Responding to God’s Call

KEY VERSE: “The Word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” —Jeremiah 1:4,5

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Jeremiah 1:4-10, 17-19

JEREMIAH was the last of Israel’s prophets before their years of captivity in the land of the Chaldeans. It was a difficult time and required a prophet with great confidence in God, willing to undergo much hardship and persecution. His message would be unpopular—it spoke of the destruction of Israel. Such a prophet was Jeremiah who was chosen from birth and prepared throughout his early years for this difficult task.

By nature Jeremiah was not a courageous man. He hesitated to accept the commission of the Lord to serve as a prophet, explaining that he was but a child. However, God reassured Jeremiah by the promise that he would be with him, and that he would be able to prophesy whatever he was commanded.

In exercising his commission to prophesy destruction, Jeremiah not only foretold the invasion of Israel and the taking of the people into captive slavery, but he lived to see it come to pass, experiencing the very things he had suffered so much for telling.

But that was not all—he spoke of many things that were still centuries in the future. He foretold that Babylon and other nations would be destroyed. However, his prophecies concerning the overthrow of Babylon have a larger fulfillment in the destruction of a symbolic, or mystic Babylon.

Chapters 50 and 51 of Jeremiah’s prophecy seem to refer particularly to the destruction of this symbolic Babylon, from which the Lord’s people are urged to flee. Symbolic Babylon is depicted as dwelling, or sitting, upon many waters, and the prophecies show that Jehovah’s judgments against her will mean her end.

Just as Jeremiah foretold, literal Babylon became a desolation, and we are confident that hi God’s due time, true to his prophecies, symbolic Babylon will also become equally desolated. Thereafter, God will turn to the people a pure language that they may all know and unitedly serve him.

As we have seen, Jeremiah foretold the going into captivity of this Israel, the destruction of literal and symbolic Babylon, and also the destruction of other ancient nations. However, he was also used of the Lord not only to forecast the return of Israel to their land following the seventy years of captivity, but also to forecast a much more far-reaching return of captives down here at the end of the present age, a return from their scattering among all nations.

The Lord told Jeremiah that he had set him over nations and kingdoms “to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant” Actually Jeremiah did none of these things. The evident reference is to the fact that the Lord would use him to prophesy concerning destruction, and planting, and building. From the way the Lord states the matter it would seem that he considers those whom he uses to forecast events, to that extent to have participated in them.

This is a very interesting and important viewpoint. It means that the Lord considers the declaration of truths concerning his plans as having a very important part in their accomplishment. This helps us to understand more clearly, for example, how we today can proclaim the “opening of the prison”—that is, the prison of death—“to them that are bound.” We cannot, while this side the veil, actually raise the dead, but we can and should announce the divine purpose to raise the dead; and by so doing, we are even now having a part in that glorious purpose.

We are not to pronounce vengeance upon the nations, nor to assist in the destruction of this present evil world, but it is our privilege to proclaim to the people the meaning of what is occurring in the earth, that it is a manifestation of God’s vengeance against systems of unrighteousness which must be set aside to make way for the kingdom of Christ. How wonderfully the Lord honors those who are faithful to the commission he gives them to speak for him!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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