“Therefore behold, the days come,” says Yahweh, “that it will no more be said, ‘As Yahweh lives, who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;’ but, ‘As Yahweh lives, who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the countries where he had driven them.’ I will bring them again into their land that I gave to their fathers.
“Behold, I will send for many fishermen,” says Yahweh, “and they will fish them up. Afterward I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain, from every hill, and out of the clefts of the rocks. For my eyes are on all their ways. They are not hidden from my face. Their iniquity isn’t concealed from my eyes. First I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double, because they have polluted my land with the carcasses of their detestable things, and have filled my inheritance with their abominations.”
Yahweh, my strength, and my stronghold,
and my refuge in the day of affliction,
the nations will come to you from the ends of the earth,
and will say,
“Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies,
vanity and things in which there is no profit.
Should a man make to himself gods
which yet are no gods?”
“Therefore behold, I will cause them to know,
this once I will cause them to know my hand and my might.
Then they will know that my name is Yahweh.”
As we have seen in other warnings against the Israel, God tells Jeremiah that someday in the future, God will gather Israel back into their land. We know that this happened after the Babylonian captivity because we read about it in Ezra and Nehemiah, but was this really what is being predicted here?
Remember that the return to Israel and Jerusalem back in Nehemiah’s time was only a partial return. Not all of the people were there. In fact, there were many who were still living in Babylon. This passage says that a time is coming when they will come from all over and return. It mentions fishermen who will “fish them up.” In other words, there will be those who purposefully seek out the Jews to bring them back to their land from all over the world. There isn’t any evidence that this happened in Ezra’s time.
If we fast-forward to today, I think we have the same problem. There are many Jews that have gone back to Israel recently from all over the world and I understand that this time there are officials in Israel that are trying to find them around the world, but is this the fulfillment of this prophesy? I don’t think so.
There are still many Jews that are spread out across the world. What we see today may be a shadow of what is to come, but, as in the days of Ezra, I don’t think it is complete. Notice that the last part of this passage mentions the comments of “nations” that come to God. I believe that this is the critical missing piece of the prophesy. God expects the nations of the earth to promote Israel in that day and I believe that the Bible is teaching us that they will be involved in finding the Jews and putting them back in Israel. At that point, I believe it will be known across the world, that the Jewish people were brought out of all the nations by God just as they were brought out from Egypt in the past. The whole earth is to go through great trouble and plagues just like Egypt and after that is over, all will agree that the Jews and their land belong to God alone.