O LORD, Save Your People,
the Remnant of Isra’el

31: 1-14

DIG: What political vision does Jeremiah have of the restored nation? What causes for rejoicing would the people of Isra’el have when YHVH fulfills His promise? Why would Isra’el be considered the foremost of nations (Deuteronomy 7:6-8)? Why will they come weeping? Who else is included in this vision and why?

REFLECT: If you are Jewish, how does this apply to you today? If you are a Gentile, how does this apply to you today? For believers who love the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is His love for us temporary or eternal (see the commentary on The Life of Christ Ms – The Eternal Security of the Believer)?

595 BC during the eleven-year reign of Zedekiah

The context here is the believing remnant at the end of the Great Tribulation (see El – The Restoration of Isra’el), which was seen in a dream by God's prophet starting in Jeremiah 31:26The days are coming when I will bring back My people Isra’el and Judah back (shuwb) from captivity and restore them (shuwb) as a united people to the Land I gave their forefathers to possess, says ADONAI (30:2-3). At that time, declares ADONAI, I will be the God of all twelve tribes (families) of Isra’el, and they will be My people (31:1). In the Masoretic Hebrew text this verse is a part of the previous chapter (30:25).

God’s love and promises to Isra’el: This is what the LORD says: The people who survive the sword will find favor in the desert (31:2a). The believing Jews who survive the Great Tribulation up until the last three days (Hosea 6:1-3) will be saved. The Lord’s healing and restoration was not only certain, but when it happened, it would be a very special day of victory for God’s people. This three day motif is one of the more significant spiritual themes in the Bible. YHVH appeared to Isra’el on Mount Sinai on the third day (Exodus 19:10-16). The third day was also a day of crucial decision (First Kings 12:12; Esther 4:16 and 5:1), and of healing and sacrifice (Leviticus 7:17-18, 19:6-7; Numbers 19:12, 19-20). It is interesting to note that the third day was also was the day for Hezekiah’s recovery (Second Kings 20:8).

One third of the total number of Jews who were alive at the beginning of the time of Jacob’s trouble will find favor in the desert, but two thirds will die (Zech 13:8-9). The survivors will be held up at Bozrah in the desert (Ezeki'el 20:35; Micah 2:12-13; Rev 12:6, 13-14) where all Isra’el (who are alive at that time) will be saved (Romans 11:26).

God will come to give rest to Isra’el (31:2b). Isra’el is highlighted here. ADONAI emphasizes exactly who He is talking about here - not the Church or anyone else but Isra’el. The term rest has to do with salvation rest (Zech 12:10-14; Rom 11:26). In the Masoretic Hebrew text this is verse 1.

Then ADONAI explains the reason for Israel’s survival in the previous verse. This truth is something that had been revealed to Jeremiah and the prophets for a long time. The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: I have loved you with an everlasting love (31:3a). The context here is Isra’el. Therefore, what God is clearly expressing is an everlasting love for the people of Isra’el, which is one of the themes of Hosea. This unconditional love is eternal. We can see how God treats us, deals with us, when we see how He deals with Isra’el. Love never means lack of discipline. When we fail to discipline our children we actually demonstrate that we do not love them. God disciplined Isra’el and the Bible says that He has an everlasting love for her. When we do discipline our children, we do so appropriately and then restore fellowship with them. God promises final restoration for Isra’el after appropriate punishment. Consequently He says: I have drawn you with loving-kindness (Jer 31:3b; Song of Solomon 1:4; Hos 11:4). God will continually draw Isra’el to Himself until she is restored.

Now God presents some promises to Isra’el, saying: I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Isra’el (31:4a). Although others have had dominion over you, yet you are as beloved to Me as a pure virgin. When Isra’el is cleansed of her sins she will no longer be viewed as an adulterous wife (14:17, 18:13, and 31:21). This is only possible because God will have a new relationship with Isra’el (see Ep – The Days are Coming, declares the LORD, When I Will Make a New Covenant with the People of Isra’el). Then, and only then, she will be able to stand before Him as a virgin. There is both a near historical and a far eschatological application to this verse. In one sense this new relationship started at the festival of Shavu’ot with the beginning of the Messianic Community (Acts 2:1-47); but in its ultimate sense it can only be fully realized when the Messiah returns and inaugurates His messianic Kingdom.

Isra’el will rejoice: Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful (31:4b). She will once again be pictured as having a pure white bridal gown to go out and dance with others. She will no longer mourn over her desolate state, but will rejoice over her new purity.

Isra’el will plant: Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria; the farmers will plant them and enjoy their fruit (31:5). Not only will Judah plant in the south, but also in Samaria to the north. Isra’el had so often planted but their enemies would invade and steal the fruits of her labor. But no more! In the messianic Kingdom Isra’el will enjoy the fruit of her own planting.

Isra’el will be the center of the messianic Kingdom: There will be a day in the messianic Kingdom when watchmen cry out on the hills of Ephraim, saying: Come, let us go up to Tziyon, to ADONAI our God (31:6). The phrase “go up to Jerusalem” meansto go to God’s presence. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, will be physically reigning from the City (see the commentary on Isaiah Db – The Nine Missing Articles in Messiah’s Coming Temple). So Jerusalem will become the center of Jewish attention, no longer will the children of Abraham be drawn to centers of idol worship like Dan or Bethel.

The regathering of the remnant: This is what ADONAI says: Sing with joy for Jacob; shout for the foremost (or first) of the nations. Make your praises heard, and say, “O LORD, save your people the remnant of Isra’el. Then God describes a worldwide gathering: See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers, and women in labor; a great throng will return (shuwb). They will come with weeping over their sins; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them and sustain them with streams of water. There will be no obstacles because God will lead them on a level path where they will not stumble. What is pictured is a close family relationship. ADONAI declares: I am Isra’el’s father, and Ephraim is My firstborn son (31:7-9).

The rejoicing of the remnant: The Gentile nations are to proclaim what God has declared. Hear the word of the LORD, O nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands, “He who scattered Isra’el will gather them and will watch over His flock like a shepherd” (31:10). This verse clearly shows the view of Amillennialism, Covenant Theology, Replacement Theology, or the so-called “Hebrew roots movement” (or whatever else you want to call it) is in error. These false theologies see no future for Isra’el, but instead see the promises to Isra’el being fulfilled spiritually by the Church. They do take scattering above literally, but then they try to allegorize Isra’el’s return. But the two statements here in 31:10 are brought together in a way that they cannot be separated.

For ADONAI will ransom Jacob and redeem Isra’el from the hand of those stronger than they. In the context of the Great Tribulation those stronger than they would be the antichrist, the last Gentile ruler of the time of the Gentiles (see the commentary on Revelation An – The Times of the Gentiles), and the last king of Babylon. The Jews will come and shout for joy on the heights of Tziyon; they will rejoice in the bounty of Adonai, my Lord and my God – the grain, the new wine and the oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more. Then in their rejoicing the maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and My people will be filled with bounty, declares ADONAI (31:11-14). Isra’el will be fully satisfied.

 

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