The Distinction Between Israel & the Church

Israel and the Church



Lewis Sperry Chafer has documented 24 contrasts between Israel and the Church, (Systematic Theology, IV, 47-53).

They show that the two groups cannot be united into one. They also show that God is dealing with each separately, in special and distinctive programs.




  • The Extent of Biblical Revelation:

Israel—nearly four-fifths of the Bible;
Church—about one-fifth.

  • The Divine Purpose:

Israel—the earthly promises in the covenants;
Church—the heavenly promises in the gospel.

  • The Seed of Abraham:

Israel—the physical seed, of whom some become a spiritual seed;
Church—a spiritual seed.

  • Birth:

Israel—physical birth that produces a relationship;
Church—spiritual birth that brings relationship.

  • Headship:


  • Covenants:

Israel— Abrahamic and all the following covenants;
Church—indirectly related to the Abrahamic and New Covenants.

  • Nationality:

Israel—one nation;
Church—from all nations.

  • Divine Dealing:

Israel—national and individual;
Church—individual only.

  • Dispensations:

Israel—seen in all ages from Abraham;
Church—seen only in this present age.

  • Ministry:

Israel— no missionary activity and no gospel to preach;
Church—a commission to fulfill.

  • The Death of Christ:

Israel—guilty nationally, to be saved by it;
Church—perfectly saved by it now.

  • The Father:

Israel—by a peculiar relationship God was Father to the nation;
Church—we are related individually to God as Father.

  • Christ:

Israel—Messiah, Immanuel, King;
Church—Savior, Lord, Bridegroom, Head.

  • The Holy Spirit:

Israel—came upon some temporarily;
Church—indwells all.

  • Governing Principle:

Israel—Mosaic law system;
Church— grace system.

  • Divine Enablement:

Church— the indwelling Holy Spirit.

  • Two Farewell Discourses:

Israel—Olivet Discourse;
Church—Upper Room Discourse.

  • The Promise of Christ’s Return:

Israel—in power and glory for judgment;
Church—to receive us to Himself.

  • Position:

Israel— a servant;
Church—members of the family.

  • Christ’s Earthly Reign:


  • Priesthood:

Israel—had a priesthood;
Church—is a priesthood.

  • Marriage:

Israel—unfaithful wife;

  • Judgments:

Israel—must face judgment;
Church—delivered from all judgments.

  • Positions in Eternity:

Israel—spirits of just men made perfect in the new earth;
Church—church of the firstborn in the new heavens.