Sunday, November 05, 2017

The Israel of God: Paul’s Ecclesiology in Galatians (Part 3)

The Israel of God

In Galatians 6:16, Paul actually addresses the Church as “the Israel of God.”[1] The New International Version seems to provide an accurate rendering of the verse:

“Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God (Galatians 6:15-16).”

Witherington reminds us that, “Many interpreters . . . have understood the final καὶ here to mean ‘that is’ in which case the text reads ‘peace upon them and mercy, that is upon the Israel of God.’ In other words, Israel here refers to all Christians, both Jews and Gentiles united in Christ, both the author and his audience, and others.”[2] Hans K. LaRondelle, likewise, believes that the term “Israel of God” refers to the Church.[3] This is also the general Reformed understanding of the term “the Israel of God.”

However, both Jeffrey Khoo and S. Lewis Johnson disagree with this interpretation of “the Israel of God” in Galatians 6:16.[4] Johnson, a dispensationalist, is severely critical of such an interpretation. Shrewdly evading the actual arguments brought forth by LaRondelle in his book The Israel of God in Prophecy: Principles of Prophetic Interpretation, Johnson acknowledges that “the apostle [Paul] makes no attempt whatsoever to deny that there is a legitimate distinction of race between Gentile and Jewish believers in the church.”[5]

But Reformed theologians do not deny that there is a “legitimate” racial distinction within the church; this is apparently a straw man. What they do emphasize is that believing Jews and Gentiles share a common eschatological future, a joint ecclesiological reality, and equal spiritual blessings and status in Christ Jesus. Which Reformed theologian would “deny sexual differences within the church? Or the social differences in Paul’s day? Is it not plain that Paul is not speaking of national or ethnic difference in Christ, but of spiritual status?”[6] Here, Johnson is actually, albeit tacitly, admitting that, with respect to spiritual status and blessings, there are no differences between Jewish and Gentile believers. In fact, Johnson affirms that in terms of spiritual status, “there is no difference in Christ.”[7] Surely, Reformed interpreters of Scripture do not teach that Gentile or Jewish believers undergo an ethnic or sexual transformation upon regeneration. During conversion, Gentiles neither have Jewish genes spliced into their genomes, nor do they become hermaphrodites. Johnson’s polemic against LaRondelle is clearly unconvincing.

Johnson continues his critique of LaRondelle,

“That the professor [LaRondelle] overlooked Paul’s careful language is seen in his equation of terms that differ. He correctly cites Paul’s statement that “‘there is neither Jew nor Greek’ in Christ” (cf. Gal. 3:28) but then a couple of pages later modifies this to “‘there is neither Jew nor Greek’ within the Church” (italics mine), as if the terms Christ and church are identical. This approach fails to see that Paul does not say there is neither Jew nor Greek within the church. He [Paul] speaks of those who are “in Christ.” For LaRondelle, however, inasmuch as there is neither Jew nor Greek within the church and in Christ, there can be no distinction between them in the church.”[8]

Notice that Johnson here assumes an a priori distinction between Israel and the Church, which cannot be found within the text of Galatians 6:16. The bone of contention, however, is not whether there is any racial or genetic “distinction” between Jews and Gentiles in a physical or biological sense. LaRondelle, for certain, is not saying that there can be “no distinction between them in the church” in a physicochemical sense. Indeed, no sane man will deny that there is a biological distinction between Jews and Gentiles within or without the Church. LaRondelle and Reformed theologians are stating, together with the apostle Paul, that there is no distinction in the spiritual destiny of ethnic Jews and Gentiles within the Church.[9]

Reformed exegetes believe that the New Covenant blessings of Jeremiah 31:31-34 are being fulfilled in the Church of Christ.[10] Believing Israelites and Gentiles share a common spiritual destiny in Christ Jesus, and there is no longer any distinction between them in the New Covenant perspective. The New Covenant promises are not only for the ethnic Jews or for any particular nation in a geo-political sense. The covenant blessings are being fulfilled in the Church age, and do not await a future eschatological fulfillment in a Jewish remnant (cf. Rom. 11:26). The Church, which is the seed of Abraham, consists of the elect from “all nations” (Matt. 28:19) and all races.

Johnson’s aforementioned argument begs the question: Are not those who are “in Christ” also the ones that constitute the invisible, universal Church? This is not because “as if the terms Christ and church are identical.”[11] Physicochemical distinctions notwithstanding, how can there be any spiritual distinction between Jews and Gentiles within the Church of Jesus Christ? Johnson’s dispensational ecclesiology is apparently clouding his understanding of LaRondelle’s line of reasoning. The terms “Christ” and “Church” are obviously not identical, but the phrases “to be in Christ” and “to be within the invisible Church of Christ” must mean the same thing: to be saved.

Concluding his critique of LaRondelle’s reasoning, Johnson writes, “Finally, to sum up his position, Professor LaRondelle affirms that since the church is the seed of Abraham and Israel is the seed of Abraham, the two entities, the church and Israel, are the same. The result is a textbook example of the fallacy of the undistributed middle.”[12]

In order to answer his arguments, we have to reflect upon Johnson’s definition and usage of the terms “Church” and “Israel.” Firstly, by the term “Church,” is Johnson referring to the Reformed understanding of an invisible, universal Church? Reformed theologians understand “Church” to mean all the elect (Gal. 3:7, 9, 16, 26-29), including Old Testament believers.[13] This is not the classic or revised dispensational understanding of the term “Church.”[14]

Secondly, Johnson does not define clearly what he means by “Israel.” Does this term refer to spiritual Israel, or to national, ethnic Israel? If “Israel” means all biological Jews by genealogical descent, “Israel” cannot be Abraham’s seed. Only a remnant of ethnic Israelites has believed in Christ throughout all redemptive history.

What LaRondelle really taught is this: the “Israel of God” has been expanded to include both Jews and Gentiles. The Church is the true, spiritual Israel. From the New Covenant perspective, the “Israel of God” is not limited to earthly, national Israel, but embraces all believers irrespective of nationality or ethnicity. Johnson’s polemic is, therefore, a “textbook example” of a red-herring. He subtly blurs the definition of key terms, namely, the “Church” and “Israel.” As part of his diversionary maneuver, he attempts to introduce the dispensational understanding of Israel and the Church. In the process, he weakens the thrust of LaRondelle’s polemic considerably.

LaRondelle correctly observes:

“Dispensational theologians grant that Paul, by the term “the Israel of God”, meant believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of their dispensational concern to keep Israel and the Church separate, however, they insist that Paul must have had Jewish Christians in mind as a distinct class within the Church. But to single out Jewish believers within the Church as “the Israel of God” is a concept that is in basic conflict with Paul’s message to the Galatians. He declares categorically that “there is neither Jew nor Greek” within the Church, and that the Church as a whole – all who belong to Christ – is the seed of Abraham, the heir of Israel’s covenant promise (3:26-29).”[15]

Jeffrey Khoo’s Reliance on Johnson’s Paper

Relying heavily upon Johnson’s paper, Jeffrey Khoo likewise applies an a priori hermeneutical distinction between Israel and the Church in his interpretation of Galatians 6:16. In contrast to the general Reformed understanding of this verse, Khoo believes that,

“The ‘Israel of God’ here [in Galatians 6:16] refers to saved Israelites who lived according to faith like their father Abraham (cf. 3:6-7). Paul was perhaps hoping that some of the Judaizers might see the error of their message and turn to Christ alone for their salvation. For a study on the term, “The Israel of God,” read S. Lewis Johnson’s paper on “Paul and ‘The Israel of God’: An Exegetical and Eschatological Case-Study,” in Essays in Honor of J. Dwight Pentecost, edited by Stanley D. Toussaint and Charles H. Dyer (Chicago: Moody, 1986), 181-196.”[16]

With regard to ecclesiology, Reformed theologians do not accept the dispensational Israel/Church distinction. Conversely, there is indeed a marked distinction between Reformed theology and dispensationalism. By rejecting the general, Reformed understanding of Galatians 6:16, Khoo evidently finds himself in agreement with dispensational exegetes.

Both Khoo and Johnson are sympathetic to the following interpretations of the term “Israel of God” in Galatians 6:16: (1) The “Israel of God” refers “to believing ethnic Israelites in the Christian Church,”[17] and (2) The “Israel of God” refers “to the Israel that shall turn to the Lord in the future in the events that surround the second advent of our Lord.”[18] In either case, the “Israel of God” refers to elect Jews, and not the Church.

In his essay “Paul and ‘The Israel of God’: An Exegetical and Eschatological Case-Study,” Johnson makes a classic argumentum ad numerum.[19] Johnson comments “that the weight of contemporary scholarship is opposed to the prevailing interpretation of amillennial interpreters that “the Israel of God” refers to the church, composed of both Jewish and Gentile believers, although the subjective nature of this comment is recognized by the author.”[20]

Even if all of “contemporary scholarship” is agreeable with Johnson, it does not necessarily prove that his view is true. Johnson, however, acknowledges earlier in his essay that a good number of reputable scholars adhere to the “amillennial” interpretation.[21] He further agrees that “the list of names supporting this [amillennial] view is impressive.”[22]

Although I am avoiding the logical fallacy of an argumentum ad antiquitatem,[23] it is true that the amillennial interpretation is supported by an “impressive” list of theologians and exegetes. Having even the support of certain Anti-Nicene and Nicene Fathers,[24] from Clement of Rome to Augustine, the amillennial interpretation must have its strengths. It must be emphasized that, although traditional interpretations are not always correct, the understanding of Galatians 6:16 by the Reformers (e.g. John Calvin, Martin Luther) and faithful exegetes of Scripture must not be frivolously substituted with “contemporary scholarship.” Furthermore, the Word of God has always been inerrant, infallible and unchanging. Why would “contemporary scholarship” be in anyway superior to the “prevailing” interpretations of older or more antiquated exegetes? I am sure Johnson is not insinuating that contemporary scholars are superior to John Calvin, Martin Luther or J. B. Lightfoot.

Problems with the Dispensational Understanding of “the Israel of God”

What are the exegetical problems inherent in Khoo and Johnson’s interpretation of the “Israel of God” in Galatians 6:16? We shall begin by examining the preceding verse, namely, Galatians 6:15.

It should be remembered that “Gal 6:16 must be interpreted in accordance with its own specific context and in the light of the entire argument of this particular epistle.”[25] Who are those who walk according to “this rule” in verse 16? In verse 15, Paul writes, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” Hendricksen explains that,

“According to the preceding context, this rule is the one by which before God only this is of consequence, that a person places his complete trust in Christ Crucified, and that, therefore, he regulates his life by this principle. . . . Upon those – all those and only those – who are governed by this rule peace and mercy are pronounced.”[26]

In view of the Gospel age, Paul’s rule states that there must be no distinction between Jew and Gentile, or between the circumcision and the uncircumcision. The only phenomenon that can establish a person as one of God’s people is for him to be a “new creature” via regeneration. In other words, the clause “as many as walk according to this rule” in verse 16 refers to all of the elect, that is, the invisible, universal church.

The perennial contention between exegetes concerns the usage of the word kai in the last phrase of Galatians 6:16 “kai upon the Israel of God.” Johnson admits that “there are several well-recognized senses of kai in the New Testament. First and most commonly, kai has the continuative or copulative sense of and. Second, kai frequently has the adjunctive sense of also. Third, kai occasionally has the ascensive sense of even, which shades off into an explicative sense of namely.”[27]

In Galatians 6:16, Khoo and Johnson reject the explicative or epexegetical sense of kai, preferring to understand the term “Israel of God” to “mean “the Jews,” or “all such Jews as would in the future be converted to Christ.”[28] They favor the continuative or copulative sense of kai, although they might appreciate that kai is also “only slightly ascensive” in Galatians 6:16.[29] Even if one accepts the copulative sense of kai, “the question still remains as to what “Israel” refers to.”[30]

According to Khoo and Johnson, “the Israel of God” refers to Jewish believers in Paul’s day, or to those Israelites who are allegedly saved at the Messiah’s return (in the sense of Romans 11:26). These interpretations have their difficulties.

Firstly, the expression “Israel of God” cannot refer to Jews as a distinct, ethnic community, apart from the Gentiles. Ronald Fung reminds us that,

“The specifying phrase “of God” makes it unlikely that the reference is to [ethnic] Israel as such (or even the eschatological Israel in the sense of Rom. 11:26), and Paul “can hardly have meant to bless the whole of Israel . . . , irrespective of whether or not they held to the canon of the cross of Christ.’”[31]

The rule instituted by Paul in verse 15 - which states that for one to be counted amongst God’s people, he must experience a new creation - must be extended to verse 16. Paul cannot be pronouncing his benediction of “peace and mercy” upon the Jews irrespective of their belief or unbelief. This understanding contradicts the entire thrust of Paul’s epistle, as well as the rule he has just established in verse 15.

According to Hendricksen,

“This interpretation tends to make Paul contradict his whole line of reasoning in this epistle. Over against the Judaizers’ perversion of the gospel he has emphasized the fact that “the blessing of Abraham” now rests upon all those, and only upon those, “who are of faith” (3:9); that all those, and only those, “who belong to Christ” are “heirs according to promise” (3:29). These are the very people who “walk by the Spirit” (5:16), and “are led by the Spirit” (5:18). Moreover, to make his meaning very clear, the apostle has even called special attention to the fact that God bestows his blessings on all true believers, regardless of nationality, race, social position, or sex: “There can be neither Jew nor Greek; there can be neither slave nor freeman; there can be no male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (3:23). By means of an allegory (4:21-31) he has re-emphasized this truth. And would he now, at the very close of the letter, undo all this by first of all pronouncing a blessing on “as many as” (or: “all”) who walk by the rule of glorying in the cross, be they Jew or Gentile by birth, and then pronouncing a blessing upon those [ethnic Jews] who do not (or: do not yet) walk by that rule? I refuse to accept that explanation.”[32]

Can “the Israel of God,” then, refer to believing Jews in Paul’s day? If kai is to be understood in the continuative or copulative sense, it should be rendered as and. This translation has inherent problems. Based on this rendering, Paul would be pronouncing his apostolic benediction in verse 16 upon “as many as,” that is, all those who adhere to the rule in verse 15. He would subsequently be extending his blessing to another category of people, namely, the elect or believing Jews in verse 16b. The discerning reader can quickly recognize the problems in such a rendering. Firstly, the “as many as (hosoi)” includes all the elect. It is, therefore, unnecessary for Paul to mention the elect Jews again in a separate phrase within verse 16. Secondly, for Paul to mention the believing Jews as a separate category of elect people in his benediction would mean that he has violated his own rule in verse 15.

In his commentary on Galatians 6:16, Witherington concludes with these observations:

“Finally, if I am right that Paul distinguishes between the Mosaic Law and the Law of God now expressed in and as the law of Christ, we must expect a transfer of the term Israel to Jew and Gentile united in Christ. As Weima says it “is difficult to believe . . . that in a letter where Paul has been breaking down the distinctions that separate Jewish and Gentile Christians and stressing the equality of both groups, that he in the closing would give a peace benediction addressed to believing Jews as a separate group within the church” much less to non-Christian Jews whom he nowhere really discusses in this letter.”[33]

Likewise, Fung concurs with Witherington’s comments:

“The view that v. 16 refers to, respectively, “the Gentiles who believe the gospel and the Jewish Christians who recognize the unimportance of circumcision” faces the objection that “whoever” (hosoi) would naturally include Jewish as well as Gentile Christians; moreover, particularly in the light of v. 15, it is improbable that Paul, with his concern for the unity of the church . . . , would here single out Jewish Christians as a separate group within his churches.”[34]

Also, to interpret the expression “Israel of God” to mean the “all Israel” of Romans 11:26 creates similar difficulties. Johnson admits that this interpretation “takes the term “the Israel of God” to refer to ethnic Israel but locates their blessing in the future.”[35] Israelites, as well as Gentiles, saved in the past, present and future constitute the elect, and are therefore included in the “as many as (hosoi).” Furthermore, there is little probability that Paul would isolate a group of Jewish elect in his apostolic benediction, thus contradicting his rule established in verse 15.

In his exegesis of verse 16, Fung perceives that,

“Perhaps the least unsatisfactory view is to suppose that in the two parts of his benediction Paul is thinking first of those of his readers who qualify under the hosoi and passes from there on to the new Israel, the new people of God – both Jews and Gentiles being included in each instance.”[36]

The most satisfactory interpretation is, perhaps, that “the Israel of God” refers to the Church. This is the so-called amillennial interpretation. As Clowney has stated, “The church is the λαός (laos, 2 Cor 6:16), the true Israel as over against Israel of the flesh (Rom 9:6, 7, 24-26; cf. 1 Cor 10:18; 12:2); the people of the new covenant (2 Cor 3:3-18); the sons of Abraham (Gal 3:7); the circumcision (Phil 3:3); the children of the heavenly Jerusalem (Gal 4:21-31); no longer strangers or aliens but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God (Eph 2:12, 19).”[37]

The amillennial interpretation involves understanding the Greek conjunction kai in the explicative sense. The kai is taken to be epexegetical of “as many as walk according to this rule.”[38] This interpretation satisfies both the context and syntax of Galatians 6:16.

R. C. H. Lenski adds, “Paul has a special, telling reason for adding this explicative apposition. It is a last blow at the Judaizers, his final triumph over them and their contention. As many as shall keep in line with this rule, they and they alone constitute “the Israel of God” from henceforth, all Judaizers to the contrary notwithstanding.”[39]

John Calvin, the great reformer, concurs with this interpretation of the expression “Israel of God.” In his commentary on Paul’s epistle to the Romans, Calvin writes:

And so all Israel [Romans 11:26a] Many understand this of the Jewish people, as though Paul had said, that religion would again be restored among them as before: but I extend the word Israel to all the people of God, according to this meaning - “When the Gentiles shall come in, the Jews also shall return from their defection to the obedience of faith; and thus shall be completed the salvation of the whole Israel of God, which must be gathered from both . . .” The same manner of speaking we find in Gal. vi.16. The Israel of God is what he calls the Church, gathered alike from Jews and Gentiles; and he sets the people, thus collected from their dispersion, in opposition to the carnal children of Abraham, who had departed from his faith.”[40]

In our brief discourse on Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, we further reinforce the understanding that Reformed ecclesiology is, in fact, Pauline ecclesiology. The Church is the true Israel of God, and is the blessed recipient of all the promises of the New Covenant. As believers who follow the rule, which states that “neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature (Gal. 6:15),” we can praise and thank God for including both Jews and Gentiles in His gracious redemptive plan.

God does not have two redemptive plans in history, one for ethnic Israel, and one for the Church. There can be no such Israel/Church distinction under the New Covenant administration, for “the Old Testament promises are realized in the advent of the Messiah and the gathering of Messiah’s people, the true Israel of God. Christ comes as Immanuel, the Lord of the covenant and the Son of the covenant. He thus completes both the promised work of God and the required response of his people. As true God he is the Lord who has come; as true man, he is the head of the covenant, the new and true Adam, Israel, Moses, and David. All promises are complete in him (2 Cor 1:20), for in him dwells the fullness of the godhead in bodily form (Col 2:9). He is the Amen (Rev 3:14), the Alpha and the Omega (Rev 22:13).”[41]


[1] This is the understanding that the καὶ before the phrase “Israel of God” is an explicative or appositional καὶ. Wuest translates Galatians 6:16 as follows, “And as many as by this rule are ordering their conduct, peace be upon them, and mercy, even upon the Israel of God.” See Kenneth S. Wuest, The New Testament: An Expanded Translation (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1961).

[2] Ben Witherington III, Grace In Galatia: A Commentary on Paul’s Letter to the Galatians (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998), 452. In fact, the Dispensationalist scholar, Lewis Johnson, acknowledges that “it is well-known that Justin Martyr in his Dialogue with Trypho is the first author to claim an identification of the term Israel with the church. Of the commentators, Chrysostom is one of the earliest to identify apparently the church with Israel, affirming that those who keep the rule are “true Israelites.” Others who follow this view include Daniel C. Arichea, Jr., and Eugene Nida, Ragnar Bring, John Calvin, R. A. Cole, N. A. Dahl, Donald Guthrie, William Hendricksen, Robert L. Johnson, M. J. Lagrange, Hans K. LaRondelle, R. C. H. Lenski, J. B. Lightfoot, Martin Luther, Herman Ridderbos, Henrich Schlier, and John R. W. Stott.” See S. Lewis Johnson, Jr., “Paul and ‘The Israel of God’: An Exegetical and Eschatological Case-Study,” in Essays in Honor of J. Dwight Pentecost, eds. Stanley D. Toussaint and Charles H. Dyer (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986), 183-184, quoting John Chrysostom, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians and Homilies on the Epistle to the Ephesians of S. John Chrysostom, new rev. ed. (London: Walter Smith [Late Mosley], 1884), 98.

[3] See Hans K. LaRondelle, The Israel of God in Prophecy: Principles of Prophetic Interpretation (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 1983), 108-114.

[4] The reason I interact with Lewis Johnson’s writing in this section is that Khoo uses Johnson’s essay as part of the seminary course entitled, “Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology” in Far Eastern Bible College. See Johnson, “Paul and ‘The Israel of God’: An Exegetical and Eschatological Case-Study,” 181-196.

[5] Johnson, “Paul and ‘The Israel of God’: An Exegetical and Eschatological Case-Study,” 190.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Actually, Johnson needs only to read the rest of the chapter to see LaRondelle’s point. LaRondelle writes, “According to Hebrews 8-12, the Church of Jesus represents the true fulfillment of Jeremiah’s predicted new covenant. Far from being an abrogation of Israel’s new covenant. It is rather a type and guarantee of the final consummation of the new covenant, when true Israelites of all ages will join in the wedding supper of the Lamb in the New Jerusalem (Matthew 8:11, 12; 25:34; Revelation 19:9; 21:1-5).” See LaRondelle, The Israel of God in Prophecy, 121.

[10] The Pauline perspective of the New Covenant and the Christian Church is aptly summarized by Ridderbos, “It is on account of this fulfillment of the prophecy of the New Covenant in the Christian church that all the privileges of the Old Testament people of God in this spiritual sense pass over to the church. To it, as the church of Christ, the pre-eminent divine word of the covenant applies: “I will be their God, and they shall be my people. . . . I will receive you, and I will be to you a father, and you shall be to me sons and daughters” (2 Cor. 6:16ff.). Out of this fulfillment in Christ the whole nomenclature of all the privileges Israel as God’s people was permitted to possess recurs with renewed force and significance in the definition of the essence of the Christian church: being sons of God (Rom. 8:14ff.; Eph. 1:5); being heirs according to the promise (Gal. 3:29; 4:7); sharing in the inheritance promised to Abraham (Rom. 8:17; cf. 4:13; Col. 1:2); being heirs of the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9, 10; 15:50; Gal. 5:21). For this reason the church may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God (Rom. 5:2; 8:21; 2 Cor. 3:7ff., 18; Phil. 3:19), the splendor of the presence of God among his people, once the privilege of Israel (Rom. 9:4). Likewise the worship of God, at one time the prerogative of Israel (Rom. 9:4), is now the distinguishing mark of the Christian church as “spiritual worship” (Rom. 12:1), the service of God by the Spirit (Phil. 3:3), as Paul knows himself to be the leitourgos of Jesus Christ who in the priestly administration of the gospel has to see to the irreproachableness of the offerings of the gentiles (Rom. 15:16; cf. Phil. 2:17). In a word, all the richly variegated designations of Israel as the people of God are applied to the Christian church, but now in the new setting of the salvation that has appeared in Christ.” See Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology, 336-337.

[11] Johnson, “Paul and ‘The Israel of God’: An Exegetical and Eschatological Case-Study,” 190.

[12] Ibid., 190-191.

[13] See Vincent Chia, "Bible Presbyterianism: A Need for Redefinition," chapter 1 for a discussion on the meaning of “Church.”

[14] See Ibid, chapter 21 for the differences between classical and revised/normative Dispensationalism.

[15] LaRondelle, The Israel of God in Prophecy, 110.

[16] Jeffrey Khoo, Galatians (Singapore: Far Eastern Bible College, 2000), 45. This book is used by Far Eastern Bible College as lecture notes. Also available from; Internet; accessed 10 November 2005. Relying on Johnson’s essay, Khoo makes no attempt to provide exegetical arguments for his interpretation of Galatians 6:16 in his commentary on Galatians.

[17] Johnson, “Paul and ‘The Israel of God’: An Exegetical and Eschatological Case-Study,” 185.

[18] Ibid., 186.

[19] This is the fallacy of attempting to prove something by appealing to numbers, and in this case, the number of “contemporary” scholars who agree with Johnson’s interpretation of Galatians 6:16.

[20] Johnson, “Paul and ‘The Israel of God’: An Exegetical and Eschatological Case-Study,” 187.

[21] Ibid., 183-184.

[22] Ibid., 184.

[23] This is the fallacy of trying to prove a point by appealing to antiquity or tradition.

[24] Cf. A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs, s.v. “Israel of God.”

[25] Hendricksen, Exposition of Galatians, 247.

[26] Ibid., 246.

[27] Johnson, “Paul and ‘The Israel of God’: An Exegetical and Eschatological Case-Study,” 187.

[28] Hendricksen, Exposition of Galatians, 246.

[29] Johnson, “Paul and ‘The Israel of God’: An Exegetical and Eschatological Case-Study,” 193.

[30] Fung, The Epistle to the Galatians, 310.

[31] Ibid., quoting J. C. O’Neill, The Recovery of Paul’s Letter to the Galatians (London, 1972), 71.

[32] Hendricksen, Exposition of Galatians, 246-247.

[33] Witherington, Grace In Galatia, 453, quoting J. A. D. Weima, “Gal. 6:11-18: A Hermeneutical Key to the Galatian Letter,” Calvin Theological Journal 28 (1993): 105.

[34] Fung, The Epistle to the Galatians, 310-311, quoting C. H. Pinnock, Truth on Fire: The Message of Galatians (Grand Rapids, 1972), 89.

[35] Johnson, “Paul and ‘The Israel of God’: An Exegetical and Eschatological Case-Study,” 192.

[36] Fung, The Epistle to the Galatians, 311.

[37] Edmund Clowney, “Toward a Biblical Doctrine of the Church,” Westminster Theological Journal 31, no. 1 (1968): 37.

[38] Lightfoot writes, “It [the expression “Israel of God”] stands here not for the faithful converts from the circumcision alone, but for the spiritual Israel generally, the whole body of believers whether Jew or Gentile; and thus καὶ is epexegetic, i.e. it introduces the same thing under a new aspect, as in Heb. 11:17, etc.” See J. B. Lightfoot, St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians (London: Macmillan, 1896), 225.

[39] Lenski, Commentary on the New Testament: The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, and to the Philippians, 321.

[40] John Calvin, Commentaries on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans, ed. Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Co, 1998), 437.

[41] Clowney, “Toward a Biblical Doctrine of the Church,” 49.