Harry Whittaker
The Time Of The End

1) Fishers And Hunters

Jeremiah 16

The greatest day in Israel’s history was their deliverance from Egyptian bondage by the hand of Moses. Of this their Passover is an unfailing reminder, when they say: “The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.”

Jeremiah 16: 14, 15 foretells the coming of another day of deliverance which will utterly dwarf that ancient experience. Instead, they will say: “...The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers” (v. 15).

This promise certainly did not find its fulfilment in the return from Babylon, for in no respect did that restoration compare with the deliverance from Egypt — and here Jeremiah foretells something considerably greater than that. Also, it is to be noted that the same promise is repeated in Jeremiah 23: 7, 8, where it is specified as the work of Messiah, the Lord our Righteousness. So, without any possibility of doubt, here is a prophecy of the Last Days. The rest of the chapter shows how the fulfilment is to come about.


“Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them” (v. 16). Since the twentieth century came in, these words have found ample fulfilment. In many different ways God has, so to speak, dangled bait before His ancient people to lure them back to Himself and back to the Land. The Balfour Declaration in World War I was almost an incitement to Jews to get busy on re-colonization of Palestine. And circumstances were every way propitious—the Turks had been driven out, the Land was almost empty of population, the few Arabs there were tolerably friendly and willing to sell large areas of land at give-away prices, and the mandate was in the hands of Britain. The barometer was set at “Fair.”


But at first the Zionist Movement was slow to gather momentum. Nearly everywhere the Jews were tolerably comfortable, and pogroms seemed to be a thing of the past. So God tried a more radical method: “And afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.” Thus there arose, to the utter astonishment of the entire world, a fanatical German demagogue who attracted power to himself as a magnet. This man was possessed with an insane hatred of Jews and everything Jewish. Before World War II began, and especially during it, Jews were hunted with a calculating resolution and inhumanity without parallel in world history. Both before and after the war, this hunting of God’s people meant a great swelling of the stream of immigrants to Palestine. Increasing Arab hostility cleared out the Jewish communities in all the lands of Islam, and the new State of Israel throve. But it throve in godlessness! An overwhelming proportion of its three million people are without effective religion. Such religious conviction as exists is of negligible power, for it is basically a zeal for arid rabbinic tradition. Repentance and faith towards God are almost unknown. Jewish Christians in Jerusalem are only a tiny handful. The great lesson of self-mistrust and of faith in the God of Abraham has still to be learned.

Accordingly, the Jeremiah prophecy proceeds: “For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes. And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; because they have defiled my land” (vv. 17, 18a).

Israel is God’s firstborn, endowed in time past with double blessing (see Deuteronomy 21: 17), but bearing also double responsibility. The present generation has certainly developed God’s Land with unmatched skill and industry, not to God’s glory however, but out of their own pride and for their own selfish ends. Therefore, first, before the divine blessing can be given them there must come recompense and a consequent change of heart.

When this transpires, the fullness of God’s kingdom will flood in: “The Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit ... I will cause them (Israel, or the Gentiles?) to know mine hand and my might: and they shall know that my name is Jehovah” (vv. 19, 21).

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