Saturday, January 22, 2022

Is the Church Israel? | Session 2

To make the Scriptures say that the church is spiritual or true Israel requires three things from those who are doing it. First, they must deny the precise fulfillment of prophecy given specifically to Israel. Yet, over 90% of the Bible was given to and about the physical nation of Israel. In truth, to teach that we are the allegorical fulfillment of prophecy given to the nation is a gross distortion of the clear, natural, reading of the Scripture. 

I remind students of Scripture of the three Principles of Bible study that must always be remembered. 1. It must be interpreted literally unless the text dictates otherwise. Of course, this takes into account normal usage of figures of speech. 2. We should allow the Bible to interpret itself by comparing Scripture with Scripture (1 Cor 2:13). If there is a contradiction, then it is not the right interpretation. 3. The dispensational method must be used (2 Tim2:15). 

The word dividing means literally to "cut straight". To do that, we must ask ourselves who wrote it, when did they write it, to whom was it written, and what did they understand was being said at the time. The approved of God study by rightly dividing the Word of Truth. Not truth from error, but truth from truth. There is truth for the nation of Israel that has nothing to do with the church and truth for the church that has nothing to do with the nation of Israel. 

One example of many is found in Isaiah where it specifically says that God will establish His house in Judah and Jerusalem from where He will judge the nations one day. Isaiah 2:1-4 says, The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

To spiritualize these passages makes it necessary to spiritualize countless others that go on to describe in detail exactly what that holy city is going to be like as described in eight whole chapters beginning in Ezekiel 40. To spiritualize them makes their natural meaning completely lost! Actually, to do so gives permission to twist them to say whatever they want them to say. That is dangerous! That kind of handling of the Scriptures completely undermines their authority and God's prophetic plan and purpose for Israel. 

Much of this spiritualization of the text began in the early 5th century when Augustine, specifically in his work, The City of God, surmised that because the literal kingdom did not come, it must be spiritual. As a result, the church became Israel, we are now living in the kingdom, the pope is Christ's vicar on earth, and Rome is the Holy City, i.e., amillennialism. 

So, the first thing you must do to see the church as Israel it to deny the precise fulfillment of prophecy given specifically to Israel. 

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Is the Church Israel? | Session 1

Many teach today that upon salvation, we the church (Body of Christ) become part of spiritual Israel. Not physical Israel, but a spiritual one. The question that I pose today is does the Bible truly teach that? Is God really through with the physical nation of Israel? Has He really given all of the promises that He gave to Israel to us now? Some will go on to say that Israel in the Old Testament is merely an allegory for the church, i.e., the church is the true Israel. 

I strongly believe that the entire "spiritual Israel" teaching is the result of not rightly dividing the Word of God. As such, they fail to see the dispensational shift from God's dealings with the nation and the Body of Christ. Also, for anyone to arrive at the conclusion that the church is Israel in any way, shape, or form, requires a view that the Scriptures should not be interpreted literally. Therein lies the problem. 

This erroneous view has led to literally everything promised to the nation has now been given to the church. Again, this teaching can only come from an allegorical reading of the text. By the way, according to the dictionary, allegorical is a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning. 

To make the Scriptures say that the church is spiritual or true Israel requires three things from those who are doing it. First, they must deny the precise fulfillment of prophecy given specifically to Israel. Second, they must reject the significance of God's separation of Israel from the Gentiles. Third, they must ignore the teaching of Jesus Christ according to the mystery as revealed to the Apostle Paul. We are going to take a look at each of these one at a time over the course of the next few studies. 

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