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The Intense Ground of Rejoicing in Light

Inherent in the Appalling Pall of Smoke
in Lamentations,
parallel to John 16:20
and Evocative for Today


Jeremiah is fabulously famous as the prophet put in a sinking earth in a stinking well, who foretold the destruction of his own city, mixed with many offers of deliverance from the Lord, and wept at its destruction, forbearing to secure his own deliverance in wonderful terms, being too concerned as always for his people. It was Assyria who was permitted to ruin Judah, after hundreds of years of folly and rebellion against the Lord, Assyria which got its own come-uppance in short order from Babylon, Assyria whose Nineveh became an equally famous desolation, to be found in the 19th century. All this was prophesied, as in Jeremiah, Isaiah, Micah, and of course, Nahum, a literary
excavation available to all!

Today, however, it is our plan to consider the appalling horror of Lamentations, of what it exposes in the tribulation inherited by Judah, that seditious base, turn-coat, betraying the Lord then, as Judas did later, deviously denying the incarnate Jehovah, Jesus Christ (John 8:58). Yes, it is He! You sometimes get people imagining that John 1:1 is susceptible to some alien interpretation to the context of all scripture, but it is not so. There is but ONE GOD (see trinity, in Index, and SMR pp. 532-560, and consult Isaiah 44-45, the later having neither another el nor another elohim, and all showing that God knows no other, acknowledges no other, that there is no other and so on, and on!).

The Psalm 82 reference to those who ACT AS IF they were gods, but "will die like men" is not a contradiction, but an amplification and demonstration. Their hideous blasphemy, arrogance and dead-minded pride in treating themselves to such frank esteem and concepts of power as to act in this capacity of divinity, or its presumed equivalent, for all the note they take of the actual God, is forcibly brought to earth with the flagellation, "but you will die like men."

Indeed, the drama is heightened by the form of address:

"I said, 'You are gods,'
And all of you are children of the Most High,
But you shall die like men..."

It is just as in Ezekiel 28:9, " 'Will you still say before him who slays you,
'I am a god'?
In the hand of him who slays you,
You shall die the death of the uncircumcised
By the hand of aliens;
For I have spoken,' says the Lord GOD."

The Bible knows but ONE GOD (Ephesians 4:4, Exodus 20) at all times and in any circumstance, one God who is the Creator, the King, the sustainer and maintainer of the universe, and it is again emphasised that this is so in Isaiah 46:5,9-10, 45:12, Hebrews 11:1-4, 45:5 22-25, 43:10-11, and this applies not a whit less to salvation as the last reference shows, with Galatians 1, Acts 4:11-12. It is He whom Christ accompanied, and Christ was He, two persons, one Being, as John 1:1 narrates. It is He who executed and brought into being the category, made things (John 1:3).

The organised assault on Christ in the sects which would downgrade God, incarnate in Christ (John 5:19-23), fully His equal (John 10:30, 8:58, Philippians 2), is just that. Many disbelieve; but these add organisation to the campaign of disbelief. This is enmity in uniform.

Jesus Himself used Psalm 82 as evidenced in John 10:34ff.. Here the outrage at His claims of deity reached a climax, and He used this Psalm exquisitely. IF, He remonstrated,  the scripture, which cannot be broken, called some mere men 'gods' - albeit to lampoon them, still it used the term: how then do they object to HIM, who IS the Son of God, "whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world".

If the outrageously arrogant could be GIVEN that term in derogation, admittedly, but still have it wrapped around them like a burial garment, how much more can, and indeed SHOULD He have the term,

Their trouble about which they protested, only to be rebutted ? "... because you, being a man, make yourself God" (John 10:33), or as put on another occasion, attested in John 5:18, "Therefore the Jews sought to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God." It was at that time that Jesus (John 5:19-23) went on to tell that He, the Son, was granted by His Father to have equal honour with Himself, and that in fact not only did He DO what His Father did, but He DID IT in the SAME way!

These emphases we have in general noted often before, but it is important in our study of the appalling lamentation of Jeremiah, and the appalling cause, like a pall of destruction over the heart, in the very atmosphere which might have been joy, to experience the most intense grief, as we turn to see the offering implied, but better, paralleled so intimately in another event, the crucifixion of Christ, AS PRESENTED in Isaiah. It is this contrast, and this similarity, which is amazing, and constitutes one of the most tender parts of the Old Testament... though to be sure, there are so MANY tender parts that it is enough to put this with them, in their intense portent.

To enable a better understanding, or rather the better to ensure it, let us revise a little concerning some of the basic features before turning to Lamentations itself, for the focus provided in Ch. 3.

(looking at the X-ray before operating!)

Tender Times for Timely Truths  Ch. 9

In fact, in the process of revealing these things (Amos 3:7), the Lord also disclosed the hopeless inadequacy of the Jewish people to effect their own deliverance from the endemic reality of their sin as such, and stressing their lack, released the data that the deity Himself would come as man, and do it for those who received Him. In fact, He would come as God the sent (Isaiah 48:16, Psalm 45, Zechariah 12:10) and secure for His people what they could not secure for themselves (cf. Psalm 49:76,15, Hosea 13:14, Ezekiel 34, Isaiah 40:10, Psalm 102:18-22, Psalm 2): namelly, everlasting redemption (cf. Isaiah 51:11 cf. Hebrews 9:12-15).

Thus the 70 year exile heralded in Ch. 25 by Jeremiah,  as coming (as it did), and the associated press releases from God, concerning the King who was to (and did) allow the return of the exiled Jews who would be sent to Babylon for their sins (Cyrus as predicted in Isaiah 43:14ff., 44:24-45:7), and the severity of their failure becomes the opportunity to focus something related, by a vast leap of opportunity and wonder. In this way or situation, there was exposed the severity of the impact of their sins on the Saviour (Isaiah 53 - and GOD is HIMSELF the ONLY Saviour, He notes - Isaiah 43:10-11), for all who would receive Him (as in Isaiah 53:3-6, where the healed are those who sins meet ... on HIM!).

The lamentations for Jerusalem in its destruction (Lamentations 1 ... "Is nothing to you, all you who pass by! Behold and see if there is any sorrow like My sorrow..." ), are thus adapted to ah! so readily exposing the horror of the gaunt and bleak exposure of the Messiah to THEIR SINS, He the greater Jerusalem, "an Israel in whom I will be glorified", the prevailing Prince who prevailed indeed, voluntarily bearing what they deserved, if only they repented and came to Him in faith (Isaiah 53:1, 55:1ff.).


Answers to Questions Ch. 4, Part 6,

adapted and substantially extended
for the present purpose

This suffering aspect appears in vast intensity in Lamentations. This is a quite different genre, and is not directly Messianic, though there are obvious implications and correlations. Thus in this case, Jerusalem, Zion, is the victim, but a HIGHLY DESERVING ONE. Her INIQUITY is real and extensive. Her PENALTY is due and righteous. The sense of the Messiah comes in the type, Josiah, a picture of the righteous who might spread out his wings for protection, who is cut off (as in II Kings 22ff., and 23:29-30). The reference to this historical episode of great grief is highly impactive, since Josiah was both energetic and holy, both meticulous and godly, a tremendous delay to divine retribution as the climax of hundreds of years of trifling and appalling renegacy came on scene. We see its notation in Lamentations 4:20...

There of course is the typology: the man of righteousness and zeal (as in Psalm 69:9, cf. John 2:17, where however the reference is directly Messianic as noted in Joyful Jottings 25) appears. Yet he is cut off.

So in prototype, Josiah was killed in battle, delivered expressly by divine mercy, from the shame to come to his country (II Chronicles 34:19-28). His was to be a delivering strength; but he suddenly was gone. His last remaining lustre to the line of kings, so sad and corrupted so often, in Judah, was intense; but to the saddened eye of the prophet Jeremiah, it is settled, and no more is his reforming regal presence on this earth to inspire.

So was the type of Christ, even of the Messiah Himself displayed in this book of Lamentations, seizing history with teaching force. So, duly, did Christ come at His appointed time, as prophesied by Daniel (Galatians 4:4, SMR pp. 886ff. with Chs. 1,  2 and  6 of Biblical Blessings and Acme, Alpha and Omega - Jesus Christ, Ch. 5 and News 87); and precisely as predicted, He died according to stated plan, program and chronology. Born at Bethelhem as predicted in Micah, so that any lapse could readily be exhibited to secure His entire dismissal - but history is a complete conformist to Biblical prophecy, and acts as a flying buttress on the cathedral of truth: Jesus Christ proceeded to live a life which rebukes the world, entices the elect, delights the godly and recruits volunteers (to use the terminology of Psalm 110).

In the process, and the procedure, alive on earth, He was so far more than adequate in the all but inconceivable iniquities of Judah, which were so creeping into ever so many formalistic, sacramentalistic, Pharisaic, radically unbelieving Sadducaic and Herodian political sins, that a death, a murder judicially imposed,  was the only answer that could be provided by sin for the testimony, truth, confrontation and exhibition in Christ, short of ... accepting Him!

Would this mercy however, after so long a time since the lamentations of Jeremiah, this time be received ? Would the people of the nation at least in this HIS day, gladly take Him ? Would the priestly*1 and other authorities acknowledge this, their King, to their own mercy and deliverance ... or seizing power, would they arrogantly toss off their puny wisdom, and by saving their nation in theory, ruin it in fact, lacking the faith to avoid the fate they asked for, with such great and enduring determination, immoral fire and spiritual delusion ? Alas, history has not hesitated to confirm the predicted results of Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 32 and Zechariah 9 to the uttermost point.

The Lord is intensely compassionate (Lamentations 3:33) and in poignant attestation, over Jerusalem, Christ wept, not less really than for His FRIEND, Lazarus! (Luke 19:42ff., John 11). However, it was not to be, that His mercy would be nationally received ... then. The rulers were intent, the priests, in their heads, implacable. Christ MUST GO. So did they serve on their people a death sentence of which Hitler's madness, duly in his time to come (Jeremiah 30:5-7 cf. The Biblical Workman Ch. 1) was only a part. When was there ever so clear an example: SAVE your life, and you LOSE IT; LOSE it for Christ and His gospel, and you save it! (Matthew 16:24-25, Mark 8:35).

SO like Josiah, Christ left; but in His case, the case was aggravated far beyond that of Josiah's day. Now the cause of death were not merely a matter of fighting to prevent an evil influence from overshadowing Judah (as presumably the case with Josiah in his resistance to Pharaoh Necho's bursting forth to Carchemish), but of bearing the iniquities on a HIGHLY SELECTIVE BASIS: of those who received Him, who had done so, who would do so. This was the program of mercy, despite the unwitting performance of it by rulers in Israel (and indeed, Pilate from Gentile Rome cf. I Corinthians 2:8).

Its rejection did not alter its fulfilment, nor did it alter the judgments on sin.

This mercy was wholly open. His cover was as ageless as His beginning-less beauty, who came "in the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning" (Psalm 110). He covered David (Psalm 16) as surely as Peter, as surely as you who are His now. He was rejected, this categorically requiring the justice which were stored up for retribution, not only of the sins which committed it, not merely of the sins which preceded it, but of the folly which rejected the only remedy provided, now or ever.

Christ the UNJUSTLY JUDGED VICTIM became now the epitome and consummation of Jerusalem, judged after Josiah's day was ended, and soon destroyed. He became also the rejected Saviour, the mangled Messiah, and the murdered prince of peace. With that, what could be expected for the nation, but war and no peace ? and so it has been.

Accordingly is Lamentations in a special genre, as providing in Jerusalem a foremost representative, that of the JUSTLY JUDGED VICTIM bearing penalties for sins innumerable ("Zion spreads out her hand, but no one comforts her" - 1:17), the city the type, by a subtle antithesis, exhibiting in its own just deserts what Christ bore in His compassionate substitution of Himself for His people, who would come to Him. In this, however, it is relieved by Josiah, his life providing a direct type of Christ, in this, that here appears in this King of Judah of yore, the sense of a VICTOR who might in some measure have delivered (cf. II Kings 22:16-23:25).

In King Josiah's death, and in its suddeness by violence as he sought good for his nation, the type is even extended! It is yet more impactive in the light which glows on its facets, so providing an alert in that massive day of ruin which soon would follow for Jerusalem, for the time to come over half a millenium later,  when the antitype, the Christ Himself, the reality itself, would be rejected, would die, BUT with Himself at large, then rise, breaching the very physicality of mortality, dismissive of the death that would dismiss Him, and rise for one, for all who would receive Him (as in Isaiah 65:13-15, 62:1-3, 53 cf. Acts 2:23-24, Luke 24:39).

Part of this phase is also seen in the prophet Jeremiah himself, another type of Christ  in the very same very short book of Lamentations. Thus,

Here the reference to gall evokes the prophetically couched, Messianic memory of Psalm 69:20-21:

"I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none:
And for comforters, but I found none.
They also gave me gall for my food,
And for My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink."

Indeed, before this, we have read:

In fact, Jeremiah had been immersed at one stage in a stinking well, for his faithfulness and fidelity to the word of God, refusing to reduce one whit the impact of the divine judgments, but for all that, in the Lord's name, again and again offering this or that special supplement of mercy, only to be refused. ( One example is seen in Jeremiah 17, where we see a prodigious concession offered to the sinning city in terms of Sabbath rest; but it is a condition which could not be met by pretence, for the love of the Lord is necessary for the love of His day of rest to flower into reality that is spiritual and not merely formalistic, and habits of unspirituality are not so readily broken when the heart is not in the Lord!)

As my wife and I had to leave a delightful pastoral sojourn in Hinsdale, Illinois because we REFUSED to reduce one whit what the Bible commanded on separation and eldership, and so had much to suffer for long, so Jeremiah would rather be in a stinking well, than received by the king, and yet compromise.

When it is the word of the Lord, it CANNOT be broken in policy, and must be revered in practice OUT of LOVE! Where and in what is that love, which says, and cannot find it in its heart to do!
If we fail, let us not fail as a practice; or if we fall, let us not stay down! Let us rather work, for the night is coming in which no man can work (John 9:34-36, 12:34ff., cf. 14:30).  NOW is the time! Let us be diligent! Jeremiah was, Josiah was...

Thus via Josiah, and via this heart warming, and yet poignantly sad word of Jeremiah in Lamentations 3, we find a clear index to the Messiah, for Jeremiah is a type of Christ,  indeed in faithfulness and suffering. Let us however be clear: it is not at all that he bears ANYTHING WHATSOEVER of sin; only the sinless Christ can do that, pure enough to make weight in credit for debit (I Peter 2:22f., Hebrews 7:26ff., 9:12-15), deity to cover without restriction as many as He will (Matthew 11:25ff.). Nevertheless, the depiction of the sense of the thing there appears, and it adds to Lamentations that double edge.

Now, not only is there the depiction of the horrendous impact, spiritually and physically, of sin; but there is a double relief in the two prophets (if so we may deem Josiah as well), who were busy BEARING with the shame or the death, as in one case and in the other, with which the sinful nation was associated; and indeed, with Josiah, there was also the expression of the rollicking righteousness of reform and restoration in his day, while the night did not come, and the twilight drained its resources, till he went to the Lord, young and delivered: in that age area, also, is a type of his Lord to come, the Christ.

Meanwhile, Jerusalem, the destroyed city of Jeremiah's day,  is the very emblem of the acute desolation, just as the grief is by these types of Christ, turned to the direction of Christ, who in the end, is the only relief that sin can have, for only He has come "the just for the unjust to bring us to God" (I Peter 3:18). Let us therefore listen to the edge of this sorrow, which HE had to bear (Lamentations 1:12):

Hence we do well to see, as does that marvellous king of music, George Handel in his Messiah portray, the Lamentations in its soulful sorrow, its excavations to bedrock of grief, a picture of the One who would indeed BEAR SIN, but not for Himself, being cut off out of the land of the living.

We recall then that Christ's question about sorrow and the glory to follow were not limited to the Psalms, though these were specifically mentioned (Luke 24:25-27).

For more on this topic, see SMR Ch.9, and Joyful Jottings as above. In passing, however, let this be added. Lamentations appears to provide a further depth of empathy, even than that so far shown in Jeremiah's suffering. Not alone the victim of oppression, he held dear and near to his very heart, the desolation of the people EVEN THOUGH THEY HAD AFFLICTED HIM! Thus in Lamentations 2:1 we find:

But there is more. In Lamentations 1:12,  the imagined speech from Jerusalem herself, when the question is asked, "Is it nothing to you who pass by ..." is  redolent with empathy, compassion, concern.  In 1:19ff., again we see the intense empathy as Jerusalem is seen to be soliloquising in the tremulous tenderness of the prophet, Now, therefore,  we can turn to extending our current program, in relishing Lamentations 3 and watching its development, one more arresting than any solar eclipse, shattering, enlivening, spreading out wings of mercy in the midst of desolation. In so doing, we shall see more of what earlier was described as resonance (Answers to Questions Ch. 9), but now will appear in overtones and multiple reflections of light, as in a diamond of beauty, glorious in repose, active while still.


In Lamentations 3, verses 1-21, we see Jeremiah the prophet, the man of God, the despised, persecuted, the man of ignominy for his uprightness, of shame because of his honour, of rejection because of his love of reality, now sundered in social exile. So is he placed, like an alien, though rich in divinely proffered mercy and love of heart to the offending people, to whom his message is a thing to be, with him, merely reviled. His love we saw in Jeremiah 9, when he would that his head could be like a fountain of tears for the coming reproof, destined despite all pleas,  to shake so crucially his people, and that so soon. They acutely regardless, and filled with their own regard, stayed without guard, because without God, because likewise without either shame or repentance.

This in her pride, was

"the rejoicing city that dwelt securely, that said in her heart,
'I am and there is none besides me.'
How has she become a desolation..."

as we see in Zephaniah 2:15, who likewise foretold her downfall, and the reason for it.

Jeremiah in Lamentations 3 itemises her injustice, the vehement desires of self-fulfilment of her princes, reminding one too well of the all but innumerable seeming cases of corruption in politics in nation after nation today, in a world likewise preparing for judgment, as seen in Answers to Questions Ch. 5 and SMR Ch. 8. Its time too, may now be short.

What concern and grief is to be held for it, all of it! and that now no less, in our day, for the very nations which follow on, all too readily ... Only those who love the Lord, are to be exempted, because they are already exempted (John 5:24), just as those who reject Him (and ignoring is a form of it) are "judged already" (John 3:18). John 3:18 is just two verses from the illustrious and justly famed John 3:16; but it might for all the notice taken of it by many, be two light years of distance away.

Back to LAMENTATIONS 3, we find in verses 4ff., something of the extent of Jeremiah's personal sufferings in the process of proclamation of a rejected peace with God.

Persecuted, afflicted, seized, his very writings tossed into the fire by the irate king, put in a well, surrounded with stench, like John Bunyan (how the centuries seem to collapse into a spiritual time, through a similar scenario intimacy, when you consider the SAME GOD and the SAME SIN and the SAME SALVATION freely offered at such cost, by SIMILARLY FAITHFUL PEOPLE to unbelieving persecutors): Jeremiah was sinking, literally in the murk at the bottom of the well.  He might soon have been extinguished on this earth, a sputtering spectacle soon dead, had not a gracious eunuch used his position to deliver him from that well, just as God the Father delivered His OWN SON from corruption (of flesh), by raising Him physically from the dead (Luke 24:39, Romans 1:4, 10:9, 20:27-29, Luke 24:43, Psalm 16, Acts 2:25-27).

But what does the prophet Jeremiah have to say ?

"He has aged my flesh and my skin,
He has broken my bones...
He has set me in dark places
Like the dead of long ago.

"He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out:
He has made my chain heavy...
He has made me desolate..
I have become the ridicule of all my people -
Their taunting song all the day..."

In that last, it is just like Christ; for though Jeremiah could NOT redeem (as in Psalm 49, where no man can cover his brother, but GOD CAN in human form, do so, as in Psalm 40), he could suffer, a type of Christ, a picture, a presentation and portrayal to prepare the eye for the Christ to come.

He, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, He too would be "their taunting song" as in that jibe, IF God is the ONE who DELIGHTS IN YOU, then LET HIM deliver you. Don't worry us! That was the heart of it (cf. Matthew 27:39-43, Luke 23:34-35,  Mark 15:29ff.), and corrupt as a rotten apple, left too long and singing its stench into the air. His flesh would be stripped with whips, numbed with chastisement and His skin torn, His bead pulled out, His face stricken till His resemblance to the sons of men would be aborted (Isaiah 50:4-7, 52:13-14). Such is the way with sin in the spirit, so was the spectacle of Christ, in the flesh.

As to Lamentations 3:6, "like the dead of long ago", Christ was not just like them, but actually died, proclaiming, It is finished! as redemption put "paid" to millions, for their sins.

As to Jeremiah's being made "desolate", far surpassed was this in that predicted cry of Christ (from Psalm 22, the crucifixion prediction as to type), which came to His lips at the end, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!" (Matthew 27:46, cf. Hebrews 5:7). The flesh not alone the gory glory, as sin was rebuked and killed by death - that of Christ,  in its power, its presage of damnation and its toll, its guilt and its dynamic of ruin: the Lord suffered far more, indeed as one has said, so that "the soul of His suffering was the suffering of His soul"!

So does the parallel look like two railway tracks, side by side; but one is in diamond, dazzling in the sun of righteousness, the other strong, but imperfect, though faithful. But what more does Jeremiah depict in Lamentations 3 ?

"He has bent the bow
And set me up as a target for the arrow..."

Thus Lamentations 3:12, reminds one in the intimate parallel with Christ, as Isaiah put it predictively, and Peter in retrospect, of the believers healed by His "stripes",

"On Him was laid the iniquity of us all," Isaiah 53:6; and again,

"He died, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God," I Peter 3:18, and

"who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness - by whose stripes you were healed" - I Peter 2:24.

But only of Christ was it and could it be said,

"who committed no sin,
Nor was deceit found in His mouth" - I Peter 2:22.

GOD ONLY is God. The rest have fallen (as in Romans 5:1-12 where it is expounded at such length, and with such rounded rigour and dynamic vigour).

As to His being "set up" (3:12), the Messianic parallel to this, in Isaiah 53:6, has been likened to a derelict vessel, set up for target destruction by surrounding naval vessels: HE was provided for the just purposes of retributive justice, vindication of righteousness, payment for pollution and His demise was death in truth for departure from it, performed in the past, repented in the present, and put to His barrister's grace for cover, for all sin that should steal alien, into the heart of His people: as in Romans 3:23 ff., I John 1:7-2:2. His cover is as broad as the sky, and broader, for as the East is far from the West so far has He put our sins from us (Psalm 103), and His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).

So does the painful parallel in Lamentations have such an accord with the ULTIMATE SACRIFICE, that this testimony of Jeremiah to his preliminary fidelity and suffering, is indeed a preparation and an intimation of what love demands in justice, and is willing to provide.

We even find in imagery in Jeremiah, what was true literally in Christ,

"He has caused the arrows of His quiver
To pierce My loins," (Lamentations 3:13)

to the extent at least of the side wound in Christ's side.

As to ridicule (Lamentations 3:14) we have already seen that, and Christ's being likened to a prince of the devil is worse than this, although His answer was sufficiently devastating (Luke 11:14-23).

Lamentations 3:15 has this: "He has made me drink wormwood", a precise parallel to Christ's being given to drink the vinegarish liquid, when His mouth was parched and death entreated His near presence (Matthew 27:34). It was precisely predicted in Psalm 69, that so evocative and poignant of spiritual songs of prediction (cf. Joyful Jottings 25).

Lamentations 3:17-18 reminds us of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36ff.) and of Jesus the Christ's strong cries to His Father as He faced a little in advance, the full perception of the meaning of bearing what He condemned, that is, the ruin of sin for the sake of those whom He loved (Hebrews 5:7).

What tenderness, Hebrews declares, is to be found in One who has thus experienced the worst: yes, it is experienced for the best of reasons for the worst of sinners! (cf. I Timothy 1:15-17). You see the experience in Jeremiah, as he is brought to ever deeper compassion, wrought in strength as likewise instilled in spirit; you see in Christ, the consummation of compassion, pure from the first, evoked to the last, attested in small actions, exhibited in the grand plan of salvation, of which He Himself is the heart, provider, for which He is the Redeemer through the blood no other man has shed, or could shed, for the purpose of purity and purgation (Psalm 49).

Thus we read in Hebrews, this: "For it is not the case that we have a High Priest who cannot sympathise with our weaknesses, but One in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" - Hebrews 4:15-16. (Translation into our idiom from the Greek, which has its own special use of participles and procedure in negation on occasion. Italicised words are idiomatically added, representing an ellipsis. ) Cf. Hebrews 7:25, 2:10ff., 4:14-16.


Then in Lamentations 3:23-27 comes the assurance of mercy. Not only is "the LORD good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him" (3:25), but

"Because His compassions do not fail,
They are new every morning"

and accordingly,

"Great is Thy faithfulness" - (Lamentations 3:25 and 23).

In the very MIDST of suffering and pain, horror and ignominy this can be asserted, for the LORD comes close in the intimacy of His Spirit to His people, each one, as He is waited for, and on (cf. Isaiah 64:4-5); for HE IS GOOD. This is fundamental, the experience of all His people, for He does not change: it is true of all who are His, who wait upon His grace and look to Him for both strength and mercy, in each of which He is always prodigious (cf. Psalms 73, 51).

Thus Christ could say that His servants should not fight, could tell Peter to "put your sword in its place" even when the fatal arrest, dependent on the information supplied by the informative Judas, the traitor, even declaring at that moment, "Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels ? How then could the scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus ?" (Matthew 26:52-54). "The cup given Me, shall I not drink it!" He declared as His appointed redemption payment came close, ministered efficiently by the children of darkness, like baying wolves in the night (John 18:11).

Thus is the patience that a godly man must show, exemplified in Jeremiah, crystalline in Christ, who "put his mouth in the dust" (cf. Lamentations 3:29), in death itself, and literally "gave His cheek to the one who strikes him" (cf. Lam. 3:30), and was as well as any man could be "full of reproach" (cf. Psalm 69:19-21). As to that Psalm:

"You know My reproach, my shame, and my dishonour;
My adversaries are all before You.
Reproach has broken my heart,
And I am full of heaviness;
I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none;
And for comforters, but I found none.
They also gave me gall for my food,
And for my thirst, they gave me vinegar to drink."
It is followed by the roll of judgment, as in Psalm 2 and Psalm 110.

Nor was it for nothing for Jeremiah to show such constancy of concern, such revilings accepted as necessary if violently repugnant to him; but with Christ came the cry, "Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing", as He kept this tender solicitude to the end (Luke 23:34).

Thus Jeremiah's dealings provide a focus for the issues devolving on, and the literal excesses executed against Christ later.

In Lamentations 3:31-33, we find what for Jeremiah was a principle of divine grace, but what in Christ became crystallised and consummated in the necessities of the resurrection; and again, it shows that the work which Christ suffered was not for the sake of some campaign in favour of suffering, for "He does not willingly afflict the children of men", but for the necessities of sacrificial solution to sin, as in Romans 3:23ff..

Indeed, in Lamentations 3:34-36 we find that the Lord is the One to uphold what is for and from Him, to complete the work, as He prevented His only begotten Son from being killed in untimely meaninglessness at Nazareth, too soon to be effective for the purpose of His sending (Luke 4:29-30). It is good to hear these words of the prophet Jeremiah:

For the Lord will not cast off forever.

Though He causes grief,
Yet He will show compassion
According to the multitude of His mercies.

For He does not afflict willingly,
Nor grieve the children of men.

To crush under one’s feet
All the prisoners of the earth,
To turn aside the justice due a man
Before the face of the Most High,
Or subvert a man in his cause—
The Lord does not approve.

Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass,
When the Lord has not commanded it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
That woe and well-being proceed?

{from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.}

As to Christ, God Himself on earth, were not His words inexpressibly noble, inexhaustibly necessary, eloquent in simplicity, resolute in power:

"How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus ?"

The point then at issue ? HIS being arrested without show of opposition in force, except that of strength of spirit and resolution of performance, to die for sinners, and cover the redeemed.

3) The INEVITABLE JUDGMENT, where mercy is despised

In Lamentations 3:37-39 we find this principle, that whether it be the persecution of Jeremiah or the crucifixion of Christ, there is only and always the divine decision back of it: whether it be bearing sin with Christ, or being rebuked for one's own shortcomings, with Jeremiah, there is a sovereign despatch notice before the event. The event and the participation is neither needless nor autonomous before the Lord (cf. Psalm 1). If a a saint quiver (cf. Jeremiah 15:10-21), he is upheld; when the Lord was afflicted, He prevailed;  but the work of the Lord is fulfilled. His word likewise is sustained (Isaiah 44:25-26, Joel 2:11, Isaiah 34:16-17, 8:20).

Then in Lamentations 3:40-47 we see the survey of the saddening scene by Jeremiah, the folly and the vanity, the rebukes and the realisations, too shallow, that brought "desolation and destruction" then, as it will in the Gentile world in swift stages now (as in Revelation).

In 3:48-51 Jeremiah's solicitude, "my eyes flow and do not cease, without interruption, till the LORD from heaven looks down and sees..." reminds one of Christ depicted in Luke 19:42 weeping over a Jerusalem about to be not only destroyed, and that utterly, so that it would, horrendously but aptly,  become a place for Gentile oppression for a vast period, such as we see in Matthew 24.

The cause of ruin is also the spirit of rebellion that swamped Jeremiah in the well, or almost did so, and in Lamentations 3:54 we see his own sense of inundation by hostile obstruction, and obtrusive contempt.

By 3:58ff. we see the rejoicing underlying the pall of smoke, the confused horror of witless assaults on the prophet, and find:

"O LORD, You have pleaded the case for my soul.
You have redeemed my life.
O LORD, You have seen how I am wronged:
Judge my case..."

Thus the sense of justification for Jeremiah, the redemption in the Redeemer as described so richly in Isaiah 40, 51-55, comes to light:  just as Christ, authenticated as the Son of God with power by the Holy Spirit (Romans 1:4) is justified in the sinless sense, vindicated in His claims, whose death allowed sinners actually to be justified by His offering of Himself, without spot, to His Father (Hebrews (9:12-14,28). We see this in the Messianic prediction in Isaiah 50:

"He is near who justifies Me;
Who will contend with Me ?
Let us stand together.
Who is My adversary ?
Let him come near Me.
Surely the Lord God will help Me;
Who is he who will condemn Me ?
Indeed they will all grow old like a garment;
The moth will eat them up."

From this, in the following verses in Isaiah, there comes the counsel for those who fear the LORD, who obey the voice of His Servant (Christ as in Isaiah 42:1ff., 49:1ff., 52-55). If anyone in this condition seem to be so placed as to "walk in darkness", then

"Let him trust in the name of the LORD,
And rely upon his God..." (Isaiah 50:10).
THERE is the light of the diamond, flashing, the light which brings the tintinnabulation of light, as if converted into sound and brilliant in music; and there is that of which it is written,

"You shall also be a crown of glory
In the hand of the LORD,
And a royal diadem
In the hand of your God" - Isaiah 62:3.

No longer forsaken, these are the very children of God, purchased out of gloom by death that led to light, that of Christ, who swallowed up death in victory and for ever.

Meanwhile, the "schemes against me" of which Jeremiah spoke in 3:60, were well paralleled in John 11:48-50, and several similar passages, for the Master Himself. So does the parallel proceed in its intimacies and felicities.

Again, and further, the vengeance which, without pardon through faith, accumulates (Lamentations 3:64-65), for the recalcitrant rebels whose evil knows neither bound nor repentance, reminds one of John 3:36. What is forgiven as to personal injury, in the end, if it should even become the obstruction of the offering of Christ to the heart, can only reach condign punishment in the purification which is missing, in the pollution which remains.


This intervention of Christ, it was first in an offer which could become efficacious instead of ruin for Jew or Jerusalem, then in His offering of Himself as a sacrifice; but then, when the nation despised Him as seen, but predicted in Isaiah 49:,  it was offered AS WELL! Not for atonement but judgment, was its offering; for that does not heal which is forsaken, and what is not healed is without remedy.

Thus Jerusalem, for its iniquity and impenitence was destroyed, a ruin in stone, prototype of Christ qua judged, but NOT in terms of innocence! in 586 B.C., it had come at the ordained and predicted hand of the Babylonians; and yet again,  in A.D. 70, under the hammer of Rome: and this, it is a testimony to the force of judgment which Christ bore, and the nation had rejected. Stone from stone it came down, to the dust, and that, it was salted; and so is the judgment on sin, not only of Jew, but of Gentile, not of city alone, but of nation and of individual.

Moreover, by report, many  were they of the Jews whom Rome then crucified,  whose people had crucified; and that was destroyed which, in the flesh, had destroyed its own Messiah; and that which made derelict became so.

As for the Lamentations of Jeremiah, set like a promontory on the coastline, though distant, it continues to speak to the heart, and to arrest the eye. When we consider:

In this, the Second Movement itself is the Gentile world of long duration for some 2 millenia, and now of our day, approaching its coda. It is this which, like sheep following a preceding flock, seems set on placing itself on a large scale, in a way so parallel with that of the Jewish nation before Christ, one culminating in the crucifixion of Christ, that the fact this time it comes to an antichrist, "the man of sin" (II Thess. 2:3ff.),  manufactured for the focus of impudence, almost seems incidental.

He, that bad man, that evil vehemence,  is but a black diamond. Hard without glory, sharp without light, he and his ways are but a prelude of pain to the issuance of the magnificence of the Lord, from whom all pain shall flee in His haven for His people, like darkness from light (Revelation 21-22), that same Jesus Christ who shall come (Acts 1, I Thessalonians 4), whose coming like the light of dawn, even now is sending forth the preliminary hush in the hearts of those who wait for Him, the early blush that precedes the morning light.

There is then this thematic development, where the temporary diamond of the industry of sin is black; and that dismissible nonentity will soon be gone. It is Christ who will remain (as in Daniel 7, Ephesians 3:10, Revelation 20-22, Ezekiel 21:27, Zechariah 9:7,9, Daniel 7:14, Ephesians 1:10, Revelation 5:12-13, 22:3, 21:23).

What we see remaining is this, firstly between the day of Jeremiah and that of Christ, and secondly between that of Christ and our own day -

The concerted, cohesive, collated consistency,
the principles playing like shafts from a setting sun, on varied landscapes but with uniform luminescence, and related angles,
the considerations weighed, like so many vessels lifting their anchors in unison,
the sympathies arrayed,
the perspective one:

and all this,
it comprises a wonder.

The word of God is indeed one. Its principles, progress, consummation, are more than synthetic. It is integral.

It is like a crystalline structure. The geometry is all taken care of; the angles are astute; the symmetries are subtle and multiple; the stereoscopic strenuousness of the arrangements is studied: it fits like clouds on a barren landscape, like waterfalls in the swelling mountains, cascading in order, touching what they leave, and leaving blessed what they touch.

This however is not geography and topography; it is the reasoned beauty of wholesale revelation, the choreographer-impresario, sitting as with a friend, history, watching the events unfold, as they duly harmonise, consummate, complete their day, as if the principles and procedures had been learned by heart, rehearsed and were, for history, presented to the audience. And that ? It is ourselves. It is time to learn.



The words of Jeremiah in 5:31 are like a searchlight on the case then, and in some ways now.

"The prophets prophesy falsely,
And the priests rule by their power,
And My people love to have it so,
But what will you do in the end ?"
In his day, the false, spurious and at times furious prophets (II Chronicles 18:22-23, Jeremiah 27:16-22) were a phenomenon, like some who in phases of Pentecostalism, in the extreme end, speak in the name of the Lord freely, as if the words of their mouths were direct inspirations of new data from the Lord, like some kind of paper Protestant popes. As to the latter point, however, it is one of increasing doubt in some cases, for the 'Protestant' part is thrust towards this and that merger, immersion or concord with Rome, as the Babylon of today, MYSTERY Babylon, assembles its menage.

The spurious prophetic phenomenon in Jeremiah's day resembles likewise some of the increasingly clearly Communist inspired ramblings of the World Council of Churches, so much exposed in the Gorbachev era of glasnost, for what they were: intrusion, invasion and abuse of Christianity by alien forces, all too acceptable to misled leaders. Power, protestation, exhibition and people management seemed alike to come into this our contemporary arena of the spurious, in complete parallel to that which Jeremiah so sharply rebuked as seen in Ch. 23. In this rebuke, the prophet so acutely contrasted the actual word of God, tested, tried, impregnable, settled and sure, to the vain and vague dreams of the false prophets, daring to speak in the name of Him whom they did not know, that it forms something of a parallel to Christ's own denunciation of spiritual sedition and deception, folly and facade, in Matthew 23.

Thus in Lamentations 4:12-14, when you see the result of it, you understand well enough how Jeremiah could have said, inspired in his compassion, in 23:9: "My heart is broken because of the prophets...", foreseeing and even presenting the just judgments of the Lord on such arrogant autonomy, not afraid to use the name of the LORD for it, as well!

But let us look at this part of Lamentations 4:

12 The kings of the earth,
And all inhabitants of the world,
Would not have believed
That the adversary and the enemy
Could enter the gates of Jerusalem—

13 Because of the sins of her prophets
And the iniquities of her priests,
Who shed in her midst
The blood of the just.
14 They wandered blind in the streets;
They have defiled themselves with blood,
So that no one would touch their garments.

(The Holy Bible, New King James Version, Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc. 1982.)

So with Jesus, in His own day, we see in the person of Caiaphas, the same prominence, if not indeed dominance in evil, bringing retribution of those bound in the bundle with such things, alas, the nation (John 11).

Thus is the type-setting, multiple in form, in Lamentations,  extended yet further, to the very instrumentality and prominence of false prophet and priest in the work that led to destruction.

Alas also, it is now likewise in Gentile times false prophets who tend to enthral with ever-new, always old folly (II Peter 2:1ff., Jude), turning the roast of their destruction, as if on a spit to the char, just as it is false churchmen who lead to the fires, the whole pattern like one of Shakespeare's plays, amazingly similar, in some basics, to another, despite a magnificent variety in detail. Israel's impenitent folly in Christ's day is thus almost re-enacted in the Gentile nations, as if sheep, following once again false shepherds (cf. Zechariah 11). Both are in much foreshadowed in Lamentations; but the thing expands like a mushroom cloud, some minutes after explosion, and the whole world now is becoming more and more filled with this spiritual tempest!

What the ? The "dry tree" of which Christ spoke, when the people led Him off to crucifixion, in contrast to the relatively mild "green tree" at His own time, says enough of the things to come. IF THAT flurry of horror was in some sense 'green', what now is our 'dry' , the spiritual forecast for the meteorology, if you like, of the end, before His return (cf. Matthew 24:22ff.). For the NATIONS now, their movement is to climax, wrought with ample spiritual audacity by those who imitate in such a flurry of worry and hurry, the things past, in this doomed present.

The present ? It is however one which will see the return of Royalty, if not to any real power in England ... then over the world, when the typhoon of the man of sin past, and the peace of Christ's procurement is provided. His return is like sunshine after gloom and tempest, and then, as the parable indicates, shall, in His presence, the "righteous shine forth as the sun" (Matthew 13:43), when "the Son of Man will send out  His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire" (13:41).

NEVER, however, can any Age or era present to ANY heart ANY peace that endures, that merits indeed the meaning of the term spiritual, parallel to the infinitude of the love of Christ, for this is the work of God to, in and through faith in that same Murdered Man, that Messiah in ruins, whose resurrection is the standing rebuke, whose power the enlivening testimony, whose word the verificatory wonder, and whose return is the judicial restoration, as well as the consummation of kindness to His citizens, those of the commonwealth, the Kingdom of Heaven (Philippians 3:20-21, Luke 23:28-31, Isaiah 11, 59, Habakkuk 3, Zechariah 14, II Thessalonians 2, I Thessalonians 1, Matthew 25). On this peace and love, see Philippians 4 and Ephesians 3, and consider with these, Isaiah 59 and 11, with 65, Micah 4 and Isaiah 2; and of course, Psalms 2, 72 and 110.


This term 'oppressionist'  tends to reflect their mode of oppression, in spiritual squalor and misdirected dogma: since their way is more than that of simple oppressors, being systematic in mind and cruel in spirit, misconceived in purpose and dead in heart. It is not a mere episode or series of episode: it has character in devoted cruelty, misdirected passion, as ordered as garbage in its bags, before collection.