God's Gifts and Callings are without Repentance
An Answer to Supercessionism
Replacement Theology teaches that the Church has replaced Israel in God’s plan.
Most theologians use the term “supersessionism.” This is the notion that the Church “supersedes” Israel. Those that teach this say that God has rejected the nation of Israel and made the Church “new Israel,”.
The teaching is that when the Messiah “Jesus” came, the Jews rejected Him and had Him crucified, bringing upon themselves the judgement of God by way of rejection, that God stripped Israel of all the promises He made to them throughout the Old Testament and offered salvation to the Gentile nations through a New Covenant and now the Church has replaced Israel as His chosen people.
This is better understood from the way that Martin Luther put it:
He wrote: “For such ruthless wrath of God is sufficient evidence that they [i.e., the Jewish people] assuredly have erred and gone astray. Even a child can comprehend this. For one dare not regard God as so cruel that he would punish his own people so long, so terrible, so unmercifully … Therefore this work of wrath is proof that the Jews, surely rejected by God, are no longer his people, and neither is he any longer their God” (“On the Jews and Their Lies,” Trans. Martin H. Bertram, in Luther’s Works [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971], p. 265).
Replacement Theology is mostly taught in the reformed churches linked to the Protestant Reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin. It is closely linked to other reformed teachings like A millennialism because Replacement Theology relies so heavily on a non-literal and allegorical interpretation of the biblical promises to Israel.
This can be seen in my other blogs covering these same topics.
Blog 11. The Bible: Allegorical or Literal?
Blog 7. The Gnostic School of Learning, or The Bible?
Blog3. Anti - Nicene Fathers.
However, there is a growing number of believers today that are changing their view because of what they see happening in the middle east today.
Even John Calvin held to the view that the nation of Israel would one day be restored by the grace of God and experience a national regeneration although, even among those who allow for an end-time work of the Spirit of God among the Jewish people, there is still a reluctance to acknowledge that God is not finished with His people Israel as a nation or to acknowledge the prospect of a future Kingdom on the Earth, (Millenniallism).
So. Where do we finds the root or foundation of the teaching of Replacement Theology?
We have to go back as far back as Marcion (A.D. 160), who carried on a theological crusade to purge the Church of what he perceived to be dangerous Jewish errors and influences.
Also Irenaeus (c. 180), wrote: “The Jews have rejected the Son of God and cast Him out of the vineyard when they slew Him. Therefore, God has justly rejected them and has given to the Gentiles outside the vineyard the fruits of its cultivation”
(The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, [1885-1887], Volume 1, p. 493).
Sadly over the years, statements like this have become the basis of anti Semetic feeling, which has caused a great deal of suffering for the ethnic Jew.
Anything that appeared to be Jewish was seen as an attempt to “Judaise” the Church. Teachings like chiliasm (millenarianism), which was the majority view of the Anti Nicene fathers, for instance, were denounced as “Jewish fables.” The Early Church, which was clearly and undeniably Jewish, was described as “primitive,” unenlightened, and beset by erroneous notions that were carry-overs from ancient Judaism. This seems ridiculous when we think that Christ Himself was a Jew and all of the first Christians were Jews, the Apostles were Jewish and all the first missionaries were Jewish.
As we will see later, even though the Apostle Paul warned against the Judaisers of his day, there is no reason to believe that he taught that the church had replaced the nation of Israel.
This anti Semetic feeling continued in the church and eventually led to a statement being written, so that any Jew who was converted to Christianity would have to make a pledge.
Professor Paul Halsall of Fordham University cites the following Visigoth profession from c. A.D. 680-687:
“I do here and now renounce every rite and observance of the Jewish religion, detesting all its most solemn ceremonies and tenets that in former days I kept and held. In future I will practice no rite or celebration connected with it, nor any custom of my past error, promising neither to seek it out or perform it. In the name of this Creed, which I truly believe and hold with all my heart, I promise that I will never return to the vomit of Jewish superstition. Never again will I fulfill any of the offices of Jewish ceremonies to which I was addicted, nor ever more hold them, dear. I altogether deny and reject the errors of the Jewish religion, casting forth whatever conflicts with the Christian Faith, and affirming that my belief in the Holy Trinity is strong enough to make me live the truly Christian life, shun all intercourse with other Jews and have the circle of my friends only among honest Christians. With them or apart from them I must always eat Christian food, and as a genuinely devout Christian go often and reverently to Church. I promise also to maintain and embrace with due love and reverence the observance of all the Lord’s days or feasts for martyrs as declared by the piety of the Church, and upon those days to consort always with sincere Christians, as it behooves a pious and sincere Christian to do. Herewith is my profession of faith and belief as given by me on this date …” (“Professions of Faith Extracted from Jews on Baptism,’ from the Internet Medieval Sourcebook compiled by Professor Paul Halsall of Fordham University [www.fordham.edu/halsall/sources/jewish-oaths.html]).
So, is this teaching on Replacement Theology based on sound doctrine, or is it based on the hermeneutic of the allegorical interpretation of scripture as is the view of Amillennialism.
The answer is found in book of Romans.
The KJV uses the words “God forbid” but the NKJV uses the words “Certainly not”. Which seems to make it quite clear.
Romans 11: I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away his people whom He foreknew (vv. 1-2,). I say then, have they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! (vv. 11-12,). For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? (v. 15,).
If God has rejected Israel in favour of the church, what is the their fullness referring to?
Also, when, exactly, will the nation be resurrected (“life from the dead”) and “accepted” by God (verse 15)? Paul can’t be talking about the Church in this passage because the Church has never died – and never will (John 11:26).
Paul is referring to a yet-future resurrection and restoration of (the “people of Israel,” as prophesied in passages like Ezekiel 37:1-14.
11.Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.
12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
It doesn’t mean they will automatically be saved simply because they are Jewish; rather, it means that the majority of Jewish people who are living at that time will recognise Yeshua of Nazareth as their Messiah and receive Him as Savior.
(Zechariah 12:10, And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Romans 11:26.And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
However, they will be saved in the same way believers from all ages and generations have been saved; that is, they will be saved by grace, through faith (Eph. 2:8-10). The problem with saying that God rejected His people Israel is that the term “rejection” implies permanence and finality. Paul’s forceful statements in Romans 11 probably indicate that people were claiming, even in his day, that God had “cast away” His people Israel (v. 1). They were saying that Israel had “stumbled’ and “fallen” from her former position (vv. 11-12).
Then there is the verses in Romans ch 11:
7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.
9. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:
10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.
11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.
20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.
24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
Notice verse 25, the very important word UNTIL. For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.
The truth is that God is no more finished with Israel than He is finished with the Gentiles. Neither one has been replaced by the other; and God’s plan for both remains intact, in spite of their failures. This is really the crux of the issue.
Replacement Theology says that Israel was rejected by God and that the rejection was permanent and irrevocable; however, we say that God’s calling on Israel was permanent and irrevocable, in spite of her many sins and shortcomings.
(Romans 11:29) For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
The promises made to Abraham were unconditional promises.
Of course this does not stop here. For in teaching that the church has replaced Israel, one must also teach the A millennial view of the Kingdom.
If God does not turn His attention to the Jews after the removal of the church at the Rapture, then it follows that there is to be no Millennial Kingdom.
However we find that same hermeneutic used for Replacement Theology is also the same for the A millennial view of the Kingdom.
If there is to be no salvation for the nation of Israel then there cannot be a millennial reign of Christ on the earth.
The two go together. Israel is spiritualized as the church and the 1000 years of Revelation is spiritualized as a long period of time, namely the present age.
So the foundation of both Replacement Theology and the Amillennial viewpoint is the same, the allegorization of scripture, (which came via the Gnostic way of interpreting scripture and in doing so rejects a literal interpretation)
Replacement Theology is saying that God has reneged on His promises even though they are unconditional promises. Even though the scripture tells us that "God is not slack concerning His promises". 2 Peter 3:9.
On the contrary.
God has kept His unconditional covenant with Noah, will still see a rainbow.
God kept all His promises concerning the promise of a Messiah.
God kept and will continue to keep His unconditional covenant with Abraham by making Him a great nation and will also keep His covenant concerning the possession of the land by the nation of Israel.
We can look forward to the fulfilment of the Davidic covenant, which is also an unconditional covenant made between God and David through which God promises David and Israel that the Messiah (Jesus Christ) would come from the lineage of David and the tribe of Judah and would establish a kingdom that would endure forever. The Davidic Covenant is unconditional because God does not place any conditions of obedience upon its fulfillment. The surety of the promises made, rests solely on God’s faithfulness and does not depend at all on David or Israel’s obedience.
We can trust that God will fulfil all His promises to Israel and the church.
If God breaks His covenants with the nation of Israel, how can we trust that He will keep His promises to the church.
We can have confidence that If we put our trust in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, then God will keep His promise that all who are saved will never perish but have eternal life.
John 17: 9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
John 6:37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me,and the one who comes to Me I will never turn away.
John 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand.
29 My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand.…
Anyone who teaches Reformed doctrine, especially the fifth point of Calvinism “The perseverance of the saints” knows that our salvation is based on what God (through Jesus Christ) has done on our behalf and has nothing to do with what we did ourselves. Our security is in the fact that God is the author and finisher of our faith.
God chose us before the foundation of the world, not based on anything we have done.
God also chose the nation of Israel, not for anything they had done. It was His sovereign will.
Romans 9: 12 not by works but by Him who calls, she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”
13 So it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Absolutely not!…
Can we who are born of God become unborn. Can we who are chosen become unchosen?
How then can chosen Israel become unchosen.
Romans 11:26 plainly says, “All Israel will be saved.” The question that arises is “What is meant by Israel?” Is the future “Israel” literal or figurative (i.e., referring to the ethnic Jews or referring to the Church)? Those who take a literal approach to the promises of the Old Testament believe that the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be restored to a right relationship with God and receive the fulfillment of the covenants. Those who advocate replacement theology basically affirm that the Church has completely replaced Israel and will inherit God’s promises to Israel; the covenants, then, will be fulfilled only in a spiritual sense.
In other words, replacement theology teaches that Israel will not inherit the actual land of Israel; the Church is the “new Israel,” and ethnic Israel is forever excluded from the promises—the Jews will not inherit the Promised Land as Jews per se.
If we take the literal approach. The passages that speak of future Israel are difficult to view as figurative for the Church. The classic text (Romans 11:16–24) depicts Israel as distinct from the Church: the “natural branches” are the Jews, and the “wild branches” are the Gentiles. The “olive tree” is the collective people of God. The “natural branches” (Jews) are “cut off” the tree for unbelief, and the “wild branches” (believing Gentiles) are grafted in. This has the effect of making the Jews “jealous” and then drawing them to faith in Christ, so they might be “grafted in” again and receive their promised inheritance. The “natural branches” are still distinct from the “wild branches,” so that God’s covenant with His people is literally fulfilled.
Romans 11:26–29, citing Isaiah 59:20–21; 27:9; Jeremiah 31:33–34, says: “And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.’ As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.”