Jeremiah, Defender of Covenant Faithfulness

Duane A. Brudevold, George Fox University


In this study of the topic of true/false prophecy, the author has chosen to review the writings of Jeremiah to determine what criteria were used by Jeremiah, and perhaps the later redactors of the book we call Jeremiah, to determine the truthfulness of Jeremiah's prophecies and the falsity of the prophecies of the temple prophets in Jerusalem. The author pays particular attention to the quotations which Jeremiah says are spoken by his opponents. An attempt is made to determine if these quotations of the opponents give us any clues to Jeremiah's fervent opposition to their statements. The author's analysis shows that the most consistently quoted group is that comprising the priests and prophets of the Jerusalem temple. The most common quotation by that group is that there will be well-being, or lack of destruction, in the country. Jeremiah is just as adamant that destruction is the country's fate. The author determines that this difference in point of view stems from the different covenant traditions supported by the two groups: Jeremiah was nm1ured in the Moses/Sinai covenant tradition, the Jerusalem group supports a covenant tradition based on promises made to David. Jeremiah feels that he is right because God would never make a promise that wasn't contingent on the faithfulness of the people, and there is too much visible unfaithfulness to support continued well-being. The later redactors seem to have accepted this viewpoint and indicate further that Jeremiah's prophecies did in fact come true. The author then extends the influence of the Mosaic covenant tradition to the New Testament and beyond.