In this chapter Jeremiah faults the nation of Israel for their failures, (‘because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased-Je.5:6b) and it made their worship empty and their position untenable. Their favored position as ‘apple of his eye’ in a manner of speaking has become a speck in His eye as it were. God’s promises are conditional. Consider the v.5 “if ye thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor; “Is it not true even this day? Palestine issue shall not go away simply. We shall leave politics aside and find out God’s will regarding worship, and how the Threefold cord narrative throws up light on the topic.
God is a Spirit. Those who worship Him in spirit and truth do so in obedience to the Father Son relationship. The Almighty Lord God represents Truth. God the Father as the divine Will and the Son as its fulfillment is how the Holy Spirit has set forth man’s worship. Blessings pour from the greater to the lesser. When man worships he needs blessing as Jacob did while he wrestled with the angel of the Lord. Secondly man born of woman with a short life span. How shall he know unless taught from above? All Scripture is intended among other things for instruction in righteousness (2 Ti.3:16) The Holy Spirit expresses the eternal word with reference to the time. It is on a need to know basis and is the revealed word and when Apostle Peter speaks of the Spirit of Christ we can understand the words of the prophets from time to time are revealed for instruction. ‘Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited(Je.6:8)’.
For the above reason we are to approach the Bible as God document where the Spirit has organized the divine Will in terms of two narrative streams upholding the Father Son relationship. Symbolism is also worked into it so the Will like mainline fishing carries several branches to accommodate the ups and downs of nations where Israel and the Gentiles are part and parcel. Having said this we shall move on to the worship that God desires from each one of us.
In the Book of the Revelation we have this verse: “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father (Re.1:6)”. In the foregoing verse we have a clue why God sent his Son to the world. It was nothing new but was in the God’s Will before the worlds began and it was revealed to his servant Moses,”Let them(the children of Israel) make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them(Ex.25:8)” So the divine Will had been expressed and it is around the humanity and divinity of his Son Jesus Christ, Therein is the key to fellowship of God; and it is between God and man. The Spirit presents us two emblems in the sense it directly translated the Will in symbols appropriate for divine service or worship. In Melchisedec we have a priest king to whom Abraham paid tithes and second is the Word made flesh and he with one sacrifice made us perfect. King of Salem represents God (He.7:3) the Father and the Word, also God (John.1:1).These two hold key to worship and it is in truth and in spirit.
‘Forever them that are sanctified (He.10:14) can only be in fulfillment of the Will. The word forever settled in heaven (Ps.119:89) is the constitution operating in heaven and the earth. Jesus Christ testified,”I and my Father are one (John10:30)” What does that mean?
Eternal Word is God and as Son of man he came to fulfill his Will.( John 3:16).In becoming flesh he represents God the Son in his Immanuel aspect. God among us is a foretaste of what would be the reality in the new heaven and new earth. As Body the Church whosoever separated by the Son shall be part of it. we are both priests and kings. In us the foregoing two emblems shall merge as one. So when we speak of the temple what does John say, “I saw no temple there in: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it(Re.21:22)”. This is the perfect Fellowship God had foreseen in his Core Will. All these tabernacles erected by the children of Israel in the wilderness or in the city of Jerusalem by King Solomon were but a shadow of the holy city of God. It is living city of spiritual bodies compact and serving for the glory and honor of God. Because of the manifold sins of Israel nothing but the western wall of the Second Temple remains. So worshipping God in spirit and truth ( John4:24) is the real against which the temple worship was merely a shadow allowed because of human weaknesses. Jesus Christ has with one sacrifice forever perfected them that are sanctified. Events are leading the world to it. So Israel need to learn their lesson what it is to defy the divine Will.
In this overview we shall merely consider two aspects from the history of Israel. “Only thou shalt not number the tribe of Levi, neither take the sum of them among the children of Israel:(Nu.1:49). Against this consider this verse and it reveals the reason. “The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah (Ps.87:6)” Divine Will holds the register which makes any counting by man as unnecessary. For the same reason King David erred when he counted the people,”And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel(1 Chro. 21:1) ” God the Father and God the Son are two aspects of divine Will and Fulfillment. Worshipping in spirit and truth are possible for those who have separated themselves to abide in the Son (who washed us from our sins) and produce fruits for the glory and honor of God. The nation of Israel cannot by their own will but through the Son. “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and ye perish from the way (Ps.2:12).
Before the great tribulation we read in the Book of the Revelation ch.7 that from each tribe 12,000 were sealed in which Levi is also included. When God told commanded Moses not to register Levi from numbering how do we account for this? It is what we learn of divine Mercy. God keeps who are His kings and priests and they are as the result of the Atonement by the Son. It is for this reason we have multiples of 12 in keeping with 12 apostles and 12 patriarchs. ‘For the law was given by Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ(John1:17).’ If the law was perfect there was no need for another. Worshiping in truth would mean not by temples built by man but in spirit.
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,
2 Stand in the gate of the Lord‘s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the Lord.
3 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.
4 Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these.
5 For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour;
6 If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:
7 Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.
8 Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.
9 Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not;
10 And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?
11 Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the Lord.
12 But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.
13 And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the Lord, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not;
14 Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.
15 And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim.
16 Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.
17 Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?
18 The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.
19 Do they provoke me to anger? saith the Lord: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?
20 Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched.
21 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh.
22 For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices:
23 But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.
24 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.
25 Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them:
26 Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.
27 Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee.
28 But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the Lord their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth.
29 Cut off thine hair, O Jerusalem, and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on high places; for the Lord hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath.
30 For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the Lord: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it.
31 And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.
32 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in Tophet, till there be no place.
33 And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray them away.
34 Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate.