We recognise this is one of several big questions in Bible interpretation – does the church “replace” Israel or are they two separate parts of God’s plan for the world? Here is a very brief summary of a few of the fundamental reasons why we believe they are distinct and separate. The Bible is explicit that God has plans for the church, for Israel, for the nations and for the earth which are all only brought into their fullness through the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection. While hoping to remain respectful of other persuasions, we think a clear stand on these issues is loyal to the Bible and to our Lord Jesus Christ, true to the most consistent and natural way of understanding and interpreting the language of the text.
ISRAEL – centrifugal – an expansion of blessing from God downward and outward through the Messiah Jesus and Israel to bring the whole earth and the nations into blessing. Fullness will be achieved on the present earth for 1,000 years at Christ’s second advent. God’s ancient unconditional promises to Israel will be fulfilled for Israel and through Israel just as stated by God Himself.
CHURCH – centripetal – a gathering in of blessing into God upward and inward through Christ Jesus and His Church to secure a redeemed people from all parts of the earth to dwell in the very presence of God in heaven. Fullness will be achieved with Christ in heaven, not before then and not on earth. The church is an entirely new entity in the Bible first introduced by Jesus Himself when He said “I will build My Church”. The church has a unique identity and relationship with the Lord Jesus as His heavenly bride.
Both are entirely to the glory of God and the vindication of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. The cross and resurrection of Christ were necessary stages along the way for the fulfilment of BOTH. The cross does NOT mark the end of God’s plans for Israel (Romans 9-11). Hundreds of as yet unfulfilled Old Testament promises of God to Israel will be literally fulfilled in the millennial kingdom announced in Revelation 20:1-6.
There will be increasing levels of interaction between heaven and earth as the Lord enters into His rightful reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Only this scenario sees a proper answer to the “Lord’s prayer” of “Thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven”. Acts 1:6-7 confirms that the kingdom WILL be restored through Israel in the future.
To confuse Israel and the church detracts from the special nature and character of both and robs the Lord Jesus of glory due to Him on earth and in heaven.