There is three main streams of biblical interpretation, regarding Israel and the Church.
The first one, which is probably the most widespread throughout the Church, is that the Church is now the new Israel of God, and all the promises, which are spoken in the OT, have now been transferred over to the church.
Because of the fall and misstep of the nation of Israel, the Church now has taken over all the promises given to Abraham Isaac, and Jacob.
This Church is now made up Jews and Gentiles, the majority being Gentiles.
This view is the main view of the reformation teachings. Calvin, and Luther, and others basically aliened themselves to the main body of this vein of interpretation.
The other view is that Israel and the Church are the same people. The Gentiles have been grafted into all of Israel’s promises and covenants. We who were not a people, are now part of the nation of Israel, through our union with their Messiah.
This view is not as common as the first view, but still believed by many. This view is generally held by messianic Jews and others.
The third view, and probably least held of the three, is that the Church and Israel are two different entities. Israel has it’s own destiny separate from the Church, and the Church has its own destiny separate from Israel.
Through much study of many theological works, which are related to all three views, I myself feel I have come to the conclusion, which makes the most sense to me, which is that there are truths in all three positions, but for me, I believe the closest view, in my opinion, is the third view.
How can one say that the church is now part of Israel, when reading Paul’s letter to the Galatians?
When Paul says that there is neither Jew nor Greek in Christ? Paul basically says that we somehow loose our natural heritage, once one is baptized into Christ.
One becomes a new creation, which is neither Jew nor Gentile.
Galatians is one of Paul’s early letters.
Maybe Paul wasn’t yet fully clear in his new position, but I somehow very much doubt this.
Then when we go to Ephesians, Paul makes it sound like we are part of Israel and all their promises and covenants.
We have been brought in through the work of Christ on the cross. We are no longer aliens and strangers, but fellow members of the body of Messiah.
But when we go to the prophets, and read about the promises given to the nation of Israel, One just can’t make any sense regarding any of these things.
The only way one can say Israel and the Church are the same reality, is if one takes the literalness of scripture, and spiritualizes the promisies?
According to the prophets, the age to come is the start of a new beginning, called the messianic age, People still live and die, but yes things begin to change, people live longer, the curse is lifted, the nations learn war no more. The wolf and the lamb lie together, and so many more things.
If we try to spirituaize these things, spoken through the Prophets, then we have to spititualize all the verses of the first coming of our Lord? If we do this, then the whole structure of the bible is unstable.
How can the Church be part of Israel’s national promises? Which is to be a light to the nations?
If the churche is neither Jew nor Gentile, then we are neither Israel. We are something altogether other and different.
So what is the Church? I believe It is a company of elected people, who are out from Israel, and also out from the Gentiles. It is no longer Jew nor Gentile, but it is a new creation.
Once one is baptized into Christ, then we lose our national heritage.
This Church is an other worldly reality. It is in this world, but not of it.
The Church has a great destiny, but not of this world.
Gods promises to the nation of Israel are in this world, but not this present age.
Israels destiny is to be the central priestly nation of the nations.
Israel has an earthly calling for all nations, but the calling of the mystical body of Christ is a heavenly calling. Universal rulership with Christ, over all the dominions of Christs creation.
Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what isthe hope to which he has called you, what arethe riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe,according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1
The destiny of the Church, this requires a different kind of a body, it requires an immortal body, a body like that of the glorified Lord, which is capable of living in the world of the heavens, but also is capable of entering into this dimension of this world.
This earth is just a small part of the cosmos of Gods creation. The heavenly side of the creation is so much more than this little world, which we live in. The dimensions of the heavens, and all the the realities associated in them, these things are epic in scale.
This is the destiny of the Church, its so stunning, it is so beyond our present comprehension of things.
Christ has decided to share all his vast dominion, with his people, who he redeemed out of this world.
The kingdom of the heavens are so beyond anything of this little earth.
Jesus said that the children of the resurrection will be as the angeles of heaven, they will live and move in the immortal world, they will niether marry, nor be given in marrige?
This is a huge problem for any who would say that Israel and the church have the same destiny.
The church is caught up to meet the Lord in the air, but it is only the Church.
The majority of all the peoples of the nations, they have no part in this.
The nations are left in this present world, but also Israel the earthly nation, according to the book of Revelation, left behind?
So how does one make any sense of this?
It’s hard for a natural Jew to grasp this truth, that through baptism he is now no longer a natural Israelite. He now is a member of the body of Christ, which is neither Jew nor Gentile.
I believe Church is kind of like Elijah and Elisha right now, Elijah has the mantle of Gods witness to the nations, but when the Church is taken into the heavens, then this Mantle will again fall, with a double portion, on Israel the earthly nation, which is still left in this world.
The bible is very clear, that the Church will be taken out of this world,. Israel will not, Israel will remain with the rest of the nations.
So how can Israel and the Church be the same reality? I don’t see any sense in it.
It is very clear in scripture, that all the nations will carry on, but also Israel the earthly nation is still here, Why?
The church cant be Israel, it is taken through some form of a rapture into the heavens.
Let not your hearts be troubled.Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return.But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. Hebrews 11
The Vocation of the Church is not that clear in the scriptures, but it does talk about ruler-ship, and governmental authority over the nations, but this authority is in the heavens, which rule this cosmos.
This world answers to the heavens, this is the real place of power and authority.
Will this Church be visible in the age to come? We don’t really know this. We don’t see the principalities and powers, who now sit in these places of power and dominion.
The destiny of this Church, it is to inherit the governmental authority over the cosmos of Gods creation, which is now ruled by the fallen principalities and powers.
This is why the powers of this age hate this little body called the Church. They know the destiny of this people. And its not a good ending for them.
So we are not sure if this will change in the age to come, but if Christs resurrection body is the type of the church’s eternal heavenly body, then its sounds like the church will be a two dimensional being, which is able to move in the heavenly, but also the earthly realms.
The bible seems to imply that the heavenly Church and the earthly nation, will be related in one common vocation through Christ.
The Church will be ascending and descending, with the elect angels, on the elect nation of Israel, its like Israel will be the earthly vehicle, which in some way partners with the heavenly Church, into blessing the nations.
Israel’s destiny in this world is in relation to the Church, the destiny of the nations are in relation to Israel.
God created the Church as a gift to Israel. God chose Israel as a gift for the nations.