1. I answered and said: To whom will these events happen, and who could be worthy to live to see these things occur?
2. I will express all my thoughts, and will ask of the things that I question.
3. For many of Your people have failed Your covenant, and have broken Your law.
4. Yet, others have forsaken their worthless sins, and have sought refuge in the shadow of Your glory.
5. What will happen to those who are righteous as are these during the last days?
6. Could mercy be applied to them, and compassion may be given to them?
1. And He answered me: These things will I show to you:
2. As to your questions about to whom such things will occur, it will occur to some who have believed the prophecy of the prophets, and to those who despise such prophecy, judgment will come.
3. And as for those who have forsaken the covenant, and those who have held to it, this is the message:
4. Of those who once were in the covenant, but later forsook such covenant, and mingled with other sinful people, in the latter days, I have serious plans.
5. For those who were without My covenant, but will in the last days, come to My truth, I have wonderful plans.
6. And ages will come and pass, but all will transpire to bring to the end days, as I have commanded.
7. Corruption will come to some, and life will come to others.
8. To the dirt which holds the ashes of the dead, will this be said: Give back to life those who are not yours, for this is their time.
In chapters 41 and 42, we find God teaching three doctrines to us, as God did in the book of Jeremiah.
Three doctrines were taught to Jeremiah about the new covenant. Each doctrinal teaching begins with "Behold, the days come." The three doctrines are taught in:
DOCTRINE OF INDIVIDUALISM
In the Old Testament, when Achan was found guilty of stealing (Joshua 7:16-26), it was the whole family that was stoned. In Ezekiel 18:2, Ezekiel refers to a false doctrine that was commonly believed in those days, that the sins of a family reached out and brought harm to the entire family.
"The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are on edge."
A person would excuse himself when judgment came, and say that it was the sin of the father that brought the judgment. Many in Jeremiah's day sinned and thought that the judgment would come upon the son, and not on the person himself. Yet, Jeremiah says:
"In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity; every man that eateth sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge."
Baruch is taught here, that God sees each individual, and each is judged for his own sins.. The new covenant emphasizes the individual, and corrects the idea that God would punish the child for the sins of the father. The basics of the Christian message include:
the worth of each person to God...
the personal nature of salvation...
each believer's baptism...
the priesthood of believers...
the need of a personal Savior.
The new covenant teaches that each individual must come to the Lord, and accept in mercy the price paid for their own sins. This doctrine is vital to the new covenant.
THE DOCTRINE OF INWARD RELIGION
The new covenant is an affair of the heart and mind of the individual. The old covenant emphasized a building, an outward sanctuary, an outward sacrifice. The new covenant says there must be an inward change. The new sanctuary is the heart of every believer. The new covenant must be spiritual, personal, and inward.
The old covenant had a false doctrine come into it that eventually destroyed those who believed it. This false doctrine taught that one could go through the sacrifices, the form of worship, and have part of the organization of the religious, and be made perfect and righteous before God. That same false doctrine is being taught in many churches of today. The Lord wants a relationship with each individual. He wants an inward change, not just an outward form.
The heart and mind of each person must become properly related to God. The words "heart" and "hearts" are found in Jeremiah 62 times. Only the books of Psalms and Proverbs use those terms more. The heart is the seat of feelings and emotion. It refers to a person's mode of thinking, acting, understanding, intelligence and wisdom. The guilt and sin of the people were rooted in a heart alienated from God.
Judah had not returned to God with her whole heart:
"...Judah hath not turned unto Me with her whole heart, but feignedly."
Jeremiah spoke of "the stubbornness of their evil heart" (Jer. 3:17).
He had talked about their "revolting and rebellious heart (Jer. 5:23).
He referred to their heart that "departeth from the Lord (Jer. 17:5).
Jeremiah told them that the "heart is deceitful above all thing... corrupt." (Jer. 17:9).
He also told them of the need to have their hearts circumcised of sins (Jer. 4:4).
The teaching was also given by Jeremiah that "ye shall seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." (Jer. 29:13).
Therefore Jeremiah had taught that the ultimate desire of God is a changed heart in man. The new covenant will be marked by this change upon the converts.
"I will put My laws in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it."
"I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return unto Me with their whole heart."
The regeneration of the new birth, or born again experience, in the new covenant is founded on the concept of a new heart being put within each individual. This transforming within the person makes them a person who is pleasing to God.
II Corinthians 5:17
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things have become new."
Jesus said - Ye must be born again." This new birth is the basis of being able to please God. For all their ceremonies in the days of Jeremiah, the old nature was still in control of most of the people. Jeremiah had found an inward change, but most of the religious people were only in a form of ceremonial religion. That tendency is evident yet today. The new birth is necessary for us to have direct access to God. We are to have part of this new covenant and become part of the priesthood of believers.
DOCTRINE OF RESTORATION
When God gets individuals to have an inward change, He begins a process of restoration.
"And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten."
In 31:38-40, Jeremiah shows that God will restore Jerusalem, and even extend its boundaries. The "valley of hinnom", which was the garbage dump of Jerusalem, would even become part of the holy city. God wanted to restore the nation. Each individual that suffers judgment and suffering can now claim the restoration of the Lord. God not only wants to take away our sins, and He does not only want to have a personal relationship with us. He will go even further and undo all the effects that sin and rebellion has had on our lives. He wants to bless us abundantly. It is not because we deserve it, for we don't. God wants to mercifully give us undeserved favor and blessing.
There is a false doctrine that teaches us that blessing and prosperity are our domain to claim now. That doctrine is trying to avoid the need for repentance to God, relationship with God, and then restoration from God. We are in the time of coming judgment on the world, and before that on the church. The nations need warned about that, and encouraged to get into the relationship that comes after the repentance. Then when the judgment has come, we will find His restoration power.
The vision of Jeremiah had helped him get through the hardest time of his life. God showed him in the ultimate purpose of God. He made Jeremiah realize that God had not failed, but Jeremiah had just witnessed a part of the plan of God in bringing the people to the true repentance, and heart changing that God wants.
In our lives, the times may be confusing, circumstances may be trying, and others may persecute. Our friends may even turn on us. Disaster may seem imminent. Yet, God can bring good, He can restore. Let us learn as did Jeremiah, that God is working out a plan. We are a small part of the whole plan. God has not forgotten us. He is not defeated. He is still planning the greatest victory celebration the universe has ever seen!
Baruch, in chapters 41-42, sees these same doctrines taught by the Lord to Baruch, and the Lord is still trying to convince mankind of their truth. Many prophets have been shown these truths, and still false doctrines abound in the minds of many. Why do so many resist God's simple, well-prophesied truth?