Modern nation of Israel vs new Israel the church

So I tried to tell a Baptist friend of mine that the new Israel is the Church. And since it is that we need not worry so much about the specific location or nation of Israel. He then responded with

“don’t you believe God’s Word is Eternal?”

I asked him back “How does that apply to what I’ve said?”

He then said "The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Genesis 12:1-3 NIV
Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not resort to divination as at other times, but turned his face toward the wilderness. When Balaam looked out and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came on him and he spoke his message: “The prophecy of Balaam son of Beor, the prophecy of one whose eye sees clearly, the prophecy of one who hears the words of God, who sees a vision from the Almighty, who falls prostrate, and whose eyes are opened: “How beautiful are your tents, Jacob, your dwelling places, Israel! “Like valleys they spread out, like gardens beside a river, like aloes planted by the Lord , like cedars beside the waters. Water will flow from their buckets; their seed will have abundant water. “Their king will be greater than Agag; their kingdom will be exalted. “God brought them out of Egypt; they have the strength of a wild ox. They devour hostile nations and break their bones in pieces; with their arrows they pierce them. Like a lion they crouch and lie down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse them? “May those who bless you be blessed and those who curse you be cursed!” Then Balak’s anger burned against Balaam. He struck his hands together and said to him, “I summoned you to curse my enemies, but you have blessed them these three times. Now leave at once and go home! I said I would reward you handsomely, but the Lord has kept you from being rewarded.” Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell the messengers you sent me, ‘Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything of my own accord, good or bad, to go beyond the command of the Lord —and I must say only what the Lord says’? Now I am going back to my people, but come, let me warn you of what this people will do to your people in days to come.”
Numbers 24:1-14 NIV
“If no other reason see this. As you see Mary sacred because she carried Jesus you should see Isreal as a sacred people”

Any thoughts on how to respond? I certainly see Israel as holding many holy places. But are we not the new Israel?

No we are not the new Israel, see this from a pontifical council, December 10, 2015, COMMISSION FOR RELIGIOUS RELATIONS WITH THE JEWS, “THE GIFTS AND THE CALLING OF GOD ARE IRREVOCABLE”

  1. On the part of many of the Church Fathers the so-called replacement theory or supersessionism steadily gained favour until in the Middle Ages it represented the standard theological foundation of the relationship with Judaism: the promises and commitments of God would no longer apply to Israel because it had not recognised Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God, but had been transferred to the Church of Jesus Christ which was now the true ‘new Israel’, the new chosen people of God. Arising from the same soil, Judaism and Christianity in the centuries after their separation became involved in a theological antagonism which was only to be defused at the Second Vatican Council. With its Declaration “Nostra aetate” (No.4) the Church unequivocally professes, within a new theological framework, the Jewish roots of Christianity. While affirming salvation through an explicit or even implicit faith in Christ, the Church does not question the continued love of God for the chosen people of Israel. A replacement or supersession theology which sets against one another two separate entities, a Church of the Gentiles and the rejected Synagogue whose place it takes, is deprived of its foundations. From an originally close relationship between Judaism and Christianity a long-term state of tension had developed, which has been gradually transformed after the Second Vatican Council into a constructive dialogue relationship.

I guess I’m not so much concerned for what the document you’re referencing is talking about but the idea that we are somehow obligated to the “State of Israel” or that we still depend on a piece of real estate. I’ve found a catholic answers video that sorta helped with this

Here Jimmy states that the church is in a sense the new or spiritual Israel. And he then warns of the things you mentioned in that Vatican document. This is the basis that I want this discussion to be upon. I believe my Baptist friend might be in the school of thought of dispensationalism or Zionism and I’m looking to show him why we needn’t worry so much on a piece of land in particular as its the church that we are saved through.

My friend mentioned promises made to Abraham regarding the nation, but doesnt these promises get carried on to the church?

I don’t believe you and the OP are talking about the same thing. You are talking about the concept of God withdrawing his covenant from the Jews.

The OP is talking about the physical/geographical nation of Israel versus Jesus’s Kingdom which definitely does subsist in the Church, the Bride of Christ.

The 12 Apostles represent the 12 Tribes, Jesus is the Lamb upon the throne of David. So yes, the Church is a type of Israel. There are many archetypes in the bible.

One can hold this without holding the replacement theology idea.

Thank you, yes thank you for clearing this up.

Galatians 5
The Scriptures (ISR 1998)

1In the freedom with which Messiah has made us free, stand firm, then, and do not again be held with a yoke of slavery.

2See, I, Sha’ul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Messiah shall be of no use to you.

3And I witness again to every man being circumcised that he is a debtor to do the entire Torah.

4You who are declared right by Torah have severed yourselves from Messiah, you have fallen from favour.

5For we, in Spirit, by belief, eagerly wait for the expectation of righteousness.

6For in Messiah יהושע neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any strength, but belief working through love.

7You were running well, who held you back from obeying the truth?

8That persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.

9A little leaven leavens all the lump.

10I trust in you, in the Master, that you shall have no other mind. And he who is troubling you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.

11And I, brothers, if I still proclaim circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling-block of the stake has been set aside.

12O that those who disturb you would even cut themselves off!

13For you, brothers, have been called to freedom, only do not use freedom as an occasion for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

14For the entire Torah is completed in one word, in this, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”

15And if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

16And I say: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not accomplish the lust of the flesh.

17For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. And these are opposed to each other, so that you do not do what you desire to do.

18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under Torah.

19And the works of the flesh are well-known, which are these: adultery,a whoring, uncleanness, indecency,

20idolatry, drug sorcery, hatred, quarrels, jealousies, fits of rage, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions,

21envy, murders, drunkenness, wild parties, and the like – of which I forewarn you, even as I also said before, that those who practise such as these shall not inherit the reign of Elohim.a

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustworthiness,

23gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no Torah.

24And those who are of Messiah have impaled the flesh with its passions and the desires.

25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

26Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

It is true that He did not revoke the Covenant He made with Israel. The Church teaches that.

It is also true that if we do not evangelize Israel, Israel will not come to Christ, who is the only way to the Father. Their children might not either. People will be taken captive by the Devil. Souls might even be lost forever. This new politically correct movement in the Church to stop evangelization of Jews and Muslims does not come from the Holy Spirit. Wherever it comes from, it is not from God, so disregard it altogether. We are here to do God’s will - not make people feel accepted and comfortable.

Whether you are a Jew in Israel or a Muslim in Pakistan, when you die you meet Jesus and He decides your eternity.

Thanks everyone. Now that we are clear on what I meant with this post, does anyone have any thoughts on how to address him?

To be partial to the State of Israel is hardly something that should be “addressed.”

Simply point out that even in Biblical times, the Messianic message was understood to be worldwide.

As was stated in the book of Malachi,

11 For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same
my name shall be great among the Gentiles;
and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering:

So, while many physical landmarks vital to our faith heritage lie within Israel, and it is certainly understandable to sympathize with it; our faith is not anchored to it. It is anchored to our LORD’s human body, which ascended into Heaven.


Oh thank you for this

There are two promises made to Abraham:
*]Progeny and Territory - that his progeny would inherit the land of Canaan (from the Nile to the Euphrates rivers)
*]Spiritual - that all the nations of the Earth would be blessed in his Seed.
The first is given in Genesis 12 :
1 The Lord said to Abram: Go forth[a] from your land, your relatives, and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.
And in Genesis 15:
2 But Abram said, “Lord God, what can you give me, if I die childless and have only a servant of my household, Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 Abram continued, “Look, you have given me no offspring, so a servant of my household will be my heir.” 4 Then the word of the Lord came to him: No, that one will not be your heir; your own offspring will be your heir. 5 He took him outside and said: Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so, he added, will your descendants be.

And the territory of Canaan is described in Numbers 34:

1 The Lord spoke to Moses: 2 Give the Israelites this order: When you enter the land of Canaan, this is the territory that shall fall to you as your heritage—the land of Canaan with its boundaries:

3 Your southern boundary will be at the wilderness of Zin along the border of Edom; on the east your southern boundary will begin at the end of the Salt Sea. 4 Then your boundary will turn south of the Akrabbim Pass and cross Zin. Terminating south of Kadesh-barnea, it extends to Hazar-addar and crosses to Azmon. 5 Then the boundary will turn from Azmon to the Wadi of Egypt and terminate at the Sea.

6 For your western boundary you will have the Great Sea[a] with its coast; this will be your western boundary.

7 This will be your boundary on the north: from the Great Sea you will draw a line to Mount Hor,** 8 and draw it from Mount Hor to Lebo-hamath, with the boundary terminating at Zedad. 9 Then the boundary extends to Ziphron and terminates at Hazar-enan. This will be your northern boundary.

10 For your eastern boundary you will draw a line from Hazar-enan to Shepham. 11 From Shepham the boundary will go down to Riblah, east of Ain, and descending further, the boundary will strike the ridge on the east side of the Sea of Chinnereth;[c] 12 then the boundary will descend along the Jordan and terminate with the Salt Sea.

This will be your land, with the boundaries that surround it.
Jesus Christ, in John 8, addresses the spiritual aspect:
38 [s]I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence; then do what you have heard from the Father.” 39 [t]They answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works of Abraham. 40 But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God; Abraham did not do this. 41 You are doing the works of your father!” [So] they said to him, “We are not illegitimate. We have one Father, God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and am here; I did not come on my own, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I am saying? Because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You belong to your father the devil and you willingly carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks in character, because he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I speak the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Can any of you charge me with sin? If I am telling the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not listen, because you do not belong to God.”

And in Galatians 3:28-29, St. Paul identifies Abraham’s descendants.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendant, heirs according to the promise.**

As someone who is very pro-Israel, I hate hate* hate *it when people argue for Israel’s legitimacy on religious grounds, because it gives the enemies of self-determination a really easy cudgel to waste time on, instead of making real arguments about the modern day situation.

Although, I would point out that I have never actually met someone who makes the argument for Israel’s existence on religious grounds, but I assume they exist because closeted irredentists constantly talk about them, but they must be a tiny tiny group. Granted, I am in my twenties and live in the North East, so, most people I know aren’t that religious, or are well educated.

Anyway, how you engage your friend is by actually learning about the history of modern Israel, the current political situation and political philosophy of its neighbors, figuring out what specifically it is you want or don’t want on specific policies, and then talking to him about it. If all your friend can say is, “Bible something something” then tell him to do the same.

Vico thank you so much for that!

Those prophecies to Abraham have already been fulfilled. Israel was already a great nation and possessed the promised land. The problem was Israel rebelled and as a result were exiled. They didn’t hold up their end of the covenant. All the people on earth are blessed through the seed of Abraham, namely Jesus,who died for all so that all could be reconciled to God. This is why Scripture says ‘Salvation is from the Jews’.

Read Romans 11. God did not turn his back on them. He saved a remnant.

Apart from that document having no doctrinal value (according to itself), that passage doesn’t even say that. Vatican II also says otherwise:

[quote=Lumen Gentium]Israel according to the flesh, which wandered as an exile in the desert, was already called the Church of God.(96) So likewise the new Israel which while living in this present age goes in search of a future and abiding city (97) is called the Church of Christ.(98)

[quote=Nostrae Aetate]True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ;(13) still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures.

Anyway, the political state of Israel is not the same as the Jewish people. “Israel of the flesh” has theological significance, but this refers to the Jewish people, wherever they may be found. There is certainly overlap based on the makeup of the population there, but as an institution the political state of Israel has no theological significance (it is no different than any other nation state).

As the commission wrote: “the Church does not question the continued love of God for the chosen people of Israel”. That is the reason that we do not embrace replacement or substitution theory.

Looks like you missed the given authoritative source which is Nostra Aetate:

  1. As the sacred synod searches into the mystery of the Church, it remembers the bond that spiritually ties the people of the New Covenant to Abraham’s stock.

Thus the Church of Christ acknowledges that, according to God’s saving design, the beginnings of her faith and her election are found already among the Patriarchs, Moses and the prophets. She professes that all who believe in Christ-Abraham’s sons according to faith (6)-are included in the same Patriarch’s call, and likewise that the salvation of the Church is mysteriously foreshadowed by the chosen people’s exodus from the land of bondage. The Church, therefore, cannot forget that she received the revelation of the Old Testament through the people with whom God in His inexpressible mercy concluded the Ancient Covenant. Nor can she forget that she draws sustenance from the root of that well-cultivated olive tree onto which have been grafted the wild shoots, the Gentiles.(7) Indeed, the Church believes that by His cross Christ, Our Peace, reconciled Jews and Gentiles. making both one in Himself.(8)

The Church keeps ever in mind the words of the Apostle about his kinsmen: “theirs is the sonship and the glory and the covenants and the law and the worship and the promises; theirs are the fathers and from them is the Christ according to the flesh” (Rom. 9:4-5), the Son of the Virgin Mary. She also recalls that the Apostles, the Church’s main-stay and pillars, as well as most of the early disciples who proclaimed Christ’s Gospel to the world, sprang from the Jewish people.

As Holy Scripture testifies, Jerusalem did not recognize the time of her visitation,(9) nor did the Jews in large number, accept the Gospel; indeed not a few opposed its spreading.(10) Nevertheless, God holds the Jews most dear for the sake of their Fathers; He does not repent of the gifts He makes or of the calls He issues-such is the witness of the Apostle.(11) In company with the Prophets and the same Apostle, the Church awaits that day, known to God alone, on which all peoples will address the Lord in a single voice and “serve him shoulder to shoulder” (Soph. 3:9).(12)

Since the spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews is thus so great, this sacred synod wants to foster and recommend that mutual understanding and respect which is the fruit, above all, of biblical and theological studies as well as of fraternal dialogues.

True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ;(13) still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures. All should see to it, then, that in catechetical work or in the preaching of the word of God they do not teach anything that does not conform to the truth of the Gospel and the spirit of Christ.

Furthermore, in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel’s spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.

Besides, as the Church has always held and holds now, Christ underwent His passion and death freely, because of the sins of men and out of infinite love, in order that all may reach salvation. It is, therefore, the burden of the Church’s preaching to proclaim the cross of Christ as the sign of God’s all-embracing love and as the fountain from which every grace flows.

Again, the commission’s document has zero value to support an argument over what Catholic doctrine is. Anyway, it is not about replacement, but continuation. Israel is like an olive tree. Unbelieving branches are pruned off while the wild branches of believing gentiles are grafted in. But it’s the same tree, albeit renewed by the grace of Christ. We hope for the day when those cut off are also re-grafted in and all Israel will be saved (note, those cut-off are not permanently or unconditionally cut-off. God always calls them and will graft them back through being grafted into Christ, like anyone else. Neither are we permanently grafted in. Any one of us can always fall away).

Granted, the name “Israel” is sometimes still used to describe “Israel of the flesh,” including those who have not partaken of the promises made to Abraham’s seed, Christ. And these people still are beloved and have certain advantages (that St. Paul lists), but the Church is the true continuation of that Israel, which is the People of God.

[quote=Vico]Looks like you missed the given authoritative source which is Nostra Aetate:


Nope, I didn’t miss Nostra Aetate–I quoted it in the post you are responding to. It says the Church is the “new People of God.” In fact, this is the whole reason Vatican II uses the phrase “people of God” to describe the Church. It shows the continuity between the People of God of the OT and those of the New Testament. I’m not sure how anything else you quoted addresses this point or how this relates to the nation-state founded in 1948. Please clarify.

From the CCC:

[quote=CCC]762 The remote preparation for this gathering together of the People of God begins when he calls Abraham and promises that he will become the father of a great people.157 Its immediate preparation begins with Israel’s election as the People of God. By this election, Israel is to be the sign of the future gathering of All nations.158 But the prophets accuse Israel of breaking the covenant and behaving like a prostitute. They announce a new and eternal covenant. "Christ instituted this New Covenant."159

The People of God begins with Abraham and Israel, but is renewed in Christ.

Again, from Vatican II:

[quote=Ad Gentes]Thus the Apostles were the first budding - forth of the New Israel, and at the same time the beginning of the sacred hierarchy.

In fact, that’s the whole reason Jesus chose 12 men.

[quote=Pope Benedict XVI ]The number 12, which evidently refers to the 12 tribes of Israel, already reveals the meaning of the prophetic-symbolic action implicit in the new initiative to re-establish the holy people. As the system of the 12 tribes had long since faded out, the hope of Israel awaited their restoration as a sign of the eschatological time (as referred to at the end of the Book of Ezekiel: 37: 15-19; 39: 23-29; 40-48).

In choosing the Twelve, introducing them into a communion of life with himself and involving them in his mission of proclaiming the Kingdom in words and works (cf. Mk 6: 7-13; Mt 10: 5-8; Lk 9: 1-6; 6: 13), Jesus wants to say that the definitive time has arrived in which to constitute the new People of God, the people of the 12 tribes, which now becomes a universal people, his Church.

With their very own existence, the Twelve - called from different backgrounds - become an appeal for all of Israel to convert and allow herself to be gathered into the new covenant, complete and perfect fulfilment of the ancient one. The fact that he entrusted to his Apostles, during the Last Supper and before his Passion, the duty to celebrate his Pasch, demonstrates how Jesus wished to transfer to the entire community, in the person of its heads, the mandate to be a sign and instrument in history of the eschatological gathering begun by him.

What I posted is that it looks like you missed Nostra Aetate, even though you quoted it, you did not include in your understanding expressed, that it is not only the Christians but faithful Jews are incorporated in Christ. They are not excluded so that is what the commission also expressed. There is to be no teaching that Christians replaced the Jews, " Although the Church is the new people of God," yet Nostra Aetate also stated:
"Indeed, the Church believes that by His cross Christ, Our Peace, reconciled Jews and Gentiles. making both one in Himself.

it is true that we Catholics must avoid indifferentism, and must evalgelize all nations. Still we are taught that “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.” - Lumen Gentium 16

Looks like we might actually be saying the same thing. I think the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles was certainly begun (many were reconciled then, but not all), but has not reached its complete fulfillment yet (which is why the Church has always baptized Jewish converts) given NA’s later quote of the prophecy of Zephaniah (Sophanias) as a future event to be hoped for, which cites Romans 11 (the cutting off/grafting in/re-grafting in passage) in the footnote. (I hope that wasn’t too confusing with all my parentheticals:o. )

Certainly it is possible for those in good faith to be included. I addressed this in one of threads on that document in this post referencing the writings of St. Bridget on the topic:

To the OP -

I would look at all the Covenants God made with His people. Each time God entered into a new Covenant with His people, the scope enlarged.

1st Covenant - God made with a couple: Adam & Eve
2nd Covenant - God made with a family: Noah
3rd Covenant - God made with a tribe: Abraham
4th Covenant - God made with a nation: Moses
5th Covenant - God made with a kingdom: David
6th Covenant - God made with the whole world: Jesus

It’s not so much that the Church replaced geographic lands given to Abraham, but rather that the Church is the successor of the Davidic Kingdom.

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