(608) 524-5856

When the modern Bible reader comes across the word “Israel” in scripture, it is natural to think first of that modern nation in the middle east which calls itself by that name. Nevertheless, the Bible’s use of the word is far more broad.

In fact, there are at least ten interpretive options which an honest student of the Bible needs to consider before deciding what the word “Israel” means in any given passage:

  1. Jacob’s Covenant Name (Genesis 32:28)
  2. Jacob’s Physical Descendants (Genesis 49:28)
  3. The Entire OT Congregation (Exodus 12:47, c.f., vv. 37-38)
  4. A Geographic Territory (Judges 19:29)
  5. Northern Political Kingdom (Isaiah 7:1)
  6. Northern Spiritual Kingdom (Jeremiah 3:6, 4:1-4)
  7. Jesus the Messiah (Hosea 11:1; Matt. 2:15)
  8. A Geo-political Entity (Acts 1:6-8)
  9. A Portion of Jewish People (Romans 9:6)
  10. All Christians (Galatians 6:16, c.f., 3:28-29)