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Lowell Brueckner

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No Weddings, No Funerals



                       Capital 16 

               No more funeral rites

1.      The word of the LORD also came to me, saying, 

 2.      "You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place." 

 3.      For thus says the LORD concerning the sons and daughters who are born in this place, and concerning their mothers who bore them and their fathers who begot them in this land: 

 4.      "They shall die gruesome deaths; they shall not be lamented nor shall they be buried, but they shall be like refuse on the face of the earth. They shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, and their corpses shall be meat for the birds of heaven and for the beasts of the earth." 

 5.      For thus says the LORD: "Do not enter the house of mourning, nor go to lament or bemoan them; for I have taken away My peace from this people," says the LORD, "lovingkindness and mercies. 

 6.      Both the great and the small shall die in this land. They shall not be buried; neither shall men lament for them, cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them. 

 7.      Nor shall men break bread in mourning for them, to comfort them for the dead; nor shall men give them the cup of consolation to drink for their father or their mother. 

 A prophet not only speaks the words of a prophet, but lives the life of a prophet. His calling affects every area of his existence and people around him, not only hear the word of the Lord, but his lifestyle is a sign to them. That is Jeremiah’s case.

 Before we proceed with the chapter, it would be good to look into the situation in the world at the time, when the apostle Paul wrote 1 Corinthians. While Paul introduced the gospel to Corinth, he met Aquila and Priscilla, who were among the Jews, whom Emperor Claudius commanded to leave Rome. Rome was not friendly to Jews or Christians. Claudius reigned from 41 A.D. to 54 A.D.


It is very probable that Paul wrote to the Corinthians during the time of the Roman emperor, Nero, who succeeded Claudius. Claudius married Nero’s mother, after the death of her husband, Nero’s father, and adopted Nero at the age of 13. Nero is described by historians as tyrannical, self-indulgent, compulsive, corrupt and debauched, a sexual pervert. He murdered his own mother and is credited by many for having set the city of Rome on fire, although he blamed Christians for it. They were the scapegoats for his crime and he burned them alive. He committed suicide in 68 A.D.

 Two years later, the Roman general, Titus, destroyed Jerusalem and drove the Jews from their homeland. The event effected Christianity everywhere, brought persecution with it, and this situation must be what Paul called, in chapter 7, verse 26, “the present distress”. He went on to warn that those, who would marry at that time, “will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you” (v.28). He seems to be writing about family grief, which would include separation: “Those who have wives should be as though they had none” (v.29).

 We have read or heard of people, such as Richard Wurmbrand, who suffered in prison under communism. The greatest suffering must have been separation from his wife, who was forced to dig canals with other persecuted wives in Romania. Many Christians had to endure family separation and there is no need to describe the awful treatment of Jews during Nazism.

 Today we watch, as in Ukraine, men stay to fight for their country, while many of their families flee to other lands. Europe and the Americas must beware the judgment of God, as they kill untold multitudes of babies in their mothers’ wombs, and open the doors to all kinds of sexual perversion, including homosexual marriages. The situation will become increasingly perilous, as we approach the Great Tribulation.

 The Lord, in his kindness, is sparing Jeremiah, advising him not to take a wife or build a family at that time in Jerusalem (2). Reading his biography, we see that in the near future, he would suffer imprisonment, be forced to go to Egypt, and finally be killed there. He is serving as a living example to all the Jews, as judgment looms on the horizon.  Jeremiah, as Paul, remained single.

 Certainly some, though they may be a small minority, will take warning from his example and his word. Verse three turns to the general populace and verse four prophecies their doom: “They shall die gruesome deaths.” The deaths will be so numerous that normal funerals will cease to exist. Entire families will be annihilated, so that none will be left to mourn or bury them. We have heard of mass graves dug, while I write, not only in days gone by, but as close in time, as the attack on Ukraine, but in Judah, there will be no opportunity to dig graves of any kind. The corpses will lie in the open air. They will die by war, by famine during sieges, and birds and animals will devour them.

 The Lord removes His mercy and loving kindness and justice demands that Jeremiah respond accordingly, because their sin is proportionate to the punishment received (5).  In fact, the sentence is less than the crime. It is a lesson for everyone, who recognizes the infinite holiness and sovereignty of Almighty God. Look to the cross, friends, if you want to see the righteous judgment of the Father. See the Man on the cross, beaten and scourged beyond recognition. Blood flows from his hands, feet, side and brow. His lifeblood falls, drop by drop, to the ground as the wrath of God is outpoured. The infinite sin of mankind against an infinitely holy God, demands infinite punishment and the infinite sacrifice of the Son of God, is the only cure for it. False prophets who deem eternal hell as disproportionate to the sin committed, wretchedly disdain the cross and blasphemously despise God’s holiness. Verses 6 and 7 describe the end of funeral rites for young and old in Judah.


Ever increasing wickedness

 8.      Also you shall not go into the house of feasting to sit with them, to eat and drink." 

 9.      For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "Behold, I will cause to cease from this place, before your eyes and in your days, the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride. 

 10.  "And it shall be, when you show this people all these words, and they say to you, 'Why has the LORD pronounced all this great disaster against us? Or what is our iniquity? Or what is our sin that we have committed against the LORD our God?' 

 11.  then you shall say to them, 'Because your fathers have forsaken Me,' says the LORD; 'they have walked after other gods and have served them and worshiped them, and have forsaken Me and not kept My law. 

 12.  And you have done worse than your fathers, for behold, each one follows the dictates of his own evil heart, so that no one listens to Me. 

 13.  Therefore I will cast you out of this land into a land that you do not know, neither you nor your fathers; and there you shall serve other gods day and night, where I will not show you favor.' 

 From the time that Jeremiah receives the sure prophecy from the Lord, all celebrations, as far as he is concerned, come to an end (8). Remember, he is a sign to his fellowman. During his lifetime, doom will fall upon the land to the extent that weddings will no longer occur (9). Think again about what Paul wrote about the present distress.

 Hardness of heart, concerning the awfulness of sin, prompts the question, ‘Why?’ Observe the blindness, the ignorance, and the lack of the fear of God. The people walk in an unreal world of dreams. They think that the disaster is too great and that their sin is small. The question reflects again, the underestimation of the holiness of the Lord (10).

 Yet, God is patient enough to answer them. First, He reveals a problem inherent in their spiritual genes, that lies deep within them. The adamic nature is incurable, cannot be repaired and must be destroyed (11). It is idolatrous, anti-God, or bringing the accusation up-to-date, it is the spirit of antichrist. It opposes and rebels against the Creator and the Savior, from the depths of the heart.

Secondly, mankind walks in the opposite direction, ever farther from Him, growing more and more unlawful. There is no improvement in Jeremiah’s generation. In fact, the ungodliness grows increasingly worse as the days go by. That is spiritual principle and undeniable truth: “Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 T.3:13). As hearts grow harder, the chance of listening to His word and to come to repentance becomes more unlikely (12). Think how the heart of man has declined over the millennia and what is its state today.

 See Paul’s forecast to Timothy, concerning men in the last days… the days in which we live! “Lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 T.3:2-5).

 In Jeremiah’s time, the Lord would expatriate them and place them under a harsh, godless government. There, 24 hours a day, they would learn the treatment that Satan’s followers receive, where the kind hand of God is unknown. The time will come, when there will be no place on God’s earth to send them and they will be cast into the Lake of Fire (13).


A return after retribution

 14.  "Therefore behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "that it shall no more be said, 'The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,' 

 15.  but, 'The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.' For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers. 

 16.  "Behold, I will send for many fishermen," says the LORD, "and they shall fish them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks. 

 17.  For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity hidden from My eyes. 

 18.  And first I will repay double for their iniquity and their sin, because they have defiled My land; they have filled My inheritance with the carcasses of their detestable and abominable idols." 

 A popular saying in Jeremiah’s day was, ‘The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt’ (14). It heralded the historic, unequaled works of the God of Israel, freeing His people from the bondage of Egypt. He did so by mighty supernatural works that were afterwards announced throughout the whole known world. By the unleashing of His power, His name was glorified and feared everywhere.

 However, Jeremiah prophecies of another landmark day to come, equal to the Egyptian liberation, after which, a new axiom would arise: 'The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them' (15). After all the sure and frightful predictions of what was about to take place, comes a wonderful word of hope.

 Seventy years later, read the astounding turn of events that took place to open the gates of captivity and return the captives to their native land, predicted in Isaiah 44:28-45:13. Isaiah has already supernaturally named a future Persian emperor, a century before he was born. His name was Cyrus and God called him His servant. He was still unborn or very young in Jeremiah’s time, but he will raise a decree, after 70 years of captivity, that will free Israel and return the people to their land. Instead of a resistant Pharaoh, we have a willing “servant” in Cyrus.

 I think it probable that Daniel, highly esteemed in Persia, informed Cyrus of Isaiah’s prophecy. Ezra writes historically, “The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia” (Ezra 1:1) A very sympathetic Cyrus decreed that he would aid the Jews in rebuilding their temple and proclaimed “The Lord God of Israel (He is God)… (Ezra 1:3). Later Esther’s king, Artaxerxes (Ahasuerus), confirmed Persia’s support of Israel with an attention that clearly revealed his fear of God (see Ezra 7:12-26). Obviously, Queen Esther and Mordecai had seriously influenced him, as well as the events that followed Haman’s evil intentions.

 After all my negative comments concerning our times, I take great pleasure in being able to announce that there is hope in the 21st Century for a new and mighty work of God. Calvary provided for a Pentecostal outpouring of blessing that baptized 120 disciples in the infinite River of the Holy Spirit:

 Grace and love, like mighty rivers,

poured incessant from above;

 Heav'n's peace and perfect justice

kissed a guilty world in love.

This was the hymn of love in 1905 during the mighty Wales Revival and Calvary’s supply is not diminished. There is still as much left for a mighty last-day refreshing from the gates of heaven.

 Before Israel’s return, as it states in verse 18, the eyes of the Lord will bring every Israelite out of hiding. They will be discovered by enemy “fishermen”, followed by “hunters”, so that none will be missed (16-17). We learned in an earlier chapter of the Babylonians diligent search to discover all, who were in hiding. The thoroughness of the search will be inspired and aided by Israel’s offended God. They have dishonored the Promised Land, which the Lord gave to the patriarchs and their descendants.

 It is His land, where He will accomplish His eternal purposes and they have been dishonorable tenants. Jesus showed the fact in a parable in Matthew 21:33-42. The renters became the enemies of the Owner and killed His Son. Jeremiah, in fact, takes us up to the time of the fulfillment of the parable.


Hope for the Gentiles

 19.   O LORD, my strength and my fortress, My refuge in the day of affliction, The Gentiles shall come to You From the ends of the earth and say, "Surely our fathers have inherited lies, Worthlessness and unprofitable things.

 20.  Will a man make gods for himself, Which are not gods? 

 21.  "Therefore behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know My hand and My might; And they shall know that My name is the LORD. 

 The Owner of the vineyard turned to the Gentiles with the gospel and did destroy the wicked men in 70 A.D. The prophet praised the Lord, who was faithful to him in providing strength and refuge from those, who afflicted him. He did not depend on his own defenses, but found them in his Lord.

 The Lord would not fail, in spite of the faithlessness of His earthly nation, but through it, would bring salvation to all the earth. In doing so, He has not abandoned the Jews. Let us have Paul describe the unfolding of the plan: “Through their fall (of the Jews) to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles” (Ro.11:11). Provoked to jealousy, the Jews also will return to the Lord: “That through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy” (Ro.11:31). Paul is overwhelmed by the wonder of His plan and bursts out in praise: “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Ro.11:33) 


To the ends of the earth, the Gentiles will see light concerning their deception over generations and will repent (19). They will turn from their false gods, see the vanity of their various native religions, and their eyes will be opened to know truth. See the logic of verse 20: If a god is a superior being, an object for men to worship, how can inferior man create something superior, which is worthy of worship?

 Man in the pagan world will discover the true and living God, but the light must come from God Himself. His truth will be backed by the power of His mighty hand. The New Testament gives witness again and again, that the gospel is preached, to Jew and to Gentile, with mighty signs and wonders. In this verse that principle is also taught, in order to bring the Gentiles under His lordship. It has always been so; God’s truth and His power work together, in order that all people everywhere will recognize and submit to Him, Who is Lord over all.  






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