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Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible Coffman's Commentaries
Coffman's Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Coffman's Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Jeremiah 31". "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ bcc/ jeremiah-31.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Jeremiah 31". "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
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THE NEW COVENANT
This is one of the most significant chapters in the entire Old Testament. However, we do not concur in the frequent scholarly attribution of the marvelous revelation herein to "the genius of Jeremiah," nor to the "superiority of his theology." God Himself, as frequently stated in this chapter, revealed these wonders to Jeremiah.
The first part of the chapter is a promise to the Northern Kingdom (Ephraim) that, due to their repentance and reformation they shall again be restored to their land and to their former favor in the eyes of God. These promises to Ephraim are recorded in Jeremiah 30:2-22; and the next large portion of the chapter applies the same marvelous prophecies of return, prosperity and favor to the Southern Kingdom. Some scholars seem to become almost ecstatic, reveling in the unification of the two ancient Israels, and in the restoration of their status as "the virgin Israel" (Jeremiah 30:4 and Jeremiah 30:21).
It is the conviction of this writer that verses Jeremiah 30:2-26 of this chapter are nothing more than the recital of the blessings that will be ultimately available to the whole Israel, along with everyone else on earth, "in the times of the Messiah."
It is impossible to construe these verses (Jeremiah 30:2-26) literally, because nothing even remotely resembling these predictions ever occurred in the historical racial Israel. The Northern tribes were never restored to "their land." They were never reunited with the Southern Israel. They never repented. They never returned to the literal Jerusalem to worship God. A few from the Northern tribes did return, as in the case of a few individuals from those tribes, who are mentioned in the New Testament, as for example Anna (Luke 2:36) of the tribe of Asher. Every one of the extravagant blessings mentioned here was nothing more than an agricultural symbol of some great spiritual reality that would be realized under the New Covenant.
The proposition that we encounter in most of the current commentaries is that God Himself could hardly wait to marry the scandalous old Whore Israel; and that God actually calls her "The Virgin Israel" in Jeremiah 30:4,21; but we are absolutely certain that such expressions could not have been applied by a prophet of God to the old Racial Israel which historically became actually worse than Sodom and Gomorrah (Ezekiel 16) and which shamelessly broke the Old Covenant, nullifying it absolutely.
Yes indeed, God did indeed marry the Virgin Israel in the New Covenant, but it was the New Israel! (See a full discussion of this in my commentary Vol. 2 of the minor prophets, pp. 49-67.) A total failure to understand the difference in the two Israels has confused the writings of a great many scholars. The designation of the Israel intended in these verses as "the Virgin Israel" makes it absolutely certain that it is the Israel which constitutes the Messianic kingdom which is meant. It is the church of Jesus Christ which is the "pure virgin" which is married to God in the person of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:1-3).
For these reasons, there is little reason to concern ourselves with any exhaustive explanations of the agricultural metaphors which abound in these first 26 verses. Their meaning is exactly the same as that of similar metaphors found so frequently in the Old Testament.
"At that time, saith Jehovah, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people."
The first phrase here ties the whole chapter to the times of the Messiah. Both the Northern and Southern Israels will be accepted in the kingdom of Christ, as will everyone else on earth who desires to serve God.
"Thus saith Jehovah, The people that were left of the sword found favor in the wilderness; even Israel when I went to cause him to rest. Jehovah of old appeared unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Again will I build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: again shalt thou be adorned with thy tabrets, and shall go forth in the dances of them that make merry. Again shalt thou plant vineyards upon the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant, and shall enjoy the fruit thereof. For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the hills of Ephraim shall cry Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto Jehovah our God."
"People that were left of the sword ..." (Jeremiah 31:2). Some see this as a reference to the deliverance from Egypt, and others suppose that it refers to the Israelites left after the destruction by Babylon. We prefer the latter understanding because, God did not call Israel to "rest" in the wilderness of Sinai, but commanded them to enter Canaan. Both explanations are acceptable.
The mention of Ephraim and Samaria in this paragraph show clearly that the Northern kingdom was meant.
"For thus saith Jehovah, Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout for the chief of the nations: publish ye, and praise ye, and say, O Jehovah, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the uttermost parts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall they return hither. They shall come with weeping; and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, in a straight way wherein they shall not stumble; for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn."
"Save thy people ..." (Jeremiah 31:7). This indicates that "eternal salvation" is the culmination of God's promises here. The remnant of Israel... (Jeremiah 31:7). This expression forbids any notion that the whole nation of apostate racial Israel were meant to be included in these glorious promises.
In both this and the preceding paragraphs, God assured Israel of his "everlasting love." With the utmost tenderness, God mentioned his fatherhood of Israel, and Ephraim's being his firstborn. None of this great and everlasting love belonged to racial Israel in any exclusive sense. These wonderful expressions of God's love are merely the Old Testament counterpart of the great New Testament principle, that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
"Hear the word of Jehovah, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattereth Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For Jehovah hath ransomed Jacob, and redeemed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. And they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow unto the goodness of Jehovah, to the grain, and to the new wine, and to the oil, and to the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old together; for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith Jehovah."
The care of God for his Church in the New Israel of the Messianic kingdom is depicted here. In that age, there was no better way to enumerate these blessings than we find in the agricultural metaphors which abound in this chapter.
"Thus saith Jehovah: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children; she refuseth to be comforted for her children, because they are not. Thus saith Jehovah, Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded, saith Jehovah; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope for thy latter end, saith Jehovah; and thy children shall come again to their own border. I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus, Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a calf unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art Jehovah my God. Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth. Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a darling child? for as often as I speak against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my heart yearneth for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith Jehovah."
The great emphasis in this paragraph is upon repentance and the tenderness and forgiveness by which true repentance shall be welcomed by the loving father.
This promise is not a picture of Ephraim's repentance, but a picture of the welcome that he would have received from God if he had repented. Over and beyond that, it emphasizes the necessity of repentance as a key element in the New Covenant to be announced a moment later. As Jesus expressed it twice in three lines, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish!" (Luke 13:3,5).
As far as the Northern Israel was concerned, there is no Biblical evidence whatever that any such wave of repentance as that suggested here ever happened.
"Set thee up waymarks, make thee guideposts; set thy heart toward the highway, even the way by which thou wentest, turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities. How long wilt thou go hither and thither, O thou backsliding daughter? for Jehovah hath created a new thing in the earth: A woman shall encompass a man."
"O thou backsliding daughter ..." (Jeremiah 31:22). This refers to the actual condition of Israel. God here addressed her as "Virgin of Israel"; but that envisions her status at the time after she receives and obeys the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The glorious promises of the Messianic age most certainly cast their long shadows over these verses.
"A woman shall encompass a man ..." (Jeremiah 31:22). In a word, we agree with Matthew Henry who followed the patristic interpretation of this passage and referred it to "The Incarnation of Christ." Yes, we are aware that practically all of the present crop of commentators reject this interpretation out of hand; but no better interpretation has ever been proposed; and practically all of the current generation of scholars admit that they do not have the slightest idea what the passage means. Moreover the objections that are offered to this very old and satisfactory understanding of the passage have no value at all. For example, Cheyne thought that it was impossible for this to refer to the Virgin Mary's bearing the Christ in her womb, because, he said, "The definite article for woman does not appear, as in Isaiah's promise that `The Virgin' shall conceive." This objection has no weight because the great protoevangel of Genesis 3:15 likewise omits the definite article in the announcement that "The seed of woman" shall bruise the head of Satan, there being no definite article for woman.
Also, let it be noted that whatever is prophesied here, God called it a "new thing in the earth," a description that cannot possibly apply to any other explanation of this passage that we have ever seen; but it does apply to the virgin birth of the Son of God. Such explanations as, "The female shall protect the strong man, or the woman shall turn the man," or "a woman shall embrace a man," are certainly not any "new thing in the earth." Until the critics who do their best to remove every prophecy of the Son of God from the Old Testament can tell us what this passage means, we shall cling to the only explanation that has ever made any sense at all.
"Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel, Yet again shall they use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity: Jehovah bless thee, O habitation of righteousness, O mountain of holiness. And Judah and all the cities thereof shall dwell therein together, the husbandman, and they that go about with flocks. For I have satiated the weary soul, and every sorrowful soul have I replenished. Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet unto me."
"Upon this I awaked ..." (Jeremiah 31:26). God's revelation of this chapter had apparently come to Jeremiah in a dream, one of the "various means" (Hebrews 1:1) by which God of old spoke to the fathers by the prophets. This explanation was the one accepted by Lindblom. The particular revelation that resulted in the dream's coming to an end was the prophecy of the return of the remnant of Israel from captivity in Babylon to Jerusalem and Judah and to the prosperity that would ensue. Much of that promised happiness and prosperity never materialized, because of the failure of the returnees to repent and turn wholeheartedly unto God, as revealed in some of the minor prophets, notably Micah.
"Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast. And it shall come to pass that, like as I have watched over them to pluck up and to break down and to overthrow and to destroy and to afflict, so will I watch over them to build and to plant, saith Jehovah. In those days they shall say no more, the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge. But everyone shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge."
"Behold the days come ..." (Jeremiah 31:27). It is amazing how often this or equivalent expressions such as "at that time," occur in this chapter, all of which point unerringly to the Age of Messiah for the fulfillment of the revelation recorded here.
"Thus saith Jehovah ..." (Jeremiah 31:27,28, etc.). Some nineteen times in the forty verses of this chapter this formula appears. The New Covenant that God is announcing here is radically different from anything ever heard of before; and this oft-repeated statement "thus saith Jehovah" was necessary. As Green said, "The sulking cynical captives would be skeptical; and therefore the announcement of it gets a heavy stamp of divine authority: `this is revelation!' "
"I have watched over them to pluck up, etc. ..." (Jeremiah 31:28). This is a reference to what Jeremiah had written in Jeremiah 18:7-10; and if Israel would now truly believe and serve God, all of the great blessings would be poured out upon them.
"The fathers have eaten sour grapes, etc. ..." (Jeremiah 31:29). This seems to have been a popular proverb among the Israelites, because Ezekiel also mentioned it and based upon it a chapter regarding individual responsibility (Ezekiel 18). The people were using this saying, "To excuse themselves from responsibility for the predicament they were in, to pass the buck to their forbears, and ultimately to God."
In the Messianic age to come, Jeremiah prophesies here that, "Men will no more accuse God of unrighteousness, as in the wicked proverb, but they will perceive that everyone has to suffer for his own guilt."
THE NEW COVENANT
"Behold the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah."
In Vol. 10 (Hebrews) of the New Testament Commentaries, pp. 162-166, one may find additional commentary on the New Covenant. There were several covenants that God made. (1) There was a covenant with Noah (Genesis 6:18,9:9); (2) two covenants with Abraham (Genesis 17:2,10; 15:18ff); (3) the covenant of salt (Numbers 18:19; Leviticus 2:13); and (4) the covenant of the everlasting priesthood (Numbers 25:13). However, in Hebrews 8:6-7, this "new covenant" is contrasted with what is called "the first covenant," or "the old covenant," indicating that the new covenant would replace not merely those lesser covenants, but it would take the place of that covenant which was so great and comprehensive, overshadowing all others, that God called it the "first covenant." In short, it was designed to replace the entire religious system of the Jews, including the Decalogue, the priesthood, the sacrifices, the tabernacle ritual, the temple, and the temple services later developed, the statutes, judgments, and commandments, embracing the entire ceremonial and moral constitution of Judaism. Every student needs to identify which covenant was annulled and replaced by the new.
The old covenant identified:
(1) It was the one made with the "house of Israel and with the house of Judah." The mention of the house of Judah is significant, because it distinguished the "old covenant" from the covenant of the priesthood which was made with the house of Levi. It also indicated that all Israel, both the Northern and Southern Israels, were included in the New Covenant.
(2) The old covenant was the one that had the Decalogue in it as a basic component (Deuteronomy 4:13; Hebrews 9:4).
(3) The old covenant was the one God made with Moses (Exodus 34:2,28).
(4) It was the one God made at the time when Israel came out of Egypt, "in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of Egypt" (Jeremiah 31:32).
The nature of the new covenant. It partakes of the nature of all covenants, concerning which Keil declared that, "Every covenant which God concludes with men consists, on the side of God, the assurance of God's favors and blessings; and on the side of men, it binds them to the keeping of commandments laid upon them."
Time when the new covenant was made. It was made upon the Cross of Jesus Christ when he became the "propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world." It was announced upon the Day of Pentecost, exactly fifty days after the resurrection of the Son of God, and it became effective upon that day when three thousand Jews became "the Virgin Israel" accepted the terms of the New Covenant, and by their baptism into Christ, became thereby Charter Members of the New Israel, the Israel of God, the Spiritual Israel, that Other Israel, which succeeded the Old Israel, and is today the Only Israel of God.
MISCONCEPTIONS OF THE NEW COVENANT
We regret that some scholars have missed the truth regarding that New Covenant. Graybill, for example, said that, "The new covenant will not be a new law, the old law was good enough!" The last clause here is a flat contradiction of Hebrews 8:6-7, which declares that if the old law had been faultless God would not have changed it. Furthermore, the notion that the New Covenant got rid of all law is a preposterous error. We have already noted that the "priesthood" was changed when Christ our High Priest was raised from the dead, eternally supplanting the Aaronic priesthood; and the author of Hebrews stated that, "The priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law" (Hebrews 7:12).
Furthermore, if there is no law of the gospel, or law of Christ, or law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, then there is no such thing as sin, because "sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4).
Another gross error is the notion that the New Covenant was stated in the form of a question by Feinberg, "Does the New Covenant efface the distinction between Israel (racial Israel) and the Church (the New Israel)? The answer is a resounding no!" This, of course, is a flat contradiction of Romans 10:12, which declares that "there is no distinction," not even between Gentiles and Jews; and, since Gentiles are in the Church, if one should suppose a distinction between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians, it would mean that God has two classes of children in his Church, an utter impossibility.
In the New Covenant all special considerations and privileges of racial Israel were forever lost. Race, today, is totally unimportant, as regards salvation. No person whomsoever can be either saved or lost eternally, upon the basis of any racial consideration whatsoever.
"Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith Jehovah."
"Which my covenant they brake ..." (Jeremiah 31:32). The significance of this is beyond all calculation. Israel did not merely strain the covenant, they broke it! Furthermore, there were not any of the promises of that covenant which were designed to be valid unless Israel refrained from breaking the covenant. Notice those tremendous "ifs" in Deuteronomy 28:1,15,58, etc. See Vol. 4 (Deuteronomy) in my commentaries on the Pentateuch. pp. 305-318.
"Salvation is possible only through the death of Christ; and this is the basis of the New Covenant; and all mankind is thus in view in this covenant." All men of every race and nation are subject to it, with special privileges to none.
Tragically, racial Israel refused to accept this New Covenant and refused to obey it, which is a fact that is very hard for commentators to ignore. For many years, this writer believed that the sacred scriptures teach that, "Israel as a nation will ratify (and accept and obey) this new covenant, after `the full number of the Gentiles has come in' (Romans 11:25-27)." We now deny that the scriptures teach this. The error was due to extensive tampering on the part of translators with Romans 11:15. It is true enough that the scriptures do not deny that such a conversion of racial Israel could occur, but there is absolutely no statement whatever that it will occur. See our extensive studies in this whole area in Vol. 6 (Romans) of the New Testament Series, especially at Romans 3 and Romans 11.
"But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."
Notice that God does not here state that he will cancel or no longer require his law to be observed, but that he will achieve the observance of his holy law by an utterly new method. That new method would be by the means of "the new birth" (John 1:3-7). A new heart would be created in obedient believers, and this would enable a more acceptable obedience to Divine Law. God never envisioned a time when his followers (even Christians) would be able to achieve perfect obedience; and therefore in the great injunction for Christians to pray, one finds the words, "Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who transgress against us."
Nevertheless, the requirement of holiness is nowhere eliminated or cancelled in the New Testament, but the Lord specifically declared that, "Without holiness, no man shall see God" (Hebrews 12:14).
"And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Jehovah: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more."
"They shall teach no more every man his neighbor, etc. ..." (Jeremiah 31:34), Keil and a number of others thought that the principle of men teaching other men the truth about God was here nullified, "Because the sinner is placed in direct relationship with God through the Holy Spirit," but we know that Keil cannot possibly be correct in this, since Christ himself ordained that, "They shall all be taught of God" (John 6:45); and the Great Commission itself commanded that "all nations," "the whole creation," must be taught.
Of the dozens of scholars whose works we have been privileged to read, only George DeHoff gave the true explanation of what is meant here.
The significance of this passage is very great. It means that no untaught person can be a Christian, hence no infants in the true sense are Christians. "Ye must be born again," Jesus said; and all infants have been born only once. Infant membership allows many unregenerated people to grow up in various churches without regard either to their faith or obedience, opening the gate for many outright unbelievers to gain and exercise power in some so-called Christian communions.
Another tremendous untruth sometimes imported into the doctrine of the New Covenant was announced by Payne Smith, as follows: "The Gospel cannot be a formal code guaranteeing certain blessings to those who obey it; because it begins with an offer of unconditional pardon: and it is in the sense of this full unmerited love which so affects the heart as to make obedience henceforth an inner necessity."
Variations of this colossal error are today found in the writings of hundreds of commentators, If indeed, as Smith said, the Gospel is not something which men must obey, why did the greatest of the apostles declare that, "Christ shall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire with tens of thousands of his holy angels taking vengeance upon them that know not God, and them that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ?" (2 Thessalonians 1:8). If, as Smith said, the human heart is so impressed by unmerited, unconditional forgiveness that it will automatically obey God, why are there so many backsliding Christians?
Furthermore, there is not a line in the whole Bible that even hints that God's salvation is "unconditional." Did not Jesus Christ say, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved?" (Mark 16:16); and even there, baptism is by no means the only condition, but it stands as a synecdoche for the full catalogue of Christian obligations. Why cannot men think? If salvation is unconditional, God alone is responsible for the loss or salvation of every man who ever lived; but again, an apostle declared, "That every man must give an account of the deeds done in the body" (2 Corinthians 5:10). Let God be true and every man a liar!
The forgiveness of sins is the grand hallmark of the New Covenant. Never before in the history of mankind was there anything like it. When angels sinned, there was no forgiveness; when any of God's laws were ever violated, there was never any forgiveness; there is no forgiveness in nature; there was not even any forgiveness under the Mosaic Law. Why? Because, "It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin" (Hebrews 10:4). In all of those Old Testament passages where forgiveness of sins is promised, the reference is actually to the Messianic age.
Note also that God "remembers no more" the sins that are forgiven, an achievement that sinners themselves cannot accomplish.
"Thus saith Jehovah, who giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, who stirreth up the sea that the waves thereof roar; Jehovah of hosts is his name: If these ordinances depart from before me, saith Jehovah, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me forever. Thus saith Jehovah: If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth be searched out beneath, then shall I also cut off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith Jehovah."
The perpetuity of God's Israel is assured by these verses; but it is most certainly the Spiritual Israel in Christ Jesus which dominates the passage. The racial Israel also is represented in the promise that their "seed," that is, not "all" of them shall be cut off, implying, of course, that the vast majority of racial Israel shall indeed be cut off because of rebellion against God. As Keil stated it, "That the whole of Israel cannot perish is no bolster for the sin of a single individual."
In this connection, it should always be remembered that it was indeed the racial Israel that provided the nucleus of the Spiritual Israel in the person of the holy apostles and the first great ingathering of Christians. The essential truth in this is that Christ alone is the "True Vine" (John 15:1), that is, the True Israel, and that by virtue of their being "in Christ," in the "true Vine," in the "true Israel," the whole company of the redeemed throughout this dispensation are actually the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16).
Thus we see the absolute identity of the New Israel (composed of all Christians from every tribe, race and nation) with the old, in this manner achieving the perpetuity of Israel as promised in this chapter. As Paul expressed it in Galatians: "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ. There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be no male and female; for ye are all one man in Christ Jesus. And if ye are Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, heirs according to promise" (Galatians 3:27-29).
"Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that the city shall be built to Jehovah from the tower of Hananel unto the gate of the corner. And the measuring line shall go out further straight onward to the hill of Gareb, and shall turn about unto Goah. And the whole valley of the dead bodies and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy unto Jehovah; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more forever."
Although the name of "the city" to be rebuilt here unto Jehovah is not mentioned, there can be little doubt that Jerusalem is meant; but it is not the old Jerusalem; it is the New Jerusalem, "The Jerusalem which is above, which is our mother" (Galatians 4:24). There are many Old Testament passages which speak of this "rebuilt" Jerusalem, revealing many differences between the old Jerusalem and the New Jerusalem that cometh down out of heaven from God. It will be a city without walls; and, as this passage shows, it will be much larger than the old Jerusalem. Also, it shall, as Dummelow noted, "embrace vast areas that were once considered unclean." This, of course, is a symbolical way of showing that the Gentiles shall be included in the inhabitants, along with Jews, and members of all nations.
Another difference between the old and the new Jerusalems is that there is no promise here of the rebuilding of the temple. Jeremiah had indeed prophesied the destruction of the temple; but the New Jerusalem needs no temple. God's people themselves are the "temple" (1 Corinthians 3:16).
We shall conclude the discussion of this great chapter with the following paragraph from C. F. Keil.