In Jeremiah 31 we have God’s promise that He will RESTORE Israel to the land forever. I’m sure this chapter was a real comfort to Jewish captives during the Babylonian captivity and we can even say that when they were allowed to go back to the land of Israel this promise had a PARTIAL FULFILLMENT, but the COMPLETE FULFILLMENT will take place after the Rapture of the church and at the end of the 7-year Tribulation Period when Christ returns to His people as their Messiah.

Let’s read Jeremiah 31:8-9: “Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the ends of the earth, Among them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and the one who labors with child together; A great throng shall return there. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications I will lead them. I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, in a straight way in which they shall not stumble; for I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn” (NKJV).

Many believe that the Zionist Movement, which resulted in millions of Jews returning to their homeland, is the fulfillment of these verses. The trouble with that view is that the Zionist Movement is a “political movement” where Jews have been inspired by an intense desire to reclaim their country and to retain their national identity. Most of the Jews who have returned in the last 100 years are not orthodox Jews; that is, they don’t really believe in the sacred scriptures and that the land of Israel is their land because God gave it to them. It has nothing to do with what we read here, for at that time God Himself “will bring them from the North Country, and gather them from the ends of the earth.” And when they do return, it won’t be with a sense of personal pride as we see today, but it will be “with weeping, and with supplications.” They will be a “repentant people” who will finally realize that all the troubles they have experienced over the last two thousand years are because they rejected their Messiah when He came the first time. They will remember what their forefathers said when Christ was crucified: “His blood be on us, and on our children” (Matthew 27:25), and with penitent hearts they will cry out to Him for forgiveness. They will have been humbled during the Tribulation Period and this is their response.

Their cries will surely be heard, for we read “I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, in a straight way in which they shall not stumble.” The Lord is not only gathering them back to the land, but He is caring for them all along the way! Just as He led them through the wilderness to the Promised Land and met their every need, so He will guide His people safely and nourish them beside “rivers of waters.” We are all familiar with David’s words in Psalm 23:2, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures: He leads me beside the still waters.” In that glorious day the children of Israel will echo David’s words!

How wonderful to see the terms of endearment that God uses when He says, “for I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn.” He loves His people and He reminds them of the relationship He has had with them from the very beginning. In Exodus 4:22 we read, “Then you [Moses] shall say to Pharoah, ‘Thus says the LORD: Israel is My son, My firstborn’.” Such is God’s love for this favored nation! When He uses the word “firstborn,” He is not speaking of them as the “first nation that came into being,” but rather the “first place they have among the nations” because of His electing grace. This is borne out in Deuteronomy 7:6, “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.” When Jeremiah 31:8-9 is finally fulfilled, the whole world will acknowledge this wonderful truth.  (219.5)  (DO)