Hope for the Future

KEY VERSE: “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” —Jeremiah 31:3

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Jeremiah 31:2-6, 31-34

THIS verse of scripture is seated in a very graphic prophecy telling of the final return of Israel to their land and regaining a place of favor with the Lord. In the thirty-first verse of this chapter it is revealed that such favor will come through a new covenant, which in righteousness will make them his people, and he will be their God.

Reflecting on this time, the Apostle Paul wrote, “This is my covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sakes, but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sake, for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”—Romans 11:27-29

In calling Israel ‘enemies for your sakes’, Paul was speaking of their enmity toward Jesus and the Gospel of the kingdom which he preached, and the resulting opportunity for Gentile believers to receive joint-heirship with Christ. But even though enemies in that respect, he says that concerning the election they are beloved.

The word election, in this text, is interesting and revealing. Abraham was elected by God to be the father of natural Israel, and to inherit the land of Canaan. His natural seed was to be typical of the faith seed of the Gospel Age, which was to be exalted to glory, honor, and immortality, and be the promised channel of blessing to all the families of the earth. But Abraham had to make this election sure. The first test was his willingness to leave his own country and his father’s house. He obeyed. (Heb. 11:8) His final test was the giving up of his son, Isaac, as a burnt-offering to the Lord.

Through Moses, God covenanted with Israel to make of them “a kingdom of priests and an holy nation,” but there was a condition: “If ye will obey my voice.” (Exod. 19:5,6) By virtue of his foreknowledge, God knew the Israelites as a people would not obey his voice. After this became apparent, the Lord promised to make a new covenant with them. This covenant was expressed during the time when the nation was divided, one part being designated Israel, and the other Judah. God wanted them to know he loved all Israel. Under this new covenant, Israel and all mankind would come to know the Lord, and he would forgive them.—Jer. 31:34

It is to this promise that Romans 11:27 refers—“This is my covenant with them, when I shall take away their sins.” It is to this covenant that Paul refers, when he wrote, “The gifts and callings of God are without repentance,” or change. (Rom. 11:29) The previous covenant, as God himself declared, had been broken. Israel had failed to qualify for what that covenant provided. God had not changed, but they had failed to meet the conditions, and the covenant to make of them exclusively a kingdom of priests and an holy nation became null and void.

So God, in his love, promised to make a new covenant, a covenant which provided life, but not rulership and glory. And, as Paul explains, the principal agency in making the New Covenant with Israel will be the divine Christ, constituting the spiritual phase of the kingdom: out of Zion shall come the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel.

Yes, the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. His loving purposes from the very beginning were established with everlasting intent, and in the end the promises he made to the fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, will be kept. The Prophet Isaiah wrote, “Thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not be ashamed. … But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, … and shall fear [reverence] the God of Israel. They also that erred in spirit shall come to understand, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.”—Isa. 29:22-24

Thus will the Lord, in his great lovingkindness, draw them again, using Abraham and others of the fathers to accomplish this work.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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