Israel and the Church (Pt. 1)

By William Handschumacher

A Rock of Offence Special Commentary


This is Part 1 of a three-part Bible study.
Click on the appropriatle link to access
the other parts.

Part 2 ------- Part 3


Saint Paul gives this warning
to all modern-day Christians:

"I say then, hath God cast away his people (The Jews)? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew." (Romans 11:1-2 - Emphasis Added)

“Lest you be self-opinionated (wise in your own conceits), I do not want you to miss this hidden truth and mystery, brethren: a hardening (insensibility) has [temporarily] befallen a part of Israel [to last] until the full number of the ingathering of the Gentiles has come in, and so all Israel will be saved. As it is written, the Deliverer will come from Zion, He will banish ungodliness from Jacob. And this will be My covenant (My agreement) with them when I shall take away their sins.” (Romans 11:25-29 Amplified Bible)

In these Scriptures, Paul is addressing a problem that continues to afflict the modern church. In the first-century, an effort to erase Israel from God's purposes was gaining popularity among Gentile believers. It was driven by the misconception that God had rejected the entire Jewish race because they crucified their Messiah; Jesus Christ. Today, this same anti-Semitic brand of theology now dominates both the Roman Catholic and Protestant sides of the isle. It produces a corrupt brand of Christian doctrine that seeks to confuse, or even eliminate the unique roles of both Israel and the Church in the Bible ... which also redefines the principles governing Christ's salvation. This study attempts to shed some light on this popular agenda.

The Way That Seemeth Right

When we examine the many types of
historical Christian doctrine, a
popular misconception repeatedly
comes to the surface and sounds
something like this ...

Everything in the Bible must be
obeyed by Christians living today
because it's all God’s Word.

In order to defend a particular subject in the Bible, many older Christians often say something like; "If it's 'in the book' then we need to believe it". Others would comment: "To solve all our problems, we just need to 'get back to the Bible'". Christians in my generation had a similar saying; "The Bible says it, I believe it ... and that settles it." I have no doubt that these sayings that defend the authenticity of the Bible are well-intentioned ... having said many of them myself. But, unless we are very careful, these comments can actually lead us away from the truth.

Readers should not misinterpret
our intentions. Obedience to God’s
Word is important and should never
be discouraged. Yet, the
following example, taken directly
from the Bible, illustrates an
often over-looked problem.

God commanded the Israelites to perform animal sacrifices to atone for sin in the Old Testament (in order to obtain and keep salvation). But, these same commands and practices are not binding upon the modern day Christian believer living after the cross. These tenants are an integral part of the Old Testament program of the Law and are correctly classified as “Biblical” – because they are recorded in the Holy Scriptures. Yet, Jesus fulfilled – and then abolished these “Biblical” requirements by nailing them to the cross (Matthew 5:17, Colossians 2:13-14, Ephesians 2:11-22). As a result, God now considers this Old Testament program (also known as “the first covenant”) to be “obsolete” (See Hebrews 8:6-13).

Contrary to popular church teachings, there are many rules, principles and religious tenants connected to the Old Testament program of the Law that are correctly classified as “Biblical” ... yet are no longer required to obtain and keep salvation after the sacrificial death of Christ. Saint Paul said it this way:

"For sin shall not have dominion
over you: for ye are not under the
law, but under grace."
(Romans 6:14)

and …

“For the law of the Spirit of life in
Christ Jesus has made me free from
the law of sin and death."
(Romans 8:1-2)

Popular religious cults exercise their power and influence by taking full advantage of our lack of knowledge in this matter - and can even cause the most dedicated and educated professing Christian to go astray in their faith. Unfortunately, many groups within the organized Christian Church practice this same kind of misleading theology without the knowledge of their members. One example can be found in what some choose to call “Biblical Christianity”, which sounds good - until you look beneath the surface. Once again, the word “Biblical” is commonly used in a vague and deceptive way.

We often hear zealous church leaders and their followers comment; “We need to obey the whole Bible as God’s Word”. Yet, the very Bible they speak about (specifically the New Testament) warns that we can slip into dangerous error, without knowing it, by following these instructions. For those living after the cross, Scripture teaches that there is both a right and wrong way to interpret its writings ... and God rejects the wrong way regardless of anyone's good intentions. Jesus referred to it as “the broad way that leads to destruction” (Matthew 7:13-14) and the book of Proverbs calls it “the way that seemeth right, but leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12).

This is why Saint Paul commanded all
Christians to; “rightly (or correctly)
divide the Word of truth” in 2 Timothy
2:15 - in order to avoid the dangerous
religious trap of believing the Bible

By ignoring Paul's command and refusing
to properly separate (or "rightly
divide") the two major covenant programs
of the Bible - one of the most dangerous
heresies found within Christendom is
unknowingly created.

The two covenant programs of the Bible
are known as:

ISRAEL...Under the Old
Covenant Law of Moses


THE CHURCH...Under the
New Covenant of Christ

Unfortunately, a vast majority of professing Christians and their leaders ignore Paul's command and choose to interpret the Bible “undivided”, which effectively creates a false theology that mixes these two radically different covenant programs together. This results in the unbiblical belief that 'Israel and the Church' are 'interchangeable' ... where the Church becomes "The New Israel" in the New Testament and is treated as an extension (or continuation) of original Israel's Old Testament program. It attempts to illegally combine two radically different covenants in the Bible that God said must remain separated.

As a result, those who handle the Scriptures in such a way assume that when God addresses Israel in the Old Testament - He is also addressing the Church as an 'equal' ... or as being the same as Israel.

This is why a vast majority of Christians, when defending certain beliefs, arbitrarily quote Scripture from both the Old Testament and the New ... with little concern that they may be violating the context of the Bible. In their mind; 'It’s all God's Word' - so context doesn't matter. Yet the very Bible they claim to reverence strongly disagrees with this practice and warns that it corrupts the tenants of Christ's salvation and may result in serious eternal consequences.

Paul makes the following statement
concerning those who seek to
illegally place the Church under
Israel's Old Testament program :

Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic.


Paul continues to explain why this truth is important. The first covenant is associated with Hagar (the bondwoman) and Mount Sinai, where the Law was given to Israel. But, the second covenant is associated with Sarah (the freewoman) and her son Isaac, who was born according to promise and speaks of the New Covenant that Jesus initiated at the cross thousands of years later. Concerning these two covenants, Paul states;

"So then, brethren, we are not
children of the bondwoman
(speaking of the first covenant)
but of the free (Speaking of the
second covenant)."
(See Galatians 4:21-31)

The book of Hebrews provides
even more information that
tends to anger many Christian
fundamentalists who treat the
Scritpures 'undivided' rather
than "rightly divided".

"But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He (Jesus) is also mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if THAT FIRST COVENANT had been faultless, then no place would have been sought FOR A SECOND." (Hebrews 8:6-7)

"In that He (Jesus Christ) says, "a new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away." (Hebrews 8:13)

In Romans 8:2-4, Paul mentions these
two covenants once again using slightly
different terminology.

"For the law of the spirit of
life in Christ Jesus has made
me free from the law of sin
and death. For what the law
could not do in that it was weak
through the flesh, God did by
sending His own Son ...

NOTE: The law of sin and death
(or “The Law”) is the first
Covenant from Mount Sinai – and
the law of the spirit of life
in Christ Jesus is the second,
or new covenant - established on
God's Grace and initiated at
the cross.

The first covenant of the Law given to Israel at Mount Sinai is often called Judaism. The second (or new) covenant - rooted in Isaac (the son of promise) and later established at the cross – provides the governing principles for what is often referred to as "Christianity" ... or what Paul calls; The Church.

Obviously, many other subjects
exist in the Bible. Yet, these
two covenants establish an
important doctrinal framework
and division that all Christians
must respect if they want to
walk in truth and be accepted
by God.

The Law Must Change when
God Brings the Gentiles
into the Church

The New Testament deliberately refers to the correct way of interpreting the Bible as “rightly dividing” - because each of these two Biblical covenants operate according to different (and many times conflicting) sets of principles and tenants. Following the events in Acts chapter 10 at the household of Cornelius, the Church now consists of both Jews and Gentiles. Yet, Judaism (or Old Testament Law - also known as 'the first covenant') demands that a Jew must treat a Gentile (or someone belonging to a non-Jewish race) as “unclean”. This is one of the core teachings of the Law that offended Peter (a Jew) and caused him to stumble during the "great sheet vision" in Acts chapter 10. The simple act of having dinner with a Gentile or visiting their home is forbidden and considered a serious sin for anyone practicing the tenants of Old Testament Law.

Yet, committing this sin
against the law is exactly
what God commanded Peter
to do in Acts chapter 10.

Does this mean that God told
Peter to sin?

Absolutely not.

God was warning Peter (a Jew)
that - after the cross - He no
longer honors the old program...
and that a new program called
"The New Covenant of Christ",
where a Jew can now legally
fellowship with a Gentile (along
with many other changes) - is
the only program He honors.

Yet, the old program of the
Law is recorded in Scripture
and continues to be classified
as "Biblical truth". This is
an example of why Paul commands
all Christians to "rightly
divide" God's Word and obey
Christ's New Covenant that now
applies to the Church.

It is here we see one of many reasons God removes the Church from being under the Law's authority - and places it under the New Covenant of Christ. Paul uses certain phrases in his official epistles to the Church to communicate this important truth such as; “we are delivered from the law” - “we are dead to the law through the body of Christ” (Romans 7:1-6) - “you are not under the law but under grace” (Romans 6:14) – “the law is taken out of the way and nailed to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14) – “the law is abolished in Christ” (Ephesians 2:11-22) - “the first covenant (or the law) is obsolete” (Hebrews 8:6-13) – “for as many as are under the works of the law are under the curse” (Galatians 3:10-12) – and finally ... “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13-14).

This is why it’s not only spiritually
illegal, but also impossible for
Judaism (the first covenant of the
Law) to govern the Christian Church.
Yet, this is exactly the kind of
spiritual government a majority of
church leaders and their followers
choose to embrace.

As a result, various Christian churches and denominations conveniently ignores these facts - because they expose the falsehood of many cherished traditions and teachings.

In contrast, the New Covenant of Christ is designed to be “racially universal” and carries no such restrictions against Gentiles. Yet, the Bible contains both of these covenants. This is why God’s Word must be “rightly divided” if it is to be properly interpreted and understood.

In Galatians 4:21-31, Paul warns
that the Church is only under the
covenant that has its roots in
the freewoman (Sarah/Isaac),
which is the New Covenant of
Christ (previously discussed).

Why is this important?

The first covenant of the Law (or
Judaism) was only given to Israel
(the Jewish people) and not to
the Church, which is now mostly
Gentile (non-Jewish).

Thinking that the mostly Gentile Church is also subject to this exclusively Jewish 'first covenant' produces a false evangelistic message (a conditional salvation based on behavior and good works), which was condemned by both the apostolic leadership of the church in Acts chapter 15 ... and in Paul's Epistle to the Galatians. Unfortunately, this same condemned theology is now accepted as fundamental teaching in many churches and denominations. As a result, congregations are told that both of these covenants (the old covenant and the new covenant - also referred to as; the first covenant and the second covenant) must be obeyed by modern-day Christians to obtain eternal life (salvation). To reinforce and defend this teaching - it is often stated that Christ's New Covenant is just an extension or continuation of the Old Testament program. Yet, this wrong way of believing the Bible creates a deceptive and toxic brand of theology that does not come from God. Bible Scholars often refer to it as Galatian religion, the Galatian error - or simply, “Galatianism”.

To illustrate the seriousness of
this problem, some choose to refer
to it as "The Galatian Heresy",
because it redefines the tenants of
Christ's Grace-based salvation.

We believe this is what Paul referred to as spiritual bondage, which is exactly what Galatian religion produces. Yet, many modern-day professing Christians refer to this bondage as; "Biblical Christianity".

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free (the New Covenant of Christ), and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage (or Old Covenant Law)." (Galatians 5:1)

A disastrous consequence of mixing the first and second covenants together is losing the distinction between Israel and the Church found in Scripture. Another aberrant doctrine known as “Replacement theology” is closely related to the error of Galatianism.

More information is available
at the following link:

Avoiding the Error of
Replacement Theology

Since many are taught and believe that the Church is under the authority of both the first and second covenants, which contradicts Paul’s New Testament teachings ... they convince themselves that recognizing Israel as a separate and distinct entity from the Church - is both unbiblical and wrong. This assumption sets the stage for yet another wrong-headed conclusion; that God permanently rejects Israel because they crucified their Messiah ... which now makes the Church, "The New Israel" (or a 'replacement' for disobedient Israel). It’s “wrong-headed” and misleading because Scripture states that God has an everlasting covenant with Israel through Abraham, and will never permanently reject them - but will eventually save them. The following Scripture documents a promise and warning that God attaches to His "everlasting covenant" with the Israelites.

"I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you and make your
name great; and you shall be a
blessing. I will bless those
who bless you, and I will curse
him who curses you; and in you
all the families of the earth
shall be blessed.”
(Genesis 12:2-3)

Paul warns the Church about the
error of rejecting or ignoring
Israel's everlasting covenant in
the following Scriptures;

"I say then, hath God cast away his people (The Jews)? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew." (Romans 11:1-2 - Emphasis Added)

“Lest you be self-opinionated (wise in your own conceits), I do not want you to miss this hidden truth and mystery, brethren: a hardening (insensibility) has [temporarily] befallen a part of Israel [to last] until the full number of the ingathering of the Gentiles has come in, and so all Israel will be saved. As it is written, the Deliverer will come from Zion, He will banish ungodliness from Jacob. And this will be My covenant (My agreement) with them when I shall take away their sins.” (Romans 11:25-29 Amplified Bible)

Today major Christian denominations
and their members (but thankfully not
all) are choosing to curse Israel.
But, the everlasting covenant God
made with Israel through Abraham
and the divine consequences that will
befall those who curse her, remain
in force today.

Ignoring Paul's command to rightly divide God’s Word is what causes preachers and even whole denominations to teach that "the Church" has permanently replaced Israel – and that there is no longer any need for the Jew. Some even comment (remember that these people claim to be committed Christians) that Israel (and Jews in general) should be completely destroyed because they are cursed and rejected by God. This is nothing more than a resurgence of anti-Semitism, which was the root cause of the Holocaust during World War 2.

All these people seem to forget
that the Lord Jesus Christ
originally came as Israel’s
Messiah and ...


The Dual-Role of Jesus Christ
in the New Testament

Any serious student of the Bible realizes that Jesus Christ had two missions, not just one. God originally sent Him as Israel's promised Messiah. His earthly ministry involved teaching the Jewish people from this Messianic position of authority. While Jesus did teach various universal truths that also applies to the Church ... the majority of His teachings were directed only at Jews living under the Law.

Jesus reveals this fact in
the Gospel of Matthew ...

"These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matthew 10:5-6)

"But He (Jesus) answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matthew 15:24)

In this study, we spend a lot of time warning about Replacement theology, which 'replaces' Old Testament Israel - with the Church which is now incorrectly referred to as "The New Israel". As a result, Old Testament Israel and the New Testament Church are considered to be equal and interchangeable. This illegally changes the words of Christ; "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" - to also include the Church ... since both entities are considered to be interchangeable.

However, what Jesus refers to as "the house of Israel" (or just 'Israel') - and what Saint Paul later calls "the Church' (following Christ's crucifixion), are two different groups which are not the same - and not interchangeable. This is why those who embrace Replacement theology claim that what Jesus is saying to "the house of Israel' ... is also being said to the Church as "the New Israel". However, the New Covenant had not yet started during Christ's earthly ministry, which means that nearly everything Jesus taught had to legally conform to Old Testament Law. So ... if "the house of Israel" and the Church are truly the same - then the Church must also obey the Law contained in many of Christ's teachings. One example is found in the story of 'rich yound ruler' ...

"Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He (Jesus) said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”" (Matthew 19:16-17 - Important Note: When the young man asked Jesus which commandments to keep in order to obtain eternal life, He quoted from the Ten Commandments of the Law in Matthew 19 verses 18 through 22.)

However ... after the crucifixion
and the begining of the New Covenant
the Scriptures now state ...

"Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter." (Words of Saint Paul from Romans 7:4-6)

"For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." (Romans 6:14)

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

All of this tells us
two important things.

FIRST: Israel and the Church
are not treated the same in
Scripture. They are two
separate entities, governed by
two different sets of covenant
laws. These facts expose
Replacement theology as a
dangerous and misleading false

SECOND: Since Israel and the
Church are not the same, Jesus
operates in two different
roles; as both the Messiah of
Israel - and the head of the

"He (Jesus Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the Church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He (Jesus Christ) may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross." (Colossians 1:15-20)

"For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the Church; and He is the Savior of the body." (Ephesians 5:23)

The story of the Woman at
the Well Reveals Some
Important Truths

An interesting dialogue takes place between Jesus and the woman at the well in John chapter 4, where He made the following comments (verses 22 & 23):

"You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him."

The woman responded (verse 25):

“I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”

Jesus said to her, “I who
speak to you am He.”

This dialogue provides us with
some important undeniable facts.

Jesus said that God's salvation
originated from the Jewish people
and their culture.

Jesus reveals that He is
the Jewish Messiah.


This means that ... following
the cross - Jesus Christ, the
now resurrected Lord and Head
of the Christian Church ...

(Colossians 1:15-20)

We emphasize these truths because a large Christian faction consisting of major denominations are striving to remove Israel from the Bible - and erase the Jewish nationality (or racial identity) of the Lord Jesus Christ. In order to accomplish this task, Scripture must be redefined or rewritten - which creates a dangerous counterfeit gospel that God ultimately rejects.

We should also understand that the
Bible was written in the Middle
East and is based on Jewish
culture. Many of Christ's teachings
use "Jewish idoms", which are
often misunderstood and misapplied
by Christians living in the west.

What is known as "a blood covenant"
also originated in the Middle East.
It is only properly understood by
learning its intended purpose as
defined by the culture where it was
originally practiced. Christians
in the west have little knowledge of
what a blood covenant entails. It
is not just a contract or agreement
as many are told. Yet, God
established His Word and the
salvation of Christ on its rules and

On the night before He was betrayed,
Jesus told His disciples; "This cup
is the new covenant in My blood,
which is shed for you."
(Luke 22:20 NKJV)

Various ministers who embrace Replacement theology will search for the words “Jew or Israel” in Scripture – and subtly replace them with “the Church”. Their sermons and Bible teachings are modified in the same way, often without the knowledge of their listening audience. This is nothing more than rewriting Scripture, which makes it appear that God says things - that He does not say. For these reasons, we can safely conclude that this theology, regardless of its popularity and widespread acceptance - does not come from Jesus Christ or our Heavenly Father. Saint Paul offended falsely religious people in a similar way by labeling such distorted Bible teachings; “doctrines of demons”. Yet, a large part of Christendom embraces these teachings as "Biblical truth". This is why we spend so much time in our commentaries and studies warning about spiritual counterfeits.


This is Part 1 of a three-part Bible study.
Click on the appropriatle link to access
the other parts.

Part 2 ------- Part 3


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