Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Jeremiah 22 - In 588 BC, Jeremiah goes to the King of Judah and says, “Practice honesty and integrity – rescue the man who’s been wronged from oppressor.” If you do, the monarchy will prosper; but if not, the palace shall become a ruin. Again, as in Jeremiah 7, God’s promise is seen as conditional. Nothing God establishes can continue in power unless the inward spirit continues. There are no eternally sacred outward things (!!!) “You were like a Gilead to me, like a peak of Lebanon. All the same I will reduce you to a desert” Everything God does outwardly is to evoke in the minds and hearts of human beings questions – “When the hordes of the nations pass this city, they will say to each other: Why has Yahweh treated such a great city like this?” (22:8) They did not stay loyal to the covenant they made.
Now the references to Judaean kings seems to flip back in time: Of Jehoahaz, Jeremiah recounts that he will be deported to Egypt. 2 Kings 23:31 says he was 23 when he took over and reigned only three months. He is said to have done evil, was taken prisoner by Pharaoh Neco. Then Jeremiah rebukes Jehoiakim, who followed Jehoahaz briefly, for injustice and for trying to prove his rank, his status, by indulging in outward show of things, particularly his dwelling. “. . .your eyes and heart are set on nothing except on your own gain, on shedding innocent blood, on practicing oppression and extortion” (22:17). He will not be mourned.
Then, in 597 BC—18 year-old Jehoiachin becomes king. Jeremiah tells him that God will deliver him into the hands of those who seek his life. Of his seven sons, all born in exile, none will become king—one grandson, Zerubbabel, will preside for a time after the return, but not as king (NAB note).
2 Corinthians 5 – Paul, the poet, continues - When the tent we live in is folded up there is a house built by God for us. We “groan and find it a burden being still in this tent” (5:4). We do not want to leave the mortal tent, but we want to put the immortal garment over it - “to have what must die taken up into life” (5:4). In the law court of Christ, “Each of us will get what he deserves for the things he did in the body, good or bad” (5:10). In part it is this “fear” of God’s judgment that impels Paul to “try to persuade others” (5:11). But everything he does, he does out of love—if he appears crazy, if he uses his reason—he is simply trying to get us to understand that Christ “died for all. . .so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him. . .” (5:15). This is the ministry of reconciliation—reconciliation of the human with the divine, reconciliation of man with man, of man with woman, of man with the creation. “For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him” (5:21).