Israel Once, Now The Church
©2016 Dr. Irene Bonney Faulkes DD


God had planned for national Israel to be a kingdom of priests, Exodus 19:6.  This they failed to be.  Then God brings into being the true Israel of God after the Cross.  They become the royal priests, Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 20:6.  The spiritual kingdom of kings and priests, 1 Peter 2:9 has superseded the royal priesthood that was to be Israel’s portion, in type.  Now we have the antitype and there is no longer any need for the type that was a failure.  Therefore, a national Israel is no longer necessary to fulfil this.  Instead, God has put in place forever, the New Covenant with the great High Priest of the order of Melchizedek, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul in his defence in Acts 28:20 said he was “wearing this chain for the sake of the hope of Israel”.  The hope was Messianic and concerned the resurrection of the dead, 23:6; 24:15; 26:6-8.  He said he was on trial for the sake of their hope of the resurrection of the dead.

Acts 2:26-33 shows that the resurrection of Jesus Christ had been foretold by David.  David pointed to a coming prince, the Messiah, as the Son of David.  When he prophesied this One would sit upon his throne, the Bible says he spoke of the resurrection to enable this One to so sit upon His throne.  Christ is now upon His throne, Hebrews 1:8.  This throne was never meant to be an earthly throne, Psalm 110:1 and Hebrews 1:13, Mark 12:35-37.  God ordained His Son to “sit at His right hand on the throne.

The enemies are principalities and powers, rulers of this age, who were defeated at the Cross, but who are being progressively destroyed.  The last enemy is death.  It will be destroyed at the final resurrection of the dead.  Then the kingdom of Christ will become part of the eternal reign of God, 1 Corinthians 15:25.  There is never a mention of any reign of Christ from Jerusalem.

The hope of Israel was based on the Abrahamic Covenant, Genesis 12 and 17, the Sinaic, Exodus 19:1-24:18 and Davidic Covenants, 2 Samuel 7:12-16.  This hope which was enlarged upon and explained throughout the Old Testament, was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, Galatians 3:16.  Note the “have been fulfilled”.  We know this fulfilment is in a spiritual kingdom of Jesus Christ, which was announced when He was on earth.  We are already in that kingdom.  It has been fulfilled.  Therefore, it cannot be that it awaits fulfilment in a so-called millennium on earth, with a reign from Jerusalem.

Romans 15:8,9 reads, “Jesus Christ has been made a minister of the Circumcision (the people of Israel) in order to confirm (make valid) His promises to our forefathers (the patriarchs): And so that the Gentiles also should praise God for his mercy”.  This fulfils the Promise made by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:18,19 wherein the Messiah is promised as a Prophet to the Jews.  For that purpose He came to Israel, and not to be presented to them as King in His Messianic office.  It is error to say that the Church is a Parenthesis and only happened because Jesus was not accepted by the Jews as their Messiah.

According to Romans 15:8 above, Christ as a minister to the “circumcision” is in confirmation of the promises made to the fathers.  “Confirm” means “to establish and bring to realisation”.  This covenant was fulfilled, or established, in Christ, Galatians 3:16.  The sign of circumcision was given to Abraham as the seal of that covenant, Genesis 17:1-21.  Christ is now the minister of the New covenant that confirms the Old Covenant of which circumcision was the seal.  In this He was the Messiah promised to Abraham, Genesis 12:2,3.  The real purpose of the promise was not to establish a Jewish nation, but to bring in a people for God from among the Gentiles also, as well as the believing remnant of Jews.

God’s ultimate agenda for Christ as a minister of the circumcision was found in His mercy for the Gentiles as well as for believing Jews.  Galatians 3:13,14 says “that in Christ Jesus, the blessing of Abraham might be imparted to the Gentiles”.  This is also the purpose of the covenant with David, Romans 15:9-12, “Rejoice, ye Gentiles, in company with His people” and “There shall be a root of Jesse (David) (a scion of the house of Jesse) (the root of Jesse shall come) And he who also rises up to rule over the Gentiles – in him shall the Gentiles trust (the heathen will set their hopes on him)”.  In this Jesus Christ was “a minister to the circumcision”.  See Psalm 18:49; 2 Samuel 22:50; Deuteronomy 32:43; Psalm 117:1; Isaiah 11:10.

Millenniasts have been waiting for the restoration of Israel to the Promised Land.  It is very significant that the book of Corinthians shows that the restoration prophesied in the Old Testament began to happen on the Day of Pentecost.

We should read 2 Corinthians 5:14-7:1.

The last verse reads, “Since we have these promises”, or as Moffatt says, “Since these promises have been given to us.” What promises? They are the promises of the restoration of Israel in separation from idolatry, as the people of God.  2 Corinthians 5:14 speaks of the Cross of Christ.  v.18 reconciliation.  Chapter 6 – verse 2, Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation.

Paul quotes Isaiah 49:8 here, concerning the restoration of Israel.  In Isaiah 48 v.  6 God speaks that He will “restore the survivors of Israel”, v.9 is in imagery of the Exodus and Israel’s deliverance, v.12 says they will come from the north and the west, v.22 “I will raise my signal to the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their bosom…” This is all about the Restoration of Israel, first from Babylon and then in Christ.

2 Corinthians 6:16-18.  These verses are definitely about the church of Jesus Christ being the temple of the living God.  Those verses also come from the Old Testament Scriptures on the restoration of Israel such as Leviticus 26:12 that is spoken to Israel, “I will place my dwelling in your midst”.  It is also given to us.

Ezekiel 37:27; “My dwelling place shall be with them” and “I will be their God and they shall be My people”.  See v.21 “I will take the people of Israel from the nations”, v.23 “never again defile themselves with idols” (as stated in 2 Corinthians 6:16), v.24 “My servant David (King Jesus), v.25 “they shall live in the land”, v.26 “An everlasting covenant” and v.28 “when My sanctuary is among them forever”.

This prophecy in general, but not literally in detail, was fulfilled after the Jews’ return from Babylon.  It must now be brought forward to refer to the Church as indicated in 2 Corinthians 5,6.  God is among His church.  King Jesus reigns, under an everlasting covenant as mentioned.

There was not and is not to be the raising of literal David from the dead to be king.  It speaks of Jesus Christ.  Therefore the whole passage is not literal for the future.  It does not speak of a literal fulfilment in the land of Israel.  It is fulfilled spiritually even as David in type was fulfilled in the Person of Jesus Christ.  We are in the land of Canaan, the kingdom of Heaven or of God now.  We are in the true church.  One day it will be in heaven itself.

It is the new covenant, or testament.  His sanctuary is among these people forever and could never be in a literal land of Israel for only 1000 years.  In Corinthians the Church is His sanctuary.

Isaiah 52:11; This speaks of Zion, fulfilled as the Church.  Zion, once a mountain in geographical Jerusalem and now the eternal “city of God”, Hebrews 12:22, is the centre in the New Covenant.  From there, Zion the Church, comes the Word of God.  It is now the heavenly “mountain of the Lord’s house” and many people shall come to it.  It is the heavenly “city of the great King”.  Psalm 48:1,2; Isaiah 2:3; 14:26,27.  Zion is now the source of the river of Paradise, where water (type of the Holy spirit) flows from the Temple of the Lord -Isaiah 33:21; Psalm 46:4; Ezekiel 47:1-12.  Zion will be the centre of the new creation where perfection reigns.  There is a beautiful picture in Isaiah 60-62 of the heavenly city filled with the redeemed of earth, who have already come to that city as in Hebrews 12:22, “You have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God”.  We find more about this glorious city in Isaiah 35:1-10; 65:17,18; Psalm 72:8-11; 102:12-22.  See also Revelation 21:1,2; 22:1-5,16,17.

1 Samuel 7:14, “I will be a father to him”, spoken to David.  In Corinthians it is spoken to us who are in Jesus Christ, the Greater David.

All the above verses are “these promises” (2 Corinthians 7:1).  They are no longer for natural Israel.  They are for us.  They are ours.  We have them.  Therefore we have come in to the promises of the restoration of Israel.  The Old Testament obviously spoke of a spiritual Israel that was to come, of Jew and Gentile, Galatians 6:16, “the true Israel of God”.  This means there is only one Israel for the purposes of God.  See Ephesians 2:15-22.