THE TERMINAL JUDGMENT
The Paper was addressed to Evelyn Hammond.
THE TERMINAL JUDGMENT
The sequence of events given in Jeremiah 25 is as follows:
1. Jerusalem and the modern state of Israel will be destroyed.
2. The Muslim countries will be destroyed.
3. The United States will be destroyed.
Before entering into discussion we should give regard to the fact that Melchizedek used the context of the events around 600 BC to provide his future forecast. These were restatements of his Salem teachings and contained manifold religious truth. He used those events as a context because they offered a lesson of the cost of defiance against God. They served as parallel illustrations of the consequences of disobedience. The fruit of defiance is stated clearly in Jeremiah's writing: Therefore thus saith the Lord; Since ye believed not my words . . . Without faith in the revelation derived from these warnings, as contained in the parallels, and without faith in the truth therein given, we will fail God.
From previous discussion we are confident that the LXX version of Jeremiah is more reliable than the MT version because of the interpretative expansions of the latter-- which reduces prophecy to historical description.
We also recognize that the Chapter is divided into two major segments: 25:1-13, and 25:15-38 (32:15-38 in the LXX). (Verse 14 is an MT interpolation.) (Brenton attempted to hold the same verse assignments in his translation of the LXX as found in the MT.)
Jeremiah begins by dating his announcement to the people of Jerusalem and Judea.
25:1 -- The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Joakim, son of Josiah, king of Judah, which he spoke to all the people of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying:
Note that he opens with the remark that "the word came to Jeremiah." This explicitly identifies the source of his material. He did not generate emotional religious imaginings out of his own mind. The truths came to him from Melchizedek.
Nebuchadnezzar mounted the throne in January 21, 604 BC, two years before the death of his father. The Jews reckoned his reign from that time. Jehoaikim was king of Judah, from 608 to 597 BC. Nebuchadnezzar's first year was partly the third, partly the fourth of Jehoiakim. After his father's death on Aug. 16, 605, Nebuchadrezzar defeated the Egyptians at Carchemish, and subsequently turned his sights upon Jerusalem. In the 4th year of Jehoiakim he carried away part of the vessels of the temple and a few captives of noble lineage. This was the date of Jeremiah's prophecy in Chapter 25 and warning against the people of Jerusalem and Judea.
This subjection was the first of repeated advances on Jerusalem. In Jehoiakim's 11th year, Nebucdnezzar more forcefully took control of Jerusalem, put the king into chains, and probably killed him. His successor, Jehoiachin, after a three months' reign, was placed under arrest, deposed, and carried captive to Babylon. Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, was the uncle and successor of Jehoiachin. He reigned 11 years, from 597 to 586. In his 9th year Nebuchadnezzar made the last siege against Jerusalem which he then finally destroyed two years later.
(Jeremiah fled from Jerusalem during these last upheavals.)
Within this context Jeremiah goes on to describe how God spoke to his people, but they did not listen, vs. 4-7. In vs. 8-10 he states:
Therefore thus saith the Lord; Since ye believed not my words, behold, I will send, and take a family from the north, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants of it, and against all the nations round about it, and I will make them utterly waste, and make them a desolation, and a hissing, and an everlasting reproach.
The words should be understood literally, not allegorically nor symbolically.
They were forecasts of the far future given to Jeremiah by Melchizedek. Verses 11-12 then go on:
And all the land shall be a desolation ; and they shall serve among the Nations seventy years. And when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will take vengeance on that nation, and will make them a perpetual desolation.
Thus we can see that the first twelve verse are dedicated to Jerusalem and Judea as a national designation. The last two verses then define a schedule, and how this scene relates to "that nation."
I shall discuss the seventy years, as well as the identity of a "family from the north" and "that nation."
The Chapter then further describes the sequence of events.
Jeremiah lists all the nations who will receive judgment.
25:15-17 -- Thus said the Lord God of Israel: take the cup of this unmixed wine from mine hand, and thou shalt cause all the nations to drink, to whom I send thee. And they shall drink, and vomit, and be mad, because of the sword which I send among them. So I took the cup out of the Lord's hand, and caused the nations to whom the Lord sent me to drink:
JUDGMENT ON ISRAEL
25:18 -- Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings of Judah, and his princes, to make them a desert place, a desolation, and a hissing.
Without question the modern State of Israel will be destroyed.
JUDGMENT ON THE MUSLIM NATIONS
25:19 -- Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his nobles, and all his people.
25:20 -- and all the mixed people, and all the kings of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Gaza, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod.
The Philistines inhabited the shore plain between Gezer and Gaza in Southwestern Palestine. The towns specified were their chief cities. Ashkelon was a maritime town between Jaffa and Gaza. Gaza was situated near the coast about 40 miles South of Jaffa. Ekron was the most northerly of the cities. Ashdod was also an important town.
Taken together these towns and reference specify the modern Gaza strip and areas along the coastal plain north of Gaza.
25:21 -- Edom, and the land of Moab, and the children of Ammon.
Edom lay in a region just south of the Dead Sea. Moab was the district East of the Dead Sea, extending from a point some distance North to its southern end. Ammon was a region north east of the Dead See.
Edom, Moab, and Ammon all specify the modern nation of Jordan.
25:22 -- the kings of Tyre, and the kings of Sidon, and the kings in the country beyond the sea.
This specifies modern Lebanon. The "kings in the country beyond the sea" may mean areas north of Lebanon, modern Syria, but the reference is not easily discernible to our current geographical recognition.
25:23 -- Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and every one that is shaved round about the face.
Dedan designates an Arabian people named in Gen 10:7 and Gen 25:3. The name seems still to linger in the island of Dadan, on the border of the Persian Gulf. Tema was a locality in Arabia which probably corresponds to the modern Teima, an oasis which lies about 200 miles North of Medina, and some 40 miles South of Dumat el-Jandal (Dumah), now known as el-Jauf. Buz is probably the name of a people living in the neighborhood of Edom. Buz and Hazo in Gen 22:22 are probably the ancient countries of Bazu and Chazu.
These three names specify the Arabian regions, modern Saudi Arabia.
The MT phrase "cut the corners of their hair" has confused many people. The LXX translation offers clearer understanding. It refers to a specific social custom of those ancient people, contrary to Jewish practices of long beards.
25: 24 -- all the kings of Arabia and all the kings of the mixed tribes that dwell in the desert (MT); (or "all the mingled people lodging in the wilderness." LXX)
The clarifying phrase about the kings of Arabia was an interpretive expansion of the MT editors.
The phrase "mingled people" or "mixed tribes," and the "wilderness" or "desert," show that Jeremiah was including all people of surrounding Arabian tribes without specific national designation. (Refer to a similar phrase in verse 20 above.) He thus probably includes lands of modern Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.
25:25 -- and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Persians.
MT has all the kings of Zimri, all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of Media.
The reason the MT editors introduced the extra phrase has puzzled biblical scholars. The name is as yet unidentified, although thought to be that of a people called Zimran in Gen 25:2. If so, it would refer to tribes in the Arabian desert. However this is not within the context of Elam and Media. Elam was just north of the Persian Gulf, now modern Iraq. Media was in those lands between the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf, now modern Iran.
These two designations specify those two modern nations.
This is the list of modern Muslim nations who shall receive the judgment. They shall be destroyed.
We now enter into a more global specification:
25:26 -- and all the kings from the north, the far and the near, each one with his brother, and all the kingdoms which are on the face of the earth.
MT uses the phrase one after another, in places of each one with his brother. It thus better captures Jeremiah's intent.
This brief description specifies that all the nations of the earth shall experience this judgment.
As we were told in the Urantia Papers:
Page 2081 -- Twentieth-century secularism tends to affirm that man does not need God. But beware! this godless philosophy of human society will lead only to unrest, animosity, unhappiness, war, and world-wide disaster.
THE BABYLON INSERTION
At this point the MT Editors, assuming that the prophecies pertained to the historical situation, inserted a phrase to include ancient Babylon in the judgment. While this was erroneous, mere wishful thinking, the statement was accurate in reality as a future forecast. I shall discuss this fact in detail in following reports, where I shall identify modern Babylon.
25:26b -- And after them the king of Babylon shall drink.
THE TERMINAL EVENTS
When we let loose nuclear weapons to destroy the Muslim nations we will bring the terminal judgment of the age, and the end of this civilization.
In some cases in the following quotations I revert to the MT phrasing because it better captures the sentiments expressed.
The nature of events was described:
25:27 -- Then you shall say to them, Thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel: Drink, be drunk and vomit, fall and rise no more, because of the sword which I am sending among you.
25:28 -- And if they refuse to accept the cup from your hand to drink, then you shall say to them, Thus says Yahweh of hosts: You must drink!
25:29 -- For behold, I begin to work evil at the city which is called by my name, and shall you go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished, for I am summoning a sword against all the inhabitants of the earth.
25:30 -- You, therefore, shall prophesy against them all these words, and say to them: Yahweh will roar from on high, and from his holy habitation utter his voice; he will roar mightily against his fold, and shout, like those who tread grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth.
Jer 25:31-38 -- The clamor will resound to the ends of the earth, for Yahweh has an indictment against the nations; he is entering into judgment with all flesh, and the wicked he will put to the sword.
Thus says Yahweh of hosts: Behold, evil is going forth from nation to nation, and a great tempest is stirring from the farthest parts of the earth! And those slain by Yahweh on that day shall extend from one end of the earth to the other. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall be dung on the surface of the ground.
Wail, you shepherds, and cry, and roll in ashes, you lords of the flock, for the days of your slaughter and dispersion have come, and you shall fall like choice rams. No refuge will remain for the shepherds, nor escape for the lords of the flock.
Hark, the cry of the shepherds, and the wail of the lords of the flock! For Yahweh is despoiling their pasture, and the peaceful folds are devastated, because of his fierce anger. Like a lion he has left his covert, for their land has become a waste because of the sword of the oppressor, and because of his fierce anger.
Does anyone not know what that means?
The words in Jeremiah are definitely not historical.
To repeat in emphasis:
Our God will roar from on high; he will utter his voice from his holy habitation. He will give a shout as one who treads grapes.
God begins to work evil at the city which is called by his name. Will the nations then go unpunished?
The noise will resound to the ends of the earth.
God has an indictment against the nations; he is entering into judgment with all flesh.
Evil will go forth from nation to nation.
A great tempest is stirring from the ends of the earth.
The slain shall be from one end of the earth to the other. They shall not be lamented, nor gathered, nor buried; they shall be as dung upon the ground.
Can anyone fail to grasp the cosmic sense of this prophecy? What would cause the slain, literally, to be from one end of the earth to the other? Why will they remain unlamented and unburied?
God is bringing a worldwide judgment. He is using Jerusalem, modern Israel, and the Islamic nations as vehicles for his action. Jeremiah's prophecy was indeed for the future, with the events of his day serving as a context for the presentation of that future forecast. God could use that context because of the parallels to our own day.
Islam is now proceeding to her own destruction. And she will carry the modern civilized world with her.
No one should be deceived. We shall bring our own judgment.
Jer 1:3-6 -- "In the thirteenth year of Josias, son of Amos, king of Judah, even until this day for three-and twenty years, I have spoken persistently to you, rising early and speaking, and even though the LORD sent to you his servants the prophets, sending them early; (but you hearkened not, and listened not with your ears;) saying, 'Turn you every one from his evil way, and from your evil practices, and you shall dwell in the land which I gave to you and your fathers, of old and for ever. Go you not after strange gods, to serve them, and to worship them, that you provoke me not by the works of your hands, to do you hurt. But you hearkened not to me.'"
Here Jeremiah provides the social context that led to his prophecy. It was styled to be acceptable to the people of his day. Had he stated that it was intended for events thousands of years away his audience would not have accepted it. He himself might not have known that fact. He merely took the words he was given and recorded them. Thus the people of his day had to believe it was intended for them. This view probably helped to preserve his documents. As a result biblical students since that time have attempted to interpret according to that notion. That is why the Masoretic text was modified to reflect such view. All the commentators I have consulted, even though they differ in the details of their interpretations, accept this view. See Matthew Henry, Barnes Notes, Adam Clarke, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, The Anchor Bible, The Interpreters Bible, and many others, all of whom use the Masoretic text.
But we can see from the form of the statements that the prophecy reaches far beyond the local events of 600 BC.
We should note that Jeremiah was forced to use geographical designations that were comprehensible to him. If he did not know of the regions of India, China, and so on, he could not include such designations. Further, Melchizedek probably constrained the revelation to designations that were comprehensible to Jeremiah. Thus he could say from one end of the earth to the other or the clamor will resound to the ends of the earth, for Yahweh has an indictment against the nations while being literally true.
Again, some remarks lead everyone to believe these were "historical" prophecies:
25:11-12 -- And all the land shall be a desolation ; and they shall serve among the Nations seventy years. And when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will take vengeance on that nation, and will make them a perpetual desolation.
Naturally everyone assumes that the seventy years pertains to the subjection of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar. The commentaries go to extreme lengths to reconcile dates to fit this description, even though distortions in calendric calculations must be made. The interpreters are not sure if the dates of 604, 597 or 586 BC should be used. This would place the end of the 70 years at 534, 527 and 516 respectively. Cyrus gave permission for the Jews to return to Jerusalem and Judea in 538 after he made peaceful entry into Babylon. This last fact upsets the traditional interpretations because historic Babylon did not receive the great punishment described by Jeremiah. The rebuilding of the temple took place between 536 and 515. On those grounds, in spite of literal twisting of Jeremiah's remarks, the interpreters see this as fulfillment of the prophecy.
Then the "family from the north" must mean Babylon. However, two logical obstacles exist in the interpretation models. First, the MT plural "families" was introduced in place of the LXX singular. This was done to make the prophecy fit the subjected nations of the neo-Babylonian empire. The city and state of ancient Babylon by herself could not be "families." This was a necessary recourse for the MT editors and later interpreters to reconcile Jeremiah's phrases to the historical context.
Second, such interpretation was reinforced by the notion of the "north." Babylon was to the east of Judah, not the north. Hence the "north" must mean the "tribes" of the New Babylonian empire and not merely the city of Babylon. This view is held in spite of the fact that those subjected "tribes" were forced to join Nebuchadnezzar's army, and hence only technically part of Babylon.
In this manner we see how later expansions, interpolations, and interpretations reduce God's Great Judgment.