“Hate Speech” #6

Monday, February 22, 2016

“Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt” (Jeremiah 38:4 KJV).

Who is “this man?” And, what words is he speaking to make him worthy of being “put to death?”

According to the verses previous to today’s Scripture, Jeremiah preached: “[2] Thus saith the LORD, He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live. [3] Thus saith the LORD, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which shall take it.”

In today’s Scripture, Judah’s princes complained to King Zedekiah that Jeremiah was discouraging the Jewish people from fighting and resisting the Babylonians. Unbelief at its very best! Jeremiah was preaching in the name of JEHOVAH—“thus saith the LORD”—and JEHOVAH God had already determined that the Babylonians would come in and defeat the Jews. That is, Jeremiah was telling Israel it was no use fighting the Babylonians, for God had already determined that judgment on the Jews. Israel’s God had given them centuries of warnings to reform or be punished, but the Jews never turned back to Him.

Of course, Jeremiah was portrayed as the evil one. Judah’s princes accused him of not seeking Judah’s wellbeing. In fact, it was they who were not seeking Judah’s wellbeing. They were the evil ones. To fight against JEHOVAH, as they were doing, was sure to lead to physical harm and death. Contrariwise, to obey JEHOVAH’S words through Jeremiah, and submit to Babylon, “he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live.”

What another interesting parallel to today’s Scripture. Those who rebel against God, they are “innocent.” It is the Bible-believing Christian, speaking against injustice and unrighteousness, who is the evildoer!

“Hate Speech” #2

Thursday, February 18, 2016

“Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt” (Jeremiah 38:4 KJV).

Who is “this man?” And, what words is he speaking to make him worthy of being “put to death?”

From verse 1, we learn that it was Jeremiah the Prophet speaking “offensive” words. The wicked leaders of Judah (southern Israel) had grown tired of the 40 years of Jeremiah’s preaching ministry. Now, they wanted him dead, so they went to King Zedekiah in today’s Scripture to “make the arrangements!” (We will comment on this later.)

The Jews had overlooked a simple fact. While they were blaming Jeremiah, he had not originated the prophecies of judgment that were coming up on idolatrous Jerusalem. In fact, nearly 1000 years earlier, Moses had given Israel express instructions concerning God’s Law Covenant with them. Disobedience to God’s commandments would result in five courses (phases, rounds) of judgment/chastisement. Whenever Israel would persist in false religion, idol worship, increasing divine judgment would come upon them. Once Israel refused to repent of her wickedness after four rounds of judgment, the fifth phase of chastisement would be Gentile captivity. Israel would be removed from her Promised Land. (We will comment on this later also.)

For now, just notice that it was so strange then that Judah’s king and the other Jews in the area had grown upset with Jeremiah. He was doing nothing more than quoting what Moses had written to them centuries earlier! Yet, Moses did not originate those judgments either. It was God’s Word through Moses. The same God who had spoken through Moses was now speaking through Jeremiah. Furthermore, by the Jews refusing to hear Jeremiah, they proved they really did not believe Moses, either. If Jeremiah were guilty of “hate speech,” then so was Moses, and so was the JEHOVAH God they had claimed to “love and worship!”

Our latest Bible Q&As: “Is Matthew 27:9 a mistake?” and “Is Matthew 2:23 a mistake?