What We Believe
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January 01, 2012 Q & A

The OPC and national Israel

Question

What is your denomination's position regarding Israel? Do you agree with the PC(USA) that requires divesting funds from Israel?

Answer

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church uses the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. In Chapter 19, paragraph 3 we confess that the people of Israel, God's people in the Old Testament, are

a church under age, ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances; partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly of divers instructions of moral duties. All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated under the new testament.

In other words, we believe that Old Testament Israel was the Church before Christ came. Paragraph 4 adds, "To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people (my emphasis), not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require."

In other words, the nation of Israel, as it existed as the people of God in the Old Testament is no more. Galatians 6:16 informs us that the Church is now the Israel of God. In the Old Testament the church, called the nation of Israel, consisted of the blood descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But in the New Testament the Church now consists of all those who believe God's promise like and along with Abraham (See Romans 4:1-12 and Galatians 3:13-14). We who trust in Christ are now the nation of Israel!

Therefore the Orthodox Presbyterian Church holds that the political/geographical entity known as Israel is not significant in and of itself. We pray for the blood descendants of Abraham, the Jews, that they might also believe in Jesus (see Romans 9-10). But our position would be that the present day nation of Israel is no more significant than any other nation, and yet ought to hold a significant place in the work of the Church in making disciples of every nation.

As to your second question, we have not taken a position as a denomination on the investing or divesting of funds for Israel, nor do I think we ever will. Our task is not political but spiritual: "Go and make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you"—Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Church, in Matthew 28:19-20a.

 

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