Jeremiah 4 – Judgment from the North & Jerusalem

I understand why Jerusalem would be sacred to born-again Christians, I mean, that’s kind of the last think we have left on earth that represents Jesus.  I don’t know why the Jews or Muslims would care about it since the Jews and Muslims believe that Jesus was nothing more than a prophet.

Church of St Anne
The Church of St Anne is the best-preserved Crusader church in Jerusalem. It marks the traditional site of the home of Jesus’ maternal grandparents, Anne and Joachim, and the birthplace of the Virgin Mary.

Located just north of the Temple Mount, about 50 metres inside St Stephen’s or Lions’ Gate, the church stands in a courtyard with trees, shrubs and flowers. Its tranquility contrasts with the bustling streets and alleys of the Muslim Quarter.

Next to the church is the large excavation area of the Pools of Bethesda, where Christ healed a sick man (John 5:2-9).

The New Testament says nothing about the birthplace of Mary. However, an ancient tradition, recorded in the apocryphal Gospel of James which dates from around AD 150, places the house of her parents, Anne and Joachim, close to the Temple area.

I have to laugh at that, first that Jesus “was” only a prophet, when He is You and most of all, it is that Jesus “was”, because He “IS” alive and well.  

I don’t believe that the Jews, Muslim’s, Catholics and the like find anything sacred other than their bank accounts and their egos.  They shouldn’t waste their time being concerned of things because if they don’t wake up and fly right they’re all going to hell.

So the Jews, the Christians, and the Muslims would destroy something in Jerusalem that was sacred to one of the others.  So tell me, what about…

Jeremiah 4
Judgment from the North

1 If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the LORD, return unto me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, then shalt thou not remove.

 2 And thou shalt swear, The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.3 For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.

4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

5 Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry, gather together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defensed cities.

4:5-31 – the invaders from the north will bring God’s judgment against His unrepentant people.

6 Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction.

7 The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant.

Temple Mount
Walled platform of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, a massive masonry platform occupying the south-east corner of Jerusalem’s Old City, has hallowed connections for Jews, Christians and Muslims.

All three of these Abrahamic faiths regard it as the location of Mount Moriah, where Abraham prepared to offer his son Isaac (or Ishmael in the Muslim tradition) to God.

• For Jews, it is where their Temple once stood, housing the Ark of the Covenant. Now, for fear of stepping on the site of the Holy of Holies, orthodox Jews do not ascend to the Temple Mount. Instead, they worship at its Western Wall while they hope for a rebuilt Temple to rise with the coming of their long-awaited Messiah.

• For Christians, the Temple featured prominently in the life of Jesus. Here he was presented as a baby. Here as a 12-year-old he was found among the teachers after the annual Passover pilgrimage.

Here Jesus prayed and taught. Here he overturned money-changers’ tables and foretold the destruction of the Temple: “Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down” (Mark 13:2). And here the earliest Judaeo-Christians met.

• For Muslims, the Temple Mount is al-Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary). It is Islam’s third holiest site, after Mecca and Medina, and the whole area is regarded as a mosque.

Muslims believe their gold-roofed Dome of the Rock — an iconic symbol of Jerusalem — covers the rock from which Muhammad visited heaven during his Night Journey in the 7th century.

“Lion” – symbol of Babylon.

8 For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and howl: for the fierce anger of the LORD is not turned back from us.

9 And it shall come to pass at that day, saith the LORD, that the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes; and the priests shall be astonished, and the prophets shall wonder.

10 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul.

“Thou hast greatly deceived” – not directly, but through false prophets.

11 At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem, A dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people, not to fan, nor to cleanse,

12 Even a full wind from those places shall come unto me: now also will I give sentence against them.

13 Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled.

14 O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?

15 For a voice declareth from Dan, and publisheth affliction from mount Ephraim.

“Dan” – far away, close to the northern border of Israel.

“Ephraim” – a few miles north of Jerusalem.  The enemy, in the mind’s eyes of the prophet, is making fearfully rapid progress toward the holy city.

16 Make ye mention to the nations; behold, publish against Jerusalem, that watchers come from a far country, and give out their voice against the cities of Judah.

17 As keepers of a field, are they against her round about; because she hath been rebellious against me, saith the LORD.

18 Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart.

19 My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.

4:19-26 – a brief personal interlude, broken only by the divine complaint in v. 22.  jeremiah voices his agaony at the approaching destruction of his beloved land and its people.

20 Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled: suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment.

21 How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet?

22 For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.

The Lord speaks.

“Foolish” – the Hebrew word refers to one who is morally deficient.

“They have not known me” – leaders and people alike had committed on the ultimate sin.

23 I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.

4:23-26 – the striking repetition of “I beheld” at the beginning of each verse ties this poem together and underscores its visionary character, as the prophet sees his beloved land in ruins after the Babylonian onslaught. Creation, as it were, has been reversed.

Pools at Bethesda
Bethesda pool, showing support structure that suspended the Byzantine basilica over the pools.
Archaeology has enabled a pool at Bethesda in Jerusalem to be identified as the scene of one of Jesus’ miracles. This was the healing of the paralysed man who had waited for 38 years for someone to help him into the pool “when the water is stirred” — an event believed to have curative powers.
The Gospel account says Jesus told the man, “Stand up, take your mat and walk”, and immediately he was made well (John 5:2-18).

The location of the Pools of Bethesda — actually a series of reservoirs and medicinal pools — is in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, north of the Temple Mount and about 50 metres inside St Stephen’s or Lions’ Gate. At that time, the gate was called the Sheep Gate, because this was where sheep were brought to the Temple for sacrifice.

According to an ancient tradition, Bethesda is also where Jesus’ maternal grandparents, Anne and Joachim, lived — and where his mother Mary was born. The Church of St Anne, built around 1140, stands nearby.

The compound containing the pools and the church is owned by the French government and administered by the White Fathers. It also contains a museum and a Greek-Catholic (Melkite) seminary.

“Without form, and void” – the phrase occurs elsewhere only in Gen 1:2.  In Jeremiah’s vision, the primeval chaos has returned.

24 I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly.

25 I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled.

26 I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger.

27 For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end.

28 For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.

29 The whole city shall flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen; they shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks: every city shall be forsaken, and not a man dwell therein.

“Bowmen” – Babylon’s evil deeds agaisnt Judah will someday recoil on her.

30 And when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; thy lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life.

“Painting” – antimony, a black powder, was used to enlarge the eyes and make them more attractive.

“Lovers” the Hebrew root underlying this word is found elsewhere only in Eze 23:5, 7, 9, 12, 16, 20, where it is used of Samaria and Jerusalem, the adulterous sisters who “lusted” after foreign nations and their gods.

“Seek thy life” – they are intent only on murdering you.

31 For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, and the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion, that bewaileth herself, that spreadeth her hands, saying, Woe is me now! for my soul is wearied because of murderers.

Jerusalem

Evidence for habitation of Jerusalem goes back to the Chalcolithic Age, but it appears that the city was first fortified during the Middle Bronze period.  First Chronicles 11:4 suggests that the pre-Israelite city was also called Jebus.

Even so, the name “Jerusalem,” or something like it, appears to be very ancient.  An 18th century B.C. Egyptian execration text mentions a Rosh-lamen, and this appears to have been Jerusalem. 

The 12-acre Jebusite city captured by David’s men was located south of what would become the temple mount and was bounded on the east by the Kidron Valley and on the west by the Tyropoeon Valley.

It was surrounded during the Late Bronze and Iron Ages by walls that were hardly modified and Nehemiah’s time.  The city was watered by the Gihon spring, located below a protective tower just outside the northeastern walls.  En-Rogel, a spring outside the city to the south, also provided water.

Solomon expanded the city to 32 acres.  The threshing floor of Araunah, on a second hill just north of David’s city, served as a platform for the temple-palace complex built by Solomon and was enclosed within a new wall.

Jerusalem
Jerusalem is a city in the Middle East, located on a plateau in the Judaean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, and is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim Jerusalem as their capital, as Israel maintains its primary governmental institutions there and the State of Palestine ultimately foresees it as its seat of power; however, neither claim is widely recognized internationally.

During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times. The part of Jerusalem called the City of David was settled in the 4th millennium BCE.

Jerusalem was named as “Urusalim” on ancient Egyptian tablets, probably meaning “City of Shalem” after a Canaanite deity, during the Canaanite period (14th century BCE). During the Israelite period, significant construction activity in Jerusalem began in the 9th century BCE (Iron Age II), and in the 8th century the city developed into the religious and administrative center of the Kingdom of Judah.

In 1538, the city walls were rebuilt for a last time around Jerusalem under Suleiman the Magnificent. Today those walls define the Old City, which has been traditionally divided into four quarters—known since the early 19th century as the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters.

The Old City became a World Heritage Site in 1981, and is on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Since 1860 Jerusalem has grown far beyond the Old City’s boundaries. In 2015, Jerusalem had a population of some 850,000 residents, comprising approximately 200,000 secular Jewish Israelis, 350,000 Haredi Jews and 300,000 Palestinians.

In 2011, the population numbered 801,000, of which Jews comprised 497,000 (62%), Muslims 281,000 (35%), Christians 14,000 (around 2%) and 9,000 (1%) were not classified by religion.

According to the Bible, King David conquered the city from the Jebusites and established it as the capital of the united kingdom of Israel, and his son, King Solomon, commissioned the building of the First Temple. Modern scholars argue that Jews branched out of the Canaanite peoples and culture through the development of a distinct monolatrous — and later monotheistic — religion centered on El/Yahweh, one of the Ancient Canaanite deities. These foundational events, straddling the dawn of the 1st millennium BCE, assumed central symbolic importance for the Jewish people.

The sobriquet of holy city (עיר הקודש, transliterated ‘ir haqodesh) was probably attached to Jerusalem in post-exilic times. The holiness of Jerusalem in Christianity, conserved in the Septuagint which Christians adopted as their own authority, was reinforced by the New Testament account of Jesus’s crucifixion there. In Sunni Islam, Jerusalem is the third-holiest city, after Mecca and Medina.

In Islamic tradition, in 610 CE it became the first qibla, the focal point for Muslim prayer (salat), and Muhammad made his Night Journey there ten years later, ascending to heaven where he speaks to God, according to the Quran.

As a result, despite having an area of only 0.9 square kilometres (0.35 sq mi), the Old City is home to many sites of seminal religious importance, among them the Temple Mount with its Western Wall, Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Outside the Old City stands the Garden Tomb.

The depression between the two hills was filled in between newly constructed retaining walls on the eastern and western sides; this area was perhaps known as the Ophel (“swelling”).  Few, if any, traces remain of Solon’s temple, which was destroyed by the Babylonian’s. 

Zerubbabel’s temple, built on the same foundation, was later greatly improved and expanded by Herod, then destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.  The Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque presently cover the temple mount.

Over the course of time the city expanded, with new towers, gates, and conduits for water added.  Uzziah strengthened the walls with towers along the western wall and the temple mount.  The Tower of Hananel, at the northwestern corner of the temple mount, also existed during this period.  Jotham constructed the upper gate of the temple.

The population increased from an influx of northern refugees after the fall of Samaria in 722 B.C. and the city grew to 125 acres.  Hezekiah extended the walls to enclose a hill to the west, known as the Mishneh (“second quarter”).

He also constructed a tunnel to ensure water flow from the Gihon spring to the Lower Pool, an earlier tunnel; directed water to an “Old” or “Upper Pool.”  These improvements helped preserve the city from Sennacherib’s siege of 701 B.C. 

Manasseh constructed a second wall near the Gihon spring.  Sixteen gates are named in descriptions of pre-exilic and 5th century B.C.  Jerusalem and three others in descriptions of Nehemiah’s Jerusalem; others may be existed.

Some are named for nearby roads or associated geographic features, while others reflected the activities of citizens (e.g., Fish Gage, Sheep Gate, Water Gate).

Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem in 586 B.C., but the temple and walls were rebuilt during the Persian period following a half century without occupation. However, the newly inhabited area encompassed only the original Davidic and Solomonic quarters.

An era of peace under the Ptolemies and then the Romans allowed Judea to proper.  Hasmonean Jerusalem expanded to 165 acres, then to 230 acres under Herod, who constructed a large, fortified palace along the western wall, protected by three towers in the northwestern corner.

Another fortress protected the temple complex to the north but this area and the lower city were the first to fall to the attack of the Romans under Titus in 70 A.D.

Jerusalem is sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims and has been inhabited almost continuously since ancient times and it has been preserved, but much of it has been lost.  As later generations rebuilt over ancient sites, archaeological evidence vanished forever.

Members of one religion at times deliberately destroyed what was sacred to another.  Also, modern archaeologists have a limited ability to dig in the city for the simple reason that it is currently inhabited.

Thus, although Jerusalem is by far the most important city of the Bible, many questions remain unanswered.

…the Jews?  And I don’t mean Your Jews, the one’s that are of Abraham, but the Jews that Jesus said weren’t real Jews but were Satan’s people.

Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee (Rev 3:9).