We are going to deal mostly with the first chapter of Jeremiah, but first we want to look at a mention of him in the New Testament.
Matthew 16:13-14 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, He asked
His disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that Thou art John the Baptist; some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.
The ministry of Jesus was not far removed from the ministry of John the Baptist, so it is not difficult to understand that some people might think He was John the Baptist. In fact, when Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, he thought Jesus was John the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-2). Neither is it hard to understand that some might think Jesus was Elijah, for it had been prophesied that Elijah would return before the day of the Lord. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. Malachi 4:5-6. But why did some think Jesus might be Jeremiah?
Even in today’s church it is not unusual to hear of a John the Baptist Company coming on the scene. Neither is it unusual to hear of a return of Elijah’s ministry, but very seldom, if ever, does one hear of a return of Jeremiah. Yet for some reason there were those in Jesus’ day who thought Jesus might be Jeremiah. Are we missing something here? Is there a Jeremiah ministry among us in this day? We know the cloud of witnesses will be involved in the ministry of these days (Hebrews 12:1, 22-29). We also know that the Apostle John will have his portion in this ministry, too. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. Revelation 10:11. But, what about Jeremiah? We will find the answer to that in Jeremiah chapter one.
Jeremiah 1:1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin …
The Hebrew word for the “words” of Jeremiah is dabar, and it involves his actions as well as his speaking. The same word is translated “deeds” in verse 28 of chapter 5. You have heard it said, “What you do speaks louder than what you say.” Well, Jeremiah’s actions and words were one; they spoke the same thing. This is also the first indication of a return of Jeremiah; at least, a return of a ministry that speaks the same thing by words and by actions. The words and actions of the many-membered Christ will be the same. In that sense it will be a Jeremiah ministry. Jesus said, The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself; but the Father that dwells in Me, He does the works (John 14:10). Everything that Jesus said and did was an expression of the Father. Jeremiah was a type of Christ.
Jeremiah 1:2 To whom the Word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.
We need to consider what is the “Word of the Lord” that came to Jeremiah? Generally, it would be thought of as what the prophet said. The Word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah was more than the transference of information. God who was in the prophets spoke to the fathers. God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers in the prophets. Hebrews 1:1. Also, we are told that the Lord is the Word. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1. The Word that was in the beginning, that was with God and was God, came unto Jeremiah and was the Word in him and through him.
Jeremiah 1:3 It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.
The phrase “it came also” is misleading. That seems to refer to the word as information and not to a person. However, the neuter pronoun “it” was added by the translators; it is not in the original text. The original Hebrew word for “it came also” is masculine gender and should be read “He came,” which confirms a coming of the presence of the Lord to Jeremiah and not just information. It is also imperfect tense, which means it was a coming that continued.
Jeremiah 1:4-5 Then the Word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou came forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
The Hebrew word for “Word” in verse 4, as in verse one, is dabar. It means the action of the one speaking as well as the Word spoken. And, of course, the Word is living. Every Word the Lord speaks is eternal; it lives and does not die.
Look at verse 5. Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee…. God formed Jeremiah in the belly, but before He did He knew Jeremiah. This is a stumbling block for many. Most who speak of this say that God just knew that one day He would form Jeremiah. So He knew of him before he existed. It is best to leave that portion of verse 5 as it is written. He knew Jeremiah before he was formed in the womb; that is, Jeremiah had an existence before he was formed in the belly. Jeremiah did not have a body yet, but his spirit existed and God who is Spirit knew him. And before he was born he was sanctified, set apart by God and ordained a prophet to the nations. Now, as we saw in verse one Jeremiah lived in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. Most of his ministry had to do with Judea during his life time on earth. But, God did not say he was sanctified and ordained a prophet to Judah or to the nation of Israel. God said he was ordained a prophet to the nations, which would include many nations beyond Israel. It also means that the bulk of his ministry probably will be very active with the cloud of witnesses of Hebrews 12:1. Now, let’s move forward to verses 9 and 10 of Jeremiah chapter one.
Jeremiah 1:9-10 Then the Lord put forth His hand, and touched my mouth. And the
Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put My words in thy mouth.
10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.
Notice the order of the Jeremiah ministry over the kingdoms. He roots out, pulls down, destroys, throws down, and then builds and plants. The Jeremiah ministry is not limited to the nations of the world. It is also involves the churches and the individual Christian in the churches. This is the order for the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. Every church that becomes a church of the Lord Jesus Christ is first rooted out, pulled down, destroyed, and thrown down (Judgment begins at the house of the Lord – I Peter 4:17). Then it is built and planted on the foundation of Jesus Christ. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 3:11. This Jeremiah ministry is what every Christian that becomes a member of the Body of Christ experiences. Merely being a Christian (having your sins forgiven) is not enough. You must become a new creation of God. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. I Corinthians 15:50. That means your human nature is corrupt and cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. Repenting for the sins committed brings forgiveness for what you have done, but it does not change your nature. It is not merely what you have done that keeps you out of the Kingdom of God but what you are. Human nature is sin. Every Christian must become a new creation of God. Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Ephesians 4:24.
What is the purpose of this Jeremiah ministry of rooting out, pulling down, destroying, throwing down, and then building and planting? The purpose is to overcome your flesh nature that you might become a new creation in God. Hosea prophesied about it. Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we will live in His sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord. Hosea 6:1-3. This ministry is important. It is the only route to holiness.
The Apostle Paul talks about it, too. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. II Corinthians 10:3-5. Are you beginning to see the importance of the Jeremiah ministry? These things are in every Christian and will remain there until they are rooted out, pulled down, destroyed, and thrown down. Then the Christian can be built and planted in Christ.
The Lord Jesus talked about it, too. Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man (Christian) will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it. Matthew 16:24-25. The Jeremiah ministry is also called the work of the cross.
I remember a sermon when I was quite young in the Lord from II Corinthians. The preacher read the first verse of chapter 7: Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. That sermon came in 1970 and I have never forgotten his comment on that verse. He said, “I don’t understand the filthiness of flesh and spirit, for we are Christians who have received the Holy Spirit.” Many Christians are in the same deception as that preacher. They think they are born again and ready to go to heaven. The fact that they still have bad thoughts and feelings of jealousy and lust, etc., doesn’t cause them to realize they still need a change of nature. Nominal Christianity has caused Christians to be numb to the worldliness in them. Well, this is why the Jeremiah ministry is needed in this day. The Lord spoke to Jeremiah and said, “Is not My Word like as a fire? Saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29). That is the Word that will be spoken through the Jeremiah ministry. It will find the rocks in your life and break them to pieces. It will root out, pull down, destroy, throw down, and then build and plant.
Copyright © 2008 by Henry DuBose