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Scofield's literalism extended even to exact verbal phraseology. This led him to claim, for example, that there are seven dispensations, eight covenants, and eleven great mysteries.48 To justify this perpetual and 'eternal' distinction between Israel and the Church, even under the New Covenant, Scofield insisted that Israel is the 'earthly wife' of God and the Church is actually the 'heavenly bride'' of Christ. Commenting on Hosea 2:2, Scofield writes,
That Israel is the wife of Jehovah (see vs. 16-23), now disowned but yet to be restored, is the clear teaching of the passages. This relationship is not to be confounded with that of the Church to Christ (John 3.29, refs.)... The N.T. speaks of the Church as a virgin espoused to one husband (2 Cor. 11.1,2); which could never be said of an adulterous wife, restored in grace. Israel is, then, to be the restored and forgiven wife of Jehovah, the Church the virgin wife of the Lamb (John 3.29; Rev. 19. 6-8); Israel Jehovah's earthly wife (Hos. 2, 23); the Church the Lamb's heavenly bride (Rev. 19.7)49
Scofield therefore concluded that Israel and the Church were separate bodies. 'A forgiven and restored wife could not be called either a virgin (2 Cor. 11: 2,3), or a bride.'50 Such novel teaching about two separate people of God - that of an 'earthly wife' and a 'heavenly bride' contradicts other passages such as John 10:16 and Romans 11:24, neither of which warrant any comment in Scofield's Reference Bible. Scofield's footnotes and systematised scheme of hermeneutics, however, were seen as inspired and used as a test of orthodoxy among fundamentalists in the early 20th Century.