Today I’m sharing something very close to my heart. Those who know me (well) know of my love, admiration, respect and attachment for all things “Hebrew/Israelite/Jewish”: the language, the people, the customs, culture, and history; in a nutshell: everything from A-Z. One of my very few or plenty interests of/ for discussion, hence, stems from this very group of people, it is the issue of Replacement (i.e. Replacement Theology), often called Supersessionism.
I put it to you (Christians)- although you might be somewhat unclear as to what exactly the theory states- it has been preached to you. You might have agreed/disagreed with it, or not given it much thought at all. Today, however- dear reader- I encourage you to read this post carefully and perhaps re-examine (yourself).
Replacement Theology – reduced to its simplest form – teaches that the Church has replaced Israel in God’s plan. The term “Replacement Theology” is relatively new and unfamiliar to many people (in some cases, even those who believe in it). Among theologians, the older and more widely used term is “supersessionism.” The Church “supersedes” Israel. Its proponents teach that God has set aside Israel and made the Church “new Israel,” the new and improved people of God. There are many variations within the broad spectrum of Replacement Theology, but two of the main approaches are these:
1. Israel’s role as the people of God was completed (economic supersessionism). This is the kinder and gentler way of stating the basic thesis of Replacement Theology. It says that once the Messiah came 2,000 years ago, Israel’s mission was completed. A transition occurred at that point, and the Church took over as the people of God and became the focal point for the outworking of God’s plan and purpose in redemption. God is no longer working administratively through ethnic Israel.
2. Israel’s place as the people of God was forfeited (punitive supersessionism). Other Replacement theologians are more straightforward and actually say that the supposed replacement of Israel was a divine judgment on the nation for its rejection of the Messiah in the first century. This is what some writers have called “punitive secessionism.”
I ask myself what on earth has happened to man’s understanding of God? Especially Christian men’s (men in the most general of senses) understanding of who God is, and how He works. Is not one of our most fundamental and basic beliefs that God is unchanging and unchangeable; just as His Word? Is it not one of our most accepted and wide-spread beliefs that neither heaven nor hell can separate us from His love? Does Scripture itself not teach that:
God made an everlasting covenant between the land of Israel and the Jewish people that must be fulfilled and completed. If God will not fulfil His promises to Israel, what guarantee do we have that He will fulfil His promises to the Church? (See Jeremiah 31:35-37).
- The Jews are Israelites, not Gentiles (Rom. 9:4).
- To Israel still belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship and the promises (Rom. 9:4).
- The gifts and calling of God for Israel are irrevocable (Rom. 11:29).
- Psalm 105 has a seven-fold affirmation of God’s promises of Canaan to Abraham. This is an everlasting promise, as was Genesis 12:1-3.
- Jeremiah 31:35-37 speaks of the everlasting nature of God’s promises to and for Israel, the Jewish people, which is as sure as the sun that shines by day and the moon and stars that glow in the night.
- The end-time prophecies, which speak of the return of the House of Jacob to their land (Israel) and its restoration, have overwhelmingly been fulfilled in Israel and the Jewish people in the past 120 years. (See, Isa. 11:11-12; Eze. 37:1-14; Eze. 36; Eze. 35:1, Isa. 43:5,6; Jer. 16:14-16; Isa. 60:9-11; Isa. 49:22-23, etc.).
What is the Role of the Church?
- “On this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it” (Matt. 16:18). The Church is built on the testimony and understanding of Peter, who is Jewish. Ephesians 2:11-14 indicates that Israel and the Jews were chosen, but Gentiles were also included.
- The Church is related to Israel and partakers of the covenants, promises, and hopes, but has not been called to usurp them. Our relationship is as “grafted in” (Rom. 11:17); “brought near” (Eph 2:13); “Abraham’s offspring” (by faith) (Rom. 4:16); “heirs” to Abraham’s promise as adopted sons (Gal. 3:29) and “partakers” (Rom 15:27).
- To the world, the Church is called to preach the Gospel to all nations and make disciples (Matt. 28:19-20); to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; and to love our neighbour as ourselves (Mk. 12:30-31).
- According to Romans 11, we are two distinct groups, both grafted into the same tree, which are the covenants and promises given to Israel; grounded in the same root, the Messiah; drinking of the same sap, God’s Holy Spirit. We do not hold up the tree, but the tree us (Rom. 11:17-18).
” If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.” (Ps. 137: 5-6)