... Jerusalem ... 22 Just as the new earth and the new heavens will endure by my power, so your descendants and your name will endure ... Isaiah 66 (GNT), 18 ... Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and its PALACE restored. Jeremiah 30:18 (GNT)


Jeremiah 31, the new covenant: God's Law on believers heart!

Revised: 15-9-2013

Contrary to what many Christians believe, God gave his new covenant first of all to the Israelites, 
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord.
I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. ...
Jeremiah 31

This raises a few questions in my mind. For one, if it's meant for the Israelites, where does this leave non-Jews, Christians? What's the point in having God's Law on your heart anyway?

The Law and deeds

First of all the prophet Jeremiah is clear when he says the new covenant is for the Jews,

… 31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. ... Jeremiah 31, compare with Hebrews 8:10-12.

Still, I'm happy and grateful that by God's grace non-Israelites may share in the blessings he gives through his people, his congregation of Israel, Genesis 12, Isaiah 56:1-8.

But then, how will I, we believers know that God is writing or wrote his Law on our heart? Biblical scriptures answer: by our deeds!

That is why God gives rewards by deeds,
12 ... “You reward everyone according to what they have done.” Psalm 62:12 (NIV)

12 If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done? Proverbs 24:12 (NIV)

6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. Romans 2:6-7 (NIV)

13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. Romans 2:13 (NIV)

What about the non-Jews, whom don't have the Law?

Non-Jews and the Law

God's Laws has always been perceived by Christians as meant for the Jews and not for themselves. As long as they love God and their neighbours, that should suffice. But, God's new covenant isn't separated from his Law he gave to the Israelites through Moses, which are also called the Law of Moses. For it is his Law that he will write on the believers heart and this is a crucial aspect of his new covenant.      

14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) Romans 2:14-16 (NIV)

In this case, how would they know the requirements of the Law? By knowing more about God's Law.
But, doesn't biblical scripture say that “The righteous will live by faith.”, Romans 1:17 (NIV)?

Then I say, what is faith worth without deeds? That is, deeds that meets the requirements of the Law. James 2:14-26 (NIV) makes clear how important this is while taking Abraham's actions concerning Isaac and Rahab's action regarding the spies as an example,
... 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. ...
25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

And notice also,  
38 My righteous people, however, will believe and live; but if any of them turns back, I will not be pleased with them.” ... Hebrew 10:38-39 (GNT)

We should know and remember what was and still is the purpose of the Law, Romans 3:20 (NIV) ,
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
The Law in itself doesn't give forgiveness of sins, which stands between God and people, Isaiah 59:1-2. Forgiveness comes through God's grace. How could any one realize they need God's forgiveness if they don't even know what is sinful in order to acknowledge their sinful deeds? In other words, why ask forgiveness if there is nothing to forgive? In this way the Law and forgiveness goes hand in hand, and they have the same source, the Almighty God.

We know by the Law forgiveness by the Almighty God is needed. As the new covenant also entails this forgiveness as Jeremiah 31:34 (NIV) also says,
34 … “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

So, God's Law isn't only of importance to Jews, but also to non-Jews, the gentiles. Knowing God's Law is knowing his will and what he regards through his Law to be the deeds that meet his requirements! Ruth is a great example to non-Jews on this matter.

Shouldn't we remember that, God himself is the one who writes his Law on our heart!

Jesus'/Yeshua's disciples and God's Law

The book of Acts chapter 15 speak of the meting held at Jerusalem by the disciples of Jesus / Yeshua - all Jews - to discus the matter of the non-Jews, Gentiles, whom became believers.

One of the conclusions of this meting was that they shouldn't burden them with the Laws of Moses. But that, the new-believers should not eat any food ritually unclean which has been offered to idols, nor animals that has been strangled or any blood - Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 17:10-14, Isaiah 66:3 - and that they should keep themselves from sexual immorality. They sent Paul and Barabbas to the the Gentiles with a letter in which they stated all this.

Does this "not burdening them with the Laws of Moses", mean that the new-Believers wouldn't need these? I believe on the contrary, for all the restrictions were based on God's Laws. As Acts 15:21 makes clear, it was known at that time that the Law of Moses has been preached fro a very long time in the synagogues every Sabbath in every town. So, if the new-believers would want or need to know more - besides all they would be receiving from the disciples - it would be up to themselves to search further to make up their minds and choose what they would actually want to do.

By the way God's word states that God's Law isn't a burden to the Israelites so it doesn't have to be for non-Jews. 
11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. Deuteronomy 30:11-14 (NIV)

The apostles Paul spoke in his letter of giving first milk and later solid food to believers,
13 Anyone who has to drink milk is still a child, without any experience in the matter of right and wrong. 14 Solid food, on the other hand, is for adults, who through practice are able to distinguish between good and evil. Hebrews 5:7-8 (GNT)

11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV)

Conclusion, to search, learn and practice their new faith in their personal lives would be up to the individual believer. The disciples gave them what they needed for their early steps on the path of faith through their preaching and their letter.

Once the new-believers had done that - a long term process - would they have experienced God's Laws as a burden?!

6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his command s. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. 2 John 6 (NIV)

Jesus/Yeshua and God's Law

Jesus / Yeshua did have many teachings concerning God's Law. One of which being,
… 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Matthew 5:17-19 (NIV)

What is accomplished? For one, that the Law is written on the believers heart! Further more, until a pit is dug for the wicked. For God will teach his Law while granting relief in the days of trouble to those he blesses by teaching them his Law, Psalm 94:12-13.

19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Now, would you want to be called least or great in God's Kingdom?

Even more, what did Jesus / Yeshua himself do with God's Law? He lived by it to perfection. If he was superior to everyone else, why would he need to do that? That's just it, he wasn't a superior being, but a person. As he said himself “ … there is only One who is good.” and he did refer to God the Father as being more than he is.

Jesus / Yeshua just like all of us needed God's Law, Hebrew 5:7-8. He came to fulfill it. That is to learn it, to live by it and to teach it. This included keeping Gods feasts. All this in order for him to be without sin for the purpose the Almighty Father had with him. He also warned not to let God's Law be overshadowed by the practice of certain traditions, Matthews 15:1-9 (NIV),
... 3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’[a] and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’[b] 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. ...

What did he had to say on the subject of doing good deeds? Matthew 7:15-27 (NIV) says,
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

By the way, there is an important and crucial distinction between God the Father and Creator, and Yeshua / Jesus whom is the son:
- God the Father whom is in heaven, Psalm 115:3 (NIV),Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.
- the God whom is no man, Hosea 11:9 -(NIV), ... For I am God, and not a man—the Holy One among you. ...
- but is spirit, as Yeshua / Jesus himself said in John 4:24 (NIV), God is spirit ...
- Yeshua's / Jesus's followers called and considered him to be their rabbi, in John 1:49 (NIV), Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”
- And to them he was the son of God not God himself John states in 2 John 3 (NIV), Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.

Yeahua / Jesus gave a warning to those who have forgotten that having their name written in heaven - Luke 10:17-20 - and prayer together with preaching/teaching God's word - Acts 6:1-4 - is even more important than giving prophecies, performing miracles, as well as driving out demons.
22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matthew 7:15-27 (NIV)

Basically it all comes to obeying God in whatever the believers are busy doing in and/or with their life,
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:15-27 (NIV)

Blessings God gives to those whom keep his commands, Deuteronomy 30:9-10 (NIV),
9 Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your ancestors, 10 if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Death or chosen?

Some do believe that they are dead for the law - Romans 7 - because of their faith in Jesus / Yeshua. For which law are they actually death? The law of s i n
... So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature[a] a slave to the law of sin. 1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. Romans 7:25b and Romans 8:1-2 (NIV)

People's sins is what separates them from God - Isaiah 59:1-2 - as the apostle Paul said,
... 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, ... Romans 3:22-24 (NIV)

12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned ... Romans 5:12-13 (NIV)

There is so much more to search and say about this subject. But, something I realized and ask you to consider is this: believers were called to join God's congregation of Israel not the other way around. How so?
Those who believe are supposed to be grafted in God's olive tree being his congregation of Israel, Romans 11. But, how can anyone be part of something they don't believe in? After all everything does start with what and whom you believe in. Doesn't it?

The Almighty Father choose the Israelites - Romans 9:4 and 11:28 - but does invite non-Jews. Still, the New Jerusalem, the bride is completely Israeli - Isaiah 61:10, Revelation 21:1-3, 9-14 and 9:7-8 - while others are invited to only to the wedding supper - Revelation 19:9-10 - which of course is also a real honour.

Which place, position would you prefer? That is, do you ultimately want to be part of the chosen group or those invited? The Almighty Father does give all of us a choice in this matter. This choice isn't about salvation - by God's grace both groups are saved - but of being as a bride at the wedding or as invitee at the wedding-supper. Does this has anything to do with sincerely joining God's congregation of Israel as mentioned above?

Would you whole heartedly make the same choice Ruth made in her time? To those whom allow themselves to accept being grafted in by the grace of God shown to non-Jews through Jews - Jesus / Yeshua was also a Jew - that which is stated in Ephesians 2:11-19 becomes a reality. Arrogance and contempt towards Jews is not included. Both our love and respect is!

Entrance through the gates

What's the point in having God's Laws written in your heart? Let me ask you this. Which laws can one expect in the New Jerusalem?!

The answer is already within God's word. Compare for example the by God given commandments in Exodus 20 and the massage in Revelations 21:8,27 and Revelations 22:15. The  g a t e s  of the New Jerusalem will not close, they will be open at all time. But, only people on whose hart God's commandments are written, whom are written in the book of the living, will be allowed to enter the New Jerusalem and be part of God's community which will be in Jerusalem here on earth. For Jerusalem will remain on the same place, Zechariah 14:10. God himself will be Jerusalem's light - Genesis 1: 3-4, Isaiah 60:19 - at that time.

1 Awake, awake, Zion, clothe yourself with strength!
Put on your garments of splendor, Jerusalem, the holy city.
The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again. Isaiah 52:1 (NIV)

8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Revelation 21:8 (NIV)

The open gates,
...11 Your  g a t e s  will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night,
so that people may bring you the wealth of the nations—their kings led in triumphal procession.
12 For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined. ...
... 19 The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.
20 Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more;
the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. ... Isaiah 60 (NIV)

22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its  g a t e s  ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 21:22-27 (NIV)

14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the  g a t e s  into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. Revelation 22:14-15 (NIV)

Ultimately the New Jerusalem will function in accordance to all God's rules except those meant for the Temple Service. Because in the New Jerusalem their will be a time, which will endure forever, that there will be no Temple, Revelations 21:22-27 and Isaiah 60:10-20. And the feasts that will be celebrated will be only God's feasts. An example being the one of Sukkot, Zachariah 14:16.

My conclusion is: we ALL have sinned, we ALL, Jews and non-Jews, need God's Grace and Law! Certainly when you want to be part of his New Jerusalem.

And, until God's Law is completely written in the heart of his believers,
8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; Psalm 19:8 (NKJV)

… 16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:15-17 (NIV)

As for God's New Jerusalem,
2 Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem.
Free yourself from the chains on your neck, Daughter Zion, now a captive. Isaiah 52:2 (NIV)

21 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. ... Revelation 21 (NIV)

God bless you,

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Author: © Mrs A. vd Laan-LeitoPosted in: Recommended