Reflection on Jeremiah 25:15-16

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Harley 2972 f. 134 Last Judgement

“For thus saith the Lord of hosts the God of Israel: Take the cup of wine of this fury at my hand: and thou shalt make all nations to drink thereof, unto which I shall send thee.And they shall drink, and be troubled, and be mad because of the sword, which I shall send among them.” (Jeremiah 25:15-16)

Literal Sense: Jeremiah was to prophecy unto the nations that the wrath of God, symbolized by the “cup of wine”, was about to come upon them.  This prophecy specifically applies to the nations mentioned in according to vv. 17-26.  It should be noted that when Scripture speaks about God’s “wrath” it is using anthropomorphic language since there is no passion in God nor is there potentiality in God, since God is pure act.  When Scripture speaks of God’s “wrath” it refers to the punishment people experience as a result of their disobedience (Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Book I, Question III, Article II, Reply II).

Allegorical Sense: This passage most assuredly points to Christ who, like Jeremiah, was given the task of bringing judgment upon the nations, as it is written: “[a]nd he hath given him power to do judgment, because he is the Son of man” (John 5:27) and “[b]ecause he hath appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in equity” (Acts 17:31). On that dreadful day Christ will tread the winepress (a metaphor for “judgement”) as described in Isaiah 63:3-4. Indeed, Christ will carry out the orders of His Father and judge the nations, as Revelation 19:1-16 describes.

Moral Sense: These things were written for our instruction as they warn us of the coming judgment.  Just as the nations were judged by God through the word of the prophet Jeremiah, so will all people of every nation be judged on the great and terrible Day of Judgment.  We should be ever vigilant for the second coming of Christ when he will “render to every man according to his works” (Romans 2:6).

Anagogical Sense: The judgment of the nations in Jeremiah 25 symbolizes all of the nations which will be judged (Matthew 25:32) on the Day of Judgment.  This prophecy should give us comfort knowing that as God was faithful to judge the nations of which Jeremiah prophesied, God will most assuredly judge all of the nations throughout the ages which have oppressed the weak, robbed the poor and murdered the innocent.

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