The Prophet Jeremiah speaks of a royal branch

The Prophet Jeremiah speaks of a royal branch

16th December

Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up a righteous branch from the line of David. He will reign as king and rule wisely and ensure justice and righteousness in the land.” (Jeremiah 23:5)

Jeremiah was the second of the Four Major Prophets and he was born in the late 7th century BC. God called him to be a prophet during the reign of King Josiah, who as we saw earlier was one of the ancestors of Christ. Jeremiah foretold the forthcoming destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians and the forced exile of the Jews to Babylon.

Unfortunately, King Josiah’s three sons all turned out to be bad kings. Josiah’s youngest son, Zedekiah, was the last king to reign over Judah. He unsuccessfully rebelled against the Babylonians. They captured him, put out his eyes and took him away to a prison in Babylon. Jerusalem, with its beautiful temple and royal palace, was then burned to the ground by the Babylonians.

Against this bleak backdrop, Jeremiah still had a message of hope about the future of the monarchy. He wrote: “The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfil the promise of blessings I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah: In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous branch to spring up from the line of David he will do what is just and upright in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which the city will be called: “The Lord Our Righteousness.” (Jeremiah 33:14-16; cf 23:5-6)

This was another prophecy of the Messiah, a righteous king who would one day arrive to restore David’s kingdom to Israel. Notice how it builds on Isaiah’s prophecy of a branch growing from the root of Jesse. Jeremiah also spoke of a particular time when the Messiah would emerge from David’s family tree.

This stained glass window picturing Jeremiah’s prophecy is found within St Etheldreda’s church, in London. Dating to 1952, it was produced by Charles Blakeman and is part of a series of windows that bring various Old Testament stories and prophecies to life. In the image, we see Jeremiah preaching to the people about the arrival of the forthcoming king, literally pointing to the Messiah.

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