There are so many angles to the uninvented argument, and one of the most important is theological, something I don’t get into much in the book. The Bible looked at in 20/20 Jesus Hindsight is theological genius (see Luke 24), and I would argue impossible to be made up by human beings and mere human imagination. It is stunning when you consider the consistency of Genesis to Revelation written over approximately a 1500-year timespan by 40 or so different authors. Most of the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, with a bit of Aramaic thrown in (the language of the Babylonians similar to Hebrew that became the language of the Jews by Jesus’ time), and the New Testament in Greek. Yet through all that time and with all those differences, the coherence of the message is astonishing. It’s almost as if there was a “conspiracy” of an Almighty all-knowing God who decided to reveal himself and his plans to his creatures this way through the words of men. In fact, it is the only logical and plausible explanation for the Bible. Mere human invention doesn’t read this way, and it’s not even close.

Which brings me to Jeremiah 31. In my reading through this time I was struck by how impossible it would have been for these words to have been made up by Jeremiah or anyone else:

31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
    “when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
    and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant
    I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
    to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
    though I was a husband to them,”
declares the Lord.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
    after that time,” declares the Lord.
“     and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
    or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
    from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
    and will remember their sins no more.”

To understand how impossible it would be for a human being to make this up you have to be familiar with redemptive history. It is critical for Christians to know their redemptive history because it is only that context that gives all the details their psychological, emotional, and transforming power in our lives. The main subject of the Old Testament is Israel, or God’s covenant people. Their entire 1500-year history would point forward to the true Israel, Jesus (Matt. 2:13–15). Jesus was also the second or the last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45-49). What these two, Adam and Israel, had in common was that they failed the test, which points to why a Jeremiah 31 type of salvation was necessary, one that would be inner, spiritual, and transformational verses one based on external obedience to the law.

 Man, created as man and woman, was given a dominion mandate to rule over God’s abundant, and good, created order (Gen. 1:26-28). This is also called the cultural mandate, and the purpose whichever term is used, is to bring God’s kingdom rule (thy kingdom come thy will be done (Matt. 6:9-13), to earth. Adam failed miserably in his assignment (it was his fault the serpent was in the garden and able to tempt the woman in the first place), as we read about the fall in Genesis 3. The seed that would crush the serpent’s head was God’s promise of the good news to come in his Son, who would be God himself come to save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21). First, there would be a period of time leading eventually to God calling Abram from Ur of the Chaldeans, and founding the people of Israel through his offspring.

 After the little blip of 430 years in Egypt (God is never in a hurry), most of that time in slavery, God in the Exodus rescued his people from slavery to bring them into a land of their own and introduce them to His law. They were also introduced to the blessings of obedience and curses of disobedience (Deut. 11) to God’s law. That didn’t turn out well. Starting with the book of Judges, it’s all downhill. But what’s the point of the miserable failings of the Israelites? To show us just what horrible sinners they were? No! They are us! That is the message of Israel, that our own obedience to God’s perfect law is impossible for fallen sinners alienated from God. But God wants to bless His people, so He in the person of Christ obeyed God’s law perfectly in our place, so that we by mere faith, by trust in Jesus, can have Christ’s righteousness, God’s very own righteousness as our righteousness! (Rom. 3)

 Which brings us to Jeremiah 31. The two covenants are fundamentally different, but the same. They are the progressive outworking of one eternal covenant in the Triune God, one promise to Adam and Eve, eventually leading to one legal, covenant agreement between God with Abram in Genesis 12. Since Abram was childless, he asked the Lord God how he could know His promises would come true. He, like all of us, needed some sign, some evidence. So the Lord told him to get some animals and He performed a ceremony with Abram showing He would accomplish both sides of the covenant promise since no human being or group of human beings could attain what was required, which was the perfect righteousness of God. That would require, as we see here in Jeremiah 31, the forgiveness of sins, the reconciliation of a holy God and sinful man. That was accomplished in Christ’s body given for us on a tree. We are told through Isaiah (53) 700 years before it happened how this would be accomplished:

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

 And some 600 years before anyone would have a clue what this meant, God through Jeremiah tells us. God himself in and because of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit (given to the church, His people at Pentecost, Acts 2) would transform their the hearts and minds, completely changing their inner being from one of hostility to God to love for Him and His law (I John 4:19, we love because he first loved us). The only way this inner transformation could take place is if our sin was paid for, and God’s wrath fully satisfied (propitiation). God would now no longer be hostile toward us because our sin, our offense against him, was wiped away, Christ become our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (1 Cor. 1:31).

 None of this could have been known or predicted until Jesus rose from the dead. He rebuked the disciples on the road to Emmaus on the first Easter Sunday because they didn’t understand that the entire Old Testament was about Him, and told the rest of the disciples the same thing later as he ate with them (Luke 24). Now we know from Jeremiah that our affections have been completely changed from self to God, from our desires to His law, and we now know Him in Christ our Savior and Lord. And we all want to now go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and far away!

 

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