Answering the Charge of “Replacement Theology”
Posted by israeliteindeed on August 10, 2016
In this post, I will endeavor to answer the false charge of “replacement theology.” Those who charge thus do not understand the following truths in Scripture:
- God made a distinction between faithful and unfaithful Israel. Only the remnant (faithful Israel) would be saved.
- Faithful Israel has always included Gentiles
- The Old Covenant (with Israel) has been replaced with the New Covenant (with Israel).
- Faithful Israel was not replaced, but carried into the New Covenant, where it remains to this day:
a. The Olive Tree into which both Jews and Gentiles can be grafted by faith
b. The foundation of the New Covenant Temple, which is the Lord’s Body
- Unfaithful Israel has been “cut off” from faithful Israel, just as the Lord promised in the Old Testament. The kingdom was given to faithful Israel, which includes all Gentiles who join themselves to the God of Israel.
We will look at each of these points in more detail.
God Made a Distinction Between Faithful and Unfaithful Israel
God’s distinctions between faithful and unfaithful Israel can be seen in the following verses. Please do look them up!
Faithful Israel is beloved of God–Ex. 15:13; Deut. 33:3; Ezra 3:11
Unfaithful Israel is not beloved of God–Lev. 3:16; Jer. 12:8; Jer. 16:5; Hos. 9:15
Faithful Israel is the children of God–Exo. 4:22; Deut. 14:1; Isa. 1:2,4; Isa. 63:8; Hos. 11:1
Unfaithful Israel is not the children of God–Deut. 32:5; John 8:39-44
Faithful Israel is the kingdom of God–Exo. 19:6; 1 Chr. 17:14; 1 Chr. 28:5
Unfaithful Israel is not the kingdom of God–Matt. 8:11-12; Matt. 21:43
Faithful Israel is the people of God–Exo. 6:7; Deut. 27:9; 2 Sam. 7:23; Jer. 11:4
Unfaithful Israel is not the people of God–Hos. 1:9; Jer. 5:10
Faithful Israel was the priests of God–Exo. 19:6
Unfaithful Israel was not the priests of God–1 Sam. 2:28-30; Lam. 4:13-16; Eze. 44:10-13; Hos. 4:6; Mal. 2:2-9
Faithful Israel was the vineyard/vine of God–Isa. 5:3-7; Jer. 12:10
Unfaithful Israel was not the vine of God (it was a degenerate, alien vine)–Jer. 2:21
Faithful Israel was an Olive Tree–Psa. 52:8; Jer. 11:16; Hos. 14:6
Unfaithful Israel was not the Olive Tree (but branches to be consumed)–Jer. 11:16
Faithful Israel was the Bride of God–Isa. 54:5-6; Jer. 2:2; Eze. 16:32; Hos. 1:2
Unfaithful Israel was not the Bride of God–Jer. 3:8; Hos. 2:2
Faithful Israel was counted as the children of Abraham–2 Chr. 20:7; Psa. 105:6; Isa. 41:8
Unfaithful Israel was not counted as the children of Abraham–John 8:39; Rom. 9:6-7; Gal. 4:25-30
Faithful Israel was chosen–Deut. 7:7, 10:15, 14:2; Isa. 43:20,21
Unfaithful Israel was not chosen–Deut. 31:17; 2 Ki. 17:20; 2 Chr. 25:7; Psa. 78:59; Jer. 6:30; Jer. 7:29, 14:10
Faithful Israel was circumcised in heart–Gen. 17:10; Deut. 30:6
Unfaithful Israel was not circumcised in heart–Jer. 4:4, 9:25-26; Rom. 2:25-29
As you can see, God has always made a distinction between faithful and unfaithful Israel. Another term designating “faithful Israel” is “the remnant.” Isaiah wrote:
For though your people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, a remnant of them will return; The destruction decreed shall overflow with righteousness. (Isa. 10:22)
Paul, in quoting Isaiah, equated Israel’s “returning” with “being saved.”
Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved. (Rom. 9:27)
Faithful Israel has always included Gentiles
Israel was never a “pure race,” as some teach, but a people who were called to worship God from a pure heart. Please read Gentiles Included in Old Testament Israel in order to understand this.
The Old Covenant (with Israel) has been replaced by the New Covenant (with Israel).
Yes, in this case, there has been a replacement!
Dispensationalism attempts to have the old and new Covenants operating at the same time. This is false doctrine at its finest, for the writer of Hebrews states that the old Covenant has been rendered obsolete (Heb. 8:13). Now that the Lamb of God has been slain, He is forever the Mediator of the New Covenant (Heb. 9:11-15). As a sign that the New Covenant was now in operation, the temple veil ripped from top to bottom at His death, opening the new and living way….through the veil, that is His flesh (Matt. 27:51; Heb. 10:19-20). There is no other way to the Father but through Jesus Christ.
Many people do not realize the New Covenant was made with Israel and Judah! (Jer. 3:31-34) That is, it was made with the faithful of Israel and Judah, for the unfaithful were blinded and stumbled because of their disobedience (I Pet. 2:6-8). Therefore any Gentile who enters the New Covenant, is now a citizen of the Commonwealth of [faithful] Israel (Eph. 2:12-18).
When Jacob blessed his sons just before dying, he prophesied that the scepter would not depart from Judah UNTIL Shiloh (Jesus) came. At that point, the gathering of the people (God’s faithful Israel) would be to Jesus.
The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people. (Gen. 49:10)
Jesus is King of kings. He has claimed David’s throne, and rules faithful Israel from Mount Zion forever (Isa. 9:6-7). The obedience of God’s people is to Him (not to Judah). Those who have not gathered to Him are not in covenant with God.
Faithful Israel was NOT replaced, but carried into the New Covenant, where it remains to this day.
a. Faithful Israel remains the Olive Tree into which both Jews and Gentiles can be grafted by faith
For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? (Rom. 11:16-24)
The root of the olive tree is holy because the root is faithful/obedient Israel! Unfaithful Israel was cut off, just as God promised. God does not graft us (believing Gentiles) into an unholy people, for we can have no fellowship with darkness. If the unholy repent of their unbelief, they can be grafted in.
I beg you to see that no “replacement” is being taught here. Faithful Israel has never been replaced. The throne of David is occupied by an eternal King. The faithful Israel of God has increased by the influx of people from all nations, just as God had always planned.
The prophet Jeremiah wrote about how Gentiles could be established “in the midst” of Israel–
And it shall be, if they will learn carefully the ways of My people, to swear by My name, ‘As the Lord lives,’ as they taught My people to swear by Baal, then they shall be established in the midst of My people. (Jer. 12:16)
And so they have!
b. Faithful Israel remains the foundation of the New Covenant Temple, which is the Lord’s Body.
Upon faithful Israel, the new temple was raised, which is the Lord’s Body (the continuation of His Church).
Isaiah testified that foreigners would be gathered to Israel, and must not consider themselves “separate” from God’s people:
Do not let the son of the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord speak, saying,
“The Lord has utterly separated me from His people”…Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants—everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant—even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, “Yet I will gather to him others besides those who are gathered to him.” (Isa. 56:3-8)
A foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord is not separate from God’s faithful people, nor has he replaced them. Listen to Paul:
Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Eph. 2:11-22)
Faithful Israel, far from being replaced, is the very foundation of the New Covenant temple (the Church), holding up the entire building. The Church has not replaced faithful Israel, but has been made a partaker in her promises.
Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. (Gal. 3:16)
And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Gal. 3:29)
Unfaithful Israel has been cut off from faithful Israel, just as God promised.
Unfaithful Israel will not inherit the promises. Ishmael became a symbol of this spiritual truth, according to Paul in Galatians 4. He wrote that the unbelieving Jews/unfaithful Israel shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman (Gal. 4:28-31).
The charge of “replacement theology” largely comes from children of the flesh (Ishmael) persecuting the sons of promise (Isaac) out of jealousy. They despise the idea that Gentiles can be grafted into God’s Israel, while they themselves are cut off due to unbelief. They see things through carnal eyes, trusting in race or nationality, just as many Jews did in Jesus’ day. Nevertheless, God’s Word is true–they are cut off from Israel until they repent and believe. The kingdom has been taken from them and given to a nation bearing the fruits of righteousness (Matt. 21:43). Unfaithful Israel will not be heir with faithful Israel.
How tragic that so many western Christians take up and repeat the delusions of those who have been cut off, twisting the Word of God. They “stand with” the spiritual Ishmael (unfaithful Israel) instead of Isaac (faithful Israel). May God open their eyes.
The doctrine that Unfaithful Israel is in any way accepted by God is antichrist. Jesus struck down this lie in John 8:37-47; Matt. 8:10-12; Matt. 21:33-45. John the Baptist struck it down in Matthew 3:7-12. The apostle John struck it down in 1 John 2:22. Peter struck it down in 1 Pet. 2:4-9. Paul struck it down in too many places to list. Only through repentance and faith in Jesus can a member of unfaithful Israel be translated into faithful Israel (the kingdom of God).
Let us agree with the Word of God, even if others refuse. (See Cut Off for more information.)
I think this quote by Sam Storms perfectly concludes this paper:
Jesus saw the realization of Israel’s true destiny in the circle of his disciples. They are not to be thought of, however, as a “new” Israel, but as the “true” Israel, the “true people of God.” With Jesus’ offer of the kingdom came the fact that acceptance means the realization and fulfillment of the promise. This offer was accepted by the disciples and thus was realized and fulfilled in them. They constituted neither a new Israel nor a separate body of believers: rather, they were the believing remnant within the unbelieving nation.
This “Church” (Matt. 16:18-19), therefore, is not a wholly distinct and completely new creation or purpose of God, separated from his people of the Old Testament, Israel, and in some sense “replacing” them. Rather, the Church of the present age is simply the continuation and maturation of the believing remnant of Israel, namely, the disciples and all others who received Jesus as Messiah. Thus, the fellowship or Church established by Jesus stands not in opposition to but in direct continuity with the Old Testament Israel. This body is “true” Old Testament Israel: the remnant! (Kingdom Come, Sam Storms, p. 343)