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Jeremiah 23-25

by Chuck Smith

Now in chapter 23 God speaks out against those

Pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture, saith the LORD (23:1).

God said, “They’re My sheep, but these pastors are scattering them and destroying them.”  

Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD (23:2).

Those wicked pastors who were not really feeding the flock of God, but rather seeking only to fleece the flock of God. A true shepherd seeks to feed His flock. A hireling always seeks to fleece the flock of God.

If these evangelists are writing to you and in every letter they send to you there is a direct or insinuated appeal for funds, know that they’re not really writing unto you because they love you and care for you. Though they may say it, “Oh, I’ve been thinking about you this week. And God laid a heavy burden upon my heart for you. Is everything all right, brother? Please write and tell me what’s wrong with you so I can pray for you. And I’m going to go and I’m going to fast and I’m going to pray and I’m going to bring your requests before God. Now make sure that you send your request in to me immediately and please mark off how much you can send in at this time, you know.” That’s all a bunch of goobledygook to get to the bottomline for you to send your bucks in. There’s no real concern for the flock of God. There’s no real attempt. You read the letter. There’s nothing there to feed your spirit. The whole thing is designed to fleece you. The whole purpose is to fleece the flock of God. That’s not a true shepherd and God speaks out, “Woe unto you, shepherds, not really feeding the flock. Scattering the flock. You’re destroying the flock.”

Well, I’ll tell you, I don’t want to stand in their shoes when they have to stand before the Lord and give an account.

God said,

I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which will feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD (23:3-4).

God says, “The day will come I’ll bring them back. My flock that’s been scattered, I’ll bring them back. And I’ll give them shepherds in those days who will really feed them. They’ll be fruitful. They’ll increase.”

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth (23:5).

There will come a day I’ll raise up from David a righteous Branch, and He will reign in righteousness, in justice and in truth.

In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called [Jehovah Tsidkenu] THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (23:6).

Who is that righteous Branch that God shall raise up from David? Who is that One who is coming and will reign in righteousness over the earth? None other than Jehovah Shua who will then be called Jehovah Tsidkenu. Jehovah Shua is another name for Jesus, Yashua.

This is a Scripture that sort of boggles the Jehovah Witnesses, because in the context you have to realize and acknowledge that surely it is talking about Jesus Christ. But His name shall be called then that name that they use exclusively for the Father. His name shall be called Jehovah Tsidkenu. That’s one they haven’t been able to successfully explain.

Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD lives, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The LORD lives, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land (23:7-8).

And so God is speaking of that day of future restoration that shall come to pass when Jesus comes again. And then shall the angels be sent to the four corners of the earth to gather God’s elect, the Jews, from all of the areas to which they have been scattered and God will bring them back in that day and in that day all Israel shall be saved. For God shall bring the deliverer out of Zion who will have turned the hearts of the children to the fathers. So the glorious day of God’s redemptive work for the nation Israel when Jesus comes again, the righteous Branch out of David to establish the throne of God and His kingdom upon the earth and to fulfill God’s promise to these people.

Now God declares,

Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets (23:9);

Actually, this is Jeremiah speaking. “My heart within me is broken.” You remember he’s the weeping prophet. “My heart within me is broken because of the prophets.”

all my bones shake: I am like a drunken man, I’m like a man whom wine has overcome, because of the LORD, and because of the words of his holiness. For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right. For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD. Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the LORD (23:9-12).

So God speaks of these wicked prophets and priests who have profaned their ministries and all and God said they’re on a slippery plank in the dark. Boy, I mean, that’s in a bad way. Can’t see where you’re going and you’re walking on ice. Surely they shall fall.

And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err. I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, they walk in lies: they strengthen the hands of evildoers, that none does return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants of Gomorrah (23:13-14).

They’re just irredeemable.  

Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walks after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you (23:15-17).

The prophets were prophesying lies. “It doesn’t matter how you live. You’re all right. God will accept you. God really doesn’t care that you live after your flesh, that you disregard His law. Doesn’t really matter. Peace. No evil is going to come upon you.”

There are many churches today where there is really no strong preaching of the Word. The people go and are comforted. No matter, though they are walking after their own imagination, after their own lust, they go to church and they can come out feeling very comforted, very good, because there is no real conviction of sin. There’s no real preaching of righteousness or holiness before God. And the tragic thing is that people are being comforted in their evil ways, being lulled into a false sense of security. A lot of ministers today will tell you there is no hell. All the hell you’re ever going to get is right here on earth. All the heaven you’re ever going to get is right here on earth. There is no future judgment. And there are ministers that make fun of and scoff at the idea of hell. “Peace in this place. Surely God won’t visit you for the evil that you have done. No evil will come upon you.”

For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it? (23:18)

These guys are speaking for the Lord but He said, “They never sat in My council. They don’t know the things that I have determined. Yet they’re speaking for Me, but they don’t even know what they’re talking about. They haven’t been in My council. They haven’t heard My word.”

Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he has executed, and till he has performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly (23:19-20).

You’ll understand it completely. Hindsight is always better than foresight. When it’s happened you’ll look back and then you’ll understand that you were being deceived by those false prophets. You’ll understand that it was a lie, that they were speaking in the name of the Lord, that you were duped. God is saying the day will come. You’ll look back when the calamity is fallen, when the judgment is come, then you’ll realize these men were lying to you the whole while who said no evil is going to come to this place. It’s going to be peace and all.

For I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings. Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? (23:21-23)

Aren’t I not right present? I’m not far off someplace where you can’t reach Me or where I don’t know what’s going on. God doesn’t dwell in some remote corner of the universe. Paul said to those Epicurean philosophers there in Athens, “This is the God I want to talk to you about, for in Him we live, we move, we have our being” (Acts 17:28). It’s the God who pervades all of space. You can’t escape His presence.

Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? (23:24)

There is no secret sin. There is no hidden sin. God sees everything we do. You think you’re hiding yourself from God or your actions from God. You’re only deceiving yourself.

Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD. I have heard what the prophets said, that are prophesying lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbor, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal (23:24-27).

So these men are telling their fancy dreams and turning people away from God.

The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD (23:28).

There is a certain danger in our seeking after spiritual phenomena today whereby God might speak through a, say through, a man that is calling himself a prophet. And that you go to him and he lays his hand upon your head and begins to prophesy over you. Revealing to you things of your past. Revealing to you the things that nobody else knows until your heart is really confirmed. “Wow, this guy must really know what he’s talking about.”

There is in this area a few years back a lady who was doing just such a thing. She had a very uncanny ability to prophesy over people. And in her prophecy reveal secrets of their past. And many people were attracted to her and drawn to her because one of the large charismatic churches in the county featured her as the Sunday school teacher for a time. I had a young man, a minister, who had tremendous potential. I had worked with him in several summer camping programs. We had spent a lot of time together in the Word, in prayer. This young man was searching after God, seeking after God. And so he went and he heard this woman and he was attracted to her uncanny ability to be able to prophesy and to say so many things. And so he made an appointment and he went over to her house. And there she began to reveal to him all kinds of things about his past, about his beautiful, godly mother. And as she was relating these things to him he was captivated by her ability to be able to see so clearly and she began to prophesy directions and guidance for his life. She began to direct him into the contacting his mother through seances and into spiritism. And this young man who had such a tremendous potential and was used in such a glorious way by God in ministering to young people is today totally out of it. Led astray. He wouldn’t listen to the counsel from the Word. This woman had really bewitched him by her gift that she possessed. But the gift really wasn’t from God.

There is a danger in seeking to the supernatural phenomena for guidance or for direction rather than to God and to the Word of God. A person comes up and says, “Oh, I’ve had a dream. I want to tell you my dream. What does my dream mean?” Oh, I don't know. “He that has a dream let him tell his dream.” To someone else. “But he that hath My Word, let him speak My Word faithfully.” And yet there are those that talk about revelations from angels. Angels that visit them and sit on their beds and direct them. And people get all excited. “Oh, have you read Angels on Assignment? My!”

“He that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath My Word, let him speak My Word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord.” We have the Word of God. Nothing can be added to it or should be taken away from it. This is the wheat. This will produce spiritual growth. This will cause you to be strong in the Lord. This will build up your spiritual man. You may be running around looking for spiritual excitement. It’s always a dangerous thing, looking for spiritual phenomena, because it’s easy to be led astray. The Word of God will keep you on the path. You cannot grow by supernatural phenomena.

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I am not opposed to the gifts and the working of the Holy Spirit. The true manifestation of the works of the Spirit are marvelous and I seek them. But all that comes must be measured and judged by the Word of God. We cannot allow experiences to become the basis for doctrinal truth. We cannot establish doctrine upon experiences. We can only establish doctrine on the sound Word of God and not upon any kind of supernatural phenomena.

A while back we had this plague of “demon, demon, who’s got the demons?” And the groups were gathering together all over the United States to deliver one another from the burps or the lethargy or gluttonous demons. Tragic. Sad. People guiding each other by experiences and not by the Word of God.

But I read some of the books, and this one pastor who was heavy into this deliverance ministry was teaching the doctrine of demonology. And in the book, in the doctrine of demonology that he was teaching, he was teaching that we have the power to bind the demons and cast them into hell, into the pit. And that we should always bind the demons and cast them into the pit. Now how did he know we had that power? Because when he was exorcising a demon, the demon told him, “Don’t cast me into the pit.” And he said, “Oh, do I have that power?” The demon said, “Yes, you have that power to cast me in the pit. Please don’t do it.” So you have a doctrine that is based upon the word of a demon. Now Satan is a liar and the father of all lies. Surely the demons are liars, too. How can you base a doctrine upon what is said by a demon whose basic character is that of lying? But you see how easily you can be swayed to look to something else for the truth. “What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord.”

Is not my word like a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbor. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD. And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask thee, saying, What is the burden of the LORD? thou shalt say unto them, What burden? I will even forsake you, saith the LORD. And as for the prophet, and the priest, and the people, that shall say, The burden of the LORD, I will even punish that man and his house. Thus shall ye say every one to his neighbor, and every one to his brother, What hath the LORD answered? and, What hath the LORD spoken? And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man's word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God. Thus shalt thou say to the prophet, What hath the LORD answered thee? and, What hath the LORD spoken? (23:29-37)

Rather than saying, “What’s the burden of the Lord, brother?” Just say, “What’s the Lord answered you or what hath the Lord spoken?” Because this thing of the burden of the Lord, they were all the false prophets were using that.

But since ye say, The burden of the LORD; therefore thus saith the LORD; Because ye say this word, The burden of the LORD, and I have sent unto you, saying, Ye shall not say, The burden of the LORD (23:38);

A lot of people going around today saying, “Oh, the Lord lays such a heavy burden on me, man. I don't know if I’m going to be able to make it. God laid this heavy burden on me.” Are you sure? Jesus said, “My yoke is easy, My burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). I think the people can lay heavy burdens on us. Many times the church lays heavy burdens on people. Many times we take heavy burdens on ourselves. Now let’s not blame the Lord for it. God’s not going to lay such a burden on you that it’s going to drive you to a nervous breakdown. God’s not going to lay such a burden on you that you can’t really function with your family because you’re so upset and so nervous and so uptight over this pressure that is on you. “But if I don’t do it, you know, they're going to be calling me. And oh, I don’t know what I’m going to do. This burden of the Lord, the burden of the Lord.” No, no, no, it’s not the burden of the Lord. It’s something that man has laid on you, the church has laid on you. You take it on yourself, but God didn’t lay it on you because Jesus said, “My burden is light, My yoke is easy.”

Some people say to me, “I don’t know how you can pastor a church with that many people.” I say, “Well, I don’t either.” But it’s really not difficult. It’s not a heavy burden. I don’t go around just, you know, pressed down and just groaning and just, “Hope I can make it another day.” I don’t feel it. His yoke is easy, His burden is light. There’s no big pressure. There is no big deal because His yoke is easy, His burden is light. I’ve oftentimes told people it was much harder to pastor a little church of twenty-five people in Prescott than it is to pastor Calvary Chapel. I had many heavier burdens there than I have here. This is a piece of cake.

But God says, “Forget that burden of the Lord stuff. I’m tired of hearing that. I don’t want to hear it anymore. Just say, ‘What did the Lord say?’ Or, ‘How has the Lord answered you?’ But don’t, don’t, don’t use that burden of the Lord bit.”

Therefore, behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and cast you out of my presence (23:39):

If you use this term any more.

And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten (23:40).

So that’s one phrase I’d sure stay away from if I were you.


Chapter 24

Now in chapter 24.

The LORD showed me, and, behold, there were two baskets of figs set before the temple of the LORD, after Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away the captives 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 (24:1).

Now in the first captivity or the first time that Nebuchadnezzar came, he did not destroy the city, but he did take captives and he did take treasure. Among those captives that were taken in the first captivity were the young princes—Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego. They were all taken in this first captivity. He had taken the king Jeconiah to Babylon and he had set up Zedekiah as the king. But then Zedekiah rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar and he came the second time. And in the second time is when he destroyed the temple, destroyed the city and all. So this message came to Jeremiah after this first captivity when Daniel and others were carried away. Some of the skilled carpenters and all were carried away to Babylon. He saw two baskets of figs.

One 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. Then said the LORD unto me, What do you see, Jeremiah? And I said, Figs; the good figs, very good; and the evil, very evil, you can’t even eat them, they are so evil. Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Thus saith the LORD 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 (24:2-5).

They had gone away captive, but God said that that was for their good. That’s so that they won’t see this horrible desolation that’s coming. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, they were the good figs. Those that were taken away captive in that first invasion by Babylon.

For I will set my 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. And 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 (24:6-7).

And we read of the witness and the testimony that Daniel and Shadrach and Meshach and Abednego were in that Babylonian kingdom.

And as the evil figs, which cannot be eaten, because they are so rotten; surely thus saith 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: And 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. And 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 (24:8-10).

So the two groups: those that went in the first captivity, Daniel and others who were the good figs; Zedekiah, the rotten mess that he made of things and those that were with him that were to be destroyed.


Chapter 25

The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (25:1).

So now we’re going back in time. This was before Zedekiah was king. This was when Jehoiakim was king. Jehoiakim reigned for eleven years. He was a very evil king, but he was the son of Josiah who reigned for thirty-one years. Jeremiah was called to prophesy in the thirteenth year of Josiah’s reign. So Josiah is now dead. He’s been dead for four years, so it happened in the fourth year of Jehoiakim.

the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon (25:1).

So he’s giving you the time of this prophecy.

The which Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem (25:2),

So this is just a separate prophecy of Jeremiah and it’s isolated from the others. It sits here by itself. “Which Jeremiah the prophet spake to all the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”

saying, From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the twenty-third year (25:2-3),

So God called Jeremiah to prophesy in the thirteenth year that Josiah was reigning. Jeremiah has now been prophesying twenty-three years. They figure that he was probably seventeen years old when God called him to prophesy and so he has been prophesying now for twenty-three years. It means that Jeremiah is about forty years old at the time of this particular prophecy.

the word of the LORD hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened (25:3).

I’ve been speaking to you for twenty-three years, but you haven’t listened to me yet.

And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear. They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever (25:4-5):

Just live right and you can stay here. Serve God and He’ll keep you here.

Do not to after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt. But you’ve not hearkened unto me, saith the LORD; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt. Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Because you have not heard my words, Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about you, and I will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, a hissing, and perpetual desolations. Moreover I will take from them the voice of merriment, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle. And this whole land shall be desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years (25:6-11).

And so here Jeremiah is predicting that the Babylonian captivity will last for seventy years. Now you read in the book of Daniel, chapter 9, that Daniel said, “And after the reading of the prophets I realize that the seventy years of captivity were about over. I sought to inquire of the Lord.” So Daniel, no doubt, had these prophecies of Jeremiah. He had been reading them. And he understood by the writings of Jeremiah that their period of captivity in Babylon would be seventy years. Here Jeremiah declares that in this particular prophecy. Daniel had this prophecy and guided his affairs by the Word of God. “I know that the seventy years are about up,” so he sought the Lord to see if God had any special ministry for him in the repatriation.

“They shall serve the king of Babylon for seventy years.” Now the seventy years was because they had been dwelling in the land since the time of Joshua 490 years. And God had told them in the law that every seventh year you’re to let the ground rest. The ground is to have a sabbath. Don’t plant anything in the seventh year. Just in the sixth year, gather up and what you gather in the sixth year will be enough food to get you through the seventh year. You can eat that which grows of itself, but don’t till the land, don’t plant the land. Let it just grow of itself in the seventh year.

Sort of a plant rotation of crop kind of thing that the farmers have realized now is so valuable. I was up in Canada a while back and went out to the forage farms, and they took me out to this huge wheat farm. And a lot of it they had not planted. And he said, “No, we let the ground rest just like the Bible says. We find that we get much better crops.” And so he said, “We of course have...” They still plant every year, but a section of the ground is always set aside that every seventh year they just let it rest. They don’t plant anything in it. They just give the ground a rest. And he said, “We find that we get much better crops by giving the ground rest.”

Now they had been in the land for 490 years, but they had not obeyed the commandment of God. They hadn’t given the ground the sabbath. The ground hasn’t rested in 490 years. So God says, “Okay, you don’t give it its rest, I’ll give it its rest. I’ll put you out of the land for seventy years and the ground will just get its whole sabbath.” So you divide the 490 by seven and you find out then comes the seventy years that the ground have been robbed for seventy different sabbaths, the ground had been robbed of its rest. So God says, “Oh, no, I’ll get My dues.” You know, God will always get His dues. You just. It doesn’t pay to try and take away from God. God will get His dues one way or another. And just figure on that.

And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it a perpetual desolation. And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations. For many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them also: and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands (25:12-14).

So Babylon will be punished after the seventy years. God will bring His judgment against Babylon because of their iniquities. God will use Babylon as His instrument to bring judgment against Israel. But later God’s judgment will come upon Babylon itself.

Now at this point we jump on out to the Great Tribulation of the future. So take a leap through the time capsule.

For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it (25:15).

Now there’s a cup of the wrath of God’s wine in His hand. If you’ll turn to Revelation chapter 14, you will find corresponding verses beginning with verse 9, “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.’” Verse 19, “And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered,” this is in Revelation 14:19, “he thrust his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.” And so the cup of indignation, here God introduces it to Jeremiah.

And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them. Then took I the cup at the LORD'S hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me: To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, a hissing, and a curse; as it is this day; Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people; And all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod, the land of Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon, and all the kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon, and the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea, Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all that are in the utmost corners, And all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert, And all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes, And all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth: and the king of [Babylon, Sheshach is another name for Babylon] Sheshach shall drink after them. Therefore thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Drink, and be drunken, and vomit, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you. And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; You will certainly drink. For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts (25:16-29).

The Great Tribulation period. Now do you think that God would punish Jerusalem for their iniquity and allow us to go unpunished? Surely our iniquity is no greater than that of Israel. A nation that has forsaken God. A nation that is living after pleasure. A nation that has forsaken righteousness. A nation that has ordered prayer out of its school. A nation that has lived by godless humanism and is controlled by godless humanism in our courts, in our educational systems. You think we can go unpunished? Oh no, God says, “Take it. You’re going to drink of it, too. All of the earth.” God’s great judgment is coming upon all of the earth. “You will certainly drink for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts.”

Therefore prophesy against them these words, and say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD (25:30-31).

Notice that? He will “give those that are wicked to the sword, saith the Lord.” But what about those who are righteous by their faith in Jesus Christ?

You remember when God was ready to judge Sodom and Gomorrah and the angel of the Lord was on his way. And Abraham invited him to come in, prepared a meal. They said, “Shall we reveal unto Abraham what we’re doing?” They said, “We’re heading down to Sodom. That place is so horrible, so rotten that we’re going to destroy it. God is bringing His judgment against them.” Abraham said, “Wait a minute, isn’t God fair? Isn’t the Lord of the earth just? What if there are righteous people living in Sodom? Would it be fair to destroy the righteous people with the wicked? Maybe there’s fifty righteous people.” The Lord said, “If there is fifty righteous people, we’ll spare the city.” “Oh? Well, you know, what if there is just ten less than fifty? What if there are only forty?” “We’ll spare it for forty.” “How about thirty?” “Yes.” “Would you believe twenty?” “Yes, we’ll spare it for twenty.” “Let me talk once more and after this I won’t ask anymore. How about ten?” Father Abraham. Be careful how you deal with his descendants. You’ll get the best bargain they can. “How about ten?” I love them. They’re God’s people. They really are and I love them. And I bless them in the name of the Lord. The Lord said, “I’ll spare it for ten.”

You mean, the whole wickedness of Sodom will be allowed to go on if there are ten righteous people? That’s right. For the sake of the ten God will not bring His judgment. You’re the salt of the earth. You are the preserving influence. People may scorn you. They may deride you. They may say cruel and cutting things, but they better be thankful you’re around. For if you weren’t around, this place wouldn’t be. God’s judgment would have already fallen. But for the righteous’ sake God withholds.

The angel came to Sodom he could not find ten righteous. He found one righteous man. And the angel said, “Get out of here, we’re going to destroy this place. Don’t look back.” And the angel led Lot and his wife and his two daughters. But his wife turning back turned to a pillar of salt and so only Lot and his two daughters escaped. He was that. And Peter said that righteous man. He was the only one there. But notice, God did not bring judgment upon Lot, but delivered him before the judgment came. Peter uses that as an example to show that the church will not go through the Great Tribulation. “For God knows how to deliver the righteous, but to reserve the ungodly for the day of judgment” (II Peter 2:9). So here talking about the Great Tribulation of His coming, God is going to bring His sword against all that are wicked, saith the Lord. But those that are righteous the Lord will have caught out in the rapture of the church.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth (25:32-33):

Finally found the place where they're slain in the Spirit. All right. All over the place. From one end of the earth to the other.

they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground. Howl, ye shepherds, and cry; and wallow yourselves in the ashes, ye principal of the flock: for the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished; and ye shall fall like a pleasant vessel. And the shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape. A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and a howling of the principal of the flock, shall be heard: for the LORD hath spoiled their pasture. And the peaceable habitations are cut down because of the fierce anger of the LORD. He hath forsaken his covert, as the lion: for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppressor, and because of his fierce anger (25:33-38).

That Great Tribulation, the time of God’s judgment that shall fall upon the earth. Thank God that we as the church do not have to face that horror and terror that is coming. Revelation chapter 6 through 18 give detailed description of this period of time of three-and-a-half years. You can read about it there. Father, we thank You again for the opportunity of gathering to learn of Thee and to study Your Word and to gain insight to ourselves as Your Holy Spirit takes Thy Word and probes our hearts and our lives. As we can look at ourselves, God help us that we will not go away and forget quickly what the Spirit has shown to us tonight. But oh God, may we indeed forsake the way of the flesh and may we walk after the Spirit. And may we live after righteousness and live after Thee, O Lord, serving Thee, loving Thee. And so Father, in Jesus' name, let now Thy Spirit imbed upon our hearts Thy truths and we thank You for it. Amen.

Chuck Smith

Pastor Chuck Smith began his ministry at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, in 1965, with just twenty-five people.