I had a multitude of thoughts from today’s chapters. Jeremiah 23:20 was one verse that particularly struck us: “The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intents of his heart. In the latter days you will understand it clearly”. We do understand but admit our limitations. We must be faithful to what is written and discern how and when these things apply.
There were ‘prophets’ trying to compete with Jeremiah and the Lord says through him, “I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people …” (verses 21,22). And so today there are those who ‘prophesy’ but do not stand in God’s council. This is only reliably found when one reads carefully and compares the words that God has preserved for us, being mindful of the context in which they occur.
Jeremiah is quite a challenge in this regard, but there are words clearly applicable to “the latter days”. In Romans today Paul writes of the Jews being “broken off” (11:17) so that the Gentiles as branches “cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree” (verse 24) might be grafted in. Paul is primarily writing to those who have been grafted in. But note the warning Paul gives to the Gentile believers, “lest you be wise in your own conceits” he says, “I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (verse 25). We must ask, is the salvation of true believers from among the Gentiles just about complete?
Is there an awakening among the natural branches of Israel? There are signs of this. I once visited the Jewish Messianic Synagogue in Melbourne and mingled among some 50 Jews who accept Jesus as their Messiah. Truly we are living “in the latter days” and the “fulness of the Gentiles” is just about complete. The word “fulness” is not in common use, the same Greek word is translated as “fulfilling” in chapter 13:10; it has the sense of completion.
We admit limits to our understanding, but as we survey the marvel of the works of God in history down to the present day, we can echo the words of Paul in verse 33, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”