THE ISRAEL OF GOD
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).