It was a time of trouble, the outcome of which hinged upon the repentance of God’s people. The consequence for not believing the Spirit of Prophecy would be the destruction of their cities and captivity in Babylon.
“The principle that man can save himself by his own works lay at the foundation of every heathen religion; it had now become the principle of the Jewish religion. ... Wherever it is held, men have no barrier against sin” (The Desire of Ages, pp. 35, 36).
Anathoth means the city where “prayers are answered”; and Jeremiah’s name means “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS establishes.” (YHWH = THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. See marginal rendering on Jer. 23:5, 6 and 36:15, 16, NKJV.)
Hope is given to all who are under the siege. Jeremiah is told to buy a field while he is in prison and while Nebuchadnezzar holds Jerusalem hostage (cf. Jer. 32:8-15). He purchases a field in Anathoth, and then charges “Baruch before them, saying, Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this purchase deed which is sealed and this deed which is open, and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may last many days” (Jer. 32:14, 15).
This act is a metaphor of the 1888 message. It demonstrates the cross; the righteousness of Christ; the power of God to recreate in us His own image; with the cross laying our pride in the dust so that only Christ may be seen. God has given His people a “most precious message” which has, for the most part, gone unrecognized. It is the hope of Christ’s final victory in the great controversy and the bride of Christ cooperating with her Divine Lover. Must this message be safely “stored away” for some future people to see and appreciate?
The Apostle Paul continues this demonstration and “fleshes it out” for us: “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us’ (2 Cor. 4:6, 7).
What is this treasure? The treasure is Christ in you, the hope of glory. “The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To Them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:26, 27). Christ is in us through the Spirit of God and the faith of Jesus.
2 Corinthians 1:20-22 states that He has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. Ephesians 1:13-15 follows by saying, “… you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
Baruch, the notary public, did the legal work ofplacing the sealed deeds of purchase into the earthen vessel. This deed of purchase was evidence of the prophet’s hope for the restoration of Judah to the Promised Land. Our hope for the future is the cross. Only Christ’s voluntary death in our place can reconcile our hard hearts. This is the plan of redemption; the third angel’s message; the Laodicean message; the Elijah message; the righteousness of Christ, and the everlasting covenant. It is Christ in you, the hope of glory—it is the Gospel. It is the 1888 message in verity and the outpouring of the Latter Rain.
What the placing of the open and sealed deeds of purchase into the earthen vessel is not, is the mainstream belief that man must contribute something to make good his salvation; it isn’t faith and works, for this is “at the foundation of every heathen religion”; “but faith working through love” (Gal. 5:6). “I have been crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20), therefore we are dead to our old life and it is the life of Christ that now lives within us. It is His faith working in us, because a dead man has no faith.
Paraphrasing E. J. Waggoner, “A vessel can’t do anything; it can however receive what is put into it and it is this that it can dispense; however the work is done by the One using the vessel.”
Is there any further evidence regarding this earthen vessel and what it contained? Yes! Christ said, “... a body [an earthen vessel] You have prepared for me …Then I said, “Behold I have come- in the volume of the book it is written of Me- To do Your will, O God.” … [When He says] Behold I have come to do Your will, O God, He takes away the first [sacrifice and offering] that He may establish the second. Christ, in our fleshly humanity, became our sacrifice and offering by subjecting His will, humanity’s will, to the will of the Father. By Christ submitting His will to the Father’s will, we have been sanctified” (Heb. 10:5-10).
The vessel must be emptied of self—this is done by Christ, the only One that has ever held His will, the will of our flesh, in perfect subjection to the will of the Father.
Jesus came into this world and took upon Himself our sinful fallen human nature, took upon Himself this fragile earthen vessel. In it He overcame sin in its strong hold, the flesh of man, and made us partakers of His Divine nature through His great and precious promises.
Jeremiah has also shown us how the righteousness of Christ would prepare His people for the marriage of the Lamb and that it will happen and it will be a success! Please compare carefully the words of the Bible: Jer. 23:5, 6 and Jer. 36:15, 16. In the first it is said, “Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” and in the second, “And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
His people, His church, finally have the same name as His. The earthen vessels are now emptied completely of a “self” that positions itself against God’s will, and are now filled with Christ. Now the angel of Revelation 18:1 can ’illuminate the earth with His glory’—Just as Gideon illuminated the darkness by breaking the earthen vessels to reveal the blazing torches (glory) concealed within!
So, in a time of national disaster, even Baruch was given a special message that is for each of us today, “This is what you shall say to Baruch: These are the words of the LORD: What I have built, I demolish; what I have planted, I uproot. So it will be with the whole earth. You seek great things for yourself; leave off seeking them. I am about to bring disaster on all mankind, says the LORD, but wherever you go I shall let you escape with your life” (Jer. 45:4, 5, REB). When Baruch finally did need to escape with just the clothes on his back, we hope he was thankful! Jesus, The Faithful Witness, gave us this same counsel in Matthew 6:25-34.
Seeking great things for yourself is not a heavenly principle. Believing that man’s efforts are needed in conjunction with the cross to be saved, is heathen to its core and any that take up and teach this satanic principle have no light in them. Our memory verse attests to this: “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no lightin them” (Isa. 8:20).
There is another time of trouble just on our horizon—a time of trouble such has never been seen since the world began. The outcome hinges upon the repentance of the angel of the church of the Laodiceans. The consequence for continued unbelief and stubbornness in regard to the message sent in “His great mercy,” will be to be spewed out of the mouth of Christ.
This lesson concludes the 4th quarter of 2010. During this quarter we have looked at the “Background Characters of the Old Testament.” We have seen men and women that have been placed in the Scripture by the Holy Spirit for our examples. From Caleb, Hannah and Jonathan, to Abigail, Uriah, Abiathar and Joab. From Rizpah, a widow of Zarephath, Gehazi and now Baruch. All different people; all different times; all earthen vessels.
The Good News for us today is that the cross of Christ, planted within our heart, is our open evidence of purchase, and the gift of the Holy Spirit is the sealed evidence of purchase, to take of Christ’s and minister it unto us.
-- Daniel H. Peters