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Galatians 6:16 - 'spiritual Israel'

Active
'And if ye be Christ's,
then are ye Abraham's seed,
and heirs according to the promise.'

(Gal 3:29)

'For in Christ Jesus
.. neither circumcision availeth any thing,
.... nor uncircumcision,
...... but a new creature.
And as many as walk according to this rule,
peace be on them, and mercy,
and upon the Israel of God.'

(Gal 6:15-16)

Hello there,

There is a view held by many sincere and devoted Christians, that the church of this age is 'The Israel of God' or 'The Spiritual Israel', and that the Gentile Christian believers of today are the 'spiritual seed of Abraham'. The verses quoted above are the verses which are referred to in justification of their belief. Other verses within the letter to the Galatians also appear to support that view, e.g.,

' 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.'

(Gal 3:6-8)

This would appear to teach that Gentiles are to be blessed with Abraham. Abraham's eternal hope is the New Jerusalem, which is to descend to the new earth, (compare Hebrews 11:11-16; 12:22; Revelation 21:1-2). This is the hope referred to in Galatians 4:25-26.

'For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia,
and answereth to Jerusalem which now is,
and is in bondage with her children.
But Jerusalem which is above is free,
which is the mother of us all.'

(Gal 4:25-26))

However, the hope referred to in Ephesians refers not to the new earth or to a new Jerusalem which is to descend from heaven, but of 'heavenly places', or the heavenlies, where we will enjoy our spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. These are the heavenly places which are 'far above all heavens' to which our Lord ascended (Ephesians 2:6-7).

Yet Galatians also says,
'That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ;
that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.'


* So what is our eternal hope? Is it in the New Jerusalem with Abraham? Or is it in heavenly places in Christ Jesus?

The assembly at Galatia was created on Paul's first missionary journey, recorded in Acts 13:4-14:26 . It consisted of both Jew and Gentile Christians. At the close of his first missionary journey Paul stayed at Antioch in Syria (Acts 14:26-28), where certain Jews maintained that Gentiles had to be circumcised to be saved, some insisting that Gentiles also had to keep all the law of of Moses. Paul called this a perversion of the gospel of Christ (Galatians 1:7), and reminded them that Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness (Galatians 3:6), and that this took place 400 yrs before the Law was given to Moses, and 'before' Abraham was circumcised. So any who believed, whether Jew or Gentile, are like Abraham. Their faith is also credited to them as righteousness, and so those who believe are children of Abraham (Galatians 3:7). It was to answer such concerns as these that Paul wrote the epistle to the Galatians; and why he and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to discuss these issues (Acts 15:1-5).

* How do we reconcile what Galatians and Ephesians state?

To do this we need to recognise that Galatians was one of the first letters written by Paul, while in Antioch (Acts 14), before going to see the Jerusalem council (Acts 15). To understand Galatians, we must be familiar with the epistle to the Romans, which was written later, and which explains the Gentile position during the time covered by the Acts of the Apostles, and the letters written during that time.

In Romans 11:17-21, Israel is spoken of as a tree, in this case as an olive tree. The root of that olive tree is Abraham, the father of the nation. However, some of the people of Israel refused to believe that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. As such they were looked upon as olive branches that bore no fruit. In fact the whole of the olive tree (the whole nation of Israel) was bearing little fruit. What could be done about it?

In olive farming there was a means used which often stimulated a tree to produce more fruit by removing one of it's natural branches and grafting into it's place a branch from a wild, uncultivated olive. The vigor from this wild olive would bring new life to an old or unfruitful tree. During the Acts period Israel was looked upon as an old, fruitless, olive tree. God therefore, grafted believing Gentiles (wild olive branches) into Israel. (Romans 11:13-14); and so Gentiles shared in the promises and blessings of Abraham, they had to, for they were grafted in to Israel , The intention being to make Israel envious. The nation should have been aroused, like the old olive tree, and turned to Christ, and then it would have been saved. Their failure to do so, it's consequence and God's subsequent action gives the answer to the question asked above:-

* How do we reconcile what Galatians and Ephesians state?

I will be interested to receive any response you have to give.

Thank you
In Christ Jesus
Christ
 
Active
'And if ye be Christ's,
then are ye Abraham's seed,
and heirs according to the promise.'

(Gal 3:29)

'For in Christ Jesus
.. neither circumcision availeth any thing,
.... nor uncircumcision,
...... but a new creature.
And as many as walk according to this rule,
peace be on them, and mercy,
and upon the Israel of God.'

(Gal 6:15-16)

Hello there,

There is a view held by many sincere and devoted Christians, that the church of this age is 'The Israel of God' or 'The Spiritual Israel', and that the Gentile Christian believers of today are the 'spiritual seed of Abraham'. The verses quoted above are the verses which are referred to in justification of their belief. Other verses within the letter to the Galatians also appear to support that view, e.g.,

' 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.'

(Gal 3:6-8)

This would appear to teach that Gentiles are to be blessed with Abraham. Abraham's eternal hope is the New Jerusalem, which is to descend to the new earth, (compare Hebrews 11:11-16; 12:22; Revelation 21:1-2). This is the hope referred to in Galatians 4:25-26.

'For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia,
and answereth to Jerusalem which now is,
and is in bondage with her children.
But Jerusalem which is above is free,
which is the mother of us all.'

(Gal 4:25-26))

However, the hope referred to in Ephesians refers not to the new earth or to a new Jerusalem which is to descend from heaven, but of 'heavenly places', or the heavenlies, where we will enjoy our spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. These are the heavenly places which are 'far above all heavens' to which our Lord ascended (Ephesians 2:6-7).

Yet Galatians also says,
'That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ;
that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.'


* So what is our eternal hope? Is it in the New Jerusalem with Abraham? Or is it in heavenly places in Christ Jesus?

The assembly at Galatia was created on Paul's first missionary journey, recorded in Acts 13:4-14:26 . It consisted of both Jew and Gentile Christians. At the close of his first missionary journey Paul stayed at Antioch in Syria (Acts 14:26-28), where certain Jews maintained that Gentiles had to be circumcised to be saved, some insisting that Gentiles also had to keep all the law of of Moses. Paul called this a perversion of the gospel of Christ (Galatians 1:7), and reminded them that Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness (Galatians 3:6), and that this took place 400 yrs before the Law was given to Moses, and 'before' Abraham was circumcised. So any who believed, whether Jew or Gentile, are like Abraham. Their faith is also credited to them as righteousness, and so those who believe are children of Abraham (Galatians 3:7). It was to answer such concerns as these that Paul wrote the epistle to the Galatians; and why he and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to discuss these issues (Acts 15:1-5).

* How do we reconcile what Galatians and Ephesians state?

To do this we need to recognise that Galatians was one of the first letters written by Paul, while in Antioch (Acts 14), before going to see the Jerusalem council (Acts 15). To understand Galatians, we must be familiar with the epistle to the Romans, which was written later, and which explains the Gentile position during the time covered by the Acts of the Apostles, and the letters written during that time.

In Romans 11:17-21, Israel is spoken of as a tree, in this case as an olive tree. The root of that olive tree is Abraham, the father of the nation. However, some of the people of Israel refused to believe that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. As such they were looked upon as olive branches that bore no fruit. In fact the whole of the olive tree (the whole nation of Israel) was bearing little fruit. What could be done about it?

In olive farming there was a means used which often stimulated a tree to produce more fruit by removing one of it's natural branches and grafting into it's place a branch from a wild, uncultivated olive. The vigor from this wild olive would bring new life to an old or unfruitful tree. During the Acts period Israel was looked upon as an old, fruitless, olive tree. God therefore, grafted believing Gentiles (wild olive branches) into Israel. (Romans 11:13-14); and so Gentiles shared in the promises and blessings of Abraham, they had to, for they were grafted in to Israel , The intention being to make Israel envious. The nation should have been aroused, like the old olive tree, and turned to Christ, and then it would have been saved. Their failure to do so, it's consequence and God's subsequent action gives the answer to the question asked above:-

* How do we reconcile what Galatians and Ephesians state?

I will be interested to receive any response you have to give.

Thank you
In Christ Jesus
Christ
In Romans 11:17-21, Israel is spoken of as a tree, in this case as an olive tree. The root of that olive tree is Abraham, the father of the nation. However, some of the people of Israel refused to believe that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. As such they were looked upon as olive branches that bore no fruit. In fact the whole of the olive tree (the whole nation of Israel) was bearing little fruit. What could be done about it?
Found it interesting, the claim Abraham to the be the root. I could not find scripture reference to the claim. Please post the references location.

Rev_22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
 
Active
Found it interesting, the claim Abraham to the be the root. I could not find scripture reference to the claim. Please post the references location.

Rev_22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
Hello Reba1,

Abraham is the root, in that he is the Father of Israel, for he is the one to whom the promise was made and fulfilled through the miraculous birth of Isaac, through whom the promised seed would come, and Israel as a nation be born. (Romans 11:17)

Our Lord was indeed both the root and the offspring of David, which is so wonderful.

Thank you
In Christ Jesus
Chris
 
Loyal
"Most" of the 18 translations I have word it closer to this.

[NASB]
16; And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

"those who walk by this rule, or God's new people.... "and" Israel of God also. As if they are still two groups of people.

[NKJV]
16; And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
 
Loyal
Most of the book of Galatians is about being saved via circumcision.

Gal 2:12; For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision.
Gal 5:2; Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.
Gal 5:3; And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law.
Gal 5:6; For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.
Gal 5:11; But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished.
Gal 6:15; For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

Parts of Galatians are confusing to people who don't take it in this context.

Gal 2:16; nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.

This is specifically talking about the ceremonial law (things like cicumcision) not the moral law. Paul divides them in verses such as the verse below.

1Cor 7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.

Gal 3:2; This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?
Gal 3:3; Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

"perfected by the flesh".. what does Paul mean here? He means you are doing something to your flesh (your body) in order to be accepted by God. (in this case circumcision)

Gal 6:12; Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.
Gal 6:13; For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh.

===================================================

As far as Abraham being justified by faith, it wasn't faith alone.

Jas 2:20; But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?
Jas 2:21; Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?
Jas 2:22; You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;
Jas 2:23; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS," and he was called the friend of God.
Jas 2:24; You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

Yes Abraham believed God, so he did what God asked him to do. Simply believing in God isn't enough.

Jas 2:19; You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
 
Loyal
Rom 11:17; But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree,
Rom 11:18; do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.
Rom 11:19; You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in."
Rom 11:20; Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear;
Rom 11:21; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.
Rom 11:22; Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.
Rom 11:23; And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
Rom 11:24; For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?
 
Active
"Most" of the 18 translations I have word it closer to this.

[NASB]
16; And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

"those who walk by this rule, or God's new people.... "and" Israel of God also. As if they are still two groups of people.

[NKJV]
16; And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
'For in Christ Jesus
neither circumcision availeth any thing,
nor uncircumcision,
but a new creature.
And as many as walk according to this rule,
peace be on them, and mercy,
and upon the Israel of God.

(Gal 6:15-16)

Hello B-A-C,

I can see what you mean about it appearing to be referring to two groups of people, and I believe it does.

This term, 'the Israel of God' is only used in Galatians, if it were an important term it would have been used frequently. I believe that this distinction between those who (1) 'walk according to this rule (re circumcision) , and those whom Paul calls (2) 'the Israel of God', is made because of the argument presented by Paul in the verses leading up to it: against those who sought to bring Gentile beliers under the law, and into the rites performed by those who were bound by the laws of the covenant made at Sinai, who were Jews 'after the flesh'. Referring to 'the Israel of God' Paul's thoughts go to his own brethren (after the flesh) here; especially to those who were once 'Israelites according to the flesh', but now are the 'Israel of God', in other words the true spiritual children of Abraham.

Thank you
In Christ Jesus
Chris
 
Loyal
I believe that this distinction between those who (1) 'walk according to this rule (re circumcision) , and those whom Paul calls (2) 'the Israel of God',
The Jews are often called "the circumcision" and Gentiles are usually called "the un-circumcized", but I believe in the context here... "those who walk by this rule" isn't those who get circumcized.
(The Jews were already almost all circumcized) but rather the "rule" he is speaking of is spread over verses 1 through 10.

The way I read this is ... "those (saved Gentiles who do good and bear one anothers burdens) and those who belong to "the Israel of God". (Jews who formerly practiced Judaism and were circumcized accordingly).
 
Active
The Jews are often called "the circumcision" and Gentiles are usually called "the un-circumcised", but I believe in the context here... "those who walk by this rule" isn't those who get circumcised.
(The Jews were already almost all circumcised) but rather the "rule" he is speaking of is spread over verses 1 through 10.

The way I read this is ... "those (saved Gentiles who do good and bear one another's burdens) and those who belong to "the Israel of God". (Jews who formerly practiced Judaism and were circumcised accordingly).
Hi @B-A-C,

Looking at the latter part of your last sentence, (quote] ' ... and those who belong to the 'the Israel of God' (Jews who formerly practiced Judaism and were circumcised accordingly)' I believe it needs the added words,' but who were now the true 'spiritual' children of Abraham.' or 'the Israel of God', to make it complete.

We are obviously on the same wavelength though, aren't we?

Thank you
In Christ Jesus
Chris
 

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