RHYMING TO THE SAME BEAT
by Jacques Isaac Gabizon
But I was like a docile lamb brought to the
slaughter; and I did not know that they had devised schemes against
me, saying, "Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, and let us cut
him off from the land of the living, that his name may be remembered
~ Jeremiah 11:19 ~
Each book of
the Bible is a special work of art, exclusively designed by its Author. But
when a book brings us into the Holy of Holies and gives us an open view of
God’s thoughts and
emotions, we find ourselves awestruck by how deep His relationship with us
runs. Indeed, we find Him sharing our moments and bearing our pains, even
before the Cross. While the Book of Jeremiah, which is the longest of all
prophetic books in the Bible, is primarily visionary in nature, it also acts
as a manual in establishing our relationship with God. While on the one hand
it speaks to all the nations of the world, it also supernaturally addresses
itself directly to our heart – from His heart to ours. And while it is
strict in doctrine, we are nevertheless fascinated at how this powerful and
omniscient God desires to transcend space and time and be our Friend.
EXPECT A MIRACLE
A study of this book is often neglected. Some find it very
discouraging from a human standpoint given that Jeremiah obtains no measure
of success in his ministry. Others complain of its non-chronological nature,
often making its understanding somewhat confusing. But one should still
approach it expecting a miracle. The Word of God has a fence of protection
around it, allowing only those who are spirit-driven to unlock the door to
its untold treasures. The key must be
chiseled with humility and a fear of the Lord. In like fashion, we see a
safeguard put around the Word when Yeshua speaks in parables to those who
rejected Him; as He states, because it has been
given to [the disciples] to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but
to them it has not been given (Matthew 13:11).
WAILS FROM THE WOMB
Rabbis have called Jeremiah the weeping prophet. They claim
that he began wailing the moment he was born. Jeremiah’s deep sensitivity is
the product of his love for others, in spite of the affliction and
persecution that he withstood throughout his 40-plus years of ministry.
Because of his willingness to surrender to God and his deep concern for
others, the Lord chose him as the channel through which His feelings would
be unveiled to a nation who would soon need to be greatly consoled. After
all, the Book of Jeremiah is not really about Jeremiah; it is about God.
Likewise, if we are going to have an effect on the people around us, we
first need to love them and feel their pains, even if they despise us. God
only hires those who employ His mindset and
Jeremiah’s life of intense suffering reminds us of Messiah’s
suffering. Few have endured as much as this man, except the Messiah Himself
– and the reasons for the suffering, save the
redemptive aspect, are similar, as both demonstrate a loyal love for God’s
Word and an astute obedience to it. When it comes to suffering, many would
vote Job as the greatest human victim. We should not forget, however, that
although he suffered tremendously, Job was later rewarded with double
blessings, including the blessing of many offspring. Jeremiah, on the other
hand, was commanded by God not to have a wife or children who might
otherwise be there to offer kindred support. In fact, both Jeremiah and the
Messiah endured what we can say was a total rejection from the nation of
Jeremiah 44:16-17a marks the final response of Israel when they answered the
prophet with these words: As for the word that you
have spoken to us in the name of the LORD, we will not listen to you! But we
will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth…. After
of earnestly being preached to, they finally said,
We will not listen to you! That same spirit of rebellion is
echoed in Matthew 12 when the nation of Israel rejected the Messiah and the
message of God.
Despite being persecuted, both the Messiah and Jeremiah were steadfastly
committed to reach those who continued to persecute them, despite the fact
that they were both falsely arrested for sedition. In Jeremiah 37:11-13 we
see that the prophet was confronted by the accusation,
You are defecting to the Chaldeans! while Yeshua Himself, when
delivered before Pilate, faced a similar indictment:
We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes
to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Messiah, a King (Luke 23:2).
Both were accused of sedition, which denotes an insurrection against lawful
authority. In this case, however, the authority was fallen man. They both
fought alone. They both wept.
Both Jeremiah and Yeshua were kept away from the Temple
compound (Jeremiah 36:5-6 and John 7:1) in order to safeguard their lives.
They were both hidden and protected from the hands of the enemies in a most
supernatural way. In Jeremiah 40:6 we read that the prophet went to stay
with Gedaliah. When Gedaliah’s household was struck down and all the Jews
who were at his home were also killed, we find that Jeremiah was left
untouched. How did he escape? No
further explanation is offered. Similarly, in John 10:39 when the people
wanted to seize Yeshua, we read that He escaped out of their midst, even
though many eyes had been fixed on Him. These supernatural escapes
demonstrate the beauty of God’s overseeing of all things. This protection is
extended into our own lives as we rest under the shadow of His wings. Even
though circumstances barred them from the Temple, both Jeremiah and the
Messiah nevertheless prophesied about its destruction. They were both
involved in decreeing an irrevocable judgment of God. With Jeremiah, the
judgment corresponded to the Babylonian destruction of Israel’s first
Temple. This was repeated centuries later when Yeshua decreed the
destruction of the second Temple by the Romans. Interestingly enough, both
began their ministry 40 years before their respective Temples fell.
HUNG FOR A SHEEP AS A LAMB
Although we know the Messiah as the true Lamb of God, we
also read how Jeremiah compares himself to an innocent lamb.
|But I was like a docile lamb brought to
the slaughter; and I did not know that they had devised schemes
against me, saying, "Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, and let
us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be
remembered no more.”
~ Jeremiah 11:19 ~
Not only is he compared to a lamb going to the slaughter,
but his people wanted to blot out his name so that he would not be
remembered, something they attempted to do with Yeshua as well.
The cry of going to the slaughter was not an example of self-pity. Jeremiah
was beaten, as was the Messiah; and in Jeremiah 38:4, he was condemned to
|Please, let this man be put to death, for
thus he weakens the hands of the men of war who remain in this city,
and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For
this man does not seek the welfare of this people, but their harm.
Similarly, in Luke 23:21 the people declared their judgment:
But they shouted, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify
A PITIFUL MOMENT
Jeremiah was at one point put into a pit – the Hebrew word
for pit being bor, a word synonymous with Sheol (Psalm 30:3). The pit
was an unused well and Jeremiah sank in the mire. In the Book of
Lamentations, Jeremiah decries the darkness of this pit (Lamentations
3:4-6). His acute perception of Sheol brings him to utter words which the
Messiah Himself could
have said: My enemies without cause, hunted me down
like a bird. They silenced my life in the pit and threw stones at me. The
waters flowed over my head; I said, “I am cut off !”
(Lamentations 3:52-54). The way this phrase I am
cut off is constructed – that is, without a preposition, it
refers to death and destruction.
While Jeremiah was almost cut off, the Messiah took upon Himself all the
pain and hurt when in Isaiah 53:8. He is described as being cut off from the
land of the living. But in spite of the pit, hope is heightened as Jeremiah
says this in Lamentations 5:55-57: I called on Your
name, O LORD, from the lowest pit. You have heard my voice: "Do not hide
Your ear from my sighing, from my cry for help.” You drew near on the day I
called on You, and said, “Do not fear!’”
Even in the deepest moment of despair, Jeremiah was never left to himself.
This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail
not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness
(Lamentations 3:21-23). And this is where God often meets us: in the oven as
with Daniel’s three friends, in the lion’s den as with Daniel or in the pit
as with Jeremiah. He may allow us to fall into it, but He will always be
there to strengthen us. He did not save Daniel from the lion’s den, nor did
He save his three friends from the oven, nor did He save Jeremiah from the
pit. He saved them in the den, in the oven and in the pit.
NOT ONLY IN GIVING BUT IN RECEIVING TOO
With an anguished spirit, Jeremiah sacrificed and gave all
that he could. But he received as well. In Jeremiah 40:5 we read that
Nebuzaradan gave Jeremiah three gifts: So the
captain of the guard gave him rations and a gift and let him go.
Jeremiah received three gifts: first, ration, which was food, second, he
received a material gift, and third, he was let go. He was given freedom.
Three gifts were given to Yeshua as well: these from the wise men. While the
gifts were not the same - gold, frankincense and myrrh - these gifts
represented the Messiah’s life and sacrificial death, all that was needed to
give us all daily supplies, our daily ration and our freedom from the
bondage to sin.
While he did complain to God, Jeremiah at no time lost his
faith. But the pain which he experienced on behalf of his people reminds us
of our Messiah’s anguish in the Garden of
Gethsemane when He pleaded with God, O My Father,
if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will,
but as You will. Similarly, here is Jeremiah’s lament of burden
from Lamentations 3:48-50: My eyes overflow with
rivers of water, for the destruction of the daughter of my people. My eyes
flow and do not cease, without interruption, till the LORD from
heaven looks down and sees.
TO ISRAEL AND BEYOND. . .
And like Messiah, Jeremiah too was not a prophet exclusive
to Israel. Read these powerful words in Jeremiah 1:10 where God extends his
audience to include Gentile nations as well. See, I
have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out
and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.
Of course the full accomplishment of this prophecy would be the Messiah’s
privilege alone to carry out.
WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?
Furthermore, we should not overlook the association the
disciples made between Yeshua and Jeremiah. Matthew 16:13-14 says,
When Yeshua came into the region of Caesarea Philippi,
He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah
or one of the prophets.” Perhaps Jeremiah was identified with the
Messiah because Jeremiah’s life’s story reveals a suffering love for Israel,
similar to the suffering love of the Messiah as seen in Isaiah 53. Perhaps
this is how the connection was made.
PRIEST AND PROPHET TOO . . .
In chapter 1:1-3 we read that Jeremiah was the son of
Hilkiah, a priest. Could this Hilkiah possibly have been the High Priest who
ministered during the days of Jeremiah? Many commentators report that
Hilkiah was too common a name to draw any concrete conclusions, however some
rabbinical commentators, such as Kimchi and Abarbanel thought Hilkiah the
High Priest was indeed Jeremiah’s father.
Hilkiah the High Priest was special in that he was the one who helped young
Josiah secure power as king. He also found the Book of the Law, a discovery
which was instrumental in
bringing spiritual revival to Israel. Under the teaching of Hilkiah, Josiah
grew close to God and became one of Judah’s most successful kings. May we
then surmise that Jeremiah himself may have had that same godly parental
influence? It is no wonder, then, that we find him so well-prepared at such
a young age. Furthermore, if Hilkiah the father of Jeremiah was the High
Priest, then Jeremiah could have then perhaps been next in line as High
Priest. Imagine then, prophet and high priest. Not only would Jeremiah
typify the Messiah through his prophetic ministry but also through His
priestly lineage, holding the same two offices that Yeshua would hold before
His Second Coming. Jeremiah was more than a prophet – his position in time
and his lineage makes him unique in the history of the Bible.
BUT EACH ONE OF US MUST FALL AT SOME POINT . . .
Jeremiah typified the Messiah in many ways throughout his
book, but he, like Moses and David, did fall as well. His fall is recorded
for us so that our eyes should always be focused on the Messiah, and not on
man. When did Jeremiah fall? In Jeremiah 37:20 the prophet’s life was in
danger and he asks the king for clemency, Therefore
please hear now, O my lord the king.
Please, let my petition be accepted before you, and do not make me return to
the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there.
How did the Messiah react in a similar situation? Yeshua never turned to the
Romans and asked for a lighter sentence. He turned to God as we hear Him say
in Mark 14:36: Abba, Father, all things are
possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will,
but what You will. He turned to God and God only. No man is
perfect that he could respond to everything in total righteousness. Yeshua
came to fulfill all righteousness.
CALLED TO BE LIKE HIM. . .
Why did God allow Jeremiah to experience such turmoil, with
a life patterned and paralleled with the Messiah’s? Because God took a man
willing to forgo all the pleasures of this life,
willing not to count the cost of a lost reputation and willing to bring a
message of hope to a people who would inevitably reject his appeal. He took
this man and gave him the mind of the
Messiah, just as we, even now, are called to take on the ways of the
Messiah. We are called to imitate His intentions and desires. We never
suffer needlessly and neither did Jeremiah. Because God wrote this book for
us, today we can be encouraged through Jeremiah’s life that we too may walk
in rhythm with Yeshua. And though we walk the beaten path, we too must
not fail to see God’s mercies and faithfulness every morning of every day.
Let’s conclude with this Scripture verse from Matthew 27:9:
Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the
prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of
Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced.”
You will search the Scriptures, but to no avail because these specific words
will not be found in any one specific place in the Book of Jeremiah. Why was
this quote referenced to Jeremiah? Because while we might not find this
specific verse, the whole of Jeremiah speaks of Him. And it was given to
Jeremiah to present and reflect the heart of the Messiah throughout the
prophet’s own life. The torch has now been passed to us.
Jacques Isaac Gabizon is the director of
Ariel Ministries Canada
and congregational leader of Beth Ariel Messianic Congregation,
Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Rhyming to the Same Beat may be
read in its original form in Ariel Ministries Canada's Fall Newsletter
of November 2011 at
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