Jeremiah 31:31

Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah

The Hebrew Roots Movement often refer to this verse to explain how the new covenant that Jesus offers (Luke 22:20) is “renewed” based off of the Hebrew word for “new” used here.

2543 חָדָשׁ (ḥā·ḏāš): adj.; ≡ Str 2319; TWOT 613a—1. LN 58.70–58.75 new, i.e., pertaining to that which is recent, new, not old 1

Strong’s Hebrew #2319 2319. חָדָשׁ chadash (294a); from 2318; new:—new(47), New(2), new thing(1), new things(2), something new(1).

We see in the Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains as well as in the Strong’s Concordance, the work “new” means, literally, “new”.

As a final authority though, we must always go to the Bible and let it answer for itself. The answer to our question is actually in the next few verses, Jeremiah 31:32-37.

32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

35  Thus says the LORD,
who gives the sun for light by day
and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
the LORD of hosts is his name:
36  “If this fixed order departs
from before me, declares the LORD,
then shall the offspring of Israel cease
from being a nation before me forever.”

37  Thus says the LORD:
“If the heavens above can be measured,
and the foundations of the earth below can be explored,
then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel
for all that they have done,
declares the LORD.”

God explains what He means by “new”. It will not be anything like the old covenant! What is wonderful about these verses, is the fulfillment of the prophecy in Jeremiah 31:34. I can go to my brother, regardless of race, gender, age, or social status and ask, “Do you know God?” They can honestly look me in the eye and say, “Yes, I know God! I have a relationship with Jesus Christ!” We no longer need to depend on a human high priest, or for women and children a husband or a father, to know God. Every person can now boldly enter into the throne room of God through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:16)!

Now, for those who still want to doubt the meaning of these verses, God once again comes through. He apparently knew the issues that would arise with the new covenant, so He made sure to include further teaching in the New Testament regarding these verses. In Hebrews 10:1-25 ff we read about how Jesus came to do God’s will concerning the new covenant and then describes what that means, even by quoting Jeremiah 31.

Spend time prayerfully reading Hebrews 8-10 to help you understand more fully the implication of Jesus fulfilling the old covenant and law while offering us a new one as our new High Priest! May God bless your journey!

1. Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.