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And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.” ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭32:40

I have read the entire chapter of Jeremiah 32 to see the greater context. Yet, I am still puzzled of whether or not this refers to the New Covenant in Christ.

Hebrews chapter 8 gives us some OT quotations & information regarding the New Covenant vs the Old Covenant. However, nowhere in Hebrews 8, let alone all of Hebrews is Jeremiah 32:40 even mentioned.

I’ve heard of pastors in their books make mention of Jeremiah 32:40 as the primary prophecy text concerning the New Covenant in Christ. Yet, this passage seems to be speaking historically of Ethnic Israel.

I have 3 questions regarding the interpretation of this verse:

1.) Is Jeremiah 32:40 a typological prophecy of the New Covenant for both Jews & Gentiles?

2.) Is Jeremiah 32:40 even about the New Covenant in Christ at all?

3.) If Jeremiah 32:40 isn’t about the New Covenant in Christ, what is the reason God gives for using the term “everlasting covenant”?‬

I really want to understand the meaning of this text.

2 Answers 2

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1. There is nothing unique about a covenant being eternal or everlasting.

  • The Noahide Covenant is eternal (Gen 9:16)
  • The Abrahamic Covenant is eternal (Gen 17:9, 13, 19)
  • The Old Israelite Covenant is eternal (1 Chron 16:17, Jer 50:5, Ps 105:8)
  • The Levitical Covenant is eternal (Lev 24:8, Num 25:10-13, Ps 106:30)
  • The Davidic Covenant is eternal (2 Sam 23:5, 1 Kings 9:5, 2 Chron 13:5, Eze 37:25, 26)

2. Analysis of Jeremiah 32

Jeremiah 32 can be divided into several distinct sections:

  • V1-15 - Jeremiah buys a field
  • V16-25 - Jeremiah wonders aloud to the LORD as to why he had to buy the field
  • V26-35 - The LORD answers Jeremiah's question - why Judah must go into captivity
  • V36-44 - A prophecy about Jerusalem and Judah to be restored after the Babylonian captivity.

3. Everlasting Covenant

In V40 God promises to make an everlasting covenant with the people restored to Jerusalem with the following promises

  • V37a - The Jews would be gathered back to Jerusalem
  • V37b - the restored people will live in safety
  • V38 - They will be My people, and I will be their God.
  • V39a - they will have "one heart" and one way
  • V39b - they will always fear me
  • V40 - God would never turn away from doing good for the people and the people would never turn away from God
  • V43 - The fields, now desolate, would be bought ... in the land of Benjamin and around Jerusalem for silver and gold when the people are restored

That is, V36-44 are a series of promises about God resstoring the old promised land to the Jews as per the Abrahamic covenant in Gen 12, 15, 17. However, the above promises go further and promise perfect obedience because of the "new/one heart" of the people.

4. Which Covenant?

It is immediately obvious that:

  • The Abrahamic covenant is alluded to because of the promise to restore the promised land
  • The Old Israelite covenant is also alluded to because it says that "They will be My people, and I will be their God.". Such a statement occurs often under the old Israelite covenant in places like: Ex 6:7, Lev 26:9-12, Deut 29:9-13, 2 Sam 7:24, 1 Chron 11:2, Ps 50:7, 95:7, 100:3, Isa 40:1, Jer 7:23, 11:1-4, 24:7, 30:9, 22, 31:1, 33, 32:38-40, Eze 11:20, 34:30, 31, 36:26-28, 37:23, 24, Hos 1:9, 4:6, Joel 2:26, 27, Zech 8:8.
  • The Old Israelite covenant is also referenced in the promise to give a new/one heart Deut 6:5, 10:12, 16, 11:18, Ps 40:8, Jer 24:7, 31:33, 34, 32:38-40, Eze 11:19, 18:31, 36:26) and NOT mere regulations (1 Sam 15:22, Ps 40:6-8, 51:16, 17, Prov 15:8, 21:3, Isa 1:10-17, Jer 6:3-6, 20, Hos 6:6, Micah 6:6-8.
  • The "New Covenant" is also referenced because it is based on the concept of the new heart or "one heart" (single-minded service to God) as described in Heb 8:7-13, 10:16, 17, exactly as it should have been under the Old Covenant (compare Deut 6:5, Jer 24:7, 31:33, 34, 32:38-40, 36, 26-28). Significantly, when Heb 8:10, 10:16, “I will write my law on their hearts” quotes Jer 31:33, the word used for “law” is “Torah”. This further reinforces the idea that it was the Torah and its Israelite Covenant that is to be kept.

Indeed, the stated purpose of the New Covenant was the same as the old Israelite covenant. Compare:

  • Ex 19:5, 6 - Now if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, you will be My treasured possession out of all the nations—for the whole earth is Mine. And unto Me you shall be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you are to speak to the Israelites.”
  • 1 Peter 2:9, 12 - But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light ... Conduct yourselves with such honor among the Gentiles that, though they slander you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.

Thus, there appears to be a deliberate blurring the boundaries between the new and old covenants here in Jer 32.

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  • +1 Jeremiah dwelled extensively on the New Covenant.
    – Perry Webb
    Jan 17 at 10:07
  • @Dottard What do you mean by: “ there appears to be a deliberate blurring the boundaries between the new and old covenants here in Jer 32.” ???
    – Cork88
    Jan 17 at 16:49
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Not really.

but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.

There no correlation with fear and the new covenant. The term ‘everlasting’ can mean ‘age enduring’ or similar limited meanings in the grand scheme of God’s salvation plan.

Sodom and Gomorrah...who suffer the punishment of eternal fire Jud 1:7

Is the fire still burning? No. It burnt for the age required, for the time needed - it is hardly 'eternal' as we automatically think eternal means.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love 1John 4:18

We can choose to accept the translators choice of fear in Phil 2:12 or we can opt for reverence which is certainly reasonable and fits with the NC mantra of love and grace - not fear and punishment.

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    1 John 4:18 doesn’t necessarily do Justice to the fact that The Apostle Paul mentions that believers are to: “…work out your own salvation with {fear} and trembling;” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:12‬
    – Cork88
    Jan 17 at 16:52
  • I agree with you on the “fear” pertaining to reverence, but as far as the fear being put into peoples hearts so they will not depart from God, that must be reverential fear too then. Since 1 John 4:18 would probably have to do with terror. Yet I am unfamiliar with the cross connections between the Hebrew & Greek between a Jeremiah 32:40 & Philippians 2:12. Oh well, for another question I suppose.
    – Cork88
    Jan 17 at 22:09

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