Promise of a New Covenant

Key Verse: “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.”
—Jeremiah 31:33

Selected Scripture:
Jeremiah 31:27-34

THE COVENANT SPOKEN of in our Key Verse is a “new covenant” to be made with Israel at the time God’s kingdom is established on the earth. (Jer. 31:31) Verses 27 and 28 make it clear that the promises included in that covenant arrangement will be of an earthly nature, not a heavenly one. Earlier in the chapter, the prophet assures, “He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.”—vs. 10

The Apostle Paul speaks of Israel’s future in personal terms with these words: “I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.” Later he adds, “All Israel will be saved; just as it is written, The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. This is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.”—Rom. 11:1,2,26,27, New American Standard Bible

Israel indeed has promises yet to be inherited as a people. However, they are also set forth as an example of all mankind. Thus, the promises of blessings and life through the New Covenant will include the people of all nations—all who come under its terms and are obedient to its righteous laws, both Jews and Gentiles.—Acts 15:16,17

Few have seen the inclusion of Israel and much of the Gentile world in the ransom of Jesus Christ. Most only see a heavenly reward for a relative few. The Bible says, however, “God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that every one who believes in him shall not be lost, but should have eternal life. You must understand that God has not sent his Son into the world to pass sentence upon it, but to save it—through him.”—John 3:16,17, J. B. Phillips New Testament

As proof that Israel’s experiences pointed forward to God’s general blessing for the world, we notice these details. Israel’s priesthood, taken from the tribe of Levi, was specially consecrated to God’s service. Aaron was their high priest, representing Christ as a “high priest of good things to come.” (Heb. 9:11,12) The people of Israel received atonement for their sins and remained under their covenant with God through the sacrificial services of Aaron, their high priest. As these offerings were made for the people of Israel who desired harmony with God, they illustrate the “better sacrifices” of Christ for the “sins of the whole world.”—Heb. 9:23-28; I John 2:1,2

The priesthood of Israel also pointed forward to the special calling of Christ’s footstep followers, who will constitute the “royal priesthood.” (I Pet. 2:9) Those who enter this special relationship with God during the present Gospel Age also benefit from Israel’s past experiences. “These things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction.” (I Cor. 10:11, NASB) Paul confirms this thought at the end of his letter to the Romans: “Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”—Rom. 15:4