I have recently had some discussion at my local church on the subject of Israel and the Church. I have always believed in the clear distinction between the two and was arguing that point whilst others were holding that the church has replaced Israel in its blessings etc. During our discussion I was attempting to illustrate one of the differences being that Israel is referred to as the wife of Jehovah and the Church is called the betrothed Bride of Christ. I was quite surprised by the response that came back to me. It was stated quite firmly that my theology is incorrect because that statement would mean that God will have two wives and that is not possible. The question was then asked where does that leave Jewish believers? Who will they be married to as they cannot be married to both God and Jesus. I am not sure how to answer these two points with a reasoned answer. This does not effect my original understanding and I have just purchased Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s Israelology book to gain a better insight to the subject but it is obviously going to take some time to work through. Would you please be kind enough to help me answer these two questions?
This is an issue on which there is much confusion and disinformation within the Church. I am attaching Arnold’s excellent Messianic Bible Study entitled “The Wife of Jehovah and the Bride of Messiah” (MBS015) on the contrast between wife and bride, which I believe you will find most useful in directly answering your questions and friend’s objections.
In short, your theology is not only correct, it is what the Bible teaches. God is not a bigamist, because He is not limited to one person. Both Father and Son are pictured as having unique relationships with Israel and the Church respectively. As to Jewish believers, as a result of both genealogical heritage and theological belief, they are biblically considered both wife of God and bride of Christ. To state otherwise minimizes or excludes the Jewish believers’ membership in either Israel or the Church. The Jewish remnant are 100% members of both Church and Israel and possess a unique dual status. Anyone who wants to limit the position of the Jewish remnant does so contrary to Scripture’s clear teaching.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Answer contributed by Steven Charles Ger, Th.M., Director, Sojourner Ministries.