God works contrary to human nature, contrary to our expectations. In the book of Jeremiah, Judah is headed towards exile from the Beautiful Land because they had defiled it by their willful idolatry and evil behavior. Because God is merciful and longsuffering He sent numerous prophets to warn about the coming judgment, but the priests, prophets and people refused to listen and even murdered the true prophets of God.
1In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the LORD, saying, 2Thus says the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: 3If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings. 4And thou shalt say unto them, Thus says the LORD; If ye will not hearken to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you, 5To hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened; 6Then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth. 7So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD. 8Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die. 9Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the LORD, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate without an inhabitant? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the LORD. 10When the princes of Judah heard these things, then they came up from the king’s house unto the house of the LORD, and sat down in the entry of the new gate of the LORD’S house. 11Then spoke the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man is worthy to die; for he hath prophesied against this city, as ye have heard with your ears. 12Then spoke Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people, saying, The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard. 13Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you. 14As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seems good and meet unto you. 15But know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the LORD hath sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears. 16Then said the princes and all the people unto the priests and to the prophets; This man is not worthy to die: for he hath spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God. 17Then rose up certain of the elders of the land, and spoke to all the assembly of the people, saying, 18Micah the Morasthite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and spoke to all the people of Judah, saying, Thus says the LORD of hosts; Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest. 19Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him at all to death? did he not fear the LORD, and besought the LORD, and the LORD repented him of the evil which he had pronounced against them? Thus might we procure great evil against our souls. Jeremiah 26:1-19
Jeremiah, God’s prophet spoke the truth to the inhabitants of Judah, yet they were not willing to listen. God sent Jeremiah with this pronouncement of judgment with the hope that the people would repent of their evil behavior and return to the Lord. The majority was incensed at the pronouncement of judgment, but God raised up those who protected Jeremiah reminding the others that a prophet had declared God’s judgment against Judah in the days of Hezekiah and the people had repented. They warned the angry mob not to murder Jeremiah and bring great evil against their souls. These princes and elders were the very ones who would be carried captive to Babylon. This was God’s deliverance for these souls who received the Word of Jeremiah and repented of their sin. The ones who preferred the heresy of the false prophets and the evil arrogance of the priests were the ones who rejected the Word of the Lord proclaimed to them by the prophet Jeremiah and they would remain in the land of Judah receiving the full retribution of the Lord against their evil idolatrous ways.
1The LORD showed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the LORD, after that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon. 2One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad. 3Then said the LORD unto me, What seest thou, Jeremiah? And I said, Figs; the good figs, very good; and the evil, very evil, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil. 4Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.6For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up. 7And I will give them an 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. 8And as the evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil; surely thus says the LORD, So will I give Zedekiah the king of Judah, and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem, that remain in this land, and them that dwell in the land of Egypt:9And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them. 10And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers. Jeremiah 24:1-10
As it was in the time of Jeremiah, so it is today. There are many abroad who proclaim the imaginings of their own hearts and claim to speak for the Lord. There are many who twist the Scriptures to agree with what they proclaim and lead many astray. False teachers proliferate within the church asserting the doctrines and vain philosophies of man rather than teaching the glorious Word of God. Just as the remnant was removed from Judah and protected in Babylon, the sad reality is that those who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ through faith in Him find their safety and God’s blessings by not assembling with the wicked crowd. Our loyalty is to the Lord Jesus Christ and we must follow Him, not the vainglory of man.
After God reveals to John the end-time apostate church in all of her filthy betrayal of the Lord Jesus Christ and His saints, John hears a voice from heaven warning God’s people to come out of her lest they share in her punishment.
4And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. 6Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. Revelation 18:4-6
The corruption of the church is roiling to a climax of complete apostasy for the appearance of the one world religious institution that rejects God, renounces His Christ, repudiates His Word the Bible, resists the Holy Spirit and instead enthralls itself with man’s musings and embraces the folly of sin, as they are led by the devil. Continuing to support this evil institution is not an option for the children of God, bought by the precious blood of Christ, filled with His Spirit and fed by the Word of the Living God. We must renounce all the works of the flesh and follow our Savior rejoicing in His grace, mercy and love given to us. Just as God’s deliverance for those who listened to and obeyed His Word spoken by His prophet Jeremiah seemed contrary to His promises for His people, the deliverance that He has for His children today is to turn away from the apostate church and find fellowship with those who see the deception for what it is, even if that means we turn from the “corporate church body”. May God bless us in our exile for His glory, praise and honor.