I have been asked on more than one occasion why it is necessary to maintain the absolute distinction between Israel and the Church. My first answer to that question is to ask, “Do you mind if I call you Bob? I know your name is not Bob, but does it really matter?” Then I get to my real first answer, which is that Scripture maintains the distinction consistently from beginning to end. That should be the end of the conversation, but it rarely is.
Of the 74 times that the word “Israel” is used in the New Testament, every reference is to the land of Israel, the nation of Israel, or the descendants of Israel. Two times the word “Israelites” is used both referring to descendants of the nation. The word Jew is used 22 times and each is in reference to ethnicity. The plural, “Jews,” is used 169 times in the New Testament, and again each time identifying ethnicity. The only way that Israel, Jews, or Jew means anything else is if the interpreter, not the author of Scripture but the interpreter, changes the meaning to something else, i.e., the Church is “spiritual” Israel.
There is great danger in the idea that the Church has replaced Israel in that manner. The danger can be seen in its practical outcome as recorded in the history of the Church (see Barry Horner’s book, Future Israel). There is a particularly virulent stain of this line of thinking found in many churches today, and its poison is beginning to show its effects in the way many Christians in the west and middle east view the Church’s relationship with the nation of Israel. The following article may help shed some light on the subject, or perhaps may cause some to hurl accusations at the messenger. We’ll see.
The article enables access to an online interview that I have viewed for accuracy. I found nothing in the story that was refuted in the online interview; the two agree. Please check it out here – “Son of Hamas” Denounced as a Phony | Bible Prophecy Blog.