Christians Today Are Spiritual Israel
There are many Christians that argue that they are no longer under the law, because God’s Law (10 commandments) was only given to Israel. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
I submit to you that Christians today are considered “Spiritual Israel”, and that God’s law is still very much valid today. The rest of this study will be spent defending that thesis.
Who are Jews and Gentiles?
Jews by definition are people who are descendants of Abraham or ancient Israel. Gentiles are simply non-Jews, or the rest of world. However, Paul makes it clear in his letters that God has extended His covenant with Israel to include Gentiles. Thus we share the same benefits and blessings as our Jewish friends, but also some of God’s house rules such as keeping His moral law.
Does one have to be a Jew to partake of God’s covenant?
Paul in his writings draws parallels between old Jewish traditions, and conceptualizes it into spiritual terms. Therefore my premise that Christians are known as “spiritual Israel”. For example, Paul uses the rite of circumcision in the same way, saying that as long as your heart is “circumcised”, you are part of God’s covenant. Being circumcised was a symbol of a covenant with God (promised to Abraham), a special badge of his chosen people, an abiding sign of their consecration to him. Also, one does not have to be physically circumcised, to be spiritually circumcised.
25 For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? 27 And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law? 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.
Paul makes it clear in Romans 2 that one does not necessarily have to be physically circumcised to be part of the covenant. You can also lose your “spiritual” circumcision if you break the law, as your heart has not been circumcised:
6 And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. (Deuteronomy 30:6)
We, being a fulfillment of the promise to Abraham by our circumcised hearts, are also part of the covenant with God. Therefore we as Christians have every obligation to fulfill God’s requirements of us, which includes keeping His moral law. Not convinced yet, lets look at further texts.
Christians are Spiritual Israel
First of all, who is Israel? The Bible is clear, that Israel descended from Abraham,
8 “ But you, Israel, are My servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
The descendants of Abraham My friend. (Isaiah 41:8)
But does one have to be born of a Jewish lineage to be part of Israel. Paul makes it clear in Galatians 3 that it is not the case. We inherit Abraham’s promise from God as long as we are in Christ. The passage nails home the point that as long as we give ourselves to Christ, we are the descendants of Abraham, and heirs to God’s promises to him:
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3)
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians confirms this point:
11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:11-13)
Though we are Gentiles in the flesh, we are now Christ’s paid by his blood. This New Covenant was prophesied by Jeremiah:
31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Paul quotes this very passage in Hebrews 8:10, and repeats it in Hebrews 10:6. Clearly, God’s law still applies to us as Christians, as Spiritual Israel, the heirs of Abraham’s promise. God’s law is clearly written in our hearts and minds. Why is it then that a lot of Christians say that we are no longer under a law? Ezekiel show us what happened to ancient Israel when they ignored God’s law, particularly the Sabbath.
12 Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them. 13 Yet the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness; they did not walk in My statutes; they despised My judgments, ‘which, if a man does, he shall live by them’; and they greatly defiled My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them in the wilderness, to consume them. (Ezekiel 20:12)
Can the same thing happen to those who claim to be Spiritual Israel (Christians) today? I submit to you that history can, and does repeat itself. Brothers and Sisters, let us remember that God’s law does apply to us today, and that includes the seventh-day Sabbath aka Saturday. Let us not defile’s God’s Sabbath, the rest on that day just like He did at creation.