Skip to comments.12 Reasons Why Supersessionism/Replacement Theology Is Not A Biblical Doctrine
Posted on 04/30/2012 7:51:06 PM PDT by wmfights
"I think we do not attach sufficient importance to the restoration of the Jews. We do not think enough of it. But certainly, if there is anything promised in the Bible it is this."
--Charles H. Spurgeon
"To argue that God replaced Israel with the church is to depart from an enormous body of biblical evidence."
--Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.
Supersessionism is the view that the New Testament Church supersedes, replaces, or fulfills the nation Israels place and role in the plan of God. I am convinced that supersessionism / replacement theology is an unbiblical doctrine that violates clear statements in both the Old and New testaments that teach and affirm a national salvation and restoration of Israel. Below are twelve reasons why supersessionism violates the biblical witness:
1. The Old Testament explicitly teaches the restoration of the nation Israel.
a. Deuteronomy 30:1-6: Israel would experience dispersion because of disobedience but would one day be saved as a nation and experience restoration to its land.
b. Jeremiah 30, 31, and 33: This prediction of the New Covenant promises a restoration of Israel that includes spiritual blessings and physical blessings.
c. Ezekiel 3637 This passage promises the future salvation and restoration of the nation Israel to its land.
d. Amos 9:11-15
e. Zephaniah 3:14-20
f. Zechariah 1214
g. NOTE 1: Even if the NT never discussed the restoration of Israel, the many explicit texts about Israels restoration in the OT give enough reason to believe in the restoration of Israel.
h. NOTE 2: Since the Abrahamic (Gen. 12:1-3; 15:18-21) and New Covenants (Jer. 31) are eternal and unconditional covenants we should expect God to fulfill these covenants with Israel, the people with whom the covenants were made. John Murray is correct that Israels restoration is linked to the covenants of the Old Testament: "Thus the effect is that the future restoration of Israel is certified by nothing less than the certainty belonging to covenantal institution."
2. The Old Testament explicitly promises the perpetuity of the nation Israel (see Jer. 31:35-37).
"Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day, And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: "If this fixed order departs From before Me," declares the LORD, "Then the offspring of Israel also shall cease From being a nation before Me forever." Thus says the LORD, "If the heavens above can be measured, And the foundations of the earth searched out below, Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel For all that they have done," declares the LORD" (Jer. 31:35-37).
Have you seen the sun, moon or stars today? If so, you can know that the nation Israel still has a place in Gods plan.
3. The New Testament reaffirms the Old Testament expectation of a salvation and restoration of Israel.
a. Matthew 19:28 -- Apostles to rule over 12 tribes of Israel.
According to E. P. Sanders, Matt 19:28 "confirms the view that Jesus looked for the restoration of Israel."
b. Matthew 23:37-39 / Luke 13:34-35-- Israel one day will accept her Messiah. Donald Senior states, "In Matthews perspective, the rejection of Jesus by the leaders is indeed a grave sin, one that brings divine judgment. Yet the story of Gods relationship to Israel is not concluded, and the day will come when Jerusalem will again receive its Messiah with shouts of praise."
c. Luke 21:24-- Times of the gentiles will come to an end. J. Bradley Chance states, "Close examination of L. 21:24b,c provides a strong hint that Luke did foresee the restoration of Jerusalem."
d. Luke 22:30-- Apostles to rule over the 12 tribes of Israel.
e. Acts 1:3-7-- Apostles believed in a restoration of the nation Israel after 40 days of kingdom instruction from Jesus. Scot McKnight states: "Since Jesus was such a good teacher, we have every right to think that the impulsive hopes of his audience were on target. This is not to say that they, at times, drew incorrect references or came to inaccurate conclusions about time or about content, but it is to admit that Jesus believed in an imminent realization of the kingdom to restore Israel and that he taught this with clarity."
f. Acts 3:19-21 -- Restoration is preached to the leaders of Israel.
g. Romans 11:26-27-- Salvation of "all Israel" will occur in accordance with the New Covenant promises given to Israel in the Old Testament.
i. C.E.B. Cranfield: "It is only where the Church persists in refusing to learn this message, where it secretly-perhaps quite unconsciously-believes that its own existence is based on human achievement, and so fails to understand God's mercy to itself, that it is unable to believe in God's mercy for still unbelieving Israel, and so entertains the ugly and unscriptural notion that God has cast off His people Israel and simply replaced it by the Christian Church. These three chapters [Rom. 9-11] emphatically forbid us to speak of the Church as having once and for all taken the place of the Jewish people."
ii. Jonathan Edwards: "Nothing is more certainly foretold than this national conversion of the Jews in Romans 11."
iii. In his comments on Rom 11:2627, Ernst Käsemann rightly states that "Christianity is already living in the new covenant" while "Israel will begin to do so only at the parousia."
4. The New Testament explicitly states that the Old Testament promises and covenants to Israel are still the possession of Israel even during this church age and even while the nation is currently in a state of unbelief (see Romans 9:3b-4).
"my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises" (Rom. 9:3b-4).
5. The New Testament indicates that God is faithful to Israel because of His promises to the patriarchs of Israel (Romans 11:28).
From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers (Rom.11:28).
6. The New Testament indicates that Israels election/calling is irrevocable (Romans 11:29; see also Deuteronomy 7:6-8).
for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable (Rom. 11:29).
a. Jürgen Moltmann: "There can be no question of Gods having finally rejected the people of his choicehe would then have to reject his own election (11.29)and of his then having sought out instead another people, the church. Israels promises remain Israels promises. They have not been transferred to the church. Nor does the church push Israel out of its place in the divine history. In the perspective of the gospel, Israel has by no means become like all the nations."
b. Wolfhart Pannenberg: "How could Christians be certain of their own comparatively new membership in the circle of Gods elect if God for his part did not remain faithful to his election in spite of Israels unbelief? This is the apostles point when he advocates the inviolability of the election of the Jewish people (11:29; cf. 9:6). He has in mind also Christian assurance of election."
c. The more one believes in the sovereignty of God especially as it relates to election, the more one should be committed to a salvation/restoration of Israel based on Gods election of this people.
7. The New Testament never uses the term "Israel" for those who are not ethnic Jews. Thus, the church is never called "Israel."
a. The title "Israel" is used seventy-three times and always refers to ethnic Jews: The vast majority refer to national, ethnic Israel. A few refer specifically to Jewish believers who are ethnic Jews.
b. The New Testament still consistently refers to national Israel as "Israel" even after the establishment of the church (Acts 3:12; 4:10; 5:21, 31, 35; 21:28).
c. The book of Acts maintains a distinction between Israel and the church. In Acts, both Israel and the church exist simultaneously. "Israel" is used twenty times and ekklesia (church) nineteen times, yet the two groups are always kept distinct.
8. Supersessionists have failed to show that the New Testament identifies the church as "Israel."
a. Romans 9:6 Believing Jews are those who are the true spiritual Israel. As William Sanday and Arthur C. Headlam state: "But St. Paul does not mean here to distinguish a spiritual Israel (i.e. the Christian Church) from the fleshly Israel, but to state that the promises made to Israel might be fulfilled even if some of his descendants were shut out from them. What he states is that not all the physical descendants of Jacob are necessarily inheritors of the Divine promises implied in the sacred name Israel."
b. Galatians 6:16 Paul is referring to Christian Jews in his reference to the "Israel of God." Paul scolded the Judaizers who said circumcision was necessary for salvation, but he acknowledges those Jews in Galatia who had not followed the Judaizers in their error. These Christian Jews are the true "Israel of God." Ronald E. Diprose: "Galatians 6:16 is insufficient grounds on which to base an innovative theological concept such as understanding the Church to be the new and/or true Israel."
c. Romans 11:26 There is very little chance that "Israel" here refers to the church, something even many supersessionists acknowledge. Like the other ten references to "Israel" in Romans 911, Israel in 11:26 refers to ethnic Israel.
9. Supersessionists have failed to show that the New Testament reinterprets or alters the original OT prophecies in regard to Israel. The alleged "NT Priority" approach of Supersessionism is really structural supersessionisma hermeneutic that does not allow the OT passages to speak to the issues they address.
a. How can the NT reinterpret or alter the OT expectation for Israel when the NT actually reaffirms the OT expectation? (see point #3 above).
b. Hebrews 8:8-13 and Jeremiah 31:
i. The Old Testament never indicated that the New Covenant would only be for the nation Israel. Isaiah uses the New Covenant concept of "sprinkling" in regard to salvation in Isaiah 52:15.
ii. Paul quotes New Covenant passages in Romans 11:27 to show that the nation Israel will be saved (see Rom. 11:26). Thus, even after the church began Paul sees Israel as still related to the New Covenant.
iii. The purpose of Hebrews 8 is not to address the issue of who is and is not the people of God. Hebrews 8 is directly addressing the superiority of the New Covenant over the Mosaic Covenant, not whether the church is now the true Israel.
iv. Only the spiritual blessings of the New Covenant are mentioned in Hebrews 8:8-13. If the New Covenant were being fulfilled in its entirety we should expect the physical blessings of the New Covenant to be mentioned as being fulfilled with the church. The New Testament never links the church with the physical blessings of the New Covenant.
v. It is best to conclude that the church is participating in the spiritual blessings of the New Covenant while the full eschatological fulfillment of the New Covenant will take place with Israel in the millennium.
c. Acts 15:13-18 and Amos 9:11-15
i. The main point of the quotation of Amos 9 in Acts 15 is to show that Gentiles becoming the people of God is consistent with or agrees with what the OT prophets like Amos predicted. It is not discussing the complete fulfillment of the Davidic kingdom or calling the church Israel.
ii. Discussion of Israels place in the plan of God is not even the focus of Acts 15.
iii. Acts 15 says "agree" not "fulfill."
iv. William D. Barrick: "Note, first of all, that James never says that Amos 9 is fulfilled. Secondly, James reasoning is that the Gospel should continue to go out to the Gentiles because God included them in his redemptive plan according to Amos 9. Amos 9 mentions Gentiles as recipients of Gods kingdom blessings, so how could the early church ever take action to exclude them?"
10. Supersessionists have failed to show that unity between Jews and Gentiles in the church rules out a future restoration of the nation Israel.
a. Ephesians 2:1122 shows that Gentiles who used to be far from God have now been brought near God because of Christ. Thus, the soteriological status of believing Gentiles has changed. They now share with Israel in Israels covenants and promises but they do not become Israel.
b. Believing Gentiles cannot be incorporated into Israel because Paul says they are now part of a new structurethe new man.
c. Howard Taylor: "Superficial logic has continued to argue that there is no more uniqueness for the Jew and physical Israel. Since it is said Christ has broken down the barrier between Jew and Gentile [Eph. 2:1118], Israels election is finished. But this is not the logic of the New Testament. Although there is only one way of salvation for both Jew and Gentile, the New Testament teaches that the Jewish people do still have a unique place in the historical working out of Gods redemption of the world in Christ.
d. Rom 11:1724 stresses that Gentiles are now related to the promises of God. Thus, there is a soteriological unity between believing Jews and Gentiles. But it does not indicate that the church is now the true Israel. There is a difference between saying that Gentiles participate with Israel in Israels covenants and claiming that believing Gentiles become Israel. Gentiles are partakers of the covenants not takerovers. This passage does not rule out a future role for national Israel or indicate that the church is now Israel.
11. Israelite language applied to believing Gentiles does not mean the church is Israel.
a. 1 Peter 2:910 and Romans 9:24-26 Yes, language used of Israel in the Old Testament is used of believing Gentiles in the New Testament. But similarity with Israel does not mean identification with Israel. There are occasions in Scripture when "Israel" imagery is applied to non-Israelites without these non-Israelites becoming Israel. Isa 19:2425, for instance, predicts that Egypt would someday be called "my people." Yet, the context makes clear that Egypt is distinct from Israel since Egypt is mentioned alongside "Israel my inheritance." So, even in the Old Testament it was predicted that non-Israelites would someday carry some of the titles of Israel without becoming identified as Israel.
b. J. Ramsey Michaels says, "Nowhere in 1 Peter are the readers addressed as a new Israel or a new people of God, as if to displace the Jewish community."
c. Galatians 3:7, 29 The New Testament teaches that believing Gentiles are the seed of Abraham but this does not mean that believing Gentiles are Israel. The concept of "seed of Abraham" is used in several different ways in the New Testament. First, it can refer to those who are biological descendants of Abraham. Second, it can refer to the Messiah, who is the unique individual seed of Abraham. Third, it can refer to the righteous remnant of Israel (cf. Isa 41:8 with Rom 9:6). Fourth, it can be used in a spiritual sense for believing Jews and Gentiles (Gal 3:29). John Feinberg states, "no sense (spiritual especially) is more important than any other, and that no sense cancels out the meaning and implications of the other senses." Thus, the application of the titles "sons of Abraham" or "seed of Abraham" to believing Gentiles does not mean that believing Gentiles are spiritual Jews or part of Israel.
d. Galatians 3:7-8 links the Gentiles being "sons of Abraham" with the part of the Abrahamic Covenant that predicted that "all the nations of the earth shall be blessed."
12. New Testament prophecy refers to Israel, thus indicating that Gods plan for Israel is alive.
a. Revelation 7:4-8 all the tribes of Israel are mentioned.
b. Matthew 24:15ff.
i. The abomination of desolation is clearly related to the Jewish temple.
ii. Jesus tells the residence of Israel what to do in the Tribulation Period.
c. Paul refers to the temple in 2 Thessalonians 2:4.
d. If the church is now Israel why do NT prophecies refer to ethnic Israel?
In conclusion, Ronald Diprose is right when he states that in order for supersessionism to qualify as a biblical doctrine there needs to be "positively, passages which clearly teach it and negatively, no passages which actually exclude it." On both counts, supersessionism fails. The New Testament does not call the church "Israel," and nowhere does the New Testament state that the nation of Israel has been permanently rejected by God. Various texts such as Matt 19:28; 23:3739; Luke 13:35; 21:24; 22:30; and Romans 11 refute supersessionism in that they teach or reaffirm the Old Testament expectation of a restoration of Israel. Thus, we agree with Kaiser when he says, "To argue that God replaced Israel with the church is to depart from an enormous body of biblical evidence."
I thought the author did a good job explaining why supersessionism is in error. I would be interested in your thoughts as well.
The only way to God is through Christ. Jews born before the time of Christ may very well have an opportunity to accept Christ. Those afterwards need to accept Christ, as did the Apostles, who were Jews.
“God’s Chosen People” are those who follow Him. Jews, with the knowledge of Christ, do not follow God.
The author has chosen a position and then used Scripture to force his argument.
Time to be a Berean. Study the Scripture first. Scripture is it’s own interpretor, it’s own dictionary.
I am neither a supersessionist nor do I follow Replacement Theology.
I’m an old lady who reads her Bible.
“Jews, with the knowledge of Christ, do not follow God.”
Back in the O.T. they had knowledge of God, but did not follow Him either lots of times. (Baal worship, the Golden Calf, etc.) Yes they were punished (exile, wandering for 40 years, etc.) but they were still God’s chosen people.
I think they still are God’s chosen people, even if they do not follow God today. I didn’t always think that way.
Yeah, they worship the One True God and missed the critical turn. Many of them (we called them Messianic Jews, don’t know what they consider themselves) will find the truth and so Israel, (a remnant is saved) unto perpetuity.
Meanwhile, salvation has come to the Gentiles..
For example Paul called the old Law a yoke of slavery that Christ had freed the Galatians (Gal. chapters 4,5) from and hence it was to the Jews that Christ preached to first to give them first opportunity to become part of what God now was establishing as Israel under the new covenant.
I trust you pinged the END TIMES LIST.
We read in Hebrews 11 of Jews who had faith.
Not all Israel had faith. But, like Isaiah, these Hebrews 11 Jews trusted in a coming Messiah even though they did not know his name would be Jesus. This was enough.
One must have faith in the righteousness provided by God to be saved. It's an individual thing. Not all individuals of any nation or tribe will be saved just because of blood heritage.
In Matthew 25: 31-46 “The Judgment of the Nations”, Jesus Christ tells us >who will get into Heaven. If you disagree with Jesus Christ, don’t tell me about it; please let >God know about it.
God gives sufficient grace & opportunity for >everyone to reach Heaven.
Jesus is God, the second person of the Trinity.
Thank you for posting the truth.
There is so much bad theology out there.
The Jews are God’s chosen. We (Christians) are adopted sons (grafted into the tree).
Jesus was (and is) a Jew. We Christians are “adopted” chosen sons. We should not get too full of ourselves.
It is one vine, with branches grafted in and some pruned out, but the root of the vine is the promise to Abraham, Israel.
It isn’t about being full of ones self. No man comes to the father but through the son. If the Jews reject Christ they do not get a loophole. They are just like everyone else when it comes to being saved. Christ opened the door for all mankind, but you have to walk through the door.
Many Jews from the Southern Kingdom, whether they came back to Israel or not, retained their identities as being from Israel, children of Jacob, and worshiping God. Many of the children of Jacob from the Northern Kingdom ended up migrating to other parts of the world, assimilated into other cultures, and eventually forgetting about the true and living God. They lost their identities as children of the promises of Abraham, but God knew and knows who they are.
I believe that many who have been brought into the Church are, unbeknown to themselves, actually children of the promise of Abraham, his and Jacob's biological descendants. God has been recovery them, only in a different way, into His Church.
Still the Jews have a special calling as Jews. After the Church is raptured away they will fulfill their destinies as the children of the Abrahamic promise. At the end of time The LORD will gather together all of Israel, some who know that they are of the 12 tribes of Israel, the Jews, and some who don't. The tents of Judah have been being gathered first into Israel and are, according to the Bible, the ruling tribe. After Judah is gathered first, then others will be gathered. Right now it is the the Jews from the Southern Kingdom, also know as the Kingdom of Judah that have been returning to Israel, just as the Bible says.
Zecharia 12:7 The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify [themselves] against Judah.
Zec 12:8 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David [shall be] as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. Zec 12:9 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
Zec 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.
Zec 12:11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.
Zec 12:12 And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart;
Zec 12:13 The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart;
Zec 12:14 All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.
The Christian Church has been plagued by an infectious disease for centuries. The viral disease of Replacement Theology; which, in itself, is antisemitism. Teachers of Replacement Theology are filling pulpits of churches across the globe. We cannot stand aside and watch as these lies permeate under the surface of our own churches. There is nothing in the Holy Bible on which Replacement Theology can stand. It is unbiblical, antisemitic and cannot be accepted as truth.
Replacement Theology disregards Israels biblical covenant with God, replacing Israel with the church. All of Gods covenant with Israel is shifted on to the church and Israel is pushed aside and diminished in every sense. Israel is cast aside and cut off from Gods plan and the church does not have any responsibility to stand with Israel or the Jewish people.
Pastor John Hagee in his book In Defense of Israel says this of Replacement Theology:
Replacement theology is the underpinning of most of the atrocities committed in the name of Christianity against the Jewish people over the centuries.
It has given license to the church to spread antisemitism and commit violence toward the Jewish people. How many Jews have died because lies like Replacement theology had become the norm?
Early church fathers told their illiterate congregants that the Jews were the odious assassins of Christ. Century after century this vicious label was tied about the necks of the Jews, and as a result, the Crusader, the Iquisitors, and the Nazis turned Europe red with Jewish bloodall believing they were acting in accordance with Gods will. John Hagee, In Defense of Israel
Some may argue that those who committed such heinous crimes were not true Christians. That may be, but it does not excuse the fact that they did it in the name of Christ and for the betterment of the Christian church. It is a debt that we as Christians can never repay to the Jewish people. I need not remind you that Martin Luther, the great reformer of the church, was antisemitic and his teachings on the subject have been quoted on numerous occasions as further affirming for antisemitic causes. David Allen Lewis, the founder of Christians United For Israel, speaks about this in his book, Can Israel Survive in a Hostile World :
Martin Luther, beloved among Protestants and Evangelicals made strong anti-Semitic statements late in his life. All the blood kindred of Christ burn in hell, and they are rightly served, even according to their own words they spoke to Pilate . . . . Verily a hopeless, wicked, venomous, and devilish thing is the existence of these Jews, who for 1,400 years have been, and still are, our pest, torment, and misfortune. They are just devils and nothing more. Malcolm Hay comments, His doctrine provided many suitable texts for Hitlers program of extermination."
He further explains the role the church played doctrinally in pre-Nazi Germany:
The Church in pre-Nazi Germany was preaching the twin doctrines of Christian anti-Semitism. They are the doctrine of replacement theology and the doctrine of contempt. The theology of replacement contends that the Church has replaced Israel and that God no longer has any purpose for Israel. Contempt declares that the Jews crucified Jesus therefore they are under a curse and whatever happens, including the Holocaust, is their just dessert. We should not concern ourselves.
We MUST not turn a blind eye to the antisemitic doctrine of Replacement theology which is rapidly becoming the prevailing theology in the church. Israel has an everlasting/eternal covenant with God. God revealed Himself to Abraham and made a covenant with him. It is recorded in Genesis chapter 15. In Chapter 17 God tells Abraham this specifically:
And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; I will be their God. Genesis 17:7-8 NKJV
That was pretty straight forward right? God made an everlasting covenant with Israel and they have an everlasting possession of their land. How could anyone say that God broke His covenant with Israel after reading that? The last time I checked God was the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). If God can abandon Israel, whos to say that He wouldnt abandon His covenant with the church? In Malachi 3:6-7 the Lord declares:
For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob. Yet from the days of your fathers you have gone away from My ordinances and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, Says the Lord of hosts.
God has NOT abandoned His covenant with Israel. The Jews are Gods chosen people and we must stand with them. It is our biblical mandate to stand with Israel. Isaiah 62:6-7 says:
I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
We are called to be watchmen on the wall. We must pray and speak up for Israel. That is the only way we can combat the false doctrine of Replacement Theology.
No one can be a true believer in Christ and believe in replacement theology. Replacement theology denies the word of God and plays beautifully into Satan's hatred of the Jews and obsession with eliminating them.
If someone claims to be a Christian and tells you that the Church has replaced Israel, they are lying. They are not Christian.
Israel is to the Church as the caterpillar is to the butterfly.
If we're adopted sons, then we are "God's chosen" as well. We weren't adopted by our choice, but by his.
And there is one olive tree, in which both the believing Jews and the believing, grafted-in, Gentiles have membership. The church isn't "God's Plan B" or some sort of afterthought; God only has one plan and one people.
That argument itself is bogus theology. Stick to the Bible; don't argue that a position is wrong because some people abuse it. You might as well argue that the Bill of Rights is wrong because some people abuse that, too.