by Glen Penton

Twenty-six centuries ago, the Lord scattered our ancestors from the Land of Israel because of our rebellion against Him. Since that time, most Jews have never lived there. We broke our covenant with Him, so we lost the Land, the Temple, the Davidic Kingdom, God's manifest Presence in the Shekinah, and much, much more. But as He sent us away, He also promised the Prophet Jeremiah that He would bring us home again and restore to us everything that we had lost, and more. Because He knew how hard it would be to keep believing Him in the long, dark night of Jewish suffering, He confirmed His Word with a covenant statement. He said to Jeremiah:

"The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the Family of Israel and with the Family of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke My covenant, and I turned away from them," declares the LORD.

"This is the covenant I will make with the Family of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my Torah in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My People. No longer will anyone teach his neighbor, or relative, saying, `Know the LORD,' because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

This is what the LORD says, the One Who appoints the sun to shine by day, Who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar. The LORD Almighty is his name: "Only if these decrees vanish from my sight," declares the LORD, "will the offspring of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me."

This is what the LORD says: "Only if the heavens above could be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out, would I reject all the Family of Israel because of all they have done," declares the LORD.

Let's consider a few of the salient characteristics of the New Covenant as announced to Jeremiah:

To whom was the New Covenant given?

To the Jewish People,
To the same group of people who had received and broken the Old Covenant

What was wrong with the Old Covenant?

We failed to keep it.

What are the terms of the New Covenant?

  1. All Israel will keep God's Torah, the Old Covenant, with understanding and sincerity.
  2. All Israel will know God.
  3. All Israel will have their sins forgiven.
Should these good things have happened under the Old Covenant?

Yes, they were available to any Jew who would trust and follow the Lord.
Many did, but never the majority.

Have these good things happened yet?

What an absurd question!

Six centuries after the time of Jeremiah, God enacted the New Covenant by taking upon Himself the just punishment of our disobedience to His Torah. By His death and resurrection for us, He purchased for us all of the good things that He had promised us. He and His followers since then have been claiming that the New Covenant is now in force.

Someone may ask, "How so? The terms of the Covenant have not yet been carried out."

A few years ago I bought a house. I sat down with the former owner and a lawyer, and we made a legal agreement called a contract. Under the terms of the contract, when I paid the down payment, the house became mine. But I must make payments on it for a long time. If I fail to make the payments for any reason, I would forfeit the house. But then one glad day, the last payment was made and the terms of the contract were all fulfilled. But the contract went into force on the day I signed it and payed the down payment.

In the same way, Yeshua made the New Covenant operative by His death and resurrection for us. Then He made a down payment so we could know for sure that someday all the terms of the covenant (all His covenants) will be fulfilled. He gave His Holy Spirit to live inside all who would trust and obey Him, to empower us to know and follow Him better. The Holy Spirit is the down payment of all His covenant promises. You may have His Spirit right now by asking Him for It and trusting Him.

His Spirit is attracting more and more Jews to trust Him today. In the New Covenant portion of the Bible, in Hebrews 8:8-12, the Spirit quotes for us again the same words He had said to Jeremiah six centuries earlier. Then in verse 13 He adds the often misunderstood comment,

"When He says 'new', He is calling the first old.
And what has gotten old and obsolete will soon disappear.
Many have been confused by the wicked thought that some part of God's eternal Word, or some of His eternal commands have "gotten old and obsolete" and "will soon disappear." But you already know what has really "gotten old and obsolete" about the Old Covenant.

It is the unbelief and disobedience of our People towards God, His Word, and His Messiah.

And by God's grace it will soon disappear.
more about that disappearance
more about the history of His covenant
our ancestor Israel and the Messiah
an extended definition of Jewishness
Torah application under the Renewed Covenant
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