• Welcome to Christian Forums
  1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a forum to discuss Christianity in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

  2. The forums in the Christian Congregations category are now open only to Christian members. Please review our current Faith Groups list for information on which faith groups are considered to be Christian faiths. Christian members please remember to read the Statement of Purpose threads for each forum within Christian Congregations before posting in the forum.
  3. Please note there is a new rule regarding the posting of videos. It reads, "Post a summary of the videos you post . An exception can be made for music videos.". Unless you are simply sharing music, please post a summary, or the gist, of the video you wish to share.
  4. There have been some changes in the Life Stages section involving the following forums: Roaring 20s, Terrific Thirties, Fabulous Forties, and Golden Eagles. They are changed to Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Golden Eagles will have a slight change.
  5. CF Staff, Angels and Ambassadors; ask that you join us in praying for the world in this difficult time, asking our Holy Father to stop the spread of the virus, and for healing of all affected.

Featured The Israel of God in Gal.6:16

Discussion in 'Eschatology - Endtimes & Prophecy Forum' started by Quasar92, Sep 1, 2017.

  1. Quasar92

    Quasar92 Well-Known Member Supporter

    The purpose of this section is to present a dispensational view of Galatians 6:16, the only passage produced by all Covenant Theologians as evidence that the Church is the spiritual Israel, or that Gentile believers become spiritual Jews. The verse does not prove their case. The passage reads:

    And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

    The Book of Galatians is concerned with Gentiles who were attempting to attain salvation through the law. The ones deceiving them were Judaizers, who were Jews demanding adherence to the Law of Moses. To them, a Gentile had to convert to Judaism before he qualified for salvation through Christ. In verse 15 Paul states that the important thing for salvation is faith, resulting in the new man. He then pronounces a blessing on two groups who would follow this rule of salvation through faith alone. The first group is the “them,” the Gentile Christians to and of whom he had devoted most of the epistle. The second group is the “Israel of God.” These are Jewish believers who, in contrast with the Judaizers, followed the rule of salvation by faith alone. Covenant Theologians must ignore the primary meaning of kai [the conjunction which is usually translated “and”] which separates the two groups in the verse in order to make them both the same group.

    In a recent work, Dr. S. Lewis Johnson, former professor of Greek and New Testament Exegesis at Dallas Theological Seminary, has done a detailed study of Galatians 6:16. In his introduction, Johnson makes the following observation:

    In spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, there remains persistent support for the contention that the term Israel may refer properly to Gentile believers in the present age . . . .the primary support is found in Galatians 6:16 . . .

    I cannot help but think that dogmatic considerations loom large in the interpretation of Galatians 6:16. The tenacity with which this application of “the Israel of God” to the church is held in spite of a mass of evidence to the contrary leads one to think that the supporters of the view believe their eschatological system, usually an amillennial scheme, hangs on the reference of the term to the people of God, composed of both believing Jews and Gentiles. Amillennialism does not hang on this interpretation, but the view does appear to have a treasured place in amillennial exegesis.

    In speaking of the view that the term refers to ethnic Israel, a sense that the term Israel has in every other of its more than sixty-five uses in the New Testament and in its fifteen uses in Paul, in tones almost emotional William Hendriksen, the respected Reformed commentator, writes, “I refuse to accept that explanation.” . . .

    What I am leading up to is expressed neatly by D. W. B. Robinson in an article written about twenty years ago: “The glib citing of Galatains 6:16 to support the view that ‘the church is the new Israel’ should be vigorously challenged. There is weighty support for a limited interpretation.” We can say more than this, in my opinion. There is more than weighty support for a more limited interpretation. There is overwhelming support for such. In fact, the least likely view among several alternatives is the view that “the Israel of God” is the church. [Toussaint and Dyer, Pentecost Essays, “Paul and ‘The Israel of God’: An Exegetical and Eschatological Case-Study” by S.Lewis Johnson, pp. 181-182. Quoted in William Hendriksen, Exposition of Galatians, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1868), p. 247, and D. W. B. Robinson, “The Distinction Between Jewish and Gentile Believers in Galatians,” Australian Biblical Review 13 (1965): 29-48.]

    Johnson presents three views concerning this verse. Only the first insists that “the Israel of God” is the Church as a whole while the other two limit it to Jewish believers. The first view is described as follows:

    This first is the claim that “the Israel of God” is simply a term descriptive of the believing church of the present age . . . . The Israel of God is the body who shall walk by the rule of the new creation, and they include believing people from the two ethnic bodies of Jews and Gentiles [Ibid., p. 183].

    The basis for the first view is:

    The list of names supporting this view is impressive, although the bases of the interpretation are few and feeble, namely, the claim that the kai . . . before the term “the Israel of God” is an explicative or appositional kai; . . .and the claim that if one sees the term “the Israel of God” a believing ethnic Israel, they would be included in the preceding clause, “And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them” [Ibid., p. 184].

    Johnson rejects this view on three grounds. The first is for grammatical and syntactical reasons for which there are two [Ibid., pp. 187-188]. The first is that this view must resort to a secondary or lesser meaning of kai:

    It is necessary to begin this part of the discussion with a reminder of a basic, but often neglected, hermeneutical principle. It is this: in the absence of compelling exegetical and theological considerations, we should avoid the rarer grammatical usages when the common ones make good sense [Ibid., p. 187].

    Because the latter usage serves well the view that the term “the Israel of God” is the church, the dogmatic concern overcame grammatical usage. An extremely rare usage has been made to replace the common usage, even in spite of the fact that the common and frequent usage of and (kai) makes perfectly good sense in Galatians 6:16 [Ibid., p. 188].

    Second, Johnson points out that if Paul’s intention was to identify the “them” as being the “Israel of God,” then the best way of showing this was to eliminate the kai altogether. As shown earlier, this was exactly what Hendriksen wanted to do by leaving kai untranslated. The very presence of the kai argues against the “them” being “the Israel of God.” As Johnson notes, “Paul, however, did not eliminate the kai” [Ibid., p. 188].

    The second ground for rejecting this view is for exegetical considerations, which deals with context and usage. Concerning usage, Johnson states:

    From the standpoint of biblical usage this view stands condemned. There is no instance in biblical literature of the term Israel being used in the sense of the church, or the people of God as composed of both believing ethnic Jews and Gentiles. Nor, on the other hand, as one might expect if there were such usage, does the phrase to ethne (KJV, “the Gentiles”) ever mean the non-Christian world specifically, but only the non-Jewish peoples, although such are generally non-Christians. Thus, the usage of the term Israel stands overwhelmingly opposed to the first view.

    The usage of the terms Israel and the church in the early chapters of the book of Acts is in complete harmony, for Israel exists there alongside the newly formed church, and the two entities are kept separate in terminology [Ibid., p. 189].

    For those who would cite Romans 9:6 as evidence, Johnson shows that this verse is no support for such a view for the distinction is between Jews who believe and Jews who do not:

    Paul is here speaking only of a division within ethnic Israel. Some of them are believers and thus truly Israel, whereas others, though ethnically Israelites, are not truly Israel, since they are not elect and believing . . . No Gentiles are found in the statement at all [Ibid., p. 189].

    Even many Covenant Theologians have agreed with this view of Romans 9:6 and do not use it to support their view of Galatians 6:16. As for context, Johnson observes:

    On the contrary, the apostle is concerned with correcting the gospel preached to the Galatians by the Judaizers, particularly their false contention that it was necessary to be circumcised to be saved and to observe as Christians certain requirements of the law of Moses in order to remain in divine favor . . . The apostle makes no attempt whatsoever to deny that there is a legitimate distinction of race between Gentile and Jewish believers in the church . . . . There is a remnant of Jewish believers in the church according to the election of grace . . . . This approach fails to see that Paul does not say there is neither Jew nor Greek within the church. He speaks of those who are “in Christ.” . . . But Paul also says there is neither male nor female, nor slave nor free man in Christ. Would he then deny sexual differences within the church? Or the social differences in Paul’s day? Is it not plain that Paul is not speaking of national or ethnic differences in Christ, but of spiritual status? In that sense there is no difference in Christ [Ibid., p. 190].

    The third ground for rejecting this view is theological:

    . . . there is no historical evidence that the term Israel was identified with the church before A.D. 160. Further, at that date there was no characterization of the church as “the Israel of God.” In other words, for more than a century after Paul there was no evidence of the identification [Ibid., p. 191].

    Johnson’s summary concerning the rejection of the first view is:

    To conclude the discussion of the first interpretation, it seems clear that there is little evidence—grammatical, exegetical, or theological—that supports it. On the other hand, there is sound historical evidence against the identification of Israel with believing or unbelieving Gentiles. The grammatical usage of kai is not favorable to the view, nor is the Pauline or New Testament usage of Israel. Finally, . . .the Pauline teaching in Galatians contains a recognition of national distinctions in the one people of God [Ibid., p. 191].

    “the Israel of God” is the believing Jewish remnant within the Church. This is Johnson’s own view and is the common dispensational view. Johnson describes this view as follows:

    The second of the important interpretations of Galatians 6:16 and “the Israel of God” is the view that the words refer simply to believing ethnic Israelites in the Christian church. Does not Paul speak of himself as an Israelite (cf. Rom. 11:1)? And does not the apostle also speak of “a remnant according to God’s gracious choice” (cf. Rom. 11:5), words that plainly in the context refer to believing Israelites? What more fitting thing could Paul write, it is said, in a work so strongly attacking Jewish professing believers, the Judaizers, than to make it most plain that he was not attacking the true believing Jews? Judaizers are anathematized, but the remnant according to the election of grace are “the Israel of God.” . . .
    Perhaps this expression, “the Israel of God,” is to be contrasted with his expression in 1 Corinthians 10:18, “Israel after the flesh” (KJV), as the true, believing Israel versus the unbelieving element, just as in Romans 9:6 the apostle distinguishes two Israels, one elect and believing, the other unbelieving, but both ethnic Israelites (cf. vv. 7-13) [Ibid., p. 185].

    By: Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum

    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. Lucian Hodoboc

    Lucian Hodoboc Active Member

    Eastern Orthodox
    Who is Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum?
  3. Quasar92

    Quasar92 Well-Known Member Supporter

  4. jgr

    jgr Well-Known Member Supporter

    Bible Research > Interpretation > Galatians 6:16
    The Israel of God
    (Galatians 6:16)

    by Michael Marlowe, Dec. 2004.
    14 ἐμοὶ δὲ μὴ γένοιτο καυχᾶσθαι εἰ μὴ ἐν τῷ σταυρῷ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, δι᾽ οὗ ἐμοὶ κόσμος ἐσταύρωται κἀγὼ κόσμῳ. 15 οὔτε γὰρ περιτομή τί ἐστιν οὔτε ἀκροβυστία, ἀλλὰ καινὴ κτίσις. 16 καὶ ὅσοι τῷ κανόνι τούτῳ στοιχήσουσιν, εἰρήνη ἐπ᾽ αὐτοὺς καὶ ἔλεος, καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν Ἰσραὴλ τοῦ θεοῦ.

    14 But far be it from me to boast, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the world. 15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

    The proper interpretation and translation of the last phrase in Galatians 6:16 has become a matter of controversy in the past century or so. Formerly it was not a matter of controversy. With few exceptions, "The Israel of God" was understood as a name for the Church here. [1] The καὶ ("and") which precedes the phrase ἐπὶ τὸν Ἰσραὴλ τοῦ θεοῦ("upon the Israel of God") was understood as an explicative καὶ. This understanding of the grammar is reflected in the Revised Standard Version's "Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule, upon the Israel of God," and in the New International Version's "even to the Israel of God." It is not necessary, however, to understand the καὶ as an explicative in order to get substantially the same sense. If it be regarded as an ordinary connective καὶ, as Marvin Vicent says, "The ὅσοι ['as many as'] will refer to the individual Christians, Jewish and Gentile, and Israel of God to the same Christians, regarded collectively, and forming the true messianic community." (Word Studies in the New Testament vol. 4, p. 180). So the rendering "and upon the Israel of God" (KJV and others) is acceptable enough, if it is not misunderstood. In any case, it seems clear that in this verse Paul cannot be pronouncing a benediction upon persons who are not included in the phrase "as many as shall walk by this rule" (the rule of boasting only in the cross). The entire argument of the epistle prevents any idea that here in 6:16 he would give a blessing to those who are not included in this group.

    The phrase has become controversial because the traditional interpretation conflicts with principles of interpretation associated with Dispensationalism. Dispensationalists are interested in maintaining a sharp distinction between "Israel" and "the Church" across a whole range of theological matters pertaining to prophecy, ecclesiology, and soteriology. They are not comfortable with the idea that here Paul is using the phrase "Israel of God" in a sense that includes Gentiles, because this undermines their contention that "the Church" is always carefully distinguished from "Israel" in Scripture. This is a major tenet of dispensationalist hermeneutics. C.I. Scofield in his tract, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (New York, Loizeaux Brothers, 1888) wrote, "Comparing, then, what is said in Scripture concerning Israel and the Church, [a careful Bible student ] finds that in origin, calling, promise, worship, principles of conduct, and future destiny--all is contrast." Likewise Charles Ryrie in his book Dispensationalism Today(Chicago, 1965) explained that the "basic premise of Dispensationalism is two purposes of God expressed in the formation of two peoples who maintain their distinction throughout eternity." (pp. 44-45).

    The traditional Protestant and Catholic approach to this matter is quite different, however, because in these traditions "Israel" is often interpreted typologically. The Church is understood to be a "Spiritual Israel," so that many things said in connection with Israel in Scripture are applied to the Church. For instance, the words of Psalm 122, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee," are understood as in Matthew Henry's commentary: "The peace and welfare of the gospel church ... is to be earnestly desired and prayed for." This is in keeping with the method of the apostles, as for instance in Galatians 4:26, where the apostle Paul speaks of "the Jerusalem that is above." Therefore when Paul speaks of "the Israel of God" in 6:16, the meaning of this expression is readily grasped. Rather than seeing a contrast, a deeply meaningful typological relationship is perceived.

    As a young Christian I attended a church where the Dispensationalist approach was taught, and I remember how it was frequently supported by the statement that in Scripture "the Church is never called Israel." Galatians 6:16 was explained as if the phrase "and upon the Israel of God" referred to a Jewish subset of those people who "walk by this rule," that is, the Christians of Jewish ethnic background as distinguished from those who are of non-Jewish background. Apparently this unqualified assertion that the Church is never spoken of as "Israel" continues to be important to dispensationalists, because in a recent article a prominent dispensationalist author calls it a "horrendous mistake" when "the Israel of God" in Galatians 6:16 is understood to include Gentiles. [2] There does not seem to be any reason for this interpretation aside from the desire of dispensationalists to exclude all typological interpretations and to defend their contention that "the Church is never called Israel."

    Aside from typological considerations, this dispensationalist explanation of the meaning of "The Israel of God" in Galatians 6:16 seems contrary to the tenor of the epistle, in which it is said that "in Christ Jesus ... there is neither Jew nor Greek." This is the central idea of the epistle, as expressed in the third chapter: "you are all one in Christ Jesus ... if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring" (3:26-29). Scofield himself acknowledged this when he wrote, "In the Church the distinction of Jew and Gentile disappears." This raises several questions. If "in the Church the distinction of Jew and Gentile disappears," as Scofield says, then why would Paul make such a distinction in 6:16? And if it is true that the Church is never called Israel in Scripture, and "all is contrast" between the two, then in what sense can Christians of Jewish background be called "Israel" any longer, if they are in the Church? If someone in the Church is being called "Israel," then the all-important distinction between Israel and the Church has been breached. If it is said that people of Jewish background may still be called "Israel" after they have become Christians, then it must be admitted that the strict terminological distinction between "Israel" and "the Church" has broken down at this point. Further, if it is said that only persons of Jewish backgound can be so called, then we may rightly ask what has become of the teaching that "In the Church the distinction of Jew and Gentile disappears"? Do we have a separate class of "Jewish Christians" who alone are entitled to the name "Israel of God"? If so, what is the significance of this? Are there two types of Christianity, two Churches? My own experience of dispensationalist teaching suggests to me that in fact this is the view held by many dispensationalists today: the idea is that there is a "Jewish" Christianity and a "Gentile" Christianity, and in some sense the "Jewish" Christians are thought to be more important and especially favored by God. [3]

    The older dispensationalist writers, such as Darby, Scofield, and Chafer, avoided some of these embarrassing questions and implications because their distinction between Israel and the Church was more consistent and more radical. Scofield believed that the Jews of the end times were to be saved according to the Law of Moses, with renewed animal sacrifices. His scheme of interpretation envisioned a time when the parenthetical "Church age" has ended and the Law of Moses is reinstituted for salvific purposes. After this change of "dispensations" people will be saved according to a different gospel, the "Gospel of the Kingdom." Paul's doctrine (called the "Gospel of the Grace of God") was no longer in effect. Paul's teaching on the unity of the Church did not apply because the Church has been "raptured" and is no longer in the earth, and God is no longer dealing with the Church. In this manner the distinction between "Israel" and "the Church" was upheld without denying the unity of the body of Christ. But it is difficult to speak of Scofield's "Israel" of the end-times as consisting of "Jewish Christians," because they are not in the Church, and they are not dealt with on the same terms as the Christians who are of the Church. They are "God's earthly people," according to Scofield, as distinguished from the Church, who are God's "heavenly people." They are the "wife of Jehovah" and not the "bride of Christ," and so forth. Such teachings of the classic dispensationalist theology rigorously maintained the distinction between "Israel" and "the Church." If this distinction is to be upheld in Galatians 6:16 then presumably the "Israel of God" must be taken as a reference to the eschatological Israel who are to be saved by a different gospel, after Paul's own gospel dispensation has ended. [4] But one rarely hears this kind of pure and radical dispensationalist teaching now. Today dispensationalists seem to be in a muddle, having moved away from consistency in distinguishing Israel and the Church. Israel may now be spoken of as a part of the Church, and so there is a special and privileged class of "Jewish Christians" within the body of Christ. [5]

    These features of dispensationalism raise many serious theological problems which I will not go into here. My main purpose here has been to show what notions are being brought to the text when a dispensationalist says it is a "horrendous mistake" to interpret Paul's "Israel of God" as a way of referring to the Church in Galatians 6:16. The dispensationalist complaint against the traditional understanding of Galatians 6:16 is, in my opinion, an example of sectarian "end-times prophecy" baggage being brought to the text, and it does not represent a serious attempt to understand the phrase in its context.

    Other agendas are at work among non-dispensationalist scholars who have argued against the traditional view. When I was a seminary student in the early 1990's one liberal professor's favorite topic was "anti-semitism" in the Church, and he was an outspoken opponent of evangelization of the Jews. This professor taught a course on the Pauline epistles in which he objected to the traditional interpretation on the grounds that it was anti-semitic. He maintained that in Galatians 6:16b Paul was blessing the nation of Israel, not appropriating the name "Israel" for the Church, nor even using the phrase "Israel of God" for Christians of Jewish background. In his opinion, Paul's statement should be read as an affirmation of the kind of religious pluralism that prevails in liberal circles. I am not aware of an exegetical commentary which adopts this very dubious view, but the HarperCollins Study Bible (1993) prepared by liberal scholars does have a note at Galatians 6:16 which reads, "Israel of God, the church as the true Israel ... or, alternately, the whole people of Israel." Although the annotator of Galatians here (indentified as Richard B. Hays of Duke University in the list of contributors) goes on to say "the argument of Galatians appears to support the former interpretation," the alternative he gives is not "Jewish Christians" but "the whole people of Israel." The pluralism and the opposition to Jewish evangelism I encountered at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is probably one reason for this, and also one reason why the New Revised Standard Version (1989) revisers inserted the word "and" before the RSV's "upon the Israel of God." Here again a good deal of baggage is being brought to the text, consisting of ideas which are completely foreign to Paul's gospel.

    It may be wondered whether some dispensationalists have also adopted the view that "the Israel of God" simply refers to Israel according to the flesh. As noted above, it would be entirely in keeping with the earlier dispensationalist writers to maintain that Paul is blessing Jews who are outside of the Church, as the "earthly people of God." The fascination with the secular state of Israel which is so characteristic of dispensationalists today has apparently led many of them to think that the restoration of the Jews as "God's people" has already occured, despite the fact that the Church has not been raptured and the Jews continue to reject Christ. Dispensationalists insist that this unbelieving Israel according to the flesh must be blessed by everyone. If this is the case, why indeed should Paul not be blessing them as the "Israel of God" in Galatians 6:16? But of course the premise is all wrong, because there is no blessing for those who reject Christ.

    In conclusion, I will state my opinion that the attempt to limit the meaning of "Israel of God" to the carnal sons of Judah betrays a fundamentally wrong approach to biblical interpretation, and to New Testament theology in particular. I give below some excerpts from writers whom I believe to be more in touch with the meaning of Paul's expression. Even in these authors I find, however, an insufficient appreciation of Paul's expression. "Peace be ... upon the Israel of God" is not so much a polemical or ironic usage directed against the Judaizers (Luther and Calvin) as a positive blessing and affirmation of the Church as the true spiritual Israel. It is a mistake to see bitterness in this blessing.

    Justin Martyr on "the true spiritual Israel" [6]
    Jesus Christ ... is the new law, and the new covenant, and the expectation of those who out of every people wait for the good things of God. For the true spiritual Israel, and the descendants of Judah, Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham (who in uncircumcision was approved of and blessed by God on account of his faith, and called the father of many nations), are we who have been led to God through this crucified Christ.

    John Chrysostom on Galatians 6:15-16 [7]
    Observe the power of the Cross, to what a pitch it hath raised him! not only hath it put to death for him all mundane affairs, but hath set him far above the Old Dispensation. What can be comparable to this power? for the Cross hath persuaded him, who was willing to be slain and to slay others for the sake of circumcision, to leave it on a level with uncircumcision, and to seek for things strange and marvellous and above the heavens. This our rule of life he calls "a new creature," both on account of what is past, and of what is to come; of what is past, because our soul, which had grown old with the oldness of sin, hath been all at once renewed by baptism, as if it had been created again. Wherefore we require a new and heavenly rule of life. And of things to come, because both the heaven and the earth, and all the creation, shall with our bodies be translated into incorruption. Tell me not then, he says, of circumcision, which now availeth nothing; (for how shall it appear, when all things have undergone such a change?) but seek the new things of grace. For they who pursue these things shall enjoy peace and amity, and may properly be called by the name of "Israel." While they who hold contrary sentiments, although they be descended from him and bear his appellation, have yet fallen away from all these things, both the relationship and the name itself. But it is in their power to be true Israelites, who keep this rule, who desist from the old ways, and follow after grace.

    Martin Luther on Galatians 6:16
    Lectures on Galatians, 1519.[8] "Walk" is the same verb that is used above (5:25). "Walk," that is, go, by this rule. By what rule? It is this rule, that they are new creatures in Christ, that they shine with the true righteousness and holiness which come from faith, and that they do not deceive themselves and others with the hypocritical righteousness and holiness which come from the Law. Upon the latter there will be wrath and tribulation, and upon the former will rest peace and mercy. Paul adds the words "upon the Israel of God." He distinguishes this Israel from the Israel after the flesh, just as in 1 Cor. 10:18 he speaks of those who are the Israel of the flesh, not the Israel of God. Therefore peace is upon Gentiles and Jews, provided that they go by the rule of faith and the Spirit.

    Lectures on Galatians, 1535.[9] "Upon the Israel of God." Here Paul attacks the false apostles and the Jews, who boasted about their fathers, their election, the Law, etc. (Rom. 9:4-5). It is as though he were saying: "The Israel of God are not the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel but those who, with Abraham the believer (3:9), believe in the promises of God now disclosed in Christ, whether they are Jews or Gentiles."

    John Calvin on Galatians 6:16 [10]
    Upon the Israel of God. This is an indirect ridicule of the vain boasting of the false apostles, who vaunted of being the descendants of Abraham according to the flesh. There are two classes who bear this name, a pretended Israel, which appears to be so in the sight of men, and the Israel of God. Circumcision was a disguise before men, but regeneration is a truth before God. In a word, he gives the appellation of the Israel of God to those whom he formerly denominated the children of Abraham by faith (Galatians 3:29), and thus includes all believers, whether Jews or Gentiles, who were united into one church.

    William Hendriksen on Galatians 6:16 [11]
    Paul continues: 16. And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace (be) upon them and mercy, even upon the Israel of God. According to the preceding context, this rule is the one by which before God only this is of consequence, that a person places his complete trust in Christ crucified, and that, therefore, he regulates his life by this principle. This will mean that his life will be one of gratitude and Christian service out of love for his wonderful Savior. Upon those — all those and only those — who are governed by this rule peace and mercy are pronounced. Peace is the serenity of heart that is the portion of all those who have been justified by faith (Rom. 5:1). In the midst of the storms of life they are safe because they have found shelter in the cleft of the rock. In the day of wrath, wasteness, and desolation God "hides" all those who take refuge in him (Zeph. 1:2 ff.; 2:3; 3:12). See on 1:3. Hence, peace is spiritual wholeness and prosperity. Peace and mercy are inseparable. Had not the mercy of God been shown to his people they would not have enjoyed peace. God's mercy is his love directed toward sinners viewed in their wretchedness and need. See N.T.C. on Philippians, p. 142, for a list of over one hundred Old and New Testament passages in which this divine attribute is described.

    So far the interpretation runs smoothly. A difficulty arises because of the last phrase of this verse. That last phrase is: "kai upon the Israel of God." Now, varying with the specific context in which this conjunction kai occurs, it can be rendered: and, and so, also, likewise, even, nevertheless, and yet, but, etc. Sometimes it is best left untranslated. Now when this conjunction is rendered and (as in A.V., A.R.V., N.E.B.), it yields this result, that after having pronounced God's blessing upon all those who place their trust exclusively in Christ Crucified, the apostle pronounces an additional blessing upon "the Israel of God," which is then interpreted to mean "the Jews," or "all such Jews as would in the future be converted to Christ," etc.

    Now this interpretation tends to make Paul contradict his whole line of reasoning in this epistle. Over against the Judaizers' perversion of the gospel he has emphasized the fact that "the blessing of Abraham" now rests upon all those, and only those, "who are of faith" (3:9); that all those, and only those, "who belong to Christ" are "heirs according to the promise" (3:29). These are the very people who "walk by the Spirit" (5:16), and "are led by the Spirit" (5:18). Moreover, to make his meaning very clear, the apostle has even called special attention to the fact that God bestows his blessings on all true believers, regardless of nationality, race, social position, or sex: "There can be neither Jew nor Greek; there can be neither slave nor freeman; there can be no male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (3:28). By means of an allegory (4:21-31) he has re-emphasized this truth. And would he now, at the very close of the letter, undo all this by first of all pronouncing a blessing on "as many as" (or: "all") who walk by the rule of glorying in the cross, be they Jew or Gentile by birth, and then pronouncing a blessing upon those who do not (or: do not yet) walk by that rule? I refuse to accept that explanation. Appeals to the well-known "Eighteen petition prayer of the Jews," [12] to the meaning of the word Israel in other New Testament passages, etc., cannot rescue this interpretation. As to the former, Gal. 6:16 must be interpreted in accordance with its own specific context and in the light of the entire argument of this particular epistle. And as to the latter, it is very clear that in his epistles the apostle employs the term Israel in more than one sense. In fact, in the small compass of a single verse (Rom. 9:6) he uses it in two different senses. Each passage in which that term occurs must therefore be explained in the light of its context. Besides, Paul uses the term "the Israel of God" only in the present passage, nowhere else.

    What, then, is the solution? In harmony with all of Paul's teaching in this epistle (and see aslo Eph. 2:14-22), and also in harmony with the broad, all-inclusive statement at the beginning of the present passage, where the apostle pronounces God's blessing of peace and mercy upon "as many as" shall walk by this rule, an object from which nothing can be subtracted and to which nothing can be added, it is my firm belief that those many translators and interpreters are right who have decided that kai, as here used, must be rendered even, or (with equal effect) must be left untranslated. Hence, what the apostle says is this: "And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace (be) upon them and mercy, even upon the Israel of God." Cf. Psalm 125:5. Upon all of God's true Israel, Jew or Gentile, all who truly glory in the cross, the blessing is pronounced.

    O. Palmer Robertson on the Israel of God [13]
    [​IMG]The recognition of a distinctive people who are the recipients of God’s redemptive blessings and yet who have a separate existence apart from the church of Jesus Christ creates insuperable theological problems. Jesus Christ has only one body and only one bride, one people that he claims as his own, which is the true Israel of God. This one people is made up of Jews and Gentiles who believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah.

    The Centrality of Messiah and the Theological Direction of the Messianic Movement," Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism Bulletin 68, May 2002). Klett's phrase "immanentized the eschaton" is very apt, but he does not seem to realize that this confusion has for a long time been normal in popular Dispensationalism. In 1970, Hal Lindsey's book The Late Great Planet Earth showed it clearly enough. "Messianic Judaism" is more of an outgrowth than a cause of this confusion. The great majority of people involved in "Messianic Judaism" are not Jewish--they are mostly Gentile charismatics, who apparently have become so carried away with their end-times fantasies about the Jews that they have begun to play the part themselves. One well-informed source, Stan Telchin of the "Jews for Jesus" ministry, estimates that between eighty and ninety percent of the people involved in "Messianic Judaism" are Gentiles, and he complains that for all its emphasis on Jewishness the movement has failed to attract Jews. He tells of one Jewish woman who was repelled by the spectacle of Gentiles "worshipping the symbols of Judaism," searching their family histories for Jewish ancestors, and trying to observe the ritual commandments of the Torah like Orthodox Jews. She left this "Messianic" scene "filled to overflowing by the wanabees and the Pharisees" and joined an ordinary Christian church where Christ was the center of attention, not Judaism (Messianic Judaism is Not Christianity [Grand Rapids: Chosen, 2004], p. 82).

    1 Thessalonians 2:14-16.

    Jesus of Nazareth" in the Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 7, p. 170).

    New Testament Commentary: Exposition of Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, reprint ed. 1995), pp. 246-7.

    The Israel of God: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (Phillipsburgh, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 2000), p. 49.

    Bible Research > Interpretation > Galatians 6:16
  5. Shimshon

    Shimshon Well-Known Member

    United States
    Messianic Jews seemingly can not enter into apologetics with Christians without being confronted by replacement theology, or supersessionism.

    The doctrine of supersessionism holds that the New Testament church permanently replaces or supersedes national Israel as the people of God.

    Got Questions.org has a classic description of what replacement theology teaches here:

    Replacement Theology teaches that the church is the replacement for Israel and that the many promises made to Israel in the Bible are fulfilled in the Christian church, not in Israel. So, the prophecies in Scripture concerning the blessing and restoration of Israel to the Promised Land are “spiritualized” or “allegorized” into promises of God’s blessing for the church. Major problems exist with this view, such as the continuing existence of the Jewish people throughout the centuries and especially with the revival of the modern state of Israel. If Israel has been condemned by God, and there is no future for the Jewish nation, how do we explain the supernatural survival of the Jewish people over the past 2000 years despite the many attempts to destroy them? How do we explain why and how Israel reappeared as a nation in the 20th century after not existing for 1900 years?

    Messianic Jews are the antithesis of supersessionists, we are restorationists. We believe in the restoration of Israel as promised in both the old and new testaments.

    The following 4 points display the inconsistencies with supersessionism.

    • Is the Church the new Israel? Does Galatians 6:15-16 identify the church as Israel? Do texts such as Rom 2:28–29 and 1 Pet 2:9–10 apply Israel’s imagery to the church? Identifying the church as the new Israel?
    Galatians 6:15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

    Romans 2:28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

    1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

    The Church and Israel are distinct entities Of the 73 references to “Israel” in the NT, not one identify the church as Israel. The “Israel of God” reference in Gal 6:15-16 is referring to Jewish believers. The rule was equity in God, not being superseded by the church. In Romans 2, Paul does not teach no one is a Jew any longer. He says no one is a Jew -who is mearely one outwardly- This does not imply that Jews are no longer, but that being one is not merely an outward show of obedience to Torah. Notice he then states, “But a Jew is – one inwardly. He’s not saying anyone can be Jewish by the indwelling of the Spirit. Nor is he teaching that no one is a Jew any longer. He’s saying everyone must experience God within the heart. Both Gentiles AND Jews. Other passages like 1 Pet 2:9-10 show similarities between Israel and the church, but similarity does not mean he was teaching Israel was replaced by the church.

    • Has Israel been rejected? Does Matthew 21:43 indicate the kingdom of God was taken from the nation Israel and given to the New Testament church? And does this indicate a change in the people of God from national Israel to the church?
    Matt 21:43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.

    No! The New Testament reaffirms a future restoration of national Israel. This is what Yeshua taught in Matthew 19:28 and what the apostles clearly believed in Acts 1:6-7. Paul also explicitly taught a national salvation and restoration of Israel in Rom 11:25-27.

    Matt 19:28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world,when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

    Acts 1:6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.

    Romans 11:25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob“; 27 “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

    Yeshua taught that when he is sitting on the throne in the new world, all twelves tribes of Israel would be present to be judged. And the apostles clearly believed the restoration of national Israel was inextricably tied to the coming of Messiah. But, Yeshua did not negate the restoration with his response. He in fact confirms it, when he said; “It’s not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has fixed…” He didn’t teach them that national Israel was about to be removed from the earth forever. He taught them that the Father has a fixed time and season for the restoration of Israel. And Paul said it was a mystery, that a partial hardening has come upon Israel, UNTIL the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. Paul teaches Yeshua, The Deliverer will come from Zion and take away the sin and ungodliness from Israel. He says after rejecting the Messiah Israel would be healed, cleaned, and glorified.

    In these ways, the New Testament reaffirms the future restoration of national Israel.

    • Does our equality rule out any restoration of Israel? — Since Jews and Gentiles are now united, do Jews lose their identity? Do texts like Eph 2:11–22 and Rom 11:17–24 teach there is no special identity or role for national Israel?
    Ephesians 2:11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands– 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

    Romans 11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

    No! Our equality does not negate Israel’s identity nor rule out Israel’s restoration. When it comes to salvation believing Jews and Gentiles are equal. This unity and equality, however, does not rule out historical and functional distinctions between the groups. Nor does it mean that there cannot be a distinct role for national Israel in the future. Both have never been taught by Yeshua nor his disciples. The texts of Eph 2:11-22 and Rom 11:17-24 are not examples of Israel being superseded by the church. They are indicating our unity and our equity in regards to God’s blessings, love and promises of salvation. But, our equality in Messiah does not remove Israel’s identity, any more than it would make Gentiles Jewish. It’s Jew AND Gentile, not Jews THEN Gentiles!! Israel will be grafted back into their own tree! Of which Gentiles have been grafted into. He didn’t make a new tree, he restored the existing one.

    • Does the church inherit the New Covenant? — If Heb 8:8-13 says Gentiles are participating in the New Covenant made with Israel, does this mean the church has become the new Israel since it is experiencing the fulfillment of the covenant.
    Hebrews 8:8 For he finds fault with them when he says:”Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” 13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

    No! Hebrews 8:8-13 has a present fulfillment/application with the church; but, Romans 11:27 states there will also be a future fulfillment of the covenant with national Israel in the future. So when it comes to the New Covenant, the fulfillment is “both/and.” It is for both Israel and the church. One does not supersede the other. Both unite as one, respecting the other, in love.
  6. jgr

    jgr Well-Known Member Supporter

    What is the definition of "national Israel"? What are the qualifications necessary to be included within it?
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  7. BABerean2

    BABerean2 Newbie Supporter

    You have changed the Greek word "houto" translated as "so", which is an adverb of manner, into the word "then", which is an adverb of timing in Romans 11:26.

    On the day of Pentecost Peter addressed the crowd as "men of Judea", then as "men of Israel", then in Acts 2:36 as "all the house of Israel".

    When the Church began almost all of its members were Israelites. (Romans 11:1)

    The Gentiles were grafted into the New Covenant, Israelite Church several years later.

    The Olive Tree is a symbol of the New Covenant Church made up of Israelite branches and Gentile branches grafted together into one tree.
    In Romans 11 Paul says the branches broken off of the Olive Tree can be grafted back into the New Covenant Church, through faith in Christ.

    There is no Plan B outside of the New Covenant Church.

  8. Quasar92

    Quasar92 Well-Known Member Supporter



    The Centrality of Messiah and the Theological Direction of the Messianic Movement," Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism Bulletin 68, May 2002). Klett's phrase "immanentized the eschaton" is very apt, but he does not seem to realize that this confusion has for a long time been normal in popular Dispensationalism. In 1970, Hal Lindsey's book The Late Great Planet Earth showed it clearly enough. "Messianic Judaism" is more of an outgrowth than a cause of this confusion. The great majority of people involved in "Messianic Judaism" are not Jewish--they are mostly Gentile charismatics, who apparently have become so carried away with their end-times fantasies about the Jews that they have begun to play the part themselves. One well-informed source, Stan Telchin of the "Jews for Jesus" ministry, estimates that between eighty and ninety percent of the people involved in "Messianic Judaism" are Gentiles, and he complains that for all its emphasis on Jewishness the movement has failed to attract Jews. He tells of one Jewish woman who was repelled by the spectacle of Gentiles "worshipping the symbols of Judaism," searching their family histories for Jewish ancestors, and trying to observe the ritual commandments of the Torah like Orthodox Jews. She left this "Messianic" scene "filled to overflowing by the wanabees and the Pharisees" and joined an ordinary Christian church where Christ was the center of attention, not Judaism (Messianic Judaism is Not Christianity [Grand Rapids: Chosen, 2004], p. 82).

    1 Thessalonians 2:14-16.

    Jesus of Nazareth" in the Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 7, p. 170).

    New Testament Commentary: Exposition of Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, reprint ed. 1995), pp. 246-7.

    The Israel of God: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (Phillipsburgh, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 2000), p. 49.

    The church and Israel did not begin at the same time and are, therefore, not the same entity. The nation of Israel essentially began when God called Abraham and promised to make a great nation from him.The rest of the Old Testament records the growth, development and existence of that nation. The Church did not begin in the Old Testament and, therefore, it and Israel are distinct. The unique character of the Church supports the distinction. The church, unlike Israel, is declared to be a “mystery” (Eph. 3:1-12; Col. 1:26-27). In the New Testament a “mystery” is a truth that was not revealed previously in the Old Testament.

    If the Church began at Pentecost, then it did not begin or exist in the Old Testament. It is worth noting that in Matthew 16:18 the Lord Jesus used the future tense: “I will build My Church.” He did not say, “I am building My church” or “I have been building My church.” The church was something still future in Christ’s ministry, which means that it was not in existence during His ministry or in the Old Testament. The apostles would not have understood what He meant by “His church” being built in the future, but the details about the church would be given to them later. In dealing with the matter of the discipline of an individual (18:17), Jesus told them to tell it to the church or assembly. The apostles would have understood that He was speaking of a Jewish assembly. The statement of 18:17 must be understood in the light of the previous statement (16:18) of the future building of “My church.

    ”Certain things had to be true before the church could come into existence. First, according to the Apostle Paul, the Church is the “body of Christ” (e.g. Col. 1:18, 24 and Eph. 2:16; 3:6; 5:23, 30). It is clear that the church (the body) could not exist and function without its Head, the Lord Jesus. Jesus did not assume that role until after He had shed His blood on the cross, had been resurrected, and then ascended back into heaven. It was at that time, after those events, that the Father “put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him and head over all things to the church, which is His body” (1:22).

    By: Mal Couch

    From: http://www.whyisrael.org/2010/11/22/the ... ot-israel/

  9. jgr

    jgr Well-Known Member Supporter

    What is the definition of "Israel"? What are the qualifications necessary to be included within it?
  10. Quasar92

    Quasar92 Well-Known Member Supporter

    Rev.2:8 "These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.9I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan."

    8I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.9I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.

    A Brief Biblical History of Israel

    First we will look at Jacob, the grandson of Abraham and son of Isaac, all who are attributed to God's covenant (Exodus 2:24-25). We will start in Genesis 32 where Jacob is renamed to Israel:

    Genesis 32:24-30

    1. And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
    2. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
    3. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
    4. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
    5. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
    6. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
    7. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
    Proof comes from Isaiah 12:4 that the man Jacob wrestled with was really an angel. It is stunning to imagine a man prevailing against such a being. It is important to note though that Jacob acknowledges that his life was preserved, and not that he was somehow responsible for it (Ephesians 2:8). Also inescapable is the plain text that this being was more than an angel: it was God Himself! The name Peniel in Genesis 32:30 means literally "the face of God", the same verse also reiterates this explicitly. This all adds up to suggest that Jacob was wrestling with Jesus, the Son of God; who in all reality is the face of God (2 Corinthians 4:6, Matthew 17:2). This is the first time that the name Israel appears in the Scriptures, it's meaning is "one who strives with God".

    Another thing to pay attention to in Genesis 32 is that this "angel" disclocates Jacob's hip, therefore hindering his walk. The word strive can mean "fight against" as well as "fight alongside". Both make complete sense in our Christian walk. Look way back to Genesis 3:15 and you will see that the serpent bruises Eve's seed's heel. This denotes a hindering in our own walk with Christ. It is very tempting as a Christian to say our walk with Christ is nothing but obedience, but the reality is that our Christian walk is a struggle. And just as with Isaac the struggle only continues until the breaking of day (2 Peter 1:19). But even then, to say we have no sin is to lie to ourselves (1 John 1:8-10). While the devil has power only to bruise our heels, Christ Jesus ultimately crushes his head.

    For a glimpse of what the Christian's ultimate outcome is we can look to Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary where the name Israel translates into one "who prevails with God". Let's now take a look at the second recorded occurance of God renaming Jacob. Here we see the blessings bestowed upon him by God.

    Genesis 35:9-12

    1. And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him.
    2. And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.
    3. And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;
    4. And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.
    From this we see that Jacob, who is now called Israel, is to become a nation, and not only that but a company of nations. This covenant was extended from Abraham (Genesis 12:1-2, Genesis 13:15-16, Genesis 15:5, Genesis 17:5-7), through Isaac, to Jacob himself. This promise from God is later extended to Moses (Exodus 6:8, Exodus 33:1, Deuteronomy 1:8) and is now given to us through faith (Romans 4:16-18, Galatians 3:6-9). A few questions then arise. Was not Jacob the seed of Abraham? Are we as Christians also the seed of Abraham? (Galatians 3:14, Galatians 3:29) And if we are of Abraham aren't we also of Jacob and therefore of Israel? The logic seems to hold up so let's explore this idea a bit further through Scripture.

    These days it is commonly believed that Israel and "the Jews" are synonymous. This is only a partial truth. Jews are in fact the direct descendents of Judah, who was but one of Jacob's twelve children. These are the same twelve that fathered the twelve tribes of Israel, therefore there are 11 other tribes besides Judah. In short, all Jews are Israelites but not all Israelites are Jews. Let's take a look at the last recorded words of Jacob to his sons.

    Genesis 49:1-28

    1. And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.
    2. Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.
    3. Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:
    4. Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.
    5. Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.
    6. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.
    7. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.
    8. Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee.
    9. Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?
    10. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
    11. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:
    12. His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.
    13. Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.
    14. Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens:
    15. And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.
    16. Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.
    17. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.
    18. I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.
    19. Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.
    20. Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.
    21. Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words.
    22. Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:
    23. The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him:
    24. But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)
    25. Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:
    26. The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.
    27. Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.
    28. All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them.
    What we see here is that Jacob blesses some of his children and others he basically curses. Reuben receives harsh words and forfeits his birthright for the adultery he committed with his father's own concubine (Genesis 35:22). Simeon and Levi are devided and scattered for their harsh dealing's with their sister Dinah's rapist and his surrounding village (Genesis 34:25).

    Pay special attention to the words of Jacob as directed to Judah and Joseph. Verse eight prophecizes the power that Judah will have over his enemies as well as the respect and praise given from his bretheren (Judah means praised). Judah is then compared to a Lion, who by no coincidence is the king of the jungle. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah is the same who is able to loose the seven seals of the book in Revelation 5:5; where this Lion can be none other than Jesus Christ Himself, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

    The prophecy in verse 10 says that the power of Judah will remain until Shiloh comes (He who the people will gather to). Shiloh is agreed to be Christ, verse 11 backs this up with the imagery of the foal and colt (Zechariah 9:9, Matthew 21:2-5) and of garments washed in wine, the blood of grapes (Revelation 1:5, Revelation 7:14). Shiloh depicts all people gathering to Christ and giving their obedience; this prophecy has only been partially fulfilled.

    When it comes time for Isaac to bless Joseph we see the description of a fruitful branch. This denotes his outreaching growth. We see that even though he is hated by many he remains strong by the hands of God. It is also noted that the shepherd and stone of Israel is descended from Joseph. You guessed it, the shepherd and stone is again referring to Jesus (Matthew 25:32, John 10:11, John 10:16, 1 Peter 5:4, Mark 12:10, Romans 9:33, Ephesians 2:20, 1 Peter 2:4). We will come back to Joseph in the next part of the study.


    Centuries later, founded by Jesus Christ, the Head of it, as recorded in Col.1:18. The Church, is the body of Christ, consisting of everyone who believes in Him, whether Jew or Gentile, whom Jesus has baptized with the Holy Spirit, recorded in 1 Cor.12:12-13 and Mt.3:11.

    Israel and the Church are TWO very separate entities NOW. Jesus prophecy in Jn.10:16:

    Jn.10:16 "I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. "

    Will be fulfilled when He sets up His 1,000 year reign on the throne of David, as recorded in Zech.12:10; Acts 1:6; 2:29-30 and 15:16.

    The difference between Israel and the Church is:

    Israel = Non-believers

    Church = Believers

  11. BABerean2

    BABerean2 Newbie Supporter

    The problem with your logic above is that you have just made the Apostle Paul a "Non-believer" in Romans chapter 11.

    Rom 11:1  I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 
    Rom 11:2  God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, 
    Rom 11:3  Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 
    Rom 11:4  But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. 
    Rom 11:5  Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 

    Therefore, either Paul is wrong or you are wrong.

  12. jgr

    jgr Well-Known Member Supporter

    What kind of non-believers? The world is full of non-believers. Are they all Israel?
  13. Quasar92

    Quasar92 Well-Known Member Supporter


    Yes, Paul was an Israelite AND a member of the Body of Christ, His Church. You got that. Your assessment of my logic as well as eschatology, comes directly from la la land!

    When you open your eyes, tell me why God sent Israel out of their own land into an 1,878 year diaspora, after having their temple and Jerusalem destroyed by the Romans! Because they were believers? Paul as much as said he would give his life if he could just save some of them. And that when the time of the Gentiles has come in, all Israel will be saved, as recorded in Rom.11. The fulfillment of "all Israel will be saved," will take place at Hesus SECOND COMING, as recorded in Zech.12:10 and 14:4-5!

    You're way off the mark!

  14. jgr

    jgr Well-Known Member Supporter

    Still awaiting your definition of Israel.
  15. Quasar92

    Quasar92 Well-Known Member Supporter


    You know very well what I meant by non-believers in reference to Israel. Your response is childish and does not dignify an answer at all.

  16. Quasar92

    Quasar92 Well-Known Member Supporter


    My response can be found in post #10 above. Yjat you don't accept it has no bearing on its existence.

  17. jgr

    jgr Well-Known Member Supporter

    Sorry, I can't read your mind. If you meant Jewish non-believers, then please define "Jewish."
  18. Quasar92

    Quasar92 Well-Known Member Supporter


  19. jgr

    jgr Well-Known Member Supporter

    Ah yes, "you know what I meant"; the standard answer when there is no answer. Why couldn't you just say what you meant?

    Another demonstration of the bankruptcy and vacuity of an ideology that cannot even define the constituency that it claims to represent.
  20. Quasar92

    Quasar92 Well-Known Member Supporter


    Since you are participating on this thread, when are you going to start reading what has been posted. Your elementary questions were answered/covered in my post #10!