The New Covenant

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Jeremiah has a message of hope in the midst of the gloom. God does not abandon His covenant people, even if His covenant people abandon Him. He yet has a purpose for those whom He exiled. There will be a new covenant, with better promises, and a better hope.

The New Covenant

At that time, saith YHWH, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. Thus saith YHWH, The people that were left of the sword found favor in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest. YHWH appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Again will I build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: again shalt thou be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry. Again shalt thou plant vineyards upon the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant, and shall enjoy the fruit thereof. For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the hills of Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto YHWH our God.

For thus saith YHWH, Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout for the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O YHWH, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the uttermost parts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall they return hither. They shall come with weeping; and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by rivers of waters, in a straight way wherein they shall not stumble; for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born. Hear the word of YHWH, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off; and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For YHWH hath ransomed Jacob, and redeemed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. And they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow unto the goodness of YHWH, to the grain, and to the new wine, and to the oil, and to the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old together; for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith YHWH.

Thus saith YHWH: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children; she refuseth to be comforted for her children, because they are not. Thus saith YHWH: Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded, saith YHWH; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope for thy latter end, saith YHWH; and thy children shall come again to their own border.

I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus, Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a calf unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art YHWH my God. Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth. Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a darling child? for as often as I speak against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my heart yearneth for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith YHWH. Set thee up waymarks, make thee guide-posts; set thy heart toward the highway, even the way by which thou wentest: turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities. How long wilt thou go hither and thither, O thou backsliding daughter? for YHWH hath created a new thing in the earth: A woman shall encompass a man.

Thus saith YHWH of hosts, the God of Israel, Yet again shall they use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity: YHWH bless thee, O habitation of righteousness, O mountain of holiness. And Judah and all the cities thereof shall dwell therein together, the husbandmen, and they that go about with flocks. For I have satiated the weary soul, and every sorrowful soul have I replenished. Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet unto me. Behold, the days come, saith YHWH, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast.

And it shall come to pass that, like as I have watched over them to pluck up and to break down and to overthrow and to destroy and to afflict, so will I watch over them to build and to plant, saith YHWH. In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.

Behold, the days come, saith YHWH, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith YHWH. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith YHWH: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know YHWH; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith YHWH: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.

Thus saith YHWH, who giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, who stirreth up the sea, so that the waves thereof roar; YHWH of hosts is his name: If these ordinances depart from before me, saith YHWH, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith YHWH: If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, then will I also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith YHWH.

Behold, the days come, saith YHWH, that the city shall be built to YHWH from the tower of Hananel unto the gate of the corner. And the measuring line shall go out further straight onward unto the hill Gareb, and shall turn about unto Goah. And the whole valley of the dead bodies and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy unto YHWH; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever (Jeremiah 31:1-40).

The New Covenant
Prophetic Restoration

 
 
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A People Holy to YHWH

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God chose His people not because of anything wonderful about them in particular but because of His love and covenant loyalty to their fathers so that they might be His holy and special people, devoted to Himself, and He would do mighty things for them and through them. So it was for Israel; so it is for Christians to this day.

A People Holy to YHWH

When YHWH thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and shall cast out many nations before thee, the Hittite, and the Girgashite, and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; and when YHWH thy God shall deliver them up before thee, and thou shalt smite them; then thou shalt utterly destroy them: thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them; neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For he will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of YHWH be kindled against you, and he will destroy thee quickly. But thus shall ye deal with them: ye shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire.

For thou art a holy people unto YHWH thy God: YHWH thy God hath chosen thee to be a people for his own possession, above all peoples that are upon the face of the earth. YHWH did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all peoples: but because YHWH loveth you, and because he would keep the oath which he sware unto your fathers, hath YHWH brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that YHWH thy God, he is God, the faithful God, who keepeth covenant and lovingkindness with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations, and repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face. Thou shalt therefore keep the commandment, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which I command thee this day, to do them. And it shall come to pass, because ye hearken to these ordinances, and keep and do them, that YHWH thy God will keep with thee the covenant and the lovingkindness which he sware unto thy fathers: and he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee; he will also bless the fruit of thy body and the fruit of thy ground, thy grain and thy new wine and thine oil, the increase of thy cattle and the young of thy flock, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee. Thou shalt be blessed above all peoples: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle. And YHWH will take away from thee all sickness; and none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, will he put upon thee, but will lay them upon all them that hate thee. And thou shalt consume all the peoples that YHWH thy God shall deliver unto thee; thine eye shall not pity them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee.

If thou shalt say in thy heart, ‘These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?’ thou shalt not be afraid of them: thou shalt well remember what YHWH thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt; the great trials which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm, whereby YHWH thy God brought thee out: so shall YHWH thy God do unto all the peoples of whom thou art afraid. Moreover YHWH thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves, perish from before thee. Thou shalt not be affrighted at them; for YHWH thy God is in the midst of thee, a great God and a terrible. And YHWH thy God will cast out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee. But YHWH thy God will deliver them up before thee, and will discomfit them with a great discomfiture, until they be destroyed. And he will deliver their kings into thy hand, and thou shalt make their name to perish from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them. The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein; for it is an abomination to YHWH thy God. And thou shalt not bring an abomination into thy house, and become a devoted thing like unto it: thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a devoted thing (Deuteronomy 7:1-26).

A People Holy to YHWH

 
 
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The Necessity of Lament

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Life is full of challenges, difficulties, trials, and moments of distress and pain. We can go on and pretend these types of things do not affect us. Or we can lament our failures, trials, and distress, and live in healthy faith.

The Necessity of Lament

The Necessity of Lament
Lament

 
 
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The Authority of God the Father

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God has all authority, and is the Source of all authority (Romans 13:1). Lesson over, right? By no means! We do well to explore how God exercises His authority, and to what end.

The Authority of God

The Authority of God the Father
Authority

 
 
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Interpreting the Bible: Old Testament Interpretation

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The Old Testament is a wealth of treasure for the Christian if he or she is willing to explore it. We do well to understand how to best handle the Old Testament and its interpretation.

Interpreting the Bible: Old Testament Interpretation

Interpreting the Bible: Old Testament Interpretation
The Bible

 
 
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The Day of YHWH in 70

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Israel had its choice: would they follow the Messiah God had sent them and seek after God’s purposes? Or would they raise up for themselves a “messiah” of their own desires and seek after what they expected the Messiah to do? In 30, and again in 66-70, and finally again in 132, Israel rejected Jesus the Christ and His way and raised up for themselves messiahs in their own image. The Day of YHWH came for Israel yet again; all was destroyed; Judaism would never be the same. Jesus, the Son of Man, was vindicated.

The Day of YHWH in 70

And Pilate called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said unto them, “Ye brought unto me this man, as one that perverteth the people: and behold, I, having examined him before you, found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him: no, nor yet Herod: for he sent him back unto us; and behold, nothing worthy of death hath been done by him. I will therefore chastise him, and release him.”
Now he must needs release unto them at the feast one prisoner.
But they cried out all together, saying, “Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas”:– one who for a certain insurrection made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.
And Pilate spake unto them again, desiring to release Jesus; but they shouted, saying, “Crucify, crucify him.”
And he said unto them the third time, “Why, what evil hath this man done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him and release him.”
But they were urgent with loud voices, asking that he might be crucified. And their voices prevailed. And Pilate gave sentence that what they asked for should be done. And he released him that for insurrection and murder had been cast into prison, whom they asked for; but Jesus he delivered up to their will.

And when they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country, and laid on him the cross, to bear it after Jesus. And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him.
But Jesus turning unto them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For behold, the days are coming, in which they shall say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the breasts that never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.’ For if they do these things in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” (Luke 23:13-31)

The Day of YHWH in 70
The Day of YHWH

 
 
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The Day of YHWH in 722

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In 753 BCE, all seemed well in the northern Kingdom of Israel: the integrity of their territory was restored, the land was at peace, the people prospered.

Forty years later it was all gone.

What happened? The Day of YHWH in 722. How did it go down, and what can we as Christians learn from it?

The Day of YHWH in 722

The Day of YHWH in 722
The Day of YHWH

 
 
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Daniel in the Lion’s Den

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A deceived king; a blasphemous decree. Daniel proved faithful; Daniel was vindicated. But what is the story of Daniel and the lion’s den all about? What ought the people of God learn from the experience?

Daniel in the Lion’s Den

It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom a hundred and twenty satraps, who should be throughout the whole kingdom; and over them three presidents, of whom Daniel was one; that these satraps might give account unto them, and that the king should have no damage. Then this Daniel was distinguished above the presidents and the satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find occasion against Daniel as touching the kingdom; but they could find no occasion nor fault, forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. Then these presidents and satraps assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. All the presidents of the kingdom, the deputies and the satraps, the counsellors and the governors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a strong interdict, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the interdict, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the interdict. And when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house (now his windows were open in his chamber toward Jerusalem); and he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled together, and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God. Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s interdict: Hast thou not signed an interdict, that every man that shall make petition unto any god or man within thirty days, save unto thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, who is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the interdict that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day. Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to rescue him. Then these men assembled together unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians, that no interdict nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed. Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting; neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep fled from him. Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came near unto the den to Daniel, he cried with a lamentable voice; the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not hurt me; forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Then was the king exceeding glad, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he had trusted in his God. And the king commanded, and they brought those men that had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces, before they came to the bottom of the den. Then king Darius wrote unto all the peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, that in all the dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel; for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, And his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed; and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian (Daniel 6:1-28).

Daniel in the Lion’s Den
Experiences of God's People

 
 
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Jacob to Israel: Wrestling With God

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In the middle of many anxieties and trials, Jacob was called upon to wrestle all night. He would be then known as Israel, for he strove with man and God and prevailed. Ever since the people of God have been known as those who wrestle with God.

Jacob to Israel: Wrestling With God

And [Jacob] rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two handmaids, and his eleven children, and passed over the ford of the Jabbok. And he took them, and sent them over the stream, and sent over that which he had.

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was strained, as he wrestled with him.
And he said, “Let me go, for the day breaketh.”
And he said, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.”
And he said unto him, “What is thy name?”
And he said, “Jacob.”
And he said, “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for thou hast striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”
And Jacob asked him, and said, “Tell me, I pray thee, thy name.”
And he said, “Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name?” And he blessed him there.

And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for, said he, “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”

And the sun rose upon him as he passed over Penuel, and he limped upon his thigh. Therefore the children of Israel eat not the sinew of the hip which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew of the hip (Genesis 32:22-32).

Jacob to Israel: Wrestling With God
Experiences of God's People

 
 
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A Mother in Israel

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Judges 7:5 and 1 Samuel 20:19 speak of “a mother in Israel.” Deborah’s administration provided benefits to the people, but it is the image of a city as a mother that persists. Jerusalem of old nourished and sustained its inhabitants in community; new Jerusalem, the church, ought to serve the same function!

A Mother in Israel

A Mother in Israel
God's Faithful People

 
 
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