Eschatology is the study of scriptural teaching about the end of human history. Apocalyptic literature in the Bible unveils or reveals God’s surprising plans to judge, to heal, and to restore all things. From the standpoint of Jeremiah and his original audience, Jeremiah 3:14-18 would serve as an “apocalypse” that would inform their eschatology.
As Jeremiah reveals, God intends to issue a day where the two kingdoms of Israel would be reunited, other nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor God, and there will be no need for an Ark of the Covenant. Moreover, God promises to give His people shepherds after his own heart. In a number of passages in the New Testament, church leaders (elders) are called to shepherd God’s people (for example Acts 20:25-28). In fact, Peter himself charges elders to “Be shepherds of God’s flock” while we await the appearing of the “Chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:1-2).
Why is this interesting to me? The abovementioned revelations of God’s ultimate purposes, like a restored northern and southern Kingdom, as well as the nations gathered in Jerusalem to worship, haven’t occurred yet. At the same time, part of God’s apocalyptic revelation through Jeremiah is being fulfilled now. The early apostles declared that, due to the cross and resurrection, we are living in the last days, in a new era where God is unveiling His purposes in Jesus, and those decisive events are kickstarting God’s future plans.
Back to Jeremiah– God giving His people shepherds after his own heart reveals, like the first budding of flowers in a spring garden, the sign that all of His promises are coming true. This bestows hope as we await the nations bringing glory to God and living in a day where God’s presence is obvious to all throughout the entire world.