Between 2012 and 2015, more than 4,500 visitors toured the Seals of Jeremiah’s Captors Discovered archaeological exhibit at Armstrong Auditorium on our campus in Edmond, Oklahoma. Many others from around the world have requested or downloaded the brochure that accompanied this exhibit.
Israeli archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar uncovered the two bullae—tiny clay seal impressions—featured in the exhibit in the City of David in 2005 and 2007. Our volunteer students from Herbert W. Armstrong College were part of the 2007 dig that led to one of these momentous discoveries.
Inscribed on these bullae were the names “Jehucal, son of Shelemiah, son of Shovi” and “Gedaliah son of Pashur.” Remarkably, both of these individuals are among four Jewish princes listed in Jeremiah 38:1. Each of these powerful men would have used his seal to bind scrolls. The discovery of these bullae is powerful proof of the veracity of the Bible. But it is more than that. The fact that these men existed points likewise to the existence of the prophet who wrote about them: Jeremiah. These discoveries ought to get more people thinking about Jeremiah the prophet and his message.
Jehucal and Gedaliah tried to have Jeremiah imprisoned for prophesying that the sins of the nation of Judah would lead to destruction. He warned the people for 40 years to obey God’s command to surrender to the invading Chaldeans. God was correcting Judah for its idolatry, Sabbath-breaking and numerous other sins. He wanted to save the people from destruction, so He sent Jeremiah with a powerful message. Obviously, this would have been an extremely difficult message to hear—and these princes hated it. If only they had listened to Jeremiah’s warning and repented!
Thinking about Jeremiah and these two clay seals, it is easy to focus on Babylon’s brutal conquest of Jerusalem and the enslavement of Judah. But there’s another message wrapped up in these seals—and it’s incredibly positive. The seals of Jehucal and Gedaliah restore hope in King David’s throne!
The Davidic Promise
In 2 Samuel 7, God made a stunning, history-altering promise to King David: “When thy days are fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, that shall proceed out of thy body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever” (2 Samuel 7:12-13). God promised David that his throne would last forever!
Many other Bible passages affirm this promise. “For a child is born unto us, A son is given unto us; And the government is upon his shoulder; And his name is called [Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (King James Version)]; That the government may be increased, And of peace there be no end, Upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, To establish it, and to uphold it Through justice and through righteousness From henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts doth perform this” (Isaiah 9:5-6). This prophecy shows that David’s throne will be in existence when the Messiah comes.
Most Bible scholars believe that God’s promise to David failed when King Zedekiah’s sons were killed by the Babylonians in the sixth century b.c.e. Many people believe this lie and have totally rejected God and the Bible as a result. What a huge mistake!
If we believe God and the Bible, we must believe that King David has always had a royal descendant on the throne!
The seals of Jeremiah’s captors are prophetic. The prophet’s warning to Judah is the same warning being delivered today, particularly to three nations: America, Britain and Israel. With these seals, it’s as if the Word of God is crying out from the dust of Jerusalem! This message is one of tremendous correction, as well as hope.
What happened to David’s kingly line is one of the greatest mysteries in the Bible, but you can remove that mystery and build powerful hope in your life!
Commanded to Surrender
“And Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchiah, heard the words that Jeremiah spoke unto all the people …” (Jeremiah 38:1). The two clay seals uncovered by Dr. Mazar bear the names of Gedaliah and Jucal, better known as Jehucal. These seals verify the Bible and specifically Jeremiah’s warning. As Dr. Mazar always says, “Let the stones speak.” If we would just quiet down and listen, we would hear the stones proving the validity and truth of the Bible.
The Prophet Jeremiah delivered a prophetic warning applicable to this end time. His proclamation began with, “Thus saith the Lord” (verse 2). This wasn’t the personal message of Jeremiah. When he was first called, this prophet wanted nothing to do with the intimidating responsibility of speaking for God to a hostile nation (Jeremiah 1:6). Jeremiah foretold the last days of the kingdom of Judah and its impending captivity to Babylon, which was completed in 586 b.c.e. after a 19-year siege. It was a tough message to deliver—but the message came from God!
The people had to choose between listening to Jeremiah or listening to Gedaliah and Jehucal. With the fate of the nation at stake, they chose incorrectly. Often, the easy choice brings the hardest consequences.
In Jeremiah 38, God’s prophet confronted his accusers. The Bible shows how these princes interacted with Jeremiah and Zedekiah. Notice Jeremiah’s dramatic warning to the nation. “Thus saith the Lord: He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence; but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live, and his life shall be unto him for a prey, and he shall live” (verse 2). Jeremiah urged the people to surrender, which was God’s will. This was their only chance of survival.
“Thus saith the Lord: This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it” (verse 3). The prophet repeated himself, just to make sure everyone knew that Jerusalem would fall—without question. When will we learn? God’s prophecies are absolute; they never fail to come true.
The princes accused Jeremiah of being a double agent for the Babylonians, saying he was trying to demoralize the people with a message of hopelessness. “Then the princes said unto the king: ‘Let this man, we pray thee, be put to death; forasmuch as he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them; for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt’” (verse 4). These men only saw the negative side of Jeremiah’s prophecy. They didn’t see the hope!
It’s easy to focus too much on the bad news in prophecy. Even today, we must see beyond the indescribable suffering prophesied and see the good news. After the suffering, the Messiah comes! (Zechariah 14:1-4; Daniel 8:23-25). After the pain comes perpetual peace!
Today, God is speaking from the dust of Jerusalem. The Jeremiah seals reveal earthshaking, mind-shattering, wonderful truth. They are proof that God’s promise to David of an everlasting kingly line has remained true.
Jeremiah’s Brush With Death
Shamefully, King Zedekiah gave in to the sadistic requests of Gedaliah and Jehucal. “Then Zedekiah the king said: ‘Behold, he is in your hand; for the king is not he that can do any thing against you’” (Jeremiah 38:5). Perhaps Zedekiah knew better than to imprison Jeremiah, but he was too weak to control his own subordinates.
“Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the pit of Malchiah the king’s son, that was in the court of the guard; and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the pit there was no water, but mire; and Jeremiah sank in the mire” (verse 6). Jeremiah was sinking in mire and about to drown. It appeared that all hope was lost.
But God was with Jeremiah, even in the mud pit. An Ethiopian eunuch named Ebedmelech saw Jeremiah’s danger of drowning and begged Zedekiah to free him (verses 7-9). Zedekiah gave Ebedmelech permission to lift Jeremiah out of the dungeon (verses 10-13). It was Jeremiah’s job to preserve the throne, and he almost died before he had the opportunity to do so. God’s promise to David came within mere moments of failing! It’s a miracle that Ebedmelech even cared to do anything about Jeremiah’s plight.
King Zedekiah experienced intense agony for his rebellion against God and refusing to follow God’s instruction to submit to Babylon. After the Babylonians took Jerusalem, Zedekiah and his royal retinue tried to escape, but he was captured. Jeremiah 39:6-7 say that the king’s sons were slaughtered before his eyes, and then Zedekiah’s eyes were gouged out and he was taken to Babylon where he became a slave and eventually died. What a miserable end! King Zedekiah would have been immeasurably happy had he just obeyed God.
Nearly all Bible authorities assert that God’s promise to David died with Zedekiah and his sons. They can’t find another descendant of David who could have carried on his kingly line. But they overlook a key truth!
God’s Promise Endures
When King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon killed Zedekiah and his sons, as well as all the nobles of Judah, he believed he had destroyed the Jewish monarchy forever. At this point, he probably didn’t care what happened to God’s prophet; so he freed Jeremiah from enslavement (Jeremiah 39:11-12).
The Babylonian commander in charge of Judah supplied Jeremiah with food and money and allowed the prophet and his diminutive entourage to travel where they pleased. Jeremiah went to Mizpah, where he collected King Zedekiah’s daughters (Jeremiah 41:10). He stayed there for a short while but was forcibly carried out of Judah and into Egypt by faithless people who ignored his warning not to go there. There, he prophesied that a remnant of the group would return to Judah (Jeremiah 44:28). The rest would not make it out of Egypt alive (verse 27).
But notice, there is no mention in the Bible of Jeremiah’s life ending in Judah.
What happened to this prophet?
There is evidence that he went to Ireland. According to the Irish annals of history, “A wise holy man from the East came to [Ireland], bringing with him his scribe, also a beautiful princess, daughter of a king,” in 569 b.c. This princess was one of Zedekiah’s two daughters. King David’s royal line would continue through the one who Jeremiah brought to Ireland. You can find a prophecy about the royal throne being transferred elsewhere through a female descendent in Ezekiel 17:22; this prophecy is explained on page 20 under the subhead “A ‘Riddle’ and a ‘Parable’ Tell!”
Ancient records also indicate that Jeremiah took with him a harp, an ark and a stone called lia-fail, or “the stone of destiny.” These items all have one factor in common: They represent the continuation of the throne of David! (Where is the throne of David today? To find out, request my free book The New Throne of David.)
Isn’t this remarkable? The Prophet Jeremiah rescued a Judean princess and sailed across the Mediterranean Sea, around Spain and north to Ireland, thus preserving David’s throne with a female descendant of his royal line!
There is a wonderful message of hope here for the whole world—not just for the Jewish nation in the Middle East. The Messiah is coming soon to bring salvation to all mankind! We must keep our focus on this future, never letting the bad news overshadow our hope.
“When thy days are fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, that shall proceed out of thy body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever” (2 Samuel 7:12-13). God told David that his son Solomon would sit on an eternal throne. The Messiah will not come to a nonexistent throne! (Genesis 49:10). You can trace his throne for several thousand years—from David’s time to the present day.
“That the government may be increased, And of peace there be no end, Upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, To establish it, and to uphold it Through justice and through righteousness From henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts doth perform this” (Isaiah 9:6). Nothing will impede God’s zeal to fulfill His promise to David! The stone of destiny is a part of David’s throne. That stone is a symbol of the Messiah. David’s throne isn’t so much a literal wooden chair as it is wherever David’s royal descendant is. You must know where this man is today.
There is no hope on Earth besides the throne of David!
“I will be to him for a father, and he shall be to Me for a son …” (2 Samuel 7:14). David’s throne is God’s throne, a family throne! The Messiah will come to sit on this throne to end mankind’s suffering and rebellion. World events right now are building to this most important event in all history! So many people are miserable because they are disobeying God. They are lost in their sins and hate any message that would wake them up. This stubborn mindset must change. They must be taught God’s spiritual law of love.
If the people had held onto this vision and obeyed the words of Jeremiah anciently, God would have worked a miracle to protect them from Babylon. They could have been inspired like Jeremiah. But the history books are filled with cautionary tales of human rebellion against their great Creator.
How about you? Will you obey God? Will you tremble at His Word?
Believe God, and recognize the inspiring truth about the throne of David. The Messiah will rule from that throne, bringing all people peace, happiness and abundance for eternity. Turn to the throne of David and change your life for the better—forever.