Intercession and Covenantal Ideals
The following point is very important to understand because of its relevance to the deception at work in such a time as this, a Great Falling Away. The prophets of Judah didn’t just speak the aforementioned false prophecies to Zedekiah, and that alone; they also said, “Behold the vessels of the LORD’s House shall now shortly be brought again from Babylon” (Jer. 27:16). In other words, they claimed that the exercise of intercession was successful and the Covenantal Ideals would be performed. This claim coming to the forefront of the controversy is not a mistake. Do you remember all that Jeremiah went through in the latest recorded prophecies and events that took place leading up to Jeremiah 27:1-28:17? Do you recall how profoundly significant it was that Jeremiah stumbled at the unusual situation at hand in Jeremiah 14:1-17:18?
Jeremiah was God’s prop for the presentation, if you will. God chose Jeremiah for this peculiar time to demonstrate to all mankind the weakness and brutishness of men in that they are hardly reconcilable to the only divine scheme of judgment capable of redeeming a remnant during a Tribulation Period. Through the platform of God and Jeremiah’s relationship one with another, and as a lesson for us all, the LORD conducted Jeremiah into agreement with the hard-to-be-understood situation. Jeremiah’s recent renewals of mind, experienced in Jeremiah 14:1-17:18, had never been so necessary and relevant as they were then, in the 1st year of Zedekiah’s reign. Jeremiah’s newly found agreement with God would then be tested in the public eye by standing in disagreement with the false Prophets and his former sentiments. THE WHOLE NATION stood at enmity against God being poised thereto by possessing the recently relinquished convictions that Jeremiah was forced to abandon.
If you can recall (at approx. the 7th year of Jehoiakim’s reign), the false Prophets were prophesying of “peace”, which meant: no “sword” or “famine” (Jer. 14:13). Similarly, though with different motives, Jeremiah was praying for the salvation of the people, which meant: no sword or famine (“We looked for peace, and there was no good; and for the time of healing, and behold trouble!”- Jer. 14:19). In other words, Jeremiah was in far too much agreement with the false Prophets and, being such, he was in far too much disagreement with God. The unprecedented and formerly offensive judgment that Jeremiah was unprepared to hear regarded the impossibility of intercession (Jer. 15:1, 6). Neither Jeremiah nor the false Prophets believed it! Again, I say, Jeremiah was in far too much agreement with false Prophets while maintaining disagreement with God! For, as we see here, in the historical account of the events in Jeremiah 27:1-28:17, the internal thought-process of the false Prophets was an affirmation of intercessory norms.
Through Samuel’s successful intercession the stolen Ark was returned after 7 months (1 Sam. 6:1), and now the false Prophets were boldly asserting the availability of intercessory success in the situation of judgment that had befallen the backslidden Church (“Behold the vessels of the LORD’s House shall now shortly be brought again from Babylon” - Jer. 27:16). This time, because the Ark wasn’t taken, it wasn’t the focal point of their intercession. Rather, they interceded for “the vessels of the LORD’s House” that were taken in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Captivities (Jer. 27:16). The most “offensive” point of the Tribulation Period was then asserted, and by who? By the false Prophets! They claimed intercessory success, the very thing that all righteous men and true Prophets would desire to reckon upon! Ah, and now we see the wisdom of God to hide His Prophet for the purpose of private discourse. Through the events that took place privately between Jeremiah and God, recorded in Jeremiah 14:1-17:18, the hidden Prophet was poised to withstand the onslaught of deception when resuming public ministry in the 1st year of Zedekiah’s reign.
Being empowered by his newly attained agreement with God, Jeremiah knew the alluring claim of the false Prophets was in fact powerless. Boldly, Jeremiah confronted and challenged the false Prophets to make intercession! Not much different than Elijah’s taunting challenge to the Prophets of Baal, only with the recently robbed and promised-bound objects that were vital for the physical operation of redemption in Old Testament Judaism (Isa. 52:11), hence the controversy. Elijah tested and taunted the false Prophets intercessory powers by proving that, for him, the fire falls! For Jeremiah, though, the challenge was different. With respect to intercession for the vital materials that were employed in the operation of redemption, Jeremiah declared: for me, the fire won’t fall! The stolen vessels of the Temple would not be returned because all intercessory objectives of this kind were impossible.
Notably, Jeremiah’s challenge of intercession was not for what had already been taken in prior Captivities, as the false Prophets enthusiastically presumed. Rather, Jeremiah told them to make intercession for all that remains yet to be taken in the foreboding Captivities! Jeremiah solemnly testified, saying,
“But if they be Prophets, and if the word of the LORD be with them, let them now make intercession to the LORD of hosts, that the vessels which are left in the House of the LORD, and in the house of the king of Judah, and at Jerusalem, go not to Babylon. For thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the pillars, and concerning the sea, and concerning the bases, and concerning the residue of the vessels that remain in this City, Which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took not, when he carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah from Jerusalem to Babylon, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem; Yea, thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning the vessels that remain in the house of the LORD, and in the house of the king of Judah and of Jerusalem; They shall be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be until the day that I visit them, saith the LORD; then will I bring them up, and restore them to this place.” – Jer. 27:18-22
Jeremiah’s disagreement with the false prophets was specific. The false prophets said the vessels of the Temple would “shortly” return (Jer. 27:16), and by that they meant the vessels which were taken alongside Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim in 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Captivities. Seeing that Zedekiah was set up after the 3rd Captivity, Jeremiah prophesied of a 4th, 5th, & 6th Captivities, but especially the 5th. Jeremiah contradicted and affirmed that, not only would the vessels of the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Captivities stay in Babylon, but all the goodly vessels which were left in the House of the LORD and among Judah and Jerusalem would be taken away as well in the 4th, 5th, & 6th Captivities which were to come (Jer. 27:19-22). The message was simple: “Bring your necks under the yoke of the King of Babylon…and live” (Jer. 27:12), for there were further Captivities to come which would extinguish any act of rebellion against Babylon. Chapter 28 gives further details of how the false Prophets responded to Jeremiah’s bold contradiction recorded in Jeremiah 27:18-22.