The Enemy In the Gate & A Prophet In the Prison

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah of the priests of Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters thirty-nine through forty-three of this Old Testament book. When the thirty-eighth chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah ends and concludes, it does so with Jeremiah abiding in the court of the prison until the day Jerusalem was taken. It’s something truly intriguing to consider the fact that when the enemy and adversary was outside the wall and gates of the city the prophet was shut up in the court of the prison. The enemy and adversary was outside the wall and gates of the city of Jerusalem, and the enemy was threatening to invade, enter into and take over the city, and the prophet of God—that singular voice which had prophesied and spoken for the LORD of hosts for more than three decades now—was shut up in the court of the prison. It’s something worth noting and something worth pointing out when you think about and consider the fact that when the enemy was at the gate of the city, the prophetic voice and messenger for the living God was shut up in the court of the prison. What’s more, is that if you read the middle chapters of the prophetic book of Jeremiah you will find a tremendous amount of language concerning Job and his being shut up in the court of the prison, and at one point in time we actually find Jeremiah being placed in a pit which had no water and only mire. At one point within the prophetic book of Jeremiah we find this prophet of the living God being cast into a place where he would actually sink in the mire before finally being rescued by a eunuch who served in the palace of the king. The prophetic book of Jeremiah is just as much a book about the persecution of Jeremiah as it is a book about the prophetic word which Jeremiah would bring forth and deliver in the hearing of the people of Judah and Jerusalem. During the days of the Josiah king of Judah were would not once find Jeremiah being shut up in the court of the prison, nor would we find Jeremiah being cast into the pit where men thought he would rot and eventually die. It wouldn’t be until the days of Jehoiakim king of Judah, as well as Zedekiah king of Judah that we actually find Jeremiah shut up in the court of the prison—a place Jeremiah would be until the days when the city of Jerusalem was taken. We dare not miss and lose sight of this absolutely tremendous reality, for it’s actually a truly tragic prophetic picture of that nation which has turned and continues to turn from the LORD as they imprison the prophet of the LORD—even when the enemy and adversary is outside the wall and gates of the city.

Stop for a moment and think about the fact that the enemy and adversary was outside the wall and gates of the city, and the enemy was threatening to enter into and invade the city of the Great King, and the prophetic voice of the LORD was shut up in the court of the prison. I can’t help but wonder what it must have been like for Jeremiah during those final days leading up to the judgment and wrath being executed and poured out upon the city of Jerusalem—not merely because of the sins of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, but also because Zedekiah refused to serve the king of Babylon in the midst of the land of Judah. The prophet Jeremiah warned and pleaded with Zedekiah concerning the king of Babylon, and advised and instructed him to serve the king of Babylon and not to rebel against him, and yet he refused to bend the knee and bring his neck under the yoke and burden of the king of Babylon. It would be because of Zedekiah’s spirit of defiance before and against the LORD of hosts that the LORD would actually allow the city of Jerusalem to be taken by the king of Babylon—and not only allow the city of Jerusalem to be taken, but also allow the Temple of the LORD to be utterly and completely destroyed by fire. The LORD would give the city of Jerusalem into the hands of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, yet it would be Nebuzar-Adan the captain of the guard who would enter into the city of Jerusalem and would destroy the Temple of the LORD with fire. Part of the reason Jeremiah would be placed in the court of the prison would be because of the prophetic word he brought forth unto the kings of Judah—namely, that the city of Jerusalem would be given over into the hands of the king of Babylon, and that the Babylonian army would invade the land as a divine instrument in the hand of the LORD. Jeremiah would prophesy unto the princes, the prophets, the priests, and even the king and rulers of Judah the coming judgment and wrath of the LORD, and what we find and read within these chapters is a the fulfillment of all Jeremiah prophesied actually coming to pass in the midst of the land. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for it helps us understand the enemy at the gate and the prophet in court of the prison. THE ENEMY AT THE GATE AND THE PROPHET IN THE PRISON.

In order for us to truly understand the narrative and language we find within these chapters it is absolutely necessary for us to think about and consider the references found within the prophetic book of Jeremiah concerning this prophet of the LORD being shut up in the court of the prison—and not only his being shut up in the court of the prison, but also different conspiracies to put him to death. The further you delve into the prophetic book of Jeremiah the more you will encounter the great opposition and resistance which rose up against him by the prophets, the priests, the princes, the rulers, and the people of the land. What’s more, is that even Jehoiakim and Zedekiah—both who ruled and reigned as king in the midst of the land of Judah—would rise up against Jeremiah, and vehemently oppose him. Although there appeared to be a certain compassion within the heart of Zedekiah toward and concerning Jeremiah we find Jehoiakim utterly abhorring Jeremiah. It would be during the days of Jehoiakim king of Judah the affliction, the opposition, the restistance the persecution of Jeremiah would reach its absolutely zenith and pinnacle, and it would be during those days we would find Jeremiah being imprisoned, and even those who would attempt to put him to death. With all of this being said, I invite you to consider the words and verses found within this prophetic book which describe and outline Jeremiah being shut up in the court of the prison, and Jeremiah being shut up by those who would seek to silence his voice in the midst of the land. If there is one thing we must recognize and understand when reading these chapters found within the prophetic book of Jeremiah it’s that their shutting him up in the court of the prison was a powerful attempt to silence his voice and shut him up during days of judgment and wrath. We dare not miss and lose sight of this truly tremendous reality, for it has always been the nature of man to try and silence the voice of the prophet during times of judgment and wrath in the midst of the nation and land. During times of judgment and wrath there have always been and there will always be those who can and will attempt to silence the voice of the prophet through opposition, resistance, persecution, and even attempting to shut them up in the midst of the land. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this reality, for to do so would be to miss a powerful reality during days of judgment and wrath. In fact, I would dare say that one of the greatest signs and witnesses against a nation on the verge of judgment and the wrath of the LORD is the attempt to silence the voice of the prophetic in the midst of the land. There has always and there will always be this collective—almost unified—effort to try and silence the voice of the prophet, and ultimately to silence the voice of God in the midst of the land.

If and as you read the words which are found in the prophetic book of Jeremiah you will find that eventually and ultimately there would come a point when neither king nor rulers, neither prophets nor priests, nor even the people desired to hear and listen to the word of the LORD being spoken among them in their midst. You cannot read the book of Jeremiah and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that during days of judgment and wrath within and upon a nation—not only will religion seek to silence the voice of the LORD, but so also will the government and the political arena seek to silence the voice of God, I am firmly and completely convinced that one of the greatest witnesses against a nation living on the verge of the divine judgment and wrath of the LORD is this almost pervasive attempt to silence the voice of the prophet, and even to shut the voice of God up in the midst of a figurative “court of the prison.” I can’t help but wonder if the people during the days of Jehoiakim and Zedekiah truly felt and believed that shutting Jeremiah up in the court of the prison would somehow silence the voice of the LORD and turn off the alarm, the warning and trumpet which was being sounded in the midst of the land. We cannot ignore and quickly move past and lose sight of this reality, for Jeremiah’s being shut up in the court of the prison would be a powerful statement of defiance and rebellion against the one true and living God. Through their shutting Jeremiah up in the court of the prison the people of Judah and Jerusalem actually thought and believed they could silence the voice of the living God speaking unto them. Even as I sit here today I can’t help but wonder if the voice of the LORD is not the loudest during days of judgment and wrath. Is it possible that the voice of the LORD is the greatest and loudest during days of judgment and wrath which are about to come upon and consume a nation that has lived in defiance and rebellion against the one true and living God?

With all of this in mind I firmly believe that it’s necessary to consider the various references found within this prophetic book concerning Jeremiah and his being shut up in the court of the prison during the days of Jehoiakim and Zedekiah. During the days of Josiah king of Judah—even though judgment and wrath would still be at the door and upon the horizon—Jeremiah would be able to freely move in the midst of the land of Judah, in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. It wouldn’t be until the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah Jeremiah would be seized and shut up in the court of the prison where men would have assumed leave him to perish from the face of the earth. I believe it is necessary to consider the various references found within the prophetic book of Jeremiah—not only concerning his being shut up in the court of the prison, but also his being shut up and no longer able to move freely within the city of Jerusalem and the Temple of the LORD. It’s interesting to think about and consider the fact that in chapter seven and twenty-six we find Jeremiah still being able to move freely in the Temple and house of the LORD, and yet as we progress closer and closer to the judgment and wrath of the LORD we find Jeremiah being unable to enter into the court of the house of the LORD. As surely as I am convinced the prophet being shut up in the court of the prison and unable to move freely in the midst of the land is a powerful witness of judgment and wrath upon a nation and people, so also is the restriction of the prophet and the voice of God being unable to move freely within and enter into the house of the LORD an even greater sign of judgment and wrath upon a nation and people. One of the most intriguing realities about the prophetic book of Jeremiah is that up until the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah Jeremiah was not only free to enter into the court of the Temple of the LORD, but Jeremiah was also able to stand in the court of the Temple of the LORD and there proclaim the word of the LORD. What a stark contrast is found in the prophetic book of Jeremiah from the prophet standing in the house of the LORD and the enemy seated in the midst of the city of the Great King. How powerful it is to think about the fact that the prophet can no longer stand in the court of the house of the LORD and there proclaim the word of the LORD, but the enemy and adversary can enter into the city of the Great King and unleash and wreak havoc in the midst of the city. What’s more, is that I would dare say that when the prophet can no longer stand in the court of the LORD it might very well be a strong and powerful portent of the enemy and adversary burning and destroying the Temple of the LORD as Nebuzar-Adan the captain of the guard did in the midst of the land of Judah and the city of Jerusalem.

WHEN THE PROPHET CAN NO LONGER STAND IN THE COURT THE ENEMY IS FREE TO SIT IN THE GATE! ENEMIES IN THE GATES AND PROPHETS IN PRISON! The more I think about and consider the words which are found within the prophetic book fo Jeremiah the more I can’t help but be confronted with the tremendous reality that at one point in time Jeremiah was able to stand in the court of the house of the LORD, and even as recently as the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah the prophet Jeremiah was able to stand in the court of the house of the LORD. By the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim, however, we find Jeremiah no longer able to stand in the court of the house of the LORD but being shut up and unable to enter. At some point within the first four years of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah something shifted and something changed in the midst of the land of Judah, and the prophet who was once free to enter in and stand in the court of the house of the LORD was no longer able to do so. Jeremiah stood in the court of the house of the LORD, and there in the midst of the court of the house of the LORD would prophesy and proclaim the word of the LORD unto the people freely—that was until the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah. It would be at some point during those first four years of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah that not only would Jeremiah no longer be able to stand in the court of the house of the LORD, but would be shut up in the court of the prison. FROM STANDING IN THE COURT OF THE HOUSE OF THE LORD TO BEING SHUT UP IN THE COURT OF THE PRISON! What a tremendous picture it is reading the prophetic book of Jeremiah and seeing the prophet at one point in time being able to stand in the court of the house of the LORD, and yet there coming a point in time when the prophet was no longer able to enter into the court of the LORD—much less actually stand in the court of the house of the LORD. With this in mind, consider if you will the distinct narratives found in the prophetic book of Jeremiah concerning Jeremiah standing in the court of the house of the LORD as referenced in chapters seven and twenty-six, and Baruch son of Neriah reading the words of the book of Jeremiah in the court of the house of the LORD in the hearing of all the people who had come unto the house of the LORD to worship the LORD:

“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Stand in the gate of the LORD’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The Temple of the LORD, The Temple of the LORD, The Temple of the LORd, are these. For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; if ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever. Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; and come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? Is this house, which is called by my name, because a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD. But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not; Therefore will I do unto this h Ouse, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim. Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry not prayer for them, neither make intercession fo me: for I will not hear the. Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke m e to anger. Do they provoke me to anger? Saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces? Therefore thus saith the LORD God; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and u[on the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and shall burn, and shall not be quenched. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh. For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward. Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have seven sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them: yet they harkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers. Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: Thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee. But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth” (Jeremiah 7:1-28).

“In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the LORD, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD’s house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’s house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: IF so be they will hearkened and turn every man from his evil way, that I m ay repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them, because of the evil of their doings. And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; If ye will not hearkened to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you, to hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened; then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth. So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD. Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die. Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the LORD, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall e desolate without an inhabitants? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the LORD. When the princes of Judah heard these things, then they came up from the king’s house unto the house of the LORD, and sat down in the entry of the new gate of the LORD’s house. Then spake the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man is worthy to die; for he hath prophesied against this city, as ye have heard with your ears. Then spake Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people, saying, The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard. Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent Him of the evil that Her hath pronounced against you. As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you. But know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the LORD hath send my unto you to speak all these words in your ears” (Jeremiah 26 :1-15).

“And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and t heir sin. Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, which He had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a boo. And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up; I cannot go into the house of the LORD: Therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the LORD in the ears of the people in the LORD’s house upon the fasting day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities. It may be they will present their supplication before the LORD, and will return every one from his evil way: for great is the anger and the fury that the LORD hath pronounced against this people. And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of the LORD in the LORD’ s house. And it came to pass, in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, in the ninth month, and they proclaimed a fast before the LORD to all the people in Jerusalem, and to all the people that came from the cities of Judah unto Jerusalem. Then read Baruch in the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the LORD, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the higher court, at the entry of the new gate of the LORD’s house, in the ears of all the people. When Michaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had heard out of the book all the words of the LORD, then he went down into the king’s house, into the scribe’s chamber: and, lo, all the princes sat there, even Elishama the scribe, and Delilah the son of Shemaiah, and Elnathan the son of Achbor, and Gemariah the son of Shaphan, and Zedekiah the son of Hananiah, and all the princes. Then Michaiah declared unto them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the book in the ears of the people. Therefore all the princes sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, unto Baruch, saying, Take in thine hand the roll wherein thou hast read in the ears of the people, and come. So Baruch the son of Neriah took the roll in his hand, and came unto them. And they said unto him, Sit down now, and read it in our ears. So Baruch read it in their ears. Now it came to pass, when they had heard all the words, they were afraid both one and other, and said unto Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words. And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all the words at his mouth? Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book. Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go hide thee, thou and Jeremiah ;and let no man know where ye be. And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in the ears of the king. So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll: and he took it to Elishama the scribe’s chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside the king. Now the king sat in the winter house in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him. And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words. Nevertheless Elnathan and Deliaiah and Gemaraiah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the roll: but he would not hear them. But the king commanded Jerahmeel the son of Hammelech, and Serbian the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to take Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet: but the LORD hid them” (Jeremiah 36:1-26).

Within these chapters we find two distinct references two the word of the LORD instructing Jeremiah to go and stand in the court of the house of the LORD, and on both of those occasions Jeremiah was to proclaim that which the LORD instructed him to speak. There is, however, a stark contrast found within chapters seven and twenty-six and that which we find in the thirty-six, for what we find in the thirty-sixth chapter is Jeremiah being shut up and no longer able to enter into the court of the house of the LORD—much less standing in the court of the house of the LORD. When we come to the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah we find the word of the LORD coming unto Jeremiah and instructing him to write in a book all the words he had prophesied and spoken for the LORD from the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah unto that day. This word and command comes unto Jeremiah in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and in the fifth year of the Jehoiakim is when we actually find Baruch the son of Neriah standing in the court of the house of the LORD and there proclaiming in the hearing of all those who gathered unto the house to worship the words Jeremiah had prophesied from the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah until that present day. What makes this interesting is when you think about the fact that this would be the second time the words which we read in the seventh chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah were spoken and pronounced in the court of the LORD’ house, and the second time the words which we find and read in the twenty-sixth chapter were pronounced and spoken in the house of the LORD. As if it wasn’t interesting enough to think about and consider the fact that Jeremiah would twice pronounce in the court of the house of the LORD how the LORD would make the house like His house in Shiloh, we must now think about and consider the fact that this would be the third time a prophetic word would be pronounced in the court of the house of the LORD. Despite the fact the prophet of the LORD could not himself stand in the court of the house of the LORD, the word of the LORD would still be found and manifested in the midst of the court of the house of the LORD. Through Baruch the son of Neriah we find the prophetic word of the LORD being pronounced in the hearing of the people of God. It would be in the fifth year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah the word of the LORD as spoken by Jeremiah would be read and heard in the court of the LORD’s house, and would ultimately be brought forth from the house of the LORD unto the house of the king where it would be cut apart and cast into the fire.

By the time we come to the thirty-sixth chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah we find Jeremiah no longer able to stand in the court of the house of the LORD, and yet the word of the LORD still needing to be proclaimed in that place. What’s interesting is when you turn and direct your attention to the New Testament gospel narratives you will find Jesus the Christ standing in the court of the Temple of the LORD and using the same language which the prophet Jeremiah had spoken centuries earlier. There is not a doubt in my mind that when the prophetic word of the LORD was pronounced and proclaimed in the court of the house of the LORD it was a portent and sign of impending judgment and wrath which would be poured out upon the nation and upon the people. With this in mind, I can’t help but think about the fact that just as during the days of Jeremiah he would stand in the court of the house of the LORD and there proclaim the word of the LORD before the Temple of the LORD would ultimately be destroyed and burned with fire, so also would Jesus Himself stand in the court of the LORD’s house, overturn the tables of money, drive out the money changers, and cleanse the Temple of its merchandise and commerce. We don’t find merchandise and commerce in the Temple and house of the LORD during the days of Jeremiah, however, that which we do find is hypocrisy, idolatry, wickedness, transgress, and immorality. During the days of Jesus we would find Jesus Himself stand in the court of the house of the LORD and instructing all those present in the midst of that place to stop making His Father’s house a house of robbers and den of thieves. When the prophet Jeremiah would stand in the court of the house of the LORD it would be a portent of judgment and wrath upon the nation, and ultimately against the Temple itself. When Jesus the Son of God would stand in the court of the house of the LORD it would be a portent of judgment and wrath upon the nation, which would be manifested less roughly forty years later when the Roman army would invade Judaea, would lay siege to the city of Jerusalem, and would destroy and burn the Temple with fire. Essentially it was as if history was repeating itself, for although Jesus was the Son of the invisible, the living, and the holy God, He was perceived by many to be a prophet during those days. For the sake of argument let’s call Jesus a prophet according to the perception of those who were present during those days and declare that a prophet stand in the court of the house of the LORD, and that the presence of that prophet in the midst of the LORD’s house would be a portent of judgment and wrath as the Temple during Jesus’ day would be destroyed and burned with fire. With this in mind I invite you to consider the narratives written and recorded in the four gospels which were written by the Synoptic writers, as well as the apostle John:

“After this He went down to Capernaum, He, and His mother, and His brethren, and His disciples: and they continued there not many days. And the Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the Temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: and when He had made a scourge of small cords, He drove them all out of the Temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. And His disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. Then answered the Jews and said unto Him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But He spake of the Temple of His body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believe in his name, when they saw the miracles which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man” (John 2:12-25).

“And Jesus went into the Temple of God, and cast out all them that sol and bought in the Temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall e called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple; and He healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the Temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, and said unto Him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye ever read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? And He left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and He lodged there” (Matthew 21:12-17).

“And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the Temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the Temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves; and would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the Temple. And He taught, saying, unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? But ye have made it a den of thieves. And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy Him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at His doctrine. And when even was come, He went out of the city” Mark 11:15-19).

“And He went into the Temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; saying unto them, it is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. And He taught daily in the Temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy Him, and could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear Him” (Luke 19:45-48).

As I sit here today thinking about and consider each of these narratives I can’t help but think about and be drawn to the fact that when Jesus stood in the Temple and proclaimed the words which He proclaimed—namely, how they had made the Temple a den of thieves—He was not only proclaiming the very words which Jeremiah spoke, thus linking that generation to the days of Jeremiah, but He was also standing in the court of the house of the LORD just as Jeremiah had done centuries earlier. Jeremiah stood in the court of the house of the LORD and there not only proclaimed the LORD’s judgment upon the house and Temple which stood in the midst of the land, but also how the people had made the Temple of the LORD a den of thieves. Jeremiah standing in the court of the Temple of the LORD would not only be a sign of judgment against the nation and people, but also against the very Temple and sanctuary of the LORD. Jesus’ presence in the midst of the court of the Temple—specifically, His driving out the money changers and overturning the tables of money, and His proclamation of them making the Temple of the LORD a den of thieves—was essentially a reenactment of what Jeremiah had spoken all those centuries earlier. Although Jeremiah would not overturn money tables, and although Jeremiah would not drive anyone out of the courts of the Temple of the LORD, he would indeed proclaim in the court of the Temple of the LORD how the LORD would make that house like His house in Shiloh, and how the people had made that house a den of thieves. The proclamation of the house of the LORD being made into a den of thieves would be a portent and prophetic sign of judgment upon the house, and so also would Jesus’ declaration of the people making that house a den of thieves be a portent of judgment upon that house. Isn’t it absolutely and incredibly intriguing to think about and consider that just as Babylon would destroy the Temple of the LORD during the days of Jeremiah, so also would Rome destroy the Temple of the LORD during the days of the early Church. Although Jesus would have already been ascended unto the right hand of the Father when the Temple was destroyed by the Romans, His spiritual body in the form of the early Church would witness that destruction and devastation.

We dare not miss and lose sight of this absolutely astounding and captivating reality, for Jeremiah would stand in the court of the LORD’s house—not once, but twice—and on both occasions he would prophesy and speak of judgment upon the house of the LORD in the midst of the LORD. Eventually and ultimately the judgment and wrath of the LORD would be poured out upon the house of the LORD, and it would be consumed with fire. Stop for a moment and think about what that sight must have been like for Jeremiah to watch the house of the LORD burning with fire, and the smoke of that fire ascending unto heaven. If you turn and direct your attention back to the Old Testament book of the Psalms you will encounter and come face to face with words which were written and spoken by the psalmist concerning the devastation and destruction that would take place within the house of the LORD. As you come to the seventy-ninth chapter of the poetic book of the Psalms you will find the following words which were written concerning the devastation and destruction that would consume the Temple and sanctuary of the living God. Consider if you will the words which are found within this chapter beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse of the chapter:

“O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; Thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps. The dead bodies of thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the earth. Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; and there was none to bury them. We are b come a reproach to our neighbors, a scorn and derision to them that are found about us. How long, LORD? Wilt thou be angry for ever? Shall thy jealousy burn like fire? Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name. For they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste His dwelling place. O remember not against us former iniquities: Let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: For we are brought very low. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: And d deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake. Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is their God? Let Him be known among the heathen in our sight by the revenging of the blood o fishy servants which is shed. Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee; according to the greatness of thy power preserve thou those that are appointed to die; and render unto our neighbors seven fold into their bosom their reproach, wherewith they have reproached thee, O LORD. So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: We will shew forth thy praise to all generations” (Psalm 79:1-13).

With this in mind I would also like to invite you to consider the words which are found in the seventy-fourth chapter of the same Old Testament book of Psalms. If you turn and direct your attention to this particular chapter you will find additional language written concerning the devastation and destruction that swept through and swept over the land of Judah and the city of Jerusalem. You cannot read the words which are found in the seventy-ninth chapter of the book of the Psalms without encountering and coming face to face with the words which are found in the seventy-fourth chapter. Consider now if you will the following words which are found in this chapter beginning with the opening verse:

“O God, why hast thou cast us off for ever? Why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture? Remember thy congregation, which thou hast purchased of old; the rod of thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed; this mount Zion, wherein thou hast dwelt. Lift up thy feet unto the perpetual desolations; even all that the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary. Thine enemies roar in the midst of thy congregations; they set up their ensigns for signs. A m an was famous according as he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees. But now they break down the carved work thereof at once with axes and hammers. They have cast fire into thy sanctuary, they have defiled by casting down the dwelling place of thy name to the ground. They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land. We see not our signs: There is no more any prophet: neither is there among us any that knoweth how long. O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? Shall the enemy blaspheme thy name for ever? Why withdrawest thou thy hand, even thy right hand? Pluck it out of thy bosom. For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. Thou brakest the heads of Leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness. Thou didst cleave the fountain and the flood: thou driedst up mighty rivers. The day is thine, the night also is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sun. Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter. Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached, O LORD, and that the foolish people have blasphemed thy name” (Psalm 74:1-18).

When you come to the thirty-ninth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah you will find the time frame being the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, and specifically the tenth month, and how Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon and all his army coming against Jerusalem and besieged it. Jeremiah writes how in the eleventh year of Zedekiah the king of Judah, and in the fourth month, the city was broken up. And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate. As you come to the eighth verse of this chapter you will find the Chaldeans burning the king’s house, and the houses of the people with fire, and broke down the walls of Jerusalem. After this Nebuzar-Adan carried away captive into Babylon the remnant of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to him, with the rest of the people who remained. What makes this interesting is not only at the time the enemy and adversary was at the gates of the city and outside the wall the prophet Jeremiah was shut up in the court of the prison, but so also when the enemy and adversary entered into the midst of the city Jeremiah would still be in the court of the house of the LORD. What we find within these chapters is not only the prophet of the LORD being unable to stand in the court of the house of the LORD, and not only do we find the prophet of the LORD being shut up in the court of the prison, but we find the prophet being shut up during the days in which the city was broken up, and during the days in which the enemy and adversary entered into the midst of the city. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for when the prophet of the LORD is no longer able to stand in the court of the house of the LORD and is instead shut up in the court of the prison it is a portent and sign of the enemy and adversary about to come against the house and sanctuary of the LORD. When the prophet of the LORD is no longer able to stand in the court of the LORD’s house freely it is a sign that the enemy and adversary who previously had no access to the sanctuary and house being able to grant access. What’s more, is that not only do we find the enemy and adversary coming against the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD, but we find the enemy destroying the Temple with fire and burning it to the ground. Oh that we would recognize and understand that when the prophet is no longer able to stand in the court of the house of the LORD, and when the voice and word of the LORD is no longer able to move freely in the house of the LORD it is only a matter of time before the enemy and adversary can and will enter into the sanctuary and cast fire into it. The psalmist wrote and spoke of the enemy casting fire into the sanctuary, and this would not only happen when Babylon would come against Jerusalem, but also when Rome would come against that same city. Within and throughout the history of the Jewish people there would stand—not one, but two Temples upon the Temple Mount, and both Temples would be destroyed with fire.

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I can’t hep but be directly confronted with and by the fact that when the prophetic voice, when the prophetic presence, and when the prophetic word of the LORD is no longer able to enter and move freely within the Temple and sanctuary of the living God, it is a sure sign and protect that the judgment and wrath of the living God is at the door and on the horizon. We dare not miss the fact that Jeremiah would be the witness that would stand in the court of the house of the LORD during his generation which would see the destruction and Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple, but Jesus would be the witness that would stand in the court of the Temple and would stand as a portent and witness of judgment against that generation, the city of Jerusalem at that time, and even the Temple. It’s quite astonishing to think about and consider the fact that Jesus spoke about the destruction of His body as the physical temple which would be destroyed and raised up in three days, and in a matter of less than forty years—not only would the physical temple of Jesus’ body be destroyed by the Romans before being raised on the third day, but the physical Temple which stood on the Temple Mount would also be destroyed by the Romans. It should be worth noting that just as Jeremiah experienced opposition and resistance by the priests, the prophets, and the people during his generation, so also would Jesus experience opposition and resistance from the religious leaders in the midst of his generation. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome and incredible reality, for on both occasions and occurrences religion would rise up against both prophet and Messiah, and would seek to put them to death. We know that Jeremiah was spared out of the hands of those who would kill him, however, we also know that Jesus would not be spared, and that Jesus would be delivered into the hands of the religious leaders after being betrayed by one of His own, and would ultimately be crucified by the same people who would destroy the physical Temple and who would persecute His physical body and spiritual temple in the midst of the earth. If there is one thing I would leave you with during this time, it’s that we as the people of God must be open and receptive to the prophetic word and voice of the LORD, and we must be open to the voice of the Messiah and Christ within our generation. If there is one thing the generation during Jeremiah’s day reveals it’s that when the prophetic voice and witness is no longer welcome in, and is no longer able to move freely within the court of the house of the LORD, it is a sign that the judgment and wrath of God is not only at the door, but is also about to be manifested in the midst of the earth. Oh that we would truly recognize and understand this awesome and incredible reality and would not only invite the prophetic voice and word of the LORD into our hearts and lives, but that we would allow that voice to speak freely unto us and within our hearts and minds.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s