Article in The Conversation by Professor Kimberly Stratton (December 2020)

The prophet Jeremiah records in excruciating detail the catastrophic events leading to the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BCE.

Jeremiah describes the devastating famine, escalating sense of fear and ominous foreboding that permeated the city despite optimistic oracles issued in the royal court by prophets, who promised divine intercession. Jeremiah warned his listeners not to be deceived by false hopes based on the belief that God would protect his sacred temple and the city in which it stood: “Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘this is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’”

The people of Jerusalem disregarded Jeremiah’s advice and threw him into a well, threatening even to kill him because his doom-saying weakened morale in the besieged city. Yet, it is Jeremiah’s oracles that the Bible preserves because he was correct: the city was violently destroyed and most of the Judeans either died or were exiled to Babylonia, leaving only a remnant of peasants behind to work the land. This brought the biblical kingdom of Judah to an end.

History teaches that messianic hopes lead to poor outcomes for the societies that embrace them. Yet, they continue to surface — even today, with the elevation of Donald Trump by some to messiah-like status.

Read full article here