“You shall take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel, six of their names on the one stone and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, according to their birth. As a jeweler engraves a signet, you shall engrave the two stones according to the names of the sons of Israel; you shall set them in filigree settings of gold. “You shall put the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of memorial for the sons of Israel, and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders for a memorial” (Exod 28:9-12).

Every time I hear people refer to Yeshua as the “new” or the “true Israel” I cringe. The people who use it often assume that Yeshua has replaced Old Testament Israel because his life parallels the story of Israel in the Gospels (e.g., Yeshua is brought up out of Egypt just like Israel in Matthew 2; Yeshua is led into the wilderness to be tested just like Israel in Matthew 4, etc.). But the appearance of Israel's high priest tells us a completely different story. Israel's high priest carried upon his shoulders, not just the name of his own tribe, Levi, but the names of all the tribes of Israel. He did this, not for the purpose of replacing them, but for the purpose of representing them before God. The reason Yeshua's life emulated Israel's historical experiences was to succeed where we failed and to secure a glorious victory on our behalf. Yeshua is not, therefore, the true Israel. Rather, he is the truest Israelite, our greatest hero, our Messiah, and our eternal high priest.

He did this, not for the purpose of replacing them, but for the purpose of representing them before God.

“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted” (Heb 2:14-18).

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