Not only is this the first recorded message addressing “The Yoke of Babylon” in specific, it is a single message which was delivered over the span of many years to two different Kings of Judah and several other Nations: Jeremiah was commanded to make for himself bonds and yokes, and God told him, “put them upon thy neck” (Jer. 27:2). The making of the yokes took place, as it was recorded, “at the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim” (Jer. 27:1), and no doubt they were used at this time to prophesy to Jehoiakim; but, according to the authorial intent of the Book of Jeremiah (revealed by the organization of the Chapters), the Kings of Edom, Moab, the Ammonites, Tyrus, Zidon, and Zedekiah were to be brought into perspective concerning the same message, namely: “The Yoke of Babylon”. All of these Kings were brought into view despite the fact that they existed in 11 years into the future during the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah King of Judah (time reference: Jer. 28:1). The time period is not as important as the testimony of the message delivered by Jeremiah and rejected by the people. So, the message and demonstration prophesied at the beginning of Jehoiakim’s reign (Jer. 27:1-2) was likewise prophesied at the beginning of Zedekiah’s reign (the message: Jer. 27:12-17; the demonstration: Jer. 28:10). Also, keep this in memory, this is the same message delivered to all the Kings which were collaborating with Zedekiah concerning the orchestration of a rebellion against Babylon (the collaboration of rebellion: Jer. 27:3-4; the message: Jer. 27:5-11).
At the beginning of Zedekiah’s reign (see Jer. 28:1) and after approximately 7 years of hiding, Jeremiah’s public ministry was re-engaged! With the Kingdom of Judah humbled by the 2nd and 3rd Captivities, there was reason to hope that the newly installed King of Judah (appointed by Babylon; 2 Kings 24:17) would hear the word of the LORD to embrace tribulation and submit to Babylon, and live. Sadly, though, even from the beginning of Zedekiah’s reign he was collaborating with other Nations for a potential rebellion from Babylon (Jer. 27:3, 12, 28:1). Can you believe it? Of course, God told Jeremiah about it. Fittingly, Jeremiah made the collaborating Kings their own personal yokes to get across the point (Jer. 27:1-11)! Furthermore, it must have been humbling for Zedekiah to watch his brother, Jehoiakim, bound with chains and left for dead in the open field just outside of Jerusalem (2 Chron. 36:6, Jer. 22:18-19). Truly. And, considering the course of rebellion from Babylon that Jehoiakim took, how did Zedekiah do it? He watched as Jehoiakim lead the formerly righteous nation into 5 years of backsliding and, meanwhile, became the unwilling tributary of Babylon. He watched when the Kingdom of Judah was almost turned to God, yet, Jehoiakim struck it down. He watched Jehoiakim put his faith in the promise of “liberty” from Babylon in the 7th year of his reign, and to what end? According to prophecy, Jerusalem was made to endure a long siege by an undefeatable Army, the Babylonians, hence: the sword, famine, and pestilence were as a cup of drunkenness to all the people of Judah! Yea, after all this… Zedekiah is collaborating rebellion AT THE BEGINNING OF HIS REIGN (Jer. 28:1)! What was the word?
“I spake also to Zedekiah king of Judah according to all these words, saying, Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live. Why will ye die, thou and thy people, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, as the LORD hath spoken against the nation that will not serve the King of Babylon.” – Jer. 27:12-13
Babylon may not have known about the conspiracy, but the LORD did! After all, He was the real KING of Judah! Should it surprise us that He had a message to deliver to these Kings? Soberly consider it, my reader: this message took the form of Jeremiah the Prophet prophesying with a yoke upon his neck (Jer. 27:2, 28:10)! This represented the need for Judah and all Nations to “put their neck under the yoke of the King of Babylon” like Jeremiah had done (Jer. 27:8). You see, Jeremiah was the demonstration! “I have given all these Lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon”, the LORD said (Jer. 27:6)! With a collaboration of rebellion against Babylon in the works, it was to be expected that the “prophets”, “diviners”, “dreamers”, “enchanters”, and “sorcerers” of these Nations were prophesying lies to the Kings, saying, “Ye shall not serve the King of Babylon” (Jer. 27:9-10, 14), but should we expect that Jerusalem would be of the same spiritual constitution as these Alien Nations? The message of Jeremiah delivered exclusively to Zedekiah will shine light on this most shocking problem. Remember, Jeremiah’s messages were delivered in this order: to Jehoiakim at the beginning of his reign (Jer. 27:1-2), to Zedekiah at the beginning of his reign as he was in collaboration with the foreign Kings to make a rebellion against Babylon (Jer. 27:3-11, 28:1; Note: the yoke was worn by Jeremiah and other yokes were sent by the hands of messengers to the Kings of these various nations.), and an exclusive message was given to Zedekiah and the Kingdom of Judah apart from the foreign Kings (Jer. 27:12-22, 28:1-17).
After Jeremiah’s exclusive message to Zedekiah and the Kingdom of Judah was delivered, which was, “Bring your necks under the yoke of the King of Babylon…and live” (Jer. 27:12), the false prophets of Judah were recorded to have said to Zedekiah as a response the same thing that the prophets, diviners, dreamers, enchanters, and sorcerers of the foreign Nations said to their Kings, which was: “Ye shall not serve the King of Babylon” (Jer. 27:14-15). SHOCKING! As we can see, the instigators of this collaborated rebellion were far more numerous than the one man, Zedekiah! Hell’s Territory reached far beyond the narrow borders of Jerusalem, remember that! This was a battle of Hell against Heaven! The primary struggle was and always will be immaterial (Eph. 6:12). Meaning, this was not about any race, language, or people. The Gates of Hell had prevailed against the Church, that’s the problem! Hence, all these races and languages were one people under the Prince of the Power of the Air (Eph. 2:2-3). One in Satan, that is! “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do” (John 8:44). Therefore, God, the real KING of Judah, was in the process of abandoning His immediate sovereignty over Jerusalem to join the Armies of Babylon. The Prophet Ezekiel, soon to be raised up, will be employed by God to prophetically demonstrate this in detail. As for the present time, however, all the signs are in place: All the prophets, both foreign and domestic, in all religions, Judaism and non-Judaism, were unanimously speaking the same message, “Ye shall not serve the King of Babylon!” How wicked! My reader, there’s more…