After the peoples of Israel have endured the chastening of Jacob's Trouble, they will be liberated and brought back to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob:
"For it shall come to pass in that day," says the LORD of hosts, "that I will break his yoke from your neck, and will burst your bonds; foreigners shall no more enslave them. But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up [resurrect] for them. Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob," says the LORD, "Nor be dismayed, O Israel; for behold, I will save you from afar, and your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return, 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 I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice, and will not let you go altogether unpunished." (Jeremiah 30:8-11)
After the chastening of Jacob, God will demonstrate His mercy and providence:
Thus says the LORD: "Behold, I will bring back the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwelling places; the city shall be built upon its own mound, and the palace shall remain according to its own plan. Then out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of those who make merry; I will multiply them, and they shall not diminish; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. Their children also shall be as before, and their congregation shall be established before Me; and I will punish all who oppress them." (Jeremiah 30:18-20)
God will destroy the nations to which Israel and Judah are scattered, and He will correct Jacob's descendants in measure, as verse 11 says. However, when the punishment is finished, He will bring His people back to the land that He promised them and give them rest and peace. A number of other Second Exodus prophecies relate how God will bless the land, helping it produce abundantly again. Israel and Judah will have the Promised Land, they will have peace—because their enemies will be completely destroyed this time, which Israel failed to do the first time they came into the Land—and they will have prosperity. God will also bless them numerically, as the remnant will begin to multiply again.
This time, though, the peace and prosperity will last because two things will be different. First, Israel and Judah will have perfect leadership. Jesus Christ will be the King, and David—resurrected from the dead—will be His prince (Ezekiel 37:24-25; Jeremiah 23:3-7; Hosea 3:5; Micah 2:12-13). Corrupt or ambivalent leaders will no longer lead Israel astray, but they will instead set the example of righteousness for the people to follow. Additionally, the original twelve apostles will be resurrected and sit as judges over the tribes, ensuring that proper judgment is made (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30).
Second, Jacob's progeny will make the New Covenant, which means that God will give them the Holy Spirit, enabling them to keep the law in its spiritual intent (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Given a new heart, they will finally be able to know their God (Ezekiel 11:17-20; 36:24-29).
"At the same time," says the LORD, "I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people." Thus says the LORD: "The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness—Israel, when I went to give him rest." The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! You shall again be adorned with your tambourines, and shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice. You shall yet plant vines on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant and eat them as ordinary food. (Jeremiah 31:1-5)
After God performs "the intents of His heart" (Jeremiah 30:24), and His wrath has consumed His enemies, then peace dawns in the relationship between Him and Israel because those who have declared war on God with their conduct are all dead. He does not believe in "peace at any price." He works toward repentance, but if repentance does not follow, His only option is to destroy those who rebel against Him. Yet, after the destruction, He promises to be the God of all of Israel once again, and Israel will again be His people.
Jeremiah 31:2 mentions the qualifier: that the remnant will be those who have survived the sword, as Ezekiel 5:1-4 illustrates. From these verses, it is evident that great violence will be done to the peoples of Israel, but when it is over, God says that He will give them rest, and the people who survive the sword will find grace. God begins to demonstrate His lovingkindness and to rebuild and restore Israel. Good times are the result, as Jeremiah 31:4 contains the imagery of a celebration with dancing. Verse 5 prophesies that food will be in abundance; the time of famine will be over. On all counts, Israel's outlook begins to brighten.
For thus says the LORD: "Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, ‘O LORD, save Your people, the remnant of Israel!' Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the ends of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and the one who labors with child, together; a great throng shall return there. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications I will lead them. I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, in a straight way in which they shall not stumble; for I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn.
"Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd does his flock.' For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of one stronger than he." (Jeremiah 31:7-11)
By the time these verses are fulfilled, something very critical has happened. We do not know exactly how or when it happens, but these verses give us clues that the peoples of Israel once again know who they are. No longer believing themselves to be Gentiles, they realize that they are God's people, and this is a cause for "singing with gladness," and for giving God praise.
Next time, we will consider just how significant this knowledge will be for these modern Israelites in their time of trouble.
- David C. Grabbe
How to Know We Love Christ
by John W. Ritenbaugh
In this sermon on how to know we love Christ, John Ritenbaugh, drawing a parallel from human physical love provides an eight-point checklist to determine whether our love for Christ is genuine. If we love another person, we will (1) think about (2) like to hear about (3) like to read about (4) seek to please (5) be with the friends of (6) be jealous of the honor of (7) like to talk to, and (8) always want to be with this person. Like the Ephesian church, in the wake of mounting disappointments, frustrations, deferred hopes and pressures, we cannot become weary of well-doing, allowing our first love and devotion to deteriorate, looking to the world to gratify our desires. We desperately need to redirect our energies (Colossians 3:1, Galatians 6:6-8), to rekindling our first love.
Power Belongs to God (Part Two)
by John W. Ritenbaugh
Human beings, even those who have been called to be children of God, have an innate fear that God will not always provide for us. John Ritenbaugh contends that this fear originates in doubt about God's power—a doubt that falls to pieces before God's revelation of Himself in the Bible.
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