Jeremiah 40-44, 52
Ezekiel 1-24, 33-37, 40, 43, 47
CLASS NOTES FROM EXILE
JEREMIAH, LAMENTATIONS, EZEKIEL, DANIEL, OBADIAH, some PSALMS
Key Concepts (How to Read)
1. Forging of Israel in exile and the end of Idolatry
2. Repentance and rescue
3. New model of faith – Israel as a people/faith but not a nation
4. Diaspora – new normal for the people that never changes
5. God still sovereign despite exile
Key Sections (What it says)
605 – First Exile (includes Daniel)
596 – Second Exile (includes Ezekiel)
586 – Final Exile and Destruction of the Temple and City of Jerusalem
539 – Cyrus the Great releases the Jews
516 – 2nd Temple Complete
2 Chronicles 36 (and 2 Kings 24-25) – 3 exiles.
“The remnant – 2 Chr 36:20”
1- prosperity of Babylon – new church/state relationship
2- accept your condition for now – becomes a component of repentance – but linked to long term, unplanned diaspora.
3- planned release-70 years
4- False prophets
5- God’s redemptive plan – the exile is a part of it
Jeremiah 31:31-34 - New covenant
Jeremiah remains behind after the final exile with the poorest of the poor. Tragically, that non-exile remnant ignores the God's word through Jeremiah, travels to Egypt, and is lost. See Jeremiah 42 and 43.
Lamentations is Jeremiah's lament over the fall of Jerusalem.
The tragedy of the exile is deeply felt. See Psalm 137 for a perspective on the hearts of the exiles in Babylon.
Ezekiel, a prophet who serves in exile after the 596 deportation, has a vision of God's presence being removed from the Temple (Ezekiel 8) before the final events of 586. After the last exile, Ezekiel has a new vision - of a future Temple where God's presence returns (Ezekiel 43). Between, he has the famous vision of “the valley of dry bones” in Ezekiel 37 – a metaphor for the restoration of Israel.
Ezekiel and Jeremiah – challenges of prophetic ministry.
- Acting out the Word of God (Ezekiel 4:1-15, Jeremiah 27:2)
- Personal suffering- (Ezekiel 24:15-24, Jeremiah 16:2, 38:6-13)
False Prophets – Jeremiah 28:10-17
Daniel, a prophet who serves in exile after the 605 deportation, serves under both Babylonian and Persian kings. His ministry is a testimony to God's continued sovereignty over nations and rulers. He also has a critical vision in Daniel 7 of "the son of man" - Jesus' self designation.
Obadiah – Judgment on Edom
The period of the Exile forms the Jews like nothing before; they begin to self-identify first as God's chosen people, and only second as a former nation-state. This leads to dramatic changes in their relationship with God, mostly for the better.
Conversation: Discussion Questions
1. Have you ever been in the minority in a group of people for an extended time? The only person of your gender, race, class, faith, language, nationality, etc? How did that experience impact you?
2. The exile, while certainly terrible season of affliction for the Israelites, also forced them to make decisions about their identity in light of their new minority status. Why might it have been easier to be faithful to God in Babylon than in Jerusalem?
3. Ezekiel has intense visions as part of his prophetic ministry, as well as some humiliating performances acting out God’s word. His wife dies as a lesson to the Israelites and he is not allowed to shed tears. Jeremiah suffers terribly, Daniel is thrown into the lion’s den, etc. Why do you think the prophets meet with such incredible personal suffering?
4. The purpose of Israel was that all nations on the earth might be blessed through them. How does the exile advance this purpose?
5. God places Daniel in an exalted political position within the nations of Babylon and Persia, where he works tirelessly for the benefit of the countries who have conquered his people. Jeremiah instructs the exiles to “pray for the prosperity of the city” of Babylon. In what ways are we called to pray and work for the prosperity of our nation, despite having a primarily allegiance to Christ?
If you have time, read the following passage: Daniel 7:1-14
6. The four beasts represent four kingdoms – likely the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans. Who do the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man represent?
7. Jesus calls himself the “son of man” in the New Testament. He also quotes Daniel 7:14 to describe his future return to earth. Why do you think this idea of a final kingdom to end other kingdoms so strongly resonates with Jesus’ self identity?
Next week we will conclude our class with the period of the second Temple. See you then!