Devotional Commentary on Jeremiah 31


At the end of chapter 30 the words were cased in “At the end of the days” and in that chapter the restoration was explained as eschatological referring to the Last Generation Theology of the Bible in line with LGT in Adventism.


Chapter 31 is no different and a continuation of that theme. If any commentary says to you that it is referring to the restoration of Israel in the Persian period like Graf said in the Victorian Period, I want to advice you the same as Keil and Delitzsch in their commentary on Jeremiah (1889 by C. F. Keil) advised the Preterist Graf that if he does not understand Jeremiah 31, then it is because : “simply in the theological inability of their expositor to get to the bottom of the sacred writings”.


No matter how much an expositor desires to be an exegete or exegetically correct, if his prophetic perspective orientation is modeled by the prejudices of preterism not to allow the prophet to see into the Eschaton, he is bound to misinterpret the text. So what should you do with your preteristic commentary? Close it and put it back on the shelf. Download from archive the Jeremiah commentary of C. F. Keil and you will be closer in the domain of Adventism.


Are we not all Christians? We are, but the back of a Calvinist is standing against the back of an Adventist. Adventists looks at the Second Coming with the prophets as navigational map. Calvinists is looking at the cross and before as events locked in those times so that the Bible is merely a piece of idealistic poetry like Shakespear or Vondel. They read with the ideas of “O, that is cute. O, that is nice”. Their culture is theirs and outdated and our culture is ours and current and the two cannot fully speak to each other. What a delusion.


Jeremiah 31 is not dealing with the restoration of Israel or Judah after 539 BCE. How do we know that? Because Keil said so in 1889? Well he said so, but the text tells us that it is not so. Take a marker pen and mark the following phrases in Jeremiah 31 and that is the recipe for understanding the whole chapter. Wish other commentaries did it before they started writing.


“Once more…” (verse 3 [2x]; 4); “For there is a day…” (verse 5); “shall have no further worry at all” [welo `od] (verse 11); “she refused to be comforted…” (verse 14); “And there is hope for your future” (verse 16); “Behold days are coming…” (verse 26; verse 30; 37); “they shall no longer say…” [lo `od] (verse 28); “and no longer shall one teach his neighbor…” [welo `od] (verse 33); “and their sin I will no longer remember…” [welo `od]  (verse 33); “for all time” = “all the days”… (verse 35); “it shall never again be uprooted…”[welo `od] (verse 39).


When the Bible says “never again,” we are standing in Eternity, time is passed and not more. We are no longer thinking in dots and linking dots, it is a straight line. The straight line means “never again” will someone link the dots the wrong way. That is what it means. Until Christ comes at the Second Coming, there are dots to be linked and that is what interpretation of the Bible is all about. The list above tells us throughout the chapter that Eschaton has arrived.


Before entering in Jeremiah 31 verse by verse, something about the LXX (socalled) and Qumran. We do not have the Septuagint but only late reconstructed derivatives of it. The text in for this socalled LXX is shorter than the Hebrew. Scholars saw some fragments vaguely lining up with Qumran, like 4QJerd and concluded that there was a shorter Jeremiah side by side with the longer Jeremiah [so that God had a short tongue and a long tongue]. Sorry but this is serious. Ecumenism is justified by these claims. They also found short and long Jeremiah texts siding with these two great traditions, LXX and Hebrew in cave four of Qumran. Hasty they concluded links and that they are legitimized to talk about the “multiplicity of texts” for this period. Pluralism is verity. Modernists clung to this possibility as if their life depend on it since it lines up with Vatican II objectives in broad. Fundamentalists or Bible lovers can then not claim one text has superiority over another. So what is the answer? In this chapter, 31 until verse 4 the fragment from Cave four that was found at Qumran is 4QJerc. So does this support the short LXX? No. It supports exactly the Hebrew from which the KJV text was translated. Where is the chapter break in the fragment to go over to chapter 31? In Hebrew it is at “So says the Lord…” In LXX it is the last verse of chapter 30 “At that time….” So where in the fragment is the page-break? Like the Hebrew as one can see in the Qumran fragment at line 15. Below is the picture of Qumran fragment 4Jerc. Leave the post-Epiphanes secular Jews to “tamper” with the original LXX in order to make it shorter in line with the trend in scholarship of 150 BCE and later with the shortening of the Iliad of Homer (see M. Frazer, Ptolemaic Alexandria 1972, Vol. II). 


Qumran Jeremiah text from Cave Four comparing well with KJV and Hebrew but not LXX.jpg


Our trust in the KJV and the Hebrew backing it, is stronger than those texts which tried to cut the Word of God in a time of Greek Higher Critical heyday. By the way nearly all seminaries around the globe work with Higher Critical formats as if it is the true Bible. Result? The wastebasket is full and they sit only with the covers of the Bible. Faith? No spiritual food, no proper diet, no enduring stamina, no church-life. “But,” my Calvinistic professor said to me in his office, “it is only in the classroom that I pull the Bible apart, at church I confess still my belief in God”. “Then,” I responded to him, “you live a schizophrenic spiritual life and speak with a forked tongue in your relationship with God”. He laughed. “Later you will say the same Koot”.


During the Time of Trouble when the people of God go to the “wilderness” to escape the sword, they found favor with the Lord (verse 1). God gives spiritual Israel their resting place.


The Lord appeared to Jeremiah earlier to say that He loved spiritual Israel or the remnant with an everlasting love (verse 2). Where are the emoticons? ♥♥♥ …. To show everlasting. “I have drawn you to Me with loving-kindness.” Is this a selective ethnic Jewish race thing? Absolutely not.


Once again the Lord will rebuild them and adorn spiritual Israel like a virgin, plant vineyards (verse 4).


“For there is a day, the watchers shall call on the mountains of Ephraim: ‘Rise! Let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God” (verse 5). The Adventist Hymn says: We are marching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion. We are marching upward to Zion, the beautiful city of God. If your commentary is still hunting on earth for some space of restoration in the Persian period. Stop immediately. You have the wrong navigation.


Jacob is called upon to sing with joy and shout at the head of the remnant a prayer that the Lord should “help Your people, the remnant of Israel.” Why? It is the Time of Jacob’s Trouble and they need help from the Lord. Are they just ethnic Israel? Verse 7 says that “I … gather them from the uttermost ends of the earth, the blind and the lame amongst them, the woman and the child and she who travails with child all together a great company shall they return there”. This gathering is not yet the glorified bodies of the Second Coming when the resurrection will take place and mortal bodies receives immortality. People are still blind and lame at this stage during the Time of Jacob’s Trouble touching the Resurrection event soon to come. They will go on a straight road and “not stumble for I have become a Father to [spiritual Israel]” (verse 8). Why do they not stumble? The are now perfect in characters but they do not know it yet and that is the anguish they still will experience like Jacob did during his struggle with Christ that night at Bethel. Why do they weep during this time? The uncertainty not having a High Priest and Advocate in Christ in the heavenly Sanctuary in the Most Holy on their behalf makes them weep. Rabbi Abarbanel (1437-1509, the year after Raphael painted the “School of Athens” on the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican) looked at this and said: they weep because of the tribulations they will experience during the time preceding the Messianic era, known as the birthpangs of the Messiah. Rabbi, bless your heart! ‘Time of Jacob’s Trouble’ language or Last Generation Theology understanding already in 1500. Are modern people suffering from spiritual fatigue that they feel religiously suffocated?


Nations should listen that the Lord says that “He Who scattered [spiritual] Israel will gather them together and watch them as a shepherd his flock” (verse 9). Why should the nations listen? Because many of the spiritual remnant are from them as well. Why did He scatter them? He told them to come out of Babylon not to get the plagues.


The Lord has redeemed spiritual Israel and has saved the remnant [him] out of the hand of him [Satan] “who is stronger than he [remnant]” (verse 10).


Now the Second Coming language. When Christ comes as King of Kings, resurrection takes place and they all go to the “height of Zion” because the New Jerusalem or Zion is in Heaven. “And they shall come and jubilate …and they will stream to the goodness of the Lord” (verse 11). The eschaton or eternity has arrived surely. How do we know that? Same verse last part: “they shall have no further worry at all”. Period. This is no rhetorical hyperbole. This is reality. Keil in his 1889 commentary understood the same and he was not an Adventist. Or was he as a child? I sometimes wonder about F. Delitzsch about this same question.


Now that the Time of Trouble is past, mourning turns to “comfort” “and make them rejoice from their sorrow”. What sorrow? Some of their loved ones did not make it to heaven and a millennium is going to be needed to sit with Christ together on His seat so that He can wipe away the tears of missing their loved ones not in heaven. That is what Revelation 3:21 says, about the sitting with Christ. That is the best time to cry. Funerals are bad but eternal loss is heartbreaking in depths that one cannot think of now. We are going to need Christ for this moment. “I ... make them rejoice from their sorrow” (verse 12).


The goodness of the Lord will satisfy the remnant (verse 13).


The weeping of Rachel is “on high” (berama) for “she refuses to be comforted for her children for they are not” (verse 14). Redak thought the exiles were taken past Rachel’s tomb. It was also the view of J. Nagelsbach. But Genesis 35:15, 19 says she died on the way to Bethlehem and not far from the town. Keil (1889) page says the tomb is too far. She does not weep because she was buried there or that it was at the Ramah of Benjamin (Genesis 35:20) that the children of Isreal was gathered (so Keil). “There is reward for your work…they shall come back from the land of the enemy” (verse 15). The Latter Rain is an event by the Spirit of God when there is the fulfillment of the Elijah task of bringing Father’s back to the children and children back to their parents (verse 15 in conjunction with Maleachi 4).


“And there is hope for your future” (verse 16).


Ephraim’s conversion is then explained that he felt foolish what he did and wanted to change to the Lord and God was very happy about it (verse 19) “Ephraim a son who is dear to Me”. “My very innards are agitated for him, I will surely have compassion on him”. The possibility of changing your mind and destiny is as far as your immediate thinking. Results immediately. Opportunities should be used not abused.


“Set markers for yourself, place small palms [as roadsigns] for yourself, put your heart on the highway, the road upon which you went” (verse 20). Make sure your navigation is certain and secure.


God is waiting for backsliding daughters (verse 21). “How long will you hide?” This delay is before the Door of Mercy closes and there is still time for repentance. Some are still backsliding but the final calls are made. There is a Delay Theology as part of the Last Generation Theology which is from the Lord Who is gracious that more should be saved. This delay here, is the hesitation to surrender completely to God – attitude.


God will create a new thing on earth: “a woman shall go after a man” (verse 21). At the End-Time the phenomenon shall be honored of the Liberation of Woman in world societies? There has been great discussion on this phrase, says Keil 1889. Luther understood that those who formerly behaved like woman will behave like men (Keil 1889). Ewald rendered it that a woman shall change into a man. Schnurrer, Kosenmuller, Gesenius and Maurer read: the woman shall protect the man. Nagelsbach read it: the woman shall turn the man to herself. Lexically none of these can be sustained, says Keil. Tesobeb does not mean “turn one’s self” nor does it mean “protect” nor “to cause to return” nor “transmution into a man”, or of a weak woman into a strong woman, or that a strong will succumb to the weak. Keil Book II 1889 page 28, also cancels the ideas of these scholars “Castle, le Clerc, and Hitzig, who apply them to the unnatural circumstance, that a woman makes her suit to a man, even where by the woman is understood the virgin of Israel, and by the man, Jahveh.” Keil felt that Luther’s translation in 1543 and 1545 gives the correct translation: “the woman shall encompass [German = umfangen, ungehen] the man”. Hengstenberg translated it as “the strong one shall again take the weak into his closest intercourse, under his protection, loving care.” Some older scholars like Cocceius wanted to see it as the virgin birth of Christ. Keil concluded for himself the meaning as “And the new thing that God creates consists in this, that the woman, the weaker nature that needs help, will lovingly and solicitously surround the man, the stronger. Herein is expressed a new relation of Israel to the Lord, a reference to a new covenant which the Lord, ver. 31 ff., will conclude with His people, and in which He deals so condescendingly towards them that they can lovingly embrace Him.” Very beautiful. Ellen White said that the closer to the end people will come their characters will be so build that they will reach perfection of it but that is not holy flesh yet. There is no need to whine about “Holy Flesh Movement” here. There is a particular closeness to God unparalleled in previous generations that the Last Generation remnant will experience.

There is another aspect that needs attention here and none of the commentators looked at it. Isaiah 4:1-3 may hold the key to a proper understanding here of the words of Jeremiah.

In Isaiah 4 the situation is like this: “The remnant weed or false spiritual people is the harlot that will sit on the ground. Seven women or seven supposedly remnant people but false, will “in that day [The Time of Trouble] saying: ‘We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name, take away our reproach’” (v. 1). They wish to dodge the plaques of God on them by hoping to take on the name of the true remnant. The true remnant “in that day the branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious and the fruit of the earth be the pride and the adornment of the survivors of [spiritual] Israel” (v. 2). At the Second Coming of the Lord and resurrection, which will occur shortly afterwards, “it will come about that he who is remnant in [heavenly] Zion and remaining in [heavenly] Jerusalem will be called holy to Him, all who is recorded for [eternal] life in [new or heavenly] Jerusalem” (v. 3).” [From Devotional Commentary on Isaiah 4 in Revived by His Word online].


The timing when this situation will be said, is at the gathering during the Latter Rain event. The Spirit shall be poured out and a faithful remnant shall go after Yahweh (verse 22). It will happen when the Lord will return their captivity. What they will say is: “May the Lord bless You, dwelling of Righteousness, Holy Mount” (verse 22). Biblically it is Christ our Rock of Salvation, our Righteousness, our Holy Habitation in the New Jerusalem, in Zion of His dwelling as well, on the Mountain of mountains, the Heavenly Sanctuary.


Travelers, farmers, a people. Normally, travelers are on the road between cities, farmers are in their makeshift nomadic huts outside the cities, but here they are all together (verse 23). Why? “For I have sated the faint soul, and every worried soul have I replenished”(verse 24). Eschaton has arrived. All are very happy since eternity long awaited replaced time and history.


Then Jeremiah woke up from his vision and dream. “And my sleep was pleasant to me” (verse 25). When one stands with your feet in heaven, who wants to wake up on earth?


The Lord continues with the vision. There is a time during the Time of Trouble that forces will “uproot and to break down, to demolish and to destroy and to afflict” in the style that we have seen in Aleppo and those cities of Syria recently. But the people of God, “I will watch over them”. There is a day when they will plant a build (verse 27). How do we know it is the Time of Trouble and not the Persian period post-exilic restoration? The next verse. No-longer. “They shall no longer say: ‘fathers have eaten unripe grapes and the teeth of the children shall be set on edge” (verse 28). Orthodontists and Dentists, there are no longer problems with the teeth.


The soul that sins shall die says Ezechiel 18. Jeremiah says the same: “But each man shall die for his iniquity” (verse 29). Shall men die because God selected only a few to go to heaven and others die because of His decision? Not what it says here in Jeremiah.


A new covenant is in mind for the future of Jeremiah (verse 30). It will not be like the Mosaic covenant after the Exodus in 1450 BCE (date of Exodus) and 1448 BCE (date arriving at Sinai). It may be the same Ten Commandments with the same Sabbath in the fourth commandment, not the First Day of the Week or Sunday replacement in mind, because the complaint in this verse is that the attitude of the people were wrong at Sinai “that they broke My covenant” (verse 31). Is it a case of broke the covenant and the new covenant is a new relationship of not breaking the covenant?


The law will be written on their hearts “I will place My law [Ten Commandments plus Saturday Sabbath] in their midst and I will inscribe it upon their hearts, and I will be their God and they shall be My people” (verse 32). If this is the case, then the New Covenant would have been New already in the Mosaic Covenant event provided that they had taken it to heart. Furthermore, Adam and Eve that came back to God after sinning, came into relation of the New Covenant since they let the commandments be lived out in their life, a psycho-somatic approach to living the commandments of God. Holistically. We also can enter into that New Covenant provided we do the same.


If this happen, that our characters have developed and our attitudes towards that development or process of development is one of intentions to keep holistically and not partially, then some no-longer things happen. Heaven enters at least our hearts if not in body yet. “And no longer shall one teach his neighbor ….’Know the Lord’” (verse 33). No more evangelism. No more gospel outreach. At the Door of Mercy people will be perfect when the Seal of Perfection shall be placed upon them, not in flesh but in spiritual development. In their hearts they do keep the commandments and the Time of Trouble can start. There is no evangelism during the Time of Trouble. Just before the Door closes, “I [Christ our Righteousness] will forgive their iniquity and their sin I will no longer remember”. Eternity arrived! The end of the Sanctuary in Heaven procedure of Christ as Mediator. Finality of spiritual development. Flesh? Not yet.


Who is speaking? The Creator (verse 34). If the remnant rejects the Law of God been written in their hearts “the seed of [spiritual] Israel cease being a [holy] nation before Me for all time” (verse 35). Forever gone is the opportunity. Destiny sealed. Books closed. Non-existence is the punishment to come after elimination at the Hell event.


If people turn to magic, superstition, shamanism, Environmental theology, astrology as their gods, “I will reject” (verse 36).


A city-building is in mind by the Lord (verse 37). The measuring shall go out “further” (`od). It is not the rebuilding of Old Jerusalem and this point was also made by Keil in 1889. It exceeds the Old Jerusalem. This Jerusalem has heavenly proportions because “it shall never again be uprooted or torn down forever” (verse 39). What happened with Persian period Jerusalem at 70 A.D.? And later?


Dear God

Our hearts are shaped in the form of the Ten Commandments, if that will impress You. Our feet follows and want to follow our hearts. Help our unbelief and strengthen our every attempt. In Jesus Name. Amen.