Scripture Text – Jeremiah 30-33
In these chapters, the Lord amplified the wonderful promise He gave to His people in the letter Jeremiah sent the Babylonian exiles:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV).
These chapters describe the glory of the dawning of a new day for the people of Israel, not only for the exiles in Babylon but also for the Jewish people in the latter days before the Lord returns. Jeremiah’s prophecy comprises both the near and far future.
Redemption: A New Beginning
Please read Jeremiah 30:1-24 for the background to this section.
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Jeremiah received the words recorded in 30:1–31:25 while he was asleep, for God sometimes spoke to His servants through dreams (Daniel 10:9; Zechariah 4:1). God instructed Jeremiah to write His words down so the nation would have a permanent record of the promises God was giving to His people (Jeremiah 36:1–4).
In His instructions to Jeremiah, God stated the theme of His message: Israel (the Northern Kingdom) and Judah (the Southern Kingdom) will eventually return to their land as a united people. While this promise refers ultimately to the regathering of the Jews at the end of the age, it certainly was an encouragement to the exiles in Babylon, for if God can gather His people from all the nations of the world, surely He can deliver Judah from the captivity of one nation. Note God’s promise in verse 10.
This “redemption” of His people from bondage is pictured in several ways.
The broken yoke (Jeremiah 30:4-11). “For it shall come to pass in that day . . . that I will break his yoke from your neck, and will burst your bonds; foreigners shall no more enslave them.” When the prophets used the phrase “in that day,” they were usually referring to the future time when God will judge the nations of the world and restore the Jews to their land.
Before Israel is delivered, however, all the nations of the earth will experience “the time of Jacob’s trouble,” a phrase that describes the time of tribulation that will come upon the earth (Matthew 24:21–31; Mark 13:19–27; Revelation 6–19). A frequent biblical symbol of suffering is that of a woman in travail, and this image is used to describe the Tribulation in the end times (see Isaiah 13:8; Micah 4:9–13; 1 Thessalonians 5:1–3).
The promise in verse 9 applies to the future Kingdom Age, following the Tribulation, when the Messiah shall reign over His people. You find corresponding promises in Jeremiah 23:5 and 33:14–26. When Jesus was here on earth, His people said, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” – Luke 19:14. However, in that day, they will recognize their Messiah-King and welcome Him (Zechariah 12:8–14:21).
The healed wound (Jeremiah 30:12-17). In Isaiah’s day, Judah was a “sick” nation (Isaiah 1:5–6), and thanks to the superficial ministry of the false prophets (Jeremiah 6:14; 8:11), the sickness became worse in Jeremiah’s day (Jeremiah 10:19; 14:17; 15:18). The Lord reminded the Jews that it was He who used other nations to discipline them because of their disobedience to Him. He used Assyria to chasten Israel and Babylon to punish Judah, and in the latter days, He will use the Gentile nations to correct Israel and prepare the Jews for the return of their Messiah. However, God will punish the Gentile nations for the way they treat Israel in the last days (see Joel 3) just as He punished Assyria and Babylon. “For I will restore health to you And heal you of your wounds,” was God’s encouraging promise.
The calm after the storm (Jeremiah 30:18–24). Jeremiah then picked up the image of the storm that he had used earlier (see Jeremiah 23:19–20) to describe the Babylonian assault, but now he related it to the trials of “the latter days.” God promised that Jerusalem and the cities of Judah will be rebuilt and that the fortunes of the people will be restored. Their mourning will turn to joy and their children will again enjoy a normal life.
Instead of being under despotic Gentile rulers, the Jews will have the Messiah as their ruler, “from among them,” that is, a Jew. But here’s a surprising revelation: Not only will the Messiah be their King, but He will also be their Priest! “Then I will cause him to draw near, and He shall approach Me.” This is language that applies especially to the Jewish high priest, who alone entered the holy of holies on the annual Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16). Only Jesus Christ, who is both King and Priest (Hebrews 7–8), can qualify to fulfill this prophecy.
So, to sum it up: The people of Judah and Jerusalem will experience terrible trials at the hands of the Babylonians. They will end up wearing the Gentile yoke, bearing the wounds caused by their sins, and having endured the storm of God’s wrath. But God would eventually deliver them, breaking the yoke, healing the wounds, and bringing peace after the storm. All of this will be a foreshadowing of what will happen to the Jews in the end times as they go through the Tribulation, meet their Messiah-King, and enter into their kingdom.
To Be Continued