Incompatibility of Calvinism and Fulfillment Theology [FT Explained]



All Scripture quotations are from the 1901 American Standard Version unless otherwise noted.



In explaining Fulfillment Theology (FT), I will provide some highlight quotes from my series on the Israel and the Church. If you haven’t read through that series yet, I encourage you to do so, as it provides a rather thorough treatment of the subject. Also, read my last post, as it provides the introduction to this one.


Galatians 3:16,29


16 Now to Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his seed. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
29 And if ye are Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, heirs according to promise.


The promises of blessing and salvation (Ge 22:17,18) were made to both Abraham, and to his seed, in the singular, referring to Christ, and not specifically to the descendants of Abraham. Jesus Himself is literally True Israel. We Christians are the “seed” of Abraham through faith in Christ, and not according to human descent, as Paul says in verse 29.


Paul also says in Gal 3:26 that we are “all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus.”


All the promises to Abraham and to his descendants (Israel) are totally fulfilled in Christ. In other words, the true offspring (seed) of Abraham is not by way of human birth, but by way of Christ, through faith in Him. Jews could not claim to be true Jews just because they were born in the natural line of Abraham, as Paul says elsewhere:


Romans 2:28-29
28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh:
29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.


Romans 10:12
12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him:


Galatians 3:28
28 There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female; for ye all are one man in Christ Jesus.


I don’t know how this can be made any clearer. There is “no distinction” between Jews and Gentiles. We are all “one in Christ Jesus,” through our common faith in Him.


Today many Christians want to make a distinction between Israel and the Church, but there is NO DISTINCTION. The only two classes of people in the eyes of God, are those who are in Christ, and those who are not. The true offspring of Abraham and the true sons of God are those who are in Christ, who is Himself True Israel. Thus the Church is true Israel through our union with Him. Therefore, the nation of Israel has no inheritance that is separate from the Church.


1 Peter 2:3-10
3 if ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious:
4 unto whom coming, a living stone, rejected indeed of men, but with God elect, precious,
5 ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
6 Because it is contained in scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: And he that believeth on him shall not be put to shame.
7 For you therefore that believe is the preciousness: but for such as disbelieve, The stone which the builders rejected, The same was made the head of the corner;
8 and, A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence; for they stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9 But ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
10 who in time past were no people, but now are the people of God: who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.


Perhaps clearer than any other place in the New Testament, Peter reveals the true nature of Israel under the New Covenant. He reveals that True Israel is now Spiritual Israel. This conclusion is unmistakable as he compares national Israel (Old Covenant) to who we are in Christ (the Church).


It’s important that we first identify Peter’s audience. The Jewish terms that Peter uses in this passage (also 1 Pe 3:6) suggests that Jewish Christians were among them. They would naturally understand Peter’s references. But it’s clear that he was also addressing Gentile Christians, based on what he says in 1 Peter 2:10:


10 who in time past were no people, but now are the people of God: who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.


This is a reference to Ho 2:23:


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 that were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.


So we see among Peter’s audience both believing Jews and believing Gentiles. And that’s most fitting because of how he compares national Israel to all believers in Christ, which make up the Church, “Peace be unto you all that are in Christ” (1 Pe 5:14).  That Peter is making a comparison between national Israel and the Church, there can be no doubt, as we shall see in this study.


In this passage Peter describes a “ house,” which is a reference to the temple. He also describes a “nation.” Regarding this nation, Peter quotes Isaiah 51:16:


16 And I have put my words in thy mouth, and have covered thee in the shadow of my hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.


In the Old Testament, Zion is a reference to Jerusalem, which was the place of the temple, and represented all of Israel (Ps 87:2-3; 2 Sam 5:7; 1 Ki 8:1; Is 40:9; 60:14). Thus Zion is a general reference to the nation of Israel, the people of God.


With that background, we can now begin to interpret what Peter is teaching in this passage:


4 unto whom coming, a living stone, rejected indeed of men, but with God elect, precious,
5 ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
6 Because it is contained in scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: And he that believeth on him shall not be put to shame.


In this passage, Peter alludes to the Old Testament temple. Here he reveals that the temple of God is now a “spiritual” temple, a “spiritual house.” That’s who we are in Christ. That’s who the Church is:


16 And what agreement hath a temple of God with idols? for we are a temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (2 Cor 6:16)


The Old Testament temple was a type and picture of the Spiritual Temple of God that was yet to come in Christ. In Christ, we as the Church, are a “spiritual house,” a spiritual temple. The OT temple represented all of Israel. As a spiritual temple in Christ, does it not not follow, yes, does it not require, that Israel also now be spiritual in nature? How could it be any other way? If the physical temple of the OT represented a physical people, then it follows that this spiritual temple must represent a spiritual people.


The Old Testament temple represented the people and faith of national Israel. The New Testament temple (the Church) represent the people and faith of  spiritual Israel, those who are in Christ. Both the OT temple and national Israel were looking ahead, and was a type and picture of what would be fulfilled in Christ. This was God’s plan all along.


The idea that national Israel still has a place in God’s plan is contrary to what is taught in the NT. If  the fulfillment of Old Covenant Israel has already occurred, then what sense does it make that things would revert back to OT Israel and OT temple under the New Covenant? I think the whole book of Hebrews SHOUTS against that idea.


With that further background, let’s look at our text in more detail:


4 unto whom coming, a living stone, rejected indeed of men, but with God elect, precious,
5 ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
6 Because it is contained in scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: And he that believeth on him shall not be put to shame.


Jesus is a “living stone.” We in Christ are also “living stones.” The Old Testament temple was built with physical stones. The spiritual temple of the New Testament is built with spiritual stones, and Jesus is the “Chief corner stone.” In Christ, we are a “spiritual house.”


Notice that the dead animal sacrifices of the Old Testament are done away in Christ, and that we as a “holy priesthood,” are to offer up “spiritual sacrifices.” As believers, the spiritual sacrifices are the yielding of our bodies and lives to God:


12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. (Ro 12:1)


The Old Testament dead animal sacrifices give way to the live, spiritual sacrifices of God’s people in Christ.


7 For you therefore that believe is the preciousness: but for such as disbelieve, The stone which the builders rejected, The same was made the head of the corner;


“The stone which the builders rejected,” refer to the Jews, who built the temple. They rejected Christ as their Messiah, who is “the head of the corner” (cornerstone), referring to what has become the spiritual temple of God.


8 and, A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence; for they stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.


The Jews “stumbled” over the “stone” which is Christ. He was an “offence” to Him, and so they rejected Him and crucified Him. They were not “obedient” to what their own Scriptures taught about Him. Instead of obedience to “the word,” they “stumbled” over it.


9 But ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
10 who in time past were no people, but now are the people of God: who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
Notice all these terms:


elect race
royal priesthood
holy nation
a people
the people of God


These are all Jewish terms. They describe Old Testament Israel. They were an “elect race (Hebrews), they had a “royal priesthood,” who served in the temple, they were a “holy nation,” referring to the nation of Israel, and they were “a people for God’s own possession.” Yet, Peter applies them to the Church.


God chose Abraham to become the father of the nation of Israel. They were the people of God, whom He would carry out His will and His Word and His plan of salvation to the world. All of this was fulfilled in Christ and in the Church. We are the elect race, the royal priesthood, the holy nation, the people of God.


What was once the physical nation of Israel, is now the spiritual nation of Israel. This was God’s plan all along. That the people of Israel would find their fulfillment and continuation in Christ and in His Church, was God’s plan from the very beginning.


Ephesians 2:11-22


11 Wherefore remember, that once ye, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision, in the flesh, made by hands;
12 that ye were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
13 But now in Christ Jesus ye that once were far off are made nigh in the blood of Christ.
14 For he is our peace, who made both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition,
15 having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; that he might create in himself of the two one new man, so making peace;
16 and might reconcile them both in one body unto God through the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
17 and he came and preached peace to you that were far off, and peace to them that were nigh:
18 for through him we both have our access in one Spirit unto the Father.
19 So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God,
20 being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone;
21 in whom each several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord;
22 in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.


This is such a significant passage regarding Israel and the Church. As I’ve been saying all along, in order to correctly interpret prophecy, one must have a correct understanding of the relationship between Israel and the Church. Paul talks so much about it in so many places, that I think it’s obvious he went out of his way to provide that understanding. This is one of the most extensive passages about this in the New Testament.


Verse by verse:


Verse 11
11 Wherefore remember, that once ye, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision, in the flesh, made by hands;


Speaking to Gentile Christians, Paul refers to the days under the Old Covenant, before the cross. The Jews looked down upon Gentiles as being second-class citizens. They viewed themselves as being the recipients of the special favor of God (though they didn’t/don’t understand their true calling), and in truth, they were….but they were arrogant about it and very prejudice. They looked upon Gentiles with disdain.


In fact, during the transition period of the early Church, from Old Covenant to New Covenant, it took awhile even for believing Jews to look upon believing Gentiles differently as they were accustomed to. So Paul had to reorient their way of thinking. They needed to learn that in Christ there is no distinction between the two groups, that together we are a whole new creation:


15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. ESV (Gal 6:15)


“made by hands”


Here Paul mentions the fact that circumcision was something that was done or “made” by human hands, in contrast to the “circumcision of the heart,” which is done by the Holy Spirit (vss. 15,18,22):


28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh:
29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. (Ro 2:28-29)


In Christ, we are spiritual Jews, true Jews in Christ, for He is True Israel.


So we see that both believing Jews and believing Gentiles had to have their way of thinking reoriented under the New Covenant. They both had to learn that in Christ we are a new creation, a whole new entity. In Christ there are no Jews and there are no Gentiles, but a whole new people:


28 There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female; for ye all are one man in Christ Jesus.
29 And if ye are Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, heirs according to promise. (Gal 3:28-29)


As believers in Christ, we are spiritual Jews, and together as the Church, we are spiritual Israel. Our identification as such is in Christ, who is Himself True Israel. Paul further confirms our identification as spiritual Jews by referring to us as “Abraham’s seed.” It’s not the physical seed of Abraham who are Jews, but those who share his faith:


7 Know therefore that they that are of faith, the same are sons of Abraham. (Gal 3:7)


Since we are are spiritual Jews in Christ and the true “sons of Abraham” through faith, that means that Jesus is True Israel. Thus if Jesus is True Israel, then all the promises to Israel and for Israel are ultimately and actually made to Him and fulfilled in Him, as Paul says in Galatians 3:16,28,29.


Verses 12-13
12 that ye were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
13 But now in Christ Jesus ye that once were far off are made nigh in the blood of Christ.


Here Paul is talking about how the Gentiles were at one time separated from the “commonwealth of Israel.” Paul explains this commonwealth in Romans 9:


Romans 9:3-5
3 For I could wish that I myself were anathema from Christ for my brethren’s sake, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
4 who are Israelites; whose is the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;
5 whose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ as concerning the flesh, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.


This “commonwealth of Israel” refers to the state, citizenship, privileges, blessings, and promises that were given to Israel by God.  The Israelites were God’s chosen people (Ro 11:1). It was through them that He revealed Himself to the world. It was to them and through them that the Word of God came. It was through the Jewish prophets that God spoke and taught and warned and encouraged. It was to them and through them that He performed miracles and displayed His glory. It was through Israel that the Savior of the world came.


Paul’s point in this whole passage, is that together we are now citizens of Israel through the blood of Christ. The Israel that Paul is referring to is clearly not the nation of Israel, but those who share a common faith in Christ. Together, as the Church, we are now the True Israel of God. The Church doesn’t “replace” Israel. On the contrary, Israel has its fulfillment and continuation in the Church.


Apart from Christ, Jews and Gentiles alike are separated from the “commonwealth of Israel” (True Israel), separated from all the spiritual blessings that were promised in the Old Testament prophecies relating to Christ. In Christ, “The covenants of the promise” are for both believing Jew and Gentile.


It’s vitally important that we understand that Paul is using Jewish terminology and applying it to all who are in Christ, who together make up the Church. We saw this same thing in our study of 1 Peter 2:3-10, where Peter used Jewish terminology and applied it to the Church, indicating that Israel is reborn in Christ as a spiritual Israel.


In regard to “the covenants of the promise,” Sam Storms is helpful:


Quote:
The plural “covenants” points to a series of covenants: with Abraham (Gen. 15: 17), Isaac (Gen. 26:2-5), Jacob (Gen. 28:13-15), and David (2 Sam. 7). These covenants were all characterized by or based on “promise,” namely, God’s pledge to be faithful to his people and to fulfill his word to them. One might even translate the phrase, “the covenants which embodied the promise” of God. Though Gentiles had no part in this promise they are now co-heirs with Christ.
Unquote


Thus in Christ, Gentiles are co-heirs of all the promises made to Israel, for those promises are fulfilled in Christ (Eph 3:6). We enter into those promises through Him:


Verses 14-16
14 For he is our peace, who made both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition,
15 having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; that he might create in himself of the two one new man, so making peace;
16 and might reconcile them both in one body unto God through the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:


Paul reveals that where there was once a “wall” between them  Jews and Gentiles, in Christ there is now unity, a “oneness,” and not simply being as one, as being in harmony, but a “new man” in Christ.


Regarding this wall, Albert Barnes says:


Quote


There is an allusion here undoubtedly to the wall of partition in the temple by which the court of the Gentiles was separated from that of the Jews…..The idea here is, that that was now broken down, and that the Gentiles had the same access to the temple as the Jews. The sense is, that in virtue of the sacrifice of the Redeemer they were admitted to the same privileges and hopes.
Unquote


The division and antagonism between the Jews and Gentiles, which was symbolized by this wall (as well as the Law), was dissolved by the blood of Christ. Through His death and resurrection, Jews and Gentiles become one through Him. Where there was once hostility between the two, there is now peace because of their common faith in Christ as Lord and Savior. The two become one in Christ, and together become True Israel, who are both of the faith of Abraham (Gal 3:6-9; Gal 3:26-29).


What Paul is explaining, is that this “one new man,” this “one body,” is not a combining of Jews and Gentiles, but an entirely new creation of a new people. We are all one in Christ, where there is no Jew or Gentile, but a brand new entity, a brand new organism. Together, we are heirs “to all the promises given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  


Verses 17-18


17 and he came and preached peace to you that were far off, and peace to them that were nigh:
18 for through him we both have our access in one Spirit unto the Father.


I don’t think the meaning of this statement in verse 18 is fully realized at first. But in light of everything we’ve been learning, it’s clear that Paul is not saying that we “have our access” as two distinct groups: as believing Jews and believing Gentiles. No, what Paul is saying, is that we “have our access” into the presence of the Father (“in one Spirit”) as one new and entirely different people. Old distinctions are done away with in Christ.


Verses 19-22
19 So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God,
20 being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone;
21 in whom each several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord;
22 in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.


A parallel passage to what Paul says above, is 1 Peter 2:3-10, which we’ve already covered. Reread the verses here in light of that section.


Exodus 19:1-6
1 In the third month after the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.
2 And when they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the wilderness of Sinai, they encamped in the wilderness; and there Israel encamped before the mount.
3 And Moses went up unto God, and Jehovah called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel:
4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.
5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be mine own possession from among all peoples: for all the earth is mine:
6 and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.


I think it’s appropriate that we end this series with an Old Testament passage, because all along I’ve been saying that we can’t understand the OT apart from the New Testament. Now that we’ve established a good understanding of the NT regarding Israel and the Church, we now have the solid foundation we need to interpret the OT as it relates to this subject. Indeed, we can never again look at the OT the same way, and that’s exactly the way it’s meant to be.


As we look at the key phrases in this passage, we’ll see that the New Testament uses these same phrases (or similar) to refer to the Church under the New Covenant. The Old Covenant has its fulfillment in the New Covenant. The OT was a type and shadow of the NT. Everything in the OT had Christ and the Church in view. If you’ve been following along in this series, there shouldn’t be any doubt in your mind about that. This passage here should eliminate any doubts remaining.


Phrases/Terms:


As you’ll see, the NT writers applied Old Testament terms and phrases to New Testament believers (the Church). Pay particular attention the the bold print in the verses.


children of Israel
house of Jacob
holy nation
kingdom of priests
mine own possession
among all peoples
brought you unto myself


children of Israel


Throughout this series, we’ve been learning that the New Testament views Christ and the Church as the the completed Israel, and is now regarded as True Israel. The Church doesn’t replace Israel, it’s the continuation of it.
A true Jew is one “inwardly,” that is, a spiritual Jew in Christ, who is True Israel. Only those who have been born again through faith in Christ are regarded as children of Israel in the eyes of God.


Not all children of the nation of Israel are true children of Israel. Only those who are of the spiritual seed of Abraham are true children of Israel. We become spiritual children of Abraham through faith in Christ. Thus Paul identifies Israel under the New Covenant as spiritual Israel, in Christ.


house of Jacob


“House of Jacob” is equivalent to “house of Israel,” for Jacob was Israel, as God named him. It was directly from his line that the twelve tribes of Israel came.


Therefore, these phrases have real significance, and takes on an elevated meaning in the New Testament. It still refers to Israel, but not to national Israel, but to spiritual Israel, those who are in Christ, the Church.


He 3:5-6
1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, even Jesus;
2 who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also was Moses in all his house.
3 For he hath been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by so much as he that built the house hath more honor than the house.
4 For every house is builded by some one; but he that built all things is God.
5 And Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were afterward to be spoken;
6 but Christ as a son, over his house; whose house are we, if we hold fast our boldness and the glorying of our hope firm unto the end.


As Jesus was faithful to the Father, so was Moses. Where it says, “as also was Moses in all his house” (vss. 2 & 5), this refers to God’s house, not his (Nu 12:7). God’s house in the Old Testament, of which Moses was leader, was the nation of Israel.


The writer of Hebrews compares the “house” of the Old Testament to the “house” of the New Testament. The house of the OT was national Israel, and the house of the New Testament is the Church: “but Christ as a son, over his house; whose house are we.”


New Testament believers in Christ are spiritual Israel, which is the Church. The Church is the New Testament “house of God” (He 10:21). That national Israel has its continuation as a spiritual nation, is clear from passages like this one.  
He 8:8-10
8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, That I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;
9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them forth out of the land of Egypt; For they continued not in my covenant, And I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
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 on their heart also will I write them: And I will be to them a God, And they shall be to me a people:


This is a quote from Jeremiah 31:31-34. It’s a prophecy regarding the “house of Israel.” The author of Hebrews reveals that this prophecy has been fulfilled in Christ. The whole context of this passage in Hebrews is about Christ and the New Covenant in Him. Throughout this whole book in general, it’s a comparison between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant in Christ.


The point is, Jeremiah’s prophecy as given to Israel in the Old Testament, had Christ and the Church in view, not the nation. This passage in Hebrews provides one of the strongest arguments for fulfillment theology, that national Israel has its fulfillment and continuation in the Church. The nation of Israel has been rebirthed in Christ as a spiritual nation. As we’ve already seen, Peter confirms this:


1 Peter 2:3-5
3 if ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious:
4 unto whom coming, a living stone, rejected indeed of men, but with God elect, precious,
5 ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.


1 Pet 2:8-9
8 and, A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence; for they stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
9 But ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:


Note the terms Peter uses to describe the Church:


elect race
holy nation


Peter uses phrases that normally describe the nation of Israel, and applying them to the Church. Paul and Peter and the writer of Hebrews all view Christ and the Church as being the fulfillment and continuation of Israel.


These verses in 1 Peter leads right into the next three terms of our text:


holy nation; kingdom of priests; mine own possession


Again, we see the phrase “holy nation” from our Exodus text being using by Peter to describe the Church.


The phrases “kingdom of priests” and “mine own possession” from Exodus are also used by Peter to refer to the Church: holy priesthood, royal priesthood, God’s own possession.


There’s absolutely no doubt that Peter had Exodus 19:1-6 in mind, and was applying it to the Church as the fulfillment of it.


among all peoples


We see in the Old Testament that Israel was chosen by God from “among all peoples” of the world. We see in the New Testament that believers in Christ have been chosen from among all the peoples of the world. That of course describes the Church. God chose His Son Jesus to be the Savior of the world, and we as believers have our election in Him.


brought you unto myself


As God brought the people of Israel to Himself, so does He bring us to Himself under the New Covenant through Christ:


2 Corinthians 5:18-19
18 But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses, and having committed unto us the word of reconciliation.


Ephesians 1:5
5 having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,


Ephesians 5:27
27 that he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.


Under the New Covenant, it’s the Church that God presents to Himself, consisting of both believing Jews and believing Gentiles. One body in Christ. One people in Christ. One holy nation in Christ. One spiritual nation in Christ.


Conclusion


All things considered, how can it be that God still has a distinct and separate plan for the nation of Israel, apart from the Church? It should be clear by now that God no longer recognizes the Israel of the Old Covenant, for they were but a type and shadow of Christ, who is True Israel.


Not that the nation of Israel doesn’t exist today. But the fact that Israel still exists, doesn’t mean that God still has a plan for that nation. God has already accomplished His purpose for them. The nation of Israel was a type of the “holy nation” (1 Pet 2:9) which was to come, which is the the Church. In other words, national Israel has it’s completion and continuation in Christ and in His Church. The nation of Israel has its fulfillment as a spiritual nation.


Peter and Paul and the writer of Hebrews clearly understood, and taught, that Christ and the Church was the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies regarding Israel. The passage in Exodus 19 is just one example of that.


Israel wasn’t replaced by the Church. On the contrary, the whole Old Testament looked forward to the time when Israel would be reborn in Christ as a spiritual nation. Old Testament Israel was a type of the Israel that it would become in Christ. In Christ all people-distinctives are done away with. In Christ we are all one. We are a whole new creation, a whole new entity. Israel no longer has its identity as a nation of this world, but as a “holy nation” in Christ.


Does God still have a plan for the people of Israel? Of course He does! Jesus is the Messiah of the Old Testament prophecies. Each individual Jew is to embrace Christ as their Lord and Savior, like everyone else in the world. But the idea that God still has a plan for the nation of Israel is not what the New Testament teaches. There is only one people and one nation in God’s plan, and that’s those who are in Christ, who together, make up the The Church.


I don’t think it’s strange that the nation of Israel still exists today, for Christianity has its roots in Israel. In truth, Christianity is the fulfillment of the Jewish religion. Everything in the Old Testament points to Christ and the Church. I think the nation of Israel today serves as a reminder of God’s historical dealings with them, and of the truth that is embedded in their religion. There is a light that shines from Israel, and that light is Christ who fulfilled all things Israel.


It’s no wonder to me that Jews and Christians are the most hated people in the world today, for we have been made from the same cloth of truth.


Israel has its completion in Christ, and the Church is completed Israel.


Next Up


Now that Corporate Election and Fulfillment Theology have been explained, we can now look at them side by side and make a comparison between the two. Again, the purpose of this comparison is to point out the correlation between them, and to demonstrate the incompatibility of Calvinism and Fulfillment Theology. I’ll do that in the next post.