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Jeremiah: ‘a prophet unto the nations’ for 40-year period

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Jeremiah serves as a clear example of a prophet foreordained in the pre-mortal existence to his calling, one that he faithfully and courageously carried out, even in the face of disfavor among his people and danger to his own life.

"Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations," the Lord declared to him (Jeremiah 1:5.) Much like Moses and many other humble and faithful servants who have been called to declare the word of the Lord, Jeremiah expressed his feeling of personal inadequacy upon being called (see verse 6), but then fulfilled his duties with all diligence.

Jeremiah's more than 40-year period of prophecy, from 626 to 586 B.C., included the reign of Zedekiah; thus, he was a contemporary of the prophet Lehi, who fled Jerusalem with his family just before its captivity and established the Nephite colony in the New World.

It was during Zedekiah's reign that Jeremiah uttered some of the prophecies that pertain specifically to the latter days and give profound significance to the Lord's statement that he would be "a prophet unto the nations." For example, he foretold that the Lord would establish a "new" and "everlasting covenant." (See Jeremiah 31:31 and 32:40.) He prophesied of the latter-day gathering of Israel and restoration of His covenant people to the lands of their inheritance. (See especially Jeremiah 16:14-16 and 23:5-8.)