24 … In the latter days you will consider it. Jeremiah 30:24b NKJV
This comment from the Lord to the people of Judah was enclosed in a comforting message through the prophet Jeremiah. God was planning something much larger for His people than simply to bring them back from exile in Babylon after seventy years. He was promising to re-gather and return them to their land to rebuild, not just once after this experience, but again at another time far into the future, towards the latter days of human history. Perhaps He was referencing a time very close to the era we live in today, over 2,500 years after Jeremiah.
1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2 “Thus speaks the Lord God of Israel, saying: ‘Write in a book for yourself all the words that I have spoken to you. 3 For behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,’ says the Lord. ‘And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.’” Jeremiah 30:1-3 NKJV
Jeremiah had been tasked with delivering many of God’s uncomfortable messages of warning to the people. But after these warnings proved to be of no avail and the time for exile had arrived, God’s messages transitioned to a focus on His great love for His people, and His promise of a bright future and a hope for the nation upon their return. But then God also included a mysterious reference to a time of Jacob’s trouble. Recall that Abraham’s grandson Jacob had been renamed Israel by God after wrestling with Him all night. Both names are names of affection and intimacy and used interchangeably for His people by the Lord.
7 Alas! For that day is great,
So that none is like it;
And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble,
But he shall be saved out of it. Jeremiah 30:7 NKJV
Context with other scriptures suggests that this is a dual prophecy, perhaps first referring to the near-term, as at this point, Judah was about to be taken into Babylon, but will be saved out of it. It also seems to be a reference to a much later and more difficult event for Israel to go through. This second event will be global and will occur near the end of Gentile world history. It is sometimes referred to as the Day of the Lord, or the Great Tribulation.
Both Old Testament prophets and New Testament teachings tell us that in the latter days, Israel will be regathered after a second scattering among the nations and be returned into the land of their ancestors. This second time they will find themselves in a position of world prominence as a kingdom of priests, fulfilling the Lord’s original intention for them. At that time, God will live and reign among them in the person of Jesus Christ, whom they will recognize as their Messiah upon His return to deliver them in their day of trouble.
Old Testament prophecies about Jesus Christ are also split between those predicting His first coming as Savior, now fulfilled, and those referring to His second coming as King, which will not be fulfilled until these end times. Similarly, prophecies about the regathering of scattered Israel have both fulfilled and unfulfilled components. The unfulfilled prophecies about both Christ and the nation of Israel may happen concurrently in the latter days, as referred to by Jeremiah.
After incredible suffering by the Jewish people and many others during the Holocaust, the nation of Israel was born in 1948, and a re-gathering from all over the globe has been ongoing ever since. This appears to be at least a partial fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. But there are many as-of-yet unfulfilled scriptures for us to learn about and to watch for.
There are several indications from various prophets of a time of great turmoil for the people of Israel towards the end times of human government. Referred to by several as the Day of the Lord, or by Jeremiah’s expression here, the time of Jacob’s trouble, they refer to an episode of suffering that the nation will experience before being saved and delivered by the Lord. After this final conflict of good versus evil, God will at last install Himself as absolute ruler on the earth, ending many centuries of Gentile rule and bringing in an eternal era of justice and peace for the world.
We will have much more to look at regarding these various prophecies referencing the latter days in future meditations.
No matter what trouble comes our way, God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. He will make a way and deliver us through it as we lean on Him for strength and provision, and rely upon His unending grace, mercy, and love to bring us through safely to the other side.
Lord, thank You for Your loving presence and total forgiveness for me today. Help me to be more like the person I want to be, one that reflects Your image and brings honor and pleasure to You and generosity and love to others. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.