Now, where was I? Oh yeah,
Jeremiah’s Covenant Revelation. In the post “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble”, I went through the current time of discipline for the nation of Israel. This will end sometime in the near future when Israel is delivered out from this time leading into an era of national covenant blessing. Let’s examine the covenant blessings that Israel will enjoy, including the new covenant which is the capstone of Jeremiah 30-31. I’m reading from ESV and trying to follow the poetic sections of the passage.30:
8 “And it shall come to pass in that day, declares the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off your neck, and I will burst your bonds, and foreigners shall no more make a servant of him. 9 But they shall serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.10
“Then fear not, O Jacob my servant,declares the Lord,
nor be dismayed, O Israel;
for behold, I will save you from far away,
and your offspring from the land of their captivity.
Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease,
and none shall make him afraid.
11 For I am with you to save you,
declares the Lord;
I will make a full end of all the nations
among whom I scattered you,
but of you I will not make a full end.
I will discipline you in just measure,
and I will by no means leave you unpunished.
The Davidic Rule
30:8-11 tells us that the LORD will personally break the yoke of oppression by foreign powers over the nation of Israel. This will lead into the time when David will reign over Israel. Will it be David risen from the dead, or David’s offspring reigning in the person of the Messiah? Jeremiah 33 will tell us the answer, but for now we could safely say either is a possibility. The nation of Israel will dwell in safety with absolutely no fear. Also note that far from the nation of Israel coming to an end at this time, the future of the nation of Israel is secured as they enter into this time period. Any other nation could come to an end, but the nation of Israel will not.
“Thus says the Lord:
Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob
and have compassion on his dwellings;
the city shall be rebuilt on its mound,
and the palace shall stand where it used to be.
19 Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving,
and the voices of those who celebrate.
I will multiply them, and they shall not be few;
I will make them honored, and they shall not be small.
20 Their children shall be as they were of old,
and their congregation shall be established before me,
and I will punish all who oppress them.
21 Their prince shall be one of themselves;
their ruler shall come out from their midst;
I will make him draw near, and he shall approach me,
for who would dare of himself to approach me?
declares the Lord.
22 And you shall be my people,
and I will be your God.”
30:18-21 is not overtly eschatological, but contains elements that could be fulfilled at any point in time when Israel or Jerusalem has gone through a rebuilding period. Verse 22 will be fully realized when Israel is finally delivered, but the nation of Israel is God’s people right now; not because Israel has a claim on God, but because God has a claim on Israel. The restoring of fortunes, rebuilding of cities, songs of thanksgiving, and celebrations have all occurred at various points in Israel’s history following the 70 year exile in Babylon. Most notably are the return to Israel at the decree of Cyrus, see II Chronicles 36:22-23; the cleansing of the temple in 165BC (Hanukkah) leading to the establishment of the second Jewish commonwealth; and the rebirth of Israel as a nation in 1948. Each of these was allowed by God to show His favor in advance of Israel being delivered from the time of Jacob’s trouble. These times of blessedness do not indicate that Israel as a nation began experiencing new covenant blessings, but as this text indicates, the blessings of indigenous government, social interaction, and material prosperity will flow from God to show that He has a future plan beyond these things.
“At that time, declares the Lord, I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people.”
Thus says the Lord:
“The people who survived the sword
found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest,
3 the Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
4 Again I will build you, and you shall be built,
O virgin Israel!
Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines
and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers.
5 Again you shall plant vineyards
on the mountains of Samaria;
the planters shall plant
and shall enjoy the fruit.
6For there shall be a day when watchmen will call
in the hill country of Ephraim:
‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion,
to the Lord our God.’”
It should be noted that the mention of Ephraim in this prophecy (31:6, 9, 18) shows that God is fully including the northern ten tribes in these blessings. Jeremiah prophesied well after the northern kingdom had been carried off (Galilee, II Kings 15:29) and relocated (Samaria, II Kings 17:6). Yet He had not forgotten them. Samaria is mentioned in 31:5 showing that the specific territory of Samaria will be blessed in the future. Ephraim is representative of the ten tribes since he was accounted as Joseph’s firstborn by Jacob, receiving the blessing of the firstborn directly from him, Genesis 48:20, Jeremiah 31:9, Joseph received a double portion from Jacob to show that he reckoned him as firstborn above his brethren, Genesis 48:22, 49:26. The book of Hosea is rife with references to Ephraim representing the whole northern kingdom. When we arrive at the description of the new covenant, it is worded that the LORD will make a new covenant with the house of Israel AND with the house of Judah, Jeremiah 31:31. The northern kingdom is fully included. Further, all the families of the nation of Israel will be included in the covenant relationship with the LORD. In 31:1-2 we see that God has worked through a remnant in times past, but after the time of Jacob’s trouble, the entire nation will be a part of that people through whom the LORD is working.
7 For thus says the Lord:
“Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
and raise shouts for the chief of the nations;
proclaim, give praise, and say,
‘O Lord, save your people,
the remnant of Israel.’
8 Behold, I will bring them from the north country
and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth,
among them the blind and the lame,
the pregnant woman and she who is in labor, together;
a great company, they shall return here.
9 With weeping they shall come,
and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back,
I will make them walk by brooks of water,
in a straight path in which they shall not stumble,
for I am a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my firstborn.
The regathering of the nation of Israel is described here as well, 31:7-9. This is a remnant, the believing remnant through whom God has been working and will be working until the end of the age. Right now, I’m correlating the end of the age with the deliverance of Israel out from the time of Jacob’s trouble. Notice the feebleness of those which are regathered. They are the blind, the lame, and pregnant women. They come from the farthest parts of the earth weeping with pleas for mercy. Forgive me for skipping ahead, but the language of Jesus so closely parallels that of this regathering language that it must be mentioned, see Luke 13:22-30, 14:15-24. For Jesus, it was the poor, the blind, and the lame that would be regathered into the kingdom of God from every corner of the earth at the end of the age. When Jesus said in Luke 6:21, “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh,” He was pronouncing blessings upon the believing remnant of Israelites. They are regathered because they are redeemed and ransomed, 31:11. According to Jeremiah 23:1-8, we could safely term this: The Second Exodus.
31:31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
35 Thus says the Lord,
who gives the sun for light by day
and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
the Lord of hosts is his name:
36 “If this fixed order departs
from before me, declares the Lord,
then shall the offspring of Israel cease
from being a nation before me forever.”
37 Thus says the Lord:
“If the heavens above can be measured,
and the foundations of the earth below can be explored,
then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel
for all that they have done,
declares the Lord.”
Written on their Hearts
When we arrive at the description of the New Covenant, we need to be aware that Jeremiah has been envisioning the new covenant blessings throughout this entire oracle. Now in 31:31-37, Jeremiah states the terms under which the new covenant blessings will be experienced by the nation of Israel. The new covenant is termed such because it transforms the covenant arrangement at Sinai into a new covenant arrangement between the LORD and the nation of Israel. The law is not abolished, but rather written on the hearts of the people. The nation of Israel is not transformed into something else, but rather preserved forever through the institution of the new covenant. So to say that the new covenant replaces the old covenant severely misses the mark because it is the law that is written on the hearts of God’s people. The terms of God’s covenant relationship with Israel are what will be altered. Under the new covenant, Israel will not be able to break the covenant since the laws will be a part of their very souls.
Notice that the only portion of the covenant plan of God which is altered is the portion which was made when God took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
The Seed-Promise, the Noahic Covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant, the Palestinian Covenant, and the Davidic Covenant all remain just as effectual after the institution of the new covenant as before. The portion of the covenant at Sinai which specifically affects us here is that of “obey my voice”. The way in which it is altered is not because Israel doesn’t have to obey God’s voice any longer, but the covenant will actually be written on their hearts so they have the ability to obey whereas before they were still sinful and unable to obey. To say that the new covenant supersedes the old covenant also misses the mark, unless it is clearly defined exactly what is meant. Superseding explicitly contains the idea of replacing something else by making it void. The law is certainly not made void since this is what is written on the hearts of God’s people. So Replacement Theology, Supersessionism, and Covenant Theology in general all clearly miss the mark when setting forth their ideas about the new covenant.
Note in verse 37 that God declares that it is impossible for Him to cast off the offspring of Israel. In spite of all that they have done in rejecting Him, they cannot do anything that will provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to cast off His people. The nation of Israel will not cease being a nation in God’s sight since His eternal plan does not allow for it. Those who say that the LORD is through with the physical nation of Israel because of their rejection of Jesus as Messiah are ignorant of two things. #1- Not all of Israel rejected Jesus as Messiah. A remnant believed on Him or we would not have the New Covenant. #2- The oracle of the New Covenant plainly declares that there is nothing that the nation of Israel can do to provoke God to cast them off. God foreknew that the nation of Israel in general would reject the Messiah. Yet in His plan, He fully intends to bring the entire nation into that new covenant relationship with Himself to bring upon them all the new covenant blessings.
This has been an examination of the blessings of the new covenant. Next I intend to examine the timing of when Israel will experience them. The New Covenant Blessings of the Davidic Rule, Material Prosperity, the Regathering, and the law written on their hearts will only be achieved when Israel repents and enters into that new covenant relationship with the LORD on a national level. Even though God has worked through a remnant of Israelites throughout her history, 31:2, there comes a day when the LORD will be God of all the families of Israel, not just a remnant, 31:1.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman