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The Final Prophecies of Jeremiah

by Stephen Davey Scripture Reference: Jeremiah 45–52

The last chapters of Jeremiah, like most of his ministry, focus on the wrath of God being poured out on ungodly people. We too must bring unpleasant news to people, but let us remember that unless people understand the bad news, they will never embrace the good news of Christ.


The Final Prophecies of Jeremiah

Jeremiah 45–52


As we come to the end of our Wisdom Journey through the book of Jeremiah, we are not given any information of the prophet’s final days. More than likely, Jeremiah died in Egypt. And I think it’s rather sad to contemplate this faithful prophet sitting there alone. The people have rejected his message and avoided his influence. He has been the unpopular messenger of doom. But he has also delivered messages of hope for the future restoration of his people, which must have encouraged his heart as he grew older.

In these final chapters of the book of Jeremiah, we find an earlier message to Jeremiah’s friend Baruch repeated, more prophecies against other nations, and a retelling of Jerusalem’s fall.

Chapter 45 takes us back to 605 BC in Jehoiakim’s reign when Baruch is recording on a scroll God’s message to Jeremiah. We journeyed through that event back in chapter 36. That message of divine judgment was emotionally distressing to Baruch. He says here in verse 3, “The Lord has added sorrow to my pain. I am weary with my groaning.”

Now we are given the Lord’s threefold answer to Baruch. First, the Lord says in verse 4, “What I have built I am breaking down.” In other words, God is sovereign over the good times and the bad times. God alone determines when judgment is appropriate.

Second, He tells Baruch not to seek great things for himself. He is to be most concerned about God’s plans, not his. I came across this verse years ago in my early ministry, and it was both convicting and encouraging. The Lord says here in verse 5, “And do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not.” I’ve had that verse underlined ever since.

Third, Baruch can rejoice in God’s promise to preserve his life even though disaster is coming.

By the way, beloved, these are timeless truths we need to remember when we are tempted to despair over what’s happening in the world. Our focus should be His will, not ours. Yes, things today might be unsettled, but God has not been unseated. He is in sovereign control.

Jeremiah’s final prophecies concerning the nations begin here in chapter 46. We do not know exactly when all these prophecies were given, but they balance out all the prophecies against Judah. They reveal that Jeremiah was not a traitor to his people at all. He was not just picking on Judah; he had some pretty severe warnings for the surrounding nations as well.

As we look at chapters 46–51, let’s try to get the big picture here of God’s plan. Judgment is pronounced on each of the nations listed here.

God’s first warning is for Egypt. The Egyptians have just suffered defeat at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar in the great battle of Carchemish near the Euphrates River, verse 2 tells us. This took place in 605 BC.

This is just the beginning, though. Years later, Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian army will invade Egypt itself, according to verse 13, and devastate the land.

Do not miss verse 25, which says this is God’s judgment on “Pharaoh and Egypt and her gods and her kings.” This judgment will not be permanent, though; verse 26 promises, “Afterward Egypt shall be inhabited as in the days of old.”

Next to hear the verdict of God’s judgment is the Philistine nation, in chapter 47. This ancient enemy of Israel is going to permanently disappear as a nation.

Next up is the nation of Moab, in chapter 48. Verse 16 says, “The calamity of Moab is near at hand.” And verse 20 adds, “Moab is put to shame . . . Moab is laid waste.” God is going to judge them for opposing Israel in their pride and arrogance (verse 29). But like Egypt, God still has a plan for Moab. We read here in verse 47, “Yet I will restore the fortunes of Moab in the latter days, declares the Lord.”

Next is the nation of Ammon, just north of Moab. They become the object of God’s judgment in chapter 49. Ammon will suffer desolation and exile; but then the Lord promises, “Afterward I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites” (verse 6).

The nation of Edom, south of the Dead Sea and another enemy of Israel, is also warned of coming judgment. Verse 13 tells us, “All her cities shall be perpetual wastes [a wasteland].”

Damascus, the capital of Syria, is mentioned next. God promises, “I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall devour the strongholds” (verse 27).

Jeremiah mentions next the cities of Kedar and Hazor. They are out in the Arabian desert, but that will not protect them from God’s judgment. Verse 32 prophesies, “I will bring their calamity from every side of them, declares the Lord.”

Elam, in what today is Iran, will be attacked from all sides, and verse 36 says, “There shall be no nation to which those driven out of Elam shall not come.” The people of Elam will be defeated and scattered.

The culmination of Jeremiah’s prophecies is found in chapters 50 through 51; the focus here is the judgment of God on Babylon. In fact, this prophecy is really one long poem. The Babylonian Empire God used to punish Judah is going to be punished by God. Verse 3, here in chapter 50, summarizes their coming destruction:

“Out of the north a nation has come up against her, which shall make her land a desolation, and none shall dwell in it.”

Because Babylon “defied the Lord, the Holy One of Israel” (verse 29), they are going to face annihilation. And here is how the Lord is going to make it all happen:  

The Lord has stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes, because his purpose concerning Babylon is to destroy it. (Jeremiah 51:11)

The Medes, along with the Persians, will be God’s tool of judgment to conquer Babylon. That will take place in 539 BC. Daniel 5 gives us Daniel’s eyewitness account of the fall of Babylon.

What is fascinating is that the fall of the Babylonians, the conquerors of Judah, will be the catalyst for the restoration of Judah and all Israel. “I will restore Israel to his pasture,” the Lord says in Jeremiah 50:19. Many scholars believe this is a reference to that coming day when the final Babylon falls, and Israel is regathered to their land.

So, what do we learn from this roll call of nations facing the judgment of God? Well, for one thing, we know for certain that God’s justice cannot be escaped. No matter how long it takes, in God’s time, the godly will eventually be blessed, and those who defy God will one day face His fiery judgment.

Jeremiah 52 acts as a little addendum to the book. Here Jeremiah recounts again the fall of Jerusalem. This expands on chapter 39. And it’s a reminder to the people of God how devastating the destruction of Jerusalem was. The city was destroyed, and the Lord’s temple was destroyed. Imagine, unbelieving idolaters—pagans—were used by God to judge the people of God, who had been living like pagans themselves.

This chapter also sets the stage for Jeremiah’s private journal, the book of Lamentations, which we will begin next time.

So, as we come to the end of Jeremiah, these final chapters remind us again of a powerful truth lived out in Jeremiah’s ministry. God may give us a difficult assignment, as He did Jeremiah; it might be lonely, unpopular, and emotionally distressing at times.

But here is the timeless truth to remember: Our lives and our service are not measured by human approval and applause;when we stand one day before the Lord, the only thing that will matter is receiving the approval and applause of God. So, let’s accept our assignment and live for Him today, in light of that coming day.

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