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33. Promise of Restoration

1Moreover the word of Jehovah came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the guard, saying, 2Thus saith Jehovah that doeth it, Jehovah that formeth it to establish it; Jehovah is his name: 3Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and will show thee great things, and difficult, which thou knowest not. 4For thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are broken down to make a defence against the mounds and against the sword; 5while men come to fight with the Chaldeans, and to fill them with the dead bodies of men, whom I have slain in mine anger and in my wrath, and for all whose wickedness I have hid my face from this city: 6Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them; and I will reveal unto them abundance of peace and truth. 7And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first. 8And 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 against me, and whereby they have transgressed against me. 9And this city shall be to me for a name of joy, for a praise and for a glory, before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them, and shall fear and tremble for all the good and for all the peace that I procure unto it. 10Thus saith Jehovah: Yet again there shall be heard in this place, whereof ye say, It is waste, 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, 11the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that say, Give thanks to Jehovah of hosts, for Jehovah is good, for his lovingkindness endureth for ever; and of them that bring sacrifices of thanksgiving into the house of Jehovah. For I will cause the captivity of the land to return as at the first, saith Jehovah. 12Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: Yet again shall there be in this place, which is waste, without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof, a habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down. 13In the cities of the hill-country, in the cities of the lowland, 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 again pass under the hands of him that numbereth them, saith Jehovah. 14Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will perform that good word which I have spoken concerning the house of Israel and concerning the house of Judah. 15In those days, and at that time, will I cause a Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; and this is the name whereby she shall be called: Jehovah our righteousness. 17For thus saith Jehovah: David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; 18neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt-offerings, and to burn meal-offerings, and to do sacrifice continually. 19And the word of Jehovah came unto Jeremiah, saying, 20Thus saith Jehovah: If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, so that there shall not be day and night in their season; 21then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he shall not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers. 22As 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. 23And the word of Jehovah came to Jeremiah, saying, 24Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which Jehovah did choose, he hath cast them off? thus do they despise my people, that they should be no more a nation before them. 25Thus saith Jehovah: If my covenant of day and night stand not, if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; 26then will I also cast away the seed of Jacob, and of David my servant, so that I will not take of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and will have mercy on them.

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Here the Prophet extends the benefits of the kingdom to all the Jews, and shews how much was to be expected fromthat kingdom which he had promised; for in it would be found perfect happiness and safety. Had not this been added, what we have heard of the righteous king would have appeared cold and uninteresting; for it sometimes happens, that however much the king may exercise justice and judgment, yet the people continue still miserable. But the Prophet testifies here that the people would be in every way blessed and happy, when governed by the King promised to come. Hence he says, In those days Judah shall be saved He promises salvation to the Jews, though under that name are included also, as it is often the case, the ten tribes. He adds Jerusalem, but in a similar sense, Jerusalem shall dwell safely, that is, shall be in a peaceable state. This mode of speaking is taken from Moses; for the Prophets, whenever they spoke of God’s blessings, are wont to borrow their doctrine from that fountain. He then says, that the people would be saved, and then that they would be in peace and quietness.

It may now be proper to repeat what I have already touched upon, — that the salvation mentioned here belongs to the kingdom of Christ. Had he been speaking of some earthly or temporal government, the salvation must also have been temporal. But as the spiritual and celestial kingdom of Christ is the object of the promise, the salvation mentioned must reach to the very heavens. Hence its limits are far wider than the whole world. In short, the salvation of which Jeremiah now prophesies, is not to be confined to the boundaries of a fading life, nor is it to be sought in this world, where it has no standing; but if we wish to know what it is, we must learn to raise our thoughts upwards, and above the world and everything that exists here. It is an eternal salvation. In the meantime, Christ gives us some foretaste of this salvation in this life, according to what is said,

“godliness has the promises of the present as well
as of the future life.” (1 Timothy 4:8)

But as this promise ought to be applied to the kingdom of Christ, there is no doubt but it is perpetual, and ought to raise up our thoughts to heaven itself.

To salvation is added safety; for were the faithful ever to fear and tremble, where would be their salvation? And we know that the happiness brought to us by Christ cannot be otherwise received, except through peace, according to what Scripture so often teaches us:

“Having been justified,” says Paul, “we have peace with God.”
(Romans 5:1.)

And then when he speaks in the fourteenth chapter of the same Epistle of the kingdom of God, he says that it consists in joy and peace; and in another place he says,

“May the peace of God, which surpasses all conception, obtain the victory in your hearts.” (Philippians 4:7)

Hence these things are connected together, salvation and peace, not that we enjoy this joyful and peaceful state in the world; for they greatly deceive themselves who dream of such a quiet state here, as we have to engage in a perpetual warfare, until God at length gathers us to the fruition of a blessed rest. We must, therefore, contend and fight in this world. Thus the faithful shall ever be exposed to many troubles; and hence Christ reminds his disciples, “In me ye have peace; but in theworld” — what? Sorrows and troubles. (John 16:33)

We now, then, see why the Prophet joined safety or security to salvation, even because we cannot otherwise know that we shall be saved, except we be fully persuaded that God so cares for our salvation as to protect us by his power, and that his aid will be always ready whenever needed.

He in the last place adds, And this is the name by which they shall call her, Jehovah our righteousness In chapter 23 (Jeremiah 23) this name is given to Christ, and to him alone it properly belongs; but it is here transferred to the Church, for whatever belongs to the head, is made common to all the members. For we indeed know that Christ has nothing as his own, for as he is made righteousness, it belongs to us, according to what Paul says,

“He is made to us righteousness, and redemption, and sanctification, and wisdom.”
(1 Corinthians 1:30)

As, then, the Father conferred righteousness on his own Son for our sake, it is no wonder that what is in his power is transferred to us. What, then, we found in the twenty-third chapter was rightly declared, for it belongs peculiarly to Christ, that he is God our righteousness. But as we partake of this righteousness, when he admits us into a participation of all the blessings by which he is adorned and enriched by the Father, it hence follows, that this also belongs to the whole Church, even that God is its righteousness. 9191     See Preface to the third volume. — Ed. Hence it is wisely said by the Prophet, that this would be the name of the whole Church, which could not be, except it had put on Christ, so that God might reign there in righteousness, for the righteousness of Christ extends to all the faithful; and Christ also dwells in them, so that they are not only the temples of Christ, but, as it were, a part of him; and even the Church itself is by Paul called Christ,

“As there are,” he says, “many members in the human body,
so is Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12)

This cannot be applied to Christ personally, but he thus calls the Church by a metonymy, on account of that participation which I have mentioned.




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