Do You believe in Replacement Theology?
Question: Replacement theology is heresy. And after hearing
YouTube video on the 144,000, it smells like Replacement theology,
so I am unsubscribing to your channel forever.--Ames, (statement
slightly rephrased for clarity)
Although you did not ask a question, I want to answer your accusation
that I hold to Replacement Theology. Let's first define Replacement
Theology. It is the view that the Church has replaced Israel as God's
chosen people. I would not affirm this definition, because it implies
that God changed religions.
However, here is what the Bible
teaches: God promised to send the Messiah to Israel to save them from
their sins, and He fulfilled that promise by sending Jesus. Many Jews
accepted their Messiah, including all the apostles. Many priests soon
afterward became believers in the Messiah: "So the word of God
spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a
large number of priests became obedient to the faith" (Acts 6:7).
These priest were not replaced in any way. They accepted the promised
However, while large number of Jews
became believers in the Messiah, the official leadership of the Jewish
people by and large did not accept Jesus as the Messiah. So what
happened to them?
Paul writes about this in Romans 10-11.
"But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says,
"Lord, who has believed our message?" (Rom 10:16). Israel was not
unified in the acceptance of their Messiah. This rejection of Jesus as
the Messiah is nothing new to Israel's history. The Old Testament
describes many prophets that God sent to Israel, and at the time, many
Israelites also rejected the prophets.
For example, when God sent Moses to
Israel, not everyone accepted him as a prophet of God. When the people
were hungry, they complained, " In the desert the whole community
grumbled against Moses and Aaron" (Ex 16:2). At one point they
talked of replacing him as their leader. "And they said to each
other, 'We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt." (Num 14:4).
Let me give another example to show
that Israel has a history of rejecting the past prophets. During the
time of Jeremiah, most of the Jews rejected his words coming from God.
They even imprisoned him for his prophesies. "They were angry with
Jeremiah and had him beaten and imprisoned in the house of Jonathan the
secretary, which they had made into a prison. Jeremiah was put into a
vaulted cell in a dungeon, where he remained a long time" (Jer
37:15-16). It is safe to say that most of the people rejected Jeremiah
as a prophet during his day.
I could give you many more examples of
Israel rejecting the prophets God sent to them, but these two will
suffice. They show a pattern: Israel by and large rejected the prophets
at the time they were alive, only to later accept them as prophets. To
this day, the Jews accept both Moses and Jeremiah as true prophets.
Rarely are prophets accepted at the time they are alive. As the old
saying goes, Hindsight is always 20/20. It is easier to look back into
history to recognize the true prophets of God, but it is much harder to
recognize the true prophets at the time they are preaching.
Brother Ames, here is my question: Were
the people that rejected Moses still part of the covenant of God? The
answer is no! They were judged and cast out from being part of God's
people. Were the people in Jeremiah's time that rejected him, still part
of the covenant of God? No, they were judged and made prisoners.
In other words, the covenant God made
is contingent on the people accepting the covenant. If they reject the
covenant, then they are not part of it anymore. They are not replaced by
anyone; they simply are not part of the covenant.
This brings us to Jesus the Messiah.
The greatest promise God gave Israel was that He would send the Messiah
Who would establish a new covenant with Israel. Jeremiah speaks of this
covenant in chapter 31:31-34:
"The time is coming,"
declares the Lord,
"when I will make a
with the house of
and with the house of
It will not be like
I made with their
when I took them by
to lead them out of
because they broke my
though I was a husband
declares the Lord.
"This is the covenant
I will make with the house of Israel
after that time,"
declares the Lord.
"I will put my law in
and write it on their
I will be their God,
and they will be my
No longer will a man
teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother,
saying, 'Know the Lord,'
because they will all
from the least of them
to the greatest,"
declares the Lord.
"For I will forgive
This prophecy spoke of the New Covenant
that the Messiah would make with Israel. Please notice that the covenant
is made with the "house of Israel, and with the house of Judah."
It is not a covenant made directly with the Gentiles. However, God had
also promised that He would make the Messiah a light even for the
Gentiles: "I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will
take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a
covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that
are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon
those who sit in darkness" Isa 42:6-7). The New Covenant was
extended to the Gentiles.
Jesus, the Messiah, was accepted by some
Jews, but, like the prophets of old, He was largely rejected by the
Jewish people as the Messiah. Should this rejection surprise us? Of
course not, because this is Israel's history. They first reject, only
later to accept.
The Apostle Paul anticipates their
eventual acceptance of Jesus. But first Paul affirms the present day: "At
the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace" (Rom 11:5).
Ames, the remnant of Jews have not been replaced. They, like you and me,
are part of the New Covenant, because they recognize Jesus as the
However, Paul discusses what happened
to the Jews that did reject Jesus as the Messiah: "They were broken
off because of unbelief" (Rom 11:20). This is sad, but it is true.
Some Christians, in order to have a better relationship with the Jews,
have propagated a dual covenant theology, which is the idea that God has
two covenants going on at the same time: the Old Covenant for Jews and
the New Covenant for the Church. This is not true. There is only one
Covenant honored by God, and that is the one made by our Lord Jesus
Christ. The real heresy that is being taught is that Jews have another
means, other than Jesus, to be saved. That is heresy! That is a denial
of the promise of God to save Jews and Gentiles through the atoning
death of Jesus.
Jews today do not even live by the Old
Covenant. The Old Covenant required bloody sacrifices at the temple. But
today, the high priestly office and temple are gone. So how could
today's Jews receive pardon for their sins without the sacrifices?
There is only one eternal sacrifice
available to the Jews. That is the blood of their Messiah.
Here is Paul's explanation as to why
the Jews rejected the Messiah. Paul writes, "Did they [Israel]
stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of
their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel
envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and
their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will
their fullness bring!" (Rom 11:11-12, brackets added).
Paul explains that God had a purpose
for Israel rejecting their Messiah. Their rejection made it possible for
the rest of the world to be included in the New Covenant that God made
with the Jews. Here is what possibly could have happened if Israel would
have immediately accepted Jesus as the Messiah. First, they would not
have lost their temple or priesthood, so they might have continued the
sacrifices as a memorial to the Lord. That would have been an
abomination. Second, they would have remained as a nation, and they
would have likely turned the New Covenant into an exclusionary religion,
thus making it more difficult for other nations to join in the New
Covenant. Instead, their rejection made it much easier for the Gentiles
to get saved. Gentiles did not have to show allegiance to Israel in
order to become part of the New Covenant. So Paul finds purpose in
Israel's initial rejection of Jesus as the Messiah: "their
transgression means riches for the world."
However, Paul anticipates that in the
future they would come to believe in Jesus as the Messiah, just as they
often repented for their ancestors past rejection of the prophets. "I
do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you
may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until
the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be
saved" (Rom 11:25-26).
As in times past, the cycle of Israel is
to first reject the prophets and then later to accept them; the same
will be true of the Messiah. However, Paul does not say that all of the
"Jews" will be saved. He said all of "Israel" will be saved. It is
possible to be a Jew but not an Israelite. Israel refers to the Nation
of Israel. Thus, Paul recognizes that there will be a nation called
Israel at the time of the end. This was not true until 1948 when Israel
became a nation. Their becoming a nation is prophetic. The prophecy of
Paul could not have taken place without the land of Israel. God has
gathered His original people, the Jews, and have brought many of them
back to Israel. Now God says, just as in times past, that they will come
to recognize Jesus as their Messiah. This will be the final miracle of
God. When this happens, the Messiah, Jesus, will return again.
So I want to make it abundantly clear
that I do not believe the Church replaced Israel. Israel has its place.
They have a right to their homeland. The Gentiles do not have the right
to own the land of Israel. It belongs to God's original people. God's
promise, however, will be fulfilled, and that is that the Israelites
will be saved through their acceptance of the Messiah. Even now there
are many Jews coming to the Lord. This is only the beginning of God's
God is using the success of the spread
of the message of Jesus the Messiah "to make Israel envious."
How do they explain that their most famous Jew is Jesus? If He is not
the Messiah, why did His message change the world? And since Jews
believe that they were suppose to be light for the Gentiles, how do they
explain the last 1900 years of their exile where their light was hidden?
If Jesus is not the Messiah, how do they explain that the greatest light
for Gentiles in the last 1900 years has been faith in Jesus, the Jewish
What Paul was saying is that God will
use the success of the Christian message of Jesus as the Messiah to make
Israel envious. They will not be able to explain the success of the
message of Jesus, except to realize He must be the Messiah.
Ames, concerning your accusation that I
believe in Replacement Theology, as you can see, I believe Israel has a
right to their own nation, and that the Church is the home of both Jews
and Gentiles that believe in Jesus. However, Ames, I see another heresy
other than Replacement Theology, creeping into the Church, and that is
that the Jews are the root of our salvation.
Some Christian have twisted Paul's
words in Romans chapter 11 to say that the current Jewish Faith is the
root that sustains Christianity; this is not true. Let us look carefully at Paul's words:
"If some of the
branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have
been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap
from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do,
consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.
You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted
in." Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you
stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not
spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider
therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who
fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness.
Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in
unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in
again" (Rom 11:17-23).
I have heard Christians say that Israel
is the root. That is not true. Israel are the branches. How could they
be the root when Paul says that they were "Branches...broken off"?
Israel is not the root, any more than Gentiles are the root. The root is
Christ. Paul essentially says that some Israelites rejected Jesus as the
Messiah, so they were "broken off." With branches broken off,
Paul uses the analogy, saying that there is now room for other branches
to be grafted into the olive tree. Those other branches are the Gentiles
who believe in the Jewish Messiah, Jesus.
Paul then gives a stern reminder to
Gentile believers, saying, "Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if
God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either."
So our Jewish friends have a special place in the Olive Tree. They are
the "natural" branches, while Gentiles are the "wild"
branches that were grafted into the olive tree. Paul then exclaims hope
for Israel, "If they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted
in, for God is able to graft them in again."
Ames, I do not see how you could accuse
me of Replacement Theology, unless, of course, you hold to "dual
covenant" theology. I hold to neither.
I believe there is only one covenant
that can save, and that is the New Covenant that Jesus established
through His atoning death.
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