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Exploring the New Covenant: Part 2

For this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

Romans 11:27

As we continue to explore the new covenant that the Lord promised to make with the houses of Israel and Judah, we must begin to look at a future aspect of this covenant.  It is the promise that He will take away their sins.

Jeremiah 31:33 – 34 — “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. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

We must, at least here in reading the promise of this covenant from the prophet Jeremiah that at the time it was spoken, it was a future prospect:  “I will”, rather than “I have”, or “I am forgiving” their sins.  And when Paul wrote to the Romans , the prospect was future as well:

Romans 11:25 – 27 — “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”

The Lord, in the writings of the prophets, made a covenant to take away the sins of the Nation, Israel:

Isaiah 1:18 — “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

While we, read this, and our minds go first to thinking of this as applying to ourselves and our personal sins, this entire chapter of Isaiah has in view Israel’s national sins.  These national sins are the sum total of personal sins and the sins that they committed as a nation, that as a nation they did not live up to the covenant that the Lord made with them.

Jeremiah 31:32 — “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…”

This makes it clear that the covenant that the Lord is replacing is that which He made with them upon leaving Egypt.  It is the law covenant from Sinai.

Ezekiel chapter 16  is a scathing rebuke of the unfaithful nation.  The Lord was a good husband to the nation.  The nation was a wife that was worse than a harlot, and in dealing by the covenant at Sinai, nothing but judgment could be expected.  So, because of God’s love for His people, Israel, He promised to deal in the future with them by a new covenant:

Ezekiel 16:58 – 63 — “Thou hast borne thy lewdness and thine abominations, saith the LORD. For thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even deal with thee as thou hast done, which hast despised the oath in breaking the covenant.

“Nevertheless I will remember My covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant. Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger: and I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant.

“And I will establish My covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord GOD.”

I would also like to give each reader something to think about in this regard:  Israel, the nation, was promised a “new birth”, in another prophecy of the promised new covenant.

Ezekiel 36:22 – 28 — “Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for Mine holy Name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify My great Name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God.”

As this is true for the house of Israel, it was also true for the individual Israelite:

John 3:3 – 8 — “Jesus answered and said unto [Nicodemus], Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

“Nicodemus saith unto Him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

While Nicodemus had trouble understanding these things the Lord told him, the Lord’s answer was saying a question:

Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

That certainly gives the indication, if not explicitly saying so, that this master of Israel should have known these things.  How would he know them?  From the prophets!

The new covenant was a promise of the rebirth of the nation.  It is a new spiritual birth, which will also have physical blessings on the earth, in the land.  We cannot remove the land component of this covenant without doing violence to the text.  The land is not “code” for heaven, but it is indeed the land.

Matthew 6:10 — “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”

Matthew 5:5 — “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”

The earth is not heaven.  Zion is not heaven.  Crossing Jordan is not dying and going to heaven.  Israel, as a nation, does indeed have a promise to a land, but there was indeed a serious problem that they had to deal with.  The “Old Testament”, as the Jewish people today still hold, ends on a very sober tone.  According to many sources, in the way that the Hebrew Scriptures order the books, the last portion, the Writings, (Scriptures or K’tuvim), end with the second book of Chronicles¹.

And the Lord God of their forefathers sent upon them through His messengers, sending them early and often, for He had pity on His people and on His abode.  וַיִּשְׁלַח יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבֹותֵיהֶם עֲלֵיהֶם בְּיַד מַלְאָכָיו הַשְׁכֵּם וְשָׁלֹוחַ כִּֽי־חָמַל עַל־עַמֹּו וְעַל־מְעֹונֹֽו׃
But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words and scoffed His prophets, until the Lord’s wrath ascended upon His people beyond remedy. וַיִּֽהְיוּ מַלְעִבִים בְּמַלְאֲכֵי הָאֱלֹהִים וּבֹוזִים דְּבָרָיו וּמִֽתַּעְתְּעִים בִּנְבִאָיו עַד עֲלֹות חֲמַת־יְהוָה בְּעַמֹּו עַד־לְאֵין מַרְפֵּֽא׃

This quote from 2 Chronicles 36:15 – 16 is a serious problem to deal with.   Ending on this note, how much better is the estate of the chosen people, than that of the Gentiles, who were “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12)?

Much, actually, for they had a promise of a new covenant.  And that portion of Scripture that we call the “New Testament”, begins with the words:

Matthew 1:1 — “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

Later in the chapter, we read again about dealing with the people’s sins:

Matthew 1:21 — “…and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.”

For us, living in the time that God is holding back His judgment on His nation², and all nations, we have forgiveness as a present possession when we come to Christ by faith in His death for our sins and His resurrection  from the dead.  In His blood we have redemption, and the forgiveness of sins now (Ephesians 1:7).  He has (past tense) forgiven us who believe all of our trespasses (Colossians 2:13).  He is dealing now with individual sinners from all nations in His grace and kindness through Christ Jesus.  This way in which God is dealing with mankind, that the Holy Scripture calls “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2), will not last forever.  God’s judgment is waiting on His grace, and while the depth of His grace knows no limits, the time of His forbearance will not last forever.

2 Corinthians 6:2 — “…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

To be continued…


End Notes:

  1. From: https://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16585#v=15
  2. Israel is the only nation on the earth ever that had the title “My People”.  It must, however, be recognized that although they held this privilege, and will again hold it, they are now (nationally) in unbelief and blinded.  There will be a day when “it shall turn to the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:16).  The scales will fall off their eyes and they will see.  They will look on the One that they pierced and mourn for Him, and say “Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:39)

Zechariah 13:9 — “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on My name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is My people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.”

 

Charles Miller View All

Husband, father, engineer...Enjoys fishing, archery, guitar, running, and lifting, but most of all reading and studying God's Word.

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