Yeshua: His Better Covenant ~ Part 2b

Messianic Jews 8:6-13
Letter to the Messianic Jews

In my last post, we began our mini-series on Yeshua: His Better Covenant which covers Messianic Jews 8:1-10:18. In this post, we examine Messianic Jews 8:6-13 the New Covenant Based on a Superior Promise.  In this post, we will concentrate on verses 7-13.

New Covenant Based on a Superior Promise

6 But now the work Yeshua has been given to do is far superior to theirs, just as the covenant He mediates is better. For this covenant has been given as Torah on the basis of better promises. 7 Indeed, if the first covenant had not given ground for faultfinding, there would have been no need for a second one.

8 For God does find fault with the people when he says, “‘See! The days are coming,’ says Adonai, ‘when I will establish over the house of Isra’el and over the house of Y’hudah a new covenant. 9 “‘It will not be like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by their hand and led them forth out of the land of Egypt; because they, for their part, did not remain faithful to my covenant; so I, for my part, stopped concerning myself with them,’ says Adonai. 10 “‘For this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Isra’el after those days,’ says Adonai: ‘I will put my Torah in their minds and write it on their hearts; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 11 “‘None of them will teach his fellow-citizen or his brother, saying, “Know Adonai!” For all will know me, from the least of them to the greatest, 12 because I will be merciful toward their wickednesses and remember their sins no more.’” [Quoted from Jeremiah 31:30-33(31-34).]

13 By using the term, “new,” he has made the first covenant “old”; and something being made old, something in the process of aging, is on its way to vanishing altogether.” ~ Messianic Jews 8:6-13 (CJB)

 

Indeed, if the first covenant had not given ground for faultfinding, there would have been no need for a second one.  The first covenant, so well known to the Jews, was the one made with the people after the giving of the law. God graciously approached the people of Israel. He offered them a unique relationship to Himself, but that relationship was entirely dependent on the keeping of the law. We see the Israelites accepting that condition in Exodus 24:1-8.

Verses 8b-12 is the longest citation from the Tanakh in the Brit Hadashah, and appropriately so; for this prediction of Jeremiah’s is the Tanakh’s most explicit ground for the very existence of the New Covenant. In the passage quoted from Jeremiah (verses 8-12), we can distinguish certain marks of the New Covenant which Yeshua brought.

  1. The author of Messianic Jews begins by pointing out that the idea of a new covenant is not something revolutionary. It is already there in Jeremiah 31:31-34, which he quotes in full.
  2. This covenant will not only be new; it will be different in quality and kind.
  3. Wherein is this covenant new? It is new in its scope. It is going to include the house of Israel and the house of Judah. One thousand years before this, in the days of Rehoboam, the kingdom had split apart, into Israel with the ten tribes and Judah with the two, and these two sections had never come together again. The new covenant is going to unite that which has been divided.
  4. It is new in its universality. All humanity would know God from the least to the greatest. That was something entirely new. In the ordinary life of the Jews, there was a complete cleavage. On the one hand there were the P’rushim and the orthodox who kept the law; on the other hand, there were what were contemptuously called The People of the Land, the ordinary people who did not fully observe the details of the ceremonial law. They were completely despised. It was forbidden to have any fellowship with them; to marry one’s daughter to one of them was worse than to throw her to a wild beast; it was forbidden to go on a journey with them; it was even banned, as far as it was possible, to have any trade or business dealings with them. To the rigid observers of the law, the ordinary people were beyond the pale. But in the new covenant, these breaches would no longer exist. All humanity, wise and simple, great and small, Jew and Goyim would come to know the Lord. The doors which had been shut were thrown wide open.
  5. There is one even more fundamental difference. The old covenant depended on obedience to an externally imposed law. The new covenant is to be written upon our hearts and minds. We are to obey God, not because of the terror of punishment, but because we love Him. We are to obey Him not because the law compelled us unwillingly to do so, but because the desire to obey Him is written on our hearts.
  6. It will be a new covenant which will affect forgiveness. God said that He would merciful toward their wickednesses and remember their sins no more. The new relationship is based entirely on his love. The tremendous thing about the new covenant is that it makes our relationship with God no longer dependent on our obedience but entirely dependent on God’s love. [1]

One thing remains to be said. In Jeremiah’s words about the new covenant, there is no mention of animal sacrifices. It would seem that Jeremiah believed that in those sacrifices would be abolished as irrelevant; but the author to the Messianic Jews cannot think except in terms of the sacrificial system and very shortly he will go on to speak of Yeshua as Himself the perfect sacrifice, whose death alone made the new covenant possible for all humanity.

In my next post, we’ll continue our new mini-series on Yeshua: His Better Covenant which will cover Messianic Jews 9:1-10 ~ The Temporary Levitical Sacrifices.

Click here for PDF version.

[1] Adapted from Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT) by William Barclay.

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