Why We Needed a New Covenant

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Jeremiah had already prophesied to four previous kings and it was time for him to warn another one about the error of his ways. King Zedekiah was given the chance to repent and do what was right, thereby extending the life of the Davidic dynasty. If he refused, then it was all over for Judah and Jerusalem. The arrogant and senseless king responded instead in anger and arrested Jeremiah.

Thus, Zedekiah became the last king of Judah and, at the end of his reign, the city was destroyed — including the temple, now filled with idolatrous worship. The only rays of hope Jeremiah could have had during this time were the glorious prophecies God gave him about a future Messiah and a new covenant God would make with His people.

The Lord showed Jeremiah He was going to bring the captives back to their land and raise up a righteous branch from the lineage of David to rule over them. They would be forgiven of their sins and this righteous king would do only what was right.

God assured the prophet that He had not forsaken His people. He said His promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David were as eternally secure as His covenant with night and day and between heaven and earth (Jer. 30:20). He said, "I will restore their fortunes and have compassion on them" (Jer. 33:26, NIV). He also said He was going to make a new covenant with Israel and with Judah (Jer. 31:31).

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The previous Sinaitic covenant He had made with Israel (His law on stone tablets) was weak because of humanity's sinful condition and propensity to rebel against it. God's new covenant would be different — He would write it on people's hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit and it would provide forgiveness for sins. On the last night of His life, during the Passover meal with His disciples, Jesus announced His blood would be the blood of the New Covenant.

It is no coincidence that God poured out His Holy Spirit on the disciples on the same day Jews were celebrating the giving of the law at Sinai — on Pentecost. On that day, the law was now being written onto the hearts of His people, thanks to the atoning death of Jesus.

The good news is that anyone who believes in Jesus can enter into this covenant and receive the forgiveness and power it provides.

Join me for this week's Out of Zion podcast on "A New Covenant." Walk Thru the Bible with me each week by downloading our Bible reading plan, and get started reading right away! Invite your friends and family to join us! I can't wait to Walk Thru the Bible with you!

Dr. Susan Michael is the USA director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem and host of the Out of Zion podcast.

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