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Hebrews 8:7-8 & Jeremiah 31:31-34 by Robert Dean
Series:Hebrews (2005)
Duration:59 mins 2 secs

Hebrews Lesson 116    February 21, 2008 


NKJ Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.


We are now in Jeremiah 31 (Jeremiah 31:31) although we will probably start earlier in the chapter in order to pick up context- in order to pick up some context. Now just so we don't forget where we are in the study of the New Covenant, we are studying these passages in the Old Testament because in the middle of the book of Hebrews (in Hebrews 8), the writer of Hebrews is making a case for the unique present ministry of Jesus Christ as a High Priest, as a unique High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. That priestly ministry that He has is not according to the order of Aaron.  It's not according to the Mosaic Covenant, but it's going to be related to a different covenant. This is called the New Covenant. 


There is only one place actually in all the Scripture (all the Old Testament) that specifies this last everlasting covenant as a new covenant. That is Jeremiah 31:31 down through 34. This passage in the book of Jeremiah is the core passage for understanding the New Covenant. As we've done in the past, as I have gone through this, there have been some different views on the relationship of the church to the New Covenant. We are going to go back over this again in detail when we get back into Hebrews 8. But, the point is in Hebrews 8 that with a covenant change there is a change in of priesthood.


Now Jesus Christ functions in three roles in history - prophet, priest and king. These are even though He is all at the same time that when He was on the earth He functioned more in the prophetic role; now He is functioning more in His priestly role; and when He returns at the Second Coming it will be predominantly His kingship role – but not to the complete exclusion of the others. It is just during that period it will be more so His kingly role as the greater Son of David ruling from Jerusalem. But, He will also be functioning in a high priestly way. So it's not that it's one or the other or the other, but that at different periods one is more dominant than the other two. And in His priestly ministry the authorization or the covenant basis for that is the New Covenant. 


As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we enter into Christ, we have a position in Christ and our priestly ministry is based on His high priestly ministry. So when we look at the New Covenant and we see that there are two parties (party of the first part, party of the second part; Israel is party of the second part; Jesus Christ is party of the first part), it is through Him that we enter into the benefits of the New Covenant. That becomes the legal structure because from Genesis 12 on, everything in human history is ultimately based on one of those covenants to Israel. We have the Abrahamic Covenant and then the land covenant (the Davidic Covenant) and the New Covenant - those three covenants. The Mosaic Covenant was temporary. That's the whole point that the writer of Hebrews is emphasizing even though he quotes this whole passage, the only thing he really develops is the idea that because it's called a New Covenant that rendered the Mosaic Covenant temporary. It made it a temporary covenant. It always was intended to be temporary. It could not provide that which the New Covenant provides. The old covenant provided a mandate to live a certain way but didn't provide the internal change and transformation that must be there in order to fulfill all the mandates of the covenant. That's what the New Covenant does. 


Though there are similarities to the spiritual life of the believer in the Church Age today, what I started to develop last week, what I'm still working through because it has…you get into these passages and you realize there are a dozen tentacles that go out in a dozen different directions in a dozen different or more passages in the Bible. You have to work through all of these and some of the terminology that's used in a lot of the literature where theologians have thought through and talked about the New Covenant is fuzzy. I talked about that last week that people talk about the fact that this New Covenant provides for the regeneration of Israel. It's just left there. 


For those of you who've been coming on Monday night or listening to the History of Doctrine course, you realize that this is typical in the history of Christianity. You have people who use vague or ill-defined terms until somebody comes along and starts asking some hard questions or takes a heretical position.


They you say, "I know that's not right, but I'm not sure what is right." 


So it's in that context that doctrine is clarified and becomes a little more precise. And what I've had problems with and it has come to my attention as I've studied it this time is in what sense are we talking about regeneration of the nation? When you read dispensational theologians and they say that the New Covenant provides for the regeneration of Israel – well, what are we talking about? How is a nation regenerate? A nation is composed of hundreds of thousands of individuals. When you talk about the regeneration of the nation, does that mean you're talking about the regeneration of the 5 or 10 millions people who make up the nation? Well, if you're talking about their individual regeneration, does that mean that they weren't regenerate or saved prior to that event? So you see what the problem is - is that if the New Covenant provides for the regeneration of the nation and the New Covenant is enacted when Jesus has already returned and gained victory over the Antichrist and the False Prophet at the end of the tribulation period, if that's when the nation is regenerate, in that event when exactly does that occur and does that mean that none of these Jews were saved before that? The problem with that is – well, no. It's clear that these Jews had to have been saved and that the Jews who escape in response to the warning in Matthew 24 when Jesus said, "Those who see the sign (meaning the abomination of desolation)…when you see this happen instantly flee." 


Those who follow that advice escape to the area down around…designated now as Petra also called Basra in the Old Testament. This area in Jordan that is south-southeast of the Dead Sea. To flee there they had to have listened to Jesus. To listen to Jesus means that these Jews would have already accepted Him as their Messiah. They would be regenerate under the terms of regeneration in the tribulation period. What we see is that regeneration is technically a very restrictive concept that they are moving from spiritual death to spiritual life. 


In the Old Testament there were certain things that accompanied that – not a whole lot, but there were certain things that accompanied that in terms of you were provisionally justified. You were given a provisional imputation of righteous. This is why Old Testament saints went to paradise which was part of Hades and they didn't go directly to heaven until after redemption. Propitiation was accomplished on the cross. Once that was accomplished then Jesus had His victorious proclamation in Hades announcing to the Old Testament saints that their salvation now was complete and they were taken to heaven so that Abraham in Genesis in 15:6 is declared righteous. But it's a provisional righteousness because Jesus hasn't come yet. Sins haven't been paid for yet and Jesus is the first fruits of resurrection. So you can't have any of that taking place until Jesus Christ pays for sin actually and fully on the cross because the blood of bulls and goats in the Old Testament economy could not accomplish that. So you have different things accompanying regeneration in the Old Testament. 


It's clear that Old Testament saints could be regenerate. The reason I say that is because part of the stuff that comes out of this new progressive dispensationalism (which is neither progressive nor dispensational in my opinion) is the idea that regeneration was unique to the Church Age and you don't' really have regeneration in the Old Testament. So that is just a little aberration that they have. 


The point is the way you know that they had regeneration under the Old Testament economy under the period (the timeframe of Israel) is how? Just think for a minute, give you a chance to unplug from the rest of the day, get you mind in gear not just sit there passively listening but just kind of think through.  If someone were to ask you that question, what would you go to? What passage in Scripture would you go to that comes before the cross that is talking about regeneration?


I see these looks like eyebrows knit together. Okay, let me give you a big hint. What passage of Scripture would you go to where a conversation takes place before the cross where the subject matter is being born again? John 3. Jesus is talking to Nicodemus.


He says, "Don't you know that you can't see the kingdom of heaven unless are born again?"


 Obviously if Nicodemus trusted Christ at that point, he's an Old Testament saint. It's in the age of Israel. It's before the cross and he is being regenerated. So obviously he should have understood that. So that tells us that Old Testament saints were regenerate. Being born again was operative prior to the cross.  It's not a post-cross aspect of salvation. 


But after Pentecost regeneration has or when you get saved you get other things that Old Testament saints didn't get. You get baptized by the Spirit. You get the filling of the Spirit. You get the indwelling of the Spirit. You get many other things as well that Old Testament saints didn't get. But in relationship to the Spirit, you get those things. You also have a positional cleansing that is distinct from the cleaning that Old Testament believers had because Christ had not yet paid for the price of sin on the cross. So their cleansing was provisional. When you read about cleansing in the Old Testament all you see is ritual cleansing. 


Now what we are going to see is there are new aspects to cleansing that are going to be added in the New Covenant. Just because you have similar terms related to the Spirit, the internal work of the Spirit. Just because you have similar terms related to cleansing and they're talked about in these New Covenant passages doesn't mean that the regeneration dynamic of the Church Age is the same as the regeneration dynamic in terms of associated and complementary things that are done in the spiritual life of millennial believers that these are the same. But by calling it regeneration it creates a lack of clarity, a certain fuzziness because what's being included in regeneration are these aspects of the millennial believers' spiritual  life aren't the same although there are similarities in the Church Age. 


Now that is an introduction to the kind of thing I am trying to sort of work my way through and what happens is that you'll start heading down what looks like a very promising line of thought only to discover after about 8 or 10 hours of thinking that all of a sudden you're down a blind alley and you made a couple of false assumptions and you've run into three or four verses that don't quite fit that scenario.  So you have to back up and go in a different direction. But this is the fun part of being a pastor is because you get to do this and try to tear some Scripture apart and break it all down and put some things together that others have not quite done in the same way.  So that's why we're laboring a little bit through some of these verses related to the New Covenant and Israel in the Old Testament.


So we looked at passages in Hosea and we looked at passages in Isaiah. We're going through these chronologically as they appeared in the progress of revelation so that now we're in our Jeremiah passage.


Let me just read through the passage so we know what is going on. Jeremiah says:


NKJ Jeremiah 31:31 " Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD,


Now this is an interesting phrase that occurs at least 5 times in Jeremiah. So it's focusing on the future. It's not something happening now, but it's in the future. 


when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah --


NKJ Jeremiah 31:32 "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD.


NKJ Jeremiah 31:33 "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.


NKJ Jeremiah 31:34 "No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."


Now when we look at the fact that the aspect of the New Covenant is mentioned…I believe it's 5 times in the New Testament. You have the Luke passage where Jesus institutes the Lord's Table. "This cup is a new covenant of My blood."  You have it's repetition in I Corinthians 11. You have a passage in II Corinthians where Paul says, "We are ministers of the New Covenant." You have Hebrews 8 and Hebrews 10.  These are the places that the New Covenant is mentioned in the New Testament. But the passage where Paul says we are ministers of the New Covenant is what's confused people thinking that somehow there is a New Covenant relation with the Church.  But, he doesn't say that. He says he's a minister, he's a servant of the New Covenant and the New Covenant applies to Church Age believers even though the covenant itself is only with Israel. So as the church is related to the Lord Jesus Christ through His priesthood we have a ministry that is based on the New Covenant even though we're not a direct covenant partner.


Now I'll probably say that a dozen more times before it clicks in some of your minds but let's just look at Jeremiah 31. We have to understand some things related to background and context – background and context. The first point in terms of background is Jeremiah is writing this shortly after 597 BC. There is debate among scholars as to exactly when he wrote this because it's not clear.  You don't turn to the passage here even though if you've got a Scofield Reference Bible there is probably a date near the top of the middle column that's based on Usher's chronology, but that's not in the original text.  That's Usher's learned opinion. 


By the way Bishop Usher was an extremely learned man. People today tend to make fun of him because he says that creation occurred in 4004 BC. In fact he actually had a date for it based on a Jewish calendar. People tend to make fun of him, but he probably knew more about Greek and Hebrew than almost any pastor or theologian today that I know about.


He had mastered numerous chronological schemes and calendars of the ancient world and was able to put together a vast amount of information. He was an Anglican bishop in Ireland. He was quite brilliant and quite capable and it's only because based on the presupposition of evolution in our culture that the earth and the universe are billions of years of years old that people want to make fun of Usher. But Usher wasn't a fool. He wasn't just somebody who was assuming a lot of things about history that weren't in evidence. He knew a tremendous amount. I have his book on chronology and it is about an inch and a half thick and it is one of these large books. It is probably about 10 by 14 in size; and it's small print.  So he is quite a scholar. I'm not sure that I agree with everything because we've discovered a lot of things since then.  But, I think he's generally on target. He is probably within at least 600 or 700 year if not closer. No one really knows. 


We do know that in 605 Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah and took the first group of captives back to Babylon. That group of captives included Daniel and his three friends Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael. Everybody wants to call them by their pagan names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; but the names that their believer parents gave them were Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael. These were among many numerous young men and women who were hauled off in captivity back to Babylon to be retrained and brainwashed to be administrators in the Babylonian empire. 


Then there was another, a second invasion by Nebuchadnezzar in 597 BC because Jehoiakim had not been an obedient puppet. So Jehoiakim is hauled back to Babylon as a captive after three months of his reign and along with many thousands of other Jewish captives in the second deportation. 


So Jeremiah is writing this section of Jeremiah to those captives. Part of this is a reminder to Israel that even though they are in captivity, even though they are virtual slaves, even though they have lost everything that they have, even though all of their hard work, all of their life savings, everything disappeared, all of their hopes, all of their dreams, all of their plans evaporated due to the shifting winds of politics - it could happen this next year. But, I won't get distracted.


The reality is that God is in control. That's what Jeremiah is saying. God is in control; God has a plan. There is hope for the future. Even though the nation Israel turned their back on God and God carried out His promises to discipline them and to remove them from the land and even though they have lost almost all of their worldly possessions and all their hopes and dreams, God's plans are not lost. God has a plan and a future for them. 


We need to understand that because when you go back to the first part of Jeremiah 31 because this focuses us on the future and the hope that God has for Israel and the plan that they have because they are out in the captivity in these initial sort of pre-captive captives, because the captivity doesn't technically begin until 586 when the Temple is destroyed. But, they're out there as captives wondering what's happened. 


"Why has God forgotten about me? I have been praying to God." 


Many of these were believers like Daniel and his friends and they have to suffer just as much as all of the pagans. Some of you may be thinking that as we face the coming presidential election that if certain people get elected into office that we're going to see our taxes go up. When taxes go up, you always lose freedom – always. Freedom is related to how much money you have at your disposal. The Founding Fathers understood that. That's why there was a great deal made about taxation without representation. It's not that the government doesn't have the right to tax. It's that when it taxes is too much it becomes tyrannical and we lose liberty and we lose freedom. 


Speaking of liberty, we are about to embark on a study of liberty from... as of…I think Saturday is the anniversary of Santa Anna's arrival in San Antonio.  It was somewhat a surprise when the Texans found out that that Santa Anna had crossed the Rio Grande and he was moving very rapidly. They didn't expect him in the dead of winter. He wasn't going to… he didn't feel like he had a need to wait. So he got to San Antonio with many more troops. The numbers vary 4 or 5 thousand Mexicans and much quicker than they thought. The 150 that were there when he arrived were going to have their numbers augmented by approximately another 32. So Santa Anna's arrival was on February 23rd in San Antonio. So that I thought in light of the need to rehearse what liberty is all about and how it is purchased that we might walk our way through the Texas Revolution during the next three or four months between now and April 21st (See, I'm not a numbers guy. I knew it was the 21st. I was testing you, Tom) which is San Jacinto Day. We used to get that as a holiday back when people cared about history and freedom and Texas and things like that. So we'll go through that. 


See what happens is when a nation goes under divine discipline the righteous (the believers) suffer just as much as the unrighteous because of cursing by association. But, we have the resources to handle it and we can't let ourselves become distracted as we watch the political fervor. It's easy for some of us to become distracted. It's easier for some than others. But, the reality is that if things do not go well (and things haven't gone well face it for a number of decades), it just continues to decline. Whichever party is in control we tend to continuously see our freedoms and our liberties erode because nobody cares about the Constitution anymore. They just care about personal power and people are willing to give power to politicians because they are willing to give up their freedom for the allusion of security and affluence. 


This was predicted by Frances Schaeffer back in the 70's. He's not the only one by the way. There were many others who did. But Americans because they have no core values based on absolutes anymore do not know how to sacrifice. They don't know how to live in the present. We have borrowed and borrowed and borrowed against the future both individually and nationally. Sooner or later the bill comes due. This can be a very tragic and difficult time. 


It probably will not be as difficult as it was for the Jews when the Babylonians came through, when the Chaldeans came through under Nebuchadnezzar and deported them. They lost everything. We may lose a few things. We may have to put some plans on hold. We may not have as much disposable income left because the federal government is going to take more and more of it. But the reality is that God is in control and God's working out His plans and purposes.  If we're oriented to that plan we can have joy and happiness and stability because we know that God is taking us through these things and there are great opportunities for us to trust the Lord and to grow and to be a witness to other people. 


So that's the same kind of thing that's going on in Jeremiah's time. He wants to encourage the believer who have been taken out in slavery in captivity.  They're living outside of the land. They're thinking that God has forgotten them and God has rejected them and that there is going to be no hope or future for Israel or for themselves. So God is going to remind them through Jeremiah that He is still their God even in Babylon. He is still providing happiness and stability for them even though they are in slavery and even though they have lost everything.


The first verse of chapter 31, Jeremiah says;


NKJ Jeremiah 31:1 "At the same time," says the LORD, "I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people."


He is talking about the future restoration of Israel and the future deliverance of the nation. This fits within a section that focuses on the future restoration of Israel. There will be two massive regatherings of Israel in history – in the future – from the time of the prophets. 


Hold your place here and turn with me for just a minute to Isaiah 11 to remind you of an important passage. Isaiah 11 is also talking about this future return of a people Israel, of a regenerate people to the land. Isaiah 11:11 we read;


NKJ Isaiah 11:11 It shall come to pass in that day That the LORD shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush, From Elam and Shinar, From Hamath and the islands of the sea.


What's that day? Well, according to the context it's "that day" when the root of Jesse - that is Jesse was the father of David that is when the seed of David the one who fulfills the Davidic Covenant the Lord Jesus Christ. The greater Son of David takes the throne and establishes His kingdom in Israel.


Verse 10 says:


NKJ Isaiah 11:10 " And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious."


So this puts our focus on the return of Christ, the time when He establishes the Davidic kingdom - Millennial Kingdom - Messianic Kingdom.  All these terms can be used. 


Verse 11 says; 


NKJ Isaiah 11:11 It shall come to pass in that day


So we know from the context that "that day" refers to the time of that recovery, that restoration of the nation as a regenerate, as a saved people because all would be saved if they're going to the Millennial Kingdom.

That the LORD shall set His hand again the second time


That's the phrase you need to underline. That's a phrase you need to highlight. 


To recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush,


Cush is Libya. Pathros is located (I am not sure where Pathros is); I think it's located in modern Turkey area. 


From Elam and Shinar,


Elam is down in the Persian Gulf area and Shinar which is Babylon.


From Hamath and the islands of the sea.


Hamath and the islands of the sea refer to all the islands out in the Mediterranean and the Aegean. It was basically a term for all the land that's west which would include Europe.


Now He's going to recover the remnant a second time. The question has to be - when did He recover Jews from all of these places the first time? Well, you only have a couple of options. The option most people want to go to is 536 when Cyrus signed a decree that Zerubbabel could take a group of Jews from Babylon back to the land and begin to reestablish themselves in their own land. The problem is in 536 you only had about 4 or 5 thousand Jews return with Zerubbabel and they only came back from Babylon. 


Now what had happened in 722 was that the ten northern tribes, most of them were deported by the Assyrians and scattered from Turkey through all of the modern "stan" countries – Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan all the way across those northern countries that are part of the old soviet bloc to Persian, to India. Then they migrated even further. So you had this massive deportation of Northern Kingdom Jews and then at the time of the Babylonian invasion you had a number of Jews leave and go down to Egypt and you had some that went up into the area around Turkey. There were a number of cities in ancient Turkey, which later became part of the Greek Empire, where they established themselves as traders, as merchants in that part of the world. So the Jews by the end of the 6th century by around 530–520 were scattered all over the ancient world – North Africa, Europe, all over the Middle East and into the Far East. But in 536 only a small group returned from one area. 


There were other returns that took place in the 400's with Ezra and Nehemiah, but they only came from Babylon. Now there might have bee a few individuals who decided to go back from Egypt or some other places; but there wasn't a large movement, a large return. There might have been an odd person here or there - like even the Apostle Paul had his parents send him down to Jerusalem so he could be trained as a rabbi, as a Pharisee. So there would be odd individuals who went back for various reasons, but there were no other groups that returned. So if God is going to bring a return at the end of the Tribulation that's the second return from all these places from all around the world; when do we see in history a return of Jews to the land from the 4 corners of the earth, from all over the earth? Well, the only time we see that in the last 2,000 years has been what has happened in the last 150–160 years as you see the rise of Jewish Zionism. 


That may seem redundant to some of you, but there are some Jews who aren't Zionists. They don't believe there ought to be any Jews in the land until the Messiah returns. That was the dominant view as we've studied before. That was the dominant view from the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 up to the early 1800's. In 1839, 1840 Rabbi Judah ben Alkolive (?) publishes a tract which begins to influence people that yes you can go back to the land before the Messiah comes. More and more begin to think that the Jews can return to the land without benefit of return to the Messiah. This culminated in the first Zionist council that Theodore Hertzl called in the 1890's. 


Then you have through the 1890's and on up to 1948 you had various Aliyahs. Aliyah is from the Hebrew word Aliyah meaning to go up. So you had these returns as people would go up to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is always thought of as up. Whenever you leave Jerusalem to go somewhere you are going down. We think of up as north and down as south, but for the Jews up is Israel and the rest of the world is down. So they're always going up to Israel, up to Jerusalem. So, that's an Aliyah. So every three or four years you had another Aliyah. You had massive numbers – tens of thousands of Jews every three or four years returning to Israel. Nothing like that had every happened before. Now you have had in the 20th century a massive number of Jews return to the land. So that's the only other time in history that you have a return of Jews to the land. 


Somebody might say, "Well, they're not saved."


Well, it doesn't say that they were saved the first time. In fact we know that they're primarily not a regenerate nation for the first return because in order for the Tribulation to begin, the Antichrist has to sign a treaty with Israel. This is in Daniel 9: 24f. When the Antichrist signs that treaty with Israel that begins the 70th week of Daniel and that starts the countdown for that last 7 year period which is the period of the Tribulation. It doesn't start with the rapture. It starts with the signing of that treaty between the Antichrist and Israel. 


What does that tell you? That tells you that there has to be a nation, a corporate entity with a governing body that is authorized to sign this covenant with the antichrist. Now because they're signing a covenant with the antichrist, you know that they're apostate because they're building a temple on the Temple Mount and you know that they have to build a temple on the Temple Mount so that you can have the abomination desolation half way through and the Antichrist can set up his image in the temple to be worshipped. You know that if they're building a temple, then they still haven't accepted Jesus as Messiah, which means that this nation that will be in existence in the tribulation period is an apostate nation. 


So there has to be a return. They have to return in apostasy. In apostasy they are going to build the third temple, which is an apostate temple. That's all just deduction from the text. So if the second return is the return of a regenerate people to the land and God is bringing them back and that's called the second one, then the only other candidate for the first one is this one. In other words there are only two worldwide returns. So this is what we're looking at today. 


Now the focus in Jeremiah 31 is on this second return


NKJ Jeremiah 31:1 "At the same time," says the LORD, "I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people."


…looking forward to the future. 


NKJ Jeremiah 31:2 Thus says the LORD: "The people who survived the sword


That's the tribulation. 


Found grace in the wilderness -- Israel, when I went to give him rest."


What did Jesus say? When you see these things flee into the mountains. Flee into the hills. Go down into the wilderness. 


This is a prophecy of the Messiah coming to deliver them at the end of the tribulation. 


Jeremiah says:


NKJ Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.


NKJ Jeremiah 31:4 Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! You shall again be adorned with your tambourines, And shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice.


NKJ Jeremiah 31:5 You shall yet plant vines on the mountains of Samaria; The planters shall plant and eat them as ordinary food.


NKJ Jeremiah 31:6 For there shall be a day When the watchmen will cry on Mount Ephraim, 'Arise, and let us go up to Zion, To the LORD our God.' "


This has never happened. This has never been fulfilled. You can't force it into a fulfillment in any of the times with Ezra, Nehemiah or earlier with Zerubbabel.


There is a time in verse 7 that they are going to rejoice – be tremendous celebration.


NKJ Jeremiah 31:7 For thus says the LORD: "Sing with gladness for Jacob, And shout among the chief of the nations; Proclaim, give praise, and say, 'O LORD, save Your people, The remnant of Israel!'


NKJ Jeremiah 31:8 Behold, I will bring them from the north country, And gather them from the ends of the earth,


This is talking about that regathering that takes place, the parable talks about this. God is going to send out the angels bring His elect. That context talks about the elect of Israel, the saved of Israel. 


Among them the blind and the lame, The woman with child And the one who labors with child, together; A great throng shall return there.


NKJ Jeremiah 31:9 They shall come with weeping, And with supplications I will lead them. I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, In a straight way in which they shall not stumble; For I am a Father to Israel, And Ephraim is My firstborn.


NKJ Jeremiah 31:10 " Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, And declare it in the isles afar off, and say, 'He who scattered Israel will gather him, And keep him as a shepherd does his flock.'


NKJ Jeremiah 31:11 For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, And ransomed him from the hand of one stronger than he.


That is stronger than Israel. That would be during the oppression of the Tribulation and the Antichrist. 


NKJ Jeremiah 31:12 Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, Streaming to the goodness of the LORD -- For wheat and new wine and oil, For the young of the flock and the herd; Their souls shall be like a well-watered garden, And they shall sorrow no more at all.


It goes on and talks about the tremendous prosperity that will be there and the joy and rejoicing that will take place during that time. 


NKJ Jeremiah 31:14 I will satiate the soul of the priests with abundance,

And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the LORD."


See that's never happened. The description here in the context of Jeremiah 31 is talking about the return to the land. Then we have a quotation in verse 15, a statement rather in verse 15 that is quoted later and applied because there is a point of similarity in Matthew 2:17-18. 


NKJ Jeremiah 31:15 Thus says the LORD: "A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more."


This is the weeping of the mothers of Israel as their sons and daughters are being taken off into captivity to Babylon. That's going to be applied to Bethlehem when Herod has the infants slaughtered because there is one point of similarity and that is mothers weeping for lost children. Here they're lost to captivity. In Matthew 2 they're lost to death. 


And the Lord is going to say:


NKJ Jeremiah 31:16 Thus says the LORD: "Refrain your voice from weeping, And your eyes from tears; For your work shall be rewarded, says the LORD, And they shall come back from the land of the enemy.


That's the core of this thing. This is a future of hope. No matter how miserable you may be right now, no matter what you've gone through in terms of suffering and heartache and difficulty right now, there is hope in the future. Hope in the Bible is a certain expectation.


So God goes on in the next few verses to describe this. Then starting in verse 23 there is a description of the future prosperity and restoration of the nation as the Lord brings them home, reestablishes justice and righteousness in Israel. 


God says in verse 25:


NKJ Jeremiah 31:25 "For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul."


God is the one who is sufficient for us. No matter what we have gone through God says He's the one who is going to completely satisfy us and heal us from all of the damage that comes in our lives from sin. 


Then in verse 27: 


NKJ Jeremiah 31:27 " Behold, the days are coming,


There's that phrase – the days are coming that focus on the future.


says the LORD, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of beast.


That means there is going to be a time of prosperity. The house of Israel refers to the Northern Kingdom. The house of Judah refers to the Southern Kingdom. By using the two terms together he's talking about the reunification of the nation because it split in approximately 930 BC when there was a tax revolt led by Jeroboam in the north. Rehoboam wanted to follow the counsel of his young men, advisors, his own cronies as opposed to the advisors of his father Solomon. So he increased taxation. There was a tax revolt. All of this was discipline on Israel because of Solomon's apostasy later on in life. We haven't gotten there yet in our study of I Kings, but we will. So here is a promise.


that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah


…pulling them back together – reunification of the nation. That did not happen at anytime previously.


with the seed of man and the seed of beast.


NKJ Jeremiah 31:28 "And it shall come to pass, that as I have watched over them to pluck up, to break down, to throw down, to destroy, and to afflict,


See that's the discipline. God disciplines in love so that He can reward them later because they have turned back to Him. 


so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the LORD.


Judgment always has a positive end. Discipline always has a positive end. That is restoration. 


NKJ Jeremiah 31:29 "In those days they shall say no more: 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes,


In other words now we say that the fathers have eaten sour grapes. There is bitterness on the part of the older generation. 


And the children's teeth are set on edge.'


…anger on the part of young people.


NKJ Jeremiah 31:31 " Behold, the days


There will be happiness, joy and peace in the land. 


NKJ Jeremiah 31:30 "But every one shall die for his own iniquity; every man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.


In other words there is not going to be a visitation of past generation sin on future generations. Those who disobey will be disciplined. They will die for their own iniquity. They will be disciplined for their own iniquity. 


Then God says:


NKJ Jeremiah 31:31 " Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah --


Now what we've seen in other passages such as Isaiah 61:8-9 is that this covenant is referred to in other places; but there it is usually referred to as an everlasting covenant. That terminology is used in a number of places. 


So let's begin to make some observations as we work our way through the passage. 


  1. The New Covenant is contrasted with the old or the Mosaic Covenant. This is in verse 32. 


NKJ Jeremiah 31:32 "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD.


That was the Mosaic Covenant. So he is going to make a New Covenant; but it's not like, according to… There will be a difference between the New Covenant and the covenant that was made at Sinai, the covenant that their father's broke. So this is the point that's going to be picked up in Hebrews is that the terminology 'New Covenant' means that the old covenant is no longer in effect because we have a new covenant that demands a new priesthood. A new priesthood indicates a new administration

  1. The second thing that we note is that it is a covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. The use of those terms together again emphasizes the unity of the nation as opposed to at this time their division. The Northern Kingdom of Israel had gone out under divine discipline in 722; the Southern Kingdom is about to go out under divine discipline. But, this will be a New Covenant with a unified nation.
  2. The third thing we note is that this covenant is a future covenant.  I "will" make this. It is a future tense… indicates something that this is something that will be done in the future. So these are the first things that we have seen – the first three things we've seen - it is not the Mosaic Covenant. It's distinct from that. It's made with the entire nation – the house of Judah, the house of Israel.  It is a future covenant. 
  3. Now the fourth thing that we see is it has a spiritual dimension. The Davidic Covenant focused on the seed. The descendent through David – that would be the messiah, the promised messiah. The second covenant was the land covenant – Deuteronomy 29-30. The land covenant promises that they will live in the full extent in the land that God promised to Abraham.  The third covenant (the New Covenant) is focused on what has to happen spiritually in order for them to live in that land.  It's not that those covenants were not conditional. It's that Israel couldn't live up to the conditions.  So they never fully realized… They were permanent covenants, permanent promises; but Israel couldn't live in the land as an apostate people. God wasn't going to let an apostate people live in the land that He gave them. So there were conditions. If they were going to enjoy the land, enjoy the blessings of the land; then they had to be an obedient people. But, as we'll see in our study the law mandates the requirement, the righteousness that God expected; but there's no internal change that allows them to be obedient and live in the land. That's what the New Covenant is going to supply because man just can't generate it unless God does the whole thing. That's part of what's learned in the Millennial Kingdom under the New Covenant. 


So verse 33 we learn.  Our fourth thing focuses on the giving of this new heart, this new spiritual dimension.  We read:


NKJ Jeremiah 31:33 "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD:


The "after those days" are after that period of discipline, after that period of destruction, after that period of suffering. 

The fact that he just mentions the house of Israel here…remember he has mentioned house of Israel, house of Judah twice before. This time when he says the house of Israel it envisions the whole nation. He is not excluding Judah. It's just for the sake of brevity focusing on all of them under the terminology the house of Israel.


I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.


 …all of them. The law here is not the Mosaic Law. It's the Torah. The basic meaning of torah is instruction. The basic meaning of torah is instruction. So you have various forms of torah in the Old Testament. The Mosaic Law is called Torah. That is what the primary reference to torah in the Old Testament is for the instruction of the Mosaic Law. But that's not the only instruction (the only torah) in the Old Testament. 


So here when we read "I will put my law in their minds", don't read Mosaic Law into that. It is torah. It's instruction. God is going to as we'll see in other passages going to put His word into their hearts. He's going to write it on the hearts of every Jew. They're going to be given new hearts. This is a concept that's completely foreign to us. You didn't have anything like that under the Mosaic Law which is the point that is contrasted in Deuteronomy 30. You don't have anything like that in the Church Age. We can't say that God is putting His law in our minds - not in the way that it's described here. The way it is described here is that there is this direct impartation of complete knowledge of God's law for each believer.  So that as we read in verse 34:


NKJ Jeremiah 31:34 "No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother,


There won't be pastors or teachers in Israel in the Millennial Kingdom because everyone will have the law written on his heart. 


saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."


Here as in contrast to a number of passages in the Old Testament knowing the Lord is equivalent to being saved. It seems that way from a number of passages and number of places where it is used in the Old Testament. 


So our fourth point is that the New Covenant includes giving every Jew a new heart. 


NKJ Jeremiah 31:1 "At the same time," says the LORD, "I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people."


These four stanzas ("I will put My heart in their minds, write it in their hearts) are complementary. They're parallel. "I will put My law in their minds" is the same thing as writing it on their hearts. There we see that heart is predominantly focusing on the thinking aspect of the soul in the Old Testament.  Sometimes it has volitional aspects; sometimes it has emotional aspects. Predominantly it has a reference to the thinking part of the soul. 


NKJ Jeremiah 31:1 "At the same time," says the LORD, "I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people."


…universally. We don't see anything like that today. We can't even imagine what this is like. 


That gets us into some corollary passages that we don't have time to get into this evening. We will start there next time. What does this mean to give every Jew a new heart? What's the relationship of this to having a circumcised heart? Deuteronomy 30 What's the significance of this for regeneration?  How do we understand this? We'll come back, begin to answer those questions next time.