Recent discussions on my blog and elsewhere have appealed to Jeremiah 31 (and specifically vv. 31–34) as an indication that an end to the law of Moses was prophesied well before the Common Era. In the context of those discussions Jeremiah’s prophecy is being marshaled to undermine the notion that Matthew was a judaizing Christian who asserted the eternal nature of the Law. I’d like to list my reasons for doubting that Jeremiah 31 was intended to suggest a future end to the Law of Moses.
(1) Restoration to former glory is the theme throughout the chapter.
(2) The old “covenant” in v. 32 ≠ the Law of Moses. The Law is a constituent element of the covenant, as seen in v. 33.
(3) No indication is given that any requirements of the Law will be changed, only that it will be interiorized.
(4) The prophecy of restoration in Jer 29:10–14, Jer 32:37–44, and all of Jeremiah 33 parallel 31:31–34 in many ways, but no change in the Law is intimated, only a closer relationship with Yhwh.
(5) Jer 33:17–18 promise there shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, nor will the levitical priests lack someone to offer burnt offerings, grain offerings, and other sacrifices “for all time.”
These considerations lead me to conclude that Jeremiah is prophesying a return to the glory days of the United Monarchy, not a fulfillment of the Law of Moses. The only difference noted between the “new covenant” and the old is that the new will be interiorized by Israel and God, as a result, will be continuously among them. No alteration of the Law of Moses is intimated, and the only references to specific aspects of the law indicate those aspects will remain into perpetuity.