For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2003 James Melough

33:1.  “Moreover the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying,”

The writer here is Baruch, Jeremiah’s amanuensis.


33:2.  “Thus saith the Lord the maker thereof, the Lord that formed it, to establish it; the Lord is his name.”


What the Lord has made, formed, and established, are the heavens and the earth: all creation; and His describing Himself as the Creator was undoubtedly to assure Jeremiah that nothing was impossible to Him.  He, the Creator, would fulfill His word.


33:3.  “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty (hidden) things, which thou knowest not.”


Jeremiah had but to ask for knowledge concerning things he couldn’t understand, and God would enlighten him; and so is it with all who sincerely desire to know His will.


33:4.  “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 down by the mounts (siege mounds), and by the sword;”


Other translations, e.g., the RSV, remove the ambiguity of the KJ version, “... which were torn down to make a defense against the siege mounds, etc.”  The Jews had demolished houses, including the palace, for material to reinforce the defenses against the enemy


33:5.  “They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill them (the streets) 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.”


The defenders might fill with debris the streets adjoining the walls, in order to block the entry of the foe, but all to no avail: God intended to fill those same streets with their own dead bodies, their wickedness having caused Him to become their Opponent instead of their Protector.


33:6.  “Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.”


There was no hope for that wicked generation that was about to be destroyed.  They had refused to repent in God’s time, and must therefore die, as must all who are guilty of the same folly; but God isn’t limited to one generation of Israel or Judah for the accomplishment of His ultimate purposes.  The God of eternity can take time to order the circumstances that will eventually fulfill His purposes, the impending Tribulation judgments being those that will yet produce the repentant believing remnant that will enjoy the fulness of His blessing which the disobedience of past generations has hindered.


This present verse describes that day, then so far distant, but now very near, for all the signs around us point to the fact that this is very likely to be the generation of Israel that will enter the crucible of the Tribulation, from which will emerge the remnant, not only of Israel but of the Gentiles, that will enjoy these promised blessings in the Millennium.


33:7.  “And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first.”


This was partially fulfilled in the return of some of the people from the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities; but complete fulfillment will come only in the Millennium, for the descendants of those who returned from Assyria and Babylon were scattered again in AD 70, and for the most part still remain dispersed amongst the nations.


33:8.  “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.”


Their sin had not only offended God: it had defiled them, thus rendering them unfit for His holy presence.  They needed to be cleansed, and He Himself would provide the means of that cleansing, but by a means impossible for them then even to imagine: the blood of His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who would die in their guilty stead.  Sadly, though over two thousand years have passed since Christ shed His sin atoning blood, Israel has remained blind to their sin, and to the true identity of the One they rejected and crucified.  The day is near, however, when their blinded eyes will be opened, a believing remnant of them inheriting the blessings so long forfeited by unbelief.


33:9.  And it (Jerusalem) shall be to me a name of joy, of praise and an honor before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them (Israel and Judah): and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it (Jerusalem).”


Millennial Jerusalem will be the center of world government, that government being of such a nature as to bring joy, praise, and honor to God from every nation.  Further cause for the reverential awe of the millennial nations will be the magnitude of God’s blessings to Israel in that glorious age.


33:10.  “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,”


33:11.  “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.”


Though Jeremiah had had to prophesy the destruction of Jerusalem  God assured him that the destruction was not to be permanent.  There would be recovery, that recovery coming when the remnant returned at the end of the seventy-year Babylonian captivity.  But that recovery wasn’t permanent.  Jerusalem was again reduced to a state of ruined desolation by the Romans in AD 70; and though it has been rebuilt since then, there is to be yet another destruction: that which will occur in the coming Great Tribulation.  The restoration described in the verses we are now considering is very clearly that which will take place in the Millennium.


33:12.  “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.”


The word used here for cities is a general term which includes even small encampments, the description continuing to be of millennial peace and blessing.


33:13.  “In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the vale, and in the cities of the south, 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 (numbers or counts) them, saith the Lord.”


This describes the whole land, the multiplied flocks (implied in their being numbered) pointing to the phenomenal abundance that will be in the Millennium.


33:14.  “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.”


God here reiterates His promise of millennial blessing for Israel.


33:15.  “In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.”


“In those days, and at that time...” refers to the Millennium, the “Branch” being Christ, but Ezek 45-46 makes it very clear that the king who will then sit upon the throne in Jerusalem, exercising universal dominion, will be a literal descendant of David, and not the Lord Jesus Christ in Person, for that prince will offer sacrifice, something Christ does not do: as the second Person of the Godhead He receives worship.  Christ will reign from the heavenly Jerusalem, exercising His dominion through the regency of the descendant of David occupying the throne in the earthly Jerusalem.


33:16.  “In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness.”


As the Millennium begins all will be saved in the sense that they will have become believers in the preceding Tribulation, but as noted already, those born in the Millennium will need a new spiritual birth, just as do men in every age, to fit them for the eternal state, and not all of them will trust Christ as Savior, i.e., not all of them will be saved in the sense of their being born again.  As used in this verse, the word “saved” means only that Judah, like all the tribes, will be kept in safety.


Jerusalem likewise will be protected from harm, the city being also known as the dwelling place of those, who like believers today, will be clothed in Christ’s righteousness.


33:17.  “For thus saith the Lord; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;”


While no Jew today knows his tribal origin, or can trace his ancestry back more than a few generations, God knows, and down through the centuries has preserved the line of David, as He has that of all Jacob’s sons, and will, it seems clear, disclose that information in the Tribulation, see Rev 7.


God’s covenant with David is recorded in 2 Sa 7:8-16, and 1 Chr 17:1-14, the ultimate application being to the Lord Jesus Christ.


33:18.  “Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat (meal) offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.”


The covenant mentioned here is recorded in Nu 25:12-13.


This continues to verify what we have discussed in the preceding verse relative to God’s preservation of Jewish tribal identity; and it also confirms that the Levitical ritual of worship will be reinstated in the Millennium, raising the obvious question, Why?  If, as is generally agreed, that ritual anticipated Christ’s vicarious death to make atonement for sin, each offering being a figure or type of Him, what need will there be of it in the Millennium?  The answer is as simple as it should be obvious.  As in the past the Levitical ritual anticipated His sin-atoning death, so in the Millennium will it commemorate that great work.  As it expressed the anticipative worship of the OT age, so will it express the retrospective worship of the millennial age.  The same sacrifices, which in the OT age expressed the worship impelled by anticipation of Christ’s sin-atoning death, will, in the Millennium, express the worship impelled by the remembrance of His death.


33:19.  “And the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah, saying,”


33:20.  “Thus saith the Lord; 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;”


33:21.  “Then may also my covenant (2 Sam 23:5) 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 (servants).”


This confirms the certainty of God’s promise to David recorded in 2 Sa 7:8-16; 1 Chr 17:4-14; and to Phinehas in Nu 25:12-13.  As it is impossible for anyone or anything to stop the Divinely appointed succession of day and night, so is it equally impossible for anyone or anything to prevent God’s preservation of the lines of David and Aaron.


33:22.  “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.”


It is unclear whether this multiplication embraces all the descendants of David and Levi through the ages, or relates only to those who will live during the Millennium.  The matter is of little importance, however, but should perhaps be understood tropically as simply signifying phenomenal increase.


33:23.  “Moreover the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying,”


33:24.  “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 my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.”


The “this people (who) have spoken” are generally believed to have been the Jews themselves, who considering all that God had done to them, had concluded that He Who had originally chosen them to be His own special people, had finally destroyed them.


Some commentators take the despisers to have been the Jews who made these comments; others, that their remarks had caused other people to despise the Jews as a nation whom God had had to destroy because of their wickedness.  The settlement of these points is of little importance, for the truth is that while God had had to destroy that evil generation, He had not abandoned Israel and Judah as His chosen people.  He would take up other generations of that same rebellious people, and would have to destroy them also, but He Who knows the end from the beginning, has always had His eye on that remnant that will yet emerge, repentant and believing, from the Great Tribulation, for they will be the Israel that will inherit the blessings forfeited by the rebellion of the past generations.


33:25.  “Thus saith the Lord; if my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed ordinances of heaven and earth;”


33:26.  “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 continues to reiterate His emphatic assurance that He will no more annihilate Israel than He will His appointed order for the sequence of day and night, and that preserves the order which governs the universe.


Every believer’s eternal security rests on the same unchangeable foundation.

[Jeremiah 34]


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough