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Question and Answer

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.


About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

While we will respond to every serious questioner, we are not bound to give a substantive answer to every question, should we deem the question to be beyond the scope of our purpose or our own ability to answer.

You will receive an answer by email. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

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