What Is Replacement Theology?

“You’ve been replaced. Sorry, but because you fell and failed, someone has replaced you. Because you wouldn’t listen and insist on going your own way and doing what you wanted, you have been replaced. Who replaced you? We did.”

Replacement Theology is a little deeper than that, but one could say the same reasoning applies.

What is replacement theology?

Simple answer – the church has replaced Israel in God’s plan, purposes and promises.

The formal name given to this theology is supersessionism.

Supersessionism says that the church has replaced Israel in God’s plan. The Jews are no longer God’s chosen people, and God no longer has a plan for Israel.

Houston, we have a problem.

Replacement Theology is not a term you will find in Bible dictionaries or commentaries. To help explain this theology in greater depth, I found the following information on gotquestions.org.

“Replacement theology (also known as supersessionism) essentially teaches that the church has replaced Israel in God’s plan. Adherents of replacement theology believe the Jews are no longer God’s chosen people, and God does not have specific future plans for the nation of Israel. Among the different views of the relationship between the church and Israel are the church has replaced Israel (replacement theology), the church is an expansion of Israel (covenant theology), or the church is completely different and distinct from Israel (dispensationalism/premillennialism).

Replacement theology teaches that the church is the replacement for Israel and that the many promises made to Israel in the Bible are fulfilled in the Christian church, not in Israel. The prophecies in Scripture concerning the blessing and restoration of Israel to the Promised Land are spiritualized or allegorized into promises of God’s blessing for the church.

It keeps going.

Major problems exist with this view, such as the continuing existence of the Jewish people throughout the centuries and especially with the revival of the modern state of Israel. If God has condemned Israel and there is no future for the Jewish nation, how do we explain the supernatural survival of the Jewish people over the past 2,000 years despite the many attempts to destroy them? How do we explain why and how Israel reappeared as a nation in the 20th century after not existing for 1,900 years?

The view that Israel and the church are different is clearly taught in the New Testament. Biblically speaking, the church is distinct from Israel, and the terms church and Israel are never to be confused or used interchangeably. We are taught from Scripture that the church is an entirely new creation that came into being on the day of Pentecost and will continue until it is taken to heaven at the rapture (Ephesians 1:9–111 Thessalonians 4:13–17).

The church has no relationship to the curses and blessings for Israel. The covenants, promises, and warnings of the Mosaic Covenant were valid only for Israel. Israel has been temporarily set aside in God’s program during these past 2,000 years of dispersion (see Romans 11).”

When did this start?

From what I can find online, it appears replacement theology started sometime in the First Century. By who and how is still a little unclear to me, but it gained ground among several church leaders over time, and some well-known pastors and theologians hold to this theology today.

If this theology were true, how does one explain the verses in the Bible surrounding the Jews and God’s plans for them?

Simple. They replace the Jews with the church.

Jesus Christ and the new covenant replaced the old covenant in the Old Testament. Or did he? What does the Apostle Paul say, a Jew from the tribe of Benjamin?

Romans 11:25 gives us some important insight into where the Jews stand regarding God’s plan and promises for the Jewish people.

Let’s take a look.

“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 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.”

A hardening in part? Many Jews did not believe Jesus was the Messiah like Paul believed.

God has determined the full number of the Gentiles to come in.

My commentary says that “all Israel” should probably be understood to refer to the vast majority of the ethnic people of Israel, Jews from every tribe and every locale all over the world.

Other notes

The commentary goes on to say that Israel’s salvation happens during the tribulation period – before, not during the second coming of Christ. There are Jews who have become believers during the church age which is the time we are living in now. We pray more Jews will accept Jesus as their Messiah before the rapture of the church. Otherwise, those who have not, will go through the tribulation period and then their eyes will be opened.

In Paul’s day, many of the Jewish people were enemies of the gospel, but for the sake of the fathers (because of the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), they remain God’s chosen people and will be restored someday.

I would be careful that you don’t fall into the trap of replacement theology. I heard a pastor say if God can change his mind about his chosen people, the Jews, he can change his mind about you. Yikes.

We can tell Jesus is getting closer as more and more people fall for this faulty theology.

Stay close to the Lord. Hold onto hope in a God who never changes. He will see you through.


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