THE FIRST NEW COVENANT

FROM PASTOR TIM JOHNSON:


Thank you for the kind feedback on Sunday’s message from Jeremiah. This coming Sunday I will be preaching on the block of Jeremiah 34-39. If you want to be really prepared for Sunday, read those six chapters; it culminates in the Fall of Jerusalem about which Jeremiah has been prophesying to this point.

As I write this President Trump’s administration has reversed long-standing American policy on the legality of Israel’s settlement in the West Bank. Just as this administration moved the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, God seems to be using this Presidency to buck past American trends in order to advance and secure Israel’s ability to settle in the Land.

Keep your eyes on Israel; her presence and ongoing activity reveals just how committed God is to fulfilling His work; regardless of who the world’s leaders are.

But the hope for the future of the nation of ethnic Israel (i.e., BOTH the House of Israel and the House of Judah) and the world is caught up in the concept of the New Covenant. The New Covenant that God reveals in Jeremiah 31:31-34 is intended for ethnic Israel; not the Church, per se. There is no “Church” in the OT.

The “Church” arises after the resurrection, which is the basis for the New Covenant in Jesus. Thus, to my way of thinking, the New Covenant to the Jews, as seen in Jeremiah 31, is for the Jews and has yet to be fulfilled completely.

So many interpreters seem to neglect what follows Jeremiah 31:34. We simply must maintain the full reading of this covenant, which ends in 31:40. God’s stunning commitment to the nation of the Jews is tied to “the fixed order” of creation, which God established. It is a breathtaking commitment.

Thus, when the author of Hebrews references Jeremiah 31:31-34 in Hebrews 8, he is doing so in order to confirm his line of thinking that the Mosaic Covenant was insufficient and he thus points to Jeremiah 31 as evidence that God had already  indicated, in the OT itself, that He, God, was going to do something new.

But I do not think the author of Hebrews suggests that Jesus fulfilled Jeremiah 31 because in Hebrews 9:15 the author refers to the covenant that Jesus inaugurates as “a new covenant” as opposed to “the new covenant of Jeremiah 31.”

All of this seems to indicate that God continues to work with the nation of Israel, they are not swallowed up into the church, per se. After all, we don’t see the nation of Israel fulfilling what is found in Jeremiah 31. It’s not completed yet.

But the Church, which is made up of all believers, Jews and Gentiles alike, lives in the light of a new covenant whereby the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, the true Lamb of God, renders the Mosaic sacrificial system obsolete as a means by which our sins are atoned for. We no longer need sacrifices to atone for our sins because His was more than sufficient to cover them all.

Read these texts for yourselves; read all of Jeremiah 31; all of it. And then carefully read how the author of Hebrews makes us of Jeremiah 31:31-34.

Jesus is indeed superior to all that has preceded Him, and that’s the main thrust of the book of Hebrews…but God is not done with Israel, and, because believers still struggle with sin daily, He’s not done with us either.

Thankfully, the Church can take comfort in knowing that Jesus stands before the Father mediating on our behalf, and one day, will do so for all of Israel.

Amazed at God’s plan, we are, by His grace alone,

Rescued by Christ,

Pastor Tim


SERMON: THE FIRST NEW COVENANT