John T. Willis

Saturday, May 21, 2011

An Overview of Hope Oracles in Jeremiah 30-33

Jeremiah 30-33 contain several hope oracles, designed to encourage the Jewish exiles in Babylon to trust in Yahweh and look forward to the day Yahweh will bring back his people from Babylon to Jerusalem and Judah. Even though the Book of Jeremiah never refers to the prophet Ezekiel, it is obvious that Ezekiel was among the people to whom Jeremiah sent this message. There are numerous similarities between the hopes of Jeremiah and the hopes of Ezekiel recorded in Ezekiel 33-48. Before dealing with each of these oracles, it may be helpful to observe several thoughts and concepts in these chapters.

1. The theme of Jeremiah 30-33 is clearly: "I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel and Judah"--Jeremiah 30:3, 18; 31:23; 32:44; 33:7, 11, 26. Jeremiah had already announced this theme in his letter to the Judean exiles with Jehoiachin in Jeremiah 29:14. As we deal with each oracle, we need to remember that the theme throughout is that Yahweh will restore the fortune of his people.

2. Every oracle is a hope oracle. However, many of these oracles begin with a picture of doom. This is very important because this rhetorical device puts in bold contrast the present situation of God's people and the future situation of God's people. God is about to CHANGE the entire situation of God's people in Babylonian exile.

3. Jeremiah 30-33 present SIX hopes of the people of God for the future. Here is a brief outline of these hopes:
a. God will overthrow Babylon and bring his faithful people of North Israel and Judah back to the land of Israel. 30:3, 8, 11 and several times.
b. God will heal the spiritual wound of God's people. 30:12-17.
c. God will raise up a descendant of David to be the earthly ruler under Yahweh, and descendants of the levitical priests. 30:9, 21; 33:14-26 and several times. Initially this was undoubtedly Zerubbabel and Joshua--see Haggai; Zechariah 1-6.
d. God will change the mourning and sorrow over the losses of Judah into dancing and joy. 31:13-22 and several times.
e. God will resinstate the marital covenant between Yahweh and his wives North Israel and Judah. 31:31-34; 32:36-41.
f. God will rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. 33:1-11.
Jeremiah 30-33 repeat these six hopes in various ways. There is much repetition of these ideas, but in various forms.

4. There are many themes in Jeremiah 30-33 which appear elsewhere in the Book of Jeremiah. Watch for these connections.

5. The New Testament quotes and refers to Jeremiah 30-33, and applies them to Jesus Christ and the church. When we arrive at the study of Jeremiah 31:15-22, we will address the question of HOW THE NEW TESTAMENT USES THE OLD TESTAMENT. The New Testament reveals HOW its composers, speakers, and writes use the Old Testament. This "side study" may be helpful.

6. For emphasis, Jeremiah is concerned with BOTH NORTH ISRAEL AND JUDAH, NOT Judah alone. God is concerned for ALL his people, not merely those in the south. The Bible opens eyes to rethinking the message of God.

Share YOUR dreams and aspirations with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


Post a Comment

<< Home