God had made clear what He required from the nation of Israel. ‘They were to observe to do his commandments and statutes.’ Failure of which would be desolation associated with the curse of apostasy, signaling dearth destruction and dispersion. So the Babylonian King was an instrument to chastise them. “The Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies…” (De.28:15,25). God had instructed Jeremiah and accordingly he had been warning of the impending doom. The Lord now gives a reason,”Because ye have not heard my words,/ Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant,..(vv.8-9)”Here we have a specific period stipulated. “And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” Not only Judah and Jerusalem but also “nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations(v.9). This ought to warn us that our disobedience affects not only ourselves but also carries ‘a collateral damage clause’ therein. When God pronounced blessing and curse it sets squarely every one of us at the eye of blessings or desolations and these desolations are like earthquakes bringing their aftershocks.
Another point we may consider the usage of numbers. 70 weeks and 70 years have their spiritual ramifications. Commandment of Artaxerxes, the King of Persia issued to rebuild Jerusalem (Dan.9:25) would not mean the exiled nation was all ecstatic with one mind to do their bit for the glory of God. In 458 BC he gave Ezra permission (Ezr.7). In the same book we see opposition building up against the repair work(Ezr.4:7-23). There were equally a group of Jews who had no mind or patience to undergo the rigor of resettling in ‘the city of God.’ Even with many dispersion we see the single-mindedness of nations becoming diluted,- to stay back furthering their commercial and worldly pursuits to the hilt is as much a strong impulse beneath their avowed agreement to serve God.. Even now do we not see Israel as one state is a myth? In the west, east north or south we have them forming their own groups: these are friends of Israel, Jewish lobby engaged in enterprises that could not be considered as falling within the covenant of God made with Moses the servant of God. De.31:18 .
In the previous post those who stayed away were qualified by the symbol of the evil figs. As with the narrative mode of the Spirit all these who escaped chastening of God and also remained away (because their hearts owed more to their commercial interests) are all brought under one category. “And as the evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil; …/ And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them./ And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers(Je.24:8-10)”. Holocaust prior to the founding of the state of Israel is covered in the desolations which are qualified as perpetual desolations. “:….and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations(Je.25:9)”. This state of affair shall continue till the Anointed One comes second time and ushers the Millennial Reign. Once the people called to be holy have fallen away from their first love it is much more difficult since there are more players unforeseen factors taken all together keeping the field narrower and more complex; and unless God intervenes directly it is almost impossible. It is what happened to Israel and their unplowed heart has to be broken at the coming of their Messiah.
What is the significance of 70 years? The number of 7 refers to what is ordained by God. Creative Power and Wisdom signaled seven as a rest which has no bearing on the eternal God whose state of Being is characterized as Truth. Rest of Sabbath when observed by His people merely in formalism and superficial piety, it cannot please God.”If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:(Is.58:13-14)” The same number also refer to the disfavor of God lasting a specific period.
Multiple of 10 refer to the decalogue which is handful, and counted on fingers. When Jesus expounded the Commandments he simplified it as two hands. This is as simple to remember but how many can be said as having observed it?”Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” With all thy heart does not mean merely observing it. So the law indifferently handled by the nation determined desolation. As a result Babylonian captivity is a visible manifestation of God’s wrath, and forms one in many such desolations making up the perpetual desolation.
The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon;
2 The which Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying,
3 From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year, the word of the Lord hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened.
4 And the Lord hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear.
5 They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the Lord hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever:
6 And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt.
7 Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the Lord; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.
8 Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words,
9 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, 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.
10 Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle.
11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.