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Read With Me – Week 36

 

       Week 36

Mon  Jn. 1:1-18; Lk. 1:1-80

Tue  Mt. 1:18-25; Lk. 2:1-38; Mt. 2:1-23; Lk. 2:39-52

Wed  Lk. 3:1-22; Mt. 3:1-17; Mk. 1:1-13; Lk. 4:1-13; Mt. 4:1-11; Jn. 1:19-34

Thu  Lk. 3:23-38; Mt. 1:1-17; Jn. 1:35-3:36

Fri  Jn. 4:1-54; Lk. 4:14-32; Mt. 4:12-17; Mk. 1:14-15

 

 

Look for:

·   The Word became flesh

·   Immanuel

·   One crying in the wilderness

·   Two conversations: Nicodemus and a woman at a well

·   “Today this Scripture is fulfilled”

 

 

Short Readings:

Jn. 1

Mt. 1:18-2:38

Lk. 3

Jn. 3-4

Lk. 4

 

 

 

 

Click on verse references to read online at www.biblegateway.com

 

 

Read With Me – A Chronological Bible Reading Program

 

For more information and additional resources go to Read With Me online blog at

www.gvayers.wordpress.com

The Birth of the Messiah

Almost everything that is known about Jesus’ birth is learned from Mt.1-2, and Lk. 1-2.  Mark says nothing about it, and John explains Jesus’ coming ideologically.  John calls Jesus “the Logos,” a Greek word that can be hard to translate adequately.  Most versions have it “Word,” though “Reason” or “Speech” is also acceptable.  John says this “Logos” (the preexistent Jesus) “became flesh, and lived for awhile among us” (1:14), without telling how this happened.

Matthew’s account focuses on Joseph, Jesus’ legal father, and Luke focuses on Mary, his mother.  Don’t skip over the genealogies just because there are a lot of difficult names in them.  Although these lists mean little to us, they are of the utmost importance in establishing that Jesus is who he claims to be, the Son of David, through both his mother and his earthly father (Matthew gives Joseph’s genealogy; Luke gives Mary’s).

Angels

The angel who announces to Mary the coming birth of Jesus, and who probably appears to Joseph in a dream to ease his mind concerning his marriage to Mary, is named Gabriel.  His name means what he is, “a man of God.”  He appears by this name four times in Scripture (Dan. 8:16; 9:21; Lk. 1:11; 1:26).  He is probably an archangel, though he is not so called.  In addition to Gabriel many other angels are mentioned in this week’s readings (see Lk. 2:8ff.).

People, Places, Circumstances

Some interesting people are in this week’s readings – Joseph and Mary, Zechariah and Elizabeth, Simeon and Anna, Nicodemus (the scholarly gentleman who had an evening meeting with Jesus) and an unnamed woman from Sychar.  And then there is John, who is called the Baptizer.  You are introduced to him in Luke 1, and see him come to life in Matthew 3 and parallel passages in Mark and Luke.  He also plays an important role in John 1, where he declares to his disciples that Jesus is “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1:29).

You see Jesus in a lot of different places and circumstances: in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Cana, and Nazareth; in Judea, Egypt, Galilee, and Samaria; in the wilderness, at the Jordan, by an old well.  You see him battle with the Devil in the wilderness, as a guest at a wedding, as a rejected speaker in a synagogue.

Examine the methods Jesus uses.  He performs miracles, gives intriguing teachings, calls disciples, and begins to herald abroad the same message John the Baptist is preaching, “the kingdom of God is near” (Mk. 1:15).

The week’s readings cover the birth and youth of Jesus, as well as the first year of his ministry.

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Between the Testaments

The Old Testament ends with the restoration of the Jews to their homeland.  They return with high expectations for a Golden Age in Israel to be restored once more.  But the years go by only to be met with hardship, deprivation, and difficulty.  Three significant accomplishments are made – restoring the temple, rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls, and reestablishing the Law – but the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel of old is not to be.

The nearly four hundred years between Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament and the Gospel accounts written in the New Testament is not all peace and quiet, merely waiting for the coming of the Messiah.  Persia dominates Palestine until 334 B.C., when Alexander the Great of Greece conquers the known world.  After his death eleven years later, his empire is divided among four generals – and Palestine is caught in the middle of a power struggle.  The group that finally gains power oppresses the Jews, taxing them heavily and forbidding them to practice their religion.

In 167 B.C. the Jews rebel, led by revolutionaries called the Maccabees.  Temple worship and other doctrines of the Jewish religion are returned.

In 63 B.C. Palestine falls to Roman rule under Pompey.  The Herodians are appointed as puppet rulers and are in power from 63 B.C. to 135 A.D.

As the New Testament begins, Judaism subscribes to the authority of the books of the Law (called the Torah).  The Jews observe sacrificial services of the temple and believe that God’s kingdom will center in Palestine.  But party differences among the Jews arise over how the Law is to be kept.

The Sadducees come from priestly families.  They claim adherence to the letter of the Torah and deny the authority of ancient tradition.  They reject the idea of angels or spirits and do not believe in the resurrection, because they reject the doctrine of immortality.  Yet they make compromises with the cultural surroundings in their teachings and practices.

On the other hand, the Pharisees, the largest and most influential group, practice strict separatist practices:  dietary rules, circumcision, fasting, prayer.  They want nothing to do with Gentiles.  Yet they accept oral tradition as equal to the written law.

The synagogue becomes the center of worship.  Whenever ten men can be found to form a congregation, synagogues are created as a place of prayer, worship, and instruction.

It is to this world, united under Roman rule yet divided by competing philosophies, that Jesus comes.

Divisions of the New Testament

Just as there are four kinds of books in the Old Testament, there are four kinds in the New Testament:  Gospel, History, Letters, and Prophecy.

Gospel

In reality there is only one Gospel (Gal. 1:8) however books written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are known as Gospels.  The Gospel accounts record a time of transition.  They are properly listed as part of the New Testament, but in the period they cover, the Old Testament law is still in effect.  They tell about the birth, life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  Their purpose is to lead to belief in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God (Jn. 20:30-31).

History

The book of history, Acts, tells how the church begins, how it carries on its work, and how people are saved from sin and become Christians – followers of Jesus.  It chronicles a select history of the early church and demonstrates to all generations how to become Christians and carry on the work of the church.

Letters

The letters are addressed to Christians, living in a variety of circumstances.  There are instructions for new Christians or “infants” in Christ, and there are instructions for those who have matured in the Christian faith.  There are teachings that address doctrinal disputes and church problems.  There are admonitions for deacons and elders.  There are instructions for widows, parents, and children.  There are instructions for servants and masters.  Of course, many parts of the letters give instructions for all who are trying to follow Christ.

Their purpose is to guide Christians in living, and to help them to do whatever Jesus commanded.

Prophecy

The book of prophecy, Revelation, tells of the final victory of Christ and his people.  It is perhaps less read and less understood than any other New Testament book, because of its highly figurative language and because of the difficulty of understanding the fulfillment of prophecies.  However, the book brings a helpful and encouraging message that every Christian reader can easily grasp:  Christ will have the final victory.  The purpose of this book is to encourage us to keep on living as Christians ought to live.

Read With Me – Week 35

 

       Week 35

Mon  Ezra 7-10

Tue  Neh. 1-6

Wed  Neh. 11-13

Thu  Neh. 7-10

Fri  Malachi 1-4

 

 

Look for:

·   Ezra prepared his heart

·   We his servants will arise and build

·   Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting

·   They may build, but I will demolish

·   Will a man rob God?

 

Simplified Readings:

Ezra 7

Neh. 2

Neh. 9

Mal. 1-2

Mal. 3

 

New Testament –
1 Chapter a Day:

Lk. 23

Lk. 24

2 Peter 1

2 Peter 2

2 Peter 3

 

Click on verse references to read online at www.biblegateway.com

 

 

Read With Me – A Chronological Bible Reading Program

 

For more information and additional resources go to Read With Me online blog at

www.gvayers.wordpress.com

Return to Jerusalem

The books of Ezra and Nehemiah continue the history of Israel as begun in 1 and 2 Chronicles.  These two books span the time from the return from exile (539 B.C.) until Nehemiah’s second trip to Jerusalem (after 433 B.C.).  The first six chapters of Ezra deal with the return and the temple rebuilding, until 515.  Then there is a large gap; Ezra 7 begins with Ezra’s return in 458.  In this period the population in Judah is perhaps increasing as more Jews drift back and local conditions improve.  But there is still a great deal of insecurity.  In the world at large, the Persian empire continues to control the Middle East and prosperity and peace reign.  The Jewish community in Babylon flourishes and many others besides Nehemiah rise to positions of prominence.

Ezra’s return to Judah under sponsorship of the Persian king Artaxerxes leads to at least temporary changes in Judah, for it means that now an official appointee is there to lead.  It also means new spiritual leadership, for Ezra is a scribe and teacher of the Law, there to promote adherence to the Mosaic covenant.

Nehemiah

A few years after Ezra’s return, Nehemiah becomes concerned about the disastrous condition of Jerusalem and receives royal permission to go help.  He arrives in 445 and with great determination rebuilds the walls of Jerusalem.  During his administration, Ezra leads a great “reading of the law day,” which leads to national repentance and spiritual renewal in Judea.  During a second term, Nehemiah has to deal with the problem of Jews had intermarried with the heathens around them.

After the time of Nehemiah, the Bible is silent about the Jews in Palestine until the New Testament era.  Fortunately, other sources fill in the gaps for us.

The initial spiritual problem Ezra encounters is mixed marriages.  The law in Deuteronomy (7:1-5) takes a firm stand against this and Ezra follows suit.  This task of purifying the community takes all of his energy.

“No portion of the Old Testament provides Christians with greater incentive to zeal for God’s work and passion for God’s word than the book of Nehemiah.  The book stresses that believers must battle as well as build.  Opportunities for kingdom advancement always engender opposition . . . When Christians rise to build, the enemy will rise up to tear down” (James E. Smith, Old Testament Books Made Simple).

Malachi

Malachi is the last of the prophets, marking the end of an era.  The Jews become a people of the Law, and the scribe (beginning with Ezra) becomes the spiritual leader.  This produces profound changes in Judaism, and the religion we meet in the New Testament is different from what we have seen throughout the Old Testament.

Malachi shows the spiritual degeneration among the Judeans sometime prior to the time of Ezra.  The problems are the same; they include unfaithfulness and general disrespect for God by the people and the priests.  “Will a man rob God?  Yet you rob me” (Mal. 3:8).  For that, judgment is again decreed.

“See, I will send the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord comes” (Mal. 4:5).  Malachi’s promise of Elijah’s return figures large in Jewish Messianic expectations in the pre-New Testament times.  Jesus applies Malachi’s words to John the Baptist (Mt. 11:14).

Read With Me – Week 34

 

       Week 34

Mon  2 Chron. 36:22-23; Ezra 1-6

Tue  Haggai 1-2; Zech. 1-7

Wed  Zech. 8-14

Thu  Esther 1-4

Fri  Esther 5-10

 

 

Look for:

·   Let the temple be rebuilt

·   The glory of this present house will be greater glory than of the former house

·   Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered

·   Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

·   Hanged on his own gallows
Short Readings:

Ezra 1

Haggai 1-2

Zech. 7-8

Esther 1-4

Esther 5-10

 

 

New Testament –
1 Chapter a Day:

Lk. 18

Lk. 19

Lk. 20

Lk. 21

Lk. 22

 

Click on verse references to read online at www.biblegateway.com

 

 

Read With Me – A Chronological Bible Reading Program

 

For more information and additional resources go to Read With Me online blog at

www.gvayers.wordpress.com

God’s People in Babylon

We know little of what happens in Judah following the destruction of Jerusalem.  Babylon leaves the land devastated and the population decimated.  All the major cities are destroyed and not rebuilt for some time.  Scholars speculate the population was only 20,000 compared with 250,000 just 50 years earlier.

The center of the Israelite population shifts to Babylon.  There the exiles are allowed to establish their own towns, engage in livelihoods, and maintain their religious life.  Some become quite prosperous.

World events lead to a renewed vigor among the exiles.  Babylon falls to Cyrus the Persian in 539 B.C.  Cyrus, who by official policy acknowledges the gods of other countries, decrees that the Jews could return home.  That most stay in Babylon testifies to how little the homeland now appeals to these second generation exiles.  The first order of business for the returnees is to rebuild the temple, but lack of will and outside opposition prevents it.  Darius I begins his long reign (36 years) in 522 B.C. and brings order to the empire.  With his support, and the encouragement of Haggai and Zechariah, the temple rebuilding is finally completed in 515 B.C.

Haggai and Zechariah

Haggai preaches for only three months, but he is credited with getting the temple rebuilding initiated.  He meets head-on the excuses for not rebuilding, and promises material blessings from a spiritual endeavor.  He also singles out Zerubbabel as an important leader.

Between Haggai’s second and third messages, Zechariah begins preaching.  He emphasizes that an inward turning to God is as necessary as an outward one.

The book of Zechariah divides naturally into two parts: chapters 1-8 and 9-14, with great differences between the two.  Many believe that some anonymous prophet is the author of the second part.  Both parts are apocalyptic, but in different ways.  Chapters 1-8 contain eight visions in which Zechariah tends to blend his own time with the coming day of the Lord.  God’s sovereignty is stressed throughout.  A favorite title for God is “The Lord Almighty” (NIV) or “The Lord of Hosts” (KJV).  The symbolic nature of chapters 9-14 makes interpretation difficult.  The many allusions to and quotations from these chapters in the New Testament tells us how to read them—as fulfilled in the coming of the Messiah.

Esther

One of the best written short stories in all of ancient literature, the book of Esther takes us to the far eastern area of the Middle East to the Persian capital.  During the reign of Ahasuerus (Xerxes in Greek; 486-456), successor of Darius I, Esther comes to prominence and saves her people.  The Jews still celebrate that victory yearly in the feast of Purim.  The ruins of Susa are found in the modern country of Iran and the palace has been unearthed by archaeologists.  Excavations reveal a palace covering more than 12 acres, and confirm many of the details of the royal complex described in the book of Esther.

An amazing feature about the book of Esther is that the name of God is never mentioned.  Because of this, some have argued that it should not be include in the Scriptures.  However Esther is the clearest example in the Bible of the providence of God.  As Matthew Henry said, “If the name of God is not here, his finger is.”  Although hidden from our view, God works through circumstances and human choices to accomplish his purposes.  We need this hope today.

Read With Me – Week 33

 

       Week 33

Mon  Ezek. 40-43

Tue  Ezek. 44-48

Wed  2 Kings 25:27-30; Jer. 52:31-34; Dan. 3-4

Thu  Dan. 7-8, 5, 11-12

Fri  Dan 6, 9-10; Ps. 137

 

 

Look for:

·   The glory of the God of Israel

·   Water of life

·   The God we serve is able to deliver us

·   Weighed on the scales and found wanting

·   He shut the mouths of the lions.

 

Short Readings:

Ezek. 40:1-4; 43:1-9

Ezek. 47

Dan. 3

Dan. 5

Dan. 6

 

New Testament –
1 Chapter a Day:

Lk. 13

Lk. 14

Lk. 15

Lk. 16

Lk. 17

 

Click on verse references to read online at www.biblegateway.com

 

Read With Me – A Chronological Bible Reading Program

 

For more information and additional resources go to Read With Me online blog at

www.gvayers.wordpress.com

A Captive King

Jehoiachin, the king taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar in 597 B.C., is still considered the true king of Judah by many.  The book of 2 Kings ends with a note on his good treatment at the hands of the Babylonians.  Documents recovered from ancient Babylon mention the rations given by Nebuchadnezzar to one Ya’u-Kinu, King of Yahudu.  This is undoubtedly Jehoiachin of Judah.

Apocalyptic Visions

Ezekiel 40-48 is an extended description of Ezekiel’s vision of a new, restored temple and temple worship.  This is a distinct form of prophecy.  It is entirely visionary and symbolic.  Zechariah 1-8 carries on this same style, but it is in Daniel 7-12 that this form is best demonstrated.  In Daniel, the application is taken out of the prophet’s own time.  It is a vision of the end times in highly symbolic form with the interpretation sealed until then.  This form is called “apocalyptic” (literally meaning “an uncovering” of knowledge.  Typically, prophetic of the end times).  The book of Revelation is the New Testament counterpart.

Various interpretations of Ezekiel 40-48 have been suggested, and cannot be spelled out here.  A literal interpretation seems to be the weakest.  In the light of the work of Jesus Christ in the New Testament it is not credible to expect a rebuilt temple, a renewed priesthood, and a reinstituted sacrificial system.  Hebrews shows that Christ is superior in every way to all of that.  It seems best to understand that there is a great deal of symbolism in these chapters.  Ezekiel’s purpose is to give hope of a restored, organized people of God.  How better to do it than in a way understandable to them?  But in the fulfillment of this vision, the type and shadow loses itself in the substance, the earthly in the heavenly.  Revelation 20-22 picks up on Ezekiel 38-48 in a way similar to this.

Daniel

A great deal has also been written about Daniel 3-10.  It should be recognized not only that this material is highly symbolic, but that also the interpretation was sealed up (8:26; 12:9).  That should serve as a warning to us not to become too confident that we fully understand the passages.  The main point, that the sovereign God is in control of the world, is clear.  The details of how this sovereignty works out sometimes escape us.  That the New Testament seldom uses these chapters should also serve as a warning.  Jesus uses the Son of Man language of himself, but the material in chapter 9, which is clearly Messianic, is not used in the New Testament.

Life Lessons from Daniel

Although it is a book of prophecies, a number of practical lessons may be gained from the book of Daniel.  First, it is clear that the exile of God’s people is only a temporary circumstance, and that Babylon will be overthrown.  In spite of trying circumstances and evil surroundings, the Lord expects his people to be faithful to him.  Daniel comes to Babylon as a young man, but he does not conform to or allow himself to be swayed by his environment.

The broad theme of Daniel is the sovereignty of the God of Israel.  The nations of the world are ultimately under God’s power, and the destinies of individuals are ultimately under his control.  This message serves of great comfort to the exiles of Israel, and encourages them to look beyond their present dark circumstances with confident faith in God.  The message of Daniel is needed as much today as it was during the Babylonian exile.

 

       Week 32

Mon  2 Kings 25:22-26; Jer. 40-44

Tue  Jer. 50-51; Ps. 79

Wed  Lam. 1-5

Thu  Ezek. 33, 32, 34

Fri  Ezek. 35-39

 

 

Look for:

·   Do not go to Egypt.

·   This is what the Lord says

·   Great is your faithfulness.

·   I have made you a watchman

·   Can these bones live?

 

 

Short Readings:

Jer. 44

Ps. 79

Lam. 1

Ezek. 33

Ezek. 37

 

 

New Testament –
1 Chapter a Day:

Lk. 8

Lk. 9

Lk. 10

Lk. 11

Lk. 12

 

Click on verse references to read online at www.biblegateway.com

 

 

Read With Me – A Chronological Bible Reading Program

 

For more information and additional resources go to Read With Me online blog at

www.gvayers.wordpress.com

After the Fall of Judah

The state of affairs in Judah becomes extremely grim.  The Babylonians have taken the cream of the nation back to Babylon; in Judah only the lower classes and the poor are left.  The cities and countryside have been devastated by the invading army.  Living under these conditions is marginal— there is little food and very few ways to make a living.  In many ways those taken to Babylon were better off.  Judah is reduced to a totally defeated servant to Babylon, unable even to pick her own leaders.  There is still, however, resistance.  The appointed governor Gedaliah is assassinated.  Those responsible flee to Egypt, taking Jeremiah with them.

During the last years of Judah many flee to Egypt for safety where a Jewish colony remains and multiplies.  Though we have no more information about them in the Bible, we do know that by 300-250 B.C. they have become a large group and wield strong influence in Egypt.  Out of this group comes the first major, innovative milestone in Bible transmission—a request to have the Hebrew Bible translated into Greek.  By 250 B.C., the Jews have lost use of the Hebrew to the extent that they can no longer understand their Bible.

It is clear from Jeremiah’s message to the exiles in Egypt that religiously, nothing has changed.  Though Jerusalem has been destroyed because of its idolatry, they still continue to worship false gods.  In fact, some even argue that the reason Jerusalem is destroyed is because they had given up idolatry (Jer. 44:15-18).  Rationalizing sin is amazing, even in the face of clear preaching!

Lamentations – A Reader’s Guide

Written by Jeremiah immediately after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., Lamentations expresses profound grief over the fall of Jerusalem, and is a testimony to the terrible consequences of sin.  Several passages reflect the thoughts of an eyewitness to the siege.

One of the highest examples of Hebrew poetry, the dirge style of Lamentations is almost impossible to render adequately in English translation.  The verses are long, with three lines per verse and have a special meter which, when read in Hebrew, give them a dirge-like sound.  Each of the first 4 chapters is an acrostic.  Chapters 1, 2, and 4 each have 22 verses, with the first word in each verse beginning with the succeeding letter of the Hebrew alphabet (which has 22 letters).  Chapter 3 has 66 verses arranged into 22 groups, with the first word in each 3-verse group beginning with the same letter.

Lamentations may be organized as follows:  Desolate and forsaken Jerusalem (Ch. 1); Reasons for the Lord’s anger (Ch. 2); Plea for the Lord’s mercies (Ch. 3); Former glory of Jerusalem (Ch. 4); Prayer for deliverance (Ch. 6).

In the midst of boundless grief, Jeremiah’s faith soars.  A key verse is “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.   They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (3:22-23).

Ezekiel

The chapters in Ezekiel picture God’s restoration of his people.  They speak of complete victory over Israel’s enemies, victory won by God himself.

For a clearer understanding of the current readings, you may wish to consult J.B. Coffman’s Commentaries (Abilene Christian University Press), available online at http://www.studylight.org/com/bcc.  Other commentaries are John Taylor on Ezekiel and Joyce Baldwin on Daniel, both published by InterVarsity Press in the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary series.

 

       Week 31

Mon  Jer. 30-31, 37-38

Tue  Jer. 32-34

Wed  Ezek. 26-31

Thu  Ps. 74; 1 Chron. 9:1; 2:3-5:26

Fri  1 Chron. 6-9

 

 

Look for:

·   I will make a new covenant

·   Is anything too hard for me?

·   The Word of the Lord came to me

·   O God, why have you rejected us forever?

·   Who of the Levites were to make atonement for Israel?

 

 

Short Readings:

Jer. 31

Jer. 32

Ezek. 28

Ps. 74

1 Chron. 6

 

New Testament –
1 Chapter a Day:

Lk. 3

Lk. 4

Lk. 5

Lk. 6

Lk. 7

 

 

Click on verse references to read online at www.biblegateway.com

 

 

Read With Me – A Chronological Bible Reading Program

 

For more information and additional resources go to Read With Me online blog at

www.gvayers.wordpress.com

Out of Judgment, Hope

In Jeremiah’s commission as a prophet God states:  “I have put my words in your mouth.  See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant” (Jer. 1:9-10).

Jeremiah’s prophecies in chapters 1-29 have shown his uprooting and tearing down.  These are sermons about God’s coming judgment and destruction on unfaithful Judah and on pagan nations.  Remember the complaint in 20:8:  “Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction.”  This part of his mission causes Jeremiah great personal distress and tremendous conflict from others.  But Jeremiah realizes the times demand that kind of message, and to preach anything else is to be a false prophet (23:16-22).

Jer. 30-33, contains the prophet’s sermons on hope; his words to “build and to plant.”  Beyond the destruction God still has amazing plans for his people.  He will restore Israel!  These words emphasize an important aspect of the prophetic message, that even though God’s judgment is coming on sinful Judah, there will be a restoration and the people can have hope.  God’s justice demands judgment on sin, but his grace provides that a remnant will survive and be restored.  Out of judgment comes renewal and hope.

These chapters contain some of the most important words of Jeremiah.  Christians will recognize the importance of the promise of a “new covenant” (Ch. 31).  The reality is that several elements of the new covenant are not new; they are emphasized under the old covenant as well.  Perhaps what Jeremiah is saying to his contemporaries is that they have strayed so far from the proper understanding of the covenant law that everything in the coming covenant will be new to them, although it really shouldn’t be (compare this with Ezekiel 36:26; God will give his people a new heart and new spirit!).

Ezekiel

Ezekiel’s prophecies against the nations have the same general purpose as Jeremiah’s.  There are rich symbolic elements here—Tyre is chosen to represent godless commerce, and Egypt is chosen to represent gross idolatry.

Ezekiel graphically prophesies the overthrow of Tyre, the chief city of Phonecia (26-28).  Many nations will come against Tyre (26:3); they will break the city apart, and the dust will be scraped to make it a bare rock (26:4); the stones, timber and dirt from the city will be laid into the waters (26:12); and Tyre will become a place for fishermen to spread nets (26:14).  Soon after the prophecy Nebuchadnezzar leads a 12-year siege (587-574 B.C.) and destroys the city of Tyre on the mainland.  The people flee to a nearby island 1/2 mile in the sea.  The city exists there until 332 B.C. when Alexander the Great tears apart the ruins of the old city, using its stones, timbers, dirt and even its dust to build a land bridge to the island, and Tyre is destroyed.  The site is still a place for spreading nets until this day.

Genealogies

The genealogies are often the most neglected passages in the Bible.  The genealogical lists in 1 Chronicles are important to establish the identity of ancient Israel and to tie the present to the past, both historically and religiously.   The writer of Chronicles (likely Ezra) is also showing the importance of David and his descendants in Israel’s history.  “These genealogies are the skeletal framework of the entire O.T.  They bind the whole book together and afford the most convincing demonstration that the O.T. is genuine history as contrasted with myth or legend” (Henry H. Halley, p. 203).