Some have been tempted to understand this as a supercessionist claim, that is, as a product of the idea that the faithful church is God’s replacement for a disobedient Israel. The notion is that God somehow erased the word “Israel” off the board and wrote “Christian church” in its place.
In truth, though, such a reading runs precisely counter to the Preacher’s intent. Keep in mind that the Preacher is evoking the memory of Israel’s failures to warn the church here, not patting the church on the back for being superior to Israel. Indeed, the Preacher’s aim is to remind his congregation that the people of God. beginning with Adam and Abraham and flowing forward all th way to the end of time, form an unbroken chain of faith (see 11:1-40). No link in the chain stands alone; at no point along the way could any group of God’s people say, “We are the complete and finished expression of God’s will for human community”–not Israel and not the church, either.
…Israel’s failure, then, is the same problem that threatens the Preacher’s congregation: discouragement because they cannot see anything past their own role, their own moment in history.”
October 18, 2015