Bible Burning - A Christian Response
by Rod Jackson

All verses are quoted from the NASB anything in [square brackets] is added by me for clarity.

"Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem; and his mother's name was Zebidah the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah. He did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done." 2 Kings 23:36-37

Jehoiakim was an evil king who ruled over Judah. While Jekoiakim was ruling over the land, Jeremiah was the prophet of God. Jeremiah followed God's commands but the evil king Jehoiakim had restricted Jeremiah's movements and we read -

"In the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, `Take a scroll and write on it all the words which I have spoken to you concerning Israel and concerning Judah, and concerning all the nations, from the day I first spoke to you, from the days of Josiah, even to this day. Perhaps the house of Judah will hear all the calamity which I plan to bring on them, in order that every man will turn from his evil way; then I will forgive their iniquity and their sin.' Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah, and Baruch wrote on a scroll at the dictation of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD which He had spoken to him. Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, `I am restricted; I cannot go into the house of the LORD. So you go and read from the scroll which you have written at my dictation the words of the LORD to the people in the LORD'S house on a fast day. And also you shall read them to all the people of Judah who come from their cities. Perhaps their supplication will come before the LORD, and everyone will turn from his evil way, for great is the anger and the wrath that the LORD has pronounced against this people.' Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading from the book the words of the LORD in the LORD'S house. " Jeremiah 36:1-8

Notice that God commands Jeremiah to write a scroll with His word one it. In other words this is part of the Bible that was written down. Baruch is to read from this section of the bible to the people on a fast day. So the story continues -

"Now in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, in the ninth month, all the people in Jerusalem and all the people who came from the cities of Judah to Jerusalem proclaimed a fast before the LORD. Then Baruch read from the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the LORD in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the upper court, at the entry of the New Gate of the LORD'S house, to all the people. Now when Micaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had heard all the words of the LORD from the book, he went down to the king's house, into the scribe's chamber. And behold, all the officials were sitting there - Elishama the scribe, and Delaiah the son of Shemaiah, and Elnathan the son of Achbor, and Gemariah the son of Shaphan, and Zedekiah the son of Hananiah, and all the other officials. Micaiah declared to them all the words that he had heard when Baruch read from the book to the people. Then all the officials sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, to Baruch, saying, `Take in your hand the scroll from which you have read to the people and come' So Baruch the son of Neriah took the scroll in his hand and went to them. They said to him, `Sit down, please, and read it to us.' So Baruch read it to them. When they had heard all the words, they turned in fear one to another and said to Baruch, `We will surely report all these words to the king.' And they asked Baruch, saying, `Tell us, please, how did you write all these words? Was it at his [Jeremiah's] dictation?' Then Baruch said to them, `He dictated all these words to me, and I wrote them with ink on the book.' Then the officials said to Baruch, `Go, hide yourself, you and Jeremiah, and do not let anyone know where you are.' " Jeremiah 36:9-19

Baruch, Jeremiah's scribe reads this section of the bible to some interested people. Upon hearing God's word they suggest that the evil king really needs to hear this. The story continues -

"So they went to the king in the court, but they had deposited the scroll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and they reported all the words to the king. Then the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll, and he took it out of the chamber of Elishama the scribe. And Jehudi read it to the king as well as to all the officials who stood beside the king. Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month, with a fire burning in the brazier before him. When Jehudi had read three or four columns, the king cut it with a scribe's knife and threw it into the fire that was in the brazier, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the brazier. Yet the king and all his servants who heard all these words were not afraid, nor did they rend their garments. Even though Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah pleaded with the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them. And the king commanded Jerahmeel the king's son, Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel to seize Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet, but the LORD hid them." Jeremiah 36:20-26

So here is the main part that we need to see. The evil king gets God's word and burns it! Also notice that the godly ones who brought God's word to the evil king only pleaded with the king not to burn God's word. So what did God then command Jeremiah to do, well the story continues -

"Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah after the king had burned the scroll and the words which Baruch had written at the dictation of Jeremiah, saying, `Take again another scroll and write on it all the former words that were on the first scroll which Jehoiakim the king of Judah burned. And concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah you shall say, "Thus says the LORD, `You have burned this scroll, saying, "Why have you written on it that the king of Babylon will certainly come and destroy this land, and will make man and beast to cease from it?" Therefore thus says the LORD concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah, `He shall have no one to sit on the throne of David, and his dead body shall be cast out to the heat of the day and the frost of the night. I will also punish him and his descendants and his servants for their iniquity, and I will bring on them and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the men of Judah all the calamity that I have declared to them--but they did not listen.'"' Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to Baruch the son of Neriah, the scribe, and he wrote on it at the dictation of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire; and many similar words were added to them." Jeremiah 36:27-32

So God's command for Christians is not to order protest marches. It is not to have the king arrested, punished or killed. It is merely to get more Bibles printed! This is perfectly in line with what Jesus taught when He said -

"But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." Matthew 5:44-45


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