Theology Thursday: Who Is Israel?

He is NOT A JEW who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is OUTWARD in the FLESH. Be he is a Jew who is one INWARDLY; and circumcision is that which is of the HEART, BY THE SPIRIT; not by the letter, and his praise is not from men, but from God (Romans 2:28-29, NASB).

For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be HEIR OF THE WORLD was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith… it is by FAITH, in order that it may be in accordance with GRACE, so that the promise will be … to those who are of the FAITH of Abraham… (Rom 4:13, 16 NASB).

…it is NOT THE CHILDREN OF THE FLESH who are children of God, but the children of the PROMISE who are regarded as descendants (Rom 9:8).

Romans 9:25 quoting Hosea 2:23

I will call those who were NOT MY PEOPLE, ‘My people,’ and she was not beloved, ‘Beloved.’

For THERE IS NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN JEW AND GREEK; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for WHOEVER will call on the name of the LORD shall be saved (Rom 10:12-13).

So then, THOSE WHO ARE OF FAITH are blessed with Abraham, the believer (Galatians 3:9).

There IS NEITHER JEW NOR GREEK … for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to CHRIST, then YOU ARE ABRAHAM’S DESCENDANTS, heirs according to promise (Gal 3:28-29).

…the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise IN CHRIST JESUS through the gospel (Eph 3:6).

So who is Israel, theologically speaking? Israel is the people descended from Abraham’s faith, rather than just his genealogy. Israel is hugely multiplied by the adoption of believing Gentiles into the family of God.

Is this so-called “replacement theology?” Not at all! This is simply the bible’s definition of the community, or “nation” if you will, now comprised of “those from every tribe and tongue and people and nation (Revelation 5:9)” who have been purchased for God by Christ’s redemptive sacrifice. The political (earthly) theocracy that was ancient Israel no longer exists, though the physical descendants of Abraham certainly do, and as the Apostle Paul observed, “that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (Romans 11:25);” but “they are beloved for the sake of the father; for the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable (verses 28-29).”

Dispensationalists wrongly divide the people of God by maintaining a distinction which Christ has wiped away.

For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups (Jew and Gentile) into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall (Eph 2:14).

Replacement? No! Augmentation, multiplication, adoption, and ultimate redemption? Absolutely yes.

SPECIAL NOTE TO KEACHFAN READERS: Theology Thursday posts are likely to be sporadic for the next couple of months, as I am traveling and may not be able to post regularly and faithfully every Thursday while I’m away from home.