IV. THE CENTRAL THOUGHT
The central thought of the book of Jeremiah is that the God of love, in His everlasting love, earnestly yearns that Israel, His beloved yet distracted elect, would turn to Him from the other gods, all of their idols (2:28; 11:13), that they may gain His incarnated Christ as the righteousness of Jehovah to them as their central being and universal expression. Thus, in spite of the fact that His degraded elect, according to their nature by birth, are wicked (12:1; 30:23), have a heart which is deceitful above all things (17:9), and cannot possibly be changed in any way, as the Cushite cannot change his skin or the leopard his spots (13:23), they may be redeemed from their fall by the redemption of Christ and be saved from their sinful nature, not only from their sin and wickedness, by the divine life of Christ with its divine capacity of the inner life, not with the outward law of dead letters, to be renewed (as indicated by the new covenant they have received of God) that God could be their God and that they could be God’s people (31:31-33) to participate in the enjoyment of the riches of the Triune God. This participation of theirs in the riches of God will be in the millennium in the coming age of restoration and will ultimately consummate in the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and new earth for eternity.
Perhaps you are wondering how we know that Jeremiah speaks of the incarnated Christ. This is indicated by the word in 23:5 and 33:15 concerning Christ as the righteous Shoot that will be raised up to David by God. Christ will be the descendant of David, and this means that He will become a man in the flesh. This is the incarnated Christ. This incarnated Christ, the righteous Shoot, will become the righteousness of Jehovah to Israel to be their central being and universal expression.
In order to demonstrate that what we have said regarding the central thought of Jeremiah is accurate, I would like now to consider three portions from Jeremiah and one from Lamentations. If we put these portions together, we will see that our understanding of the central thought of Jeremiah is according to the intrinsic content of this book and is not merely a human interpretation.
Regarding Israel, the elect of Jehovah, Jeremiah 2:13 says, "My people have committed two evils: / They have forsaken Me, / The fountain of living waters, / To hew out for themselves cisterns, / Broken cisterns, / Which hold no water." Jeremiah might have been weeping as he spoke this word. This word concerning the fountain of living waters is actually a New Testament thought. Jeremiah’s word here is very similar to that of the Lord Jesus in John 4:14, where He said to the Samaritan woman, "Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall by no means thirst forever; but the water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water gushing up into eternal life."
(Life-Study of Jeremiah and Lamentations, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)