"THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM," He then says,Hebrews 10:16(NASB)
The writer to the Hebrews makes a direct reference back to the prophecy of Jeremiah 31 which God gave to Israel. For centuries they had done evil in the sight of the Lord. They had broken their covenant with Him and had followed after other gods. The northern kingdom had been defeated by Assyria and many in the southern kingdom had already been deported to Babylon. But God in His mercy promised to make a New Covenant with His people and instructed Jeremiah to deliver an amazing prophecy concerning this new and better covenant.
God promised that despite their apostasy and even though they broke their covenant with Him, He would make a New Covenant with His people, "Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt - My covenant which they broke."
The first covenant, given on Mount Sinai, contained 613 laws. God's promise to bless His people was conditional upon Israel keeping their part of the agreement. Because God knew fallen man could never keep His perfect Law, He ordained that Israel would offer sacrifices to atone for their sin. The Lord wanted His people to recognise that they were sinners in need of salvation and the Mosaic Law was God's tool to help His people to recognise this. Indeed, Paul tells us the Law was, "a schoolmaster to point sinners to Christ."
God had promised that if Israel honoured Him by keeping the conditions of the covenant, He would multiply blessings upon them in every area of life, BUT He also warned that if they broke their covenant with Him, they would be cursed and He would scatter them among the nations. And so, when Moses took the Book of the Covenant and read it aloud to the people, they said, "everything that the Lord has said we will do, and we will be obedient."
Sadly however, the people quickly broke the terms of the covenant. They refused to learn the lesson God was teaching them. They did evil in the sight of God and followed after pagan deities and God had to punish His people for their disobedience. BUT, as prophesied by Jeremiah, the Lord promised that despite their disobedience, He would make a New Covenant with His people, "Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah."
And here in the book of Hebrews, we see reference to this prophesied New Covenant which God gave to Israel. Unlike the first covenant which was conditional, the New Covenant would be unconditional. Instead of being written on stone, God's plan of redemption was to be written on the heart. Instead of animal sacrifices making atonement for sins committed, God purposed to send His Son as the full and final sacrifice for sin.
The Lord knew fallen man was incapable of keeping His Law and so He promised to place His law within their minds and to write it on their hearts. He also purposed to give His only begotten Son to be the only acceptable Sacrifice for sin. His Son's death would pay the price for man's sin. He would be the substitute for sin. God in His grace contracted to fulfil ALL the conditions of the New Covenant - and all that Israel (and the rest of humanity) had to do was to believe - believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
The New Covenant was cut at Calvary, 2000 years ago. All Israel had to do was believe God's Word and trust in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. But instead of welcoming their Messiah and recognising that through His shed blood the New Covenant had been cut, they rejected their Redeemer through unbelief. Israel did not recognise that Jesus was the Mediator of the New and Better Covenant, about which Jeremiah had prophesied.
But we who believe in the sacrificial offering of Christ have already been saved by grace through faith in Him. We who believe have been given the right to become sons of God and have received the indwelling Spirit... to lead us and guard us, to teach us and guide us into all truth. We already enjoy the benefits of the New Covenant, but a day is coming when the promise, given to Israel, will be fully ratified. God's chosen nation will be restored and redeemed - and on that day, God will put His laws in their hearts and write them upon their minds.
God's promise to Israel still stands, and a time is coming when all Israel will be saved (at the end of the coming 7-year Tribulation Period). Today the Church, which is the Body of Christ, has been called to be ministers of the New Covenant. Today the Church has been commissioned to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Today we are to teach the gospel of grace to a lost world, so that whoever believes on the name of the only begotten Son of God will be saved.
And Israel? Well, during this Church age, many Jews have trusted Christ as Saviour. There is a remnant of Israel who have trusted Christ for salvation during this Church dispensation. They too have become members of Christ's Body where there is neither Jew nor Gentile - for we are all one in Christ. They have already received the benefits of the New and Better Covenant.
A small remnant of believing Jews, have become part of Christ's Body - they are called 'The Israel of God'. BUT at the end of the coming Great Tribulation period, Israel as a nation will call out to the Lord for salvation They will cry, "blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord," and all Israel will be saved - and they will look upon Him Whom they pierced, 2000 years ago. They will look on Christ as He returns to earth in power and great glory - and they will be saved.
And so, all Israel will be ushered into the wonderful 1000-year reign of Christ. On that day, the lion will lie down with the lamb and the earth will be filled with the glory of God. On that day, the Lord will ratify His covenant with His earthly people, Israel - when He will finally write His Law upon their hearts and every man will sit under his own fig tree - and Jesus will be King over all the earth.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing plan of redemption. Thank You that despite their apostasy You did not cast Your earthly people aside, but promised to make a new, unconditional covenant with them. Thank You that as a member of the Body of Christ, I am a minister of that new and better Covenant. I pray that You will use me to carry out Your will and purpose for my life, to Your praise and glory. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.
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