THE TEXT: “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, 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. 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. 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.” (vss 31-34)
THE TRUTH: The new covenant that Jesus ushered in was of a spiritual nature. The “house of Israel” and “house of Judah” is Christ’s church and the special national relationship with God is based on belief from the individual (not a hereditary rite).
THE AUTHORITY: The Holy Spirit, who through Paul in 2 Corinthans 6 and the writer of Hebrews 8 and 10, applied these statements from Jeremiah to the 1st century Christian.
FURTHER APPLICATION: Somewhat uniquely in the prophets, we have an entire ‘contextually complete’ vision throughout all of Jeremiah chapters 30-33. These four chapters remain focused on describing several aspects of the last/latter days. Greater interpretive weight is given to the inspired writer’s direct quotation from chapter 31. However, additional attributes of the last days (current Christian age) with strong New Testament familiarity and correlation include:
- God will “restore the fortunes” of His people and “bring them back to the land” to “take possession of it.” (30:3)
- David will be raised up to be their king. (30:9)
- A prince will be raised up from among their midst to rule and “you shall be my people and I will be your God.” (30:21-22)
- God will be the God of “all the clans of Israel” and they will be His people. (31:1)
- He will cause them to “walk by brooks of water in a straight path.” (31:9)
- He will gather them “as a shepherd keeps his flock.” (31:10)
- The voice of Rachel heard “weeping for her children” “because they are no more.” (31:15) *Importantly, this passage is also directly quoted and interpreted for us by the inspired writer Matthew (2:16-18) when Herod ordered all the first born males to be killed at the news of Jesus’ birth.
- God will gather his people from “all the countries” to “dwell in safety” – repeating again the “everlasting covenant” (32:37-41)
- God will cause a “Branch to spring up for David” who will “execute justice and righteousness in the land.” (33:14-16)
- David’s throne will be occupied forever and the Levites will never lack priests for the service of God. (33:17-18).