Understand that the mystery of iniquity is far more than the New Age movement. It is anything that undermines the authority and sufficiency of the Bible, that downgrades Jesus Christ, and that promises a way of salvation different from Scripture.
The mystery of iniquity is theological modernism and universalism and evolution and atheistic communism and Hinduism and Islam and Buddhism and anything else that stands in contradiction to God’s Holy Word. All of this and much more is preparing men’s minds and hearts for the antichrist. – David Cloud, The New Age Tower of Babel
End of the week blog! Parts of two Chapters of Jerusalem today!
Now Pashhur the priest, the son of Immer, who was chief officer in the house of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things. 2 Then Pashhur beat Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the upper Benjamin Gate of the house of the Lord. 3 The next day, when Pashhur released Jeremiah from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, “The Lord does not call your name Pashhur, but Terror on Every Side. 4 For thus says the Lord: Behold, I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends. They shall fall by the sword of their enemies while you look on. And I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon. He shall carry them captive to Babylon, and shall strike them down with the sword. 5 Moreover, I will give all the wealth of the city, all its gains, all its prized belongings, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah into the hand of their enemies, who shall plunder them and seize them and carry them to Babylon. 6 And you, Pashhur, and all who dwell in your house, shall go into captivity. To Babylon you shall go, and there you shall die, and there you shall be buried, you and all your friends, to whom you have prophesied falsely” (Jer 20:1-6 ESV).
The chief officer of the Temple, Pashur, scourged Jeremiah, just as the Apostle Paul would be scourged. And then, he condemned Jeremiah for twenty-four hours of torture in the stocks. The name “Pashur” means “security on every side,” but the name “Magor-missabib,” which is what Jehovah God named the priest, means “terror on every side.”
O Lord, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me. 8 For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, “Violence and destruction!” For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. 9 If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot (Jer 20:7-9 ESV).
The subject of Jeremiah’s preaching was largely “violence and destruction.” The oppression and robbery of the poor so deeply stirred him that he shouted aloud against it, but the only response to his outcries was derision and reproach. For a time, the Prophet actually stopped preaching in response to the terrible opposition and bodily harm. However, he found it impossible to cease from preaching. The fire of Divine Wrath against the iniquities of occultism and all the pagan practices false worship entailed, burned so fiercely within him that he could not help but resume his work.
For I hear many whispering. Terror is on every side! “Denounce him! Let us denounce him!” say all my close friends, watching for my fall. “Perhaps he will be deceived; then we can overcome him and take our revenge on him.” 11 But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten (Jer 20:10-11 ESV).
Even those claiming to be his “close friends” tried to entice him to a moral lapse that they might bring a charge against him. They desired to ruin any influence he might have.
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur the son of Malchiah and Zephaniah the priest, the son of Maaseiah, saying, 2 “Inquire of the Lord for us, for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is making war against us. Perhaps the Lord will deal with us according to all his wonderful deeds and will make him withdraw from us” (Jer 21:1-2 ESV).
The phrase used by the king—“Perhaps the LORD will deal with us according to all his wonderful deeds”—portrays man using pious language when he is in trouble, and yet he remains rebellious and unrepentant.
Then Jeremiah said to them: “Thus you shall say to Zedekiah, 4 ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands and with which you are fighting against the king of Babylon and against the Chaldeans who are besieging you outside the walls. And I will bring them together into the midst of this city. 5 I myself will fight against you with outstretched hand and strong arm, in anger and in fury and in great wrath. 6 And I will strike down the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast. They shall die of a great pestilence. 7 Afterward, declares the Lord, I will give Zedekiah king of Judah and his servants and the people in this city who survive the pestilence, sword, and famine into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and into the hand of their enemies, into the hand of those who seek their lives. He shall strike them down with the edge of the sword. He shall not pity them or spare them or have compassion’ (Jer 21:3-7 ESV).
There is every indication that, even at this late date, had there been Repentance, everything could have turned around. But after repeated offers of Mercy and Pardon were repeatedly spurned, the sands of time were speedily running out. And Nebuchadnezzar will have no offers of mercy for them.
“And to this people you shall say: ‘Thus says the Lord: Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. 9 He who stays in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, but he who goes out and surrenders to the Chaldeans who are besieging you shall live and shall have his life as a prize of war. 10 For I have set my face against this city for harm and not for good, declares the Lord: it shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire’ (Jer 21:8-10 ESV).
In His Love and Grace, Jehovah God has always offered life to the rebellious soul—even at the eleventh hour. But the people had spurned the Call of God, through the Prophets, to Repentance for so long that time was running out. And now, the situation was so dire that the question wasn’t of enduring blessing but simply the saving of life.
However, the majority of people would not even recognize the dire threat before them. They thought Egypt would save them. Or because the Temple was in their midst in Jerusalem, they reasoned that God would surely not allow anything to happen in a negative way in that city. On the off chance that other cities might fall, Jerusalem surely would not!
“And to the house of the king of Judah say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, 12 O house of David! Thus says the Lord: “‘Execute justice in the morning, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed, lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of your evil deeds (Jer 21:11-12 ESV).
Zedekiah had repeatedly heard the word of men, the doctrines of men. And they were prolific, abundant, beautiful in prose and promising in application. However, they were lies. And so now, he would hear the “Word of the LORD” from the Prophet.
“Behold, I am against you, O inhabitant of the valley, O rock of the plain, declares the Lord; you who say, ‘Who shall come down against us, or who shall enter our habitations?’ 14 I will punish you according to the fruit of your deeds, declares the Lord; I will kindle a fire in her forest, and it shall devour all that is around her” (Jer 21:13-14 ESV).
They had boasted that the Babylonian army could not take Jerusalem. Both king and people had made bold claims. But their claims were in opposition to the Word of the LORD and would not stand.