An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 9 - Prophetic Truth - Page 136 of 223
God chose, how much more may we expect and believe that the true prophet
whose heart was in harmony with his Lord and the message he was called upon
to give, would speak by inspiration.
On several occasions Isaiah concluded a prophetic utterance with the
words, 'The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it', but Jeremiah and his
ordination sets forth very vividly this aspect of the prophetic gift.  After
Jeremiah learned that he had been ordained 'a prophet unto the nations' he
'Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.  But the Lord
said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I
shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak ...
then the Lord put forth His hand, and touched my mouth.  And the Lord
said unto me, "Behold, I have put My words in thy mouth"' (Jer. 1:5 -
Then follows, in verse 10, a summary of the prophecies that Jeremiah
was to utter, and this in turn was followed by a test.  How far could
Jeremiah enter into the message he was bound to deliver?
The Lord said to Jeremiah, 'what seest thou?' and Jeremiah replied, 'I
see a rod of an almond tree'.  To this the Lord replied, 'Thou hast well
seen: for I will hasten My word to perform it' (1:11,12).
To the English reader, the Lord's commendation does not seem to follow.
There seems no obvious connection between an 'almond tree' and 'hastening'
the Word.  An almond tree is in the Hebrew shaqed, 'a watcher'; the almond
was a harbinger of spring, being among the first to flower in January.  The
word 'hasten' is the translation of the Hebrew shaqad, but why the Authorized
Version translators should have so translated it is not evident.  The word
means 'to watch' as can be seen in Jeremiah 5:6 and 44:27.  The matter is
placed beyond dispute by a reference in Jeremiah 31:28.  Jeremiah's
prophecies were related to 'rooting out', 'pulling down' and subsequently
'building' and 'planting' the nations (1:10) and in chapter 31 this is
referred to:
'And it shall come to pass, that like as I have Watched over them, to
pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to
afflict; so will I Watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the
Lord' (Jer. 31:28).
What therefore the Lord said to Jeremiah at the beginning was, 'I will
Watch (over) My Word to perform it' and according to Jeremiah 31:31 this
promise of restoration will be accomplished under the terms of the New
Covenant, a covenant that has no place in the dispensation of the Mystery.
The prophet Hosea uses a very bold figure of speech when he says:
'Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the
words of My mouth' (Hos. 6:5).
It may possibly come into the mind of anyone not too well -grounded in
the truth that, after all, this reference to the words of God being put into
'the mouth' of a prophet is very primitive and belongs only to a primitive
age.  We therefore turn to the New Testament, where both before and after
Pentecost the figure is employed.