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Jeremiah 30:7 (ESV)

Alas! That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it.

Based on "there is none like it", my guess is that it is the day of the Lord.

You could say "this is the tribulation" that Jesus was talking but the use of the word "day" tilts my opinion in favor of it being "day of the Lord"

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    I agree with your 'guess'. I don't think there should be any dispute. But whether it can be shown hermeneutically is another thing. Perhaps someone can do it. In the meanwhile, here are 86 Bible verses about The Day of the Lord which I found interesting. Up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Oct 3, 2022 at 18:19

2 Answers 2

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The meaning of the prophecy in Jer 30 is explicitly stated in the opening verses:

1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you. 3 For behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will restore from captivity My people Israel and Judah, declares the LORD. I will restore them to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they will possess it.’ ”

The rest of the chapter can be classified as follows:

  • V4b-7 - prediction of impending doom for Babylon from which Jacob (= Israel) will be saved
  • V8, 9 - prediction of Judah's release from captivity
  • V11, 12 - prediction of the return to Israel's ancient, promised land following captivity
  • V12-17 - Judah must go into captivity to cure its sin-disease but will return when it is cured and God will punish those who captured Judah
  • V18-24 - Further promise of return of Judah to its ancient lands following captivity, including a hint of a Messianic prophecy

Thus, "that day" (V7, 8) is a direct reference to the liberation from captivity of the Jews as fulfilled in:

  • Ezra 1:1-6
  • to a lesser extent the subsequent decrees that reinforced the above initial decree, eg, Ezra 6, Ezra 7.

APPENDIX - "That day" eschatologically

The idea of Judah's release from captivity and subsequent return to their ancient land of Judah is used as a metaphor in the NT and often referred to as "That day" (or similar) when the Lord returns such as:

  • Mark 13:32 - No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
  • Matt 26:29 - I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
  • Matt 24:36 - No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
  • Luke 10:12 - I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
  • 1 Thess 5:4 - But you, brothers, are not in darkness, so that the day should overtake you like a thief.
  • 2 Thess 1:10 - when in that day He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be marveled at among all those having believed because our testimony to you was believed,
  • 2 Thess 2:2 - not to be easily disconcerted or alarmed by any spirit or message or letter seeming to be from us, alleging that the Day of the Lord has already come.
  • 2 Tim 1:12 - For this reason, even though I suffer as I do, I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day.
  • 2 Tim 1:18 - May the Lord grant Onesiphorus His mercy on that day. You know very well how much he ministered to me in Ephesus.
  • Phil 1:10 - so that you may be able to test and prove what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ [ie, the day of the Lord].
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It often helps to begin as close to the text as we can, avoiding bringing in ideas that the author may not have understood or intended. If we approach a text with a fixed idea in mind about what a key term (like 'The Day of the Lord') means, we may miss what's going on. Like many prophecies in scripture, we also shouldn't assume that it's only referring to one event. There are many moments of judgement throughout history that passages may refer to.

Context: Jeremiah 29

Chapter 30 follows many chapters of gradual revelation about the Exile - the coming judgement of YHWH and what that means for God's people and the city of Jerusalem. The first wave of Exiles has already left, and more will follow. In chapter 29 Jeremiah has written a letter of encouragement to those already in Babylon, and we have heard YHWH's urging to His people to settle and increase in Babylon.

The Passage: Jeremiah 30 (NIV)

5 “This is what the Lord says: “‘Cries of fear are heard— terror, not peace. 6 Ask and see: Can a man bear children? Then why do I see every strong man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor, every face turned deathly pale? 7 How awful that day will be! No other will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it.

This is grounded in the coming fullness of Exile - over the next nine chapters of Jeremiah things will continue to go from bad to worse, as Jerusalem and its leaders reject the word of YHWH and it is eventually burnt to the ground. The book of Lamentations will soon follow, expressing the extreme sorrow and pain felt by Jeremiah and the rest of the survivors. However, a further day of hope will follow:

8“‘In that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will break the yoke off their necks and will tear off their bonds; no longer will foreigners enslave them. 9 Instead, they will serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.

10 “‘So do not be afraid, Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel,’ declares the Lord. ‘I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid.

So first of all, this is clearly talking about the Exile of Judah to Babylon.

But it's only a Partial fulfilment

In the immediate sense, Jeremiah 30 speaks to the immediate Exile, and the restoration which will soon follow - YHWH will regather His people from the nations, and across Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah and other texts we will learn more about that moment. However, the fulness of Israel is never regathered, the Kingdom is not fully re-established, and it never reaches the fullness that is described here:

9 Instead, they will serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.

This is what everybody was hoping for - the crowning sign of the Kingdom's restoration. We see glimpses of it in Zerubbabel's return to Jerusalem as David's heir, YHWH reaffirms his promise through him in Haggai:

Haggai 2:23 "“‘On that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”"

Zechariah delivered similar prophecies, affirming Zerubbabel as YHWH's chosen instrument:

Zechariah 4:7 “What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’”

And so at first Zerubbabel is somewhat exalted, but never becomes a full King of Jerusalem, nor does this happen in the centuries that follow, and Israel is left longing for the King that YHWH will raise up, and this generated the Messianic expectations present in Jesus' time.

Towards Full fulfilment

Interestingly, Zechariah's prophecies included far more than Zerubbabel:

Zechariah 6:11 Take the silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest, Joshua son of Jozadak. 12 Tell him this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the Lord. 13 It is he who will build the temple of the Lord, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.

Again, we encounter a prophecy with multiple layers - there was a physical man called Joshua son of Jozadak, who did contribute to the rebuilding of the Temple, and brought some unity to Jerusalem. However, he was not a King, and established no harmony between priesthood and kingship - these things were reserved for another.

Ultimately, it was another Joshua, a future King who would be raised up, who would be high priest and bring harmony between Kingship and priesthood, to whom all these prophecies meet their greatest fulfilment.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, yes this is The Day of the Lord, in that it describes the judgement of Exile that fell on the people in Jeremiah's day. But if you take the term to mean only the Day that is foretold to come beyond the resurrection of Christ, then no, I don't think there's a clear prophecy here about that moment. That does not mean that other prophets and texts didn't build on it to include that moment, but that isn't the sense that we get from Jeremiah.

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