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Jeremiah 33 is a continuation of the Book of Encouragement and of Jeremiah 32’s encouragement to Jeremiah to buy a field.
Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Background
We begin the passage with a very brief introduction to the circumstances under which God spoke to Jeremiah about Israel’s future. It’s so brief because it really just a continuation of what God was saying back in Jeremiah 32.
KJV Jeremiah 33:1 ¶ Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah [the/a] second time, while he was [yet/still] [shut up/confined] in the [court/courtyard] of the [prison/guard/guardhouse], saying,
So, just like in Jeremiah 32, here in this chapter the prophet is still in prison. He’s confined within a city which itself is a confinement for so many Jews who would end up losing their lives to the invading Babylonian army. And all this was happened because of their constant and chronic sin and rebellion against their God.
Jeremiah 33 Commentary | An Encouragement to Pray
Now, the first statement God makes to Jeremiah is to encourage him to pray in verses 2 and 3.
2 Thus saith the LORD the [maker/doer] [thereof/of the earth/of these things],
Now, what does this mean? The Lord is the “maker thereof”? The maker of what? I think in context from what we saw in Jeremiah 32, the Lord is here declaring himself to be the maker or the doer of what he’s been promising his people. He’s the one who makes these plans for the future restoration of his people Israel. He’s the one who accomplishes those amazing promises. That’s what the Lord is claiming that he does here in verse 2.
the LORD that [formed/planned] it [again, these promises to bless Israel in the Millennium…], to establish it [those promises…]; the LORD is his name;
And then you’re sure to want to read our Jeremiah 33 3 Meaning article.
Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Current State of the Houses of Jerusalem
And as we’ve seen at least a few times so far in this book, God often starts his discussion of future blessings for his people with a reminder of where they were currently as a nation. He does that yet again in verses 4 and 5 where the Lord calls to mind the current state of Jerusalem. And he actually points to the houses in that city.
4 For thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are [thrown/torn] down [by/to make a defense against] the [mounts/siege mounds/siege ramps], and [by/against] the sword;
5 They [come/go] to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill [them/the houses] with the dead bodies of men, whom I have slain in mine anger and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hid my face from this city.
So, this is the current state of Israel a year or two before Babylon finally takes their city and kills most of them and exiles the rest of them out of their land.
God is acknowledging in verse 5 that the Judeans are going out to fight with Babylon. And yet, all they will accomplish is to die so that their dead bodies can be thrown into those ruined houses in Jerusalem. That’s apparently where many of these men would be “buried” if you can call it that – in these houses of rubble.
And these men will fail – not necessarily because they were poor fighters or because they didn’t have a will to fight – rather these warriors would fail and be killed because God was on the side – not of his people the Jews – but God was on the side of the Babylonians – the ones whom he sent to attack and destroy his own people!
So, as usual, the picture God paints of the current situation of the Jews is pretty bleak.
Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Future Restoration
And against that backdrop, the Lord will now in verses 6 through 9 speak of the glorious restoration that he had – and still has – in store for his people Israel.
Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Healing
The Lord begins by speaking of healing his people in the future.
6 [Behold/But], I will bring [to…] it health and [cure/healing], and I will [cure/heal] them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.
So, is this literal physical health that God is promising here? Or is a poetic way of saying that God is going to generally make things go well with them?
I think that God here is promising to literally physically heal his people the Jews in the Millennium. And we tend to recoil from that kind of promise. We’re so used to people to subscribe to what’s called the Prosperity Gospel that any time there’s a promise of physical healing in the Scripture, we look askance at it.
To acknowledge that God will physically heal his people in the Millennium is not to adopt the Prosperity Gospel. It is to acknowledge what God’s word says is to come for God’s people – not now, but in the Millennium.
The basic problem with the Prosperity Gospel is that it sees promises given by God that are for the Millennium and it forces those promises back into the Church Age – now. This interpretation of Scripture fools people and gives them unrealistic expectations. When the promises they say are relevant for this age don’t come to pass – because God intends them for another time – then it can wreck people’s faith in God’s promises.
The Prosperity Gospel is a heresy – it divides Christ’s church. The preachers of that so-called “gospel” lead people away from the truth. We’ve had this happen to people who have attended this very church. I’ve worked with people in the business world who have imbibed this Americanized form of Christianity and I’ve seen the change in focus it leads to for its adherents.
So, let me be clear – the Prosperity Gospel and any other form of teaching that tells you that healing and fortune are for this age – that tells you that if you don’t have these things somehow you are lacking faith – that kind of teaching is a perverted gospel – the kind which the Apostle Paul said in Galatians is no Gospel at all and is rather something that even if an angel is preaching to you, that angel is to be accursed – anathema.
Alright – so now I don’t think anyone will mistake how I think about physical healing being promised to Christians in this Church Age in which we live.
And now, let me repeat that what we have in verse 6 is a promise of literal physical healing for God’s people in the Millennium. And that is totally in keeping with other statements made in the Scripture concerning this 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ – known as the Millennium. Animals will no longer be killing each other – or humans, for that matter. People will live hundreds of years. And this passage fits in with those facts. God will heal his people in the Millennium.
And he’ll give them an abundance of peace and truth.
Again, what a contrast to what they were currently experiencing. The people of Judah were full of falsehood. But a time of truth is coming. The people of Judah were experiencing non-stop war. But a time of peace is coming. They were experiencing starvation and disease. But a time is coming when God will be their healer.
Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Return of Judah and Israel
God continues in verse 7 with promising to bring all of Israel and Judah back to their land in the Millennium.
7 And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first.
Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Sin Forgiven
And we can think that likely verse 7 has already started in our day. And by the way, that should fill us with excitement and expectation. The Jews are back in their land. That kind of thing is so closely tied in with the Millennium that if we didn’t have all sorts of evidence to the contrary we might be tempted to think that the Millennium is upon us right now! But it isn’t.
And one of the many evidences that that is the case – that the Millennium is not here yet – is the promise in verse 8 that when God restores the Jews to their that he will cleanse them of all their sin. That hasn’t happened yet. So, let’s read…
8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.
Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Jerusalem
And lastly, in this small section of Millennial promises, God says that Jerusalem is in for an amazing amount of grace and blessing.
9 And [it/the city] shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I [procure unto/provide for] it. [NET – The nations will tremble in awe at all the peace and prosperity that I will provide for it.’]
The nations will hear about all the good that God will do for Jerusalem and they will tremble. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever seen God bless someone so much that you just tremble about it? That hasn’t happened to me. But it will happen – with all the nations in the Millennium who see the great blessings and prosperity that God will bring upon his city Jerusalem.
Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Current Destruction
Now in verses 10 and 11 we have another cycle of God’s declaring the current destruction of Judah and contrasting that with the restoration that he has planned for them in the future.
So, start with verse 10 and the destruction that Judah was currently then experiencing.
10 ¶ Thus saith the LORD;
Again there shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast,
There’s a highlighting of the current destruction of Judah.
Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Future Restoration
Now for the future restoration and blessing.
There will be heard in that place…
11 The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness,
the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride,
the voice of them that shall say,
Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good;
for his mercy endureth for ever:
and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD.
For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD.
Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Current Destruction and Future Restoration
Again, in verses 12 and 13 we have a third cycle of current misery contrasted with future blessings.
12 ¶ Thus saith the LORD of hosts;
Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof, shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down.
13 In the cities of the [mountains/hill country], in the cities of the [vale/Shephelah/western foothills], and in the cities of the [south/Negeb], and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah,
shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that [telleth/counts] them, saith the LORD.
At this point I just want to say that this is happening in a way right now. The Jews are back in their land. They are raising animals like we see prophesied in these two verses. And I’m impressed with the fact that Christ could come back at any moment and set in motion the seven years of Tribulation followed by this wonderful Millennium we keep hearing about in this book.
This could start at any moment. What’s left to be fulfilled before it happens? Christ could return for us at any moment.
Filter the troubling events happening in our country through this reality, friends. You get to serve and know the Lord until you die or Christ returns – at which time you’ll be with him forever in glory! And that time is drawing ever nearer. It’s not a cliché to say that this could happen today! It’s absolutely true. It’s what the Lord himself has led us to believe. He’s coming at any moment. And the fact that some of the blessings that he’s promised for the Millennium are practically upon us – this urges us on to a greater zeal for his business. You don’t know when Christ is coming to put an end to this age and begin to usher in his reign in Jerusalem. May the Lord help us to wake up and serve him with all of our heart and all of our days!!! Even these last days that we find ourselves living in.
Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Continuation of King and Priests
And speaking of our coming king, he’s not just our king. He’s the King of the Jews. And God has promised those people that their king will come in the Millennium. In fact, the Lord promises the continuation of both king and priests in verses 14-22.
Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Already Promised
To begin, in verse 14, the Lord points to the fact that he’s already promised this kind of thing before.
14 ¶ Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.
He’s already promised this then. Promised what?
Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Messianic King Promised
What we see in verse 15 – a Messianic king, known as the Branch.
15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause [the Branch of righteousness/a Righteous Branch] to grow up [unto/for] David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.
Do you remember where the Lord has already promised – in this very book – to send a Davidic king that he refers to as the Branch? It’s Jeremiah 23.
Jeremiah 33 Commentary | His Effect on Judah and Jerusalem
And much of what he said there is very similar to what he’s going to say here. Including the content of verse 6 here where the Lord speaks of the coming Messianic kings’ overall effect on Judah and Jerusalem.
16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith [she/Jerusalem] shall be called, The LORD [is…] our righteousness.
So, this Messianic figure known as the Branch will come and bring peace and security to Judah and Jerusalem.
There’s one more difference between this passage and Jeremiah 23. In Jeremiah 23 it’s the Branch himself that will be known as the Lord our righteousness. But here in this passage we have that the city of Jerusalem will be given that name.
Now, when we read that the Branch – Jesus Christ – will be called “the Lord Our Righteousness” we see there that Jesus is 1) the Lord Jehovah/Yahweh and 2) that he is our righteousness. But now we see that the city of Jerusalem is given the same title as the Messianic king. Why?
It seems that the answer has to do with the fact that Jerusalem and the king in her midst during the Millennium are very closely connected. And what a contrast that future time will be to what the Jews in Jeremiah were experiencing. The city of Jerusalem at that point had little to do with righteousness and little to do with their righteous God. But that will all change one day.
Jeremiah 33 Commentary | The Lord’s Solemn Promise
And if anyone is tempted to think that this promise of a future king is something other than absolutely literal, then God is going to give them verses 17 and 18 to correct their thinking.
17 ¶ For thus saith the LORD;
David shall never [want/lack] a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;
18 Neither shall the priests the Levites [want/lack] a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.
But there are no Levites right now and there is no Davidic king. So, what do these verses mean? Catch the fact that God promises a Davidic king as long as there is something for that king to sit upon and rule from. As long as there is a throne there will be a king. There hasn’t been a throne in Jerusalem since the destruction by the Babylonians. No throne, no king.
Similar with the Levites. If there’s no Temple in which to burn sacrifices, then there are no priests. But when the throne and when the Temple are restored in Jerusalem, then God will bring back the king and the priests just as he’s promising here.
Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Celestial and Terrestrial Promises
Well, maybe you’re still really doubting that God is going to bring this to pass. After all, it seems that none of the Jews in our time even know their tribe. How will the Levites in the Millennium actually know that they’re Levites? And any number of similar objections might be cited to try to make this promise mean something different from what it seems to mean.
Well, God is again going to give more assurance to any doubters that he is really, really going to do this. We see this happening in verses 19 through 22.
19 ¶ And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying,
20 Thus saith the LORD;
Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Day & Night vs. David and Levites
And here’s one way that God is going to try to convince everyone that he’s going to someday again have a Davidic king ruling in Jerusalem and Levitical priests ministering in Jerusalem. If day and night cease, then his promise of these Millennial realities will also be null and void.
If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season;
21 Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.
Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Stars and Sand vs. David and Levites
And here’s one more way that God is going to double-down on this amazing promise of his. As soon as humanity is able to count the stars and the sand, that’s when his promise concerning David and the Levites will be repealed – a.k.a., NEVER!
22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.
Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Continuation of Israel and Judah
And it’s not only David and the Levites that God is concerned with. The Lord more broadly wants the Jews — and really even us Christians — to have faith in the fact that he will not completely cast off Israel and Judah.
23 ¶ Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,
Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Despite What People Think
24 Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying,
The two families which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off?
thus they have [despised/little regard for] my people, that they should be no more a nation [before them/in their estimation].
So, people of that day even were writing off Israel and Judah, saying they had no future or hope. And you have folks like that today. Some preachers that you or I would appreciate on some level would minimize the fact that God has a future plan for Israel and Judah that is separate in some way from his plan for the Church. This is part of what’s known as Covenant Theology. In some way, Israel/Judah and the Church are one in the same in that system of theology.
But what we’ve already heard in this book and what we hear all over the Bible and what we’ll continue to hear for the rest of this chapter is that God is not done with Israel – literal, Jewish, descended-from-Abraham Israel.
And as we see from verse 24, God has a plan for Israel concerning the Millennium that will happen despite what anyone thinks – whether that anyone lived in Jeremiah’s day or our day or whenever. God is not done with national, ethnic Israel and Judah.
Jeremiah 33 Commentary | As Certain as Day and Night
Well, how certain is God to execute his plan for Israel and Judah? According to verses 25 and 26 he’s as certain as the cycle of day and night that we have experienced every single day of our life and will continue to experience until the day of our death.
25 Thus saith the LORD;
If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth;
26 Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.
God will literally physically restore Israel to their land. He will literally have a Davidic king to rule on the literal throne in literal Jerusalem. Accompanying that king will be literal Levitical priests ministering in a literal Temple and offering literal sacrifices once more.
You don’t believe it? God would strongly disagree. Only if the cycle of day and night stop would his plans for the future concerning Israel stop. Only if we could somehow count the stars in heaven and the sand on the shore can we say that God has utterly cast off and forgotten about his people Israel.
No, these things will surely happen. And they’ll happen because the one who made these promises is both able and willing to carry them out at exactly the right time.
That’s our God. He’s powerful, loving, just, and totally honest. Let’s seek to live a life this week that’s a praise to this awesome Lord of ours.