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What Do I Mean When I Say
“The Commonwealth of Israel”
Some have strenuously objected to my use of the term “commonwealth of Israel” when referring to the Body of Messiah, assuming (incorrectly, of course) that I am referring to the modern State of Israel. They say, for example, “I am a Christian! How dare you refer to me as an Israeli! My salvation has nothing to do with the State of Israel!”
By “commonwealth of Israel” I am referring to the reunified Body of Messiah, consisting of all the physical and spiritual descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, whether sons and daughters of the covenant by birth (Jews) or by adoption (non-Jews) — the restored twelve tribes plus the “mixed multitude” who, like Ruth, have joined themselves to the people, the covenants, and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
“Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.”
When any person who is not a physical descendant of Jacob (whom HaShem re-named Israel) comes to faith in Israel’s Messiah, that person is adopted into the family of Israel just as Manasseh and Ephraim (the Egyptian sons of Joseph) were adopted by their grandfather Jacob and were thus made full heirs to the covenant (Genesis 48) and heads of their respective tribes.
I believe that the term “commonwealth” best describes what the reunified body of Messiah actually should be. In the words of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (for example): “The body politic is formed by a voluntary association of individuals: it is a social compact, by which the whole people covenants with each citizen, and each citizen with the whole people, that all shall be governed by certain laws [in this case, the Torah] for the common good.”
Furthermore, a “commonwealth” is also defined as:
• a community founded for the common good. The English noun commonwealth in the sense meaning “public welfare; general good or advantage” dates from the 15th century. The term literally meant “common well-being.” (WikiPedia)
• a community of shared interests in a non-political field; an aggregate or grouping of states or other bodies. (Oxford Dictionary)
• a body politic organized for the general good; a group of persons united by some common interest. (World English Dictionary).
• a group of sovereign states (in the case of Israel we are referring to the twelve “sovereign tribes” plus the “mixed multitude” of non-Jews who have joined with them) … associated by their own choice and linked with common objectives and interests. (dictionary.reference.com)
• a group of persons united by some common interest; a politically organized body of people under a single government (under the governance of King Messiah). (thefreedictionary.com)
If I understand the Scriptures correctly, I can simply find no better word in the English language to describe what the unified Body of Believers should be like under the headship of Yeshua HaMashiach.