The New Covenant from Old Testament Jeremiah

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by asterisktom, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. asterisktom

    asterisktom
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    The New Covenant from Old Testament Jeremiah
    Hidden Gems from the Heart of the Book of Jeremiah

    "Jeremiad" is "a tale of woe" according to the OSPD and, likewise, Jeremiah himself is often thought of as the ever-complaining doomsaying prophet. And that is tragic because the message that this man of God has is one for today as well. It keeps many from reading this book.

    Yet if they only would read Jeremiah they might notice, near the middle of the book, a markedly New Testament passage, describing, mixed in with other truths, our New Covenant in Christ. I am referring to chapters 29 to 33. These five chapters contain many promises of real comfort - some of them grossly misapplied. I have put off writing about this passage because I never felt able to do it justice. But, then again, when can we do any part of God's Word justice?

    MISAPPLICATIONS
    Let me start with some misapplications from this section:

    "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jer. 29.11)

    and

    "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you." (Jer. 31:3)

    The above verses have been subjected to two misinterpretations (at least as far as I've noticed). The first is to see the verses as exclusively referring to Israel, a minority view.

    But the second misview is to lift these respective verses entirely out of context, making them into a glib - and dangerous - feelgood mantra for just anyone. This is even more dangerous than the first view, giving false hope to many who have no basis for it, and deceitfully extending a promise to some who have no capacity for it. I have heard several sermons, and seen not a few websites, which prominently feature these verses without any regard for the context.

    And what is the context? Primarily, Israel. Captivity in Babylon for seventy years. It must have seemed like the end of the world, similar to the way Christians felt when Barbarians crashed the gates of the sacrosanct city of Rome. Likewise, the Jews felt the same about their city, Jerusalem.

    The context? Read it yourself: 29:4 reminds us to whom it was written "to those carried away captive...to Babylon". Verse 5 tells them to build houses, plant gardens, marry, etc. They are there for the long haul. After other details are mentioned we get to verse 10, specifically mentioning seventy years of captivity for them and God's promise of bringing the captive Jews back to Jerusalem, "return to this place" (see also v. 14).

    Now we get to the cherry-picker's verse (11). Notice the opening word "For". This links and limits this verse to the previous context. This is primarily a promise to Jewish believers. It amuses me that many of the same people who call all of the New Covenant Christians, Reformed Baptists, Calvinists "anti-Semitic", on the one hand, see no problems in wrestling this promise from Jewish fingers in order to gloss it onto their own books, church websites, and seminar flyers.

    But this passage does have broader application to all believers, seeing that some of the promises brought out in these chapters reach futureward to the time of the Messiah (more on that below). But they cannot be quite as broad as many make them out to be. God's promises are only to the believers, being spoken only to those with ears to hear. It certainly doesn't apply to everyone. Where would have been Pharaoh's interest in this promise? Had God ever promised to give him a future and a hope? No, He pointedly raised him up in order to be glorified in his fall (Ex. 4:21; 11:9).

    EVERLASTING LOVE
    Chapter 30 ends with encouraging descriptions of God's heart surgery on His own people. Comparing verse 22 with Ezekiel 36:26-28 shows that those who are "His people" (this phrase is in both places) are given a new heart..

    Both passages speak also of a rebuilt city and a rebuilt land. But we have to be careful here. Yes, some of the token proofs to this these spiritual promises are indeed the physical beginnings of rebuilt Jerusalem. Yet it goes much farther than that. There is also - and more importantly - a spiritual building of the heavenly Jerusalem, the Zion of God.

    This is the ultimate fulfillment that the Jerusalem Council came to recognize when news first came flooding in of all those Gentile converts in Galatia, Pisidia, etc. What were they to make of this unprecedented growth of their religion? They understood Amos 9:11-12, a passage similar to these in Jeremiah, as prophesying this very growth of the Kingdom of God, Japheth being enlarged, dwelling in the tents of Shem (Gen.9:26-27).

    Chapters 30 - 33 of Jeremiah shed much light on just what the "hope and a future" entails. 31:14 points to the physical return and rebuilding of Jerusalem. But then, in this same chapter even, the focus changes to a spiritual Jerusalem (the church of redeemed Jews and Gentiles - us!). These middle chapters of Jeremiah are so worthy of more careful study because they have much to say about the New Covenant and the church.

    If your faith is in Christ then you are also heavenly citizens of the New Jerusalem. The symbol of that city is shown in Revelation, but the wonderful reality is already very much with us.
     
  2. kyredneck

    kyredneck
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    'The Enlargement'

    Excellent. Thank you.

    --------------------------------
    1 Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith Jehovah.
    2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations; spare not: lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes.
    3 For thou shalt spread aboard on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall possess the nations, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. Isa 54

    22 And no man putteth new wine into old wineskins; else the wine will burst the skins, and the wine perisheth, and the skins: but they put new wine into fresh wine-skins. Mark 2

    26 If therefore they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the wilderness; go not forth: Behold, he is in the inner chambers; believe it not.
    27 For as the lightning cometh forth from the east, and is seen even unto the west; so shall be *the coming of the Son of man (the presence of the Son of Man; YLT). Mt 24

    (And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. And they shall say to you, Lo, there! Lo, here! go not away, nor follow after them, for as the lightning, when it lighteneth out of the one part under the heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall the Son of man be in his day. Lu 17:22-24)

    And he shall send forth his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

    For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea. Hab 2:14

    So shall they fear the name of Jehovah from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come as a rushing stream, which the breath of Jehovah driveth. Isa 59:19

    For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the Gentiles, saith Jehovah of hosts. Mal 1:11

    Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass that, in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. Hosea 1:10

    After these things I saw, and behold, a great multitude, which no man could number, out of every nation and of all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, arrayed in white robes, and palms in their hands; Rev 7:9

    And it shall come to pass in the latter days, that the mountain of Jehovah`s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. Isa 2:2

    Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy king cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, even upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off; and he shall speak peace unto the nations: and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. Zech 9:9-10

    All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn unto Jehovah; And all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. Ps 22:27

    Jehovah will be terrible unto them; for he will famish all the gods of the earth; and men shall worship him, every one from his place, even all the isles of the nations. Zeph 2:11

    but in very deed, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of Jehovah; Nu 14:21

    At that time will I bring you in, and at that time will I gather you; for I will make you a name and a praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I bring back your captivity before your eyes, saith Jehovah. Zeph 3:11

    But thanks be unto God, who always leadeth us in triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest through us the savor of his knowledge in every place. 2 Cor 2:14

    And he shall stand, and shall feed his flock in the strength of Jehovah, in the majesty of the name of Jehovah his God: and they shall abide; for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. Micah 5:4

    They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the root of Jesse, that standeth for an ensign of the peoples, unto him shall the nations seek; and his resting-place shall be glorious. Isa 11:9-10
     
    #2 kyredneck, Dec 1, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2009
  3. OldRegular

    OldRegular
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    I believe that one of the saddest aspects of dispensationalists is that they miss the beauty of the Old Testament when it is talking about the Church and the Incarnate God who died for His people, the Church.
     
  4. asterisktom

    asterisktom
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    Definitely. The real impetus of our arguments against dispensationalism is not to be contrary or otherwise but is to recover those beautiful and encouraging Gospel truths from the OT.
     

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