Monday, June 18, 2018

Israel vs. The Body of Christ (pt.1)

One of the fundamental tenets of right division is understanding and maintaining the difference between Israel and the Church which is the Body of Christ. Our last three studies on the main division (prophecy vs. mystery), the twofold purpose of God (heaven and earth), and two ministries of Christ (earthly and heavenly) clearly prove this difference. In this study and the next, we are going to take a very basic overview of Israel and the Body of Christ.


I. Purpose
As we saw in our study of the twofold purpose of God, Israel is God’s agent to establish His kingdom on the earth (Ex. 19:5-6). The nations will come to worship God through their ministry (Isa. 2:1-5; Matt. 28:19-20). God spoke about this purpose through His prophets since the world began (Lk. 1:70; Acts 3:21).

II. Origin
When Adam fell he lost his dominion on the earth. God immediately promised a Savior who would redeem what Adam ruined (Gen. 3:15). As God progressively revealed His plan, it became more and more specific (Seth, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, David, a virgin). Abraham is the father of the Hebrew people. There are a number of passages in the Bible that review Israel’s history, and they all begin with Abraham.

God took just 11 chapters to cover the first 2,000 years of human history (Gen. 1-11) and 39 books (Gen.12-Malachi) to cover the next 1,600 years. He took just 2 chapters in Genesis to tell us about creation, but 39 chapters to tell us all about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel, 12 tribes). The books of Exodus through Malachi are all about the nation that sprang forth from Abraham. The children of Israel became a nation when God redeemed them out of Egypt. Gentiles are only dealt with in their relation to Israel.

In Rom. 1:18-32 we find the Divine commentary on the history of mankind leading up to the call of Abraham. God gave up on the Gentile world at the Tower of Babel. In light of the events of Gen. 1-11, the covenant that God made with Abraham sets forth God’s plan and purpose for using a nation of His own creation to reconcile the EARTH back to Himself (Gen. 12:1-3).

III. Program
God deals with Israel by covenants. The covenants do not pertain to the Body of Christ (Rom. 9:1-5; Eph. 2:11-13). We are saved by the blood of the NT. There is a difference between a covenant and a testament. A covenant is basically an agreement or contract between men, or between men and God. It is usually based on certain conditions agreed upon. But sometimes, as between God and man, it is unconditional. God’s covenants with man originate with Him and are given in relation to the earth.

What are Israel’s covenants?
1) Abrahamic (Gen. 15:18) - everlasting
2) Law (Ex. 24:3-8; 34:27-28) - temporary
3) Land (Deut. 29:1) - temporary
4) Davidic (2 Sam. 7:12-17; 23:1-5) – everlasting
5) New (Jer. 31:31-32) - everlasting

The covenants build upon each other, the Abrahamic Covenant being foundational.

IV. Destiny
Israel failed. They rejected the Father throughout the OT, the Son in the Gospels, and the Holy Ghost in Acts. They fell when they stoned Stephen. They were diminished via a transition that is recorded in the book of Acts. They are now set aside in blindness. Individual Jews can be saved, but they are saved the same way as Gentiles and are baptized into one Body. When this age ends with the rapture, God will resume His dealings with Israel and fulfill all the prophecies and promises concerning them (reign on earth forever). We did NOT replace Israel. We are NOT spiritual Israel (Jer. 31:35-37; Rom. 11:25-29).

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