Israel (Iz´ray-uhl)

The collective name of the twelve tribes descended from Jacob, whose name was also Israel (Gen 32:28; Gen 35:10). In the Bible the people are called the “children of Israel” (NRSV: “people of Israel”) or simply “Israel.” As a political designation “Israel” refers either to the nation as a whole or, during the period of the Divided Monarchy (924 –721 BCE), to the Northern Kingdom in particular, as distinct from Judah, the Southern Kingdom. In the NT, some writers apply the historical prerogatives of Israel to the Christian church. Paul argued that these promises had come to Abraham through faith; thus, Christians could also claim, by faith, to be descended from the Israelite patriarchs. The church was the true Israel, or the “Israel of God” (Gal 6:16). Appropriating for the church language applicable to ancient Israel, the author of 1 Peter addressed his audience as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people” (1Pet 2:9).

Gen 32:28

28Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.”

Gen 35:10

10God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; no longer shall you be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” So he was called Israel.

Gal 6:16

16As for those who will follow this rule—peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

1Pet 2:9

9But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of dar ... View more

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