15 December 2009

Jeremiah 33: The Center of the Bible?

I wonder if Jer 33 provides something of a "center" to the Bible as a whole. Not "center" in an absolute way--Christ himself is the center of the biblical story. But "center" in that I know of no comparable passage in which such a striking cluster of biblical-theological themes converge. Jer 33 seems to be an intersection of sorts to the whole OT and even, if read with a christocentric lens, the whole Bible. Influence in recent years by Beale, Clowney, Keller, Goldsworthy, Greidanus, Bavinck and Vos has opened up to me a deeper way of reading the Bible and led me to read this text in a new way this past week.

Jer 30-33 is an extended passage promising restoration, culminating not in the famous Jer 31:31-34 but in 33:14-26 (a passage unfortunately omitted from the LXX). Admittedly, Jer 31 is the text picked up explicitly in the NT (Heb 8), not Jer 33. But consider the macro-canonical themes that crop up in 33:14-26:

Promise and Fulfillment (vv. 14-16)

A righteous "Branch" (15)

The notion of "the Lord our righteousness" (16)

Abrahamic covenant (22; cf. 26)

Davidic covenant (21, 22, 26)

Creation (20, 25)

Kingship (particularly striking in light of Jeremiah's pessimistic view of the kingship: ch's 21-23 e.g.) (17, 21, 26)

Priesthood (18, 21, 22)

Temple (18, 21; cf. Zech 6:12-13)

Sacrifice (18, 21)

Election (24, 26)

I'm finding little attention given to Jer 33 in OT theologies and NT theologies alike. But in considering this passage this past week, it seems that this text as much as any in the whole Bible gives us a canonical peak from which to view virtually the entire panorama of the biblical storyline, pointing backward to what has happened up till the sixth century B.C. and forward in anticipation to what lies ahead.

And in various ways, I believe Christ himself sums up (Eph 1:10; 2 Cor 1:20) each of the above intercanonical themes.


Anders Branderud said...


You mentioned Jeremiah 31:31-34 – In Hebrew: Yirmeyahu.

It is about the berit khadashah (“new covenant”).
If you read the verses in Hebrew you see that in the berit khadashah the Creator will put Torah (that is the mitzwot (commandments in Torah) in the hearts of the followers of the berit. The Creator does not change (Malakhi 3:6) and his mitzwot (“commandments” ) does not change (Devarim (“Deuteronomy”) 13:1-6).

I think that the website Netzarim will be of interest to you. It contains logical and scientific research, previously unknown to most Christians, about the first century Ribi Yehoshua (ha-Mashiakh, the Messiah) from Nazareth and what he and his followers taught. His teachings are in accordance with Torah, the instruction manual, of the Creator to humankind.

Have a nice week! /Anders Branderud

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