Defining Israel

Israel is the name that YHWH gave to Jacob. Within that name is a calling and a prophetic destiny given to the seed of Abraham and the nation of chosen people who descend from him. While controversy abounds regarding the exact meaning and identity of Israel, it refers first and foremost to the physical seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. After the death of King Solomon, the nation of Israel divided. The northern tribes are called the House of Israel, while the tribes to the south are the House of Judah. Both of those groups failed to keep YHWH’s covenant. Israel (northern kingdom), sometimes interchangeably referred to by the prophets as “Ephraim,” was given a “covenantal divorce” for their harlotry and abandonment of Him and were scattered among the Gentile nations. Over the course of many years, they ceased to be known as YHWH’s covenant people (Hos. 1:9) and became indistinguishable from the Gentiles into whom they had assimilated. Judah (southern kingdom) was also punished, although they did not lose their identity as the covenant people of God. Despite the failings of these two witness peoples, YHWH never abandoned nor forsook either group. He has a glorious prophetic destiny in store for both of them as they return and worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. Through all of this, the eternal covenant with Abraham is being fulfilled.

In what’s referred to as the Mosaic, or Sinai Covenant, YHWH established Himself as the “God of the nation.” The righteous and holy laws set forth at Sinai served to teach Israel about atonement and God’s holy nature. They provided a moral code that served to instruct and protect YHWH’s people. Most importantly, these laws established a holy standard Israel found impossible to keep, and their sin and guilt were exposed.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

While the scripture above (2 Timothy 3: 16 & 17) gives examples for us to follow, the ultimate purpose of the Law was to point Israel to the solution found in the greater covenant to come.

In the establishment of YHWH’s New Covenant, He made provision for individual Israelites to be restored to fellowship with Him in a much deeper, more powerful way. Yeshua’s outpoured blood and broken body allowed individuals to be adopted into God’s Kingdom and grafted into the olive tree of Israel. The “Good News” of this spiritual rebirth and empowerment of the Holy Spirit was offered first to the House of Judah, then to the House of Israel, and finally to all the nations. While a majority of the Jewish people initially rejected this New Covenant offer, some accepted it along with many scattered “Ephraimites” and Gentiles (Ezek. 37:16). Over time, as non-Jewish people became the majority, New Covenant Israel became increasingly divorced from its Hebrew roots. This ultimately gave rise to a number of doctrinal errors—one of the most grievous being Replacement Theology, which is a manmade doctrine, neither found in, nor of, the Bible.

Replacement theology teaches that because natural-born “Israel” largely rejected Yeshua and the New Covenant, YHWH replaced the physical seed of Abraham with the “Church,” an entity made up of saved Gentiles, who in essence became “Spiritual Israel.” According to Replacement Theology, it is these members of the “Church” who inherit all the blessings of Abraham. NCI does not agree with this unscriptural view. Old Testament prophecies are clear that YHWH planned from the start to make His New Covenant with Israel and Judah. Gentiles are encouraged to join in, but they are not part of a corporate group that replaces anybody; instead, they too become part of “the commonwealth of Israel” (Eph. 2:12).

New Covenant Israel is sensitive to issues involving Jewish people and evangelism. We commit to doing what we can to heal the rift that has developed over the centuries due to religious persecution. We do not believe Yeshua came to start a new religion to convert Jews to, but rather to establish the New Covenant, in which they were the first to be invited to participate. It is our goal to bless and serve our Jewish brethren and to stand in support of the nation of Israel in a world where they are increasingly isolated.

The hope of New Covenant Israel is the hope of Ezekiel 37: May Judah and Ephraim and all their companions become one stick in YHWH’s hand. May they be no more two nations or two kingdoms, but may all Israel be reunited and restored, and together may we worship our God in Spirit and in Truth, sooner rather than later.