Is Jeremiah's "new covenant" (Jeremiah 31:31-34) a prophecy fulfilled by the New Testament?
Is Jeremiah's reference to a "new covenant" (Jeremiah 31:31-34) a prophecy fulfilled by the New Testament?
Answer: The term "new covenant" would be meaningless unless what Jeremiah meant by it was the renewing of the old covenant, which will thereby regain its full original vigor. The covenant of old is of eternal duration, never to be rescinded or to be superseded by a new covenant (Leviticus 26:44-45). The covenant between God and Israel is frequently referred to as everlasting (e.g., Genesis 17:7, 13, 19; Psalms 105:8, 10; 1 Chronicles 16:13-18).
The Christian position concerning Jeremiah's covenant is the complete opposite of what the Jewish Scriptures teach. Hebrews 8:13 states: "In that he says, a new covenant, he has made the first obsolete. Now that which is being made obsolete and growing old is near to vanishing away." In stark contrast to this statement, the Scriptures state: "The works of His hands are truth and justice; and His precepts are sure. They are established forever and ever, they are done in truth and uprightness" (Psalms 111:7-8); "The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God shall stand forever" (Isaiah 40:8).
Jeremiah's "new covenant" is not a replacement of the existing covenant, but merely a figure of speech expressing the reinvigoration and revitalization of the existing covenant. The people of Israel possess an old covenant yet a new covenant, truly an everlasting covenant.