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Who is the Israel of God in Galatians 6:16?

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

  1. jgr

    jgr Well-Known Member Supporter

    Last edited: Sep 1, 2017
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    JIMINZ Well-Known Member

    United States
    Your Question:
    Who is the Israel of God in Galatians 6:16?
    I added 15 for context.

    Gal 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
    Gal 6:16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.


    Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
    Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
    Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
    Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
    Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)
    Eph 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
    Eph 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
    Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
    Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
    Eph 2:11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
    Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
    Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
    Eph 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
    Eph 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
    Eph 2:16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
    Eph 2:17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
    Eph 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
    Eph 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
    Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
    Eph 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
    Eph 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
  3. keras

    keras Writer of Bible prophecy studies.

    New Zealand
    Galatians 6:14-16 But far be it from me to boast, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…….all that counts is new [personal] creation. All who take this principal as their guide: peace and mercy be upon them, the Israel of God. Revised English Bible

    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, "The Israel of God" was understood as a name for the Church. The καὶ ("and") which precedes the phrase 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, to understand the καὶ as an explicative in order to get substantially the same sense. If it be regarded as an ordinary connective καὶ, the all who take this principal, correctly refers to the individual Christians, Jewish and Gentile, and Israel of God to the same Christians, regarded collectively; being the entire messianic community."

    So the rendering "and upon the Israel of God" (KJV and others) is acceptable enough, provided it is not misapplied. In any case, it is clear that in this verse Paul cannot be pronouncing a benediction upon persons who are not included in: All who keep the Christian rule….The entire argument of the epistle contradicts any idea that here in 6:16 he would give a blessing to those who are not Christians.

    The phrase has become controversial because the traditional interpretation conflicts with principles of interpretation associated with Dispensationalism. Dispensationalists, those who believe in a ‘rapture to heaven’, insist on maintaining a sharp distinction between "Israel" and "the Church".
    They refute 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 distinguished from "Israel" in Scripture. This major tenet of dispensationalist hermeneutics, is a false teaching.

    The dispensationalist explanation of the meaning of "The Israel of God" in Galatians 6:16 is contrary to Paul’s main point, in which it is said that: in Christ Jesus ... there is neither Jew nor Greek. This central idea of the epistle, is expressed in the third chapter: "you are all one in Christ Jesus ... if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring" Galatians 3:26-29

    The fascination with the secular state of Israel which is so characteristic of dispensationalists today has led many of them to think that the restoration of the Jews as "God's people" has already occurred, despite the fact that their rapture has not yet happened and the Jews continue to reject Christ. Dispensationalists insist that this unbelieving Israel according to the flesh must be blessed by everyone. But of course this premise is totally wrong, because there is no blessing for anyone who rejects Christ.

    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 who are more accurately express the meaning of Galatians 6:16. Even in these authors I find, however, an insufficient appreciation of Paul's teaching. Peace be ... upon the Israel of God, is a positive blessing and affirmation of true Christian believers as the spiritual Israel of God.