Q. Who Or What Is Spiritual Israel?
A. The following three paragraphs deal briefly with the transfer from literal Israel to “Spiritual Israel” as recorded in the Holy Scriptures. The information was obtained from the “Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia – Commentary Reference Series.”
“All of God’s dealings with the Israelites in Old Testament times were based on the covenant that had originally been ratified between God and Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3; 15:18; 17:2-7). At Mount Sinai, more than four centuries later, Israel took an oath of allegiance to God, accepting Him as their sovereign and becoming in a special sense subjects of His authority (Ex. 19:5-8; 24:3-8, Deut. 7:6-14). This covenant continued in force until the leaders of the nation formally rejected Jesus as the Messiah and declared before Pilate their allegiance to ‘no king but Caesar’ (Matt. 21:43-45; 23:36-38).”
“With the irrevocable rejection of Israel as the covenant people at the cross, the rights, privileges, promises, and blessings of the covenant relationship passed to the Christian church as God’s chosen representative on earth (Matt. 28:19-20), 2 Cor. 5:18-20; Acts 10:34-35; Gal. 3:9, 27-29; 1 Peter 2:9-10, Rom. 9:24-26, 30-31; 10:12-13). Like everyone else, individual Jews could still find salvation, but they must do so as believers in Christ and not as descendants of Abraham (Rom. 9:6; 11:1-2, 11, 15, 22-26).”
“After the transfer of the covenant relationship to the church, many Old Testament promises not already fulfilled to literal Israel, would never be fulfilled because they were strictly conditional upon Israel’s retaining its status as the covenant people. Others would be fulfilled to the Christian church, as spiritual Israel, in principle-but not necessarily in detail, because of the fact that many details of the prophecies were made with respect to Israel as a literal nation situated in the land of Palestine, whereas the Christian church is a spiritual ‘nation’ scattered all over the world. Obviously, such details cannot apply to the church, at least in a literal sense.”
The texts below show how literal Israel rejected Jesus as the Messiah and how the Gentiles then became “Spiritual Israel”.
Matthew 23:37-39 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Isaiah 5:3-7 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.
Hosea 2:23 And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.
Galatians 3:6-29 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Romans 2:25-29 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Hebrews 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: