• - People celebrate the harvesting of wine grapes at the Gush Etzion winery, on August 9, 2018. Photo by Gershon Elinson/Flash90

What a prophecy! (Jeremiah 31 – part 1)

editor - 9 July 2019

One of the most beautiful chapters from the Bible in my opinion is Jeremiah 31. This part of the Bible is full of God’s promises for Israel. Promises that haven’t lost anything of their power yet.

We read about the return of the ten tribes and about the position Israel takes in the world, we encounter the promise of the “new covenant” and we hear how much God loves Efraim. The chapter concludes with God’s immovable loyalty: Israel will remain God’s people forever!

Jeremiah starts with a declaration of love to Israel: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (verse 3). And then: “Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samariah; the farmers will plant them and enjoy their fruit.” (verse 5). And God says this via the prophet whom He also told that he had to stop praying for the people, because they had so turned their backs on God. Still God’s loyalty and mercy will win. You will find out here.

Past glory
Samariah is the area of Benjamin, Efraim and Menashe. That is to say: the part of the tribes of Joseph. Here are the famous towns like Bethel and Shechem, Mount Gerizim is there and cutting straight through it is the old route of the patriarchs, nowadays “route 60”. This road also passes Shiloh, Israel’s first capital. The tabernacle would remain there for 369 years. Until the days of Eli and Samuel and the battle with the Philistines. After that Shiloh would sink into oblivion. What remained was past glory, slowly covered with ages of dust and earth. After the Babylonian exile Samariah would never regain its splendor of olden days again. Certainly not after the destruction of the Temple in the year 70. For over two thousand years the land would be left behind barren, empty and fruitless.

Not until after the Yom Kippur War in 1973. In January 1979 the first families return to Shiloh and other places follow: Maaleh Levona, Eli, Har Bracha, Ariel be sure to remember and Rechelim. And we see the land flourish again. Of course, everywhere are the valleys and mountains with olive trees, the land is full of them. But what we also see are the endless vineyards. In Rechelim with the by now famous Turah Winery, in Shiloh the Shiloh Winery that alone produces 200,000 bottles per annum and on the other side Givat Harel, where dr. Shivi Drori has his Gvaot vineyards. And believe me, that this is no plonk! These wines are decorated, every one of them! When God brings something back, He does it in the proper way! Shivi even has a laboratory in the university of Ariel, where he returned the most original wines from Israel, from grapevines that are found nowhere else in the world. You will understand that the two thousand bottles he produces are already sold before they reach the stores.

And every time I have to think that this fulfilment of the prophecy became true because of the Messiah. Didn’t Paul say that “Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed.” (Romans 15:8). Well, this is one of them and we see it happen before our very eyes, in our days!

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