9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. (NASB)
Why would someone want the Church to be the New Israel? There are just as many theologians who say the Church is the New Israel as there are not, and each side has Biblical proof for their position. This is not an "Eternal" position (i.e., salvation acceptance of which there can be no variation) as a class member clarified Sunday. This is a "Propositional" doctrine in that we can have opposing views. For the sake of this discussion we will take the position that the Church is not the New Israel - the Church is simply the Church or as Paul presents it in Ephesians "the mystery".
The first question about the supplanting of the Church on Israel is why did Paul in Eph. 1:3 say our blessings are "in the heavenly places"? The earth for Christians is not "the final destination" as some day we will be Raptured. Paul focuses on "the heavenly places" throughout Ephesians as recorded in Eph. 1:20, 2:6, 3:10 and 6:12.
The Question that we must ask ourselves when approaching the Prosperity Gospel movement must be:
2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. (NASB)
Or 1 Pet 1:6
6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, (NASB)
Somehow, to me at least, "trials" and "endurance" do not speak to the Prosperity Gospel. The verse that causes me the greatest concern about the Prosperity Gospel from the Scriptures is 2 Tim. 4:3-4:
Now I will step down from my "Soap Box" and return to Paul's words in Ephesians. In verse 10 Paul says, "with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times". Throughout Scripture we read of various "administrations" of God as evidenced with His dealings in the lives of men and women in the time of Noah as compared to the times of the Apostle John (especially with regard to God's revelations). We also read of God's progressive revealing the scope of His communication to us in the Law as opposed to Grace. Lastly we read of the significant different interaction of the Holy Spirit with believers in that throughout the Old Testament the Holy Spirit "came upon" someone (not everyone) as opposed the the "indwelling" of the Holy Spirit within each believer today.
Eph. 1:14 gives us a purpose to all with "to the praise of His glory". The question for us: Is the "Golden Thread" of Scripture about man's salvation or God's glory? A favorite verse for me is Ps. 21:5
5 His glory is great through Your salvation,
Splendor and majesty You place upon him. (NASB)
We continue to be like the Berean Christians of Acts 17 in that we are discerning "the false prophets" of 2 Pet. 2:1-4 and knowing that our citizenship is not here on earth (we are not Israel) but in heaven as told to us in Phil. 3:20-21:
20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (NASB)
Providence - 1 Cor. 4:7
Necessity - Eph. 2:8-9
Freedom - Gen. 3:21
Negativity - Matt. 8:5-13
Maturity - Phil. 4:6-8