The prophet Jeremiah lived more than a century after Hosea, and his primary focus was on the imminent desolation of Judah in 586 B.C., just as Hosea’s focus was on the imminent desolation of Israel in 722 B.C. However, like Hosea, Jeremiah prophesied about God’s divorce and restoration of the House and Kingdom of Israel through Christianity.
In Jeremiah 3, a chapter devoted almost exclusively to the House of Israel, God first states His law forbidding remarriage in the form of a rhetorical question: “God says, ‘If a husband divorces his wife And she goes from him And belongs to another man, Will he still return to her? Will not that land be completely polluted?'” (Jeremiah 3:1).
But a few verses later, in a prophecy about the distant future restoration of the two houses to the land, He identifies Himself as divorced Israel’s husband: ” ‘Return, faithless people,’ declares the Lord, ‘for I am your husband. I will choose you … and bring you to Zion. … At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the Lord, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the Lord. … In those days the people of Judah will join the people of Israel, and together they will come from a northern land to the land I gave your ancestors as an inheritance.'” (Jeremiah 3:14-18)
How can this be? The answer is in the death and resurrection of God Himself, as Jesus the Messiah. The married wife Israel is divorced by her husband, who then dies, resurrects and ascends to Heaven. He is thus transformed into a new man whom the House of Israel is free to marry without defiling the land. And whoever accepts the resurrected Christ as Savior becomes a member of the Bride of Christ, a bride awaiting Christ’s second coming when she will be fully restored to the status of wife in the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. God redeems Israel without breaking His own law, and in the process creates a way of salvation for the Gentiles as well.
The prophecy of Jeremiah 16:14-16 reveals how this will be accomplished: “‘Therefore behold, days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when it will no longer be said, “As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,” but, “As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.” For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers. Behold, I am going to send for many fishermen,’ declares the LORD, ‘and they will fish for them; and afterwards I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and every hill and from the clefts of the rocks.'”
This prophecy is repeated in Jeremiah 23:3-8, where the subject is more clearly identified as the House of Israel. “So behold. … Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the land of the north and from all the other countries to which I had banished them.'”
These companion passages both prophesy the first and second coming of Christ, culminating in the Millennial Kingdom, but Jeremiah 16 identifies the specific mechanisms by which He will accomplish the first and second regatherings of the scattered Israelites. Remember that fishers lure their prey (“I will allure her … in the wilderness,” Hosea 2:14), while hunters drive their prey (Isaiah 13:19, cited below).
In His first coming He sent out Fishers: “Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.” (Matthew 4:18-22)
This is a clear reference to and fulfillment of the prophecy of Jeremiah. And importantly, Jesus sent them (initially) “only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” ( Matthew 10:5)
In preparation for His second coming He will send out Hunters as described in Isaiah 13:9-19: “See, the day of the Lord is coming. … The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. … Like a hunted gazelle, like sheep without a shepherd, they will all return to their own people, they will flee to their native land.”
Now align Jeremiah 16:16’s reference to “clefts of the rocks” with the sixth seal of Revelation 6:15-16: “He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth … and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth. … Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. ‘… for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?'”
Now align the “Bridegroom prophecy” of the Song of Solomon, particularly 2:10-17: “‘Arise, my darling … And come along. … The time has arrived. … my dove, in the clefts of the rock. … Turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle. …” and the prophecy of the hunted gazelle becomes clear.
Lastly, note in Isaiah 2:5-21 that God says of this set of events: “Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the LORD. … For the LORD of hosts will have a day of reckoning. … Men will go into … the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs Before the terror of the LORD and the splendor of His majesty, When He arises to make the earth tremble.” The House of Jacob includes both Judah and Israel, confirming that the second coming of Christ will unite, finally, Jews and Christians in the Holy Land under His Regency, as prophesied in Jeremiah 3:14-18.
This article is a summary of a portion of Chapter Eight of my book-in-progress, “The Prodigal Son Prophecy,” which I offer freely here.
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