Devotional Commentary on Jeremiah 8

Jeremiah is concluding in this chapter where he left off in chapter 7. It is clear that the Lord was showing Jeremiah the Second Coming in 7:32ff. because He used the phrase welo yeamer od “and no longer shall it be said”.


Whenever a prophet uses the term od “longer” connected to the negative lo or “no” it is eternity that started and that is the Second Coming. It is the time of the End.


So when he begins chapters 8, Jeremiah says that “in that time” baeth hahi. Which time? The time of the End of time when eternity starts, the day Christ comes on the clouds.


What will happen then? “the bones of the kings of Judah and the bones of his princes and the bones of the priests and the bones of the prophets and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem will be caused to come out (hiphil of yaza thus weyozeu, a causative sense of the verb).” The Resurrection in action.


These evil ones are resurrected seemingly and then would die immediately again due to the glory of God that is too bright for the evil. There bones will be “spread …before the sun and before the moon and before the entire host of the heavens” (verse 2) because the wayward remnant use to worship and prostrate themselves before these bones of the dead of these evil individuals. “They shall be for dung on the surface of the earth” (verse 2). All other evil will also wish to rather die at the Second Coming (verse 3).


Only Seventh-day Adventists can fully understand the meaning here since all other models of interpretation including Judaism with the Middle-Age Rabbis Rashi, Redak, and the Sages had problems to understand what is happening here. They couldn’t see the logic because they did not have the right system to tap the logic from.


It is said in the New Testament that those who pierced Christ will also be resurrected at the Second Coming and since they were evil they will die again that day. It is in this sense that this verse should be understood. When Christ comes it is not yet the final Executive Judgment or Hell but only after a millennium and or as Isaiah called it “a long time” and during this time only Satan is bound for this long time in a situation of loneliness. Humans are dead and unburied as depicted here. They were “cast there” sham by the Lord.


It is not the faithful remnant but the remainder of the living not saved that prefers death rather than life for the glory of God is too bright for them. Isaiah addressed this very same issue.


In the New Testament they are going to ask the mountains to cover them. Then the Lord focused on Jeremiah and his people, king, priests, prophets with problems and reaffirm their final punishment at the Second Coming: in view of their falling and not rising, if one repents, will He not return? It is the character of God to forgive if there is a sincere change of heart (verse 4).


In comparison despite the character of God to be ready to forgive, the people of Jeremiah’s day is in perpetual backsliding. They refuse to repent (verse 5). The Lord has heard very well (verse 6) but they, the people of Jeremiah’s day “do not speak properly” and they do not regret over their wickedness. The Lord says that birds know their ways (verse 7) but that the people do not know the judgment of the Lord.


Despite their deceit they say the Lord is with them and that they are wise but the Lord says this is in vain (verse 8). Their wise men were ashamed, broken and caught for they have rejected the Word of the Lord (verse 9).


The Lord then repeated a phrase that is nearly exactly the same as 6:12-13. It is a replay of chapter 6. Verse 11 is a repetition of 6:14-15. “They shall be put to shame since they have committed abomination” (verse 12). The Lord wants them to be ashamed and feel disgrace. That is why they will stumble at the time the Lord will visit upon them and that is at the Second Coming (verse 12). The glory of the Lord at the Second Coming “will utterly consume them” osoph asiphem (verse 13). The reason is that what the Lord gave them they transgressed.


The faithful remnant is called upon that they should not sit still. They should gather together and go to fortified cities and sit in silence. The poison water was given “because we have sinned against the Lord” (verse 14).


This is the attitude that the Lord prefers and which He can renovate. “We hoped for peace, but no good came; for a time of healing , but behold, terror” (verse 15).


In the days of Jeremiah they were waiting for the coming of Nebuchadnezzar and at Dan the snorting of horses would be heard. They would come and devour the land and its produce, the city and those who dwell in it (verse 16). The Lord said that He would send serpents, adders and that they would bite them (verse 17). The One Who asks whether He should suppress His heart within Him is the Lord (verse 18).


The Lord says that “over Me My heart is sick [daway].“ A better translation is to consider the word as a loanword from Middle Egyptian tui meaning “abomination” and the Ugaritic dw meaning “unclean”. The Late Egyptian has a word tw3 meaning “wrong, harm, evil, wicked thing”. What it can mean in God’s context is that evil of others and especially His remnant  harms His heart. A similar meaning with Middle Egyptian and Ugaritic solve the understanding in Job 6:7 with the same root. There the meaning is “unclean”. God’s heart cannot be unclean or evil and thus harm is brought to His perfect heart from the outside because of His affection of His own creatures that He created.


All the Middle Age rabbis thought that it is a reference to Jeremiah himself but that is out of step with the flow of the pronoun in this whole section. It is God Himself that is speaking here.


In verse 17 the Jewish Rabbi Malbim also consider it as God speaking. Verse 19 is also the Lord speaking. These people should listen to the voice from a distant land, the cry of the daughter of His people.


The Lord asked them whether He is not in Zion? Heavenly Zion is the heavenly sanctuary of the Lord where the throne of God is. The King of the faithful is in His heavenly sanctuary or Heavenly Zion (verse 19). They have provoked the Lord with their vanities and images. When the Door of Mercy closes it is because Christ completed His ministry in Heaven and becomes King of Kings. The King will be then in the heavenly sanctuary or in Zion. “Look, the voice of the cry of My daughter from a distant land: `Is the Lord not in Zion, is the King not in it?’ The time we will expect the King to be in Zion is during the Time of Trouble ahead of us.


The wayward remnant members have provoked the Lord with their images. Their call will be at the Second Coming: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved”. Says Ellen White in a Manuscript in 1900: “The condition of our world today is just as the prophet has represented it would be near the close of the earth’s history” (SDABC Vol. 7A: 1155).


The one who is wounded and mourn in verse 21 is not the prophet Jeremiah but the Lord. Dismay has taken hold of Him. That is how much God cares for His creatures.


It is the heart of God on the table here beating for a sick society who refuse to change.


God is asking whether there is no balm in Gilead or no physician there for this wayward remnant (verse 22). He asked that if the solution is there, why did they not heal? God says that if only His head were filled with waters then His eyes would be fountains of tears and He would weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of His people, the faithful and wayward mixed that are suffering, one innocently and the others what they brought upon themselves (verse 23).

Dear God

We are part of your perpetual historical remnant. You have not changed. It is us who constantly change and then refuse to return. Forgive our sins and keep us connected to You. Amen.