Friday, August 7, 2015
Foreshadowing The Lord’s Return
“For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it. And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them.” (Jeremiah 25:15-16)
God was very angry, not only with Judah, but with the other countries as well for their rejection of Him, and for their treatment of Judah. While he used them to punish Judah and Israel, they got carried away and would be punished as well. He gives another illustration of the coming Judgment. Once one has imbibed a beverage it is nearly impossible to prevent it’s having an effect on one’s body, and God wanted to drive home the fact that once the judgment started it would be very hard to stop it, and like drinking alcohol, they would not be able to control or escape the results.
“Then took I the cup at the LORD'S hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me: To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; as it is this day; Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people; And all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod, Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon, And all the kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon, and the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea, Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all that are in the utmost corners, And all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert, And all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes, And all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them.” (Jeremiah 25:17-26)
The warnings of the prophecy were not limited to Judah and Israel. Judah and Israel would become objects of contempt, but it would affect the peoples of Egypt, and those who the Assyrians had stirred together to destroy their nationalism, including those later known as Samaritans, as well. God’s judgment would be felt from the national level all the way down to the local communities. It would be felt by groups as diverse as the Philistines and the Phoenician Empire from Tyre and Sidon to Spain. All of the various countries in the Arabian Peninsula will be affected, including the ancient civilizations of Moab, Ammon and Edom that had been protected as relatives of Israel. It will reach beyond the immediate region to present day Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, finally reaching the kingdoms of the entire Middle East region. Babylon itself would be instrumental in destroying the others but ultimately, it would be destroyed as well.
“Therefore thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you. And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ye shall certainly drink. For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Jeremiah 25:27-29)
While some countries will join without a struggle, others will fight desperately to maintain their independence but ultimately all will be forced to capitulate. If God will bring such judgment on his chosen people, why should he allow the rest of the world to get by even worse behavior? I Peter 4:17-18 warns that Judgment just starts with those who believe. “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” God’s judgment will affect everyone.
“ Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD.
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.” (Jeremiah 25:30-33)
While this prophecy is primarily about Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon and the things that would happen in that day it closely resembles the prophecies in Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation about the events and judgement of the world at the end of the seven year Tribulation period. It even uses the same analogy of treading out the grapes that we see in Revelation 19:11-21, and some parts definitely appear to refer to the time of the Second Coming. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.”
So many will die that they won’t even be able to bury them before the scavengers eat the bodies. Ezekiel 39:12-15 describes the situation at the battle of Armageddon. “And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land. Yea, all the people of the land shall bury them; and it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified, saith the Lord GOD. And they shall sever out men of continual employment, passing through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth, to cleanse it: after the end of seven months shall they search. And the passengers that pass through the land, when any seeth a man's bone, then shall he set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamongog. The events prophesied here for Babylon give us a hint of what the Tribulation and Second Coming will be like. Evil will spread from nation to nation until god is left with no choice but to destroy them.
“Howl, ye shepherds, and cry; and wallow yourselves in the ashes, ye principal of the flock: for the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished; and ye shall fall like a pleasant vessel. And the shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape. A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and an howling of the principal of the flock, shall be heard: for the LORD hath spoiled their pasture. And the peaceable habitations are cut down because of the fierce anger of the LORD. He hath forsaken his covert, as the lion: for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppressor, and because of his fierce anger.” (Jeremiah 25:34-38)
Usually the leaders of a country are able to isolate themselves from the results of their decisions until the nations collapse completely. In the day of judgment those leaders and powerful people will find there is no where for them to run either. They will be crying out for help just as their people have been. God will be like a lion driven from his den because they have oppressed people so badly, leaving the land desolate.