Israel In Prophecy
(see note below)
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|Ezek 47:21-23||Jewish AND non-Jewish believers in Messiah shall inherit the land|
|Rom 3:21-30||Salvation for Jews AND Gentiles is by grace|
Note on VII. B. 1. The relationship between the Church and Israel
(A messianic-Jewish position)
The relationship between Israel (herein meaning primarily the Jewish believers in Yeshua, Jesus and secondarily the nation of Israel past, present, and future) and the Church (traditionally taken to be believers in Christ out of the nations only, perhaps with some ‘Hebrew Christians’ joining them) is presented in a series of images (metaphors etc.) that indicate a common gender. The Apostle Paul calls this relationship “the Mystery of Christ” (Eph 3:4-6; Col 4:3). The word ‘mysterion’ is not indicative of a mystery cult that deals with ‘secret knowledge.’ The fact that Jesus explains the word ‘mysterion’ in Mat 13:11, confirms that its meaning is an ‘open secret’(see below). This mystery, thanks to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Shavuot or Pentecost, is no longer hidden as it was in former times. It is so great and overwhelming for those who have eyes to see that the Apostle Paul breaks out into praise and worship over it in Romans 11:29-36. This may explain why it is still best communicated through use of metaphors, as is the concept of monogamy, as both a relational model for and a reflection of the relationship between Christ and His Church (Eph 5:32). Most of these images are rooted in the OT in one form or another. While this can be seen as one of the links that point to the unity between the two parts of the Bible, it also serves as a reinforcement of the eternal plan of God that is revealed through these images. Using the term ‘Body of Christ’ for one of these ecclesiastical metaphors (as in Rom 12:5; 1Cor 12:27; Eph 4:12) we need to distinguish it from the christological metaphor ‘Christ as head’ (of the body). In this context these two parts point to an important, life sustaining, intimately relational unit, namely Christ the Head and the Church the Body (the redeemed in Christ). The metaphor of the body of Christ focuses on the body as being the sum total of all believers in Christ/HaMashia and is an allegory that deals with the functions of the various members. At the same time, however, and on the basis of other metaphors, this body can be viewed as consisting of two relational components, Jews and Gentiles. These two components complement each other and integrate to form the Church whose Head is Christ.
This integration is made possible because Christ/Messiah, through the Holy Spirit/Ruach HaKodesh, has reconciled both parts to Himself by grace and removed the wall of separation between them, making them into “One New Man” (another metaphor for the one new, regenerate humanity, the Church.) The key to this interpretation can be found in the ‘olive tree allegory’ of Romans 11. The Jewish natural tree bears two kinds of branches: those of the natural tree and those of another tree, the ‘wild tree’ (the believers out of the nations, the ethnoi or goyim). The latter have been grafted in and those who were broken off (most of the Jews) will again be – and are now being – grafted back into their own tree.
For this reason, the interrelationship of the two components, Jews and Gentiles, is called ‘the Church’ (Greek ekklesia or Hebrew kehilat, even though messianic believers for reasons of historically conditioned connotations, [see VI.] prefer using terms like congregation, assembly, or synagogue for the body of believers.) For these reasons, this concordance presents the various images that the Bible uses as a single cluster explaining and reinforcing each other. These ‘two-component models’ need to be seen as a whole in order to allow their message to penetrate our traditional patterns of thinking. May they help us to understand better what the God of Israel is doing and intends to do today: build the new Jewish-Gentile community that in its origin is Jewish and needs to send a message not only to the visible but also to the invisible world (John 17:21; Eph 3:9-11). What was prepared before the foundation of the world is now visibly on the way to being fulfilled. When the moment will have fully come, “the LORD will hasten it in his time.” (Isa 60:22) (See Bibliography.)
[It needs to be noted that the New Testament refers to at least a dozen ‘mysteries’: the Gospel, Israel’s hardening of the heart, the kingdom, lawlessness, the faith, godliness, His will, the seven stars, the woman, and Babylon (1). The mystery of the Church (Eph 3:4-6), related to that of the mystery of the kingdom, is illustrated mostly with metaphors. For the sake of clarification it should be pointed out that the church is in the kingdom but the kingdom is not the church (see VII.D.1. and the parables there) just as Israel is not the church (see VII.A.2.). The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery (IVF, 1998) claims that the Bible provides about a hundred ‘metaphors and statements’ related to the church. Tragically, what it says is true, “Israel became a defining image for the self-definition of the Christian community.” (p. 431). See VI.A.1.d. Antisemitism, Replacement Theology: The image of “the new Israel” is not a biblical concept. (Also see Key-Issues #2)]
This concordance lists over a dozen of the most relevant images in terms of their OT-connection and the light they shed on the composition of the church, for that composition is what the apostle Paul calls ‘the mystery.’ (For more explanations see Bibliography.)
(1) Also see Combs, Jim in Tim LaHaye, Prophecy Study Bible, 2001, Mysteries in the New Testament, p. 1278. For a review of this Study Bible see Further Readings, Book Reviews.