A question often asked and debated by Christians across the world and through the ages has been about the relationship between Israel and the church. When reading the Old Testament it is pretty self-evident that, on the whole, it concerns the story of Israel.
From Jacob to the exile, the people of God is Israel, and Israel is the people of God. Period.
This is true despite the constant sin of the people – even leading to judgment and exile. But the prophets look beyond this with a certain hope to a time when Israel shall be restored. Not because of them and what they do, but because God is holy, trustworthy, faithful and for His own names sake.
When we get to the New Testament, the same story continues, and Israel is still in the picture. Jesus is described as the one who will be given "the throne of his father David", the one of whom the prophets foretold, and the one who "will reign over the house of Jacob [Israel] forever" (Luke 1:32–33).
Indeed, the first to believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah are Israelites— but we also hear Jesus speaking of building His church (at least in our English translations), and we see a hostility between the religious leaders of Israel and Jesus. We hear Jesus speak of destroying the tenants of the vineyard and giving it to others (Luke 20:9–18).
In Acts, the spread of the gospel to the Samaritans and Gentiles leads to even more conflict with the religious leaders of Israel. So, the question, "is Israel cast aside and replaced by this new entity known as the "church"?" continues to be relevant and often emotive.
There are those who would say yes, but the answer is not that simple, for we must deal with significant statements that God has not finished with the nation of Israel and the Jewish people.
This Messianic Yeshiva section contains materials centred on this topic, all coming from slightly different perspectives and angles, but all worth further consideration, study and prayer.
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