What is replacement theology? Is it Biblical?

Replacement theology teaches that the NT church (which consists of Jews and gentiles) has replaced the literal nation of Israel in God’s plan and that the Jews are no longer God’s chosen people since they have crucified the Son of God and have not repented of their sin.

The Bible teaches that God’s covenant to Israel in the Old Testament was conditional on their obedience to Him. If they obey, they will be greatly blessed (Deuteronomy 28: 1-14) but if they don’t obey, they will be cursed (v.15-68). Repeatedly God warned Israel in this manner: “And if thou wilt … do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments: Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever … But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments … Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people” (1 Kings 9:4-7).

Because of the Israelites continued rebellion, God permitted them to be overcome and be taken to Babylonian captivity for seventy years. And God raised His prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah to predict their return from that captivity. Today, some modem Bible commentators have erred by applying those prophecies of restoration to a future gathering of Israel. They don’t see that the restoration predicted by Isaiah and Jeremiah has already happened.

Daniel the prophet prophesied that God allotted a probationary period of 490 years for the Jewish people to see if they would accept the Messiah (Daniel 9:24). That prophetic time period of 70 weeks (a day for a year, Ezekiel 4:6) started with the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem (Artaxerxes’ decree in 457 B.C., Ezra 7:11) came to end in A.D. 34. In that same year the gospel began to be preached to the Gentiles, Stephen was stoned, and Paul started his ministry to Gentiles. These events marked the official and final separation of Israel from its covenant relationship.

Jesus warned the Jews that their rejection of Him would seal their own rejection as the sons of the covenant: “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matthew 21:43). And He mournfully added, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!  See! Your house is left to you desolate” (Matthew 23:37,38).

After the Jews crucified Jesus, God’s covenant promises were transferred from the literal nation of Israel to spiritual Israel or the New Testament church (Jews and gentiles) that accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (Galatians 3:29). The Old Testament promises were never fulfilled to Israel simply because the nation failed to meet the conditions of obedience.

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In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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