A continuation of the Jeremiah series.
In the 18th chapter of Jeremiah Jehovah commanded his prophet to go to the workshop of a certain potter as he was working with a lump of clay on the potter’s wheel. The piece the potter was shaping became ruined and so he reworked it into a different shaped vessel. Jehovah then made a comparison, saying to Jeremiah: “‘Can I not do to you just as this potter did, O house of Israel?’ declares Jehovah. ‘Look! As the clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.’” — Jeremiah 18:6
God applied the metaphor. “But whenever I speak about building up and planting a nation or a kingdom, and it does what is bad in my eyes and does not obey my voice, I will change my mind concerning the good that I intended to do for it. Now say, please, to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, ‘This is what Jehovah says: “Here I am preparing a calamity and devising a scheme against you. Turn back, please, from your bad ways, and reform your ways and your practices.”” — Jeremiah 18:9-11
As the Potter, Jehovah ruined the project He had been working on and reworked the clay into something else. In reality, God had Jerusalem and the temple completely destroyed and then a chastened remnant returned from Babylon and rebuilt the city and temple. The repatriated Jews never again took up the worship of Baal. That suited God’s purpose in preparation for the appearance of the Messiah.
The birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus changed the course of history. It began the Christian era. Since the first century of the Christian age, God has been building a spiritual temple composed of anointed building blocks. The next epic phase of God’s eternal purpose will begin when Christ begins ruling as Jehovah’s appointed King.
Just as Christ twice inspected his Father’s house during the course of his brief ministry Jesus will also come to examine the spiritual temple. He shall not find it to be as it ought to be. Thus, the spiritual nation or kingdom will undergo a fiery purge. Jehovah is preparing just such a calamity. He is devising a scheme against His own nation.
Originally Jehovah commissioned Babylon to serve as His forge hammer to smash the nations. Babylon foreshadows the eighth king. How do we know? The book of Habakkuk verifies that the Chaldean represents the last kingdom. Habakkuk was presented with a vision, “For the vision is yet for its appointed time, and it is rushing toward its end, and it will not lie. Even if it should delay, keep in expectation of it! For it will without fail come true. It will not be late!”
The vision had to do with the Chaldean dispossessing and exterminating entire nations. The rampage of the Chaldean provokes God to respond and the way it is described in the 3rd chapter of Habakkuk it is evident that it will be fulfilled by the manifestation of Christ. “His majesty covered the heavens; with his praise the earth was filled. His brightness was like the light. Two rays flashed from his hand, where his strength was hidden. Before him went pestilence, and burning fever followed at his feet. He stood still and shook the earth. With a look, he made nations leap. The eternal mountains were smashed, and the ancient hills bowed down. The paths of long ago are his.” — Hab. 3:3-6
God said of the genocidal conspiracy that even if one hears of it they will not believe it. It is unbelievable. Such is the nature of the scheme that Jehovah is devising against the wicked nation.
Habakkuk said of the Chaldeans: “All of them come bent on violence. The assembling of their faces is like the east wind, and they scoop up captives like sand.” — Hab 1:9 At Jeremiah 18:17 God speaks similarly: “Like the east wind, I will scatter them before the enemy. I will show them my back, not my face, in the day of their disaster.”
Jeremiah’s message was delivered. The Jewish leadership responded: “And they said: ‘Come, let us devise a plot against Jeremiah, for the law will not perish from our priests or counsel from the wise men or the word from the prophets. Come and let us speak against him and pay no attention to what he says.”’ — Jeremiah 18:18
It really was a contest between Jeremiah, who spoke for Jehovah, and the Jewish establishment who presumed to be the keepers of the truth and the practicers of pure worship. Because of their plot to kill him Jeremiah capitulated and called for God to execute judgment against his antagonists: “Do pay attention to me, O Jehovah, and listen to what my opponents are saying. Should good be repaid with bad? For they have dug a pit for my life. Remember how I stood before you to speak good about them, to turn your wrath away from them. So give their sons over to the famine, and hand them over to the power of the sword. May their wives become bereaved of children and widowed. May their men be killed with deadly plague, their young men struck down with the sword in battle.” — Jeremiah 18:19-21
Like the Jewish establishment of old, the Watchtower has been put on notice. For example, as far back as 1997 I presented essays to various members of the Governing Body and department heads on the topic of the prophecy of Joel. After several years of no response, I also began publishing articles on the Internet exploring the same prophecy. After more than 20 years the Watchtower got the message. Their response was published in 2020 in an article entitled An Attack Coming from the North!
At last, they dropped their absurd interpretation that the locust invaders symbolized Jehovah’s Witnesses. That may seem like the dawn of new light. It is not. Despite the fact that the attack of the northerner is a precursor to the fear-inspiring day of Jehovah and the fact that the very title of the article implies there is an attack coming in the future, Bethel’s prophets have declared that the book of Joel has no application to modern times. Even though Babylon is not even mentioned in the entire prophecy of Joel the Watchtower makes the following statement in paragraph 17:
What has changed? We now have a more accurate understanding of the prophecy found at Joel 2:7-9. Simply put, these verses refer, not to our zealous preaching work, but to the activity of the Babylonian army that invaded Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E.
Just like the Jews said in response to Jeremiah’s message, the priests and prophets of Bethel have paid no attention. They imagine they will prevail by invalidating prophecy, explaining it away into irrelevance. But they will not prevail. Jehovah has devised a scheme against them. And shortly will come the sword, famine, and pestilence signaling that the conclusion has at last arrived and the judgment has begun.
I concur with Jeremiah’s concluding words: “But you, O Jehovah, well know all their schemes against me to kill me. Do not cover their error, and do not wipe out their sin from before you. Let them stumble before you when you take action against them in your anger.” — Jeremiah 18:23