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The Church = Israel

A key ingredient of Amillennialismis that Old Testament prophecies and promises to the nation of Israel have been applied to the Church. Usually people claim this is based on an allegoricalmethodology of Biblical interpretation — but it isn't allegorical at all! The New Testament writers themselves provide these formulas by way of literalinterpretation...

Here are the passages...

Acts 2:17-21 The coming of the Holy Spirit upon the church at Pentecost. The Church = Israel.
Galatians 3:16 The promises to Abraham are fulfilled in Christ. Christ = Israel and the Church = Israel.
2 Corinthians 6:16 The church is the temple of God. The Church = Israel.
Romans 9:25 God calls the church "my people." The Church = Israel.
Acts 13:47 Christ is a light to the Gentiles. The Church = Israel and Christ = Israel.
Acts 13:34 God raised Jesus from the dead. Christ's resurrection = David's throne forever.
Matthew 2:15 Out of Egypt I called my son. Christ = Israel.
Acts 15:16,17 Rebuild David's fallen tent. the Church = Israel.
Romans 11:26,27 All Israel will be saved. The Church = Israel.
Romans 11:27 The new covenant. The Church = Israel.
Ephesians 2:11-13 The Gentiles are brought near. The Church = Israel.


Bible Quotations ...


Acts 2:17-21      Joel 2:28-32


Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. (Acts 2:18)

The passage in the book of Joel is speaking specifically of the Israelites.

Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God. (Joel 2:27)

Yet in the book of Acts, Peter applies this to the church.

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel. (Acts 2:4, 16)

Therefore, we have the formula the Church = Israel clearly specified in the New Testament.

Premillennialists try to explain this away by referring to the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the church at Pentecost as merely a typologicalpreview of the events in the 1,000 yearmillennium. But this is not the literal meaning of the passages. Shame on those premillennialists who pride themselves on being strictly literal!


Galatians 3:16      Genesis 12:7; 13:15; 24:7


The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ. (Galatians 3:16)

Many verses in Genesis contain the promises of land and the nation to Abraham's offspring (plural). These promises provide the basis for the nation of Israel.

The word "seed" in Genesis is singular. Paul explicitly interprets this to refer to Christ but in Genesis it referred to Abraham's descendants which were collectively plural even though the word "seed" is singular. Therefore, Paul was applying the formula Christ = Israel.

Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. (Galatians 3:7)

Since the church is the true "seed" of Abraham (through faith) then the church is the "true" Israel.

Therefore, we have the formula the Church = Israel clearly specified in the New Testament.


2 Corinthians 6:16      Leviticus 26:12; Jeremiah 32:38; Ezekiel 37:27


For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." (2 Corinthians 6:16)

The quoted Old Testament passages refer specifically to Israel. However, Paul applies them specifically to the church.

Therefore, we have the formula the Church = Israel clearly specified in the New Testament.


Romans 9:25      Hosea 2:23


As he says in Hosea: "I will call them 'my people' who are not my people; and I will call her 'my loved one' who is not my loved one." (Romans 9:25)

The quoted Old Testament passage refers specifically to Israel. However, Paul applies it specifically to the church.

Even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? (Romans 9:24)

Therefore, we have the formula the Church = Israel clearly specified in the New Testament.


Acts 13:47      Isaiah 49:6


For this is what the Lord has commanded us: "I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth." (Acts 13:47)

The word you equates to the servant in Isaiah 49:6.

He says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth." (Isaiah 49:6)

The role of this servant in Isaiah 49:6 is to restore the nation of Israel. But in Isaiah 49:3 we see that this servant is Israel (presumably the person, not the nation).

He said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor." (Isaiah 49:3)

This servant is the same person who led Israel safely through the desert but yet is also the nation Israel that is to leave Babylon.

Leave Babylon, flee from the Babylonians! Announce this with shouts of joy and proclaim it. Send it out to the ends of the earth; say, "The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob." They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and water gushed out. (Isaiah 48:20,21)

In Acts 13:47 Paul specifies that the church is this servant, the person Israel (who was the father of the nation of Israel).

Thus, the servant is simultaneously (1) the nation Israel, (2) Christ, and (3) the church.

Therefore, we have the formulas the Church = Israel and Christ = Israel clearly specified in the New Testament.


Acts 13:34      Isaiah 55:3


The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words: "I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David." (Acts 13:34)

Note that the writer of the book of Acts states that the promises to David were fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ. And what are the promises to David:

Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever. (2 Samuel 7:16)

Thus, Christ's resurrection from the dead is the fulfillment of God's promise to David that his throne will be established forever. It is not a future fulfillment as the premillennialists claim.


Matthew 2:15      Hosea 11:1


So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son." (Matthew 2:14,15)

In the passage in the book of Hosea, the "son" clearly refers to the nation of Israel. But Matthew interprets the same word to refer to Jesus Christ.

Therefore, we have the formula Christ = Israel clearly specified in the New Testament.


Acts 15:16,17      Amos 9:11,12


After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things. (Acts 15:16,17)

In the context in the book of Acts it is clear that the reference to "David's fallen tent" is to the church. But in the reference in Amos this refers to the nation of Israel.

Therefore, we have the formula the Church = Israel clearly specified in the New Testament.


Romans 11:26,27      Isaiah 59:20,21


And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins." (Romans 11:26,27)

In the original passage in the book of Isaiah, the covenant is made with Israel. But in the passage in the book of Romans it refers to the church.

Therefore, we have the formula the Church = Israel clearly specified in the New Testament.


Romans 11:27      Jeremiah 31:31,34


And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins. (Romans 11:27)

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. (Jeremiah 31:34)

The covenant in the book of Jeremiah is given to Israel but the covenant in the passage in Romans is given to the church.

Therefore, we have the formula the Church = Israel clearly specified in the New Testament.


Ephesians 2:11-13


Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men) — remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:11-13)

This passage declares that the church (those in Christ) are now citizens of Israel. The nation of Israel is redefined to apply to the church.

Therefore, we have the formula the Church = Israel clearly specified in the New Testament.