The news media buzzed with excitement in 1967 about a revolutionary operation that had just taken place in Cape Town, South Africa. This was the date of the first human heart transplant in history. Millions have heart problems. Sometimes, our hearts simply wear out. Is a heart replacement the answer?
In the decades since that first human heart transplant operation was performed by Dr. Christiaan Barnard, thousands more have taken place. In 1982, Dr. Robert Jarvik implanted the first permanent artificial heart. Today, more than 2,000 heart transplant operations are performed every year in the U.S., with 2021 being a record-breaking year, and a couple of thousand more worldwide. The names of many times that number of people are on a list, waiting for a replacement heart to become available.
Heart disease claims about one million lives annually and is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. One in every four deaths is due to heart disease according to the Centers for Disease Control. The heart is a real problem for mankind, and in more ways than one, mankind is in need of a new heart.
Did you know that God offers a “new heart” to mankind? In a prophecy to ancient Israel, the prophet Ezekiel relayed the words of the Lord God, Who said, “I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. And they will go there, and they will take away all its detestable things and all its abominations from there. Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God” (Ezekiel 11:17–20).
This is actually speaking of a change in the heart, the removal of a stubborn rebelliousness against God, as pictured by the “stony heart” mentioned in Ezekiel. God will replace that stony heart with a humble heart willing to acknowledge and obey its Creator, to live according to His laws and to take direction from Him.
The prophet Ezekiel speaks of this “heart transplant” again in chapter 36, proclaiming, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. I will deliver you from all your uncleanness” (Ezekiel 36:26–29).
We all need a clean new heart. King David, the Psalmist, asked God to “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).
The Apostle Paul describes this new heart using an analogy of a veil being on the heart that must be removed. “Unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away” (2 Corinthians 3:13–16).
This is describing the new covenant—having a heart changed at last to obey the Creator.
To learn more about this important subject, read the Tomorrow’s World magazine articles "Is God Actually Real to You?" and “A New Covenant?”, and order our free booklet, Christian Baptism: Its Real Meaning.