Did the Church Replace Israel?

The church is not the replacement of Israel. Rather, the church is the body of believers in Jesus the Messiah, composed of both Jews and Gentiles, that is the ongoing, expanded Israel still today.

When Jesus came, he did not move out of the “Israel House” to build a new “Church House” next door. Rather, he moved into the Israel House and began knocking down walls, pouring concrete, adding rooms and floors, and throwing on wings to the house. He made the one house bigger. Paul describes how Jesus broke down “the dividing wall of hostility” so that “he might create one new man in place of the two [Jews and Gentiles]” (Eph. 2:14-15). So, then, in Jesus there is “neither Jew nor Greek…for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

In short, Jesus took the body of believers, the sons and daughters of Abraham, and made that body much bigger and much more diverse. He brought Gentiles in. He expanded Israel from Jerusalem and Judea, to Samaria, and to the uttermost ends of the earth.

Far from being the replacement of Israel, the church is still Israel today, just under a different name, still made up of those Jews and Gentiles who live by faith in Jesus the Messiah.


Written by Chad Bird, 1517 Scholar-in-Residence