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The Captivitiy

By Elie Nessim, December 7, 1996 Printer Friendly Version



Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will bring back the captivity of Jacob’s tents and have mercy on his dwelling places.  The City shall be built upon its own mound, and the palace shall remain according to its own plan.  Then out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of those who make merry. I will multiply them, and they shall not diminish; I will also glorify them and they shall not be small.’
Our text comes to us from Jeremiah chapter 30, verses 18 and 19. This famous promise occurs in the passage referred to as the ‘Book of Comfort’ of Jeremiah, which extends from Chapter 30 to the end of Chapter 33.  It has sweet comfort for our suffering people, especially as it follows the sad words at the beginning of our Chapter, verses 5 and 6: Ask now and see whether a man is ever in labour with child?  So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins, like a woman in labour, and all faces turned pale?  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.

These sad words were a prediction of the unprecedented sufferings of our people, called the time of Jacob’s trouble.   History is full of the anguish and sorrow we have experienced over two and a half millennia at the hands of our enemies.  Our text assures us that these sufferings will give way to material, physical, and spiritual blessings.  The nation and the land would be rebuilt; our redemption for which we had prayed will come; and we shall be GOD’s people.  Verse 22: You shall be My people, and I will be your GOD.

When is all this going to happen?  Have we ever witnessed the fulfilment of this promise?  One look at the situation facing us today is proof enough that all this is yet to come.  And so the last verse of this Chapter assures us; verse 24: In the latter days you will consider it. That is to say, in the days when we expect Messiah to appear for our redemption.

We have witnessed the return of Israel to the land of their inheritance, and to some extent, we have seen the rebuilding of the country; but the promises, in all their fullness, still await completion.  That will happen when we are once more the people of GOD, truly, and not merely in name, or only outwardly.  Does this surprise you?  Are you ready to object to what GOD has said in verse 22?

Perhaps a look at some of the earlier verses of this Chapter will shed light on the matter.  We will see that it is because of our sins that all our miseries have come upon us.  Verse 14: All your lovers have forgotten you; they do not seek you.  For I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one for the multitude of your iniquities, because your sins have increased. 

We admit this every time we ask for GOD’s forgiveness on Yom Kippur, or when we recite the Selichot in the ten days preceeding, or even in our daily Siddur service.  Nevertheless GOD, in His mercy, promised to have mercy upon us, as our opening text declared.  The reason He could do so was due to the Messiah, Who would obtain forgiveness for us.  Verse 21: ‘Their nobles shall be from among them; and their governor shall come from their midst.  Then I will cause Him to draw near, and He shall approach me.  For who is this who pledged His heart to approach Me?’ says the LORD. 

It is our Governor Who approaches GOD on our behalf, as our Mediator and Intercessor.  The blessings that GOD promises are a direct result of who He is, and what He succeeds in accomplishing.  This Governor is described to us in Isaiah, Chapter 9; verses 6 and 7: For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the Government will be upon His shoulder; and His Name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty GOD, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever.  The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will perform this.

This is no other than Mashiach Malchaynu, Messiah, our King; the Prince of Peace, Who is also called ‘El Gibbor’, or Mighty GOD; of whom Moses our teacher foretold in Deuteronomy, Chapter 18, verse 15: The LORD your GOD will raise up for you a prophet, like me, from your midst, from your brethren.  Him, you shall hear. Moses was referring to the time when our people begged him to be their mediator with GOD, since they were terrified of approaching GOD directly.  GOD approved of their request, and authorized Moses to approach Him in their behalf for all they stood in need of.  Ever since then we have had to approach GOD through a mediator, and although Moses had to die, we have had our high priests who represented us before GOD.  Now that Messiah has come, it is He Who represents us; as in Jeremiah, Chapter 30, verse 21: And their Governor shall come from their midst.  Then I will cause Him to draw near, and He shall approach Me. 

Who is this Messiah?  Did He come?  Has He achieved all that GOD has promised?  The answer to the first two questions I leave you to judge in the light of what we have been considering.  We know and believe that YESHUA, JESUS of Nazareth is the One.  As to whether He has, of yet, achieved all that GOD promised, that answer is: ‘not yet.’  It is because of our sins that we have not yet received the promises; but delay is not denial; and eventually, there will not fail one good thing of all that GOD has promised.  All will come to pass.  Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will bring back the captivity of Jacob’s tents and have mercy on his dwelling places.  The City shall be built upon its own mound, and the palace shall remain according to its own plan.  Then out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of those who make merry.  I will multiply them, and they shall not diminish.  I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.’




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