Understanding the 'New Covenant' of Jeremiah 31:33

The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will plant the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the offspring of men and of animals. {28} Just as I watched over them to uproot and tear down, and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant," declares the LORD. {29} "In those days people will no longer say, 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.' {30} Instead, everyone will die for his own sin; whoever eats sour grapes--his own teeth will be set on edge. {31} "The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. {32} It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them, " declares the LORD. {33} "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. {34} No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, 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."

Jer 31:33 is the legal basis for Christianity's 'covenantial replacement theology'. This Scripture verse has effectively and wrongfully given Christianity the justification to fashion a new constitution - a Torahless one. Jer 31:33, as Christianity interprets it, is wrongly timed and wrongly applied. Rather, the 'new covenant' in Jer 31 is a disciplinary (lesser) covenant bestowed upon a people who have acted less than approvingly.

The original covenant between God and man was made at Mt. Sinai. It had in view the highest purposes God had for man - "I am the God who makes you holy." That covenant revealed to man the nature and character of God and promised his constant presence and help in the long redemptive journey to God-likeness. The only stipulation was man's obedience. God warned that man should not think this agreement was unworkable - indeed it was a perfect plan. With all that said, why has Christianity appropriated a 'new' covenant. Why should there be a need for a new covenant? Why should a covenant written in stone be so temporal? What fault do we find in the old covenant? Sadly, there are no good answers to these questions. Regardless, gentile Christianity found for itself a new replacement covenant. Amazingly, even within the new emerging 'Messianic' congregations the 'new covenant' 'truth' is accepted without question. This error began 1900 years ago nurtured in a gentile population ignorant of Torah truths. It is simply human nature to throw off (or resist adoption of) the disciplines and boundaries of a holy life. The 'new covenant' is simply Christianity's veiled attempt to circumvent the old covenant. This error continues today as a direct result of the murkiness in Christianity's prophetic model(s). Just as Christianity has a Torahless lifestyle it also has a Torahless prophetic model - both need to be fixed.

As we unravel the covenant mystery we see there is confusion between the original 'blood covenant' given at Mt. Sinai, and Jeremiah's bloodless 'new covenant'. Upon further study we will find that there are two covenants for two peoples - a 'blood covenant' for the rulers of the kingdom and a 'new covenant' for the citizens of the kingdom. (If you haven't thought of the millennium kingdom in terms of rulers and citizens - think about it a minute - who do we rule over in the Millennium? - the citizens). Here is a short examination of Jerimiah's new covenant and how it should be interrupted.

The phrases used in vs. 27-34, (NIV) "The days are coming", "In those days", "The time is coming", and "after that time" are common prophetic notations referring to the End-of-the-Age / Millennial period, not 33 AD. Also, the background context is Millennial. Note these phrases - all Millennial:

when I will plant the house of Israel and the house of Judah" - Millennial
everyone will die for his own sin" - Millennial
no longer will a man teach his neighbor" - Millennial
they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest" - Millennial

There is something 'new' about Jerimiah's new covenant, and there is something not new. Strangely enough, Christianity gets them reversed. There are two components of this contract. The first is 'how' it is applied and the second is 'what' is applied. The 'what' part is the part we usually focus on. It is the basis of the written rules and regulations or law (Torah). But the second component reveals the subtle distinction in implementation of those rules. Jerimiah's new covenant is 'new' not in the 'what' part of the contract but in the 'how' part of the contract. The 'what' part stays the same. The 'law' that was given at Mt. Sinai is still the same 'law' that is written on their hearts and minds. There is no hint in Jeremiah (or other places) that the 'law' written on their hearts and minds is 'new'. It is the same law given at Mt. Sinai. The perfect law given at Sinai does not need to be replaced with something more perfect.

What is 'new' in Jerimiah's covenant is 'how' it is implemented. As Jeremiah says, (v32) "It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers ... though I was a husband to them". The original Mt. Sinai contract was delivered in the form of a Ketubah, a marriage contract. Jerimiah's new covenant will not be in the form of a Ketubah but in the form of a benevolent provisional contract. This time, not to the 'wife' of the kingdom, but to the 'citizens' of the kingdom. It's ironic that Christianity, who proudly sees itself as the 'wife' of Messiah, keeps the 'how' but terminates the 'what' portion of the covenant. It wants the 'old' privileges of marriage, but not the 'old' terms of marriage. It wants 'new' Torahless terms on the contract. The truth of the matter is exactly opposite - it's the laws that stay the same, it's the nature of the covenant that changes (for the citizens).

Christianity (the wife) is dead set on appropriating the 'citizens covenant' for herself. It's a big step down. The profound implication being, that if they continue in their Torahless interpretation of Jer 31, they will not be prepared (as in five foolish virgins) and will forfeit their opportunity to keep the original and best covenant (which is still available) and become the 'bride'.

There will be a 'bride' that prepares herself and does not fail in the terms of the covenant. Jerimiah's covenant is given "because they broke my covenant". It is totally inconsistent to say that the church, in this age, ends it's journey victorious (without spot or wrinkle), and yet having 'broke my covenant'. We can see two rewards for God's two eternal people groups in Yeshua's end-of-the-age sermon (Matt 24,25). He finishes with two illustrations, the Parable of the Talents and the story of the Sheep and the Goats. Lets just note the rewards given:

To the faithful servant (wife/rulers):

"Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' (Matt 25:21)

To the Sheep (citizens):

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world" (Matt 25:34)

To lump theses two groups together as being one and the same, as Christianity does, muddles the prophetic waters. The problem is, Christianity doesn't have a consistent model that supports TWO eternal people groups so they ignore such obvious distinctions as shown above. There is a covenant for each group. It is not a question of an old and a new covenant, it is a question of a greater and a lesser covenant.

The original, and still preeminent, covenant is a covenant of choice, Jerimiah's new covenant is a covenant of compulsion. Writing Torah on your heart and on your mind is God's gracious answer to man's propensity to wander. It is done after the 'time of testing', when God's has divided humanity into three groups, the 'faithful servants' who CHOSE to write the Torah on their own heart, the sheep who made bad choices and the goats who rebelled against God. Obviously, the millennial Sheep, who failed in the first covenant, will need a 'new covenant' to operate within and Jeremiah prophetically declares it for us. It is not the covenant for the rulers - they will have successfully complied to the most superior covenant.

Yeshua's 'blood of the covenant' is only referred to as 'new' in the gospel of Luke. Matthew, Mark and John do not mention 'new' in regard to the 'blood'. Ingesting blood is an act of 'spiritual intercourse', that is why it is so sacred. That is why the Torah prohibits the eating of the blood of animals. Life is in the blood, the only life a believer should have in him is the life of his husband, Messiah. What was 'new' about the 'blood of the covenant' was that it was newly available. Yeshua's life was the 'new' power component of the 'old' covenant, unavailable until now. The kingdom needed new power not new laws.

So, Jeremiah's 'new' covenant' is wrongly appropriated. It has not yet come. It will come 'after that time' bestowed upon a people who were reticent (but not outright rebellious) in obeying God. The terms of the good 'old covenant' are every bit as valid today, and more so, as they ever were long ago. Christianity neither needs nor should it want Jeremiah's++

 new covenant.

(New Covenant Scriptures)

(Mat 26:27-28 NIV) Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. {28} This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

(Mark 14:23-24 NIV) Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. {24} "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them.

(Luke 1:67-75 NIV) His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: {68} "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. {69} He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David {70} (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), {71} salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us-- {72} to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, {73} the oath he swore to our father Abraham: {74} to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear {75} in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

(Psa 18:2 NIV) The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

(Luke 22:20 NIV) In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

(John 6:53-58 NIV) Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. {54} Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. {55} For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. {56} Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. {57} Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. {58} This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever."

(1 Cor 10:16 NIV) Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?

(1 Cor 11:23-25 NIV) For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, {24} and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." {25} In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."

(Heb 9:18-20 NIV) This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. {19} When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. {20} He said, "This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep."

(Heb 10:29 NIV) How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?

(Heb 12:22-24 NIV) But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, {23} to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, {24} to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

(Heb 13:20 NIV) May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,

The Shema

Are thre two covenants? Can we find that in stated in the NT? Yes we can.