“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
The Prophet Jeremiah made stunning prophecies about the End-Times in regards to the scattering and regathering of Israel.
We see this in his dramatic declaration that in the last days, “the house of Judah shall join the house of Israel, and together they shall come from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers for a heritage.” (3:18)
This prophecy has been fulfilled in our generation, with the fall of the former Soviet Union in 1991.
Between 1990–1999, over 1.2 million Russian Jews emigrated to Israel. Today, more Jews of Russian descent live in Israel (over 900,000) than in Russia (about 200,000).
However, Scripture reveals that the Lord Himself said through Jeremiah that He would be the one to regather what He scattered:
“He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd. For the Lord will deliver Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they.” (31:10–11)
We saw the beginning of this prophetic fulfillment with the “First Aliyah” (immigration) when 25,000–30,000 Jewish immigrants came to pre-state Israel from 1882–1903.
Today, of the 14.5 million Jews in the world, about 45% live in the bountiful and blessed Land God promised them.
The Prophet Jeremiah and the Jewish sages have much to teach the Jewish People and each of us about how to stay under God’s grace in our own homelands today, as we’ll see next.
“We Are Safe”
Israel’s primary problem in Jeremiah’s day was not that they “oppressed the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow” or that they “stole and murdered, committed adultery and perjury” or even that they “followed other gods.”
What sealed their destruction was that they declared before the Lord Almighty that “we are safe, safe to do all these detestable things.” (7:6, 9–10)
But God declared, “I have been watching!” (7:11)
Much like the social norm of today, the people insisted, “He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine.” (5:12)
Jeremiah wept over the stubbornness of this people who would not turn from their sin, foreseeing the many years when the crown of glory would fall from the head of God’s elect, a time when Babylonian servants would rule His People and dwell in the city that God calls His own—Zion.
Over 600 hundred years later, Yeshua (Jesus) wept over the stubbornness of a people who would not listen to Him either. He said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes.” (Luke 19:42)
Yeshua Himself is the Sar Shalom or Prince of Peace.
But in His day, people preferred to listen to the priests and pharisees, who tried to offer them religious peace and political safety; they placed heavy burdens on them that they would not help them lift (Luke 11:46).
Being our heavenly High Priest, Yeshua offered them a Divine Shalom that no human priest can offer: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful,” He said. (John 14:27)
But the people still would not accept it.
Like Yeshua, Jeremiah tried to lead the people toward true Shalom and away from destruction by telling them to “ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” (6:16a)
But the people said, “We will not walk in it.” (6:16b)
He warned them again, “Listen to the sound of the trumpet!” (6:17a)
But the people said, “We will not listen.” (6:17b)
What’s in It for Them?
The priests entrusted with leading the people into holiness “did not say, ‘Where is the LORD?’ Those who handle the law did not know me; the shepherds transgressed against me; the prophets prophesied by Baal and went after things that do not profit.” (Jeremiah 2:8)
What would cause a priest or prophet to lead people away from the blessings and protection that God offers and, instead, lead them into evil ways that cause destruction?
Jeremiah explains, “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit.” (6:13)
Like Yeshua, Jeremiah called the Temple that bears the name of the Lord, “a den of robbers.” (7:11; Matthew 21:13)
We can see this today with televangelists who command, “Money, come to me now!” Or they promise that as you use your faith and donate with a credit card, God will wipe away your credit card debts.
But the Lord is still watching and says, “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:9–10)
Instead of receiving His rewards, God promised the priests and prophets of Jeremiah’s day that “they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them.” (6:15)
This is a sobering warning for all Believers today who as priests in the Kingdom of God (1 Peter 2:9), are each responsible for what we teach others, for it is not true that “we are safe” to sin, nor that “no harm will come to us” for doing so (see also 2 Peter 2:21).
But there is good news. Jeremiah tells us what will keep us blessed:
“Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (17:7–8)
Even more than trusting in the Lord, however, He requires repentance:
“If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly … and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever.” (7:4–8)
Adonai’s Plans for Peace
“‘For I know the plans that I plan [hashab] toward you,’ says the LORD, ‘thoughts of peace [shalom], and not of evil [ra], to give you a future [aharit] and a hope [tiqvah].’” (Jeremiah 29:11)
God is in the business of hashab: planning, thinking, and creating in each of us Shalom (peace).
In fact, one of the many names of God is the LORD Is Peace (YHVH Shalom).
So why does His peace seem so elusive at times?
If we look honestly at ourselves, we can often trace the root of calamity in our lives, even ra (evil), to refusing to recognize Adonai and His Son, Yeshua, as the source of our shalom (peace) — a unique Hebrew concept that encompasses blessing, wholeness, and completeness.
Like the people of Judah, we often close our ears to His trumpet call and determine to walk down our own path of destruction. And we do so with the blessings of our spiritual leaders.
The Lord of Shalom who sees all continues to extend His olive branch to us. He wants to give us His Peace as our hope for a better future.
The Hebrew word translated future is aharit, which literally means the end.
David confirms this end is shalom: “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end [aharit] of that man is Shalom.” (Psalm 37:37)
This perfection and uprightness has been achieved through Yeshua, the gate of our salvation. He shares His perfection with us, covers us with His righteousness, and makes us complete in Him.
This is why Yeshua will forever be our gate to the Kingdom and our Sar Shalom (Prince of Peace) as we journey towards His Everlasting Shalom, as it says in this Messianic Prophecy:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace [Sar Shalom].” (Isaiah 9:6)
Promise of a New Covenant and the Coming of the Messiah
We have seen how the People of God could not keep even the most basic laws of God. For centuries, they sinned, repented, sinned, repented until Jeremiah’s generation, who sinned even greater than their ancestors.
“You too have done evil, even more than your forefathers; for behold, you are each one walking according to the stubbornness of his own evil heart, without listening to Me.” (Jeremiah 16:12)
For centuries, they sinned, repented, sinned, repented until Jeremiah’s generation, who sinned even greater than their ancestors — and they did not repent over it.
The Lord had to redeem His people out of the curse of death that the law required, or else they would have truly perished forever.
So He gave them a new covenant:
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. … I will put My law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
“And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (31:31–34)
Those who have been born of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) know the Lord in an intimate way that even the prophets and righteous men of ancient times longed to know (Matthew 13:17).
Through this Brit Chadashah, Believers have become the true Temple of the Lord, and His laws are now written within us, on our hearts.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit [Ruach HaKodesh], who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” (1 Corinthians 6:19)
This holy indwelling causes us to feel conviction and shame over even the least of our sins, a shame that came so rarely to the Israelites and priests.
The Lord asked, “Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.” (Jeremiah 6:15)
At one point, however, the people acknowledged that they did sin (8:14).
But the people rejected Jeremiah’s warnings to repent of their sin because (according to a collection of rabbinic homilies on the Book of Deuteronomy, Devarim Rabbah), they said they could not return to God with their shame.
Jeremiah repeatedly told the people that God had not completely rejected them, but wanted them to repent so they could live in peace. Nevertheless, the people refused to accept the Lord’s free offer of forgiveness and grace.
Instead, they clung to their shame.
The rabbinic homilies teach us that it was this shame 2,000 years ago that led to the destruction of the Second Temple along with the dispersion of the Jewish people to the four corners of the earth.
We learn from this ancient teaching that even when we sin, the Lord does not desire to look upon our shame, but desires to forgive us if we sincerely turn away from our sin.
However, when we hold on to that shame, we become prey to the consequences of the sin that we refuse to give up.
And we truly don’t need to hold onto it anymore.
The New Covenant provided the final sacrifice for our guilt through Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah). (See Isaiah 53:10; Romans 5:12, 21, 6:23.)
We only need to give all of that guilt and shame to our Sar Shalom (Prince of Peace).
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28–29)