The Bible doesn’t actually say in Jeremiah 31:31 that God will make a new covenant with Israel. I was reading the verse in Hebrew expecting to see the word לעשות l’asote, which means make or do. I will MAKE a new covenant…but the language is much more graphic.
In ancient times, you did not merely come to an agreement, but you כרה CUT a covenant. Without blood, there is no covenant. Look at the first two covenants.
Abrahamic“So the LORD said to him, ‘Bring me a heifer, a goat, and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.’ Abram brought all these to him, CUT them in two, and arranged the halves opposite each other.” (Gen 15:9-10)Mt. Sinai-Mosaic-Old Covenant“Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, ‘This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has CUT with you in accordance with all these words.’” (Ex. 24:8)
Does that language sound familiar? “Blood of the Covenant?”
So, now Jeremiah prophesies that God will cut with Israel and Judah a New Covenant. There must be blood. It is not merely the upgrades that this covenant brings—new heart, writes laws on their hearts, know the Lord, etc…but in order for it to be a New Covenant, there must be the shedding of blood and a ceremony to ratify the covenant.
My question to my Jewish brothers and sisters is, when did this happen? When did God CUT a New Covenant with the Jewish people? …One so powerful that God’s laws were written on our hearts?
The answer is Jesus (the Jewish man), of course.
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matt. 26:27-28)
Let me note that this was not the starting of a new religion. He is a Jew with Jews on Passover. He is referring back to an Old Testament promise (Jer. 31:31-33) that was to Israel (and now to the nations as well!)
And the next day, the covenant was ratified, not with a glass of wine during a Passover Seder, but with His literal blood.
Hanging on the Roman cross, with blood pouring from his body, Yeshua said, “‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (John 18:30)
All this was in fulfillment of Isaiah 53—the Hebrew prophet who lived some 700 years before Yeshua.
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people, he was punished. (Is. 53:8b)
Who else in the 2,500 years since Jeremiah spoke of this New Covenant fulfilled this? Is there any other record of God cutting covenant with blood with the people of Israel? No!
And I can testify that the night I received Him—the night I believed—there was an instant change inside of me. Indeed, I became a new person, just as the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel said:
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
And for those who claim that God is now finished with Israel, in light of the New Covenant (Replacement Theology)…please keep reading Jeremiah 31…I am sure that the following verses were specifically written for those who would build a theology of an unfaithful God who rejects his firstborn, Israel, for another.
This is what the LORD says,
He 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 Israel ever cease
being a nation before me.”
This is what the LORD says:
“Only if the heavens above can be measured
and the foundations of the earth below be searched out
will I reject all the descendants of Israel
because of all they have done,”
declares the LORD. (Jer. 31:35-37)
Pretty clear! God is faithful to Israel. Yeshua was the fulfillment of the New Covenant promise.