In the early days of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet telling the LORD’s appointed messenger to speak “all the words that I have commanded you to speak to them. DO NOT OMIT A WORD!”
Here Jeremiah is to proclaim a message that is so important that the LORD dictates the very words that must be used. This message from the LORD cannot be modified or shortened or embellished. No parts of the message can be left out and no other parts can be inserted. The messenger must communicate the LORD’s message and no other. “Do not omit a word!”
The point of this blog post is to consider the message that Jeremiah preached to the people of Jerusalem in the days before the Chaldeans destroyed that city and see that, in Jeremiah’s message, there are foreshadows and parallels with the gospel of Jesus Christ that we are called to proclaim to the nations.
The essential message that the LORD’s appointed prophet was to herald to Jerusalem is contained in 26:2-6 and 26:12-13. Consider, then, the message that Jeremiah proclaimed.
- It was a message of warning, declaring to the people that their destruction was approaching. Whether they believed it or not, they would soon be destroyed;
- Jeremiah’s message told that this destruction was a judgment on them from the LORD because of their sins and because of the evil of their deeds;
- This was also a message of mercy, for Jeremiah had been sent by the LORD to these people who were doomed to destruction for the express purpose of announcing how the LORD would stop the calamity He was planning to bring on the city. The LORD was willing to be merciful;
- If the people would listen to the LORD’s voice and would repent of their evil deeds and return to the LORD, then the LORD would spare the city;
- If the people did not heed the message and did not repent and return to the LORD, then destruction and judgment were certain.
Does this message sound familiar? It should! This outline of Jeremiah’s message is a foreshadow of the essential gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ that believers proclaim today. Let me show you the parallels:
- In our gospel, we proclaim a warning, telling sinners that God’s judgment is coming soon. Whether they believe they are sinners or not and whether or not they believe that our holy God will judge sin, our gospel warns all sinners that they are under God’s condemnation and wrath and will be judged;
- Our gospel message declares that God’s judgment and wrath are the result of sins and the result of the evil of their deeds;
- Like Jeremiah, we proclaim a message of God’s mercy, for we have been sent out by the Lord Himself (Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 2:9; Acts 2:38-39; Luke 24:46-49; 1 Timothy 1:15-16; 2 Corinthians 5:20) to a people doomed to judgment for the express purpose of announcing to them that Christ is a great Savior and that God will forgive all those who place their faith in Him;
- If our hearers listen to the message and repent of their evil deeds and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31), God will remove His wrath and condemnation from them and will forgive their sin and will give them eternal life;
- If our hearers reject the Lord’s message of salvation and do not repent of their sins and do not believe in the Lord Jesus, then God’s destruction and judgment are certain (Hebrews 9:27).
So in this passage in Jeremiah we have seen the gospel clearly foreshadowed. But I wanted to think for a second about the sentence in which the LORD tells Jeremiah, “Do not omit a word!”
In the case of Jeremiah’s message, the prophet was speaking to a relatively small group of people in a single city about a temporal destruction and a temporal deliverance. The Chaldeans were threatening Jerusalem with destruction, but if Judah repented, the LORD would deliver them from physical death and destruction. And yet in this situation, the LORD gives Jeremiah the command, “Do not omit a word!” The message must be exactly the LORD’s message.
But if the LORD is that serious about the accuracy of this word spoken concerning temporal salvation to a small group of people, and declares that the message must be exactly what He intends, how much more serious would He be about the accuracy of the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the only means of salvation available for all of mankind for all time, a message that delivers anyone who believes from the eternal condemnation of God and brings them into eternal life. In other words, if the LORD wanted strict faithfulness to His message of temporal salvation (Jeremiah 26), how much more important is it that the gospel message be accurately proclaimed (Acts 2).
The lesson, then, is that we must faithfully proclaim the whole council of God’s gospel with accuracy and boldness. “Do not omit a word!” When we are faithful with the message that God has called us to proclaim, we will see God glorified and will see God bring people to Himself.
SDG rmb 7/10/2017