Is the Church Spiritual Israel and Are Christians Spiritual Jews?

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Dr. Brown digs into the scriptures, looking at scores of New Testament references to the words “Jew” and “Israel” and concludes that nowhere are Gentile followers of Jesus called spiritual Israel or spiritual Jews. Listen live here 2-4 pm EST, and call into the show at (866) 348 7884 with your questions and comments.


Hours 1 & 2:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: As surely as God is God, He has made promises that He will not break, and those promises remain to a physical and identifiable people, the people of Israel.


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Other Resources:

Is There a Relationship Between Replacement Theology and Anti-Semitism?

Dr. Brown Talks With Scott Volk about Replacement Theology and Wrong Theological Concepts

What Does It Mean to “Complete the Reformation”? And Updates from the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

  1. By the way, if you’d like to have an online moderated debate on this subject, I would consider it. I would address this in an organized manner.

  2. Also, the importance of Israel is absolutely and thoroughly scriptural. People need a place to live and God gave the land to Israel, see Jeremiah 30:11, Ezekiel 11:17.

  3. Again, my apologies for anything I’ve said which was not of God and unfruitful, unhelpful, unloving, etc. but some of this stuff concerns me. It reminds me of how people attack the validity and belittle the value of Christianity because there’s so much hypocrisy in the church, a variety of denominations, etc. God can still get good out of a situation where man does evil. Likewise, even if Zionism was and is a part of the modern state of Israel, that doesn’t mean that God can’t be working to accomplish His good purposes. Also, from what I understand there are a growing number of Jewish believers in Jesus that are in Israel today, Israel within Israel so to speak. Are we to say that’s not of God or that God’s hand isn’t involved?

  4. James,

    Firstly, another comment of mine might come up in the future. I wrote in my email address incorrectly and so it was relegated to “awaiting moderation.” When it comes up, just disregard it, because it will be an old message.

    Also, you reference Exodus in post 94.

    God fulfilled his promise to Abraham. He gave the land to his descendants. They possessed the land, from the Nile to the Euphrates, during the reign of King Solomon. Now, after the New Covenant, Christ will come in glory and establish his Kingdom. That Kingdom will be for those who have believed on the Messiah and are saved. If the New Testament tells us something about the Old Testament, which, obviously, it does, it tells us that the gathering of the dispersed is in the Church, in the Body of Christ. This is what the Messiah came to do: to gather his own into one flock, in which there is one fold and one Shepherd. At the end of the world, there will be a kingdom, but not until then. Not now, for it is not for us to know the times or the seasons.

  5. God said, “for all the land which you see, I will give to you, and to your offspring forever.”

    He didn’t say “temporarily”, He said forever. The physical possession of the land that God gave them was conditional, but that doesn’t mean God can’t bring them back to their own land in uncleanness and then sprinkle clean water on them. It’s like if your parent gave you a car, and said, “This car is yours to keep, and if you make sure you do good in school, you can drive the car. However, if you do bad in school, then I will not let you drive it as punishment. If you start doing better in school again, you will be allowed to drive it again.”

    You also seem to have this view that the view I and others might propose is that unbelieving Israel will posses the land after God makes all things new, etc. I don’t believe that – I believe, like Paul indicates in Romans 11 and the scriptures elsewhere declares that there will be a NATIONAL turning/softening of Israel to Jesus once the full number of the Gentiles comes in. Israel will be gloriously saved “Even as it is written, “There will come out of Zion the Deliverer, and he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob.”” “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Even so, Amen.”

  6. James,

    I hope to God that they who pierced him, when they mourn, will also be converted. All Israel will be saved, as Paul says, yes, I believe this, because by this Paul means that the Israel that is of Israel, the Remnant of the Jews, will come to faith, but certainly not the whole of the nation, and for this we must always pray.

    Regarding the sprinkling with clean water, I do affirm that this already occurred when Christ came the first time. He made a New Covenant with the House of Israel. He came to do this, to save his people from their sins. And then the Gentiles were added to the number of the saved Jews. Christ made atonement, that was his culminating work, but he also set up his Church with the Apostles and gathered together those who would be his. The Messiah did come and lead his people to the promised land. This is the beautiful fulfillment of the Old Testament that occurs in such passages as when we see Christ speaking to multitudes, performing miracles, and guiding the people into his fellowship.

  7. Because, ultimately, the promised land is Heaven. To be in Christ is to be in the land. This is the fulfillment. When Christ comes, we will be in our glorified bodies, and we will truly possess the land forever, we who are Abraham’s seed by faith, of Christ, chosen of God, Jew and Gentile, one new man.

    Come, Lord Jesus.

  8. So when he comes, will those that are Christ’s be changed, gathered together with him, and then will that be the time he comes for the salvation of Israel?

  9. Or will his coming be for all at the same time, turning ungodliness away from all who will be saved, regardless of whether they are of the Church, or Jew, or Gentile?

    Will he come as the Deliverer before he actually sets foot upon the earth?

  10. Ray,

    Delivery from iniquity comes through faith in Christ. This delivery through belief is accessible to anyone who, through free will, and firstly through the grace of God, chooses to repent and accept Jesus. Christ already came, preached the Good News, set up his congregation on the earth, and provided the atonement for sins. When he comes again, he will destroy any person who did not believe on him. Just like there is no repentance after death, there will be no opportunity to accept Christ when an individual finds himself counted among the wicked at the Lord’s return in glory. So, at this time, we must call all to faith, Jews and Gentiles alike. Jesus Christ already did everything regarding the salvation of souls. He said, “It is accomplished.” When he comes, the hour of his judgment will be upon us.

  11. I remember a saying I used to hear and it was “..either here, there, or in the air.”, often used to say “I don’t know when I will see you again or where.”

    But when Christ comes, he may come to us before we die and even before he sets foot on the earth, and even before he gathers all of his unto himself.

  12. Jesus is with us now, and he can be with anyone who desires to be with him now. The offer of salvation is open. But soon he will come, and like a thief in the night. We had better be ready.

  13. I just read about a recent vision Oral Roberts received about signs in the heavens of the Lord’s return and how people are not ready.

  14. Also James, people do not need a place to live. Even Christ said, “The Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” God did not give the Jews a country just so that they could live there. He gave them a place which would prepare for them the way to Heaven. And this is where our true home is, with God in Paradise, not here, and we concentrate on getting there, not on getting anything here.

  15. do you not know that all we do as jews are the image of the things that are in the world to come. we are never promised “heaven’ it is never said. but the new Jerusalem is to those whom are G-Ds children. this means Jews as well as noahites.

  16. “Christians ” seem to feel that we need to kill to be right with G-D, if that is so then the poor have no hope. read Leviticus sacrifice laws. they were for guilt and such, and the poor gave flower. the only shedding of blood was on the 8th day to seal the covenant with G-d as Jews, the cercumsition. these well meaning “Christians” would have us turn against our G-D and his covenant he gave to us out of love. even king David loved the Torah, and wrote songs about how sweet it is to him.

  17. Ok Noelke, so do you not live in a house? Are you homeless?


    I’ll keep quoting the Abrahamic promise if you need me to.

    God said, “for all the land which you see, I will give to you, and to your offspring forever.”

  18. Also, read Isaiah 2:2 and Revelation 21:24, etc. Do you not think there will be nations in the new heavens and new earth?

  19. James,

    “Nations” is interchangeable with “peoples,” “tribes,” etc, and does not necessarily refer to geopolitical entities. We have a home with God, in Heaven. Until then, we are homeless, spiritually speaking. The Jews do not need a country. No one does, in point of fact. Men need to be in Heaven, that is all. Otherwise, they will be in Hell. The Jews rejected the Son of God; thus they rejected their title to the land. They followed other gods, and so God cut them off. If they all accept Christ tomorrow, the land which God will give them is the inheritance of eternal life, a far better place than that parcel of earth. Ultimately, this is the inheritance for which they were called from the start.

  20. Nope, wrong again on many counts. Sad to see that you’re so committed to your error. Dr. Brown would have a field day with some of your comments and your mishandling of the scriptures. Do you want the last word? Go ahead and have it.

  21. Sorry, shouldn’t say wrong on many counts, as there are things you say I can of course agree with, it’s the weaving in of questionable things that concerns me. Though, I do think you’ve mishandled the scriptures somewhat. Anyway, I don’t wish to continue this further – I’ve made many points. You can have the last word if you wish.

  22. As I think about the promise of owning land, I realize a bit more about the importance of it. Owning land means a lot as far as prosperity and safety goes,if it’s borders are kept secure.

    It’s a place to plant and build and be happy having all that you need as you serve God, a place to raise family, and prosper off the land, of what it can provide.

    It’s like the American dream isn’t it? It is also a place where the gospel, the kingdom of heaven was proclaimed, the place where the message of salvation went out from, out to the entire world. It’s where it all happened.

    America did well as far as prosperity goes in great part because land was given for free, or nearly free, and it only had to be settled and farmed, or ranched, and they had the freedom to go along with all that.

    It hurts to think about people in places where they can not own land. They usually live in poverty, often severe.

  23. James,

    You said, “People need a place to live,” and this does not strike me as a particularly strong argument, with all due respect.

    In post 106 you mention that the Jews’ physical possession of the land was indeed conditional. Upon what was it conditional, if you believe that they have a right to their country in spite of their rejection of Christ?

  24. God does indeed have a time, a place and a people.
    The people have a time, place, and the God of Israel. What a great story from Abraham to now. I love the God of Israel, and her people.

  25. Since God is not a respecter of persons, we must be of Christ before we are Jews or Gentiles. I often get the feeling that it is the other way around for too many.

  26. So, he is not a respecter of mountains either.. With your thought process he may be coming to Mount Shasta or Pikes peak when he returns in glory. Mount Zion is nothing but the smallest mount around. Noelle, you can ask this in prayer and quietly wait and listen to the answer. The blog has made the position all to clear for you, now you must take this to God and ask. Your not going to get any where with banging your head against the wall. Just because you think you know something your position has been clearly shown to you to be in error. Any more time blogging you is like riding an exercise bicycle. Your really not getting anywhere but getting some exercise.

  27. Noelle, hopefully this will be my last response – as I mainly just wanted to apologize for my comment about Dr. Brown having a field day – it seemed mean and maybe even divisive. However, regarding the “people need a place to live argument”, maybe you’re right and that is a bad argument – fine – not a big deal though because the larger issue is God’s promise to Abraham to give the land to his descendants —- forever —- , which I don’t know where God ever said is conditional – please prove me wrong if I’m wrong from scripture though. From what I understand, the later conditional covenant dealing with Israel’s inhabiting of the land that was given to them is different than the promise made to Abraham. Read my car analogy above and you will see what I mean about being given a gift vs. being allowed to use it. I would argue it was still truly their land even when they were exiled. About that nations question, Im not sure we can say there will certainly be no geopolitical entities, etc.

  28. James,

    The issue regarding Israel’s inhabiting the land in perpetuity needs to be looked into. I understand your analogy, but it is still only an analogy. Several passages in the OT state that God fulfilled his promise to the Jews by giving them the land, from the Nile to the Euphrates. Whether or not they were to possess this land forever is another story. In any case, when Christ comes, he will possess the land–all lands. He is also Abraham’s descendant, by the way.


    Since Romans 11, which may as well be the only chapter in the entire Bible as far as some of these Messianic Jews are concerned, does not deal with a future return of the Jews to Canaan, I have the theology of Paul on which to rest my case. It has become so clear to me now that some of these teachers in the Messianic camp are going to absurd lengths with the Biblical text, and only to convince Evangelicals to get on board with the Zionists. Could it be that some of these teachers on Youtube and what have you are not even sincere Christians in the first place? One wonders. As for me, I will wait for Jesus Christ to come, thank you very much.

  29. This does not matter what you or I think the scripture says. I have most of my information from the old testament. What you should ponder is that Newton or Pascal deep thinkers could find the hidden meaning. I think your view borders on a willing blindess that you accept that has deeper undertones.

  30. If Jews and Gentiles are together part of the tree, then together we will inherit the land. The land will be our inheritance forever, because we will live and reign with Christ, whose Kingdom will have no end. Abraham’s descendants will be like the stars above and like the sand of the seashore. They are those who were born supernaturally, like Isaac, through the grace of God, not Talmudic Kabbalists.

  31. Let’s take a different take on the time, place, and people. Let’s look at the accusers the Palestinian people. Let’s look at the UN, lets look at the Vatican. Notice anything? Hmm,

  32. The land was promised to Abraham’s descendants forever. Okay. So, will the promise be fulfilled when Christ returns, or do you say that the promise was fulfilled in 1948? If it was fulfilled in 1948, it cannot last forever, since Christ will come at some point in the future and interrupt the continuity, because there will be a transition from one age to another. If it continues when Christ comes, and if you believe in a literal Millennium, will it last for 1,000 years? That is not “forever” either. So, will it be forever in terms of the eternal age? Obviously, this is what it has to be: the eternal Kingdom of God. But, will this be only for Jews? Obviously not. Therefore, it cannot be the modern state of Israel and it cannot be a Jewish kingdom. No, it is the eternal state of the redeemed, who will live with Christ in eternity, Jews and Gentiles alike. That is the only option. Someone explain how the idea of a Jewish kingdom can fit into a Christian eschatology.

  33. God already gave them the land – so it’s been fulfilled for a while. I think the Jewish people resettling in their land is a sign of what Paul refers to in Romans 11 after the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, which refers also back to Old Testament prophecy. I think when Jesus returns, the broken-off unbelieving Israel will mourn and the nation will repent and many will be gloriously saved.

    “I ask then, did they stumble that they might fall? May it never be! But by their fall salvation has come to the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy. Now if their fall is the riches of the world, and their loss the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?”

    “For if the rejection of them is the reconciling of the world, what would their acceptance be, but life from the dead?”

    “For I don’t desire you to be ignorant, brothers, of this mystery, so that you won’t be wise in your own conceits, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, and so all Israel will be saved. Even as it is written, “There will come out of Zion the Deliverer, and he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob.””

    I believe in a literal millennial kingdom and I think Israel will exist in the new heavens and new earth. I have a feeling that nations will still exist to some extent, especially Israel, where the new Jerusalem will reside – and God will be their God and it will ultimately be His kingdom, and as Jesus said to the disciples, “You will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” He was also asked, “Lord, are you now restoring the kingdom to Israel?” To which He replied, “It isn’t for you to know times or seasons which the Father has set within his own authority.”

    The new Jerusalem, which Jew and Gentile alike will have access to, from what I gather, is described as, “having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. On the east were three gates; and on the north three gates; and on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them twelve names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.”

    “The nations will walk in its light. The kings of the earth bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. Its gates will in no way be shut by day (for there will be no night there), and they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it so that they may enter.”

    God keeps His word, glorious indeed!

  34. Also, notice Jesus’ words here:

    “They will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

    —- until —- the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. I believe that prophecy is the process of reaching the near end of its fulfillment now.

  35. Though I could be wrong, as there may be a final crazy event yet future where they will be led away as captives, I’m not sure – but either way, it would seem that the captivity and the trampling of Jerusalem will be done away with when the Gentiles’ times have been fulfilled.

  36. James,

    The Jews can be grafted back in, and those that are will be part of God’s people again. And so all Israel will be saved. God’s people, whether they be Jew or Gentile, will live in the New Jerusalem in the eternal time. We have only to look forward to that time. There is nothing else to look to. I am Amillennial, but let us presume that there will be a Millennium period. Both of us agree: we look forward to the return of Christ, and, when he comes, he will have his Kingdom on the earth, a Kingdom which will be the vindication of the people of God. However, regarding a modern Jewish homeland, I do not believe that the New Testament’s presentation of the fulfillments of Christ allows for such an element in eschatology, because Christians are taught to regard the return of Christ as the next chapter in God’s plan, not the return of the Jews to Jerusalem. If there is to be a turning in large part of the Jews to Christ, then they will enter therein with the rest of us who believed, and the times of the Gentiles will be fulfilled when Christ comes in glory to destroy the wicked.

  37. Moreover, James, we as Christians are awaiting salvation, which means that the event of our anticipation, if our death and entrance into Heaven does not occur first, is, ultimately, the coming of the Kingdom of God, (hence the Apostles asked Christ about it before the ascension). All saved people will be part of that Kingdom, since it is our inheritance as believers and the culmination of our relationship with Christ. Therefore, supporting Israel is inconsequential. We are waiting for the New Jerusalem, not the old one, not a Jewish state. The Pharisees wanted a Jewish state. Christ refused them this. The Messiah did not offer them their worldly kingdom. The Jews were punished to the uttermost for their rejection of the Son of God, but the offer of redemption remains open to them. If they repent before the advent of the Lord’s reign, then they will join us in that future place. If not, then they will go the way of their forbears. The choice is theirs to make.

  38. I cringe when I read some of your statements. Not sure much more can be done here, at least by me. I don’t want to keep having to restate the same things over and over. You seem hardened in your position. Bye now.

  39. That’s fine, James. Thank you for the debate.

    I would invite all to read each one of my posts very carefully and to consider what I am saying without prejudice.


  40. Just let me make one last point, in sum:

    We began this discussion talking about what it means to be a Jew, which is the topic of the program. Are Christians spiritual Jews?

    Gentile Christians are not ethnically Jewish, but they share the faith of those whom Paul calls “Jews inwardly.”

    If Peter calls the Jews whom he is addressing (assuming that he is addressing an exclusively Jewish audience) a “chosen people,” a “royal priesthood,” he is referring to them so as to define them by their union with Christ, which, of course, Gentiles share, as well.

    I can call myself a member of the “chosen people,” and of a “royal priesthood.” How can this not be, if I am a Christian? To be chosen is to be elected for salvation. Is this not why Christ came, to save his people from their sin? Am I not, by virtue of my faith, a member of that redeemed people?

    God did not cast off Israel, because he made his Covenant with the Apostles, who were Jews. Now, Jews and Gentiles come together in Christ, in the Church. And, together, we await the Lord’s return. Together, we will enter the New Jerusalem when it comes.

  41. BTW, Noelle, again I apologize for the ungodly and/or unhelpful things I’ve said during this exchange. Please forgive those things I’ve said which were out of line, etc. Like my most recent post above, I apologize for the mean words, I need to step higher in responding with grace where and when I disagree.

  42. Thank you – also, I called into the show today and addressed some of these things. I basically paraphrased some of the things you said here (though I should have stated I was paraphrasing, my apologies for that), but I didn’t call you out by name. Anyway, I encourage you to listen to it. Thanks again.

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