One might expect political entities such as the United Nations or individual Islamic nations to discount the significance of Israel; however, minimizing Israel is also being done by the least expected constituency, i.e. the ‘church’. The movement is termed ‘replacement theology’. It is a movement that has been around for centuries but is presently re-emerging with millions of proponents. The church was a mystery to the Jews and was not mentioned in the Old Testament but rather was established after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ.
The major thrust of replacement theology is that God has permanently written Israel off due to their continued disobedience, subsequently proponents believe all the promises made to Israel in the Bible have been transferred to the church. Further ammunition for replacement theology includes the fact that Israel was crushed and the Jewish people disbursed under Roman rule in the first century AD 70. There are more than a few mainline denominations that belong to the National Council of Churches and World Council of Churches that have adopted the tenets of replacement theology based on flawed human reasoning.
To adopt such a position, one has to overlook several basic scripture passages.
“…and I will establish My covenant between Me and you (Abraham) and your descendants after you…for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” Genesis 17:7-8
This passage describes the original promise that God made to Abraham. It stresses the fact that His promise, i.e. covenant or contract is everlasting. The covenant also includes the promise of the physical land to be the everlasting possession of Abraham’s descendants. God made these promises to Abraham approximately 2,000 years before the birth of Christ. It should be noted there are no conditions required from Abraham or his descendants to receive this promise.
Now fast forward over the next 1,000 years during which time Israel grew into a nation while in Egypt, experienced the exodus, and was then ruled by judges during the initial years in their promised homeland. Following the time of the judges began the period when Israel was ruled by kings. God provided more details of His covenant originally made to Abraham to King David.
“When your (David’s) days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom…and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever…if he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of me. But My mercy shall not depart from him…and your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.” II Samuel 7:12-16
This passage explains that even though King David’s future son Solomon might be disobedient and require chastening; the promise of an everlasting kingdom remained.
Progressing another 400 years we find the words of the prophet Jeremiah.
“Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars for light by night…‘If those ordinances depart from before Me, says the LORD, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever.’” Jeremiah 31:35-36
“Thus says the LORD: ‘If heaven above can be measured, and the foundation of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, says the LORD.’” Jeremiah 31:37
The above passages explain that if and when the light from the sun, moon, and stars cease and if and when man could measure the height of the heavens and comprehend the depth of the earth, then Israel will cease from being a nation.
Now those who subscribe to replacement theology are saying all of the above listed promises were limited to the Old Testament and when Israel rejected their Messiah the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and their descendants were transferred to the church.
Let’s then, look in the New Testament and consider the words of the apostle Paul who wrote approximately 30 years after the death of Christ and the birth of the church.
“I say then has God cast away His people (Israelites): Certainly not! …God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.” Romans 11:1-2
“I say then have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their trespass, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their trespass is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!” Romans 11:11-12
For countless generations man has attempted to reason the sovereignty of God in order to understand His actions. And for as many generations man has failed in that endeavor because God’s covenants and promises are a matter of grace which is not reasonable.
Therefore, the Bible succinctly rejects such heresy labeled replacement theology. Perhaps we should focus on several words so often repeated relative to Gods promises to Israel, i.e. forever, forevermore, and everlasting.