“Behold I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in my anger, in my Fury, and in great wrath: I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely (Jeremiah 32:37).
~The Back Story~
God called out a man named Abram and his wife Sarai from their country and promised them that He would make of them a great nation (Genesis 12:1-2). And, since they were too old to have a child, He miraculously gave them a son named Isaac (Genesis 21:2).
Isaac and his wife were also barren, but after prayer, God gave them twins (Genesis 25:24). God used the younger twin, Jacob, to receive the promise, and He gave him twelve sons through which He created the nation that He called Israel (Genesis 35:10-12; Genesis 35:22). One of the sons, Joseph, was able to sustain his brothers and their kindred in the land of Egypt during a life-threatening drought (Gen. 47:12).
God’s chosen people grew and multiplied abundantly in Egypt (Exodus 1:7). Fearing that the Israelites would exceed them in number and might, the Egyptians enslaved them and afflicted them with burdens, making their lives bitter with bondage (Exodus 1:14). But the children of Israel cried and their cry came up unto God (Exodus 2:23).
God promised the children of Israel a dedicated land and vowed to be their God. He brought them out of the captivity of Egypt with a high hand under the leadership of a man named Moses. During His deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, astounding miracles were demonstrated (Exodus chaps. 7-12). The chosen people were to obey God and keep His covenant. In so doing, they would be a special treasure to God above all people, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation (Exodus 19:3-6).
God placed His people in the rich and dedicated land that had been promised them through their patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Internal strife divided Israel into two components: The Ten Northern Tribes, called Israel, and Two Southern Tribes, called Judah. Due to their continual disobedience to God and their refusal to serve Him as the true and living God, God punished them. Their rejection of the many warnings of God through His prophets led to their captivity by other nations. First, The Ten Northern Tribes were captured by the Assyrians in 721 B.C., and, later, the Two Southern Tribes were captured by the Babylonians in 586 BC. Jerusalem and the First Temple, Solomon’s Temple, were destroyed at that time (2 Kings 25:8-10).
The Ten Northern tribes dispersed after Assyria captured them and is often referred to as the “Lost” tribes of Israel because they were lost to history. Some members of the Ten Tribes did re-integrate with Judah before, during, as well as after the Babylonian captivity. Anna of the New Testament, for example, was a prophetess from the Tribe of Asher (Luke 2:36).
When the prophet Jeremiah was used by God to tell the people of Judah that they would go into Babylonian captivity, he also told them that they would be released from captivity after 70 years (Jeremiah 25:11-14 and 29:10-11; II Chronicles 36:21). It was King Cyrus, the King of Persia, who first allowed them to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple in their homeland (Ezra 1:1-4; II Chronicles 36:22-23).
Rebuilding was not easy because of opposition from locals, but it was started under Cyrus, King of Persia (Ezra 5:1-17), and Darius, King of Persia (Ezra 6:1-12). It was finished under Zerubbabel in 516 B.C. (Ezra 6:15). The walls were rebuilt in 446 B.C. under the reign of King Artaxerxes when Nehemiah, his cupbearer, told him of the difficulties that the Jewish people were having. Nehemiah prayed and sought God’s intervention and the walls were rebuilt (Nehemiah 1-4). It was totally finished in 52 days (Nehemiah 6:15)!
The Second Temple lasted for a total of 586 years (516 B.C. to A.D. 70). Unfortunately, the Second Temple was destroyed by the Roman Army, led by General Titus in 70 A.D., approximately 40 years after the death of Jesus. Over a million Jews were killed in that conquest. The Jews who were able to escape fled to a Jewish fortress called Masada or they escaped the country. Masada fell in 73 A.D., ending the last of the Jewish rebellions.
In 132 A.D., under emperor Hadrian, the city of Jerusalem’s name was changed to Aelia Capitolina; Judea was renamed Syria Palestina; and all Jews were banished from Jerusalem with the exception of one day each year, during the holiday of Tisha B’Av. Roman enforcement of the Jewish banishment from the city continued until the fourth century A.D. For the next nineteen centuries Jews in exile longed to return to the Promised Land and desired to see the Temple standing once again on the Temple Mount.
In a parallel to the dispersion of the Jews, the gospel of the Kingdom of God was proclaimed, first in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8). During this aspect of Jewish suffering, the Gentiles were engrafted into the Kingdom of God.
The Lord promised His chosen people that they would return to the land of their fathers. From 250 A.D. to 1948 the Jewish people were persecuted, expulsed from many countries, and scattered throughout the world. Return of the Jews to their Homeland on a large scale began in the 19th century. The modern nation of Israel was born in 1948, and they have been returning to their land since that time. The Lord is preparing His first-born sons, the Jews, for the coming of their Messiah, Jesus Christ. But the prophecy was not completely fulfilled in 1948, because the Jews are continually fighting for their land. The final aspect of the prophecy that said “and I will cause them to dwell safely” is yet to be fulfilled.
The Times of the Gentiles refers to the time period in which Gentiles (non-Jews) have dominion over the world. It extends from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar to Jesus’ Second coming. It is when Christ returns that the Gentile rule will completely end. While the Times of the Gentiles will include the future seven-year tribulation, all violence towards God’s people will end at its culmination. The Times of the Gentiles will end when King Jesus judges the Gentile Nations in the Sheep-Goat Judgment. Then the 1000-year Millennial reign will ensue in which King Jesus will reign over Israel and the world and sit on the Davidic throne in Jerusalem.
As the last of the unreached Gentiles are being reached, the Jewish people are being returned from the ends of the earth. God said, using the Prophet Jeremiah, “Behold I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in my anger, in my Fury, and in great wrath: I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. (Jeremiah 32:37). If the Lord spoke a Word, that Word cannot and will not fail. When Jesus returns to earth and sits on the Throne of David during the Millennium, the Jewish people will finally be able to call their Land in Jerusalem their home and they will dwell there safely. At that time the prophecy of Jeremiah 32:37 will be fulfilled.