II. THE SUBJECT
The subject of the book of Jeremiah is Christ being made the righteousness of Jehovah to God’s elect as their center and circumference in God’s dealings with Israel and the nations. No matter how stubborn, wicked, and corrupt Israel, God’s elect, may be, God will eventually make Christ the righteousness of Jehovah to them. Today Israel does not have any righteousness, but when Christ becomes the righteousness of Jehovah to them, no one, including Satan, will be able to accuse them.
Furthermore, when Christ becomes righteousness to God’s elect, He also becomes their center and circumference in God’s dealing with them and with the nations. Jeremiah is a book concerning God’s dealing first with Israel and then with the nations. The center and circumference of God’s dealing is Christ. As God deals with Israel and the nations today, Christ is the center and circumference. For example, the recent changes in Europe and Russia are God’s doing for Christ to be the centrality and universality. The book of Jeremiah is not concerned merely with God’s tenderheartedness and righteousness and with His chastisement of stubborn, stiff-necked Israel. The intrinsic reality of this book is God’s dealing with Israel and with the nations for Christ to be the center and circumference in everything.
III. THE CONTENT
The content of Jeremiah is God’s carrying out of His economy through the chastisement of Israel, His elect, in love with His tender care, compassion, and sympathy, and His judgment upon the nations in righteousness to match His love, that Israel may manifest Christ, who is their divine righteousness (23:6; 33:16) as their centrality and universality, by their being made a new creation with the inner law of the divine life and the capacity of this life to know God (31:33-34).
According to the book of Jeremiah, God’s love is a composition of His tender care, compassion, and sympathy. Even while He chastises His elect people Israel, He is compassionate toward them. Regarding this, God can be compared to a father who weeps as he disciplines his child because he loves the child. In this book Jeremiah wept on God’s behalf; his weeping expressed God’s feeling. We may say that God wept within Jeremiah’s weeping, for in his weeping Jeremiah was one with God.
God carries out His economy not only by chastising Israel in love but also by judging the nations in righteousness. His righteousness matches His love. Actually, God’s judgment upon the nations comes out of His love for them and results in His salvation of them in His love.
God chastises Israel in love and judges the nations in righteousness so that Israel may manifest Christ. Today the nation of Israel does not manifest Christ but remains in unbelief. But the day will come when every one of Israel, great and small, will manifest Christ, having Christ as their centrality (their being) and their universality (their expression). When Antichrist is about to destroy the entire people of Israel, Christ will come down from the heavens to deliver them from Antichrist. The Spirit of grace and supplications will be poured out upon them, they will look upon the One whom they have pierced, and they will wail over Him (Zech. 12:10-14). From that time onward the people of Israel will manifest Christ.
God will not only deliver Israel from Antichrist but will make them a new creation with the inner law of the divine life and the capacity of this life to know God (Jer. 31:33-34). This means that God will put Himself into them as the divine life. Within this life there are the inner law and the capacity to know God. As believers in Christ, we all have such a capacity. Before we were saved, there was no way for us to know God. But when we were saved, the divine life entered into our being with its capacity to know God. One day the people of Israel will also have this capacity. God will make a new covenant with them and come into them as the divine life with its law and capacity. In this way they will become a new creation and will manifest Christ as their centrality and universality.
Jeremiah 23:6 and 33:16 both reveal that Christ, the Shoot, the descendant of David, will be made the righteousness of Jehovah to Israel. Then Israel will have Christ as the center and also as the expression. God will fulfill in them the promise of the new covenant to enter into them to be their life. By the capacity of this life, they will know God, serve God, and worship God. Today we, the believers in Christ, are partaking of this new covenant. At the time of Christ’s second coming, Israel also will begin to partake of the new covenant.
(Life-Study of Jeremiah and Lamentations, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)