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Curse on Jerusalem and the Parable of Bond and Yokes


JEREMIAH 26, 27, and 28
Lesson #27

  • Memory Verse: Mat 11:29-30
  • The message in chapter 26 occurs originally under King Jehoiakim that reigned after good King Josiah and then is repeated during the reign of King Zedekiah, Judah’s last king.
    • Again we see that the book of Jeremiah is not arranged chronologically in time.
    • The messages occur during the reigns of the last 4 kings of Judah.
    • There is some redundancy in these messages.
      • We see that redundancy in this chapter. The messages frequently say somewhat the same things.
      • The reason for this repetition is that the messages, while similar, occur under different kings. This message in chapter 26 was first given under King Jehoiakim and then repeated under King Zedekiah.
        • God’s mercy and willingness to forgive is always present.
        • God’s longsuffering love is always hesitant to bring judgment on His people.
        • However, God is a just God, and sin brings its own consequences, death.
  • Read Jer 26:1-6
    • Jeremiah is told to go to the temple court and speak his message there as the people come to worship.
    • Notice that he is told by God not to leave out one word that God wants him to say to the people. (2)
      • This is the obedience that God requires from the people that serve the living God.
      • Remember that the prophet is not responsible for how the message is received. He is only responsible for his obedience to saying and doing what God told him.
    • The message in the temple: (3-6)
      • Jeremiah reminds them to repent of their sins and God will not send judgment.
        • God does not change His mind about judgment. Sin always reaps judgment and death.
        • Remember that the people of Jeremiah’s day were under the conditional covenant of Moses.
          • If they repented and were obedient to God, God would bless them.
          • If they continued in their sin, God would let the consequences of their sin work out to bring judgment on them.

Jeremiah says the judgment would be like Shiloh.

In other words, God would permit the enemy to take the temple as He did when the Philistines took the Ark of the Covenant at Shiloh.

      • Jeremiah reminds them of their responsibility to God under the conditional covenant of Moses.
  • Read Jer 26:7-15
    • The consequences of Jeremiah’s message: (8-11)
      • The priests and the prophets (these are the false prophets) respond to Jeremiah’s words.
      • They say Jeremiah is worthy of death. (8)
        • The capture of Jeremiah in the temple by the priests and false prophets occurs during the reign of Zedekiah, Judah’s last king.
        • The priests and false prophets took Jeremiah to the governmental authorities to press charges. (10)
          • It is interesting that this charge of blasphemy against the temple is the same charge the religious authorities brought against Jesus when He said the temple would be destroyed and He would raise it up again in three days (referring to His body).
          • This charge of blasphemy against God and the temple was what the religious authorities brought against Stephen. (Act 6:11, 13)
    • A curse on the city of Jerusalem that still exists today. (9)
      • Jeremiah repeated the curse on Jerusalem before the governmental officials. (11)
      • Notice that this curse on Jerusalem is their charge against Jeremiah for which death should be the punishment.
        • Read Mat 23:37
        • Read Zec 12:3
          • Even today Israel’s capital is Jerusalem, but the world does not recognize it as such. All the foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv, not in Jerusalem.
          • Both the Arabs and the Jews claim rightful possession of Jerusalem.

The Jews cannot worship on the holy temple mount because while they own it, they do not have control of it.

Control of the temple mount was given to the Arabs in the 6 day war in 1967.

          • Through all of the prophecies about Jerusalem, we see that this one city, of all the cities of the world, will continue to be a burden to governments and politics around the world until Christ returns to settle the Jewish/Arab issue at the Second Coming.
    • Taking sides:
      • There were three groups that involved themselves in this dispute over Jeremiah’s life.
        • =1= The priests and the false prophets that brought the charges of death. They said that Jeremiah blasphemed the city and the temple when he said that God would destroy them.
        • =2= The princes or government officials that came to hear Jeremiah for themselves and decided he was not worthy of death.
        • =3= The people that first sided with the priests and prophets and then changed their mind to side with the princes.
  • Jer 26:16-24
    • Jeremiah’s life was saved by God’s protection and the coalition between the princes and the people.
      • Notice that Jeremiah says that what happens to him is not important.
      • That which is important is God, His Word, and His judgment.
    • The court case that justified Jeremiah’s verdict of not guilty of blasphemy was the case of the prophet Micah who also spoke of God’s judgment against the city and the temple during the reign of King Hezekiah. Micah’s preaching brought repentance and a delay of judgment, not a death sentence.
      • However, there was another prophet, Uriah. King Jehoiakim had already pursued this prophet that fled to Egypt, and he had him killed.
      • Ahiakim, a minister of state in the time of good King Josiah, that befriended Jeremiah, (2Kin 22:12) and helped to protect Jeremiah from a guilty verdict.
  • Read Jer 27:1-22 The Parable of the Bonds and Yokes
    • Jeremiah is told to make bonds and yokes and to put them on his neck. Then later he is told to send yokes to the different kings of the nations in the area around Israel. There was a mutual defense treaty between Israel and all of these neighbors against the rise of the Babylonian Empire. This treaty was signed in Jerusalem. After signing the treaty, Jeremiah sent a yoke with each representative back to his own country.
      • Bonds and yokes:
        • Bonds were leather thongs used to fasten a yoke to an animal.
        • Yokes were made of wood and fastened around the necks of a pair of oxen to keep them under control and linked one to the other.
      • Edom, Moab, and Amon.
        • These were the three immediate neighbors to the east of Israel.
        • They were always enemies of Israel through history even though they were all distantly related to the Jews.
        • These three small nations were also swallowed up by Babylon and ceased to exist as separate nations from that time forward.
      • Tyre and Zidon.
        • These were two trading city/states on the coast of Lebanon to Israel’s north.
        • They did a lot of trade with Israel and had an on-again and off-again relationship with Israel.
        • These too were swallowed up by Babylon and did not exist as separate entities after 586 BC.
    • The message that went to these national leaders along with the objects of bonds and yokes was this: (6-8)
      • God had given all their land to Babylon. They must not listen to false prophets that preached differently.
      • Therefore, they should put on the yoke that would indicate their surrender to Babylon to avoid a mass slaughter of their populations. They should willingly submit to the captivity that is coming.
      • None of these kings listened to God’s warning through Jeremiah.
    • The message of the parable of the bonds and yokes:
      • What do the bonds and yokes represent spiritually?
        • They represent the consequences of their sins of idolatry, corruption, and unbelief.
        • Sin is its own yoke that restricts personal freedom.
          • It is interesting that man thinks he is the most free when he is in control of his own life without moral restrictions.
          • That is the opinion of the natural man (the unbeliever). Why is this perspective of freedom wrong?

The Bible tells us that sin is bondage.

Read Gal 4:3

The Bible tells us that the Law of Moses is bondage.

Read Gal 5:1

Why is the Law of Moses bondage?

The Law of Moses is bondage because rules and regulations of legalism stir up sin in man’s sinful nature, and he sins more.

Man cannot keep all the Law of Moses. To continue to try to do good works brings frustration and a yoke of failure.

      • The consequence of Judah’s sins was slavery in Babylon.
      • The consequence of the sins of all the other nations around Israel also resulted in bondage in Babylon. They also failed to acknowledge God as their creator and they taught Israel idolatry.
    • Application:
      • The parable of the bonds and yokes reminds us of Jesus’ statement in Mat 11.
        • Read Mat 11:29-30
        • Discussion: How does the parable in Jeremiah 27 relate to Mat 11:29-30?
          • Jesus gives us the contrast to Jeremiah’s parable.
          • Jesus tells us there is true freedom in serving Christ.

The yoke of slavery in Babylon as a consequence of sin is a heavy burden to bear.

However, the yoke of service to Christ is willingly taken as a response of love. Jesus says His yoke is light. Why is it light?

When the believer is obedient to serve Christ as God directs, he trusts in God to supply the strength and direction that he needs to fulfill what God calls him to do.

In other words, trust by faith produces joy and peace. He carries the heavy part for us.

      • The yoke of the consequence of sin and death is a hard yoke to bear, while the yoke of service to Christ is true freedom and life.
  • Read Jer 28:1-17 The False Prophet Hananiah in the days of King Zedekiah
    • Background:
      • King Zedekiah was appointed by the King of Babylon and paid Babylon tribute for four years.
      • In his fourth year he paid a visit to Babylon to complain about the tribute and begin his rebellion against Babylon. This was the time when the false prophet Hananiah gave his false predictions of the demise of Babylon in two years.
    • Some things to keep in mind:
      • Remember that Jeremiah had already predicted that the Babylonian captivity would last for 70 years in chapter 25:1-11.
      • A true prophet of God is verified by the 100% fulfillment of his message.
      • Israel had already experienced the captivity of the Northern Kingdom in 721 BC.
      • Judah had already experienced the first group taken captive in 606 BC.
      • Judah had already experienced the second group taken captive in 597 BC.
      • Judah would soon experience the third group taken captive in 586 BC as King Zedekiah was the last king to reign in Judah.
    • Now in these days before 586 BC the prophet Hananiah says that the Babylonian Empire will last only two years more.
      • All the gold vessels stolen from the temple would be returned in two years.
      • All the people taken captive would return to the Promised Land in two years.
    • To emphasize his point, Hananiah breaks the wood yoke around Jeremiah’s neck.
    • Through Jeremiah God pronounces judgment on Hananiah. He will die within the year.
      • God says that the yoke will be made of iron instead of wood.
        • Read Deu 28:48
        • Remember that Deu 28 is the chapter of blessings and cursings related to the conditional covenant with Moses.
        • The message of the yokes of iron that replace the yokes of wood is this: When light affliction is not easily accepted and the person rebels against it, a heavier, more firm affliction will follow.
      • What God has declared cannot be broken as easily as a yoke of wood.
      • When the people saw Hananiah die within the year, they would know that the true prophet of God was Jeremiah.
  • Application:
    • On the political scene there are many false prophets. Remember our definition of a statesman that we have learned in our study of Jeremiah.
      • A statesman is someone in service to his country for the good of the people and the nation.
      • Let us add another characteristic of a statesman: Gladstone, a great English jurist said it this way, “A great statesman is a man who knows the direction God is going for the next fifty years.” By this definition, Jeremiah was a great statesman.
    • Personally and individually, we must remember that all sin has consequences.
      • Sometimes on repentance God removes the consequences, but sometimes He does not. Why?
      • We are to learn from the consequences of our sins as we submit ourselves to God’s work in us.
      • When we rebel against the consequences as Israel did, God must make the consequences harsher and more firm to break our rebellion. That is the message of the yokes of wood changed to the yokes of iron.

Jeremiah 29

  • Application of Jer 26, 27 and 28
    • Have you put on the yoke of serving Christ?
    • Do you find it heavy or light? If you find it heavy, you are trying to bear the yoke in your own strength.
    • Pray and ask the Lord to carry the burden of the yoke of service for you. Then thank him by faith trusting in His promise that the burden is light.
  • Preparation for Jer 29
    • Read Jer 29:1-32
      • Read Heb 12:8-13
      • What should the believer learn when he is suffering the consequences of sin?
  • Memory Verse: Heb 12:11
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About Joyce

I came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in 1963 giving my heart to Jesus in a Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles, CA. I have been teaching the Word of God since 1964, Usually two to three adult classes a week.

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