TODAY’S READING: JEREMIAH 33-36
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.” – Jeremiah 33:14-15
In this passage, the promise that God has said he will fulfill is linked with the righteous branch that will spring up for David. In verses 17 and 18, the Lord reminded Israel that he had promised that David would always have a man sitting on his throne and that the Levitical priests would have a man in God’s presence.
Of course, we know that Jesus is the righteous Branch, the son of David, that sprang up to always sit on the throne of David. The very first words of the New Testament speak to this. Matthew 1:1 says, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” In Luke 1:32-33, the angel that spoke to Mary confirmed this, saying, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
And, Jesus is the man in God’s presence for the Levitical priests. Five times Hebrews says that Jesus is a “priest forever.” Hebrews 7:27-28 says, “He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.”
But, for me what gets really interesting in Jeremiah 33:14-15 is the statement “I will fulfill the promise.”
The Hebrew does not say promise. Rather, the literal Hebrew says “the good word,” which is what some translations say. In other words, we could think of this as the good news or the gospel. In effect, God is saying, “I will fulfill the gospel.”
However, while fulfill may be an appropriate translation of the Hebrew word qum, that is not what the word literally means. And, the literal meaning may help us see Jesus even more clearly in this passage. For the word qum literally means to rise, arise; get up, stand up; to come to fruition. And, quite often in the Old Testament, qum is used in regards to rising up against opposition.
Perhaps, quite literally what is saying here is that he will raise the good word, the good news, the gospel, Jesus Christ.
What is Jesus raised from?
What is Jesus raised in opposition against?
Death. And, Satan.
Hebrews 2:14-15 says, “Since therefore the children share in the flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”
What is Jesus raised to?
The throne in heaven where he rules as king on God’s throne and the heavenly tabernacle where he serves as priest forever.
Ephesians 4:9-10 says, “In saying, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.”
And Philippians 2:8-9 says, “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.”
The form of the word qum in Jeremiah 33:14 is often translated by the Greek word egeiro in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament. Egeiro means rise, raise up, get up, awaken, stir up.
Jesus uses this word in Matthew 26:32 when he says, “But after I am raised [egeiro] up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Jesus uses egeiro to refer to his resurrection. And, the word is even translated resurrection in Matthew 27:52-53, which says, “The tombs were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised [egeiro], and coming out of the tombs after his [Jesus] resurrection [egeiro] they went into the holy city and appeared to many.”
In 1 Corinthians 15, where Paul lays out the gospel that he preached to the Corinthian church, Paul uses the word egeiro, raised, some 19 times.
Paul says that the gospel, the good news, he preached was “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised [egeiro] on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
In 1 Corinthians 15:20, Paul says, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” And, in verse 23, Paul again says Jesus is the firstfruits.
This is significant because when Jeremiah 33:15 refers to Jesus as “a righteous Branch” the Hebrew word for branch literally means shoot or what is sprouting. In other words, Jeremiah more literally says that Jesus is a righteous sprout, or firstfruits.
In 1 Corinthians 15:16-17, Paul says, “For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and your are still in your sins.” But, as I just mentioned, Paul says in verse 20 and 23 that indeed Christ has been raised. Therefore, we can be assured that we will be raised too.
God has indeed raised the good word, Jesus. Therefore, the good news, the gospel, has been proclaimed. God has raised Jesus and he will fulfill his promise to raise us too. Death will be defeated.
Therefore, in 2 Corinthians 1:20-21, Paul says, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”
Jesus is the risen the promise, the risen good word from God.