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Jeremiah 46:27-28 • Jacob vs. Israel

“‘But as for you, O Jacob My servant, do not fear,
Nor be dismayed, O Israel!
For, see, I am going to save you from afar,
And your descendants from the land of their captivity;
And Jacob will return and be undisturbed
And secure, with no one making him tremble.
O Jacob My servant, do not fear,’ declares the Lord,
‘For I am with you.
For I will make a full end of all the nations
Where I have driven you,
Yet I will not make a full end of you;
But I will correct you properly
And by no means leave you unpunished.'”
    —Jeremiah 46:27-28 (NASB)

I find it deeply perplexing when a believer can clearly articulate how the work of Christ comes in two parts corresponding to His First Coming as the “Suffering Servant” and His Second Coming as the “Conquering King”, but doesn’t understand God’s dual work with literal Israel. Buying into a number of false doctrines ranging from Replacementism to Dominionism to Triumphalism and all manner of variations, they think the Church has replaced Israel, God is through with Israel, and anything in Scripture referring to “Jacob” or “Israel” is now referring to the Church. I think this deception can only be maintained by a kind of “myopia” where you don’t read everything God has to say about Israel. How far would you have to stray from the plain meaning of these verses to have them apply to anything but literal Israel?

It’s a long and tedious study, but have you ever asked why God sometimes calls them “Jacob” and at other times “Israel“? The answer is very closely tied to why God sometimes calls His city “Jerusalem” and sometimes “Zion“. “Jacob” was his name in the old life, “Israel” the new name given him for the new life after finally coming into a right and personal relationship with God. When God refers to them as “Jacob” He is addressing those among His people who are backslidden and living in the old life; when they are called “Israel” He is addressing those who remain faithful to His Word and ways. Likewise “Jerusalem” is the earthly alternative to the spiritual perfection of “Zion“.

When we examine all that God has said in regard to “Jacob” we find that there are an incredible number of promises which have never been fulfilled. Since it is impossible for God to be a liar, and we know that He is faithful to fulfill every syllable ever offered, it is equally impossible to escape the conclusion that He is not yet finished with literal Israel. Not a word of what He has promised will fail to come true.

“‘I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.'”
    —Zechariah 12:10 (NASB)

There is a greater sign of the end times than Jews returning to the land of Israel. That is definitely a significant sign, but it is not THE significant sign. The greater sign is when they embrace Jesus as their Messiah. When you see entire Messianic fellowships springing up as we see now, and encounter more Jews who have become brothers and sisters together with us in Christ as we’ve seen in the near past, we know that the completion of God’s work is closer than ever.