Jeremiah 30 - 31 - Outline of Jeremiah (Book Notes menu page)
The Coming Days of Restoration, ch. 30 - 31
Introduction, 30:1,2 -
The word... from the LORD...
Write... in a book...- Three times, the LORD instructed Jeremiah to commit his messages to writing.
  1. All the words which the LORD spoke through Jeremiah from the days of Josiah to the fourth year of Jehoiakim (36:1,2). Jehoiakim destroyed that scroll in the fire (36:22,23).
  2. All of the words from the destroyed scroll were rewritten, and "many like words" were added to them (36:27,28,32). The text of the destroyed scroll is preserved, as rewritten, in ch.1-20. The rewritten scroll was "added to" as events occurred. The completed document is the entire book of Jeremiah as we know it.
  3. The message of ch.30-31.- Jeremiah's other messages were spoken before being written.
       This message was to be written before being spoken. Why?
    • Jeremiah may have been unable to speak to the people due to imprisonment (32:2).
    • The message was for the captives in places far beyond Jeremiah's reach (31:8a).
    • The message was for a time far beyond Jeremiah's lifespan (30:24b).
Chapters 30 - 31 can be divided according the recurring phrase "Behold, the days come..."
As the message unfolds, we see that those future days of blessing are not brought about by the wisdom or power of any man or nation, but by the LORD Himself. He tells us to 'Behold' or 'carefully observe' what He will do.
I. Behold {Lo}, the days come... that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah... (30:3-22)
  1. For... we have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace.
    ...Thus saith the LORD: he shall be saved out of it... (30:4-10)
    • The LORD's message "I will bring again..." must not be confused with that of the false prophets.
      Time has passed. At least seven years have elapsed since Hananiah's false prophecy (28:11). The deliverance promised by other false prophets had not materialized (27:16). Instead, Nebuchadnezzar and his armies surround the city. The false promises of peace have turned to terror (30:5,6). Yet now, as the people realize all human hope is lost, the LORD promises restoration.
    • The language describes the terrors of the siege and captivities,
      but also looks beyond the local troubles of Jeremiah's day, to the "time of Jacob's trouble" (30:7), the unprecedented Great Tribulation period (cp. Mat 24:21,22; Mark 13:19,20; Dan 12:1).
    • The deliverance in that day, will not simply be from trouble, but...
      • from bondage to strangers (30:8).- But the strangers are not identified.
        If the prophecy applied to Jeremiah's time, Nebuchadnezzar or Babylon might have been named. Babylon's power would be broken in 70 years, but other foreign nations would rise and reign over Israel (Luk 21:24).
        Apparently, the Lord had an individual in mind, when He said "I will break his yoke from off thy neck." At the end of the time of Jacob's trouble, the age of Gentile dominion will be broken at the fall of the Antichrist and his kingdom.
      • to serve the LORD and David their king, in the future Millennial Kingdom of Christ (30:9).
        cp. Isa 55:3; Eze 34:23,24; 37:24,25; Hos 3:5; Luke 1:30-33).
        In that day, they will have true and lasting peace (30:10).
        "Fear thou not... none shall make [Israel] afraid." cp. Isa 41:10; 43:5; 44:2
  2. I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee...
    ...thy bruise {fracture, ruin} is incurable... thy wound is grievous {severe}... (30:11-17a)
    • Israel's afflictions were incurable because they were from the LORD, the consequence of their sins (30:14,15).
      They had refused the remedy which He offered to them (2Chr 36:16; cp. Jer 8:22).
    • Israel's former lovers, the false gods and the political allies of the surrounding nations,
      have not stood with them, have failed to help them, have turned against them... and will be held accountable for the way they mistreated Israel (30:13-16). (eg. Jer 4:30; Hos 2:6-13; 5:13-15)
    • Though the LORD may completely consume Israel's enemies in judgment,
      He will preserve Israel, after chastising her in measure {ie., according to His discretion} (30:11).
    • The LORD Himself will cure Israel's plague of sin and wounds of judgment (30:17a; cp. Hos 6:1).
  3. Because they called thee an Outcast... Zion, whom no man seeketh after...
    ...Thus saith the LORD: I will bring again the captivity... the city shall be builded... (30:17b-22)
    • The people, who are not accepted by the nations (30:14a; cp. Lam 1:2,3),
      will be brought back (Isa 11:12), and be at home (30:19-21)
    • The city despised by the nations (cp. Lam 2:15,16), and its Temple {'the palace'},
      will be rebuilt upon the site of its ruins (30:18).
    • They will be governed by their own people (in contrast to previous gentile dominion). 30:21a
    • Their governor, comes from the midst of them (30:21b), though his identity is a mystery to his people, prior to the time.
      • "Who is this...?" (cp. Isa 53:1; Mat 21:10; Psa 24:3-5)
        But the question itself reveals Him to be the Lord Jesus Christ...
      • "Who is this that engaged {HB='arab, pledged, exchanged, gave as surety} his heart to approach unto Me?" (cp. Isa 53:12)
        Because He has approached God on their behalf (30:21b), His people are drawn near to God through Him. (30:22; Heb 4:14-16; 7:26; 9:24-28)
II. Behold... at the same time...
    I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people (30:23- 31:26).
  1. The fierce anger of the LORD will accomplish His judgment upon the wicked {ungodly men} (30:23 - 31:2).
    • The whirlwind of wrath, in view here, relates to the latter days.
      (See 30:23,24; cp. 30:7; 23:19,20; 25:32)
    • His wrath will not return {turn back} until it accomplishes His purposes, which are:
      to judge sin, and to purge and restore His people. cp. 30:11; Amos 9:8-11
    • At the time of that wrath, the LORD will restore Israel's relationship with Himself.
      (See 31:1; cp. Deu 4:30,31; Hos 1:9-11; 3:4,5)
    • At that time, He will work in their behalf,
      as when He delivered Israel from the sword of Egypt's pursuing armies, and favored {graced} them with provision and protection as they traversed the wilderness, and finally brought them to rest in the promised land (31:2).
  2. The LORD's everlasting love for Israel will draw her to Himself and build her in her place (31:3-7).
    • Is the LORD's love for Israel really 'everlasting'? He says it is (31:3; cp. Deu 7:7-9).
      If the LORD's "everlasting" love for Israel has expired (as some say), then what confidence would Christians have in His everlasting love for us today? His love flows from who He is, in spite of what we are. (Joh 3:16; Rom 5:8; 8:38,39; 1Joh 4:10)
    • This restoration concerns all the families of Israel (31:1), which includes all twelve tribes.
      Yet, the northern kingdom of Israel, whose capital was Samaria, and whose chief tribe was Ephraim, is primarily in view here (31:5,6). The restoration of Judah is not specifically addressed until 31:23.
         Perhaps the LORD calls attention, first, to the restoration of Israel (the ten northern tribes), because her dispersion seemed more hopeless by man's estimation. At the time of Jeremiah's writing, Israel had already been in captivity for a hundred years, and they would have no part in the partial restoration of Judah, at the time of Ezra. If the LORD can regather Israel, He can restore Judah and Jerusalem.
    Israel's regathering, described...
    1. The 'plucked up' people will be built and planted in their land (31:4,5; cp. 31:28).
      • During the years of their judgment, things, previously taken for granted, would become unobtainable luxuries (cp. Deu 28:30). But in the future day of restoration, the "common things" of life would be restored to them.
    2. The rebellious nation will return to seek the LORD (31:6,7).
      • Ephraim shall cry "let us go up to Zion..."- In years past, they had forsaken the LORD's house in Jerusalem, to worship the golden calves, in Bethel and Dan. The kings and people of Samaria had given themselves to a multitude of false gods. But in that day, the remnant will turn to the LORD, and pray to Him for salvation. cp. Hos 2:14-23
    3. The distant, the infirm, and the oppressed will be gathered, tended and redeemed,
      by the LORD who previously scattered them (31:8-11; cp. Isa 40:9-11). Also see Isa 49:22,23; 66:19,20.
      • I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn (31:9; cp. Ex 4:21-23; Hos 11:1-8). This is another expression of the LORD's tender love for his people, again emphasizing that his love embraces the northern kingdom also.
    4. The sorrowful people will rejoice (31:12-17).
      • Rachel weeping for her children... Rachel's children were Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph's sons Ephraim and Manasseh are synonymous with the northern kingdom (Israel). Benjamin was joined with Judah in the southern kingdom. So, Rachel is truly a mother to the entire nation. Her bereavement, here, was first for Israel, carried away captive by Assyria in 722 BC, and soon (from Jeremiah's time of writing) for Judah, which was taken captive by Babylon in 586 BC. Ramah, a town five miles north of Jerusalem, was the staging point for the Babylonian deportation (40:1). She is to take comfort in the LORD's promise that "they shall come again from the land of the enemy."
      • Matthew refers to this passage in regard to Herod's slaughter of the innocents (Mat 2:17,18). That incident is representative of Israel's sorrows, rather than a specific fulfillment of this passage. Israel's sorrows continue through the ages, until they are reversed by the "expected end" (31:17; cp. Jer 29:11-14).
    5. The backsliding people will repent and seek the LORD (31:18-22).
      • Their prayer of repentance (31:18,19).
      • The yearning of the heavenly Father for his prodigal son (31:20,21; cp. 31:9; Luk 15:20).
      • A new thing... a woman shall compass a man. (31:22)-
        Some attempt to apply this verse to the virgin birth of Christ. However, whereas the virgin birth is history, this passage and promise look to the yet future restoration of Israel.
           The woman is Israel. The man is the Messiah. In years past, the LORD sought after Israel, though she pursued other lovers. But in the future restoration, she will seek Him and 'cleave' to Him (cp. the word "compass" in Psa 26:6).
    6. The weary {faint, exhausted} soul will be satiated {satisfied, saturated, drink to one's fill} (31:23-26)... The sorrowful {languishing} soul will be replenished {satisfied, filled}.
      • The weeping prophet was refreshed, by the vision, of that future day.
        How glorious it will be when the day dawns, and is no longer a dream! cp. Rom 11:15; 2Pet 1:19
III. Behold, the days come... (for a new beginning in the land, and a new relationship with the LORD) (31:27-30)
  1. I will sow... build... and... plant... the house of Israel and the house of Judah (31:27-28; cp. Jer 1:10)
    • Just as the LORD fulfilled His promises to judge both kingdoms,
      so, after the judgment is complete, He will fulfill His promise to restore them.
  2. In those days, they shall say no more... (31:29,30; cp. Eze 18:2-4)
    • This proverb on the lips of Jeremiah's contemporaries (31:29) suggested that God was unfair for punishing the nation for the sins of their ancestors. They comprehended neither the depth of their own sinfulness, nor the grace of the LORD in withholding judgment, as He had pled with His people to repent (cp. Jer 7:25,26; Rom 2:2-6).
    • In the future restoration, the LORD will execute justice swiftly upon the individual who sins. The emphasis will be on personal, rather than national, responsibility (cp. Isa 65:20; Rom 2:6-9).
IV. Behold, the days come... that I will make a new covenant... (31:31-37)
Note that this New Covenant is made "with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah." Through this covenant, the two kingdoms will be re-united as one nation, in right relationship to the LORD, from whom they had previously wandered.
  1. The New Covenant is differentiated from the Law given through Moses (31:31,32).
    The children of Israel began to break the Law as soon as they received it. Although the LORD was constant in His loving care toward them, they failed to obey and follow Him. They could not fulfill the Law, because it required an inner righteousness which they did not possess. cp. Deu 5:29; Rom 3:9-20; 8:7,8
  2. The New Covenant fulfills the Law within the hearts of individuals (31:33,34).
    • The New Covenant is fulfilled by the LORD Himself.
      The LORD says "I will..." five times in these two verses!
      Therefore, the New Covenant is better than the old (Heb 8:6-13 quoting Jer 31:31-34).
    • The New Covenant is implemented through one sufficient sacrifice.
      The phrase "I will make... a new covenant..." {HB= "ve-karati... berit hadasah..."}.
      The literal meaning is "I will cut... a new covenant..." cp. Heb 9:13-15; 10:14-18; Mat 26:28
    • The New Covenant is effective within the lives of believers (Rom 8:3,4).
      The New Covenant, which was yet future from Jeremiah's perspective, is present reality for the individual Jew or Gentile who participates in it by faith in Christ. In the future restoration, when Israel recognizes the Lamb of God, all Israel will be saved, and come under this covenant of grace. (cp. Rom 11:26,27; Zech 12:10; 13:1)
           Against this backdrop, the deceitful and desperately wicked character of the human heart stands out sharply. In that day, when all know the Truth and the Way of true righteousness (31:34; cp. Isa 2:3; Rom 3:21-26), rebellious and unrepentant individuals will be without excuse, and therefore dealt with swiftly (31:30).
           However, the historic rebellion of the nation will be forgiven and forgotten (31:34b).
  3. The New Covenant does not annull the LORD's promises to Israel (31:35-37).
    • The LORD (the One who is, and was, and evermore shall be), established Israel as a nation by His ordinance {decree}, which is the same basis upon which all of creation is founded.
      • The sun, moon and stars. cp. 31:35a; Gen 1:14-19
      • The division between sea and land. cp. 31:35b; Gen 1:9,10; Job 38:8-11; 2Pet 3:5
      • The promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel) regarding their "seed and nation" (31:36) were "an everlasting covenant" which the LORD Himself would perform. cp. Gen 12:1-3; 15:1-21 (where God cut a covenant, in which He alone was the responsible party); 17:4-8; Heb 6:13,14
        Because these promises did not depend upon the ability of Abraham (or his seed) to perform them, these promises could not be forfeited by Israel's failure to keep the Law (31:37b). Nor, could they be abrogated {abolished} by the establishment of a New Covenant by which Israel would be enabled to obey God's Law.
    • The LORD of Hosts {armies, multitudes}, who rules the heavenly hosts, has full jurisdiction over everything pertaining to earth. His promises to Israel are just as unfailing as the order of the universe (31:37; cp. Gen 15:5; 13:16; Jer 33:22).
V. Behold, the days come... (for a new city) (31:38-40)
  1. The reality of the restored Jerusalem.
    ...the city (Jerusalem) shall be built... 31:38; cp. 30:18 -
    • ...from the tower of Hananeel...-
      There was a partial fulfillment under Nehemiah (Neh 3:1). However, that restoration was not lasting, for the city was subsequently destroyed.
         This prophecy foresees the rebuilt earthly Jerusalem of Christ's Millennial Kingdom, as indicated by the naming of specific earthly landmarks and borders (Zech 14:9-11; Rev 20:1-10).
         That earthly Kingdom will transition into the eternal Kingdom, in the New Jerusalem, which comes down from heaven, in the time of the new heaven and new earth (Rev 21:1-3).
    • ...the measuring line shall yet go forth... (31:39)-
      The prophetic measuring of an item symbolizes its certainty according to God's purposes.
      • The rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, during the partial return
        (as recorded in Ezra and Nehemiah), was hastened by God's Word through Zechariah (Zech 1:16; 2:1,2). However, Zechariah's prophecies look beyond the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, to the future Millennial Kingdom.
      • The presence of a Temple in Jerusalem, during the Tribulation period, is certain (Rev 11:1,2).
      • The presence of a Temple in Jerusalem, during the Millennial Kingdom, is certain (Eze 40:1-8).
        In Ezekiel ch.40-48, the prophet was given extensive measurements and detailed descriptions, of the Temple, of the city, and of the allotment of land to each tribe of Israel, in the future Messianic Kingdom. (These chapters, in Ezekiel, do not apply directly to the New Jerusalem, since there will be no temple building there. Rev 21:22)
    • ...the hill Gareb... Goath - These places, mentioned only here in scripture,
      and unknown to us, were known to Jeremiah's contemporaries. The inclusion of these landmarks may have signified an expansion of the city limits. During the Messiah's Millennial Kingdom, the boundaries of Jerusalem and of the land of Israel, will extend beyond their historic borders (as shown by the measurements in Ezekiel ch.47-48; and by the territory promised to Abraham in Gen 15:18-21).
  2. The holiness of the restored city.
    ...the city shall be built to the LORD... the whole valley... shall be holy unto the LORD... (31:38,40a) -
  3. The permanence of the restored city.
    ...[the city] shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever. (31:40b) -
    • in contrast to its former destruction, due to sin. Jer 18:7-10
    • because, through the New Covenant, Israel will truly fulfill its role as the people of God. cp. Eze 37:21-28
    • "...for ever"- looks beyond the one thousand year duration of the Messiah's earthly Kingdom, to His eternal Kingdom and the New Jerusalem. While His Kingdom is eternal, the present earth is not (Rev 21:1-3).

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