Jeremiah is finally told to “ what he has seen and heard in a book” [30:2] Thus, we get the book of Jeremiah. Take note of the specificity at the beginning of verse 2…”Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel:…” [ESV]. This is not just God speaking to people on earth but HE is specifically identified as THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL. HE identifies himself as the God of Israel. Recall that Israel; i.e. the Kingdom of…” has not existed for over 120 years yet God identifies himself as speaking to all of Israel; not just Judah. This is our first hint of what will follow in this chapter; one people reunited as a nation. What Jeremiah is told to write about is future tense; the two sticks of Ezekiel 37:16.
Verse 3 expands this thought. [ESV] “For behold days are coming when I will restore the fortunes of my people.” Jeremiah has now gone beyond the sorrowful days confronting the Judean Tribe in captivity in Babylon. It is of particular value to understand the wording. God says, I will BRING THEM BACK to the land promised to their fathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). He isn’t going to send them back, but LEAD THEM BACK. This suggests that God is present when this happens. This also suggests it will occur at the end of the Tribulation when Christ returns to the Mount of Olives as their Messiah. Later verses in this, and the next three chapters, underscore this eschatological view or window into which we can peer into the window of the future.
Again, in verse 4 both Israel and Judah are mentioned together. Israel (Kingdom of) has long been gone. The ten tribes are dispersed into the hinterlands of no-man’s lands by the Assyrians and natural wanderings or exile exploring which Israelis are very good at doing. The Judeans in Babylon MUST RETURN FIRST as Christ is to be born in Bethlehem, Judea another 500 years after Jeremiah. Jesus is of the Tribe of Judah. This means chapter 30 must be taken as a distant prophecy of things to come LONG after the70 years in Babylon have past. Jeremiah has shifted from his concerns over his fellow Judeans to things in a far distant future. It is called eschatology. God instructed him to specifically “write this down.” Why write? It is for our sake and understanding today.
However, the Judean Jews (Tribe of Judah) will go through more troublesome times far beyond this captivity in Babylon. Other nations will despise them, attack them, and try to humiliate them, push them around from exile to exile, execute them, and turn on them as a group. This is the punishment of a nation of God’s chosen who continually fall back into wanting things other than God. The worse is yet to come via the second half of the Tribulation called the Great Tribulation or Jacob’s Trouble [Jeremiah 30:7].
Thinking back, when Jacob was born, he had a hold of his non-identical twin brother Esau’s heel; an issue or omen of conflict that has never been solved and won’t be until the coming of Jesus to establish “His Kingdom on Earth.” This blog is not the time or place to take us back to some of the original passages in Genesis that underscore this conflict but don’t let this stand in one’s way of personally searching it out.
God does make a promise (covenant) at this moment with Jeremiah listening and writing. God says that he will “save Jacob (Israel as a twelve tribe nation) out of it.” That doesn’t bode well for the Gentiles of this time however. There will be panic but not for the true believers. The only church of believers (not an institution), will already be raptured. We can’t return with Christ to rule with him if we are still here on planet earth during this time.
Verse 8 tells us exactly what will happen when God brings his people back to the whole Promised Land in which they will enter the New Jerusalem; 1,400 miles by 1,400 miles (Revelation 21:16). Israel at present is only 9.3 miles wide at its narrowest point between the west bank and the Mediterranean Sea. It is only 263 miles from south to north. Israel is about the size of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
“I will break the yoke from the necks of the people of Israel and Judah, and I will break the ropes holding you. People from foreign countries will never again force my people to be slaves…” (ERV).
Jeremiah 30:10 is a great help toward deeper understanding and perspective. In the ERV it states that it will be “their descendants” who will be *saved and returned to the Promised Land. This makes it even clearer that this goes well beyond the 70 year captivity and their eventually ‘small in number’ return to Jerusalem. Well over 98% of the captives still alive or born during the Babylonian captivity opt to remain in this territory; not return to Judah with Zerubbabel or Ezra upon the decree of Cyrus the Great for their release. Even Daniel remains in Babylon and does not return to Jerusalem.
*However, it does not mean their immediate descendants. This chapter and the next three; 31, 32, and 33 are eschatology chapters. This reference is to a far future generation. Chapters 30 – 33 are the perpetuity of Israel. Other nations will vanish (by name) but Israel will be here.
Although Israel (Kingdom of) and Judah (Kingdom of) are mentioned multiple times, they are addressed in the singular; a people once again united in End Time and not scattered throughout the world. God scattered them. He will reunite them but this time around he will change their hearts and be THEIR God and them HIS people.
Due to the greatness and constant or repeated rejection of God, opting for things over him, religious symbolism versus worship, God brought this judgment upon them. As New Testament Christians we must learn from this. Even though we see many banners and signs reading “Gods is Love,” this example of Israel also tells us that God is also just (justice) and will hold his children accountable. Yes, God is love, but that does not mean turning a blind eye toward our sins in perpetuity. There is a limit. We will be disciplined if we continue down a path of self-destruction and ignorance of God’s Word. Blessed are the poor in spirit, meaning they do not have the resources to grow in knowledge, but we do not have that excuse if even just reading this website.
The yoke referred to in chapter 30 is the oppression of other peoples (Gentiles) over the Israelites throughout history; even to this very day. Verse 11 specifically states that God will destroy these “oppressing” people, “I will not destroy you.” However the last part of verse 11 also reads, “You must be punished for the bad things you did, but I will discipline you fairly.”
Jeremiah 30:12-15 underscore the perpetual wound or sore, perhaps omen, the Tribes of Israel carries with them. It cannot be healed under present circumstances. What Jeremiah is actually suggesting is that Israel has made many agreements with other nations, but these same nations turn a blind eye toward Israel’s continual blights and contentions with the world around them. This recognition or distinction of Israel apart from other people came from a prayer Moses offered up 800 plus years earlier when the Israelites were wandering in the Wilderness. Exodus 33:16, 17 explains this beginning point. Moses is in one of his “Tent Meetings” with God. Moses asked God:
“If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”
God replies, (v17) “this very thing that you have spoken I will do…” From this point forward to this very day, Israelites have been unique. Persecuted for this identity for which Moses asked of God to make them, “so we are distinct.” God basically answered Moses by saying, “Okay, if this is what you want I will grant this also” (JIV).
We need to mention something here since this chapter and the next three are eschatological chapters. In verse 14 of Jeremiah 30, Israel and Judah are correctly accused of being “lovers” of other nations and their not so godly customs. They compromise accepting political correctness as okay. God points out that these lovers desert them without blinking an eye. Again, since this chapter and the following three are End Time prophetic chapters, we can see in the news today how people and nations are once again aligning against the very existence of Israel. As long as other nations can get something for their troubles of aligning with Israel, they will hang around. Once that leeching ends, they abandon Israel; back in the time of Jeremiah and again in End Time. This is why God identifies Israel as a prostitute.
Jeremiah 30:16 once again shows an eye for an eye…God says these nations that abandon Israel will get the same thing in return. 16c… “…all who prey on you I (God) will make (them) prey.” [emphasis mine].
Do we wonder in which direction the modern day debates over who owns and will occupy Jerusalem will ultimately go? Jeremiah 30:18 answers this without opinion. “Thus says the LORD: Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob and have compassion on his dwellings; the city shall be rebuilt on its mound, and the palace shall stand where it used to be.” The nation of Israel will once again be in charge of all Jerusalem and all of the Promised Lands. We do not have any need to be concerned as God has spoken. Israel is his people of End Time. As Moses asked in Exodus 33:16, 17, so it will be.
Let’s conclude this article with the last sentence at the end of chapter 30… “In the latter days, you will understand.”
Rev. Dr. Jstark August, 2017