Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Two Baskets Of Figs

Jeremiah 24:1-10

“The LORD showed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the LORD, after that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon.   One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad.” (Jeremiah 24:1-2)

This prophecy was given about eight or nine years after Nebuchadnezzar became king, shortly after Jehoiachin was carried away to Babylon as described in II Kings 24:10-17.  His uncle, Mattaniah was appointed King by Nebuchadnezzar, and his name was changed to Zedekiah.  In the vision Jeremiah sees two baskets of figs sitting in front of the Temple.  One basket was full of really good figs, while the other one was full of rotten and worm eaten figs that one would not dare try to eat. 

“Then said the LORD unto me, What seest thou, Jeremiah?

And I said, Figs; the good figs, very good; and the evil, very evil, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil.

Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,  Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.  For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up.  And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.” (Jeremiah 24:3-7)

When Jeremiah described what he saw in the vision, God explained what it meant.   The basket of good figs represented the people who had been carried away to Babylon.  Though it seemed like a terrible thing, they were being relocated for their own good.  One day God would bring them back from Babylon and they would be able to grow freely because God’s intention for them was only for their good.  Ultimately they would turn to the Lord with their whole heart, and would never again be taken out of the land.

An examination of history shows this prophecy has yet to be fulfilled.  Many of the Jews prospered during the Babylonian captivity and chose not to return to Israel when they were set free.    Though they returned to Judah after seventy years of captivity, the Jews who returned were still under Persian domination.  Later they fell to the Greek and eventually to the Romans.  Even during the times of Ezra and Nehemiah, they never fully turned to God, and were destroyed in 70 AD.  Israel did not exist again as a nation until 1948.  Never the less, God’s prophecy is still true, and will be fulfilled as described in Revelation.  Details are given in chapters 7, 11, 19, and 20.   

“And as the evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil; surely thus saith the LORD, So will I give Zedekiah the king of Judah, and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem, that remain in this land, and them that dwell in the land of Egypt: And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them.  And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers.” (Jeremiah 24:8-10)

The basket of rotten figs portrayed the rebellious Jews who remained in Jerusalem under Zedekiah.  They would rebel against both God and Nebuchadnezzar, eventually fleeing to Egypt to escape.  Those who fled to Egypt were killed as a result.  II Kings 25, II Chronicles 36, Jeremiah 37-43, and Ezekiel 17 describe their rebellions.  Throughout history Jews have been hated and persecuted with millions slaughtered by their enemies.  The hatred and destruction will continue until the rebellious ones are completely destroyed.    

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