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Chapter 1

Israel and The Church

The aim of this book is to emphasise Israel’s unique position within the plans and purposes of God. The roll of Israel and that of The Church should not be confused. May God grant us grace and wisdom as we undertake this study so that we might rightly divide His word of truth.

Many today seem to be in an identity crisis. It has been taught for centuries that The Church has replaced Israel. Even among those who acknowledge the restoration of Israel, there are many who speak of themselves as ‘Spiritual Israel’. This author too has been guilty of this in the past. We don’t know who coined this phrase ‘Spiritual Israel’, but it does not deserve its common usage among Christians for it is not found in scripture. The word Israel is found in the New Testament in excess of seventy times. However, after careful consideration of its uses, we have come to the conclusion that there is not one case in which the New Testament refers to Gentile believers as Jews or Israel. All Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ are presently incorporated into one body, namely; The Church.

God has a separate plan for each of His covenant peoples, yet it is clear that both Israel and The Church have a common destiny in our commonwealth through Jesus Christ. This common destiny and wealth is realised in that glorious city for which Abraham looked, “new Jerusalem” (Revelation 21:2). “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose
builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11.10) The Lord Jesus has promised The Church a part in this city. (See Revelation 3:12-13). Both Israel and The Church shall eternally dwell within her. See Revelation (21:12-14)

Many take Romans 2:28-29 to mean that all who are circumcised of heart are true Jews and therefore part of Israel. We do not believe that Paul is establishing a ‘Spiritual Israel’ in these verses. He is expressing a point which he continues to enlarge upon throughout the book.
Paul continues: “… For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel” (Romans 9:6) in other words, which are descended from Israel. This scripture does not add Gentiles to the nation of Israel, but subtracts from Israel those descendants of Jacob who reject God’s plan of salvation. The apostle Peter gave clear warning to the nation of Israel in regard to this subtraction when he declared “And it shall come to pass, that every soul which will not hear that prophet, (i.e. be circumcised of heart) shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:23)

Again Paul continues in the same vein when he quotes Isaiah. “…Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved.” (Romans 9:27) It is only the faithful remnant of Israel which shall be counted as Israel. So that when Paul declares: “And so all Israel shall be saved: As it is written…” (Romans 11:26) he is not referring to The Church, nor is he referring to everyone who is born Jewish, but he is referring to a faithful remnant which shall be counted as “The Israel of God” who shall yet fulfill God’s plans and purposes for that nation upon this earth in literal fulfillment of His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The complete restoration and restitution of Israel has been suspended by God for the duration of the ‘age of grace’. However when “…the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24) and “…the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11:25) this present dispensation shall be concluded, for then God Almighty will restore the remnant of His chosen people and place them in their own land and at the head of the nations. See Deuteronomy 28:13.

Paul reveals that in The Church there is neither Jew nor Greek, nevertheless, “… ye are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29) for even as Abraham we believe God and are part of the “household of faith”. Never is The Church called the seed of Isaac, or the seed of Jacob, for both were set aside by God as heads of a single and particular nation. Nevertheless “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” (2Corinthians 1:20) The Church is not alien to but part of the “commonwealth of Israel” (Ephesians 2:12) This does not mean that The Church is Israel, any more than being in the British Commonwealth makes me, an Australian, British. However, “the Israel of God” and “The Church” shall enjoy the same privileges for their commonwealth is in the Lord Jesus Christ who is both “the king of Israel” and “the head of the Church”

It is worth noting that the Lord Jesus is called “the King of Israel” and “the King of the Jews” in excess of thirty times throughout the New Testament. Not once is He called the ‘King of The Church’. The wise men were not looking for their own King but “He that is born King of the Jews” (Mathew 2:2)

What does God’s word say about The Church? The word Church means ‘called-out-ones’ and she has been called out of every Nation. “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, …” (Ephesians 5:27) The Church is compared to:

A temple ____________1 Corinthians 3:16-17
The body of Christ _____1 Corinthians 12:27-31 and Colossians 1:24
A habitation __________Ephesians 2:22
A house ____________1 Timothy 3:15

Christ is referred to as ‘The head of The Church’, see Ephesians 1:22, Ephesians 4:15 and (Colossians 1:18.) The Church is referred to as “betrothed” to Christ in (2 Corinthians 11:2) and compared to a bride in (Ephesians 5: 22-30.) Though The Church is betrothed, she is not yet married. She is compared to a bride awaiting her Bridegroom. (Revelation 21:9) He shall
come for His called-out bride and she shall marry Him who is the rightful heir to the throne of David. He has promised that she shall sit with Him in His throne. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the
churches.” (Revelation 3:21:22)

“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: if we
suffer, we shall also reign with him…”(2 Timothy 2:11-12) Indeed our Lord Jesus shall “restore the kingdom to Israel.” And His bride The Church shall sit with Him in His throne. This brings to mind our Lord’s comforting words “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” (Luke 13:32), “who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son.” (Colossians 1:13)

I have sought in this opening chapter to highlight the danger of being found in a position of mistaken identity. May we clearly understand who we are so that we may be found looking up when our Bridegroom appears.

© Copyright Dirk Evenhuis. The book Israel's Destiny is protected by Australian copyright law. No part of the book may be used or distributed for commercial reasons without the written permission of the author Dirk Evenhuis.

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