Dear Family & Friends,
Both churches we attend were cancelled today due to ice, etc, so I thought I would prepare a message for my local family (Prudence and Peter), and perhaps there are others who cannot attend church today on my email lists. I was reading Jeremiah 25 this morning, and there are two aspects that stood out to my thinking. The first is verse 5 and the second are verses 11-12:
Turn now everyone from his evil way and from the evil of your deeds, and dwell on the land which the Lord has given to you and your forefathers forever and ever (NASB).
The Phrase “forever and ever” does not even make sense and is also a very poor translation. Literally, the Hebrew means from lasting even to lasting. The NASB does not reflect any of the looking back aspect. It mistranslates lasting as forever, and just a few verses later it refers to a 70-year Babylonian captivity of Israel. How can a land captured by Babylon be a “forever and forever” land given to the forefathers? The Greek Septuagint (LXX) renders it as of old and lasting. A backwards aspect is given, but English translations even of the LXX used the mistranslation (for ever) for the future aspect
Applications for us? We should love the Lord with all our hearts (and minds), and that means making sure English translations get it right. The English translations make it appear that God did not know what He was talking about because Israel did not own the land for many, many centuries following the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
The other passage should put a lid on faith in 1948 and the supposed fulfillment of ancient prophecy. See verses 11-12:
This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. ‘Then it will be when seventy years are completed I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation,’ declares the Lord, ‘for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it an everlasting desolation (NASB).
Again, this Greek (in the LXX) and Hebrew passage has been mistranslated—using everlasting rather than lasting, but there is another extremely important lesson. God said the exile from the land would be 70 years—mentioned explicitly twice in this passage! Those Christians who think that 1948 is the fulfillment of this passage are very, very wrong! The Jews did return to the land 70 years later, and God knew exactly what He was talking about! In fact, we can read about the return in the books of Nehemiah and Ezra.
Lessons? God fulfilled His promise of a return to Israel over 2,000 years ago, and Christians should not be thinking that Jews can be saved differently from non-Jews (Gentiles). Jews and Gentiles both must look to their only Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, to His blood shed on Calvary’s Cross for sin-forgiveness, and to His perfect Robe of Righteousness to be placed over our shoulders by faith for eternal life to be possible for us in heaven!
<Jesus, help us to love with all our hearts and minds. Help us to make sure translations are right, and help us to trust You for forgiveness of our sins and to trust You for Your Perfection over our shoulders.>