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The Cup of God’s Wrath May 10, 2017

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Jeremiah 25:15-38.

Summary: In this passage, God commands Jeremiah to preach the following message of judgment to all nations – including Judah:

  • He will punish them for their sinfulness
  • in particular, He will slay many of them; indeed, there will be no room to bury all of the slain
  • He will not spare their political and religious leaders
  • He will devastate their land.

Thoughts: The imagery in this passage is reminiscent of the message of judgment delivered by the third angel in Revelation 14:6-13. In that passage, we see that those who commit idolatry will be overwhelmed by the wrath of God. God utterly detests idolatry, and His immutability is reflected in His attitude toward that sin in the Old and New Testaments; in particular, He either immediately slays idolaters or threatens to slay them if they do not repent of that sin. This is a valuable reminder to modern-day believers that we should be on our guard against idolatry, lest God overwhelm us with His wrath.

This passage also spurred me to ponder a somewhat-related question: how did God view Gentiles who perished before the incarnation of Christ? Most likely they did not know Him as the God of Israel. Instead, many of them worshiped various deities, including creator gods and gods who were believed to control agriculture and fertility. Now did any of these Gentiles avoid the trap that Paul mentions in Romans 1:18-32 by refusing to worship created things? If any of them only worshiped one creator deity, did they sense their inner opposition to that deity – an opposition that they could not overcome through external actions such as the offering of sacrifices? Moreover, did any of them sense that this creator deity viewed them favorably despite their inner opposition to them? If so, did any of them sense that they should respond to this wonderful state of affairs by seeking the best interests of their friends and their enemies? These are challenging questions, and I must admit that I cannot answer them at this time.

When I first read this passage, I assumed that Jeremiah actually traveled to all of the nations that are listed in verses 18-26 and preached God’s message of judgment to their political and spiritual leaders. After giving this some thought, I reasoned that this was infeasible – and so that aspect of this passage is meant to be interpreted figuratively. I must admit that I occasionally struggle to determine when to interpret a given passage literally and when to interpret it figuratively; I have improved in terms of grasping the main point of a given passage, though I can be ensnared by its nuances. This illustrates the value of re-reading a given passage and allowing God to speak through it in His timing.

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