Posted by: thaishin | March 6, 2016

Is the Church the new Israel?

Galations 6

16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.  -kjv

16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God.  -niv

16 May peace come to all those who follow this standard, and mercy to the Israel of God!  -hcsb

Exposition by Dr Michael Rydelnik on openline March 5, 2016:

Let’s explore what the bible has to say about Israel, in particular this is the question – is the church the new Israel? The verse that they often cite is Galations 6:16. This is at the end of Galatians and Paul has given some very severe challenge to the Galatians who have fallen into legalism. Some were saying that they need to convert to Judaism to become followers of Jesus and Paul says no, that’s a legalistic requirement, you must not do that. In saying that, he gave some very strong statements about justification by faith and at the end of the book, he’s saying that may peace be on all those who follow this standard. In other words, he is wishing peace on everyone who follow the teachings of this book and then he says may mercy also be on the Israel of God. Now, this is the passage that people says that God is blessing the Church and calling the Church the Israel of God. Is that true? Is there ever a case in scripture that the Church is called Israel? In the new testament, the word Israel is used seventy-three times. Seventy-one times, it is totally undisputed it always refers to someone who is ethnically Jewish, someone who is a descendant, a participant, a part of ethnic Israel. The seventy second time it is used is Romans 9, and there some people have argued in the past that perhaps it means followers of Jesus and not necessarily people who are ethnically Jewish but that view has been discredited. No longer does anyone think that about Romans 9. It is clear in Romans 9 that when Paul talks about the true Israel, it is talking about Jewish followers of Jesus. So, what is Galatians 6:16 talking about? This is the one place that people refers to the Israel of God as the Church but I don’t think so. There’s two way we can take the key word and it’s funny what the key word is … it’s the word ‘and’. He is offering a blessing on everyone who follows his teaching and then he gives a special blessing on Israel. People who think this is the church think that word should be translated ‘even the Israel of God’. ‘May peace be on all those who follow the standard, even mercy upon the Israel of God’, meaning the same people who are being blessed there. However, the simplest way of taking that word, the conjunction, is as ‘and’. It’s always wise to take the conjunction in its simplest way if we can and that’s what it means here. He says may peace be on everyone who agrees with what I am teaching and after being so harsh on so many Jewish people who are adding this legalistic requirement, after saying all that, I want to add a special blessing of mercy on the Jewish follower of Jesus, the Israel of God. Once again, he is giving a special blessing and he’s using the phrase ‘Israel of God’, not of the Church in general but rather on the Jewish follower of Jesus. So, one of the great truths that come from scripture is God has a special plan for Israel. Today, there is a righteous remnant of Israel and that’s the Jewish followers of Jesus and at the same time, this righteous remnant, this is one of God’s great gift, he has placed those righteous remnant into the body of the Messiah, the Church.

 

 

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Responses

  1. God has given his people and all people the gift of HIS son. The Jewish people still in full do not believe that Jesus is their Messiah. They will soon. There will always be different beliefs in our Holy Scriptures. I look at each and figure out it’s meaning in the easiest and most simply way. If I am in error God will correct me in his time and way.

    • Yes, I believe that the church is the new Israel but not in the so-called replacement theology but more like expansion theology. Meaning, all true believers in Jesus both Jews and Gentiles are the new Israel.


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