Jeremiah Chapter 31  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Jeremiah 31
 
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Jer 31:8

“gather them from the uttermost parts of the earth.” There are many verses that prophesy Israel’s return to the land of Israel. Although Israel did return from Babylon, these prophecies will be fully fulfilled in the Millennial Kingdom, as is clear from the context (Jer. 31:8-17, esp. v. 17). [For more information on Israel’s return to the Promised Land, see commentary on Jeremiah 32:37].

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Jer 31:20

“my bowels!” In the biblical culture, the bowels and abdominal organs were the seat of emotion. Yahweh has deep feelings for his people even though they have sinned greatly.

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Jer 31:21(top)
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Jer 31:23

“righteousness.” The emphasis of “righteousness” here is the relation of people to each other, which is why some versions translate it as “justice” (cp. CJB; DRA; ERV; GNV; KJV; NAB; NJB; NKJ). [For more on why “righteousness” would be translated “justice” in some versions, see commentary on Matt. 5:6 and Rom. 3:22].

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Jer 31:31

“new covenant.” The New Covenant is spoken of here, and in a number of other places in the Old Testament, often using different names. For example, in Jeremiah 32:40 it is called an “everlasting covenant.” In Isaiah 54:10 and Ezekiel 34:25 and 37:26 it is called a “covenant of peace.”

The New Covenant, which was future to Jeremiah, has now been ratified with Christ’s blood and death on the cross. However, covenant promises, such as the one in Jeremiah 32:39 (cp. Ezek. 11:19) about the people having one heart and one way of life, will not be fully realized until the Millennial Kingdom and First Resurrection, when Christ rules as king over the earth and the righteous believers are raised from the dead in their new everlasting bodies.

It is common with covenants that there is a period of time—sometimes a long time—between when a covenant is ratified and when the covenant promises are fulfilled. For example, God made a blood covenant with Abraham and promised that Abraham and his offspring would get the Promised Land. It has now been 4,000 years and that covenant promise has not been fulfilled, but it will be. Part of the reason that believers of all time have a secure hope for the future is that God is a God who keeps promises.

[For more on the New Covenant, see commentary on Jeremiah 32:39. For more on Christ’s reigning as king on earth, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth.” For more on the Rapture and resurrections, see commentary on Acts 24:15].

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Jer 31:32(top)
Jer 31:33

“covenant.” This refers to the New Covenant, whereas the covenant God made with Israel at Mt. Sinai was the “Old Covenant” (usually but mistakenly called the “Old Testament”). The Old Covenant was made with animal blood, while the New Covenant was made with Christ’s blood. There are many aspects to the New Covenant, one of them being that we will live on a restored earth. [For more on the restored earth, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth”].

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Jer 31:34

“from the least of them to the greatest.” Under the New Covenant in Christ’s future kingdom there will still be a hierarchy among the people. Although it is unclear how this hierarchy will be established in the New Jerusalem and Everlasting Kingdom of Revelation 21 and 22, in the Millennial Kingdom of Christ it will certainly be based in large part upon what a person did for the Lord in their life on earth, and reigning with Christ in his earthly kingdom will be part of the reward that people receive for being faithful to God and Christ now.

Jesus’ apostles knew there would be different positions of authority in Christ’s kingdom, which is why Zebedee’s wife, the mother of James and John, came to Jesus and asked that her two sons sit next to Christ—one on the right and one on the left—when he reigns as king, and why the other apostles were angry at the request (Matt. 20:20-24; Mark 10:35-41).

Getting to reign with Christ in the future is just one reason that believers should be very serious about their walk with the Lord and serving him. The person who serves well will reign with Christ (2 Tim. 2:12), while if we ignore Christ or turn from him we may forfeit all our rewards in the Millennial Kingdom (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Tim. 2:12).

[For more information on the future Millennial Kingdom on earth, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth,” and also see commentary on Matt. 5:12; 6:1; 1 Cor. 9:26, 27. For more about rewards in the future Millennial Kingdom, see commentary on 2 Cor. 5:10, “good or worthless.” For a much more complete explanation of the Millennial Kingdom and rewards in the future, see John Schoenheit; The Christian’s Hope: The Anchor of the Soul].

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