I woke this morning pondering the New Covenant, and once coffee was made and poured, I sat to reread it. I was draw to begin reading at Jeremiah 30:18 to be reminded of the context and who the players are. This is a good opportunity for us to go back to the basics.
Christian theology centers on the New Covenant. We recognize Yeshua/Jesus as declaring that He is instituting this New Covenant, but we do not pursue the matter to a full understanding of the implications. So, let’s take a few minutes and be reminded of what Scripture says it means to be part of the New Covenant.
First, Yeshua and Paul’s use of the term,
Luke 22:17 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.
I Corinthians 11:23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which 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 He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
Christendom hangs its proverbial hat on these verses, but the vast majority, pastors included, do not know who the New Covenant is with. Everyone just assumes it is with them, or the Gentiles, or anyone, etc…. Jeremiah is a bit more precise. He says,
Jeremiah 31:31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
Startlingly clear, and no mention of Gentiles or any other group or individuals. Hebrews 8 quotes the above passage exactly with zero alteration of the words or parties involved. Simply, the New Covenant is with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Period.
Now, before you stop reading and run out of here, there is a clear explanation, but it requires some UNlearning. And, a paradigm shift.
By Abba’s grace, a book that Al McCarn and I have just finished writing, Ten Parts in the King, went to the printer today. It contains a detailed explanation of who the house of Israel is and is not, as well as who the house of Judah is and is not. Simply, they are two separate and distinct groups that are part of the whole of Israel. The northern Kingdom under the rulership of Jeroboam’s dynasty stemming from the tribe of Ephraim was composed of ten tribes. The Southern Kingdom of Judah, under the Davidic dynasty, was the house of Judah composed of three tribes and some remnants.
Within the context of Jeremiah 30 and 31, the New Covenant is clearly written to both houses, but particularly to the northern Kingdom that had been scattered to the four winds by God Himself through the hands of the Assyrian empire. God had a plan and purpose for dividing David’s Kingdom into two groups and then treating them differently, a purpose explained in detail in our new book.
For our purposes here, it is simply important to note that all partakers of the New Covenant fall into one of two groups: house of Israel or house of Judah. For most of Christendom, this is a shocking piece of information, but Scripture bears this out over and over, “old” Testament and “new.”
But, I haven’t shared the most gut wrenching part of the prophecy!
Jeremiah 31:31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law (Heb.=Torah) within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
God promises that the New Covenant will be Him writing His Torah, yes, you read that correctly, TORAH on their/our hearts.
Bet you never heard that from the pulpit. And, the exact same wording is used in Hebrews 8 and 10 where the author reminds his readers (us) that Torah is to be written on our hearts!
Years ago, when I started this blog, I wrote about this. As a seminary trained pastor, I was shocked to have these verses strike me dead between the eyes. Why had no one told me? And, why did people run away from me when I simply shared what scripture says?
Today, five years since those first faltering blog posts, my Bible still says the same thing! The New Covenant is with the house of Israel and the house of Judah and it will write Torah on our hearts!! But, there is much more!
Yeshua/Jesus did not come proclaiming just a message of personal salvation. That is what all of Christendom focuses on, but it is not the central reason for His coming. Personal salvation is simply one of several reasons that all are part of His real mission, restoring the Kingdom! Read Acts 1:6 & 7!
Acts 1:6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;
Now, read the whole context of Jeremiah 31 and see that it is a passage about God’s restoration of all Israel, Ephraim and Judah (to use the terms in the passage), and their regathering to the Land and His blessing over them. He further says that this is such a sure thing that the only way to stop it is to keep the sun from coming up in the morning or the waves to cease lapping!
Good luck. And, for theologians who try to explain away these verses, or alter their meaning, your efforts are as futile as that of the wave stopper.
So, to wrap up this little reminder, according to Scripture, the New Covenant is with the house of Israel and the house of Judah and it will write Torah on our hearts.