“Replacement Theology”?

Discussion in 'Revelation & Eschatology' started by sovereigngrace, Feb 25, 2019.

  1. alexandermsmith

    alexandermsmith Puritan Board Freshman

    Well I'm not sure what you're trying to say either. I never said you didn't believe in a consistent plan of salvation. My original point was only that we shouldn't emphasise the Jewishness of the early converts and that the writers of the New Testament themselves don't emphasise that other than to differentiate Christianity from Judaism. You responded to my points about the term Jew and that is what has led to this back and forth. I think we're really talking past each other.
     
  2. sovereigngrace

    sovereigngrace Puritan Board Freshman

    I think it is important to recognize the focus of the favor of God upon OT Israel, because (1) it was in that the Abrahamic covenant was realized. This proves the veracity of God's promises. It also proves He is a covenant keeping God. Moreover, (2) the Messiah had to come through that natural/spiritual lineage. What is more, (3) it was through Abraham's offspring that the Gentiles were to be reached. This joining of Jews and Gentiles together fulfilled many of the promises Abraham received about the nations being blessed in him (Genesis 12:1-3, 17:3-8, 17:15-16, 18:18 and 22:16-18).

    Paul declares in Romans 11:1-5:

    Q. I say then, Hath God cast away his people?”

    A. God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.”

    Dispensationalists misrepresent, or conveniently circumvent, the wording of this text with their fixation on the whole nation of natural Israel. They seem to imagine that to be considered faithful to Israel God must be committed to the whole physical nation, even though it was apostate, rejected Christ and nailed Him to a tree. But that is not what Scripture says or demands.

    Paul actually takes this inaccuracy head on. You can glean from his question at the opening of Romans 11 that he feels a real sense that the faithfulness of God is at stake. After all, the majority of his kinsmen had rejected their own Messiah. According to Paul, the evidence that God had not rejected Israel in his day is demonstrated by the fact that there was a notable remnant of believing Jews (including himself) that had accepted Christ and therefore embraced the new covenant arrangement.

    God had not cast away Israel in Paul’s day. He remained faithful to those who desired to embrace His only provision for sin and uncleanness. Even though most Israelites rejected Christ, those that were foreknown by God, and were true Israelites, came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We should not miss this thought as we explore the remainder of his argument in Romans 9-11. This perfectly fits in with Romans 9:6-13.

    Paul was tireless in demonstrating that God was a covenant-keeping-God. He shows that Yahweh did not break His Word or forsake His true people Israel. He was faithful in all His dealings with His elect. God did not wipe His hands clean of Israel at the first advent. No! He stayed committed to the believing element within national Israel. This was true Israel (Romans 9:6).

    Paul is careful to demonstrate God’s ongoing covenantal favor to Israel through the continuation of a faithful remnant in his day. He shows this enlightened company to be part of the ongoing historic existence of true Israel, not some brand new faction. This is integral to his whole argument that God has not abandoned Israel.

    Paul’s first argument is personal. He supports his contention by presenting himself as exhibit A. He volunteers himself as tangible proof of God’s continued grace toward Israel. We should recognize, there is no more compelling a spiritual argument than personal testimony. Paul proves that “God has hath not cast away his people” by presenting himself as an evidence of a chosen Israeli. God had not (nor has not) completely cast away Israel, Paul was living proof of this nearly 2,000 years ago. Even though much of Israel rejected Christ, not all did. Thus, Paul is saying not all Israel rejected the Messiah.

    Please note, he did not present the continued survival of national Israel as proof (which many mistakenly do today), no, but rather his own personal relationship with God. He presents his own credentials as “an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin,” as proof that God has not finished with Israel. Paul was showing that he was living evidence that God has not turned his back on all Israel.

    Paul’s second argument is theological: “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew” (Romans 11:2). Paul builds upon what he has been previously teaching in Romans 8 and 9. His teaching in Romans 8:29–30 and the whole of Romans 9 set the stage for this. God in His infinite wisdom chooses who He wishes. Paul underlines his overriding argument in Romans 9:18: “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” Romans 9:21 sums up the whole matter succinctly: “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”

    Professor R. Scott Clark asks: “Has God rejected his people? No, the elect are His people and all the elect will be saved … God’s election of some and reprobation of others are the twin facts of the history of redemption which Paul brings to bear on the question of “Who is the Israel of God?”

    Even Dispensationalist John McArthur agrees with this. “God didn’t set His people aside, He foreknew them. Notice the term ‘His people, whom He foreknew’ … Foreknowledge in the Bible has to do with predetermined love relationship … Foreknowledge, scripturally, has to do with God’s predetermination to love … This word frequently implies the intimacy of a binding love relationship in its simplest and purest form. And thus it is used in terms of the foreknowledge of God … God has not cast away His people whom He predetermined to have a love relationship with. He has not set aside Israel, and He shows how He always has a remnant. Verse 5: ‘At this present time there is a remnant’” (Is God finished with Israel? Part 1).

    Paul’s third argument is historic. He presents Elijah's day where there was a very small remnant of true Israelites (7,000 in number) as support for the fact that God always has a faithful people who remain in covenant arrangement with their Lord. This proved that his day was not unique or unprecedented at all.

    McArthur adds: “There are only selected ones of faith who are the true Israel. God always in all Israel's history had a small remnant that was His elect. In Elijah's time there were only 7,000 who hadn't bowed to Baal” (Is God finished with Israel? Part 1).

    Paul’s fourth argument is covenantal. He concludes his argument proving God was faithful to His covenantal obligations by flat-out asserting: “there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” Here was his legal case, and it was water tight.

    We should consider, if the infant New Testament Church did not relate to true Israel then a question mark could have been placed over the faithfulness of God. The Almighty would indeed have broken His promise never to forsake His people. But the promises of God were fully realized through a believing remnant of historical Israel, which morphed into the empowered new covenant global Church. As a New Testament Christian, Paul demonstrates the continuation of believing Israel by showing he is personally part of remnant Israel. As a member of the New Testament Church, Paul remained attached to the good Israeli olive tree. The whole thrust of the good olive tree teaching is that only the believing remnant of Israel continue in covenant blessing through their faith in Christ.

    Paul declares in Romans 11:1-5:
     
  3. alexandermsmith

    alexandermsmith Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm not disputing any of that. I'm disputing the exclusive identification of Israel of old with the Jews of today or with Judaism more generally.
     
  4. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Sophomore

    (Caveman voice): No. I Grant....You Jacob.
     
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  5. sovereigngrace

    sovereigngrace Puritan Board Freshman

    But i have never suggested anything other. Judaism today is overwhelmingly apostate. Please read my posts again. My thesis surrounded the continuity of faithful Israel, and our attachment to them as God's elect.
     
  6. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Thank you for your labors in this area, Paul (sovereigngrace). It is needed in this day of eschatological confusion, much of it having to do with the identity of "Israel".

    I don't think there is anything amiss in focusing on the fact that the earliest disciples were Jewish, those faithful to Jehovah gathered around His Son, the Messianic King, and only true—righteous—Israelite, the only One not under judgment for law-breaking. The Jews / Israelites who clave unto their King were the children of Abraham for whom the Lamb of God first came. Later the Gentiles were to be grafted in. And Jesus did say, "...we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22).

    Nowadays—in language which is both modern and Biblical—we call ethnic descendants of Abraham (and proselytes) Jews or Jewry. If they live in the State of Israel we may call them Israelites.

    This below is a brief article on the topic we're discussing. And I'll attach at the bottom a pdf of the booklet, A Poet Arises in Israel, an attempt to engage and evangelize my people after the flesh—though it's also an act of war against the rabbinate, who seek to suppress knowledge of Messiah, thereby waging spiritual genocide against said people, many of whom are my family. I advertised the larger work this booklet came from in the Jerusalem Post, this being a serious business.
    _______

    ISRAEL HAS NOT BEEN REPLACED BY THE CHURCH


    Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people
    whom he has chosen for his own inheritance.
    Psalm 33:12​

    When Christ – the Messiah of Israel – came among His people, taught them and died for them, He came as the King anciently prophesied. Of Him Isaiah said, “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever” (9:7). Daniel saw in vision, “there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (7:14). Messiah, on the throne of David, shall rule a kingdom comprised of many nations.

    When the angel Gabriel foretold His birth to Mary His mother, he said, “the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father, David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; And of his kingdom there shall be no end.” (Luke 1:32, 33)

    We see here Messiah coming into the world to establish and order his kingdom; it is called by the angel “the house of Jacob”, and in this kingdom will be many nations, peoples, and languages; Micah said of Messiah, that He is “to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (5:2). We also see that Messiah, Jesus the Christ, extends the boundaries of His kingdom – the kingdom of Israel – to include all the earth, and this is fitting, for “The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and all they that dwell therein.... For God is the king of all the earth.... [He] reigns over the heathen” (Ps 24:1; 47:7, 8). There is no doubt that this long-awaited kingdom – of which Daniel said the God of heaven would set it up and it would never be destroyed but rather would do away with all rival kingdoms (2:44) – this very kingdom was Israel; its king, Jesus of Nazareth, seed of the royal line of David; its capital, New Jerusalem (on the renewed earth in the eternal state—Rev 21:1): “And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their honour and glory into it” (Rev 21:24).

    But many in ancient Israel would not hear Him, rather hated Him. Of such, God speaking through Moses declared, “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him” (Deuteronomy 18:19), meaning, God would require his place in Israel and his life! The apostle Peter reiterated these words of Moses as follows, “every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people” (Acts 3:23).

    In other words, the Lord – the King! – at this time ordered His kingdom by separating wheat from chaff, sheep from goats, and executed what He had earlier told the chief priests and elders of the people: “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matt 21:43). The kingdom of God given to a nation other than Israel? No, rather the nation of Israel so ordered anew by its king as to remove its ties to the temple and its priesthood, and to the government – both of which were conspiring to slay Him! – and transfer it to a new government of His choosing, with twelve apostles instead of twelve tribal elders, and comprised of all true Israelites who would bow the knee to their King and God. The others – all the others – who refused to heed the word of the God of Israel through Messiah, were removed from the nation of Israel, as a butcher cleaves inedible gristle from the meat. Israel was now comprised of only those loyal to God’s Messiah. His body was now the true temple, His word the law, and His apostles the appointed rulers of the people. The land of Israel would be extended to include the entire earth, no more restricted by the geography of Palestine; the true Jerusalem would be the heavenly, the one from above, to be brought to the earth in the fullness of time.

    What was the status of those Jews cut off from the people of Israel? Unabashedly modern Judaism states,

    “...it was the tannaitic [Pharisaic-Rabbinic teaching] tradition which was almost completely representative of the Jewish community in Palestine and, to a great extent, of that segment of the Diaspora which remained loyal to its ancestral faith.... Indeed, it is the halakhah [the Jewish legal system founded by the Tannaim] which may be described as that which typifies Rabbinic Judaism.” [1]​

    In other words, those Jews who refused to acknowledge Jesus as Messiah and were cut off by God from the nation – no more accepted as Israelites by the God of Israel, and by its messianic King – these renegades became rivals for the name and status of Israel and Jew. Though physical seed of Abraham, they were disowned by Jehovah. They murderously persecuted the true Israel when it was in their power.

    What says Messiah of these? When giving John the letter for the church in Smyrna, Jesus says, “...I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan” (2:9). When the Greek word blasphēmia is used regarding humans it means reviling slander, and these Jews slanderously accused this small company of Messiah’s followers to the Roman authorities, causing their imprisonment and execution. Again, in the letter to the church in Philadelphia Jesus has John write, “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship [bow down in humility] before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee” (3:9). This indicates that some of the church’s fiercest enemies were converted and won to their Messiah. But it also indicates that the King of Israel declared those Jews which were against Him (“He that is not with me is against me” Matt 12:30) were, in His eyes, not any longer Jews, but apostates.

    The apostle Paul, by the Spirit of God, says the same:

    “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” (Rom 2:28, 29)​

    Jeremiah concurs, for even in the Old Covenant uncircumcision of heart incurred God’s wrath, as it indicated wickedness and rebellion (Jer 9:25, 26). And again Paul says, “For they are not all Israel which are of Israel... but the children of the promise are counted for the seed” (Rom 9:6, 8), and “...if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal 3:29).

    And yet again, in his letter to the church in Philippi, Paul says, “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Jesus Christ, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (3:3) To the Galatian churches he says, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” (6:15)

    Little wonder many in what is called Modern Jewry loathe Christ, the New Testament, Christians, and God for this pronouncement, even though it first came by Moses (Deut 18:15, 18, 19).

    Paul says that in times past Gentile nations were looked upon as “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world…”, but now, in the fold of Messiah, they “are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Eph 2:12, 19). This household of God is the same spoken of in Hebrews, Moses being a faithful servant in it – the house of Israel – while Christ is no servant but the “son over his own house; whose house we are” (3:1-6).

    The Israel of God has not been replaced, but it has been culled, the faithful Jews gathered and the unfaithful cast off by word of the King; the promise to Abraham that “in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Gen 12:3) is now being fulfilled, as is the prophecy of Daniel that “all people, nations, and languages should serve him” (7:14). Sometimes the kingdom of Israel is called the church, but this latter is a synonym, and no replacement! Only in this kingdom is this Scripture fulfilled: “In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory” (Isa 45:25), for justification before His presence is the gift of God through faith in Messiah; in true Israel alone are all the seed so blessed. The New Jerusalem which shall come down upon the renewed earth is its capital, and the glory of Israel is the Lamb who sits upon the throne of David, the divine Husband of that beloved Bride who shares His glory.
    _____

    [1] Who Was A Jew? Rabbinic and Halakhic Perspectives on the Jewish-Christian Schism, by Lawrence H. Schiffman (KATV Publishing House, NJ 1985), Pages 4, 5.
     

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  7. alexandermsmith

    alexandermsmith Puritan Board Freshman

    Good article.

    But I would add that modern day Israel is not the Israel of old. They don't call themsevles Israelites, why should we? The vast majority of them can't trace their ancestry back even to 1st century Judea let alone earlier. Modern day Jewry is not the same thing as was Israel of old.
     
  8. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Hello Alexander,

    Yes, I agree—modern day Israel is not the Israel of old. It is not the Israel of prophetic fulfillment. The Israel which God recognizes is His people—from all nations—joined to Messiah, Christ Jesus. Though it is well known that Sabras (born there) and those who immigrated from other countries—made Aliyah—call themselves “Israelites”.

    It is a great delusion when men outside of Messiah think of themselves and call themselves Israelites, not realizing that they have been stripped of the name by the original Giver of it to Jacob, and stripped of the benefits of covenant inclusion, save they repent of their wicked unbelief and turn to the LORD as He revealed Himself in His Son. An even briefer article (than the first) on that specific matter:
    ____


    SPIRITUAL IDENTITY THEFT: Stealing God’s Gift


    The identity under consideration is the name “Israel,” and as its origin and usage come from the Bible, we will first look there. When this name was bestowed upon Jacob by God at Peniel, after he had wrestled with Him through the night (see the account in Genesis 32:24-32), it was given to designate the patriarch’s new spiritual status: in the LORD’s own words, “Thy name shall be no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”

    This name is utterly unique! The LORD, set to purify and equip His patriarch of the covenant people, Himself wrestles with Jacob (as with us in all our adversities – truly it is Him in like graciousness behind the scenes) granting him strength to continue – and even prevail – in his desire for the blessing. Jacob’s own strength unequal to the task, and crippled in the struggle, he received strength from God: “with the name He gives the thing itself which the name implies.”[1] The name was conceived and bestowed by God to designate a blessed state of being; it was passed on to his descendants as well, and the name was also removed from some of them by the same Bestower, for serious violations of the covenant, as seen in Exodus 12:15, 19; 30:33, 38, and Isaiah 9:13-17; 48:16-19,[2] and shown in the expressions, “that soul shall be cut off from Israel,” “…shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel,” “…shall even be cut off from his people,” “…destroyed from among you,” and “…destroyed from before Me.”

    It should be clear that this is not a name to be bestowed by men,[3] as God has created and reserved it for His own special use. It should also be clear He retains the right to strip the name from whom He will, and specifies when this is to be done.

    To use this name when it has not been given, or after it has been removed, is to steal a prerogative reserved by God to Himself. It is stealing the right to confer an identity from the Almighty God!

    We will look at a modern instance of this in a moment, but let us first look at a warning to the people of Israel given by God through Moses in his Fifth Book, which bears directly on this:

    I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him.

    And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him. (Deut. 18:18, 19)​

    This is a warning to heed the words of those appointed to the prophetic office, and in particular Him who is the culmination and fulfillment of that office, the Messiah, whom New Covenant believers know as Jesus of Nazareth. The phrase, “I will require it of him,” means in this instance, “I will require his place among My people and his life.” Consider the destruction to be visited on those who with wicked hearts refused to “hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all His commandments…” (Deut 28:15), which promised destruction is shown in the verses following, so you may comprehend the dread import of the words “I will require it…”[4] to the Jewish nation after Messiah appeared among them.

    Messiah’s apostle, Peter, in quoting from this passage [5] as he spoke to the people of Israel, rendered it, “And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:22, 23)

    We have looked at the pertinent Biblical data, and have seen the name Israel given by God and taken away by Him (from those who did not warrant it). We have seen it specifically taken away from those in the Jewish nation who, in the time of Christ and the apostles, refused to “hear that Prophet,” who would not “hearken unto My words which He shall speak in My name.” Simply put, God openly cleft all those who refused His word through Messiah from the people of Israel, like a butcher cuts away gristle. As with a great cleaver He divided the nation, those who were His, and those who were not, even as aged Simeon prophesied over the infant Jesus in the temple, “Behold, this child is set for the falling and rising again of many in Israel…” (Luke 2:34; Cf. Isaiah 8:14, 15)

    From this point on, the people of Israel gathered around their King, Messiah Jesus. Those who did not were “cut off” from the people by the judicial decree of God. Jesus Himself foretold this event when He announced to the chief priests and elders of Israel, “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” (Matthew 21:43) Immediately prior to that statement He told them the same thing in the parable of the vineyard, there holding up a mirror to their motives and actions (verses 33-41). Many of the priests, and some Pharisees, did turn to Him.

    We look now at the “identity theft” spoken of earlier, which, amazingly, is abetted by some in the Community of Messiah, God’s authentic “holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9).

    On May 14, 1948, descendants of those Jews who were declared no longer people of Israel by Messiah (and by the word of Moses) declared themselves a sovereign nation in the land of Palestine, to be called the State of Israel. Those Jews who denominated themselves thus, had for 2,000 years maintained their identity as Jews through subjection to rabbinic teaching devolved from the first century Pharisees, who were, in the main, the leaders of the apostasy from – and rebellion against – the God of Israel, and His appointed King. This stealing the name only God may give is an act of unbridled defiance.

    I hear many Christians declaiming from various prophetic Scriptures and schemas that the Jewish state is still God’s Israel, and they go quite on about it, overlooking – or avoiding – the foundational decree on the matter.

    But God’s decree stands eternal: A Prophet shall the LORD your God raise up…Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you.

    He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name. [Jesus said,]…I have not spoken of Myself, but the Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that His commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto Me, so I speak. (John 1:10-12; 12:49, 50)​

    And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My [the Father’s] words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him.

    Whoever abides in the word and Spirit of the King of Israel partakes of His identity and Kingdom, be they Jew or Gentile. Any others who call themselves Israelites, on any other basis, will answer for this identity theft – this stealing of that which belongs to God – on the Day that is coming quickly. Do not support them in their grievous delusion and sin!
    ____

    [1] Commentary Upon The Book Of Genesis, by John Calvin, on 32:28
    [2] Further references on this wise: Deut. 4:2, 3; Lev. 7:21, 25, 27; 18:29; 19:8; 20:6; 23:29, 30; Num. 9:13; 15:30, 31; 19:13; Psalm 94:23; 101:8; etc.
    [3] This is not referring to parents who name their children after Biblical characters, even such as Israel, Jesus, Moses, etc., which may be a way of honoring heroes of the Faith, and seeking the blessing of their children.
    [4] It is the same usage as in Genesis 9:5; 42:22; and 2 Chron. 24:22.
    [5] Deuteronomy 18:15, 19.
     

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