Let’s turn to Jeremiah chapter thirty. The thirtieth and the thirty first chapters of Jeremiah are tied together. They deal events of the future. The thirtieth chapter of Jeremiah deals with the period known as the great tribulation. Chapter thirty one deals with the kingdom of God that shall be established upon the earth, after the earth has been judged by God, by the great tribulation.
The key sort of to the two chapters is found in the last verse of chapter thirty, where he declares that, “The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return until He has done it, until He has performed the intent of His heart. Then in the latter years, or the latter days, you will consider it.” These are prophecies of the last days. When Daniel was writing his prophecies in the twelfth chapter, the Lord told Daniel to seal up these things that He had spoken to him. He said, “For seal them up until the time of the end. In other words it isn’t given to you Daniel, for you to know or understand. Just write them, seal them up until the time of the end. For at that time they will understand. For in the last days knowledge shall be increased”. So the knowledge and the understanding of the word of God, and of those prophetic issues that deal with our days, are more clearly understood now, then they were during say, church history, or during the time of the prophets themselves, as they were writing these things. As Peter tells us, “They wrote of things that they did not really understand themselves.” But God wanted the record there in advance and thus the prophetic writings of the scripture. But as we see the events unfolding, then we begin to have a clearer understanding of these prophecies.
Couple of things about prophecy. Number one, you don’t fully understand it until it has been completed, a lot of times we look at it, we say, “Well now, this is the way…”, but you really don’t know it fully until it is completed, and then, many of the prophecies have a two-fold type of fulfillment. We will get one tonight that definitely has one of those double fulfillments. But let’s go into chapter thirty, and we’ll be looking now at events that are going to take place upon the earth, during the period of the great tribulation. These events have not yet happened. They are still yet future.
So, This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book. [So, he is commanded to record these things.] For, lo, [the Lord said] the days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the Lord: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it (30:1-3).
Now this is not a prophecy of the gathering of the Jews back into the land, after the Babylonian captivity. But this is the final gathering of the Jews into the land. We are not yet seeing this prophecy fulfilled. We see the Jews coming back into the land.
Time magazine within the last week or so, had an interesting article about the nationalism that is rising in Europe. In many of the areas of Europe today, there is a rising nationalism, where they are actually talking about expelling all of the foreigners, the right wing political groups. These are extremist kinds of groups, not the Neo-Fascists, and all, are beginning to rise in power again in Europe, and are gaining great popularity. In many of these places, once more they are making the Jews the scapegoat for their problems. So there is rising anti-Semitism in Europe, now. So, there will be, it would seem from this article in Time magazine, more persecution of the Jews in Europe. Which of course will only be a further pressure on them to go back to the land of Israel. But this is actually a reference to a gathering that is perhaps in the process now, but has not yet fully taken place. Now, the interesting thing to me is that God speaks both of Israel and Judah.
Now we know that shortly after the death of Solomon, that the nation was divided into the northern and southern kingdoms. The northern kingdom, known as Israel. The southern kingdom, known as Judah. Ten tribes of the northern kingdom, two tribes of the southern kingdom. The northern kingdom fell some ninety years before the southern kingdom. They were scattered.
You hear people talk about the ten lost tribes of Israel. Usually it is those who have, what they call, the British-Israel philosophy, or Anglo-Saxon philosophy, and that is that all of the Anglo-Saxon nations are actually Jews, they have created quite an argument of the ten lost tribes, that in reality England, the Danish people, Scandinavians, and Germans, are actually really part of the ten lost tribes, and so, we are all Jews. The word “Ish” in Hebrew, is “man”, and so you have, “Dan-Ish”. The Danish people, or the Dan-Ish people, and they are actually the tribe of Dan. Dan’s man, Dan-Ish, and so, Engl-Ish, I don’t know Engl tribe is, but they try to make something out of the Ish, that comes from the Hebrew “man”. So you have Fool-Ish, and that’s what the whole theory is. Rather Fool-Ish. There are not ten lost tribes. They’re not lost at all! God knows exactly who they are, and where they are. They’re not lost. God will be gathering Israel and Judah, in this gathering of the people back into the land that He gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.
Now, the Jews according to the scripture are going to be gathered into the land. They are going to rebuild their temple under the leadership and inspiration of the leadership of the Anti-Christ, the man of sin. Once the temple has been rebuilt, he will come to the temple and declare that he is God, and demand to be worshiped as God. At that point, the Jew’s eyes will be opened. The Lord’s word to them, Matthew twenty four says, “Flee to the wilderness and there you will be preserved for three and a half years.” So, the Jews are not yet permanently in the land. This prophecy in chapter thirty, when it is complete, they’re never going to leave the land again.
But, they will flee from the land to the area that the Lord has prepared, and those that don’t flee will experience the wrath of the Anti-Christ, as he turns to make war with the remnant of the woman’s seed, Revelation chapter thirteen. So, this the people that are gathering now, there’s a lot of excitement, and a lot of pressure building to rebuild the temple. These are all a part of it, but they aren’t yet there permanently. They will be driven from the land, once more by the Anti-Christ, for a short period, and then when Jesus returns, then will He gather together all of the Jews, all over the world, wherever they have been scattered. That is when they will gather to permanently dwell in the land.
So, these are the words that the Lord spoke concerning both Israel and Judah. For thus saith the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. [Now the prophecies concerning the great tribulation.] Ask now, and see whether a man does travail with child? [Have you ever seen a man in labor, travailing with a child? With a child. And then he said,] why then do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness (30:4-6)?
So he sees the agony and the anguish that is going to come upon mankind during this period of great tribulation. Jesus said, “It will be a time of great trouble, great tribulation. Such as the world has never seen before, nor will ever see again.” Daniel says the same thing in chapter twelve.
“Alas! [he said] for that day is great, so that none is like it.” So, Jeremiah claims the same thing. There has never been a time in history that will equal the judgement that the earth will experience during the great tribulation. It will be unparalleled to the history of man, the horrible carnage that will take place. Revelation chapter six through eighteen, gives you many, many, many details of this period of time when there will be heavy meteorite showers striking the earth, there will be a cataclysmic upheaval of nature, there will be a shaking of the earth’s foundation, there will be moving of the oceans, and mountains disappearing, and tremendous floods and famines. Really just unparalleled types of cataclysmic events that will be shaking the earth, earthquakes, the whole thing. Unparalleled devastation that nothing in history can compare to it, as God is bringing His judgement and His wrath upon this rebellious earth because of its rebellion against Him, and against His laws, and against His reign.
So, alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; (30:7);
So, that’s Jeremiah’s phrase for the great tribulation, “The time of Jacob’s trouble”, but, interesting, he, Jacob will be saved out of it. They are told to flee to the wilderness where God will preserve them for three and a half years. And in the book of Revelation, we know that God will seal a hundred and forty four thousand of them, that they will not be hurt of the plagues and all, of the great tribulation period. So, God will divinely protect His people, during that period of time, that is, the Jews.
For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst [or break] your bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them (30:8-9).
So, verse nine goes on in to the kingdom. God is going to set them free. No longer will they be a curse among the world, no longer will they be hated by the nations of the world. But they will come, they will serve the Lord their God, and David, Jesus Christ will come, the son of David, to rule and to reign in the fulfillment of the many prophecies of the old testament, concerning the reign, the eternal reign, the son of David. Of course we know that that will be fulfilled through Jesus Christ.
Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the Lord; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid (30:10).
That can’t be said of the present day. There’s not rest and peace and quiet in Israel. There is strife. There is turmoil. Even now there is the attempt to bring the various factions to the peace table, to negotiate some kind of settlement concerning the land. This time of real peace and quiet until Jesus, the Son of David, the Prince of Peace, will come to rule and to reign. Now the Lord says to Israel, to Jacob or to Judah,
For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee: [In Romans the eleventh chapter, Paul tells us that, “Blindness has happened to Israel, in part until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in, but then all of Israel shall be saved, for the Lord shall send a deliverer, out of Zion, to turn the hearts of their children unto their fathers.” This is when that will be fulfilled. When Jesus comes again. Then the Lord will be with them, to save them. And He will make [He said] an end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, [The nations of the world will be brought to an end. The kingdom of God will be set up. There will be one king and one Lord over the whole earth. There won’t be a United States, or a Mexico, or a Canadian, or a European. But we will all be one people, living under the reigning of Jesus Christ. So, “Though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee”] but I will correct you in measure, and will not leave you altogether unpunished. [You’re going to have to be punished for your sins.] For thus saith the Lord, Your bruise is incurable, and thy wound is grievous. And there is none to plead your cause (30:11-12),
So, they’re gonna have to be judged, they’re gonna go through a time of judgement, and surely the Jews have, and are, even to the present day. The interesting phrase there is, “There is none to plead thy cause.” Now, a parallel prophet to Jeremiah, was Ezekiel, as we mentioned this morning, while Jeremiah was prophesying in Jerusalem, Ezekiel was, at the same time, prophesying to the Jews that had already been taken captive. There is a lot of similar things that they are saying. Because they are both speaking the word of the Lord, and are true prophets of God. One is prophesying to those that are still in Jerusalem. One is prophesying to those who had been taken captive to Babylon.
Now, the interesting thing about Ezekiel’s prophecy, as God speaks of the judgement that came upon the nation. God said, “I sought for a man among them who would stand in the gap and fill in the head, but I found none.” Here, Jeremiah says basically the same thing, the Lord said, “I didn’t find any to plead their cause.” There is an implication in the text, that had there been men, who would’ve arisen at that time, to really intercede, real intercessors, that the nation could’ve been spared. God was looking for men among them, who would stand in the gap and fill in the hedge, men who would intercede. But for lack of intercessors, the judgement of God came.
God has been impressing my heart, very much of late, how necessary it is for us to really raise up intercessors. Because I think that our nation is in the same kind of a critical position that Israel and Judah were in, before they went into captivity. The same conditions that existed then, are existing now. The same attitude that was in their heart, seems to be in our heart. A carelessness for the things of God. A drawing after the pleasures of the world. A forsaking of the Lord. The anarchy and all of the things that were taking place in Judah, seem to be taking place here. I think that God, today, is looking for intercessors. Men and women who will stand in the gap, and fill in the hedge, and intercede. And as God said here, “There was none to plead their cause.” And how tragic, and thus, God said, “The judgement came.” There’s none to plead your cause that you may be bound up: that you may be attended to.
Thou hast no healing medicines. [They have no one to plead their cause, to bind them up. There are no healing medicines.] And all of your lovers have forgotten you; they don’t seek you; for I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased. [So the Lord then asked], Why do you cry for thine affliction? your sorrow is incurable for the multitude of your iniquity, and because your sins were increased, I have done these things unto you (30:13-14).
Now they’re crying out because of the terrible things that they were experiencing, the Babylonian captivity, and all of these things, and God said, “It’s because of your iniquity and your sins that these things have come upon you.”
Therefore all of those that devour you shall be devoured; [God said, “I’m going to destroy the nations that destroyed you. So, those that devour you shall be devoured.” The great tribulation again.] and all of your adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and they that spoil you shall be a spoil, and they that prey upon you, will I give for a prey. And I will restore health unto you, and I will heal you of your wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after. Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob’s tents, and I will have mercy on his dwellingplaces; and the city shall be built upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after their own manner. And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small (30:16-19).
So, dark days are coming, but beyond those dark days, the glorious day of the Lord, and God will heal them, and they will be restored, and God will bless them. There will be again in Israel, the voices of thanksgiving, and praise, and the merriment as God will multiply them.
And their children also shall be as beforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish those that oppress them (30:20).
God said to Abraham, in His covenant to Abraham, “In blessing I will bless thee, and I will bless those that bless thee, and I will curse those that curse thee.” There is a lot of anti-Semitism in the world, there has been a lot of anti-Semitism in the world. There is a dangerous anti-Semitism that is beginning to arise in many churches today. As the churches seek to identify the church as Israel, and they say that God is completely through with Israel, as a people, as a nation, and that we, the church, are now Israel, and they seek to take the prophecies and make them apply to the church, rather than to Israel. Extremely dangerous, because actually, the byproduct of that is growing anti-Semitism within the church.
You cannot be blessed of God, and be opposed to the people of God, the Jews, even though they have been disobedient children, and have been punished by God, don’t you try to be the instrument. Let God take care of it, and bless the Jew, and you will be blessed. If you join in and seek to be an instrument of God, in bringing judgement upon them, then God will bring judgement upon you. You can’t escape it, and so, God speaks here how He will punish those that oppress them.
Their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the Lord. [And God’s declaration] You shall be my people, and I will be your God. Behold, the whirlwind of the Lord [Now, the as far as the world is concerned, the whirlwind of the Lord, the great tribulation] goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked (30:21-23).
Notice, on the head of the wicked. Not on the church. God has not appointed us unto wrath. Jesus said, “Pray always that you’ll escape these things, the great tribulation that is coming on the earth. That you might be standing upon the Son of men. I have the blessed hope of the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who will catch us up to be with Him, there in heaven, while the great tribulation takes place here, on the earth. So, the whirlwind of God’s fury will go forth upon the wicked.
The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart (30:24):
And the intent of His heart, is to judge this God rejecting, Christ rejecting, blaspheming world. And then as Jeremiah says, “In the latter days, you will consider it.” And in these last days, we can see how the world is really ripening for the judgement of God.
Now, dark, heavy, but oh on the other side, there is glorious light, as we come into the kingdom age, and the glorious reign of Jesus Christ. Chapter thirty one, deals now with the glorious reign of Christ, after the great tribulation period.
So, at the same time, saith the Lord, [That is, when the earth has been judged, by this fiery indignation of God’s wrath, that will devour His adversaries. At that same time, saith the Lord] will I be the God of the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. Thus saith the Lord, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest. The Lord has appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn you (31:1-4).
God declares His love for Israel. He has loved them with an everlasting love. They have been disobedient, they have been rebellious, and yet God’s love for them has not changed. Now, in this God also loves you, with an everlasting love, and with loving kindness He drew you, He chose you, and He drew you unto Himself. Jesus said, “No man knows the Father, except the Son, whom the Father has sent, and to Him, to whom the Son will reveal”. And He speaks about you not being able to come, unless you be drawn. But because God does love you, He has drawn you, by His love, unto Himself. And if you are a child of God, if you are a Christian tonight, rejoice! Because you are a Christian because God loved you, and drew you unto Himself. “I have loved thee”, He said, “with an everlasting love. And therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn thee.”
[Now, again, the Lord said,] Again will I build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, you will go forth in the dances of them that make merry. You shall yet plant vines in the mountains of Samaria: [That’s west bank territory, that you hear so much about today. That’s part of the west bank, the mountains of Samaria. And you’re gonna plant vines, vineyards, on the mountains of Samaria] and the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things. For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephriam [That also, is west bank territory, up in mount Ephriam] they shall cry, and they will say, Arise, and let us go up to Zion unto the Lord our God (31:4-6).
Jesus is going to come again. He is going to reign. His throne will be on mount Zion, in Jerusalem, and thus there in the territories, which are now east bank, which will again be completely occupied by Israel, they’ll be saying, “Come, let’s go to Zion to see the Lord our God”.
For thus saith the Lord; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish it, praise ye, and say, O Lord, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. [Thus, pray for their salvation. Now the Lord is talking about this gathering, He said,] Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, [There is again in Russia, they’re going through rough times, economically. With the fall of communism, there are a lot of shortages. Now, so often, they look for a scapegoat, when they have these kind of internal problems, and according to Time magazine, the Jews, again, are being listed as the reason for the problems in Russia. Even as Hitler blamed the Jews for the economic woes of Germany, and had that big attempt to exterminate the Jews. That same kind of feeling now, is rising in Russia. Right now, of course, the doors are sort of open for the Jews to leave Russia, and they are leaving by the hundreds of thousands coming to Israel, and many of them coming to the United States. But He said, “Gather them from the north country, from the coasts of the earth”.] and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travails with child together: a great company shall return thither (31:7-8).
The Jews point to this scripture and make it apply to the present time and perhaps there is a certain application as God has begun this regathering of the Jews. When the Salassi, the Ethiopian Jews, were going through such heavy persecution, the Jewish government took their 747 transports from Elate. They got these jumbo jets. They removed all of the seats and all, and they began to fly them down to Ethiopia to rescue the Jews that were experiencing the persecution down there who had an open door of opportunity to escape. That’s been in the last two years. In a forty eight hour period, they brought 14,000 Jews from Ethiopia to Israel. In a forty eight hour period. A mass exodus of these Jews out of Ethiopia. They took all the chairs out, and they filled these planes with 1,200 people. Each 747 was carrying 1,200 people. The interesting thing that they pointed out, during the flights bringing the people from Ethiopia, in flight there were fourteen babies that were born.
So they point to this passage here in Jeremiah that said, “And the blind and the lame, and the woman with child, and her that is laboring with child.” They point it out as a fulfillment of the scripture that fourteen babies were born, women in labor, were being brought out from that mass exodus from Ethiopia as they were returning these Ethiopian Jews to Israel. “A great company shall return.”
And they shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of water in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephriam is my first born (31:9).
Now, from a theological standpoint, you are interested in these things. We know that Ephriam was not the first born. Joseph had two sons. The first one was Manasseh, the second was Ephriam. You remember when Joseph brought his two sons to his father, Jacob, to bless them. As Joseph brought them to his father, he brought them so that as Jacob would reach out his hand, his right hand would be upon the head of Manasseh, the older, and the left hand would be upon the head of Ephriam. So, here Joseph brought them to his old dad, you know, to bless his sons, and he brought them in that said, “I know what I’m doing son, leave me alone”. And he pronounced the blessing, because Ephriam was chosen by God as a preeminent tribe over Manasseh, thus God said, “Ephriam was my first born”. position. So, as they came to Jacob, and he went to bless them, he crossed his hands, and he put his right hand on Ephriam, and his left hand on Manasseh, and Jacob said, “Oh no dad! You’ve got it wrong!”, and he
The word doesn’t indicate as it would in English, that it’s the first one that was born. But the most prominent one that was born. I bring that out because in other new testament scriptures there will be people trying to make theological arguments out of the word first born. So just remember that it doesn’t refer to the first one that is born, necessarily, but the most prominent one who has been born. So the Lord says that, “Ephriam is my first born”.
Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, declare it in the coasts far off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd does his flock. [God is going to gather them. He scattered them because of their sin, but He will gather them, as a shepherd gathers his flock.] For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. Therefore they shall come and they will sing in the height of Zion, and they shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, and for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock of the herd: and their souls shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all (31:10-12).
The kingdom age, as they come and they sing in the heights of Zion. Flowing together to the goodness of the Lord. The land will produce abundantly wheat, and the olive trees, the olive oil, and the wine, the grapes, and the flocks, and the herds, and their souls will be refreshed, like a watered garden. Not to sorrow any more at all.
And then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both the young men and the old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, [I love that! God just wants to satiate your life with His goodness and His love. He’s like a doting grandfather. He just wants to dote on you, and do all kinds of good things for you. He delights in you. He speaks here, just satiating their souls with fatness.] and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the Lord. [Oh, the glorious day of the Lord. Our lives just filled to overflowing.] Thus saith the Lord; [Now, here is in the midst of all this joy and blessing, the singing and dancing, and so forth; Thus saith the Lord;] A voice was heard in Ramah, of weeping, bitter weeping; for Rahel was weeping for her children, and refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not (31:13-15).
Now, it’s interesting how this little prophecy is just here inserted, and it doesn’t really relate to the rest of the prophecy, it’s talking about the joy and the dancing, and being satiated with the goodness of God, but right in the midst of that, is inserted, this interesting little prophecy.
Now, in Matthew’s gospel, Matthew tells us that this is a prophecy relating to the mothers in Bethlehem, whose children were slain by Herod the great, who was trying to destroy Jesus. Now, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, there came wise men out of the east, who were following a star. They came unto Herod, and they asked him, “Where is he who was born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and we have come to worship him.” And so, Herod inquired with the scribes where the Messiah was to be born, and they told him in Bethlehem, because the prophet Micah said, “In thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, you’re not the least among the princes of Judah, for out of thee is to come he, who is to rule my people, Israel”. So, Herod said to the wise men, “Go and search diligently for the young child, and when you have found him, come and tell me, that I might also come and worship him”.
Of course, that was not Herod’s intent. His intent was to kill the child, so he would not have any rival to his throne. So the wise men went, and the star went before them, and stood over the place where Jesus was in Bethlehem, and they came and they offered to Jesus, their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And then being warned by the Lord in a dream, not to return to Herod, they returned back by another route. When Herod realized that the wise men had not returned, he then ordered that all of the children, two years old and under in Bethlehem, be slain. All of the babies be slain, two years and under, because he was trying to destroy the Messiah, who would be a rival to his throne.
So, Matthew tells us that the scripture might be fulfilled, which declared, “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping, for Rahel is weeping for her children, and refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not”. Because they were slain. So, Matthew tells us that’s a prophecy that’s fulfilled at the time of the birth of Christ.
Interesting because of the way it’s inserted here because it doesn’t really fit with the context, which is a context of joy and dancing, and restoration in the last days. So, one of those interesting things, just the way God slipped it in there. And all the way through the old testament, God has slipped in prophecies of the Messiah. Prophecies of Jesus Christ, all the way through. There was that anticipation that was planted by God, for the day in which the Messiah would come. Now, we are dealing with the Messiah’s second coming, and yet herein lies a prophecy that deals with His first coming, right in the midst of all of the joy, the blessing, the peace, the merriment of His second coming.
But thus saith the Lord; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy (31:16).
Paul, the apostle tells us that our labor for the Lord is never in vain. That to me, is comforting, because so many things that we do just seem to end up, nothing. We put a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of money into something and then the whole thing falls apart. “Oh all that time wasted, and nothing to show for it!” But you can never say that about your service for the Lord, or your labor for the Lord. It is never in vain. God will reward you for your service and for your labor for Him. So here the Lord declares, “Your work shall be rewarded”.
There is hope in thine end, [in the end of the matter, there is real hope. In the mean time, you’re going to go through some darkness, some heavy, heavy days, but in the end, real hope.] that thy children shall come again to their own border. For I have surely heard Ephriam bemoaning himself as he says; You have chastened me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn to me, turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou are the Lord my God (31:17-18).
So, a repentance among Israel, those of Ephriam, as they realize they’ve been chastised by the Lord, and they are volunteering now to submit to God’s yoke. “You turn me, and I will be turned.” Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you”. The Lord actually made it three fold kind of, He said, “Come unto me all ye that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me”. Three things. Come, take His yoke, learn about Him. For he said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Now the yoke was the thing that they put on the ox so that they could guide him as they were plowing the fields. And when the Lord says, “Take my yoke upon you”, He is saying, “Submit your life to my will. I want to guide you. I want to direct your life. Let me take over the reins of your life and begin to direct your life. Let me be in control”.
Now, here’s Ephriam who has rebelled against the Lord, who has gone their own way in disobedience. But now they are saying, “Oh Lord, you chastised us. Put your yoke upon us again, and you turn us and we will be turned”. They are volunteering now to submit to God. How we need to just take His yoke, and submit to His leading, and to His guidance. What a glorious thing it is to have our lives directed by God. So, the Lord said, actually Ephriam was still talking, they said, “And I shall be turned, for thou art the Lord my God”.
Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote on my thigh: and I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth. [And God, responds, and He says] Is Ephriam my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spoke against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; and I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord. Set thee up waymarks, [road signs] make thee high heaps: set your heart toward the highway, even the way which thou wentest: turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities (31:19-21).
In other words, the Lord is sort of saying set the highway marks so that they can find their way back. They’ve strayed a long way, but set up the marks, and so forth, so that they can find their way back to me. God is always interesting in your returning. Even in backsliding, as did Ephriam. At one point God said to Jeremiah, “Ephriam is a half-turned pancake”, He said, “Let her alone! Don’t pray for her good”. They have forsaken God, but now God is speaking of their return, and of His receiving Him. And some of you have turned from the things of God, but God is saying, “Hey! Set up the signs so they can find their way back”. God is always seeking to draw you back unto Himself, and into that relationship that you once knew and experienced with Him.
How long will you go, O backsliding daughter? [The Lord said] For the Lord has created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man. And thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; [And I didn’t comment on that because I don’t know what it means. We’ll have to wait until that prophecy is fulfilled, and then we’ll say, “Oh yeah! There it is!” So, woman you’re gonna have your day!] Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; As yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, [Now, when they returned from their Babylonian captivity, they did not speak the Hebrew language. They spoke the Chaldean language, the Babylonian language, and then as the Grecian culture sort of permeated the world, they spoke the Greek language. Only the Jewish scholars knew the Hebrew language. The Jews themselves had lost their language, the Hebrew language, and thus as they came back from Babylonian captivity, they didn’t speak Hebrew as the common language. Now when the modern Israel was born, it was determined that Hebrew would be the language of the land. So they began to teach Hebrew again and of course, you go there today, and as the scripture here prophesies, “And yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof”] when I shall bring again their captivity; [And of course, again, it’s not in reference to the captivity of Babylon, but this long term captivity through the world where they have been scattered.] Oh the Lord bless thee, O habitation of justice, and mountain of holiness. And there shall dwell in Judah itself, and there shall dwell in Judah itself and the cities thereof together, The husbandmen, or the farmers and they that go forth with their flocks (31:22-24).
It’s interesting that the nation of Israel is basically an agricultural nation. They have become really, an agrarian type of society. Their agriculture is one of their major exports and sources of currency and wealth, comes from agriculture. They are the fourth largest exporter of fruit, of all of the nations of the world, and yet, the nation of Israel is about the size of New Jersey, and yet it ranks fourth in the world, as far as food export is concerned. So here the Lord speaks about them being husbandmen, or farmers and going forth with their flocks.
And again that word satiated. I love that word.
For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul. Upon this I awakened, [Jeremiah said] and I beheld; and my sleep was sweet. [All the thought of what God is going to do for His people. The future that is in store for the people of God. It was just sweet for Jeremiah to see these things, and think upon these things.] Behold [And now we get some of the aspects of this kingdom age of the Lord, in this kingdom to come.] Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast. [In other words, they’re going to multiply. There’ll be a population explosion.] And it shall come to pass, that even as I have watched over them, to pluck them up, and to break them down, and to throw them down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the Lord (31:25-28).
Now going back to the first chapter of Jeremiah, when God called Jeremiah into his prophetic ministry. That’s the very thing that God spoke to him about, he was going to, called him to actually pluck up and to tear down and so forth. Then to build and to plant. So, here God said, “Even as I’ve watched over them for these purposes, so will I watch over them now to build. The time has come to build and to plant. It’s somewhere in the first couple chapters there. The call of Jeremiah.
In those days [That is the days the Lord is reigning.] they shall no more be saying, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. [There will be no more cause to blame their fathers for their calamities that have come upon them. Each man will be responsible himself, before the Lord, and will answer for himself. And that’s exactly what Jeremiah says.] But every man shall die for his own iniquity: [You’re responsible to God for what you are. You can’t blame someone else. You are what you are. Now, you may be the byproduct of a bad home environment, you may have a lot of problems in your childhood, growing up, and yet God holds you responsible for what you do and what you are. Because God has promised to take away that bad background. To give you a whole new life, in Christ Jesus. So, you’ll no longer be able to use the problem] well the fathers have eaten sour grapes, the children’s teeth are set on edge. But the days are coming, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and the house of Judah: [Now Jesus said that He was making a new covenant with His disciples. He said, “This cup is a new covenant in my blood which is shed for the remission of sins”. Now God is promising this covenant with the house of Judah and the house of Israel.] It’s not according to the covenant that He made with their fathers, in the day that He took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, which the Lord said, My covenant they broke, although I was a husband unto them, saith the Lord (31:30-32):
Now when God brought the nation of Israel out of Egypt, when they came into the wilderness, the area of mount Sinai, Moses went up on the mount, and he received from God, the ten commandments. And God gave to Moses the ordinances and the law for the people. And Moses gave to the people all of the ordinances of God, the statutes, the judgements, and the law, the commandments. The Lord, as He gave these commandments, and statutes, and judgements to them said, “And if you will keep these statutes, and obey these commandments, then I will be your God, and you shall be my people”. So, their relationship with God was predicated on their obedience to the commandments of God. Their keeping of the statutes of God. But as Jeremiah testifies, they broke the commandments. They didn’t keep the statutes, and thus their relationship with God was broken.
Now, God wants to bring you into a relationship with Him. But the relationship is not based upon the old covenant of the law. “Now you keep these rules and these regulations, and these statutes, and these judgements and so forth, and I’ll be your God, and you’ll be my people. No, that isn’t what your relationship with God is predicated upon.
The reason why the first covenant failed is it was predicated upon man’s obedience to the commandments of God, and man’s spirit may be willing, but his flesh is weak. Thus man failed, and thus the covenant was broken. And so, God has established a new covenant. This new covenant is through Jesus Christ, and the blood of Jesus Christ, that was shed for your sins. So, He took this cup and he said, “This cup is a new covenant, in my blood, which is shed for the remission of sins”. So that your relationship with God is predicated now upon your faith in Jesus Christ, that He died for your sins. Thus your sins which separate men from God have been removed as the result of your believing in Jesus Christ.
God now accounts you righteous, He doesn’t account you as a sinner, but He accounts you righteous through your faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who gave His life for your sins. Thus your relationship with God, is on the basis of this new covenant that God has established with us, through Jesus Christ, and that work that Jesus Christ did for you in dying for your sins. Now the new covenant will stand because it’s not predicated upon my works. It’s predicated on my faith in the work of Jesus Christ. It’s His work, and my trusting and believing in that work of Jesus Christ, for me. I’ve established now this relationship with God. I am established in this relationship with God. Now the Lord said that He’s going to establish this new covenant. Not the one that He made with them when they came out of Egypt. The covenant that they broke.
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [This new covenant, God writes His laws or, right in my heart. That is, He changes my heart. He changes my desires. Now that makes you sort of an anomaly to the world. They don’t understand you. They don’t understand the new desires that you have. “You’re going to church? Church! Why do you want to go to church man?” They don’t understand your love for the Lord. They don’t understand the things that are in your heart, the desires that are in your heart. Where did that come from? God’s written His law right in your heart. This new covenant, as God is taking control of our lives, and He has changed our desires, and the old things are passed away, and everything has become new. New loves, new interests, new desires. The desires for the word of God, and the things of God, and fellowship with the people of God. It’s this glorious new covenant! “It’s easy to handle, because it’s right there in my heart! That’s what I want to do! That’s what I delight to do!”
And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more (31:34).
Isn’t that glorious? Forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more! God has blotted out your sin, your past, all of the transgressions. He has blotted them out! “There is therefore now no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus.” What a glorious experience! God has wiped out that old slate, that was marred by our sins. Given us a new life, a new beginning in Christ.
Now, should the land be divided? Should there be a Palestinian state established within the land of Israel? These are the things that the world is going to be arguing over, and the United States is pressuring Israel to concede to these demands. Is God’s ordinance flexible? Is it changeable? May it be that God will just say, “Well let’s just divide the land, and then we’ll have peace”. Well, listen to what the Lord said.
Thus saith the Lord, which gives the sun as a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, who divided the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name. If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel shall cease from being a nation before me forever (31:35-36).
If the sun doesn’t come up tomorrow, then it could be that things are going to change. If the stars quit shining and the moon doesn’t shine. If you go out tonight and the moon isn’t, well it may be down by the time we get out we’re in the first quarter of the new phase, but if there are no stars up there, if they’ve ceased to shine, and the sun doesn’t come up tomorrow, then God says, you know. But as long as the sun shines, as long as the stars are in the sky, God’s ordinance has been established with the nation of Israel. They shall never cease from being God’s people, or a people before God. A nation before Him, forever.
For thus saith the Lord; If the heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, [Now, we have been trying to search out somewhat, the earth’s crust, and trying to drill on down through the earth’s crust. Haven’t made it yet, but man is attempting. We’ve gone down some six miles into the earth with some of the drilling rigs, trying to penetrate the earth’s crust. “But if the foundations of the earth can be searched out beneath”] Or if the heavens can be measured, [Right now they think they’re fifteen billion light years, but if they can be measured, God said] I will also cast off all of the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord. Behold, the days come saith the Lord, [and the last three verses give you the limits, the new city limits of Jerusalem. “Behold the days come saith the Lord,] that the city of Jerusalem shall be built to the Lord from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner. And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall encircle about to Goath. And the whole valley of the dead bodies, [that is Gehenna]and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy unto the Lord; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever (31:38-40).
It’s interesting that the city limits of Jerusalem now have extended to these points of reference that are given here in Jeremiah. But yet they are going to flee Jerusalem, when the Anti-Christ is revealed for who he is, and then when they are brought back, when Christ returns, wherein. That’s the glorious kingdom age! So, Jeremiah here sees, these things that we are on the verge of seeing the fulfillment. We saw them from a distance. We are now looking at them from a far closer perspective.
Now, God spoke to Jeremiah. Over and over the word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah. The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord. How did God speak to Jeremiah? Did he hear a voice? How did God speak? How does God speak to us? As we move into chapter thirty two, we find a little bit of insight on how God spoke to Jeremiah. I think you’ll find the reading and the study of chapter thirty two, very fascinating indeed. So that will be next week, as we continue our journey through the word of God.
Shall we stand. Now may the love of God, and the peace of Christ, and the sweet and blessed communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you as you go. And may our hearts be open to the work of God, and to the call of God, and to the promptings of God upon our spirit. And I pray that God will raise up, from among this body, people who will get desperate before God in intercession. That it will not be said of God concerning our day and our city, that there was no one to intercede. That He sought for a man to stand in the gap, to fill in the hedge, but He found none, and thus the judgement proceeded. May God really call us unto prayer, and may we obey and respond to that call of God. May each of us spend time this week in prayer for our city, for our state, and for our country, that we might see a real spiritual awakening, a move of God’s Spirit, and a return unto the Lord. May the Lord be with you, bless and keep you through this week.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7296