THE NEW COVENANT
[Walvoord..., pp. 208-]:
THE NEW COVENANT WITH ISRAEL
Among the Biblical covenants of the Old Testament, the new covenant with Israel takes its place in importance with the Abrahamic and the Davidic covenants as determining the course and destiny of the nation Israel. In the study of premillennialism it is another important evidence for a future millennial kingdom in which its promises can find literal fulfillment.
I) THE PROMISES OF THE NEW COVENANT WITH ISRAEL
The promises of the new covenant with Israel are among the most specific of the Scriptures. The major passage is found in Jeremiah 31:1-34:
1) [Jer 31:31-34]:
(v. 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.
(v. 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.
(v. 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.
(v. 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." '''
2) [Compare Ez 36:16]:
(v. 16) '''Again the word of the LORD came to me:
(v. 17) "Son of man, when the people of Israel were living in their own land, they defiled it by their conduct and their actions. Their conduct was like a woman's monthly uncleanness in my sight.
(v. 18) So I poured out my wrath on them because they had shed blood in the land and because they had defiled it with their idols.
(v. 19) I dispersed them among the nations, and they were scattered through the countries; I judged them according to their conduct and their actions.
(v. 20) And wherever they went among the nations they profaned my holy name, for it was said of them, 'These are the LORD's people, and yet they had to leave his land.'
(v. 21) I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel profaned among the nations where they had gone.
(v. 22) Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: 'It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone.
(v. 23) I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.
(v. 24) For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.
(v. 25) I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.
(v. 26) I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
(v. 27) And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
(v. 28) You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God.
(v. 29) I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you.
(v. 30) I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine.
(v. 31) Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices.
(v. 32) I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign LORD. Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct, O house of Israel!'
(v. 33) This is what the Sovereign LORD says: 'On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt.
(v. 34) The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it.
(v. 35) They will say, 'This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.'
(v. 36) Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the LORD have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.' " '''
"The new covenant is with Israel and the fulfillment is the millennial kingdom after the second coming of Christ....
The new covenant as revealed in the Old Testament concerns Israel and requires fulfillment in the millennial kingdom."
B) THE PROVISIONS OF THE NEW COVENANT
"According to Jeremiah 31:31-34 previously quoted, at least seven aspects are found contained in the new covenant with Israel."
1) IT IS SPECIFICALLY A COVENANT WITH ISRAEL
"It is specifically a covenant with 'the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah.' This was certainly understood by the Jews living in the Old Testament period as referring to Israel."
2) IT IS CONTRASTED WITH THE MOSAIC COVENANT AND WAS MADE WITH ISRAEL ONLY
"The new covenant is contrasted to the Mosaic covenant, which was made with Israel only."
3) THE COVENANT REQUIRES FULFILLMENT AFTER THE GREAT TRIBULATION AND WHEN ISRAEL IS REGATHERED
"The covenant promised fulfillment after the days of Israel's trouble (Jer 30:7) or the great tribulation which Christ predicted (Matt 34:21). It is further synchronized with the time of Israel's regathering which is regarded as a preparation for fulfillment of the covenant (cf. Jer 31:1-30) and constitutes the immediate context of the revelation of the new covenant."
a) [Compare Jer 30:7]:
"How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it."
b) [Compare Matt 24:21]:
"For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again."
(v. 1) ''' "At that time," declares the LORD, "I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they will be my people."
(v. 2) This is what the LORD says: "The people who survive the sword will find favor in the desert; I will come to give rest to Israel."
(v. 3) The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
(v. 4) I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful.
(v. 5) Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria; the farmers will plant them and enjoy their fruit.
(v. 6) There will be a day when watchmen cry out on the hills of Ephraim, 'Come, let us go up to Zion, to the LORD our God.' "
(v. 7) This is what the LORD says: "Sing with joy for Jacob; shout for the foremost of the nations. Make your praises heard, and say, 'O LORD, save your people, the remnant of Israel.'
(v. 8) See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labor; a great throng will return.
(v. 9) They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel's father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son.
(v. 10) "Hear the word of the LORD, O nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: 'He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.'
(v. 11) For the LORD will ransom Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they.
(v. 12) They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the LORD-- the grain, the new wine and the oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more.
(v. 13) Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
(v. 14) I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and my people will be filled with my bounty," declares the LORD.
(v. 15) This is what the LORD says: "A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more."
(v. 16) This is what the LORD says: "Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded," declares the LORD. "They will return from the land of the enemy. (v. 17) So there is hope for your future," declares the LORD. "Your children will return to their own land.
(v. 18) "I have surely heard Ephraim's moaning: 'You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined. Restore me, and I will return, because you are the LORD my God.
(v. 19) After I strayed, I repented; after I came to understand, I beat my beast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.'
(v. 20) Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him," declares the LORD.
(v. 21) "Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that you take. Return, O Virgin Israel, return to your towns.
(v. 22) How long will you wander, O unfaithful daughter? The LORD will create a new thing on earth-- a woman will surround a man."
(v. 23) This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "When I bring them back from captivity, the people in the land of Judah and in its towns will once again use these words: 'The LORD bless you, O righteous dwelling, O sacred mountain.'
(v. 24) People will live together in Judah and all its towns--farmers and those who move about with their flocks.
(v. 25) I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint."
(v. 26) At this I awoke and looked around. My sleep had been pleasant to me.
(v. 27) "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.
(v. 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.
(v. 29) "In those days people will no longer say, 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.'
(v. 30) Instead, everyone will die for his own sin; whoever eats sour grapes--his own teeth will be set on edge. " '''
4) THE NEW COVENANT IS TO SUPPLANT THE MOSAIC COVENANT AS SUPERIOR
"The new covenant is designed to supplant and be superior to the Mosaic covenant in that it will be written 'in their heart' instead of tablets of stone."
5) ISRAEL WILL BE GOD'S PEOPLE
"The new covenant will bring in great spiritual blessing in that God and Israel will be publicily identified and Israel will be God's people."
6) THERE WILL BE UNIVERSAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD UNLIKE THE PRESENT AGE
"The new covenant will be fulfilled in a period of universal knowledge of the Lord in that it will not be necessary to instruct one's neighbor concerning the Lord for 'they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them.'
It is obviously the same time referred to by Isaiah when 'the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea' (Isa 11:9). This is a strong contrast to the prevailing ignorance of the Lord in the present age and the contemporary failure of missionary effort to reach everyone even in Christian countries. Only a millennial kingdom in which Christ is visibly and gloriously present could provide such a contest for the fulfillment of this covenant.
7) THE NEW COVENANT IS A GRACIOUS COVENANT UNTO FORGIVENESS OF SINS INCLUDING THE SINS OF ISRAEL TURNING AWAY FROM GOD
"The new covenant involves forgiveness of sins, specifically the sins mentioned in the preceding context as having merited God's judgment upon Israel. It is therefore a gracious covenant.
It should be obvious to every candid expositor of this passage that only the premillennial interpretation provides possibility of a literal fulfillment of all these provisions. To spiritualize the passage to the extent of making Israel mean the church and to restrict the passage to a spiritualized fulfillment of the details of the covenant robs the covenant of its essential features. The facts are not only stated closely in Jeremiah 31 and intended to be taken literally, but similar passages elsewhere have the same features.