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"Old Testament Survey"

Jeremiah through Daniel


Steve Bader in this session continued his Old Testament Scriptures in adult Sunday School class with the books of Jeremiah through Daniel. This article provides a brief summary of the content. I recommend you either download the audio in it's entirety from sermons page or order the CD's.


While Isaiah's ministry was that of a prosecutor, hardening Israel's heart, Jeremiah's prophetic career was a pronouncement of the sentence against God's people. It was a sentence that would bring desolation and despondency. Jeremiah would see this come to pass. Israel would receive this judgment because they honored the Lord with their words but rejected Him with their actions. Israel, like Adam, would be driven out of God's land because they failed to obey His commands. Yet God asked Jeremiah to purchase a small piece of land in Israel just as Abraham had done for the grave of Sarah. This signifies that one day the nation would be restored. Just as the greater picture of God's salvific purpose was served in Adam's exile, Israel's exile would exhibit this same truth. Both were promised a future restoration.


The book of Lamentations concentrates on the horrific images of judgment upon Israel as they came to pass. The title of the book has sometimes been translated "Why?" This city once known as the "beauty of the whole earth" now more closely resembled the Holocaust. Solomon's great empire had been left desolate. These images of desolation were most bitterly portrayed in terms of starvation. Mothers cooked their own children. Jeremiah gathered and recorded this information so the Jews would never forget and follow after other gods. One of the best displays of divine concurrence in the Old Testament is seen in this tragedy. While the Babylonians were the means by which this judgment would come about, God's judgment is cited as the ultimate cause for this devastation. Jeremiah calls upon the Lord to remember His people just as He did in Egypt. He then beseeches God to restore His people for He alone can accomplish this.


Ezekiel was a prophet to the exiles. His first message to them concerned the judgment that was about to transpire. His intent was to provide a basis of hope, their future restoration. Ezekiel continually uses the phrase "Then they will know that I am the Lord" to show that he will one day restore them. The main message of Ezekiel is that the well being of Israel is dependent upon their nearness to the Lord. Judgments are pronounced upon the nations who persecute Israel. The fact that God raised up these nations for the purpose of chastening His people in no way excuses the sinful intentions of these foreign nations. One of the most famous depictions of restoration is the valley of dry bones. God told Ezekiel to prophecy and the bones came to life. God declared he would raise His people from their graves and give them new life. Ezekiel's visions in the final chapters have been the subject of much debate. The question concerns whether the passages should be interpreted literally or figuratively. The most viable interpretation is that the language is symbolic. The battle portrayed is not some specific war that will occur in the future. The point is that God will vanquish all of his enemies. The restored temple is not a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem; it is the heavenly temple. The meaning is that God's presence will be established among His people.


Daniel saw the fall and restoration of Israel. He was one of the first exiles and was made a member of the king's court. Dignitaries schemed to remove Daniel and his friends. But such episodes as the fiery furnace and lion's den proved that the Lord was supreme over Babylon. Since Daniel saw these prophecies in dreams the descriptions are apocalyptic in nature. Nebuchadnezzar's dream of a great statue interpreted by Daniel outlines a succession of world powers from Babylon to Rome. During the reign of that final kingdom God would establish His eternal kingdom. Later in Nebuchadnezzar's reign he haughtily proclaimed the greatness of his kingdom. God promptly cursed him to live in the fields for seven periods of time. When his sanity returned he blessed the name of the Lord. His son Belshazzar did not honor the Lord as his father did. He profaned the Lord by drinking from the temple cups. A hand appeared on the wall proclaiming judgment on his blasphemy. That night the king was betrayed and the Persian king Darius took the throne. In the later chapters, Daniel goes into explicit detail of how world powers would rise and fall. However the most important theme is that God will establish His eternal Kingdom in Christ.

- Jordan McGehee

You can listen to this series here.