New birth

76 Sermons On The Old Testament Given By Jesus

Sermon 8 - Jeremiah, the suffering servant.

December 19th, 1957

Received by Dr Samuels

Washington D.C.

 

I am here, Jesus.

I am interested in this sermon to tell all my listeners and readers how and why the 53rd chapter in Isaiah, dealing with the suffering servant of God, neither refers to me primarily nor any bearing upon my mission as the Messiah of God, in that, possessed of a soul divine through the efficacy of the Father’s Love, I preached the message that prayer to God for His Love would bring man into at-onement with the Father.

In the first place I must tell you that the Hebrew scribes in their editing of the old manuscripts were fond of bringing together similar material under one heading, or shall I say under the name of one author, whether he was or not the sole writer. Many of the psalms attributed to David, the King, were not written by him. And many of the stories in the Chronicles and the Book of Kings show differences of content, according as the account was written by the earlier or the later source. Thus I want to tell you that the Book of Isaiah was not written by one prophet, but by several, even though the title in the Old Testament is under one man. You should know that two of the Isaiahs wrote before the destruction of the Temple and the captivity in Babylonia, but that the third one wrote as an exile in Babylonia and lamented in his writings the sufferings that Jeremiah had endured in trying to bring the people to an understanding of their dire situation. So that, when the last Isaiah wrote about the suffering servant of God, while he thought in a general way of Israel’s being such an entity, yet he was thinking of Jeremiah, for, indeed, the life and death of Jeremiah were such that he was indeed a, or the, suffering servant of Jehovah, as the Father was called by the Hebrews at that time.

For you must know that Jeremiah suffered unto death because of his mission, assigned him by the Father, to have the people and rulers mend their ways, or otherwise create conditions of spiritual and material consequences which would bring about the destruction of Jerusalem, and the exile of the people. The priesthood and the people sought his death for his prophecy that the Temple would fall, and for calling it a den of iniquity. For this and for his fearlessness in rebuking their violations of the moral and ethical code of the Hebrew religion, the priests and people sought to invoke upon him a sentence of death. He escaped at his trial simply because moderates prevailed in an atmosphere where the sovereignty of the nation proved the prime stabilizing factor and helped restore order and common sense, whereas in my own case, the lack of this sovereignty helped to create conditions of hysteria. Later, Jeremiah was beaten by a Temple priest and placed in stocks, to bear the hostile looks and threats of passersby. When Jerusalem fell, and the people were taken to Babylonia in captivity, there were among the groups that remained those who blamed Jeremiah’s prophecies for the fate of the nation, and when they had the opportunity, they had him put to death in Egypt.

Now the last Isaiah, who wrote as an exile in Babylonia, learned of the unhappy end of the prophet and, realizing that Jeremiah had sought to prevent the catastrophe through turning the people back to the ways of law and righteousness, evoked the figure and the sufferings of Jeremiah as a servant of God who had suffered and died for his mission of turning the nation from its evil ways, and it is this episode in the history of the Jewish people which brought forth the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. In Babylonia, at this time, the conception of a divine victim who sacrificed his life for others was, as was true of other oriental cults, quite common at this period, and could be seen in the sufferings, death and triumphal resurrection of the god Tammuz. However, the Babylonian Isaiah thought that Jeremiah had died because of the sins of his people, and not, as Christians wish to interpret it, as an expiation for their sins. The writer felt that the figure of Jeremiah could be likened to one of these oriental gods, in that he had actually sacrificed his life in his attempt to keep the people of his nation from wrong- doing, and in that way, from disaster.

Deeply moved by the tragic experience of Jeremiah, and closely in touch with spirit forces at the time, the Babylonian Isaiah sensed that another prophet of a later day would arise and suffer a similar fate in seeking to save his people from sin and destruction. And here he had an inkling of what was to happen to me, not because he actually foresaw those events, but because he understood that, if the people continued to act in certain ways through the years, they would inevitably act in much the same way at a later period.

In short, never did the Babylonian Isaiah seek to prophecy my death as inherent in the role of Messiah, and never did he ever suggest or hint that the shedding of my blood on a cross was necessary for man’s salvation. But he did mean that knowledge and obedience to the call to righteousness would help keep mankind from evil, and that was and is now a common belief - that those in the spirit world can, through their prayers to God, intercede with Him on behalf of others. This Isaiah had a feeling that the soul of a suffering servant of God, either of Jeremiah, as he thought likely, or of another prophet, was the key to salvation, and in this way he was right, for it was my soul, made divine through the Father’s Love, which brought the potentiality of eternal life to mankind. Isaiah was aware of the “heart of flesh” declared by Jeremiah and thought that, in view of his great stand for righteousness, Jeremiah had been bestowed with such a heart by God.

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