I will make with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah a new covenant.
Long before the Law covenant was canceled, Jehovah foretold through the prophet Jeremiah that He would make with the nation of Israel “a new covenant.” That covenant would be unlike the Law covenant in that it would make possible the forgiveness of sins without the need for animal sacrifices. Centuries later, Jesus instituted the Lord’s Evening Meal on Nisan 14, 33 C.E. Speaking of the cup of wine, he told his 11 faithful apostles: “This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood, which is to be poured out in your behalf.” Matthew’s account quotes Jesus as saying regarding the wine: “This means my ‘blood of the covenant,’ which is to be poured out in behalf of many for forgiveness of sins.” Jesus’ shed blood validates the new covenant. That blood also makes possible the forgiveness of sins once and for all time.
Jehovah’s Witnesses know that Jesus instituted a new covenant on the night of the Evening meal and it went into operation on Pentecost when the holy spirit anointed 120 Israelites.
However, the prophecy of Jeremiah situates the establishment of the new covenant as taking place during the final part of the days, after the windstorm of Jehovah is unleashed to whirl up the heads of the wicked. That can be determined by taking into consideration the extended context of chapters 30-31. For example, Jeremiah 30:7 states: “Alas! For that day is a terrible one. There is none like it, a time of distress for Jacob. But he will be saved out of it.”
That terrible day, a tribulation like none other, is the great tribulation that Jesus foretold would come upon “Jerusalem.” That “Jacob” actually represents Christ’s congregation is evident from the fact that the time of distress will occur in the final part of the days, as the last verse of chapter 30 states.
It is in the aftermath of the storm —“the time of distress” —that Jehovah gathers back his scattered people. (Jesus also spoke of a post-tribulation gathering of the chosen ones from the four corners of the earth.)
In that setting Jeremiah 31:31 states: “Look! The days are coming,” declares Jehovah, “when I will make with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah a new covenant. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their forefathers on the day I took hold of their hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, ‘my covenant that they broke, although I was their true master,’ declares Jehovah.”
But why the seeming discrepancy? If Jesus instituted the new covenant way back when, why does Jeremiah place the establishment of the new covenant in the final part of the days? The reason is because although Jesus’ sacrificial death paid the ransom and validated the new covenant, it has not been fully implemented. That is evident by reason of the fact that those who had been anointed in the past are still sleeping in the grave.
As Jesus pointed out to the unbelieving Jews, Jehovah is the God of the living —not the dead, and since the new covenant makes the dead alive in Christ, the covenant cannot be said to have accomplished its intended purpose until the dead come to life in the first resurrection.
Of course, the Watchtower supposes that the first resurrection started around 1918, and they routinely refer to anointed persons who have died since then as having folded their earthly tents and receiving their heavenly reward; however, it can easily be proven that no such resurrection has occurred. How so? Consider the next two verses:
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares Jehovah. “I will put my law within them, and in their heart I will write it. And I will become their God, and they will become my people. And they will no longer teach each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know Jehovah!’ for they will all know me, from the least to the greatest of them,” declares Jehovah. “For I will forgive their error, and I will no longer remember their sin.”
The accomplishment of the new covenant will bring a cessation to the teaching work. It is as simple as that. When those who are called to be sons of God in the pattern of Christ fully know Jehovah, as does Christ, the original Son of God —then Christianity is finished.
Jehovah’s planting his law in their hearts is not accomplished by any sort of Bible study program. Going to Christian meetings and commenting isn’t going to do it. The implantation of God’s law is a miracle. It takes place for those sleeping in death when they are awakened as immortal spirits. And those who are living during the regathering will experience the final sealing that will implant God’s law within them, coinciding with the revealing of the sons of God.
Jehovah granting a full pardon and never again calling their sins to mind can only happen at the conclusion of the Christian era, after Christ has come as a refiner and cleanser of the sons of Levi. Again, their receiving complete forgiveness means that those who receive the first resurrection can never sin again. They will be incorruptible because God will have implanted his law in their hearts.