|Faith Strengthened||Chapter 29||Part 1|
Jeremiah 31:32, "Behold the days come, and I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah." The Christians assert that the prophet Jeremiah here foretold the giving of a new law for the people of Israel—viz., the Gospel of Jesus of Nazareth.
Refutation.—Scripture does not allude here to the substitution of a new law for the old one, but merely the making of a new covenant, a covenant independent of the law. Thus we find in the history of Phineas (Numbers 25:12), "Behold I give him my covenant of peace." The covenant thus made could not possibly mean the emission of a new law intended for Phineas alone. In Leviticus 26:42, we meet with a like mention of a covenant, "And I shall remember my covenant with Jacob, my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember," etc. From this mode of expression, nobody would venture to infer that the Almighty gave a special law to each of the patriarchs. Covenants also are made between man and man. Thus we find, in Genesis 21:32, "They two [Abraham and Abimelech] made a covenant with each other." Returning now to the true sense of the verse at the head of this chapter, we find that the Almighty has reserved for Israel the bestowal of a new covenant of protection when they shall be restored to their land, a covenant which, unlike the former one, will never be dissolved. On that account the prophecy continues (in Jeremiah 31:31 and following verses), that the future covenant will not be according [Jeremiah 31:32-33] "to the covenant 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 covenant they broke," etc. After this introduction, the prophet proceeds, "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the House of Israel; I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God and they shall be my people." These quotations suffice to show, that the Almighty had not intended to issue a new law, but to impress His ancient divine law on their hearts, that it never should be forgotten throughout all time. The reader, on referring to chapter 19, will find that we demonstrated there the perpetuity of the divine law as it was given on Sinai; consequently the promulgation of a new law supplanting the former cannot possibly take place.