Among the more creative scriptural interpretations related to the fulfillment of prophecy in our day is one centering on Jeremiah 16:16. According to it, the “hunters” in this verse are the brutal pursuers of the Jewish people, such as the Nazis who systematically murdered millions of Jews. The “fishers,” on the other hand, are the quiet and gentle persons who assist the Jewish people, for instance, the Christians who presently are engaged in rescuing Jews from the republics of the former Soviet Union. The proclamation of these Christians carries a tone of urgency: “Flee the Diaspora and save yourselves by returning to the land of your fathers!”
Based on this interpretation of Jeremiah 16:16, some contemporary Christians see it as their duty to seek out Jews in the Diaspora and inform them of coming persecution. According to this prophetic paradigm, the Jewish exiles must choose one of two options: 1) to heed the warning, or 2) to remain outside of Israel and suffer the consequences.
Not only is this interpretation an example of shallow exegesis, acceptance of it may lead to calamity. If we internalize fanciful scenarios about the Jewish people—who serve as the object of our prophetic fascination—and expect them to respond in a particular way to our kind efforts, our unrealized expectations could surface decades later in the form of, what might seem, theologically justified ill-will toward this “stiff-necked” people.