Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Israel is the Bride and We are Israel

At the top of my previous article, "Here Comes the Bride?" I mentioned that some who deny that the Church is the Bride believe that the Bride of the Lamb is actually Israel, and I couldn't agree more.

So, where I agree that the identity of the Bride of Christ is Israel, where I disagree is who Israel is according to the Scriptures.

"...but Israel shall be saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation. You shall not be ashamed or disgraced forever and ever.” (Isaiah 45: 17)


“All Israel will be saved.” (Romans 11:26)


In Jeremiah 31:31, the prophet says, “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.”

In the upper room, before his crucifixion, Jesus held up the cup and declared,

"...this cup is the new covenant in my blood.”

To whom did he proclaim this covenant? To his disciples who were truly “the house of Israel” because their hearts were circumcised according to the Spirit and not to the flesh (except for Judas, of course).

Paul’s argument is that the true Israel is a remnant of people, not the entire Jewish nation or race. In fact, this is why he proclaims,

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
As I've mentioned before, it is quite telling in this passage that Paul doesn't say that there are now "Jews AND Greeks", he says that now, in Christ, and in the Body of Christ, those identities are forfeit. We are now "one in Christ Jesus."

It’s widely known that God promised to save Israel in the Old Testament scriptures. But most Jews today are not followers of Christ, so does that mean that this an unfulfilled promise?

According to the Apostle Paul, the true identity of “Israel” is not made up of national, ethnic Jews, nor did God promise that He would save all those who were born of Abraham. Instead, God's plan and promise was always that He would save those who receive the Messiah (either Jew or Gentile). Those people are truly “Israel”.

How do we know this? Because in Romans 9:6 Paul says,

“But it is not as though the word of God has failed.”
Failed? How so? He's referring to the claim that God's promises had failed because not "all Israel" had been saved according to the Old Covenant. Paul goes to to say,

“...not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel.”
God made promises to Israel, but not everyone who is Jewish by blood will automatically receive the promised salvation. As Paul has already said, in Romans 2:28-29:

“For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 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.”
So, who is truly a “Jew” or “Israel” according to the Word of God? Is it anyone born from Jewish blood? Or is it only the one who is circumcised of the heart and in Christ?

Clearly, Paul is adamant that the only true “Israel” are those who are in Christ and who accept the Messiah as Lord and Savior.

Of course, this should come as no surprise because Paul also says in Romans 9,

“This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.”

Therefore, not everyone who is Jewish is really “Israel." Only those who are in Christ, the Chosen One, are the Chosen of God.

“And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:29)


Therefore, the Israel of God is the New Jerusalem, and the Bride of the Lamb.

Thoughts?

-kg

3 comments:

featuring chas pike said...

ethnic israel was the bride of yhvh. spiritual israel is the bride of christ.

Anonymous said...

Genesis 15:18 is the verse replacement theology cannot answer.

Bobby Auner said...

Keith,

I tend to agree with you. The passage that keeps tripping me up where I haven't fully grasped if or how ethnic Israel will be included in the promise is Rom 11. Paul talks about some being cut off and Gentiles grafted in. He speaks of a "full inclusion" in verse 12. He may be talking about the Gentiles coming in as being the full inclusion but it does give me hope that God will do a mighty salvific work on behalf of ethnic Israel after the "fullness of the Gentiles" are brought in.