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City of God: Chapter 33
Chapter 33.—What Jeremiah and Zephaniah Have, by the Prophetic Spirit, Spoken Before Concerning Christ and the Calling of the Nations.
Jeremiah, like Isaiah, is one of the greater prophets, not of the minor, like the others from whose writings I have just given extracts. He prophesied when Josiah reigned in Jerusalem, and Ancus Martius at Rome, when the captivity of the Jews was already at hand; and he continued to prophesy down to the fifth month of the captivity, as we find from his writings. Zephaniah, one of the minor prophets, is put along with him, because he himself says that he prophesied in the days of Josiah; but he does not say till when. Jeremiah thus prophesied not only in the times of Ancus Martius, but also in those of Tarquinius Priscus, whom the Romans had for their fifth king. For he had already begun to reign when that captivity took place. Jeremiah, in prophesying of Christ, says, “The breath of our mouth, the Lord Christ, was taken in our sins,” 1188 thus briefly showing both that Christ is our Lord and that He suffered for us. Also in another place he says, “This is my God, and there shall none other be accounted of in comparison of Him; who hath found out all the way of prudence, and hath given it to Jacob His servant, and to Israel His beloved: afterwards He was seen on the earth, and conversed with men.” 1189 Some attribute this testimony not to Jeremiah, but to his secretary, who was called Baruch; but it is more commonly ascribed to Jeremiah. Again the same prophet says concerning Him, “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise up unto David a righteous shoot, and a King shall reign and shall be wise, and shall do judgment and justice in the earth. In those days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell confidently: and this is the name which they shall call Him, Our righteous Lord.” 1190 And of the calling of the nations which was to come to pass, and which we now see fulfilled, he thus spoke: “O Lord my God, and my refuge in the day of evils, to Thee shall the nations come from p. 380 the utmost end of the earth, saying, Truly our fathers have worshipped lying images, wherein there is no profit.” 1191 But that the Jews, by whom He behoved even to be slain, were not going to acknowledge Him, this prophet thus intimates: “Heavy is the heart through all; and He is a man, and who shall know Him?” 1192 That passage also is his which I have quoted in the seventeenth book concerning the new testament, of which Christ is the Mediator. For Jeremiah himself says, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will complete over the house of Jacob a new testament,” and the rest, which may be read there. 1193
For the present I shall put down those predictions about Christ by the prophet Zephaniah, who prophesied with Jeremiah. “Wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, in the day of my resurrection, in the future; because it is my determination to assemble the nations, and gather together the kingdoms.” 1194 And again he says, “The Lord will be terrible upon them, and will exterminate all the gods of the earth; and they shall worship Him every man from his place, even all the isles of the nations.” 1195 And a little after he says, “Then will I turn to the people a tongue, and to His offspring, that they may call upon the name of the Lord, and serve Him under one yoke. From the borders of the rivers of Ethiopia shall they bring sacrifices unto me. In that day thou shall not be confounded for all thy curious inventions, which thou hast done impiously against me: for then I will take away from thee the haughtiness of thy trespass; and thou shalt no more magnify thyself above thy holy mountain. And I will leave in thee a meek and humble people, and they who shall be left of Israel shall fear the name of the Lord.” 1196 These are the remnant of whom the apostle quotes that which is elsewhere prophesied: “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved.” 1197 These are the remnant of that nation who have believed in Christ.
Jer. 23:5, 6.380:1191
Jer. 31.31; see Bk. xvii. 3.380:1194
Isa. 10:22, Rom. 9:27.
Next: Chapter 34
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