The Last Five Kings of Judah

The Last Five Kings of Judah

Scripture: Jeremiah 22:16, 2 Chronicles 36:11-14, Jeremiah 22:1-19
Date: 10/17/2015  Lesson: 3
"It had never been God's intention to give Israel a king; by the end of this week's lesson, we will better understand why."
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Good morning, friends, and welcome once again to Sabbath school study hour coming to you from the Granite Bay seventh-day adventist church in the area of Sacramento, California. A very warm welcome to our members and our visitors who are joining us here Sabbath morning to study the lesson together. And those of you who are watching online, if you want to participate in our study together and follow along with the notes, you can go to the Amazing Facts website - amazingfacts.org - you can download that Sabbath School Study Hour notes. We're studying through the book of Jeremiah which is the theme for this whole quarter. Today we find ourselves on lesson #3 entitled the last Kings of judah.

We have a free offer we'd like to let our friends know about - those watching across North America. Now the book that we're sending out today is called alone in the crowd and in order to receive this, just call us - 866-788-3966 - and you can ask for offer #714. That phone number again is 866-788-3966 - ask for the book alone in the crowd and we'll be happy to send this to those in North America. You can also read it for free online at the amazing facts website. Again, that's just amazingfacts.

org. Well, at this time I'd like to invite the Granite Bay singers to come and join me onstage and we're going to begin our time by first praising God for his goodness. Thank you so much. Let's sing this morning together all hail the power of Jesus' Name! - Which is the whole reason we worship together anyway. We'll sing the first and last verses - or the first, second and the last verses of all hail the power of Jesus' Name! - Hymn #229.

All hail the power of Jesus' Name! Let angels prostrate fall; bring forth the royal diadem, and crown him Lord of all! Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown him Lord of all. Ye seed of Israel's chosen race, ye ransomed of the fall, hail him who saves you by his grace, and crown him Lord of all! Hail him who saves you by his grace, and crown him Lord of all. Oh, that with yonder sacred throng we at his feet may fall, join in the everlasting song, and crown him Lord of all! Join in the everlasting song, and crown him Lord of all. Amen. I invite you to bow your heads as we begin with a word of prayer.

Dear Father in Heaven, we thank you, once again, that we are able to gather in your house to study Your Word together. And, once again, we ask for the Holy Spirit to come and guide our hearts and our minds. May we learn the lessons that you reveal to us through this ancient book - the book of Jeremiah - and the prophetic message you gave him that's applicable for us today. So may we be here with open hearts and ears to hear Your Word. In Jesus' Name, amen.

Our lesson this morning will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor. Morning everyone. Morning. Happy Sabbath. Yeah, I'd like to wish everybody greetings - those who are watching via the internet or - some are watching it live on the internet, some are watching around the world - various parts of the planet - in just a few weeks, Karen and I are going to be heading to new zealand and fiji and we've already heard from our friends there, 'oh yeah, we watch Sabbath school.

' And so it's fun to be able to go and visit some of the members in all different parts of the planet. We are continuing our study this morning in the book of Jeremiah and today's lesson, in particular, is dealing with lesson #3 - it's the last five Kings of judah. And we have a memory verse and the memory verse is Jeremiah 22:16, "he judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. 'Was not this knowing me?' Says the Lord." This tells us about just the promise of God watching over his people. Now this lesson today - I know you're going to think, 'Pastor Doug, we're supposed to be doing the book of Jeremiah.

' But so much of what we're going to read today is going to be in Kings and Chronicles and Isaiah with just a little bit in Jeremiah. The reason is, today's lesson, dealing with the last five Kings of judah, really sets the backdrop. We've been doing that for several lessons now because as you go into the various prophecies of Jeremiah, they're going to seem obscure if you don't understand what is happening to the nation - why is he issuing these prophecies? And so the - the last five Kings of judah is our subject. Now I'm going to tell you what they are. And, by the way, for those of you who might say, 'i'd like to get these notes.

' If you go to amazing facts' website, where it says 'Sabbath school' you'll see that in the notes I've got a list of all the Kings of judah and Israel and it also says whether they were good Kings or they were bad Kings and it tells when they reigned. Do any of you get confused sometimes when you hear about the different Kings? Some of their names sound the same. I'm going to quickly read through some of the names of the Kings for you. First I'll do the Kings of judah. Now all of the Kings of judah are literal descendents of David, whereas the Kings of Israel, they went - there were several overthrows and they ended up being Kings of different dynasties and different tribes.

There were three times the Kings of Israel were united, under the rule of three Kings. You know which ones they were? First - king Saul. The people said to Samuel, 'give us a king.' King Saul - he reigned 40 years and then David became king and David reigned seven years in hebron and then he reigned the remaining 33 years in Jerusalem - a total of 40 years. Isn't that interesting, 40 - 40? And the third one was Solomon who also reigned 40 years. Then after Solomon, the servant of king Solomon, who had rebelled against king Solomon, named jeroboam, he led a revolt and ten of the tribes split off - sort of a civil war that never totally healed.

Ten of the tribes in the north split off and, instead of being ruled by The Sons of David, they were ruled by a variety of different Kings who could manage to take power. And so there's a lot of fighting and quarreling among them. But they - right after the Kingdom split in the north, those ten tribes, they gave themselves over to idolatry. Now in the southern kingdom they had their good Kings and their bad Kings and revivals and down - backsliding - but the Kings in the north, they never really got away from idolatry. So here the Kings in the southern kingdom - the sons of David - and this is talking about after Solomon - you've got rehoboam, who was a mixture of good and bad.

He reigned from about 933 - 916 bc. Abijah - mostly bad - did not walk in the ways of his father David. Asa - mostly good. Jehoshaphat - good except he made friends with ahab. Jehoram - bad.

Ahaziah - bad. Athaliah was a queen that basically - she wasn't a son of David, she was the daughter of jezebel that kind of interrupted the Kingdom for six years. She took things over. Joash - good - mostly - he's the one who began to reign when he was just a little boy of seven. Amaziah - a good king.

Uzziah - mostly a good king. Jotham - good king. Ahaz - wicked. Hezekiah - good. Now something you're going to notice - because you've got a good father, does that mean you're going to have a son that will be a good son? And just because you had a terrible father doesn't mean you've got an excuse for not being a good son.

Hezekiah was one of the best Kings and his father was ahaz, a wicked king, and hezekiah gave birth to manasseh, a terrible king. And so you just see it going - it's like the richter scale - good - bad - good - bad - it's just amazing what happens here. And then you have ammon - and now we go to the last five Kings we're studying today: josiah, jehoahaz, jehoiakim, jehoiachin, and zedekiah. And, oh, by the way, josiah - the best. Jehoahaz - bad.

Jehoiakim - wicked. Jehoiachin - bad. Zedekiah - bad. The reason it says 'bad' is they still worshiped jehovah, but they weren't very good spiritual leaders. You want me to very quickly go through the Kings of Israel for you? I'm hearing no big objection.

Of course, that would sound bad, 'no, please.' And I'll do it quickly, yeah, jeroboam, nadab, baasha, elah, zimri (who didn't reign but like three months), tibni, omri (who overthrew zimri) and his son was ahab, ahaziah, joram, jehu, jehoahaz, joash, jeroboam, zachariah, shallum, menahem, pekahiah, pekah, and hoshea. Now hoshea was the last king of Israel. During the time of hezekiah, they were carried off by the assyrians to the north. So these last five Kings of judah, when they come into power, there really are no Kings of Israel to the north - the assyrians had sort of taken over the country - but there were still some Israelites that were left, of the poor of the people. You'll see why that plays into our study today in just a few moments.

Okay, let's get into the first king under the rule of josiah. Josiah was a good king. Now someone in the front here is going to help me in a minute and you're going to read - what is it - 1 Kings 13:1 and 2 - who has that? Alright, you'll be up in just a second. Josiah was the sixteenth king to rule in the southern kingdom. The date of his rule was from about 640 to 609 bc.

He became king at the age of eight. His name means 'yahweh heals'. He follows fifty years of the reign of two of the worst Kings of Israel - manasseh and ammon - and his reign lasted thirty-one years. He died comparatively young. I think he was 38 years old and he was killed by pharaoh necho in a battle.

You can read in 2 Kings 22 - this is the record that you find regarding josiah - 2 Kings chapter 22, verse 1, "josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was jedidah the daughter of adaiah of bozkath. And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the ways of his father David;" - you notice it jumps. It doesn't say 'his father hezekiah' or 'his father asa' or any of the other good Kings. It jumps all the way back to David.

David was the one who had been promised that his seed would continue. Alright, go ahead and read for us 1 Kings 13:1 and 2. "And behold, a man of God went from judah to bethel by the word of the Lord, and jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. Then he cried out against the altar by the word of the Lord, and said, 'o altar, altar! Thus says the Lord: 'behold, a child, josiah by name, shall be born to the house of David; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and men's bones shall be burned on you.''" Alright, you notice this is a prophecy about josiah that is written in 1 Kings - three hundred years before he was born. There are a couple of individuals in the Bible that are named - they're - before they're even born, they're named.

Do you know who they are? Cyrus. Cyrus. Josiah. John. Jesus.

'Call his name Jesus for he will save his people.' But not too many - this is the longest one who's named before he was born. Three hundred years before he's born. Now it gives some specific prophecies. It says this prophet from judah - the prophet's never named. He comes and he tells jeroboam, when the Kingdom in the north began to worship at bethel and they were - they had a golden calf and he says, 'altar, altar!' He prophesied to the altar and he says, 'king - josiah by name - will burn the bones of the priests on you.

' And the King wanted to have him arrested but when he pointed and said, 'arrest him!' His arm froze in position and then he had to pray to the prophet to heal his arm. It's just a very interesting story. Some of you remember that story? And that prophet, actually, doesn't live very long, but his prophecy comes true. Actually, when josiah, years later, goes and he purges the northern kingdom from these false altars - he was wanting to just purge the land of Israel - he actually sees the grave of this prophet that had foretold all of these things that happened. Now you read about it - josiah - oh, you can read about josiah in 2 Chronicles 34 - and this'll be verses 1 through 7, "josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem.

And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father" - now you wonder what happened in the eighth year - how old was he then? Starts to rule at eight and the eighth year of his reign he's sixteen. Something's happening. He's becoming a man. We don't know whether it's through the influence of some of the priests.

It says he really began to start seeking "the God of his father David; and in the twelfth year he began to purge judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images. They broke down the altars of the baals in his presence," - he had them broken down - "and the incense altars which were above them he cut down; and the wooden images," - how did all these images and altars end up in the land of judah? During the time of manasseh, in particular, they had turned away from jehovah - they even put idols in the temple of the Lord. Now think about how far they had drifted. Could this ever happen to God's people? Here they were God's people, they had the Scriptures, they had the foundational doctrines, they had the temple plans given by God to Moses and David right there in their presence, and they allowed the surrounding nations and the worship of the surrounding religions to infiltrate where they just got used to the co-mingling of the true with the false. And so, when josiah comes along and he says, 'no, we're going to purge the Kingdom from all of these pagan influences.

' They thought that he was a right-wing fanatic. Don't you think? This new king, he comes through and he says, 'we're not going to have that. We're not going to have this. And this is pagan. We're going to go back to the Bible.

' And he probably raised some eyebrows because he was still sixteen years old. There must have been a number of people who had lived during the time of manasseh who had just grown up with that kind of worship and they thought it was normal. And so I'm sure he met with some resistance, even though he was king. And "he broke in pieces, and made dust of them and scattered it on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars," - the reason they did that is it would then pollute the altar and defile it so it could never be used again - if you burned the human bones on it - so he did that so they would never be tempted to use it again - "and cleansed judah and Jerusalem.

And so he did in the cities of manasseh, ephraim, and simeon, as far as naphtali and all around, with axes." - They went and they cut down all the groves - and "when he had broken down the altars and the wooden images, had beaten the carved images into powder, and cut down all the incense altars throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem." So not only did he effect a revival in judah, the southern kingdom, he went up north where the other Kings used to reign - remember, they're all gone now. They've been carried away by assyria - they died - and he purges the whole land that God had given David and Solomon. So boy, whatever he did, he did with all his might. Now we're going to fast-forward a little bit. Go to 2 Chronicles - still talking about the time of josiah.

His life overlaps the reign of Jeremiah. So Jeremiah, these were the good days. You ever heard people talk nostalgically about 'the good old days'? After josiah was gone, the four remaining Kings, they were bad. Jeremiah kept looking back to the days of josiah as the good old days, when they turned to the Lord and they purged the house of the Lord and they restored the passover and there was a great revival and, you know, sometimes I hear a news commentator say, 'oh, stop talking about the good old days. Even the bad - back in the good old days, things were pretty bad.

' That's not true always; sometimes there are good ages in history, and the time of josiah was one of the good ages. Alright, look in 2 Chronicles 34:14, "now when they had brought out the money that was brought into the house of the Lord, hilkiah the priest found the book of the law of the Lord given by Moses." What's implied there when it says he found it? It was lost. It had been, at least, misplaced. Now this is not just any book, which book is this? The law. The book of the law given by Moses - most likely the book of Deuteronomy and, based on what you're reading here, it was the original copy.

So can you imagine like having the original copy of the gettysburg address? Having it misplaced for hundreds of years and then finding it again? He had - you know, they'd always kept it. It was near the ark and finally, when they moved the ark into the - Solomon's temple, they put all of the sacred rolls in there and, with all these Kings coming and going - these other Gods - they didn't have time to read all these books. They didn't even know what they were after awhile. And finally, the priest, who could still read the Hebrew, he pulls out the scroll as they're cleaning things - you know, you don't just throw books away, you say, 'what is it?' And - I worked at a mission and I worked with my friend dave boatwright - many of you know who - was an elder at our former church - and he and I worked together at this mission and someone donated a trailer and the trailer was just full of, you know, people's things and books and stuff and I said, 'oh dave, maybe you can go through all those books and throw them out.' And so I came back to check on him hours later and he had only thrown out about one book. (Laughter) I said, 'what's going on?' He said, 'well, how do I know whether or not to throw it out unless I read it?' And so he had been sitting there just reading through all these books.

I said, 'just read a couple pages and then decide. Flip through it and throw it out. You can't read the whole book.' And so, anyways, he's reading this - his hand started to tremble and he's going, 'is this what I think it is?' It looked very old and it was signed at the bottom 'Moses'. And he said, 'this is the book of Deuteronomy - the last sermon of Moses before he died - the original copy. Can you imagine their delight? It actually - I think in the original here it says, 'given by the hand of Moses.

' - "Then hilkiah answered and said to shaphan the scribe, 'I have found" - not a book of the law, he said, "I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord.'" Now where would you expect to find it? Don't you hope you can go to churches today and find the book of the law in the house of the Lord? A lot of churches you go to today, you will not find the book of the law in the house of the Lord. They're talking about everything but the Bible - "and hilkiah gave the book to shaphan. So shaphan carried the book to the King, bringing the King word, saying, 'all that was committed to your servants they are doing. And they have gathered the money that was found in the house of the Lord, and have delivered it into the hand of the overseers and the workmen.' Then shaphan the scribe told the King, saying, 'hilkiah the priest has given me a book.' And shaphan" - scribe - their specialty is reading - he reads it before the King. He goes from bow to stern - Deuteronomy 1 to 32 and he reads it.

And it says then that after he does that, "thus it happened when the King heard the words of the law, that he tore his clothes. Then the King commanded hilkiah, ahikam The Son of shaphan, abdon The Son of Micah, shaphan the scribe, and asaiah a servant of the King, saying, 'go, inquire of the Lord for me, and for those who are left in Israel and judah, concerning the words of the book that is found; for great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do according to all that is written in this book.'" Now why was he especially troubled when they read that book of the law of Moses - Deuteronomy? Have you read Deuteronomy? Blessings and curses. It traces the history of God's people from the Exodus through what they could expect. And everything that had come upon Israel it outlines. He said, 'I know that you'll follow after other Gods and when you do this, these cursings will come upon you.

' And everything that he had foretold would happen, happened. And the King is going, 'wow.' He's reading it and it's just the fulfillment of prophecy one after the other that was rather disturbing. Now someone's going to read Isaiah 1:16 and 17 in just a moment here, okay? So he sends and he inquires of the Lord, from the prophet, to find out 'what shall we do?' And, basically, the message comes back from the prophet that says, 'everything that was foretold, judgment's going to come. But because your heart was tender and you sought me, I'm not going to do it in your day.' And so the last window of probation and mercy really came during the time of josiah, because his heart was tender and he wanted to serve the Lord and he said, 'look, if my seeking after God is going to be a prolonging of our tranquility, then I'm really going to seek after God.' And he did. And there are two particular things that were involved in the reforms of josiah.

Why don't you go ahead and read that for us in Isaiah 1:16 and 17. "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend The Fatherless, plead for the widow." Amen. Two particular things: cease to do evil. Learn to do good.

So a lot of people say that to have a revival you simply need to believe. But, you know, biblically, the part of every revival was practical reform - practical reform. When Paul would go through a town and preach, they'd bring their satanic books and burn them in a pile. There were tangible things that happened. The great reforms that happened during the age of enlightenment and Christian revivals.

You would see people, you know, they would throw out their alcohol, they'd make changes, they'd start going back to church. So there's real practical things. I've seen youth revivals where they'd, you know, they'd just turn up the volume and they'd say this was a revival. That's not a revival. A revival is when those kids bring their cds that they're listening to they know they shouldn't be listening to or the magazines that they're reading and they throw them away.

They start making - that's when the Holy Spirit really begins to move, because as we empty ourselves and make room for the filling of God in our lives and we make practical changes - and it might mean practical changes in where we go, what we watch, what we eat, what we do, what we think about, what we say. When we cease to do evil and learn to do good. When josiah had a revival, he went and he cut down the altars. Not only did he cut down the altars, he then said 'we've neglected the passover. Let's follow the word of the Lord.

Let's celebrate the passover.' It said they had a passover unlike any they'd ever had before. And so, it was a combination of turning away from that which is bad and doing what you know you're supposed to do. And so that brought about great revival. So I could say much more about josiah but we're going to run out of time. It was a time of great revival - a good young king.

There was a pharaoh then, by the name of pharaoh necho. He reigned for several years. Pharaoh necho was an interesting character in that, for an Egyptian pharaoh, he wasn't all bad. He actually sent ships - it's in history - that he was one of the first pharaohs that sent ships from the red sea, they went down along the eastern coast of africa - they completely circumnavigated the continent of africa - went around africa, back into the mediterranean and came to alexandria. And he had a fleet of ships that made this complete circle.

That's in history - one of the first pharaohs that did that - and they got an accurate - or semi-accurate - map of africa at that time. So he was a very progressive king. He was involved in a war with the King of assyria and on his way north he had to travel through the land of judah. And with his large Egyptian army, was going up the course through philistia towards assyria. Josiah thought, 'as soon as he's done there he's going to come after us.

If we can weaken him now then he won't think about attacking us when he comes back.' And pharaoh necho sent a message to josiah and he said, 'look, God has sent me to fight against assyria, don't come out and meddle with what God has told me to do.' He actually talked about God as though it was the one God, which was unusual for the Egyptians. And josiah didn't listen and he was hit by the archers in the battle and they carried him away and pharaoh went north - he fought and won in his battle against assyria and came back again. Later, The Son of josiah, he was subjugated by pharaoh necho. But josiah was hit by the archers; he died and they sang and lamented his death for - for many years, actually. And I think Jeremiah writes about that also.

Alright, let's go to jehoahaz and jehoiakim. These are two of The Sons - now josiah had three sons. Some of them were chosen to be king. And it says, "jehoahaz was twenty-three years old" - I'm in 2 Kings 23:31 - it says 'the Kingdom is descending lower still.' - "Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother's name was hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of libnah.

" - Obviously a different Jeremiah - "and he did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done. Then pharaoh necho put him in prison at riblah in the land of hamath, that he night not reign in Jerusalem; and he imposed on the land a tribute of one hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. Then pharaoh necho made eliakim The Son of josiah king in place of his father josiah, and changed his name to jehoiakim. And pharaoh took jehoahaz and went to Egypt, and he died there." So the pharaoh knew right after three months that he wasn't going to be a very good king and he was not loyal to him - he couldn't count on him to pay tribute and so he deposed him, put his brother in place, gave him a new name, and that other young man, he went to Egypt and he died there. Jehoiakim was an oppressive and a greedy king and you'll find this in your lesson.

He imposed heavy taxes on judah. Now, you know one reason he did that, he had to send so much money down to Egypt and so for him to have all of the treats that the Kings were used to, he needed to increase the taxes of the people. So they're being taxed to pay taxes to pharaoh necho and they're being taxed to pay taxes to the local king of judah, jehoiakim. Worse, using a forced labor, he had elaborated - elaborate construction done on his own palace in defiance of the torah - the torah was very clear about paying people a fair wage for their work. He made his own people slaves.

It said, "thou shall not defraud thy neighbor, neither rob him of the wages of him that is hired. They shall not abide with thee all night" - this is the torah - "until morning." That's Leviticus 19:13. Also, unlike josiah, his father, jehoiakim permitted pagan rites to flourish again in judah. So no sooner had josiah died - they drifted back to the old ways. Idolatry crept in again along with pagan rites.

Alright, someone is going to read for me now 2 Kings :6 - okay sam, you'll be reading that. So jehoiakim rested with his fathers. Then jehoiachin his son reigned in his place. And the King of Egypt did not come out of his land anymore, for the King of Babylon had taken all that belonged to the King of Egypt from the brook of Egypt to the river Euphrates." So right during this time, after josiah died, there was peace pretty much during this time, but there was a war that was raging for an empire - it looked like the Kingdom of Babylon was spreading, the kingdom of assyria was getting weaker, Egypt saw that in this vacuum 'we can once again become a world empire' and that's what pharaoh necho was doing. They weren't so much worried about judah, they were a smaller kingdom.

They weren't worried about the edomites and the moabites and the ammonites, they were worried about the big empires. And so pharaoh necho went to fight with assyria and they were fighting against the chaldeans. Well, about that time that jehoiakim became king, pharaoh necho lost his battle with the King of Babylon and Babylon pushed the Egyptians all the way back to the river of Egypt and now judah became a territory almost overnight. What had once belonged to Egypt now belonged to Babylon. They said, 'now you have to pay your taxes to us because we are the big dog in the area.

' And pharaoh - rather the King of Babylon wasn't so sure that he was going to be faithful paying his taxes. It says, "the King of Babylon had taken all that belonged to the King of Egypt from the brook of Egypt to the river Euphrates." Now Babylon is growing into its empire status. And you can - now we're going to go to the book of Jeremiah - we've been studying Jeremiah but we haven't been reading from it. Jeremiah 22:18, "therefore thus says the Lord concerning jehoiakim The Son of josiah, king of judah: 'they shall not lament for him, saying, 'alas, my brother!' Or 'alas, my sister!' They shall not lament for him, saying, 'alas, master!' Or 'alas, his glory!'" - As they did for his father josiah - "he shall be buried with the burial of a donkey, dragged and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem." So jehoiakim, he was not appreciated. He died, the King of Babylon had him cast out, and he had his son put in his place, but jehoiachin was not very capable.

And so after a short period of time he was carried off to Babylon. Now let me read to you from history about this. In about 598 bc jehoiachin was carried captive to Babylon along with 3,220 jews - and you can read about that in Jeremiah. He placed jehoiachin, the dead king's son, on the throne. Three months were sufficient for him to prove jehoiachin's character and you can read about that in Ezekiel also.

He was taken with 10,000 of the best of the people of Jerusalem and he carried them to Babylon. So there were two groups that were first carried off to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar: first ,000 went then 10,000 went. In the first 3,000, you know who was in that group? Daniel, hananiah, mishael, azariah - later known as belteshazzar, shadrach, meshach, and abednego - those were their Babylonian names. Notice how these Kings kind of rename everybody? They basically say, 'look, I'm giving you your power and I'm giving you your name.' And so they would rename them all. And so this young king, who was not a good king, only reigned for a short period of time - three months.

He's a young man. He's carried off. He's put in prison in Babylon. The nineteenth year of the King of judah - the nineteen-year-old king of judah became jehoiachin, The Son of jehoiakim, he reigned on David's throne for barely three and a half months. In 598 bc Nebuchadnezzar brought his forces to Jerusalem, seized the young king, along with his mother and his wives and many royal captives.

You know, I read something, oh yeah, something about jehoiachin - I want to just give you the follow up. Go to Jeremiah chapter 51. So there's this young king - I don't know whether to do this now or to do it at the end of the lesson. I think I'm going to do it now. If you go to Jeremiah chapter 52 - Jeremiah 52, verse 31 - now after jehoiachin was carried off to Babylon, he was put in prison there, he stayed there 37 years, which is a long time.

Only eleven years after he was carried to Babylon nebuchcadnezzar had to come back and he destroyed the city. He destroyed the temple. Zedechiah's eyes were put out. His sons were all killed. And that was the uncle of jehoiachin.

But all that time - and he was carried to Babylon and ultimately died there - all that time, jehoiachin is still in prison. So you fast forward now and you can read, "now it came to pass in the thirty-seventh year of the captivity of jehoiachin king of judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth day of the month, that evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the first year of his reign," - that means after Nebuchadnezzar - and Nebuchadnezzar reigned about 42 years. After Nebuchadnezzar had died, "he lifted up the head of jehoiachin king of judah and brought him out of prison. And he spoke kindly to him and gave him a more prominent seat than those of the Kings who were with him in Babylon. So jehoiachin changed from his prison garments, and he ate bread regularly before the King all the days of his life.

And as for his provisions, there was a regular ration given him by the King of Babylon, a portion for each day until the day of his death, all the days of his life." Now you know what is interesting? There have been thousands of cuneiform tablets and Babylonian tablets - they found a library with like ,000 tablets in ancient Babylon. You want to see what was written on one of the tablets? They transcribed this and it says, "tablets from the royal archives of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon were unearthed in the ruins of Babylon that contained food rations paid to captives and craftsmen." You know, some of these tablets don't have anything profound, some of them were just mundane. It says, 'this one gets a ration for this much. And they found, on one of those tablets - someone had to pour over hundreds of them - one of those tablets said yaukinu, king of the land of yahudu is mentioned among them with five sons as being given a royal ration and that is jehoiachin the King of judah. Wow! And so they actually found the ration tablet that talked about exactly what you just read there in Jeremiah, a provision was given by the King for him.

And so I thought that was very interesting. But now, look spiritually at this last phrase in Jeremiah briefly. We just read it. Why did king evil-merodach decide, out of the blue, to take jehoiachin out of jail? Been there 37 years. Was Daniel still alive then? See Daniel probably appealed to king Nebuchadnezzar, but Nebuchadnezzar - the Bible says who he put down, he put down - who he lifted up he lifted up.

He was a king who said, 'once it is written, it is written' and there was no changing it. But, you know, one of the things that a president does just before they go out of office is they start pardoning people. And so they did it at the beginning of an office there. So when a new king came into power, he would often pardon people who had been imprisoned by the former monarch. And Daniel appealed to evil merodach and said, you know, 'here's our former king.

He's no threat to you. He's been there 37 years. He's repented of his sins. Could you please have mercy on him?' He said, 'sure, I'll show him mercy.' You remember what David did when he came into power with mephibosheth, the crippled son of jonathan? He said, 'I'm going to take care of you. I'm going to feed you.

You come and eat at my table. I'll pay your expenses the rest of your life.' Well, this is what he does. Now, I like this story because it's the story of salvation. He shows mercy to him - kindness - it's what God does. He doesn't deserve it.

He deserves prison. He changes his clothes - the Lord gives us new raiment - he gives us Christ's robe of righteousness. He changes his food. We don't eat the Babylonian - or we don't eat the bread of affliction anymore, but now we eat the new bread of the King. And it tells us that - and he didn't have to eat the unclean things Daniel didn't want to eat.

He gives him a new seat - we have a new status. He gives him a credit card and says there's a ration. You get an expense account. You get to live in a palace. Can you imagine the radical change of being in a dark dungeon for 37 years and suddenly you get washed up and you're brought to the palace? Joseph.

That's what happened with Joseph. That's what happened with Esther - in a sense - Esther went from being a captive to a queen. You know, Daniel, it happened to him - went from being a captive to prime minister. It happened to manasseh - he was in - manasseh was in prison in assyria.he repented. God forgave him - brought him out of prison - he came to the palace.

And so, this is really the story of the Bible where God takes us from the prison to the palace, but I don't want to say much about that 'cause that's in one of my sermon's next week in lansing, Michigan. But our lesson's on it today. And so I thought that was really interesting. It's just the story of salvation. Now, we've got to back-track a little bit.

What happened to the uncle of jehoiachin? We found out he's brought out of prison. He is not listening to the King. And it says - at the end of a dead end - is the next section we've got to look at - Jeremiah 21, verse 9. This warning had come from Jeremiah to king zedekiah, "'he who remains in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but he who goes out and defects to the chaldeans who besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be as a prize to him. For I have set my face against this city for adversity and not for good,' says the Lord.

'It shall be given into the hand of the King of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire.'" Jeremiah had a really difficult message to give. After josiah, and after Nebuchadnezzar came and he carried jehoiachin off to Babylon - put him in prison - zedekiah made a covenant with the King of Babylon. He said - Nebuchadnezzar said, 'I will make you king but you have to promise that you will not rebel, that you will pay taxes to Babylon, that you will - faithful - and he made a covenant in the name of the Lord that he would do it. Swore by jehovah he would do it. But after he left, a few years went by and his counselors said, 'we don't need to pay taxes to nebu - he's busy fighting in other battles.

He's not going to come back.' And he said, 'well, but we made a vow in the name of the Lord.' 'Oh, that didn't matter. You had to do it. It doesn't count.' And pretty soon he broke his promise and he stopped paying taxes. Jeremiah said, 'don't do it. You've made a vow.

He's going to come.' And they said, 'Jeremiah is giving a false prophecy.' These other false prophets were telling the King, 'rebel. God'll prosper you. the King of Babylon will never come back.' And they had all these phony prophecies of 'peace! Peace!' You've heard about that before? 'You don't have to worry.' Jeremiah had a very unpopular prophecy. He said there's not going to be peace. He said, 'there's going to be trouble.

There's going to be war. The city is going to be burnt with fire. The palace is going to be burnt with fire. The temple's going to be burnt with fire.' They said, 'that'll never happen. The temple's hundreds of years old.

It's survived every other invasion and war.' He said, 'the only way you can live is if you surrender.' All the false prophets, they beat up Jeremiah. He had such a hard time. Years went by, finally Nebuchadnezzar did come back. He besieged the city and they could see him out there and even zedekiah had a few private interviews with Jeremiah and he said, 'what do you think I should do?' He said, 'I'll tell you, if you surrender you will live. Your sons will live.

The city will not be burnt. The temple will not be burnt. Just surrender.' And he couldn't bring himself to do it because the other princes said, 'no, no, don't listen to Jeremiah. You can't trust him.' And so Jeremiah was pleading and they put Jeremiah in prison. They said, 'you're ruining - you know, we're getting ready to fight the Babylonians and we need the morale built up among the soldiers and you're deflating the morale by saying 'surrender' - that we're going to lose.

' And he said, 'well, that's what the word of the Lord told me to say.' So he had a very unpopular message, you could see. Well, you read on, 2 Chronicles 36, verses 11 - it says here, 'zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. He did evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke from the mouth of the Lord. And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear an oath by God; but he stiffened his neck and hardened his heart" - where do you hear those words? 'Hardened his heart - stiffened his neck' - what did pharaoh do? But he "...hardened his heart by turning - against turning to the Lord God of Israel. Moreover all the leaders of the priests and the people transgressed more and more, according to all the abominations of the nations, and defiled the house of the Lord which he had consecrated in Jerusalem.

" So even among the priests - The Sons of aaron - what was happening? Doesn't it make your heart sad to think these people who had the truth - they had the Scriptures, they had the testimonies, they had the law, they had the priests, they had the temple - they had it all in their hands and even though they had it all written before them, they somehow were able to neglect it all and began to compromise again with all the pagan nations around them, and corrupt the truth. We're probably immune to that, aren't we? That would never happen to us. Can you be God's people with God's book and God's truth and compromise with the world around you? Yes. And how does the Lord feel about it when that happens, even among God's people? Is there judgment? You look at the history in the Bible and, just because he's committed truth to us - yes, they were the guardians of the sacred oracles. Paul says, to the Jewish people God gave the sacred oracles.

' They were his people, but he judged them and he punished them and many died and many suffered when they were unfaithful and they compromised with the world around them. We've got to be on guard that we're not making that same mistake, friends. Amen? Amen. You read on it says, 'they defiled the house of the Lord that he had consecrated in Jerusalem.' Chronicles 36, verse 15, "and the Lord God of their fathers sent warnings to them by his messengers, rising up early and sending them," - Jeremiah was one of them - "because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His Words, and scoffed at his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy.

" You know, you can get to the point where probation closes. They finally got to the place where probation closed. There was a time, even while Nebuchadnezzar was still surrounding the city, there was a time where, if they had repented and humbled themselves, they would have been punished, but the city would not have been burnt - the temple would not have been burnt. But they hardened themselves until they go to where there was no remedy. Finally, while Jeremiah's in prison, zedekiah sends for him again and says, 'what's the word of the Lord?' Jeremiah said, 'it's hopeless now.

Here's the word of the Lord. The city's going to be burned, palace is going to be burned, temple's going to be burned, the soldiers are going to be slain, because it's too late. You just -' he waited too long to repent. There was no remedy. It says, ".

..he brought against them the King of the chaldeans, who killed their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary," - you know, that's what happened with the Romans in 70 ad, they - the Romans - actually, they fled to the sanctuary for refuge and they were slain there. That's what happened back in the days of Jeremiah - "and had no compassion on young man or virgin, or the aged or the weak; he gave them all into his hand. And all the articles from the house of God, great and small," - probably with the exception of the ark - "the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the King and of his leaders, all these he took to Babylon." Now, do you know that had been foretold several hundred years earlier? You remember when hezekiah entertained the ambassadors from Babylon? And instead of showing them the Lord, he showed them all his stuff and all his treasures. And Isaiah said, 'because you didn't show them the Lord and you bragged and showed all your stuff, all of it will be carried off to Babylon.' So this was a fulfillment of that prophecy. "Then they burned the house of God, broke down the wall of Jerusalem," - why'd they break down the wall? It took a lot of energy to do that.

They were, basically, saying 'this is never going to be - it has a great history, but there's no chance of it ever being fortified again and defended again.' And so with pry bars and soldiers and ropes, one by one they pulled off all those stones that had been put there by David and Solomon - all the - king uzziah really build up the city. Hezekiah - they'd done a lot to expand it and make bigger stones and bigger walls and towers and fortresses and - pulled it all down so it was defenseless. Now the reason this is important - you remember what Nehemiah said to the King of persia? 'Why should I not be sad when the wall of the city of my fathers is all broken down and the gates are burnt with fire?' And so Nehemiah, he wanted to go and restore it so it was a place with walls and gates again. You know, unless you've got walls and gates - and that's why God gives us his law - you don't have the boundaries in your life. Okay, I'm running out of time.

I need to - I'm almost done here. And you can read in the dark years - Jeremiah 39, verses 8 and 9 - "and the chaldeans burned the king's house and the houses of the people with fire, and broke down the walls of Jerusalem. Then nebuzaradan the captain of the guard" - I know it sounds like Nebuchadnezzar, but it's different - "...captain of the guard carried away captive to Babylon the remnant of the people who reMained in the city and those who defected to him, with the rest of the people who reMained." Only the very poorest of the people were left to keep some of the fig trees and the vines and the vineyards flourishing so they could send taxes and pay tribute to the King of Babylon. So that was the last sad end of what happened. Now this gives you the backdrop of what's going on in the Kingdom during the time of Jeremiah's prophecy and that's why sometimes he's called the weeping prophet - he had a lot to cry about after king josiah.

Now we've run out of time but I do want to remind our listeners just before we go off the air, we do have a free book. It's called alone in the crowd - that's probably how Jeremiah felt - how you can stand for right when you're surrounded by wrong. Alone in the crowd written by Joe Crews - we'll send you a free copy. Just ask for offer #714 when you call 866-788-3966. You can also just go online and go to amazingfacts.

org - you can read it there as well. God bless you till we study together again next week. I grew up in a church-going family. I mean, we were at every meeting. I sang in four of the choirs there - I directed three - very involved - very active.

It almost seemed like busy work sometimes, you know? I went to Sunday school. I knew about God. I knew about Jesus, but I didn't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. My senior year in high school I got the news that my father had been murdered. I played it off really well.

No one really saw that I was struggling with it. It just really felt like there was a hole that needed to be filled and I tried to fill it with drugs, with alcohol, with partying. After college I just stopped going to church altogether. One day, on a Sunday, because I didn't feel like going to church with my mom, I thought, you know, I should get a little bit of word. She had the satellite system hooked up and I'm flipping through channels and then the logo pops across: Amazing Facts presents.

I've listened to a lot of different ministers, but here was - this was the first time that he's actually saying something where I had to grab my Bible and actually pick it up and I've never heard this before, let me - let me look through and find this. I went through all the storacles. I went through all the study guides and I just couldn't get enough. Then the Sabbath came up and he's going through the appeal and I'm just going, 'Lord, I hear you. I have to go to church.

' So I show up - it was funny, I didn't feel like I was going to be judged - anything judgmental - anything. And I walked in the door and I just felt at home. But there's still a problem. I'm still partying. I was still going out to the bars.

At this time, I was selling cocaine to pay my rent. Days later I find myself in a life or death situation. I had just came back from a liquor store and I grabbed a bottle of vodka and there I am, high off cocaine, with my Bible in hand, trying to do a Bible study. And I heard an audible voice, 'just look at yourself.' And I did and I was like 'what am I doing?' And I got on my knees and I said, 'Lord, if you do not take this away from me now, I'm going to kill myself.' I was going to continue this lifestyle and I was going to end up overdosing, having a heart attack, whatever it was. 'You have to take this away.

All of it.' And that day he lifted all of it away from me. It was all gone. When God does something in your life, he does it complete. Amazing Facts began in 1965 with a God-inspired concept. Hello, this is Joe Crews and the Amazing Facts broadcast - facts which affect you.

Each radio broadcast would begin with an amazing fact from science, nature, or history, followed by a Bible message that touched the hearts of listeners from every walk of life. The program was an instant success and the ministry soon began expanding to include Bible lessons. In 1986 Amazing Facts added the medium of television to its growing outreach efforts, offering soul-winning evangelistic messages for viewers around the world. In 1994, Pastor Doug Batchelor assumed leadership of the ministry, adding the Bible answers live call-in radio program and new ministry tv programs began airing on multiple networks around the world. For 50 years, the driving vision of Amazing Facts has been the bold proclamation of the everlasting Gospel and, with a team of evangelists circling the globe and thousands of men and women being trained through the Amazing Facts center of evangelism program - afcoe - the ministry is helping God's church see a rich harvest of souls.

Amazing Facts - God's message, our mission. Did you know that Noah was present at the birth of Abraham? Okay, maybe he wasn't in the room, but he was alive and probably telling stories about his floating zoo. From the creation of the world to the last-day events of Revelation, Biblehistory.com is a free resource where you can explore major Bible events and characters. Enhance your knowledge of the Bible and draw closer to God's Word. Go deeper.

Visit the amazing Bible timeline at 'Biblehistory.com'. Can't get enough Amazing Facts Bible study? You don't have to wait until next week to enjoy more truth-filled programming. Watch Amazing Facts television by visiting 'aftv.org'. At 'aftv.org' you can view Amazing Facts programming 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, right from your computer or mobile device. Why wait a week? Visit 'aftv.org' - it's that easy. In six days God created the heavens and the earth. For thousands of years, man has worshiped God on the seventh day of the week. Now, each week, millions of people worship on the first day. What happened? Why did God create a day of rest? Does it really matter what day we worship? Who was behind this great shift.

Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed? Visit 'Sabbathtruth.com'.

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