God is Gracious". Through some financial distress Hanameel needed to sell his land in Anathoth. Jeremiah was to function as the "Kinsman", which is the same word as "Redeemer". The Law of Moses dictated that the land was to stay in the family, because the land was a picture of the inheritance of the Believers. The land had to be redeemed by the nearest of kin.
Christ came as our Redeemer, as our nearest Kinsman, so that we might have an inheritance. God is setting up a picture for us, of the purchase of our inheritance here in Jer 32. Jeremiah as a picture of Christ Himself, purchased this land.
All the previous 5 land purchases were purchased from the Gentiles. But here in Jer 32 it was purchased from "God is Gracious". Why did God make this switch? Probably because God wants us to focus on the purchase price: 17 shekels of silver. God wants us to focus on the number 17.
The number 17 is pointing to heaven. For example, Jacob escaped the famine in the land of Caanan, and he continued to live 17 years in Egypt, under the care and keeping of Joseph.
Another example is given in John 21:11, where at the command of Jesus the Disciples cast their net and caught 153 great fish. These 153 fish represent all those whom Christ came to save. 153 is the product of 3x3x17, which means, it is the definite purpose of God to bring His children into heaven. Jeremiah shows us the picture that Christ has redeemed us, so that we can enter into heavn.
#3. Then Jeremiah put The Deed in an Earthen Vessel (Jer 32:11-15). Let's read verses 11-15,
Jeremiah 32:11 So I took the evidence of the purchase, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open:
Jeremiah 32:12 And I gave the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, in the sight of Hanameel mine uncle's son, and in the presence of the witnesses that subscribed the book of the purchase, before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison.
Jeremiah 32:13 And I charged Baruch before them, saying,
Jeremiah 32:14 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days.
Jeremiah 32:15 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land.
The buying and selling of land goes with a deed.
What does God want to teach us with this deed in an earthen vessel? Jeremiah says in verse 10: I subscribed the evidence, or I signed the evidence and sealed it. Now the document was signed and sealed (no pun intended). Also in verse 12 the witnesses subscribed, or signed the book of the purchase. Who were the witnesses? You might think that Hanameel and Baruch were the witnesses, but it is very significant that God left the witnesses unnamed here. And the witnesses signed the book of the purchase "before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison". & it was put in a secure place.
One reason why this document was placed in an earthen vessel was to preserve it. For example the Dead Sea Scrolls were also documents, which were put in earthen vessels. God's command to Baruch the scribe was to preserve it for many years to come. What is the meaning of this document?
Well, if Jeremiah represents the Lord Jesus Christ, and Jeremiah in prison is a picture of Christ on the cross, then what did the Lord Jesus Christ purchase on the cross? What purchase did Christ sign
there "before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison"? The document that was signed in blood at the cross was God's Covenant of Grace, also known as the Gospel of Salvation.
This was not done in secret. God's plan of salvation was not done in a corner somewhere. Christ hung on the cross in the sight of all the Jews who were still in the spiritual court of Satan's prison of unbelief, under the wrath of God. That is a prison indeed, from which no one can escape, unless Christ opens the gate of this prison. But in order to do that, Christ had to go into the spiritual prison of God's wrath.
God has carefully outlined everything, and this purchase is a very well publicized action of God. The Bible is more widely publicized than any other book in the world. It has been the Bestseller of all times. Year after year the Bible outsells books on money, or sex, or food, or you name it. And this has been going on for centuries. So this purchase was certainly not done in a secret corner.
But there were two parts to it. One evidence was sealed, and one evidence was open.
The fact that it was sealed has two meanings: First, God's Covenant of Grace is still a mystery to most people. To them it is a closed and sealed document, which they cannot understand. And yet, God says it so plainly in the previous chapter. You must realize that the chapters and verse divisions were not in the original scrolls of the Bible. In Jeremiah chapter 31, God had stated the nature of the Covenant of Grace, just before God introduces the land purchase of chapter 32. Do they understan it
Jeremiah 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: (Look at who is doing all the action!)
Jeremiah 31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
Jeremiah 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Jeremiah 31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Who is taking the initiative? God is doing all the work. God must receive all the credit. Any interpretation of this text whereby Christ did all that He could, but now we must do our part, is an insult to God and to the nature of God. But man, proud man wants nothing to do with a Gospel where God takes 100% of the initiative and 100% of the work. And yet this text says it so plainly.
The second meaning of "Sealed" is when you seal a document. God's Covenant of Grace sealed the destiny of all those who are the recipients of God's Grace, and that is Good News for those whose eyes and ears have been opened by God the Holy Spirit, for they will hear and believe God's Word.
Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Paraphrased, God says to us: "You inheritance in heaven is absolutely guaranteed".
Please turn with me to Hebrews chapter 6. God confirmed this guarantee with an oath. God says:
Hebrews 6:17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
Hebrews 6:18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
For our comfort God stooped down, and declared it to us with an oath. Therefore, we have:
When we look at this land purchase by Jeremiah, we see the whole Gospel of God and it was sealed: It was written about, but very few in Israel understood it. There was so much information about the coming Messiah, and yet they remained in unbelief. They could not understand it, and yet it was all contained in the purchase of this land.
And when Christ went to the cross, this would start God's program to evangelize the world.
God says: Put this evidence of this purchase which is sealed and which is open in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days. When Christ bought us, He sealed this purchase with the Holy Spirit of promise, meaning what He sealed is absolutely guaranteed. He swore an oath to it.
Do we indeed believe it is the greatest treasure? God put this treasure of the knowledge of the glory of God in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power of our conversion may be of God, and not of us. Please turn with me to II Cor 4:6. God speaks of our conversion in II Cor 4:6-7,
2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
The Deed is all wrapped up in Christ. The treasure is hidden in Christ. But those to whom Christ reveals Himself, know the mystery of Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Therefore we look not for the things that are seen, but for the things which are not seen. We strive not for the things that are temporal, that are of this earth, but for the things that are eternal.
Are these truly the goals of our life? Do we indeed believe it is the greatest treasure?