The New Israel

I am finishing a week at the lovely Schloss Mittersill in Austria, teaching on the annual Bible and Culture Course. Its been a real privilege to be here with delegates from 14 countries. A little taste of Heaven. And when the clouds and rain cleared today to show the snowy peaks in the distance - brilliant!

This morning we were in Isaiah 49, the Second Servant Song. If you can, take a few minutes to read the chapter. Its blockbusting. In it we learn about the Servant of the Lord, the king God will send to redeem and save. In it we learn about him:

  • That he is God's secret weapon for saving his people
  • That he accomplishes it with his word that is like a sharp sword
  • That it comes through great suffering

But by far the most important thing is that this servant is called by God "Israel." And he ISN'T talking about the nation of Israel, because in v5 this New Servant Israel, rescues the nation of Israel.

This is the most important principle for applying the Old Testament. There is a New Israel - Christ. Not the Church, not nation-state Israel. Jesus. The title is taken from the nation in Isaiah 49 and given to God's New Israel. This Israel becomes a New agreement between God and Man. He doesn't merely relate the covenant, like Moses. He is the covenant. He is the recipient of God's promise to Abraham to bless all nations.

By failing to obey the Mosaic covenant, Old Testament Israel was devastated and exiled by God. Our New Covenant, our New Israel - Jesus Christ - perfectly obeys God, makes a new covenant, not with the blood of sacrificial animals but with his own blood. God's plan has always been to have a people Israel. Get rid of any confusion. Israel is no longer geographical, it is not the nation in Palestine. It is Christ, and everyone in him. Praise God for raising up a perfect Servant who becomes a guilt-offering to cleanse and save nations. Everything God promises to Old Testament Israel is "yes and amen" in Jesus Christ.