Many people are taught that anyone who is saved becomes a member of Israel, but not the real Israel. Instead, they are taught, that we become part of a spiritual Israel. But is this Biblical? Is God finished with the Israel of the Old Testament?
The ‘spiritual Israel’ concept is created from a failure to understand the dispensational shift from God’s dealing with Israel to the body of Christ. Many who subscribe to the idea of spiritual Israel, most always teach that Israel was an allegory for the church today, often referred to as the true Israel.
By their own proclamation these teachers do not take the natural reading of the scripture. Instead, the promises, covenants, and even curses for Israel are allegorically applied to the church of this age.
However, the teaching of a separate spiritual Israel is not found in the Bible. To press it into the scripture, we must do three things:
Prophecy Given to Israel
Over ninety percent of the Bible was given to and about the physical nation Israel, God’s chosen people in time past. To teach that we are the allegorical fulfillment of prophecy given to Israel would take nothing less than a gross distortion of plain words.
For example, in Isaiah chapter two the time of the ‘last days’ is described where the ‘LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains’(Isaiah 2:2). This prophecy is specifically speaking about Judah and Jerusalem:
It is from Jerusalem that the nations will be judged by the Lord, and to ‘the house of the God of Jacob’ in Zion that many people will go (Isaiah 2:3).
To spiritualize this passage along with hundreds of other prophecies becomes unnatural. The natural meaning of entire passages is lost in order to accomodate the spiritualization. Starting with Ezekiel 40 there are 8 chapters detailing the holy city. This is pointless if it will never exist.
Who assigns the spiritual definition to the tribes, or the gates, or the arches, or the borders? Without a Biblical key to explain the spiritualization the real meaning of the words become construed to fit the imaginative contrivances of a thousand scholars.
This kind of spiritualization destroys the authority of the scripture and the meaning God’s prophetic purpose for Israel.
God’s separation of Israel from the Gentiles
Numbers 23:9 says that Israel is not to be reckoned among the nations. Deuteronomy 7 plainly tells Israel why they are different from the other nations:
It was to this special people that God would give the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the law, the service of God, and the promises (Romans 9:4). It was through glory of this special people that God would offer salvation to the world.
“He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.” – Psalm 98:3
It was the separation of Israel from the nations that God would use in order to bring salvation to those nations. God’s plan was not for every Gentile to become a member of Israel, but instead to receive salvation from the God of Israel.
It is not only Israel that finally receives salvation it is the world. However, Israel would be ministers and priests of the Lord to that end, administering the law of God (Isaiah 61:6).
To say that the saved become part of Israel denies the purpose for which God separated Israel from among the nations.
The Jesus Christ According to the Revelation of the Mystery
Since what was revealed to Paul ‘was not made known unto the sons of men’, then no prophetic scripture, spiritualized or literal, would refer to the church today.
Contrarily, Paul announces something kept secret which was separate from Israel and separate from the purpose of prophecy, it was the subject of the body of Jesus Christ as the church (Col 1:27, 1 Cor 12:13).
Paul says that there is neither Jew nor Greek today in Christ (Gal 3:28). Since the grace of God is now offered freely on the merits of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is no way for the law to bring righteousness. The righteousness of God comes by faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-24).
Instead of becoming part of Israel, Paul announces a new creature, the body of Christ.
Out of two groups, Jews and Gentiles, Christ made a new man and agency for salvation. This special agency is what we become when we are saved today. We do not know any man after the flesh, whether it is Israel or American or European (2 Cor 5:16).
The teaching of spiritual Israel is dangerous to a natural reading of the scripture and prevents sincere students of the word from recognizing important truths for this dispensation.
In order to understand who you are today, know that God did not write the Bible in hidden codes or ambiguous allegories. He uses plain speech, easy to understand if we will simply accept the natural reading of the text.