And so, we begin Jeremiah’s contribution to Ezekiel’s prophecy.
1 They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man`s, will he return unto her again? will not that land be greatly polluted? But thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith Jehovah.
2 Lift up thine eyes unto the bare heights, and see; where hast thou not been lain with? By the ways hast thou sat for them, as an Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness.
3 Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; yet thou hast a harlot`s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.
4 Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My Father, thou art the guide of my youth?
5 Will he retain [his anger] for ever? will he keep it to the end? Behold, thou hast spoken and hast done evil things, and hast had thy way.
6 Moreover Jehovah said unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot.
7 And I said after she had done all these things, She will return unto me; but she returned not: and her treacherous sister Judah saw it.
8 And I saw, when, for this very cause that backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a bill of divorcement, yet treacherous Judah her sister feared not; but she also went and played the harlot.
9 And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that the land was polluted, and she committed adultery with stones and with stocks.
10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not returned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith Jehovah.
11 And Jehovah said unto me, Backsliding Israel hath showed herself more righteous than treacherous Judah.
Up to this point God has been expressing His anger at the sin of Israel and Judah. But, a different note enters into this chapter with verse 12.
12 Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith Jehovah; I will not look in anger upon you; for I am merciful, saith Jehovah, I will not keep [anger] for ever.
God offers a note of hope for redemption. God calls Israel from Her diaspora and promises to no longer be angry, to be merciful. And, in case Israel should wonder at this, God says that His anger isn’t forever.
But, He asks something from Israel.
13 Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against Jehovah thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith Jehovah.
He asks Israel to simply confess their sins – and not just that Israel has sinned. No, God asks Israel to RECOGNIZE her sins, to enumerate them. It isn’t enough for you to recognize that you ARE a sinner, although that’s a necessary first step. You need to SEE your sins. You need to RECOGNIZE them, even number them.
God is asking this of Israel, just as He asks this of us.
And, after acknowledging her sins, what does God ask?
14 Return, O backsliding children, saith Jehovah; for I am a husband unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:
He asks Israel to return. He asks Israel to return to His loving arms. Those of us that are husbands are awful examples of the loving perfection of God as the church’s husband, as Israel’s husband.
No matter how much you may love your wife, and willing to sacrifice everything for her… you cannot love your wife more than God loves His people.
And, He goes on to say more.
15 and I will give you shepherds according to my heart, who shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
When God calls Israel to Himself, He will give Israel a new kind of teacher – a kind of teacher that loves God and teaches both knowledge AND understanding.
16 And it shall come to pass, when ye are multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith Jehovah, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of Jehovah; neither shall it come to mind; neither shall they remember it; neither shall they miss it; neither shall it be made any more.
Now, THIS is interesting. God is saying that temple will not be thought of. Israel won’t even consider it as anything important.
Yes, I know that the verse here did NOT say the word temple. It said ‘ark of the covenant’. But, let me ask you, what is the temple without the Ark of the Covenant?
Just a pile of stones.
So, for those who look for a rebuilding of the temple… When Israel is saved, they won’t worship God with any temple. They won’t even consider it as necessary.
And, if someone should come along and build a structure in Jerusalem and call it a temple… Well, when Israel comes to Christ, that ‘temple’ will go unused – at least by those who are truly following the Lord.
Let me repeat this idea. THERE WILL BE NO SACRIFICES. THEY WON’T NEED TO SACRIFICE. They will be like us, serving the Lord as we serve Him.
What about the temple in the Millennium?
Of course, THEY will be sacrificing and worshipping God there, and there’s a lot about this time that we just do not understand. But, that shouldn’t matter.
What should be clear to us is this. When Israel is saved, they will not go back to The Law. They won’t need it, because they will be just like us.
Again, they will be saved like WE are saved.
17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of Jehovah; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of Jehovah, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the stubbornness of their evil heart.
Now, up to this point we’ve been talking about a time BEFORE the Tribulation and BEFORE the Millennium. Could this verse also be talking about a time that is also before the Millennium?
Or, is verse 17 referring directly to the last thousand years of the Earth. Interesting question that should be answered fairly soon!
18 In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I gave for an inheritance unto your fathers.
Where does Israel come from?
That means that there needs to be Jews who actually LIVE in the North, right?
Do you notice any Jews living in the North right now?
There are some, but the vast majority of the Jews have left Russia and Eastern Europe. Of course, you could make a case that the Jewish communities of the UK are still intact. THOSE are northwest of Israel. And, there are the Jewish communities of NORTH America.
We’ll see, but it looks to me like this prophecy has already been fulfilled, or is at least in the midst of being fulfilled.
19 But I said, How I will put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of the nations! and I said, Ye shall call me My Father, and shall not turn away from following me.
God promises goodness when Israel returns.
And, then God returns to talking about Israel’s sin.
20 Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith Jehovah.
21 A voice is heard upon the bare heights, the weeping [and] the supplications of the children of Israel; because they have perverted their way, they have forgotten Jehovah their God.
22 Return, ye backsliding children, I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we are come unto thee; for thou art Jehovah our God.
23 Truly in vain is [the help that is looked for] from the hills, the tumult on the mountains: truly in Jehovah our God is the salvation of Israel.
24 But the shameful thing hath devoured the labor of our fathers from our youth, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters.
25 Let us lie down in our shame, and let our confusion cover us; for we have sinned against Jehovah our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day; and we have not obeyed the voice of Jehovah our God.