By Kenneth L. Gentry Jr
Dispensationalists recognize that Abraham has a “spiritual seed.” We
see this in the New Scofield Reference Bible (NSRB, p. 1223 at Ro 9:6).
But dispensationalists do not like the idea that since Abraham has a
“spiritual seed,” (NRSB p. 1223), there may also be a spiritual Israel.
Nevertheless, Paul applies the name “Israel” to Christians: “And as
many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and
upon the Israel of God” (Gal 6:16). The “and [Greek: kai]” preceding “Israel of God,” is probably epexegetical, which means that we should translate the passage: “mercy upon them, that is,
upon the Israel of God.” Dispensationalists see Galatians 6:16 applying
to Jewish converts to Christ, “who would not oppose the apostle’s
glorious message of salvation.” But such is surely not the case, for
the following reasons.
Galatians’ entire context opposes any claim to a special Jewish
status or distinction: “For you are all sons of God through faith in
Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put
on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor
free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ
Jesus” (Gal 3:26–28). In the new covenant Christ does away with all
racial distinctions. Why would Paul hold out a special word for Jewish
Christians (“the Israel of God”), when he states immediately beforehand
that we must not boast at all, save in the cross of Christ (Gal 6:14)?
After all, “in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision
avails anything, but a new creation” (Gal 6:15).
Paul explains this “new creation” in detail in Ephesians 2:10–22, where God merges Jew and Gentile into one body, the church:
But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been
brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who
made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing
wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of
commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the
two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them
both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death
the enmity. (Eph 2:13–16)
Dispensationalism demands two groups and repairs Paul’s broken down barrier by making of the one new man, two.