Okay, let’s get Jeremiah 31:31 out of the way.
This is a Messianic proof text, and we need to address it, because it’s crucial in their eyes.
Messianics love to dive into the Hebrew – although precious few can really speak it or read it. Hebrew is a very tough language, for most people. It was easy for me, but I guess how people think of Hebrew is how Greek was for me. Yowza! I was sweating the first semester of Greek.
I very often, when dealing with cults and false religions post the rules for Bible interpretation. They’re very easy to understand. I give them away, because well, that’s my job! And of course it makes my job a LOT easier if everyone could learn how to read the Bible for itself!
- It means what it says.
- Read it in context. If you’re unclear on what it means, the context usually explains it. What is the chapter saying?
- The Bible is its own built in dictionary. It will tell you what a word means, usually if you look up the first time the word is used.
- If you find a verse that’s hard to understand, read all the other verses in the Bible that speak on the same subject. You’ll be surprised, but literally the other verses will give you the understanding of what the difficult verse means!
There you go. I’ll add another one I don’t usually list, because I think this is an error that Messianics make….
- Do not attempt to force a parable to “walk on all fours”. Parables are teaching stories, and not every last element is to be forced as doctrine. Read the parable of the ten virgins. The oil is salvation, right? That’s obvious from the text, right? Okay, what are we to do with the foolish virgins not having any, and the wise ones being unable to share any? Can you share your salvation? Will you only have half your salvation? See how it can trip you up attempting to make a parable walk on all fours? This is why we come to the rule… “do not attempt to make doctrine from all the elements of a parable.“
Okay. Let’s proceed.
31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 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 an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, 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. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. Jeremiah 31:31-34 (KJV)
Much is made of the word “new” by Messianics. The thought is to look in the Hebrew, and see it is the word Chadash or Chodesh, depending on tenses, etc. The Messianic will correctly point out the same word is used over and over again for “New moon”, and point out that it means “renewed”. Thus, they argue that Jer. 31:31 should be translated “renewed covenant”.
Can I ask – what is the meaning of the word “Af” in Hebrew? Af. Look it up. It means two different things. “Nose.” and…. “anger”. So, when you’re reading in the Torah in Hebrew, trying to get all sixteen or so chapters (I forget how Messianics divide the Torah Readings, because many incorporate the readings of the New Testament in there as well…) how do you know which it means?
Biblical Interpretation rule number two. Read it in context.
29 Because thy rage against me, and thy tumult, is come up into mine ears, therefore will I put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest. Isaiah 37:29 (KJV)
Can you translate this “putting my hook in thy anger”? No. It makes no sense.
We interpret the Hebrew by its context. Yes, Chodesh can mean renewed. It also means New.
8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. Exodus 1:8 (KJV)
Renewed king? That makes no sense.
- 16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. Leviticus 23:16 (KJV)
- 10 And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. Leviticus 26:10 (KJV)
- 26 Also in the day of the firstfruits, when ye bring a new meat offering unto the LORD, after your weeks be out, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: Numbers 28:26 (KJV)
- 5 And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it. Deuteronomy 20:5 (KJV)
- 8 When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence. Deuteronomy 22:8 (KJV)
- 5 When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken. Deuteronomy 24:5 (KJV)
- 17 They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. Deuteronomy 32:17 (KJV)
- 13 And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey. Joshua 9:13 (KJV)
- 8 They chose new gods; then was war in the gates: was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel? Judges 5:8 (KJV)
- 13 And they spake unto him, saying, No; but we will bind thee fast, and deliver thee into their hand: but surely we will not kill thee. And they bound him with two new cords, and brought him up from the rock. Judges 15:13 (KJV)
- 11 And he said unto her, If they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man. Judges 16:11 (KJV)
- 12 Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And there were liers in wait abiding in the chamber. And he brake them from off his arms like a thread. Judges 16:12 (KJV)
- 7 Now therefore make a new cart, and take two milch kine, on which there hath come no yoke, and tie the kine to the cart, and bring their calves home from them: 1 Samuel 6:7 (KJV)
- 3 And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart. 2 Samuel 6:3 (KJV)
- 16 And Ishbibenob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David. 2 Samuel 21:16 (KJV)
- 29 And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field: 1 Kings 11:29 (KJV)
- 30 And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces: 1 Kings 11:30 (KJV)
- 20 And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him. 2 Kings 2:20 (KJV)
- 7 And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drave the cart. 1 Chronicles 13:7 (KJV)
- 5 And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, 2 Chronicles 20:5 (KJV)
- 20 My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand. Job 29:20 (KJV)
- 19 Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles. Job 32:19 (KJV)
- 3 Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise. Psalm 33:3 (KJV)
- 3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. Psalm 40:3 (KJV)
- 1 O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth. Psalm 96:1 (KJV)
- O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory. Psalm 98:1 (KJV)
- 9 I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee. Psalm 144:9 (KJV)
- 1 Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints. Psalm 149:1 (KJV)
- 9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9 (KJV)
- 10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. Ecclesiastes 1:10 (KJV)
- 13 The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved. Song of Songs 7:13 (KJV)
- 15 Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. Isaiah 41:15 (KJV)
- 9 Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them. Isaiah 42:9 (KJV)
- 10 Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. Isaiah 42:10 (KJV)
- 19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19 (KJV)
- 6 Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them. Isaiah 48:6 (KJV)
- 2 And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name. Isaiah 62:2 (KJV)
- 17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. Isaiah 65:17 (KJV)
- 22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. Isaiah 66:22 (KJV)
- 10 When the princes of Judah heard these things, then they came up from the king’s house unto the house of the LORD, and sat down in the entry of the new gate of the LORD’S house. Jeremiah 26:10 (KJV)
- 22 How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man. Jeremiah 31:22 (KJV)
- 31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Jeremiah 31:31 (KJV)
- 10 Then read Baruch in the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the LORD, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the higher court, at the entry of the new gate of the LORD’S house, in the ears of all the people. Jeremiah 36:10 (KJV)
- 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:23 (KJV)
- 19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: Ezekiel 11:19 (KJV)
- 31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? Ezekiel 18:31 (KJV)
- 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26 (KJV)
These are all the uses of Chodesh in the Bible. Complicated question – how do you know when it should be translated “new” or “renewed”?
By context. So let’s look at Jer. 31:31 in context.
31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Jeremiah 31:31 (KJV)
New or renewed? could be either. Keep reading.
32 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 an husband unto them, saith the LORD: Jeremiah 31:32 (KJV)
Ah. “Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers…” so, it’s a different covenant, then! A distinction has been made between the first covenant and the second. So, it’s not a renewed covenant, but a new covenant. If it was renewed, a distinction would not be made between the first and the second, but rather, the Lord would be calling upon them to obey the first covenant. The word “unlike” would not even be present!
6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. Hebrews 8:6-7 (KJV)
We turn next to Hebrews 8, which discusses the “New covenant” at length. Hebrews describes it as a “better” covenant.
“this is my car. It’s better.” “Is it new?” “no, same car.” “how can it be better? Better than what?” “better than my car.” “you need medication, man.”
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. 13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:12-13 (KJV)
In many ways, the New Testament is more difficult than the old. The Lord Jesus Christ specifically made the New Covenant about spiritual things in the Sermon on the Mount. The intent of the heart now figures in. And all the plush bonus points of, “Well, I have two refrigerators… and I wash my hands every morning!” are now gone. So, the Lord is making it a little tougher on us, because well, He’s helping us to do it!
The Old Testament is done. Once you have put on the new man, you have discarded the old one.
1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. Romans 7:1-4 (KJV)
Bottom line! The Bible says it, I believe it. That settles it. Amen. I WAS under the law. I DID try to keep the law. And failed miserably, I might add. But thanks be to Christ Jesus, I am a new creation. I was buried with Him in death, and raised to walk in the newness of life!
The law is no longer binding upon a born again believer in Christ.
Please note this: What is the New Covenant? Because I think I’ve made a VERY strong case that it is the New Covenant and NOT renewed here (translation: In the original Hebrew, that means “I’ve proved it beyond any shadow of a doubt) – The New Covenant is this: Our sins are FORGIVEN. Not covered. More on this tomorrow.