Prophetic profile Of Israel According to Jeremiah

by Joseph Hunting

Jeremiah, whose name means 'Jehovah will exalt', ranks with Isaiah as one of Israel's greatest sons during a time of national crisis and apostasy. He was born of priestly parentage in the village of Anathoth about three miles north-east of Jerusalem.

Jeremiah has been called 'the weeping prophet' because of his lamentation on Jerusalem: "Is it nothing to you, all you that pass by? Behold and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow, which has been brought on me, which the LORD has inflicted on me in the day of his fierce anger" (Lamentations 1:12).

One can get a glimpse of the anguish which overwhelmed this great man of God when he was cast into a dungeon filled with mire: "My eye runs down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people. My eye trickles down, and ceases not, without any intermission." Yet, in the midst of his suffering he was able to say: "Remember my affliction and roaming, the wormwood and the gall ... this I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not, They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:19-23).

Although Jeremiah had much to say to the national leaders of his time about the coming destruction of Judah, and Jerusalem in particular, he also highlighted two great milestones in Jewish history recorded in chapters 30 and 31. Because these chapters contain so much that is relevant to our present dilemma it is good to take the time to read them.

The following is a brief summary of chapter 30 in which the Lord told Jeremiah that He would restore Judah and Israel to their homeland, at which time there would be great distress, which in turn would be followed by great prosperity, joy and blessing. "... behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, that I will bring back from captivity my people Israel and Judah, says the LORD. And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. Now these are the words which the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah. For thus says the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear and not of peace.

"Ask now and see, whether a man is ever in labour with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labour, and all faces turned pale?

"Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob's trouble. But he shall be saved out of it.

"For it shall come to pass in that day, says the LORD of hosts, that I will break his (the antichrist) yoke from your neck, and will burst your bonds; foreigners will no more enslave them. But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their King, whom I will raise up for them.

"Therefore, do not fear, O my servant Jacob, says the Lord, nor be dismayed Israel; for behold, I will save you from afar, and your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return and have rest and be quiet, and no one shall make him afraid.

"For I am with you, says the LORD, to save you; though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet will I not make a complete end of you" (30:3-11).

Although there are striking similarities between the two regatherings that have occurred since Jeremiah's prophecy, events in the prophecy we have just read did not occur after the return from Babylon.

One of the astonishing features associated with Jeremiah's prophecy is that King David will be resurrected following Israel's return to the Land. This remarkable prophecy is also confirmed by Hosea (3:5) and by Ezekiel (37:25). In each instance David's reign over Israel is associated with prosperity and peace, evidently occurring during the Millennium.

Many Bible students believe that Jeremiah's prophecy will be progressive in its fulfilment. If that is so, then we are witnessing the amazing fulfilment of the first part of the prophecy. In spite of political opposition preventing Jews from returning to their homeland prior to World War II, and the attempt by Hitler to exterminate world Jewry, God CAUSED His people to return to their homeland and possess it. And that in spite of forty-one years of wars, terrorism, and more recently, the intifada as stage one of the master plan to eventually eliminate Israel from the Middle East scene.

Truly, the establishment and the preservation of the State of Israel is not only partial fulfilment of Jeremiah's prophecy, but it signals to the world that God is still in Heaven and that He is working out His program for Israel's ultimate spiritual redemption. The New Testament also bears witness to this great truth in revealing God's order: "first the natural, then the spiritual" (1 Corinthians 15:46ff). Thus, the natural rebirth of the State of Israel is the prelude to the spiritual rebirth which is spoken of by Jeremiah, Hosea and Ezekiel, under the rule of King David.

How wonderful it would be if Jeremiah had not warned of the coming time of "Jacob's Trouble". Tribulation spoken of by Daniel as "a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation", and in the New Testament: "For then shall there be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days be shortened no flesh would be saved" (Jesus Christ, Matthew 24:21-22).

How easy it would be to merely rejoice in the fact that God has so ordered world events as to result in the miraculous rebirth of His covenant people! But God who revealed to Jeremiah the rebirth of the nation of Israel also warned that this would be the prelude to the greatest time of trouble the world has known. Scientists and world leaders, apart from Bible prophecy, warn of the impending collapse of the world order as we now know it with the added threat of a nuclear holocaust.

So much for gloom and doom. Jeremiah speaks of another day when God would make a new covenant with His people Israel. But this new covenant would not be based on the same conditions as the one made at Mt. Sinai. Why? Because Israel failed to keep their part of the contract. In brief, the new covenant will be unconditional, whereas the Law given at Sinai was conditional upon Israel's obedience to observe it. The new covenant promises a change of heart and universal blessing with Israel in harmony and fellowship with God. Finally the new covenant will be everlasting, for as long as the sun and the moon exist God has promised that this covenant holds good for Israel.

It is part of our humanity to be on the lookout for a bargain. The mail (?) that crams our mail boxes assures us that bargains abound and sometimes we take advantage of a particular offer.

Surely the promise of this new covenant to Israel and Judah is a bargain to end all bargains. So let us look at the fine print to see if there is a catch in it. If there isn't, why not take advantage of the offer?

"Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah -- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD.

"But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: after those days, says the LORD, I will put My law in their minds, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

"No more shall every man teach his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD, for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more" (31:31-34

As a guarantee that God will keep His promise He assured Jeremiah that the terms of the new covenant were as eternal as the sun and moon's existence. Furthermore for good measure He added: "If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off the seed of Israel for all that they have done, say the LORD' (31:37).

There is just one problem. Whilst Jeremiah predicted that God would make a new covenant, he didn't specify the date it would become effective. The ninth chapter of Daniel gives us an important clue. After the expiration of 69 sevens of years following the decree to restore Jerusalem by Artaxerxes about 444 B.C.E. (see Nehemiah 2) Messiah would be "cut off".

So with this clue concerning the time and the person concerned let us turn to the New Testament for further details of this momentous event. The location is Jerusalem and the time is the commencement of the Passover and the scene is the observance of the seder by Yeshua and His disciples. "And He took bread and gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, This is My body which is given for you: do this in remembrance of Me. Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, This cup of the new covenant in My blood which is shed for you" (Luke 22:19-20).

God chose the momentous date in all history, the observance of the Passover, to ratify the terms of the new covenant. When Messiah fulfilled Daniel's prophecy and was "cut off" He sealed that covenant with His blood.

This covenant was promised to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It has never been repealed.