Jeremiah’s ministry to Israel (Southern Kingdom) lasted forty years – from the time of King Josiah until the Babylonian invasion and captivity in the eleventh year of the reign of King Zedekiah.
READ Jeremiah 1:4-5
Why is it important to understand that you lived before you came to earth?
It gives context to this earth life – that it is the “second” act in a three act play.
We are eternal beings having a mortal experience – this should reverence the interactions we have with each other.
It is possible that we have taken upon ourselves a specific mission or objective, over and above the critical but common objectives of all in this second estate (body and proving ground), but without knowledge of that objective, what are the chances we will accomplish it? Understanding that you lived before this earth begs the question of why, exactly, YOU are here.
We knew Father and Mother much more intimately than we realize – and they knew and loved us, more than we can comprehend.
What is the danger of focusing on who you might have been before you were born in mortality?
If doesn’t matter at all if you were “noble and great” if fail to be faithful to the Lord and His gospel while in the flesh; in fact, it might be worse for you.
All of us are in “peril every hour” here in mortality – anyone can fall, i.e. King David, Judas, etc.
Jeremiah’s Prophetic Call
READ Jeremiah 1:6-10
What is Jeremiah’s initial response to hearing of his mission?
He doubts his own ability.
He is afraid of what others in authority will say of/to a mere “child”.
His faith is not perfect in Christ – he is worried about his own capability and contribution, not realizing that the Lord sustains and enables those He calls, if they will act in faith and obedience.
Why did the Lord touch Jeremiah’s mouth?
He improvised an ordinance and “anointed” him to “proclaim…the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn” (see Isaiah 61:1-2).
This was to give Jeremiah faith in the specific area of help that the Lord knew he needed – where he doubted himself the most.
READ Jeremiah 1:17-19
What will happen to those who fear man more than God?
God will confound them in front of men.
God will not support that person because they have set the man up as an idol to worship – one with seemingly more power (in the moment, at least) than God.
READ JSH 1:25
What will the world do if you say to them, “I have actually seen a light…”?
They will persecute you.
Because they have not seen a light (they fear that you will think you are better than they are or think you are better than they are; that you will tell them what to do from an authoritative source (God); that you are crazy and worthy of being mocked or dangerous and should be defended against – because they do not believe in God.
What will happen if you deny your experience?
You will be condemned by God.
Jeremiah has been commanded to share his experience and the message that he has received from God – what has the Lord promised him if he will not fear man?
First of all, Israel will fight against him (v19).
But the Lord will defend him – make him a “defensed city”, so that the people will not prevail against him.
The stipulations of the Mosaic covenant, the Law, were from the beginning inseparably connected with specific blessings and curses, depending on obedience to commandments. They are laid out in Deuteronomy 27 and 28.
READ Deuteronomy 28:1-2 and 28:15, 20
What are the blessings given in the Law?
Set you on high above all nations.
What is the curse given to Israel in the Law?
They will be “vexed” in all they try to do.
Until they will be destroyed.
What is the cursing for?
Failing to listen to the voice of God.
Failing to keep the commandments and statues in the (lower) Law.
While Moses delivered the Law, as a preparatory gospel to help Israel get back to Sinai and the promise of rising up and ascending the Mount to know God themselves, Jeremiah is sent to give them one last warning before the curses inherent in that covenant are finally executed upon the people of Israel, at large.
READ Jeremiah 2:13
What evils have Israel committed?
They have forsaken the living God who saves – they have not come unto Him as a people with the exception of a few prophets, which is what the Law was intended to facilitate.
They have created their own philosophies about what constitutes being saved – these may include “God”, even Jehovah, but they have created their own “beliefs” about Him, which are pleasing to them and their culture – this is called “unbelief” because they are believing things that are not true.
These beliefs, no matter how strongly they might be held, will not lead one to salvation. In Isaiah, we talked briefly about the attributes of God and why they engender faith.
READ Hebrews 11:6
What must we do to please God?
Have faith in Him.
READ Moses 1:39 and Moroni 7:38
Why are good works and kind hearts not enough to please God?
Because His work and glory (what pleases Him) is to bring about our immortality and eternal life and…
That cannot happen (no man can be saved) unless they have faith in His name.
READ LoF 3:2-5 and D&C 93:24
What does true and living faith – the kind that leads to salvation – require?
Faith in something that is true.
Faith in a correct idea of God’s character and attributes.
An actual knowledge from God (revelation) that you are following His will.
We are damned, by definition – i.e. because we cannot have faith unto life and salvation – if we do not seek out and find the truth about God and our standing before Him.
READ Alma 12:10-11
What happens to those who harden their hearts against the truth – regardless of how difficult it might be for them to receive it given their traditions or the things they think they know to be true?
They receive less and less until they know nothing concerning the mysteries of Godliness.
And then they are taken captive by the devil.
Back to the mortal cursings that come to a people who don’t believe in the living God, after they have been given knowledge of Him in plainness, even as plain as word can be…
READ Jeremiah 24:10
What is the Lord’s last warning to Israel through Jeremiah?
Repent and come unto me or…
I will send famine, pestilence and the sword to destroy you.
READ 2 Nephi 1:20
America has a similar covenant upon it – what is it?
Worship me by keeping my commandments and prosper.
Disobedience to Christ leads to destruction.
Persecuted for My Sake
READ Jeremiah 20:1-2
Who is Pashur and what did he do to Jeremiah?
He is the equivalent of the President of the Church – Chief Priest and Governor of the Temple.
He publicly shames Jeremiah by putting him in the stocks right outside of the Temple and in the main public thoroughfare.
He is basically “excommunicating” Jeremiah – casting him out of the Temple and the Church – publicly shunning and shaming him to the Church, based on the testimony of others that heard Jeremiah prophesy.
READ Jeremiah 20:7-9
How was Jeremiah deceived by the Lord?
The Lord promised that if Jeremiah feared God more than man that the Lord would stand by him.
And right now he’s feeling pretty abandoned.
What was Jeremiah’s solution to all the persecution?
To stop prophesying and preaching of the living God.
Why could Jeremiah not stop crying repentance, even against his better judgment?
The Holy Spirit was too strong within him - he felt that he couldn’t stop preaching.
Had Jeremiah lost his agency?
No – but given the choice of not doing what he felt so strongly he must do (preach repentance and prophesy) vs. retreating into the safety of seclusion, he chose the Lord.
Once you come unto Christ – you have left neutral ground forever and you cannot go back to it. You KNOW and you must stand as a witness or risk condemnation.
This is part of what it means to be “valiant in the testimony of Jesus”.
READ Jeremiah 20:14-18
So, given that Jeremiah has chosen to continue to testify, why does he wish that he’d never been born?
Being excommunicated from your Church (and hated daily by all you meet for 40 years (including, in many cases, your family) is heartbreaking.
This is an Abrahamic test for him.
READ D&C 122:7-9
How does God’s understanding of our limits differ from our own fears and feelings about them?
First of all, He can resolve all of the issues in a second if He chose to do so; like the David and Goliath problem – Goliath is really fighting God not David, if David has the faith to see it.
Christ has descended below us all and knows how to succor us in our afflictions if we will but come unto Him for healing. Sometimes that’s what He wants us to learn.