Jeremiah 31:31-34 reads, “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. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, 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.”

This prophecy is a promise to Israel that the Old Covenant that they received through Moses on Mt. Sinai will be replaced by a New Covenant in a future day. This is confirmed by being repeated in Hebrews 8:10-12 and 10:16-17. Many believe that God cast away His people Israel forever because they rejected His Son and had Him crucified, but this is an unconditional promise that will be fulfilled. Romans 11:29 declares, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”

There is a vast difference between the Old and New Covenants. The Old Covenant, which is also called “the Law,” was an agreement between God and Israel where blessings were promised to the nation IF they were obedient to all the commandments. If Israel didn’t obey, God pronounced curses upon the nation instead of blessings. The Law required perfect righteousness and condemned the law-breaker. Because of sin in their hearts Israel was unable to keep the Law and thus we read in Jeremiah 31:32, “which my covenant they brake.” By contrast, the New Covenant is an “unconditional” covenant of pure grace, where instead of God demanding perfect righteousness and condemning the sinner, He imputes righteousness to the believing sinner through the death and blood-shedding of His beloved Son. So, the New Covenant isn’t an agreement between God and man; it is God acting alone by providing salvation through His Son’s work on the cross of Calvary. The main reason the Old Covenant was given to Israel was to show them, and the whole world, that man is a sinner who needs a Savior, and thus it would prepare sinners to believe the good news contained in the New Covenant.

Today most Jews are still rejecting the good news of the New Covenant. Romans 10:3-4 describe their current state, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.” While they remain blinded to the gospel of Christ, God’s grace is going out to the Gentiles and all who believe are added to a heavenly company that Scripture calls the “church.” But soon the church will be complete and it will be called home to glory and then God will work again among the Jews and many will turn to Christ. We see this truth in Romans 11:25-27, “Blindness is part is happened to Israel, until the fullness 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.”

At that time the scales of unbelief will be lifted from the eyes of a Jewish remnant who repent of their sins. They will finally see the truth of verses like Isaiah 53:5, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and by his stripes we are healed.” They will be blessed with forgiveness of sins and a new heart as well, and will realize that they owe every blessing to God’s grace and to the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ. (164.6) (DO)