A continuation of the Jeremiah series. 

In the 21st chapter of Jeremiah, the last king of Judah summoned Jeremiah to request that the prophet inquire of Jehovah. No doubt aware of the salvation God had performed in the days of Hezekiah when the Assyrians invaded Judah only to have an angel slaughter Sennacherib’s entire army, now with Nebuchadnezzar laying siege to Jerusalem, the “deadly wounded wicked chieftain”, Zedekiah, implored Jeremiah: “Perhaps Jehovah will perform one of his wonderful works in our behalf, so that he will withdraw from us.”

Jehovah’s answer must have terrified the king. “Here I am turning around against you the weapons of war that are in your own hands, with which you are fighting the king of Babylon and the Chaldeans who are outside the wall besieging you. And I will gather them into the middle of this city. And I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm, with anger and wrath and great indignation. I will strike the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast. By a great pestilence they will die.”

God’s patience had run out.  In his mercy though, God still offered a way out, albeit on His terms: “Here I am putting before you the way of life and the way of death. Those who remain in this city will die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Chaldeans who are besieging you will keep living, and he will have his life as a spoil.” — Jeremiah 21:8-9

Jehovah’s terms for continued life were simple. Come out with your hands up. The Jews had to come to terms with the fact that the Babylonian invasion was a punishment from Jehovah. 

There is an overriding theme in prophecy. An empire under Satan’s command is used by God (Christ) to punish his wayward people. The punishment comes in the form of the sword (war), famine, and pestilence and for the survivors, captivity. 

The sword, famine, and pestilence, appear dozens of places in the prophecies of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Jerusalem is always destroyed and only a remnant is saved. And, of course, seals 2-4 of the symbolic scroll of Revelation containing God’s judgments are the horsemen who bring war, famine, and pestilence that claim a quarter of earth’s living human souls. 

Jesus reiterated this same scenario in his prophecy of the conclusion. First comes war, food shortages, and pestilence, along with great earthquakes. Then “Jerusalem” is surrounded and desolated by enemy nations. 

Just as Jehovah presented to Zedekiah and the Jews a way out, the way of life and death will be placed before every Christian during the time of the end. Jesus has pre-recorded life-saving instructions for that urgent time: “Therefore, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken about by Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place (let the reader use discernment), then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains. Let the man on the housetop not come down to take the goods out of his house, and let the man in the field not return to pick up his outer garment.” — Matthew 24:15-18

The book of Jeremiah is not in chronological order. In the 22nd chapter, Jeremiah spoke to Jehoiakim, who reigned before Nebuchadnezzar made Zedekiah a vassal king. At the time Jehoiakim was oppressed by Egypt and forced to pay tribute to Pharaoh. Nonetheless, the king of Judah could secure God’s blessing if he would do the following: “Uphold justice and righteousness. Rescue the one being robbed from the hand of the defrauder. Do not mistreat any foreign resident, and do not harm any fatherless child or widow. And do not shed any innocent blood in this place.” — Jeremiah 22:3

Unfortunately for the Jews, it was too much for the king. Jehovah went on to denounce the king of Judah for his outrageous injustices. Foremost, even though the treasury was empty Jehoiakim used the Jews to build a grand palace for himself, and then he defrauded the workers. God takes the king to task for this: Woe to the one who builds his house without righteousness and his upper rooms without justice, who makes his fellow man serve him for nothing, whose wages he refuses to pay; the one saying, ‘I will build for myself a roomy house with spacious upper rooms. I will fit it with windows and panel it with cedar and paint it with vermilion.’ Will you continue reigning because you outdo others in your use of cedar? Your father also ate and drank, but he upheld justice and righteousness, and it went well with him. He defended the legal claim of the afflicted one and the poor one, so that it went well. ‘Is that not what it means to know me?’ declares Jehovah. ‘But your eyes and heart are set only on your dishonest gain, on shedding innocent blood, and on committing fraud and extortion.’” — Jeremiah 22:13-17

Ultimately Jehoiakim was killed and his dead body left on the ground like an animal carcass—no doubt symbolizing the ignominious second death that many will experience during the time of the end. 

But what an amazing parallel between the last kings of Judah and the Governing Body today. Given the obligation to defend the legal rights of the most vulnerable the Watchtower has been waging legal warfare against sexual abuse victims. Untold millions of dollars have been paid out in secret settlements to avoid publicity by muzzling the victims with gag orders.

To add to their war chest the Watchtower has defrauded tens of thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses by evicting them from Kingdom halls they built and paid for in order to flip them on the hot real estate market. 

Using slave labor the leadership of the Watchtower has constructed for themselves a spacious headquarters facility nestled in a forest with lakefront views for the Governing Body’s luxurious condos. Living like kings they even named the Warwick address 1 Kings Drive. 

The final atrocity has come in the form of vaccine mandates, which have already resulted in death for some and possibly death for many more in the days ahead. Just as Jehovah long ago foresaw, their heart is set on dishonest gain and shedding innocent blood. All the while Jehovah’s Witnesses are being extorted for more and more—as the Ramapo Hollywood-style studio complex project is now underway. Any Christian who balks at the direction things are heading is castigated as being disloyal to Jehovah. 

The 22nd chapter of Jeremiah concludes with Jehovah’s judgment upon the kings of Judah: A wind will shepherd all your shepherds, and your passionate lovers will go into captivity. Then you will be put to shame and humiliated because of all your calamity. O you who dwell in Lebanon, nestled among the cedars, How you will groan when pangs come on you, anguish like that of a woman giving birth!” — Jeremiah 22:22,23

to be continued…

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