2) Implications of sources

1.3.2 The implications of Paul’s sources

The contexts of the New Covenant promises in Jeremiah and Ezekiel speak of an exodus event in which “…Israel is to be gathered out of the nations, freed from her captivity (cf [Jer] 30:3; 31:8-11). Delivered from her sins and from idolatry, and recognising the claim of Jahweh’s dominion…”p.36 she will be gathered into a holy community. In both prophets highlight these characteristics which show the continuity between the People of the two covenants.

However, “The point of discontinuity is implicit in the nature of the Covenant itself.”p.37 This is that God will write his laws on their hearts, “…with the result that all will ‘know Jahweh’.”p.37

The essential novelty of the future Covenant as seen by both prophets (cf. also Deut 30:6) is that God himself will intervene directly in the heart of human freedom, to bring about that religious and moral regeneration which man himself had proved quite impotent to effect. Already for the prophets themselves this represents a ‘new creation’: God will create obedience out of the nihil of man’s disobedience.p.37

But the prophets would have understood that this “law written on the heart” would result in a continuation of the Old Covenant People, not a people who were uncircumcised! However:

“For Paul, the Church is not a renewd Israel but the new Israel—and so the only true Israel… In the interiorisation of the ‘law’ through God’s intervention in hte hearts of individuals, Paul will see the end of the Torah and hence the free access of the ἔθνε [gentiles] to the benefits of salvation through membership of the People of God.”p.38

Updated 2009-09-27 (build:50) by Andrew Fountain