Jer 1:11-12 I Will Be Wakeful as to My Word 8/12/2001

 

* Before I Formed Thee (Jer 1:4-5, Isa 49:1,5)

 

 

1. A Seething Pot (Jer 1:13-16, Job 41:20)

 

 

* All the Families of the North (Jer 1:15, II Cor 6:16, Rev 11:1-2)

 

 

* Touching All Their Wickedness (Jer 1:16)

 

 

 

2. Aaron's Rod That Blossomed (Num 17:1-5,8)

 

 

* A Rod of a Wakeful Tree (Jer 1:11-12, Gen 43:11, Ex 25:33-34)

 

 

* He Is Wakeful to Perform His Word (Jer 1:12, Ezek 12:21-25, Matt 12:30)

 

 

 

3. Why Must Judgment Come? (Eccl 8:11, Rom 8:3-4)

 

 

* They Worshipped Other Gods (Jer 1:16)

 

 

* Do We Look Forward to Judgment Day? (II Tim 4:8)

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Jeremiah, chapter 1. (2X) Jeremiah preached at least for 46 years in the nation of Judah. God commissioned Jeremiah very early in his life. We read in:

Jeremiah 1:4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

* Before I Formed Thee (Jer 1:4-5, Isa 49:1,5)

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.

God chose Jeremiah before Jeremiah chose God. Then God said: Unto the nations (plural)? That is peculiar language. Historically Jeremiah prophesied only to the Jews. What is the meaning of this verse? We get a little more insight into this question by comparing this with what God wrote in Isa 49,

Isaiah 49:1 Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.

These words are very similar to Jer 1:5. Who is God speaking about here? Listen to Isaiah 49:5,

Isaiah 49:5 And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious (2X) in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.

But we know that the purpose of the Gospel is that Christ be glorified. And when we carefully read Isa 49, we see that Isa 49 speaks about the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, when God chose the words that were written in Jer 1:5, God indicated thereby that Jeremiah was a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why Jeremiah is called to be a prophet unto the nations, because Christ was a prophet unto the nations. Verse 10 in Jer 1 also confirms this. Let me continue to read:

Jeremiah 1:6 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.

Jeremiah 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.

Jeremiah 1:8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 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.

Jeremiah 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.

Where do we read that Jeremiah was responsible for pulling down and building up nations and kingdoms? Nowhere. But as a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, he was indeed pulling down nations and kingdoms, because Christ is God, and He is responsible for pulling down nations and kingdoms, and to build up one kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, let us go to the second parable, verse 13,

1. A Seething Pot (Jer 1:13-16, Job 41:20)

Jeremiah 1:13 And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time, saying, What seest thou? And I said, I see a seething pot; and the face thereof is (toward) from the face of the north.

God showed Jeremiah a boiling pot. Normally a boiling pot is facing upwards. But this pot was tilted towards Judah, and the pot was located in the North. The pot was about to spill its contents over the kingdom of Judah. God explained this parable in this chapter of Jeremiah. God said in verse 14,

Jeremiah 1:14 Then the LORD said unto me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.

Jeremiah 1:15 For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the LORD; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah.

Jer 1:16 And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands.

With the parable of the boiling pot in the North, God indicated that a destroying nation would come from the North and would overrun the nation of Judah. In the O.T. often the North Country is identified with the kingdom of Satan. For example, the kingdom of Assyria came from the North, and destroyed the kingdom of Israel. The kingdom of Assyria also besieged Jerusalem during the reign of Hezekiah, and almost overran the entire nation of Judah. What God has in view here in Jer 1 is that the kingdom of Babylon was going to overrun Assyria and the armies of Babylon would come down to destroy the kingdom of Judah. Babylon was in the East, but the armies of Babylon would not march through the desert. They would march through the Fertile Crescent, so their armies would come from the North.

Is this really a picture of a disaster coming from the kingdom of Satan? Let's find out. There is one other verse in the Bible where a seething pot is mentioned. In Job 41 God gave a description of a beast name "Leviathan". When we search the Bible, we find that Leviathan is not a dinosaur, but Leviathan is another name for Satan. Then God says in Job 41:20,

Job 41:20 Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron.

Here is a clear indication that the seething pot in Jer 1:13 means that the evil, going to be poured out on Judah from the North, is coming from the kingdom of Satan. Has God lost control? No! This action by the kingdom of Satan is completely according to God's plans. God brings judgment on Judah because of all the wickedness that has been committed in the land of Judah.

But look carefully now how God describes this calamity to come. God speaks in verse 15 about:

* All the Families of the North (Jer 1:15, II Cor 6:16, Rev 11:1-2)

Jeremiah 1:15 For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the LORD; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah.

All the families of the kingdoms of the North are going to set up everyone his throne (2X) in the gates of Jerusalem, and round about Jerusalem, and throughout the land of Judah. But wait a minute. That was not what happened historically. The armies of Babylon destroyed the land, and then they left the land empty. Besides, there was not enough space in Judah to house all the families of the kingdoms of the North. But God does not lie. This verse will indeed be fulfilled, but in a spiritual sense, in the end of the N.T. era. Please turn with me to Revelation, chapter 11.

What is the N.T. Temple? It is the Body of Born Again Believers. God says (in II Cor 6:16),

2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, "I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."

When God speaks about the end of the N.T. era in Rev 11 and in Rev 13 God indicates that the N.T. Church will be overrun by false gospels, brought by emissaries of Satan. God says in Rev 11:1,

Revelation 11:1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

A building is being measured when it is still under construction. The Temple of God is not yet complete. Therefore, the scene of verse 1 refers to some time before Christ's return.

Then God writes in Rev 11:2,

Revelation 11:2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

What does the court outside the Temple represent? If the Temple represents the Body of Born Again Believers, then the court outside the Temple represents the people in the Church who are under the hearing of the Word, but they are not saved. Every Church has those people. Our Church is not an exception. But near the end of time, during the FTP, the fraction of unsaved people in the Church will have increased dramatically. That is why God writes: "The holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months". Forty-two months is symbolic for the duration of the FTP. The holy city is the city where the spiritual Temple of God is. In this verse, therefore, the holy city represents the externally visible Church. Rev 11:2 says that the emissaries of Satan, who are bringing their own false gospels into the Church, will overrun the Church. This is the sense in which "All the families of the kingdoms of the North shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem". Let's turn back to the Prophecy of Jeremiah, chapter 1. God says there:

* Touching All Their Wickedness (Jer 1:16, Matt 12:36)

Why did judgment come on the nation of Judah? Because of all their wickedness. God says in:

Jer 1:16 And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands.

Why must judgment come upon the Church? The Church seems so much closer to God than the heathen outside are. God says: "Because of all their wickedness". What is the wickedness that people in the Church commit? Well, it is spelled out here in verse 16.

1. They "have forsaken Me", Jehovah, the God of the Bible. Who is Jehovah? God the Father is

Jehovah. God the Son is Jehovah. God the Holy Spirit is Jehovah. And yet the Bible says, these three persons are One God, Jehovah. We do not argue with God, we do not try to make it all humanly comprehensible; we just accept those facts because they are in the Bible. Likewise, God says that He is sovereign, and that before the foundation of the world God chose those whom He wanted to save out of this miserable bunch of mankind that are on the way to Hell. Then likewise, we do not argue with God, we do not try to make it all humanly comprehensible; we just accept those facts because they are in the Bible. We do not abandon the God of the Bible for the sake of human rationality. But that is what many churches today have done, and it is an abomination to God.

2. They "have burned incense unto other gods". Which other gods? We read in Jer 44 that they burned incense to many gods. Let me just name one. We read in Jer 44 that they burned incense to the "Queen of Heaven". Well, that is utterly silly. But did you know: Today there are many churches that also worship Mary, the mother of Jesus, as the "Queen of Heaven"? And today they literally burn incense to her. God warned us in Jer 44 that we should not commit such idolatry, but who reads Jeremiah 44 today? It is no wonder God says: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge".

3. They have "worshipped the works of their own hands". Do people today worship the work of their own hands? Yes, they do! This encompasses a list that is too long for this sermon. But let me just focus on one area. The Sunday Sabbath was set apart by God for worship of Him alone. And yet, what are the two major works of our own hands that are being worshipped on Sundays? First of all: Sports. There are sports on TV, which occupy a great deal of our time on Sundays. But that is not all. Coaches in our schools schedule meetings and tournaments on Sundays. Young people are trained to practice sports on Sundays. And when they grow up they flock to the stadiums on Sundays. Churches have abandoned the second Service in the afternoon or in the evening because the sports take up that time. When we adore the sports on Sundays, are not these the works of our own hands?

Secondly, affluent people flock to restaurants on Sundays and put to work those who are less fortunate materially. Sunday has become the busiest day for restaurants. What does God say about making others work for us on Sundays? But people reason in their mind: Never mind what the Bible says. This is my day. I have worked hard during the week, and I need this little extravagance on Sunday. I have earned it and I will spend it when I want. When we adore the principle: Sunday is my day, I have earned it, I will give my business to the restaurants, is not this the work of our own hands? Is it then any wonder that the worship of Christ goes down the drain?

Now, let us look at the first parable in this chapter: "The rod of an almond tree". We read in V. 11,

Jeremiah 1:11 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree.

God did not explain this parable. We must search it out. The first key is the almond tree. The same Heb word for "almond tree" is found in Num 17. Please turn with me to Numbers, chapter 17.

2. Aaron's Rod That Blossomed (Num 17:1-5,8)

In Numbers 16 there was a rebellion in the Congregation in the wilderness. There were others who wanted to take the place of Moses and Aaron. To settle the matter of who could be High Priest, God orchestrated the events in Numbers 17. There God said:

Numbers 17:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

Numbers 17:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of every one of them a rod according to the house of their fathers, of all their princes according to the house of their fathers twelve rods: write thou every man's name upon his rod.

Numbers 17:3 And thou shalt write Aaron's name upon the rod of Levi: for one rod shall be for the head of the house of their fathers.

Numbers 17:4 And thou shalt lay them up in the tabernacle of the congregation before the testimony, (which means: the Ark of the Covenant) where I will meet with you.

Numbers 17:5 And it shall come to pass, that the man's rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom (2X) and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you.

Moses collected those rods, representing each of the tribes of the children of Israel, and Moses placed these dead sticks of wood in front of the Ark of the Covenant. Then the next day:

Numbers 17:8 And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.

This Hebrew word for "almonds" is the same word that has been translated "almond tree" in Jer 1:11. What was the significance of Aaron's rod that budded? This dead stick that had come to life represented Christ who was dead and came back to life. This rod was so important that later it was placed in the Ark of the Covenant, together with the Tables of the Ten Commandments, and the pot with manna. Thus we see in the Ark: the Tables of the Covenant, representing Christ as the Word of God, and the pot with manna, representing Christ as the Bread of Life, and Aaron's rod that budded, representing Christ as the giver of life. The first time Christ came, He came as the giver of life.

Why are we looking at this story in Num 17? Well, Aaron's rod that budded was a rod from an almond tree, and in Jer 1:11 we see again a rod from an almond tree. Let's turn again to Jer 1:11.

* A Rod of a Wakeful Tree (Jer 1:11-12, Gen 43:11, Ex 25:33-34)

Jeremiah 1:11 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree.

Jer 1:12 Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.

Here in Jer 1:11 and in Num 17:8 are the only two places in the Bible where a rod of an almond tree is mentioned. Therefore, in both places the rod of an almond tree is a representation of the Lord Jesus Christ. The same Hebrew word is used for almond as well as almond tree. This Hebrew word for almond is literally the word "wakeful", or "watchful", or "alert". The almond tree is literally the "watchful tree", or the "wakeful tree", or the "tree that is alert". The Hebrews gave this name to that tree because it is putting forth its blossoms so early, in January and February, and bearing fruit in March. It illustrates the haste with which God intends to execute His purpose.

The first time Christ came, He came as the giver of life. This is illustrated by the fact that Aaron's rod was bearing fruit: almonds. What do the almonds represent? We can learn that from the first occurrence of that Hebrew word, in Gen 43:11. There was a severe famine in the land of Canaan. Jacob sent his sons for the second time to Egypt to buy grain, and Jacob said in Gen 43:11,

Genesis 43:11 And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land (2X) in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds (2X).

Jacob made a special effort to please the Egyptians, and God recorded especially almonds, even though nuts were already included. How were these almonds characterized? They were the best fruits in the land, even in a time of famine. What are the best fruits in the Promised Land? The Saints, the Born Again Believers are the best fruits in the kingdom of God. Aaron's rod was bearing almonds.

This is also confirmed by the manner in which almonds were portrayed in the Ceremonial Law. When God instructed Moses to make a candlestick for the Tabernacle, God specified in Ex 25:33,

Exodus 25:33 Three bowls made like unto almonds, with a knob and a flower in one branch; and three bowls made like almonds in the other branch, with a knob and a flower: so in the six branches that come out of the candlestick.

Exodus 25:34 And in the candlestick shall be four bowls made like unto almonds, with their knobs and their flowers.

The spiritual meaning of the candlestick is that it represents the Church, according to Rev 1. The bowls of the candlestick, where the lights are burning are shaped like almonds. These lights represent the individual Believers. The Lord Jesus said: "Ye are the light of the world". Aaron's rod, representing Christ, was bearing almonds, representing the Believers.

But in Jer 1:11 there is no indication of blossoms or fruit. Jeremiah just knew that it was the rod of an almond tree. Why was there no mention of blossoms or almonds? Because it corresponded with a period of great apostasy in the nation of Judah. God was coming to them as the Judge. Likewise, when Christ comes again, Christ comes as the Judge, and it will be in a period of great apostasy in the Church. That is why we read in Jer 1:12 that:

* He Is Wakeful to Perform His Word (Jer 1:12, Ezek 12:21-25, Matt 12:36)

Jer 1:12 Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.

In the Hebrew text this is a play on words, referring to the almond tree as the wakeful tree. Literally

God said: "Thou hast well seen: for I will be wakeful over My Word to perform it". In what context did God say these words? The context is that God was bringing judgment on the nation of Judah, because of their apostasy. But since verses 10 and 15 cannot be interpreted historically, we know that the spiritual context is that God brings judgment on the Church in a period of great apostasy near the end of time. God will be faithful to everything He says in His Word, and God will be faithful to all the judgments He promised in His Word. To this the words in Ezek 12 so fitly apply. Perhaps you remember that we read from Ezek 12 last week. God says in Ezek 12:21-25,

Ezekiel 12:21 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Ezekiel 12:22 Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth? (Saying: The days are prolonged, every prophesy faileth).

Ezekiel 12:23-24 Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel.

Ezekiel 12:25 For I am the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord GOD.

Jeremiah began to preach 40 years before Jerusalem was destroyed. Although the destruction of Jerusalem was still 40 years in the future, in God's terminology their judgment would come soon. How soon? For example, if today someone would die unsaved, that person's soul would enter a state of unconscious existence. In the next conscious moment that person would be standing before the judgment throne of God, and would we judged for all his sins. The Lord Jesus said:

Matthew 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

God is wakeful over His Word to perform it. Christ, the rod of an almond tree is always awake to carry out the promises and judgments stated in His Word. Nobody gets away with anything.

3. Why Must Judgment Come? (Eccl 8:11, Rom 8:3-4)

God says that the human heart is "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked" (Jer 17:9). Please turn with me to Ecclesiastes chapter 8. Why must God judge all sins? God is a righteous judge, and God will by no means clear the guilty. God must punish every sin that is committed against Him, because He is righteous. Here in Eccl 8:11 God gives us a precious insight into the heart of man

Ecclesiastes 8:11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

People do not feel the sentence of Hell, and most people today do not believe it either. Many churches today embrace the heresy that there is no Hell. Never mind that Hell is mentioned more than 100 times in the Bible. People today are not interested in reading that. Therefore, "there is no fear of God before their eyes". But even if they would read about Hell, knowledge of the Law does not change a human soul. How can we escape the judgment of Hell? What is required is that our sins be forgiven and that we receive a new soul. How do we receive a new soul? God says in Rom 8:3-4,

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Romans 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

The Law cannot change us, because in our flesh we still lust after sin. But God made the change for us, by sending His only begotten Son into this world, and God gave Him a body of flesh. That is why the Lord Jesus Christ could take upon Himself our sins committed in human flesh, and God condemned those sins in the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. In order to take on our sins the Lord Jesus had to be our representative, as stated in Rom 5, so that He would be able to suffer for our sins in our place, as our representative. -------------------------- ------------------------- -----------------------

The next phase in God's salvation plan was that the Good News that Christ paid for our sins, the Gospel was and is proclaimed throughout the world. God calls on the entire human race to believe the message of the Bible. But who will believe the Gospel on God's terms? The Bible says: "There is NONE that understandeth, there is NONE that seeketh after God". No one will believe the Gospel on God's terms. God's terms are that God remains in full control of who will be saved. Only those whom God intends to save will be drawn to believe the Gospel of the Bible. And so God's plan of salvation is being fulfilled exactly down to the last nuts and bolts.

We must examine ourselves if we have been saved. Do we believe God at His Word, or do we figure out our own plan of salvation? These days many churches have figured out their own plan of salvation, which is usually based on some tangible evidence, based on some kind of a work of man. But God does not put His trust in the works of man. God is sovereign. The Bible says that God saves whom He wants to save. But that is unacceptable to mankind. They rather worship other gods.

* They Worshipped Other Gods in the days of Jeremiah. (Jer 1:16)

God spoke about that in Jer 1:16,

Jer 1:16 And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands.

Already in the days of Jeremiah the Jews had trouble to worship a God who is a Spirit. But today, in their efforts to rationalize the almighty, infinite God, people have invented various concepts of gods that are making a mockery of the God of the Bible. They have come to worship gods of their own liking, that are no better than the heathen images of 3000 years ago.

How can we know if we are worshipping the only true God? The Bible gives us a simple answer to

that question. God says in Rev 22:18-19,

Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

Rev 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Obviously, the words of the prophecy of this Book, and the words of the Book of this prophecy are both referring to the Bible, and the Bible only. People who violate these two verses are worshipping other gods, and are not saved. It is true that Christ is our only escape from Judgment, but we obtain this information only from the Bible. If we trust the Bible only then God will not let us down.

* Do We Look Forward to Judgment Day? (II Tim 4:8)

The big question is: When Christ comes again, does He come for me as the Savior, or as the Judge? Did the Jews of the days of Jeremiah look forward to Judgment day? No, they did not, because they feared God as the Judge. They have forsaken Him, they have burned incense to other gods and they have worshipped the work of their own hands. In short, they were doing their own thing. "Every man did that which was right in his own eyes".

But if we trust in Christ, the only righteous one who qualifies to be our substitute, and if we believe that God has saved us by His grace and has given us this faith, that His salvation is not based on anything that we have done but is entirely by His grace, and if we can see in our life that God has given us a fervent desire to do His will, then we can know for sure that we have escaped the judgment part of Judgment Day.

Are we hastening toward Judgment Day? When we share the Gospel with others, we are actually hastening toward Judgment Day, because when the last of the elect will have been saved, Christ will come to take us home. Then we can say with the Apostle Paul that we love His appearing:

2 Tim 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

When Christ shall appear, He will come with a shout, with the loud voice of the chief messenger, which will be a great sound of the trumpet of God. All the people of the earth shall see Him and they shall hear Him. The sound of His voice will be so loud that all the people will tremble, like Israel trembled at Mount Sinai. But would we love His appearing if our eardrums are almost bursting?

No. We will no longer be on earth. We will be on the side of the Lord Jesus when He comes down to earth accompanied by His Saints, to judge those that are on the earth because they worship other gods. Pray to God that we all will be on the side of Christ when He makes His appearing. Only at His side will we love His appearing. Let us pray.