God has a family, which includes all who believe in Jesus (Yeshua). In Galatians 6, Paul describes the equality of Jew and non-Jew in the Messiah; each is a new creation in Him. He prays for peace and mercy to be upon them, and upon “the Israel of God”.
Galatians 6 (NKJV)
15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation. 16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
The term, “Israel of God” refers to His chosen people who have a close personal walk with Him, as pictured in Isaiah 43:1:
But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.”
God committed Himself to be a husband to His people after leading them out of Egypt, and again in the new covenant announced in Jeremiah 31. In this chapter, God describes how He had been a husband to the people of Israel, in the covenant which they broke, and how He is now establishing a new covenant with the house of Israel:
31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
New covenant believers are described in the New Testament as the bride of Christ (cf. Ephesians 5:22-33 and Revelation 19:6-8). Considering all of these promises, in God’s coming eternal kingdom, who will be his wife?
Batya Ruth Wootten writes in her book, “Redeemed Israel, Reunited and Restored”, (Key of David Publishing, 2006 www.keyofdavidpublishing.com), p. 59-61:
The people of Israel are the family of the God of Israel. They are His chosen people. But who makes up this family: the Jewish people or the New Covenant Believers?
Who is Israel?
For ages, the answer given by many [in replacement theology] excluded those of Judaism, but in our day some give an answer that similarly excludes New Covenant Believers from being part of the chosen people of Israel.
To solve this dilemma some teach that the Jewish people are “God’s Chosen People” and that the Church is the “Bride of Christ.” However, our Messiah declared that He is One with the Father. In fact, it was over this claim that the “Jews took up stones to stone Him” (John 10:30-31).
In truth, Yeshua (Jesus) is:
- One with “the God of Israel”
- One with Him who calls Israel, “a holy people…chosen…for His own possession out of all the peoples on the face of the earth.” (Deuteronomy 7:6)
- One with Him who swears that only “if the heavens above can be measured” will He “cast off all the offspring of Israel.” (Jeremiah 31:37)
- One with Him who avows, “If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed laws of heaven and earth, then I will reject the descendants of Jacob” (Jeremiah 33:25-26).
The unmeasured Heavens remain. The offspring of Israel continue to be the chosen people of the God of all Creation. YHVH continues to love the people of Judah. And yet…
The New Covenant Chosen Ones
In the New Covenant, Peter writes to “the pilgrims of the Dispersion” and says of them, “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 1:1; 2:9).
Paul similarly writes to the Believers of Thessalonica, telling them, “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth,” (2 Thessalonians 2:13)
So what is the truth? Who are the chosen people? Is it the Jewish people, or the aliens to whom Peter writes? Another way we might ask our question is this:
If the God of Israel were to again call His people into the desert, where would His non-Jewish followers pitch their tents?
Understanding Israel will help us better grasp YHVH’s end-time plan. It will also answer a question many non-Jewish Believers ask about themselves:
Who am I to the God of Israel?
To help answer this question, we again remember that YHVH says, “Israel is My son, My firstborn” (Exodus 4:22).
This means that conversely, the Father’s firstborn is Israel. It also reveals that Israel is a firstborn title and to be Yah’s firstborn is to be Israel. Even so, Messiah’s followers are called “to the general assembly and ekklesia of the firstborn…to Yeshua, the mediator of a new covenant.” (Hebrews 12:23-24)
We also belong to the commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2:11-22).
[End of quote from Batya Ruth Wootten.]
New covenant believers are included in the commonwealth of Israel. “The Israel of God” is God’s entire family, who together will be His wife. In Ephesians 2, Paul describes this “one new man [humanity]” united in the Spirit and in the Messiah:
11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.