At the 4th year of Jehoiakim’s reign (Jer. 25:1) and as an interlude between Jeremiah 36:1-8 and Jeremiah 36:9-32, I conclude, because this was a timely word to the suddenly awakened people! There is indisputable evidence that this word was given as an interlude between these two points in time because, the book of prophecy that had been written by Baruch (as recorded in Jeremiah 36:1-8) is referenced in Jeremiah 25:13. Furthermore, because Baruch was presently reading from the book of Jeremiahs prophesies to God-fearing seekers in the House of the LORD (notably, they came from all over Judah; Jer. 36:1-8), Jeremiah was purposeful to bear witness of his ministry in its entirety (Jer. 25:3-4). Reasonably, “even unto this day”, was of particular emphasis (Jer. 25:3).
Jeremiah’s honesty and truthfulness had been verified in the arrival of Babylon and the 1st Captivity. Judah and Jerusalem were ascending out of the conflict between Egypt and Babylon, and having just watched Egypt fall, their confidence in false prophets had been significantly shaken. Remember, Jerusalem was besieged by Babylon for the space of approximately 1 year. Seeing the two powers engage one another, with the Kingdom of Judah in the balance, the people of Judah were compelled to think long and hard about what the end of these things might be. Did Jeremiah come to mind? Absolutely. Who could forget Jeremiah’s tear-stained face, the cracking of his voice which cried out in alarm, and his literal running to and fro throughout Jerusalem! Also, by the time of this prophecy, Jehoiakim surrendered to Babylon, the 1st Captivity took place, and the war was over. Therefore, with the conflict at rest and Judah under tribute to Babylon, the people had ample opportunity to consider their ways or, on the contrary, speak peace to themselves. Jeremiah, though, knowing they had not rightly remembered the word of the LORD given to him from the very beginning of his ministry (Jer. 1:15-16), took opportunity to remind them of the course of things which had happened theretofore (Jer. 25:3, 25:9-10; Note: the book that was begun in Jer. 36:2 was referenced here in Jer. 25:13), at God’s command.
With many families mourning at the loss of their sons, daughters, and family members, everyone wondered… HOW LONG? Frantically, they questioned: “When will I see my family members again?” “Will they be restored to Jerusalem?” “Will the Captivity return?” The false prophets, no doubt, were poised at enmity against the truth (Jer. 27:12-28:17), but at the present time God delivered the first word on record to the freshly humbled people. When the people were hurting and in pain, the LORD graciously reminded them of the conditional promise, “and I will do you no hurt” (Jer. 25:6). Further, He said, “Yet ye have not hearkened unto Me” (Jer. 25:7). God said that the wickedness of their works has been “to [their] own hurt” (Jer. 25:7). The Lord reasoned with the conscience of the people in hopes to win their agreement in that, because the longstanding messages of hope and promise were stubbornly rejected theretofore (Jer. 25:3-7), there was no more hope until “seventy years are accomplished”. In other words, the 1st Captivity would not return and there were 6 more Captivities yet to come! God must be loyal to the disloyal people by keeping the Covenant, whether in blessing or in curse, and long ago it was foretold, “Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine hand” (Deut. 28:32). This was just the beginning. Soon… all the other curses would be fulfilled as well, to wit: God said, “thou shalt be mad from the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see” (Deut. 28:34). How fearful! Seventy years of chastisement must be accomplished!
“And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.” – Jer. 25:11-12
In the wisdom of God, the LORD incrementally wrought these judgments in 6 Captivities. With only the 1st Captivity accomplished, the LORD is bold to reference the 2nd and the 3rd Captivities in Jeremiah 25:9, saying,
“Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north [the 2nd Captivity], saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant [the 3rd Captivity], and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.” – Jer. 25:9
First, the LORD will send “all the Families of the North” (meaning, the Armies of Babylon and Affiliates) for the 2nd Captivity, but Nebuchadrezzar will be absent. Then, three months later, the LORD will send both the Babylonian Armies and Nebuchrezzar for the 3rd Captivity. Thereby, Jeremiah 25:9 will be incrementally wrought in two more stages of fulfillment.
“For, lo, I begin to do evil on the City which is called by My Name, and should ye be utterly unpunished?” – Jer. 25:29
Furthermore, lest the hurting and childless people lose all hope in God as they consider the coming judgment upon the Kingdom of Judah, the LORD reveals the turn-around-judgment which He will execute upon Babylon (Jer. 25:14-38). The people of God are not the only ones who will be driven to madness! God was and is furious with the heathen nations of the world (Jer. 25:15)! They too shall “be mad” – they shall be driven to insanity “because of the sword that I will send among them”, the LORD declared (Jer. 25:16)! It was written,
“The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter His voice from His Holy Habitation; He shall mightily roar upon His Habitation; He shall give a shout as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth” - Jer. 25:30
How shocking! How fearful! The Lord will not suffer the people to be wide-eyed onlookers at the glory of Babylon and its false gods. No! Rather, God will take all the glory for Himself (Jer. 25:15-33). What does this mean? This means that God will deliver every wicked heathen man to the sword of the LORD, just as He did to the wicked of the Kingdom of Judah, the only difference being: there will be no righteous remnant among “the inhabitants of the earth” (Jer. 25:29). All of them will be wicked! “He will give them that are wicked to the sword” (Jer. 25:31; 1 Pet. 4:17-18), and, therefore, “the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth” (Jer. 25:33)! Though partial fulfillments of these prophecies do exist, and God was talking directly to literal and historical Babylon, we know that there is a Spiritual Babylon which will exist in the future when this prophetic woe is fulfilled in its entirety, and this means: “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Rev. 19:15; Spiritual Babylon: 1 Pet. 5:13, Rev. 14:8, 16:19, 17:5, 18:2, 4-5, 10, 21; Winepress: Rev. 14:14-20; The Eradication of all Wicked Men from the Earth (an incomplete list): Psalm 1:4, 37:38, 59:13, 68:1-2, 75:8, 104:35, 119:119, Prov. 2:22, 10:30, 11:31, Isa. 11:4, Jer. 25:31). Therefore the heathen of the Gentile World, the inhabitants of Spiritual Babylon, need to pledge allegiance to the Jewish Messiah and become citizens of His Kingdom, or else.
Note: utter destruction and captivity were prophesied to transpire at the hand of Babylon, but since Jehoiakim initially surrendered resulting in the 1st Captivity this did not immediately take place; thus, an occasion of stumbling was presented before the people as they see a small beginning of the word spoken… will they deny its eventual consummation? They will. They did… but not without a grassroots revival making its way to the neck of the Nation.