What is God's relationship to Israel and has God replaced Israel with the Church?


Good question!

The relationship started when God chose a man from the land of Ur named Abram (Gen 12:1-4).  He told him that he would make a great nation from his descendents (Gen 15:5).  It is through this nation that all people would be blessed (by the salvation of Messiah). 

Not only did God verbally promise Abram that his seed would be numerous and great, He also sealed it with a covenant with Abram (Gen 15:9-17).  In the Old Testament when two people established a covenant they would prepare a sacrifice and both would walk through the divided pieces of slain animals; thus, symbolically attesting that both parties would give their lives if necessary to the fulfillment of the contractual obligation.  In this passage God caused Abraham to fall asleep so that He (“burning lamp (KJV))” was the only person who passed between the pieces of the sacrifice.  This made the covenant unconditional since God is the only one who ratified it by walking though the fire.

God also reaffirmed the covenant through Isaac (Gen 21:12; 26:2-5, 24) and Jacob (Gen 28:3-4; 13-15; 35:10-12, etc.). 

God not only promised that He would create a great nation through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but He also confirmed the agreement through a conditional covenant with Israel under the leadership of Moses (Ex 19:4-5; 20:1-31:18).  Essentially, this agreement states that if Israel is obedient to the prescribed Torah, then God would bless the people as they enter into a land flowing with milk and honey.  However, if the people disobey God and serve foreign gods, then they would forfeit the promises given by God and be driven out of the land by their enemies. 

Throughout the Torah God never mentions that he will cause the people of Israel to cease being a nation.  We know that while they were a nation under captivity (1 Chr 9:1; 2 Chr 36:20, etc.), they never ceased being a nation and that we know God promised to bring them back into the land as a nation (Jer 25:11-12; 29:10).

While God promises a “New Covenant” with Israel, this covenant never mentions the replacement of Israel.  He mentions in Jeremiah 29:11-14 that God will not destroy Israel, but rather has plans of peace to gather the dispersed from all nations and to restore them to the land.  He will bring Israel through great tribulation and suffering to a glorious end (Jer 30:7-11).  He affirms that during this covenant that the people of Israel will have the law of God written in their hearts  (Jer 31:31-36).  Jeremiah 31:35-37 confirms the security of Israel as a nation.

Finally, Deuteronomy 30:1-10 mentions that even though Israel will be driven out of the land, they will also return to possess it.  Throughout Scripture God has always had a special relationship with Israel.



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