Does the Church Replace Israel?

Jesus Christ, in himself, sums up all that Israel was meant to be because “Christos” (the Greek word for Christ) is Israel’s representative.When Paul uses the word “Christos” he intends for that word to carry a incorporative and representational connotation. As Wright says, “Because the Messiah represents Israel, he is able to take on himself Israel’s curse and exhaust it.” (Climax of the Covenant, 151). The “Christ’s” ‘headship’ or ‘representational identity’ is the basis of many texts like Romans 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15, and Gal. 3.

Furthermore, in light of the coming of the “Christos” the covenant people of YHWH are now being redefined in terms of faith in “Christos” instead of “works of the law.”

So, within ‘good’ covenant theology, it is the “Christ” that comes where Israel is, and sums up everything that she was called to be, and thus redefines Israel. In him it is those who trust in and follow the “Christ” that are marked out as God’s covenant people. They are the true Jews (Romans 2:28-29); and they are the true offspring of Abraham (Gal. 3-4).

To clarify: I do not believe that the church “replaces” Israel. Rather, in Christ, Israel reaches her pinnacle, her apex, her climax, her fulfillment; at which time God’s covenant people are subsequently redefined in and around the Christ, specifically by their faith in the Christ and their baptism into him.

So, the church is Israel, the true Israel who has reached a new era within God’s covenant where Jews and Gentiles share as equals in the family of God (Gal. 3:29) because they are the “Christ’s;” they belong to him.

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