“I will . . . ” (God’s Declared Intentions)
All hope was lost!
God’s warnings against the sins of the Israelite people flow as freely throughout the pages of the Old Testament as the transgressions of the people. One might remember that the people who God delivered from Egypt were barely delivered before many were destroyed because of their idolatry while Moses received God’s law up on the mountain (Exodus 32). Quick vengeance fell that day, but because of God’s mercy and grace, his judgments are not always immediate. God gives men the opportunity to repent and only he knows how long that may be. Sinful men may think there will be no judgment to come, but all can rest assured that although God’s warnings may not be fulfilled immediately, they are as certain as the rising of the sun.
God’s declared intentions against Jerusalem because of their idolatry should have turned Lehi’s heart to become a prophet long before the BkM states that he did, had he truly existed. In chapter fourteen we will consider the rampant idolatry in Jerusalem that had spread from Jerusalem throughout the whole land and brought God’s wrath upon the nation. In this chapter we will learn that the judgments which befell Jerusalem were not Nebuchadnezzar’s idea although God used Nebuchadnezzar’s armies to accomplish the task. God’s patience with the residents of Jerusalem eventually wore thin, and he fulfilled the following warnings against the unrepentant people through Nebuchadnezzar’s forces. For the moment let’s look at all of the â€˜I will’s’ in the first twenty chapters of Jeremiah that cover the thirty-year period prior to Zedekiah’s reign and the alleged beginning of the book of I Nephi. These are God’s declared intentions toward the Jerusalem residents, (including Nephi and Lehi had they truly existed), recorded by the Prophet Jeremiah:
Jer. 1:15 For, lo,
call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the LORD; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah.
Jer. 1:16 And
utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, . . .
Jer. 4:5 Declare ye in
Judah, and publish in
Jerusalem; and say, Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry, gather together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defenced cities.
Jer. 4:6 . . . for
bring evil from the north, and a great destruction.
Jer. 4:27 For thus hath the LORD said,
The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end.
Jer. 5:15 Lo,
bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the LORD: . . .
Jer. 5:16 Their quiver
as an open sepulchre, they
all mighty men.
Jer. 5:17 And they shall eat up thine harvest, and thy bread,
thy sons and thy daughters should eat: they shall eat up thy flocks and thine herds: they shall eat up thy vines and thy fig trees: they shall impoverish thy fenced cities, wherein thou trustedst, with the sword.
Jer. 6:9 Thus saith the LORD of hosts,
They shall throughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine:
Jer. 6:11 Therefore I am full of the fury of the LORD; I am weary with holding in:
pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of young men together: for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with
him that is
full of days.
Jer. 6:12 And their houses shall be turned unto others,
fields and wives together: for
I willstretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD.
Jer. 6:19 Hear, O earth: behold,
bring evil upon this people, . . .
Jer. 6:21 Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold,
lay stumblingblocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbour and his friend shall perish.
Thus saith the LORD, Behold, a people cometh from the north country, and a great nation shall be raised from the sides of the earth.
Jer. 6:23 They shall lay hold on bow and spear; they
cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roareth like the sea; and they ride upon horses, set in array as men for war against thee, O daughter of Zion.
Jer. 7:14 Therefore
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.
Jer. 7:15 And
cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren,
the whole seed of Ephraim.
Jer. 7:33 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
Jer. 7:34 Then
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.
Jer. 8:3 And death shall be chosen rather than life by all the residue of them that remain of this evil family, which remain in all the places whither
driven them, saith the LORD of hosts.
Jer. 8:10 Therefore
give their wives unto others,
their fields to them that shall inherit
Jer. 8:12 . . . therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.
surely consume them, saith the LORD: . . .
Jer. 8:17 For, behold,
send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which
charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the LORD.
Jer. 9:7 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold,
melt them, and try them; for how shall I do for the daughter of my people?
Jer. 9:11 And
make Jerusalem heaps,
a den of dragons; and
make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant.
Jer. 9:15 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold,
this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.
scatter them also among the heathen, whom neither they nor their fathers have known: and
send a sword after them, till I have consumed them.
Jer. 10:18 For thus saith the LORD, Behold,
sling out the inhabitants of the land at this once, and will distress them, that they may find
Jer. 11:11 Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold,
I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.
Jer. 11:22 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold,
punish them: the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine:
Jer. 11:23 And there shall be no remnant of them: for
bring evil upon the men of Anathoth,
the year of their visitation.
Jer. 13:9 Thus saith the LORD, After this manner
mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem.
Jer. 13:13 . . . Thus saith the LORD, Behold,
fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings that sit upon David's throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness.
Jer. 13:14 And
dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD:
I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.
Jer. 13:24 Therefore
scatter them as the stubble that passeth away by the wind of the wilderness.
Jer. 14:12 When they fast,
not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation,
not accept them: but
consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.
Jer. 15:1 Then said the LORD unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me,
toward this people:
out of my sight, and let them go forth.
Jer. 15:2 And it shall come to pass, if they say unto thee, Whither shall we go forth? then thou shalt tell them, Thus saith the LORD; Such as
for death, to death; and such as
for the sword, to the sword; and such as
for the famine, to the famine; and such as
for the captivity, to the captivity.
Jer. 15:3 And
appoint over them four kinds, saith the LORD: the sword to slay, and the dogs to tear, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and destroy.
Jer. 15:4 And
cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for
which he did in Jerusalem.
Jer. 15:6 Thou hast forsaken me, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward: therefore
stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting.
Jer. 15:7 And
fan them with a fan in the gates of the land;
I willdestroy my people,
they return not from their ways.
Jer. 15:9 . . . and the residue of them
deliver to the sword before their enemies, saith the LORD.
Jer. 15:14 And
to pass with thine enemies into a land
thou knowest not:
Jer. 16:5 For thus saith the LORD, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for
I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the LORD,
lovingkindness and mercies.
Both the great and the small shall die in this land: they shall not be buried, neither shall
menlament for them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them:
Jer. 16:9 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold,
cause to cease out of this place in your eyes, and in your days, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride.
Jer. 16:13 Therefore
cast you out of this land into a land that ye know not,
ye nor your fathers; and there shall ye serve other gods day and night; where
I will not show you favour.
Jer. 16:18 And first
I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; . . .
Jer. 17:3 O my mountain in the field,
give thy substance
all thy treasures to the spoil,
thy high places for sin,
throughout all thy borders.
Jer. 17:4 And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and
cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: . . .
Jer. 17:27 . . . then
kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour
the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.
I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will show them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity.
Jer. 19:3 And say, Hear ye the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold,
bring evil upon this place, the which whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle.
Jer. 19:7 And
make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place; and
cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hands of them that seek their lives: and their carcases
give to be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.
Jer. 19:8 And
make this city desolate, and an hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished and hiss because of all the plagues thereof.
Jer. 19:9 And
cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, . . .
Jer. 19:11 And shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Even so
break this people and this city, as
breaketh a potter's vessel, that cannot be made whole again: and they shall bury
in Tophet, till
no place to bury.
Jer. 19:12 Thus
do unto this place, saith the LORD, and to the inhabitants thereof, . . .
Jer. 19:13 And the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah, shall be defiled as the place of Tophet, because of all the houses upon whose roofs they have burned incense unto all the host of heaven, and have poured out drink offerings unto other gods.
Jer. 19:15 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold,
bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words.
Jer. 20:4 For thus saith the LORD, Behold,
make thee a terror to thyself, and to all thy friends: and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and thine eyes shall behold
give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive into Babylon, and shall slay them with the sword.
Jer. 20:5 Moreover
deliver all the strength of this city, and all the labours thereof, and all the precious things thereof, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah
give into the hand of their enemies, which shall spoil them, and take them, and carry them to Babylon.
Had they been listening, God’s intentions would have been very clear to the Jerusalem residents. Why did the people not listen? Chapter fifteen will consider the hearing problem that Jeremiah encountered during his forty-one year ministry.
If Lehi truly existed, why didn’t he join forces with Jeremiah long before if he didn’t want to see Jerusalem destroyed? Thirty years of God’s calls to repentance before Nebuchadnezzar’s second siege and Zedekiah’s appointment were ignored to the nations own hurt. But of course, Lehi couldn’t join forces with Jeremiah because he never truly existed, and they who have never existed cannot tell the truth!
Let’s consider the idolatry of the Jerusalem residents and see where the people’s pleasure led them.