Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jesus and the Church are the New Israel

Some Protestants seem to be under the belief that the Church is not Israel, but rather Israel is the Jewish state in the middle founded by the United Nations in the 1940s.  These people typically believe that the establishment of the state of Israel is somehow a fulfilment of biblical prophecy.People who believe this tend to believe that the rapture will occur between now (actually early around August 2010) and sometime next year around August 2011. They believe because it has been a "generation" since the time Israel was established as a State (in a single day as they claim). They believe a generation is 70 years, which means to them the world will end at 2018 (70 years after 1948), but the rapture in their minds will occur 7 years prior to this in either late 2010 or 2011.  However, in the 70s and early 80s some of these same people, which included then and not now Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel, expected the rapture to occur in or before 1981! They then figured a generation to be 30 years.

But to return to the main point of this article: Christ and the Church, being His body are the new Israel.

Here are some examples of the Scripture writers stating Christ is Israel:

St Matthew in his gospel uses a Jewish technique called midrash, where he draws meaning out of text, in one case he applies a statement concerning Israel in the Prophet Hosea's book to Christ Himself:

 That it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Out of Egypt have I called my son.--Matthew 2:15
 As the morning passeth, so hath the king of Israel passed away. Because Israel was a child, and I loved him: and I called my son out of Egypt.--Hosea 11:1
Jesus is Israel here because Hosea speaks of when Israel was a child, and St Matthew is writing about when Christ was a child in Egypt.  Christ is therefore being shown as some form of embodiment of Israel.

The book of Acts likewise presents the Church as being the restoration of Israel.  In Acts 15 we read St James the Just, bishop of Jerusalem saying the following:

And to this agree the words of the prophets, as it is written: After these things I will return, and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and the ruins thereof I will rebuild, and I will set it up: That the residue of men may seek after the Lord, and all nations upon whom my name is invoked, saith the Lord, who doth these things. To the Lord was his own work known from the beginning of the world.--Acts 15:16-18
This is a quotation of the Prophet Amos:
 In that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, that is fallen: and I will close up the breaches of the walls thereof, and repair what was fallen: and I will rebuild it as in the days of old. That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all nations, because my name is invoked upon them: saith the Lord that doth these things.--Amos 9:11-12
The subject of Amos 9 is the restoration of Israel.  The tabernacle of David is the kingdom of Israel.

I will raise up the fallen Tabernacle of David: Jonathan renders: the kingdom of the house of David.
Mideval Jewish commentator of the Hebrew bible, RASHI, states concerning this verse: