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Israel is called the unfaithful wife of Jehovah. The church is call the Bride of Christ: (promised, but not yet wed.) The marriage supper of the Son, has not yet occurred.
So, how can Israel be the church, or the church be Israel?

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The illustration remains the same in and out of context. God is married to Israel. Israel commits adultery. There are 2 options, divorce or reconcilliation. If you say he divorced her then you must agree that he was first committed to her to divorce her. Now the talk is no longer Israel's adultery but God's divorcement of her.

Jer 14:21 Do not abhor us, for thy name's sake, do not disgrace the throne of thy glory: remember, break not thy covenant with us.

Dan 9:19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.

Eze 20:44 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have wrought with you for my name's sake, not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, O ye house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.

How's that for ripping out verses ? (I had trouble choosing there were so many) but the point does not change. God is faithful when Israel is not for his own names sake. He is not a divorcee! The illustration is clear ,or at least it is to me.
Ekkelsia is the Greek word. Qahal is the Hebrew word. The two words mean basically the same thing, they are just of 2 different languages. They both refer to the assembly of God's people, the ones called out to assemble together. Ekklesia was used in the Greek Septuagint in the place of the Hebrew word qahal. Thus ekklesia (or what our English versions translate as 'church') equals qahal.

Israel (national/physical) made up the qahal/ekklesia in the old covenant. I believe we continue with one ekkelsia/qahal in the new covenant, but that ekkelsia is now made up of Jew and Gentile IN CHRIST, with God laying aside those Jews that would rather have a hardened heart (yet, all the while accepting Jews in Christ by giving them a new heart). One doesn't get to be part of the ekklesia/qahal because one's momma was a Jew and one has a circumcised penis. One becomes part of the ekklesia through circumcision of the heart, being a new creation in Christ, receiving new birth, etc. One is only part of the ekklesia if they are actually IN CHRIST. Jews don't get a free ride into this (nor do Gentiles). You become part of the ekklesia (or, church, if you will) by coming into Christ.

It is this ekklesia (Jew and Gentile IN CHRIST) that will marry Christ and have a big celebration with Him when all things are consummated.
I would not argue against (not that I'm arguing :) ) that there are two called out groups both being called, called out assemblies. But the first called out assembly was not baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. If you want to call them the remnant of the called out assembly that did not permanently house the Holy Spirit , who were not born again and baptized into the body of Christ. Fine. But I don't see how that helps :)

If there was a remnant that was reserved that ,calvinistically speaking, God ordained to believe and co-exist in a new creation of both the remnant and the gentiles in what we now call the Church this in no way voids a relationship with an adulterous nation that God has been using and involved with while the whole world looks on. They are his witness still. They will look on him whom they have pierced and mourn. Even our inclusion in the spiritual promises to Israel is for the purpose of provoking them to jealousy.
I think it is a mistake to say that God only does and fulfills and accomplishes things that have a spiritual significance. He created the physical. The physical Israel will be redeemed, another illustration the valley of dry bones. Israel’s physical resurrection as a nation. I look for a physical resurrection for my own bones. The Physical Israel will testify this to the world and in that day ALL Israel will be saved. Both spiritually and physically and it will be God alone that gets the glory

This is not a free pass. It does not mean the Israel we see today each and every Individual will be saved. It means ALL of Israel both physically and spiritually will be saved in that day when God turns them and places within them a new heart. Just like he did with us. The Physical Nation of Israel will be saved spiritually in that day and so All Israel will be saved. Christ will reign and show this world how it should have been done. Just like he physically walked a sinless life and showed this world how it should have been done. Why did he have to make a showing of his sinlessness? When He shows the world who reigns it will be first to a nation of whom the world knows he is to be King. He was crucified King of the Jews.

You stated - 'They are his witness still.'

Only if one is IN CHRIST can they actually be a witness to God/Christ. 'You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses...' You cannot bear good news about the One you do not believe in. The new (and final) covenant as instituted by the God-Man shows that One is only a 'believer' if one has faith in/through Christ. I am not excluding Jews, I am just saying Hebrew people are not HIS witnesses without being IN HIM. It is impossible to be His witnesses if they have not entered new birth (albeit God sovereignly using a Jew that has hardened their heart against Him, as He can sovereignly use anyone with a hard heart).

In the end, I don't think Scripture allows for us to split God's people into 2 groups. He has one people, one Bride, one olive tree, one family, one body alone. And that Bride is made up of those in Christ - Jew and Gentile. The resurrected dry bones that Ezekiel spoke about is the resurrection of the Israel of God in Christ. I don't want us to spiritualize everything, but I want us to see that the promises of God are for HIS people. And HIS people are those in Christ, whether Jew or Gentile. (I put some more thoughts down in this article.)
Pharaoah was God's witness.
Rey -

You didn't read my comment carefully. :) - 'It is impossible to be His witnesses if they have not entered new birth (albeit God sovereignly using a Jew that has hardened their heart against Him, as He can sovereignly use anyone with a hard heart [i.e. Pharaoh]).'
Well that's why I said it. You said it was impossible, inserted a qualifier then I gave a rock solid example.

ScottL said:
Rey -

You didn't read my comment carefully. :) - 'It is impossible to be His witnesses if they have not entered new birth (albeit God sovereignly using a Jew that has hardened their heart against Him, as He can sovereignly use anyone with a hard heart [i.e. Pharaoh]).'
The word: Ekklesia, (a called out assembly) is also used in the Septuagint OT and Koine Greek NT for secular assemblies and meetings, like assembled in the city square. Therefore, Ekklesia is not a dedicated word used only for God's assembly. So, God's OT assembly is not necessarily the same group of people as God's NT assembly. Once, in the book of acts, the KJV translators called the OT people the "Church", which proves nothing, They also translated PASCHA (Passover) into Easter, in the same book!
Rey; Was not Pharaoh more of an example, than a witness?

Rey Reynoso said:
Pharaoah was God's witness.
A witness gives testimony about the truth of someone else. The man often capitulated but then would harden himself. He wound up being a witness and an example. Rahab heard about it and him.

Jack said:
Rey; Was not Pharaoh more of an example, than a witness?

Rey Reynoso said:
Pharaoah was God's witness.
Jack -

Come one now. Let's think through this. The writers of the NT knew the word for a 'general life (secular) assembly' was ekklesia. They said, 'Hmm. This word, ekklesia, is a good word to describe what God has done with His people. Thus, let's use it in reference to God's people.'

Therefore, in the Greek NT (and the Greek OT), guess what word is used for God's people? Ekklesia. When it spoke of Israel as God's qahal in the Hebrew, it got translated as God's ekklesia in the Greek. And guess what word is used in the Greek NT to describes God's people, His Bride? It's ekkelsia.

So, I think it a fair assessment to say qahal = ekklesia. The two words mean basically the same thing and are used in the same context when referring to God's people.

You crack me up, Jack. You always ask questions in discussion threads, maybe more than anyone on Theologica. But you already have an opinion formed on each topic. :)
ekklessia was also an angry mob.

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