We should all be very interested in this New Covenant, for it is the one under which we soon shall be living. The time is fast approaching when the Lord will bring it into force. The Lord wrote the terms of this New Covenant over twenty-five hundred years ago, giving it to the Prophet Jeremiah to record.
At that time, the Ten-Tribed House of Israel had already gone into captivity into Assyria, and Jeremiah was trying to turn Judah from her evil ways, so that she might be spared a like defeat and deportation.
Probably you are quite familiar with this Covenant, everyone who owns a Bible has the record of this the New Covenant that is so soon to go into effect. It is to be found in Jeremiah 31:31-40, “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel, and with the House of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
If you will look at the phrasing of the above, you will see that it is quite definite. There are no ifs. It is not contingent upon anything that Israel does. It is not conditional. The Lord says I will! His intentions are firm and unchangeable. Nothing will alter the I will of the Lord. Israel may not be willing, but the Covenant will be brought into force regardless of Israel’s desire.
However it is probable that Israel will be willing by that time. Probably world events, and conditions at home, will be such as to make Israel eager for this covenant. The words, “after those days” and “the days come” convey a world of meaning. They indicate changed conditions, more or less tribulation. They can mean that Israel and Judah will be so beset by enemies that they will be compelled to turn to the Lord. We can link this up with the “distress of nations, with perplexity”, mentioned in Luke 21:25, for all those troubles and conditions pertain to the very end of the latter days, the days in which we are living.
This New Covenant, we note, is made with both houses, the House of Israel and the House of Judah. Neither can claim any favoritism, nor that either is left out. However we must always bear in mind that Judah is never more to be a Kingdom, our Lord having taken it from them, (Matt. 21:43) Judah can only enjoy the delights of being within the Kingdom of God by coming into Israel, and by recognizing the Lord as King over that Kingdom.
The Lord has given one of His mightiest declarations to confirm this Covenant. He calls upon the sun, moon and stars to be His witnesses, Jer, 31:35. These heavenly bodies are called upon to attest to the truth of His statement. They are our guarantee that the terms of this Covenant will be carried out.
The wording of this marvellous Covenant makes it a Legal Document. It is phrased in legal language and there are no loopholes for doubt or quibbling. Once having made the declaration and called upon witnesses, the Lord is bound to bring the Covenant into force and meet its terms.
There is also another striking witness given to us in the Book of Hebrews 8:8-13, where the Covenant is repeated. Thus in both Old and New Testaments we have a guarantee. In Hebrews 10:15 the Holy Ghost is called upon to be an additional witness.
In the old covenant made with Israel through Moses, the laws were written upon tables of stone. Here in this New Covenant we find that these self-same laws are to be written upon the hearts of the people of Israel. This is raising the laws to a far higher standard.
This Covenant is also an everlasting one, as we find by referring to Jeremiah 32:40. It will continue on into the Kingdom Age and will have no end.
Perhaps the main point of this Covenant is that it is based upon the Sovereignty of God – I will and ye shall. When we wonder why God permits wars and evils in the world, wee find that there is a time limit, “after those days”. When Israel has learned her lesson and is willing to return to her Lord, the evils in her midst will cease. And though this is really an unconditional covenant, Israel will have learned her lesson by that time. The evils are permitted to continue till Israel turns to her God in repentance. By then she will have discovered that she cannot get along without her Lord and His Laws.
Once Israel turns to her Lord, He will “abundantly pardon”, (Isa. 55:7) “For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jer. 31:34, “And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity.” Jer. 33:8. Having turned to the Lord, Israel’s tribulation will cease. From then on, the Lord deals with her enemies and fights her battles.
Will you read Isaiah 54? It is a very lovely chapter and completely satisfying. Here we read of Israel’s return to her Lord. She has been afflicted, but the Lord is waiting with His comfort and blessing. “O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires . . . and great shall be the peace of thy children . . . thou shalt be far from oppression.”
God grant that we, His stubborn children, will soon turn to Him, that we may escape the terrible tribulation that will soon engulf the whole world.