Prophesy, Comfort, and Edification

{This Bible Study from Jeremiah is the 8th in the series of monthly
"Bible Studies in Jeremiah".}

Even as I John is the bottom line of progressive revelation on “ultimate
truth”, I Corinthians 14 with “he who prophesies speaks edification and
exhortation and comfort to men”  (I Cor 14:3) is the bottom line in the
progressive revelations of the Bible on the nature and content of
Prophesy.  This bottom line has more meaning to you as you consider:  (1)
the comforting promise of Jeremiah that prophesy would become more
widespread and democratic among God’s people; (2) it was fulfilled with
the Coming of the Holy Spirit on the first day of Pentecost after the
Ascension of Christ as young men and old men, males and females would
democratic prophesy with visions and dreams; (3) the Ascended Christ
gave gifts to men that included “prophets” as well as pastors, teachers,
evangelists, and apostles, and while there was some few holdovers of
prophets, like those who predicted the imprisonment of Paul {you will recall
the daughters of the evangelists Philip} of an exclusive nature, by and large
the prophets were ordinary members of the churches; and (4) finally in the
bottom line and biblical description of the nature and content of prophesy
in I Corinthians 14, you see how prophesy was when any church member,
pastor or otherwise, spoke in a local church, and the prophets became by
accepted practice--just like predicted in Jeremiah--as average members of
the church through whom the “rivers of living water” were flowing.

NOTE:  Granted, even latter also in first century context and beyond,
prophesy became very perverted as almost as many false prophets
and savage wolves who would scatter the flock also arose in the
land, in the churches, and from without; and remember that Jesus
predicted with prophesy in Matthew 24 that one outstanding
characteristic of the last days of the Falling Away would be that many
false prophets would arise and deceive many.

11-1:  Comforts and Edifications of Jeremiah.

1.  God will gather a remnant of Israel out of all countries and bring them
back to their folds with the result that they will “be fruitful and increase in
population”.

“But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I
have driven them, and bring them back to their fields; and they shall
be fruitful and increase.”  (Jeremiah 23:3)

NOTE:  Caution here:  while according to this promise of the return of
a remnant of the remnant {see Malachi and last historical books of the
Old Testament like Nehemiah} after 70 years of Captivity did happen
as promised in this comfort from God, it was primarily in order that in
the first century A.D. Christ could be born of this remnant, the whole
historical and later predictive elements of prophesy must be
considered:  (1) the Israel of the returned remnant did not keep
covenant with God in the majority with he inevitable consequences as
God has always guaranteed of more curses; (2) Daniel and Zechariah
also with predictive elements of prophesy that approximately one-third
of the Jews after the time of Christ would receive the blessings of
God, with persecution, and two-thirds of them would again become
“desolation” {the abomination of desolation of Daniel and the
eschatological teachings of Christ} and again be scattered;(3) false
prophets today take this promise of temporal restoration in the land
and confuse it with the many promises of comfort in Jeremiah and the
rest of the Prophets for the eternal restoration of all God’s people,
Jews and otherwise, in the land of the New Earth.

Of course, in the historical context of Judah and Jerusalem shortly to be
destroyed, the majority of citizens killed or scattered with a small number
taken captive to Babylon for 70 years, this comforting promise has
meaning only in the context of:  (1) the curse on “the shepherds” of the
people in 23:1 for whom God holds responsible for the scattering of His
sheep of His pasture, of the nations of both Judah and Israel (Jeremiah 23:
1); (2) God’s judgment that He will shortly attend properly with real justice
to those who did not properly “attend” to the flock of His own people “for
the evil of your doings” (23:2); (3) that God’s “heart within me is broken
because of the prophets”
{all the professionals, the official prophets and
priests except for Jeremiah were both profane to the extent that God
was completely disgusted with them and effectively vomited them out
of His mouth}
(much of Jeremiah chapter 23); and (4) “both prophet and
priest are profane”, God witnessed their wickedness in the very House of
God (Jeremiah 23:11).

2.  That brings us naturally to the eternal gathering of a remnant of the
remnant of Jeremiah, Jews and Gentiles mixed together as God’s people”,
the loomingly large promise of God for eternal comfort and edification.
“At that time {after the Second Coming of Christ and as the New Earth with
the New Jerusalem is ushered in as God eternally makes His habitation
with men, and as those selectively taken from each generation thereafter,
and from among Jews and Gentiles, to be God’s own people add up to
both a multitude of Gentiles that no man can number and the 144,000 of
the Jewish nation}, Jerusalem shall be called ‘The Throne of the LORD’,
and all the nations shall be gathered to Jerusalem.  No longer shall they
follow the dictates of their evil heart.”  (Jeremiah 3:17)
Hopefully you recognize the “at that time” as the time of the New Earth and
the New Jerusalem lowered down from heaven of Revelation 21 with:  (1)
a new heaven and a new earth because the old heaven and the old earth
have already passed away with a large bank and noise {scientists as you
have seen on National Geographic because of the detected shift in
magnetic north and south and the destructive results on this earth by the
reduced shield against comic radiation, are looking for another planet, out
of their impressive but foolhardily wisdom, fail generally to recognize that
God has other plans, a plan for the refurbishment of this old earth into a
new earth as the seas and all water is dried up (Revelation 21:1) from the
fervent heat predicted by the Apostle Peter (II Peter 3:10)}; (2) God
Himself “tabernacles” with men, living with them at His headquarters in the
New Jerusalem lowered down from heaven--”God Himself will be with them
and be their God” (Revelation 21:3).
One might say, “Did we read all that out of Jeremiah 3:17? Yes, and more,
and again and again in Old Testament prophesy.  
{You can check this
just by running the oft repeated predictions of the New Heaven and
the New Earth, even the New people with the new ability to know
God, of Isaiah and many other Old Testament books.  Please see
“The
New Earth” page. }.  It is very unfortunate that we have as many or more
false prophets and itching ears Bible teachers today who would confuse
you by way of mixing up the very limited return of a remnant in the first
comfort of this section (Jeremiah 23:3) with the eternal return of all God’s
people {still a remnant compared to the total population of the earth of all
history}, primarily by confusing you on which promise came when and in
what sequence, but also by ignoring the nature and content of all God’s
people as identified clearly by Paul in the book of Romans, the background
of which was provided in Daniel, Jeremiah, and Zechariah.

3.  For this eternal home on the New Earth only, Judah and Israel will come
together (Jeremiah 23:18); these people of God will faithfully call God “My
Father”  (23:19) and not turn away from God ever again; then in the full
since the land given to God’s people as “an inheritance” will become the
center nation around which all the Gentile nations of he saved and
redeemed will inhabit the new earth; then God will be able to put a few of
God’s people of Jeremiah among “the children” of “the pleasant land” (23:
19); and God will permanently heal all the backslidings of the people of
God (23:19).

4.  After the “at that time” of the temporal restoration from Babylonian and
Persian Captivity, comes the promise of “perfect” understanding in “the
latter times”, and above all this should point out to the false prophets and
itching ears Bible teachers today, the importance of considering when and
for what period of time the promises of comfort from God apply.  
Specifically, what is being talked about here is the fact of the ways and
character of God, that while He makes judgments at certain points in
history, the punishment of His anger and wrath come later.

“The anger of the LORD will not turn back until He has executed and
performed the thoughts of His heart.  In the latter days you will
understand it perfectly.”  (Jeremiah 23:20)

Even as God did not punish His own people at Mount Sinai immediately
after the evidence of the wholesale worship of the other god of the golden
calf, holding off for 40 more years in a punishment of death without sight of
the promised land and eternal death at the eternal punishment of the after
the “latter days”, so the process of from judgment to punishment normally
goes according to the revealed plan and program of God in 3 stages:  (1)
God’s acknowledged and public revelation of the judgement; (2) a patient
but sure to come judgment even 40 years later during life on earth; and (3)
an eternal judgment.  You see those 3 stages in the 23:30 verse above:  
(1) the anger of God; (2) then the two stage execution and performance of
the judgment of God in punishment, sometimes in correction and
chastisement; and (2) the final and eternal execution and performance of
judgment in eternity, good or bad.

{To be Continued; please bookmark and check back.}

.......Prophesy, Comfort, and Edification Continued.........

11-2:  Cycle of Bible Understanding in Jeremiah and Prophesy.

Once you get serious about your Bible study, and on Jeremiah and
Prophesy, you go through a cycle of Bible understanding:  (1) you are
amazed that God through the Prophet Jeremiah had all these bad things to
say about His own people, likewise surprised that God knew so much
about His own people of this generation, what they were doing on the
rooftops, under every grove of trees in the valleys, and on the hilltops as
well as in the Temple basement; (2) you are shocked about how bad off
the people of God were of that generation, worse than their forefathers
(Jeremiah 7:26), and that not one single person could be found in the
totality of Jerusalem who sought truth and properly executed judgment
(Jeremiah 5:1); (3) then when all seems gloom and doom you start to
detect in your reading and study of Jeremiah, words of “comfort” and
“edification”.
Yet that is the very nature of prophesy:  they are messages from God
through the Prophets during dark times with the three pronged nature of
prophesy of “comfort”, “exhortation”, and “edification”.  Just make sure that
as you begin to understand the exhortations of God’s judgment, God’s
punishment, and God’s demands of the Prophets and Prophesy like
Jeremiah, that you do not overlook the nature of the comfort and
edification.  Of course, in Jeremiah, it is the quality of the comfort and
edification that weighs two-thirds of the message of prophesy more than
the quantity.  Granted that while most of this largest prophetic message of
the Bible, Jeremiah, is largely about the exhortations of judgment, such as
the guaranteed 70 years of Captivity, like diamonds in the rough the fewer
verses on comfort and edification glisten and glow more profusely.  After
all even in the judgment of Captivity for 70 years is the promise of
Restoration which we now know took place during the historical days of
Ezra and Nehemiah.
In short, some of the greatest revelations of God of truth in the history of
man took place in the message of Jeremiah:  (1) individual instead of
group accountability for sins; (2) the promise of a day to come {now we
know to be during the time of Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit}
when men would be given through a new heart and mind the capability to
live up to the righteous demands of the law, the process that we have
come to call the new birth or regeneration; (3) a democratic means of
prophesy where young men, old men, males and females, large and small
would receive from the Ascended Christ and through the Holy Spirit the gift
of prophesy, the time when “Rivers of Living Water” would flow out of
believers; (4) the comforting promise of a new kind of people for God
made up of Jews and Gentiles; (5) a new King and a new kind of King for
these new people of God; and (6) a new Jerusalem lowered down from
heaven to the existing spot of Mount Zion surrounded by a new heaven
and a new earth.  And there is more!

11-3:  New King, the Lord Jesus Christ, of a New People of Jews and
Gentiles.

“Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, that I will raise to
David a Branch of righteousness, a King shall reign and prosper, and
execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.  In His days Judah
will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely.”  (Jeremiah 23:5,6)

It took a lot more Prophesy and Bible, alias “gradual revelations of God
and truth through the ages of the Bible, and especially the later
explanations of this Prophet Messiah/King, the Lord Jesus Christ during
His ministry on earth, to explain:  (1) that this kingdom of the King would be
set up in the hearts and minds of men during the life of Christ and grow
from generation to generation as believers were written in the book of life
of heaven as members of the church, the body of Christ; and (2) the
fulfillment of the reign of this King and the Kingdom would fully take place
only at the Second Coming of Christ as the new Jerusalem, new heavens,
and new earth took the place of the old.
1.  First God’s people of Israel and Judah would be brought back to the
Palestine of the first century for the birth of Christ; and during that period of
history they would no longer be talking about the rescue from Egyptian
bondage, but rather be talking about the rescue from Captivity in Babylon,
Persia, and Assyria, even Egypt where Jeremiah and some of the people
went.  (Jeremiah 23:7,8)
2.  After verses and a chapter on how bad all the official prophets and
priests were of that day, then comes the guarantee again of “edification”
later
{after the 70 years} in the land of Palestine and up to the time of
Christ.
(1).  Recall that with the destruction of Jerusalem and Judah, the really bad
ones of God’s own people were killed; and “for their own good” (Jeremiah
24:5), like “good figs”, God sent captive into the land of the Chaldeans.
(2).  Edification and Comfort.  These good figs will be returned to the land,
for edification and building up right up until 70 A.D.

“For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to
this land.  I will build them up {edification} and not pull them down,
and I will plant them {comfort} and not pluck them up.”  (Jeremiah 24:
6)

(3).  A New Heart of regeneration to know God, more comfort.

“Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and
they be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me
with their whole heart.”  (Jeremiah 24:7)

Of course, this started with the teachings and death of Christ on the cross
and then the Coming of the Holy Spirit with the new heart capability on the
first day of Pentecost after the Ascension.

{To be Continued; please bookmark and check back.  And in the
mean time, read the book of Jeremiah.  It was written by God
to you for that purpose through the Apostles and Prophets.
}