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116. Has the Church Replaced Israel?

This issue answers the question Has the Church replaced Israel?

SINCE YOU ASKED

If we, as a nation, are to relate biblically to Israel, then we, as individuals, must know God’s plans for Israel. We must know God’s word so we aren’t led astray by unbiblical teaching. Among the wild theories out there is the one that claims that when God rejected Israel, He permanently abandoned her and transferred His blessings and promises to someone else. The most common claim of those who have embraced this theory is that the Church has replaced Israel. They argue that God’s covenants with Israel were conditional, and that when Israel rejected its Messiah, God considered his previous promises null and void, replacing Israel with those who had accepted or would accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. This view, known as “Replacement Theology,” has been around for a long time.

The basic problem with this whole line of reasoning is simply that God’s covenant with Israel was unconditional. It is true that God set forth consequences if Israel walked away from God. The consequences, however, involved being removed from the land and taken into captivity. Abandonment was never an option as far as God was concerned. When He made His covenant with Abram (Genesis 15) by walking the “blood path” in a vision, He was showing Abram that by passing alone between the bloody pieces of the dissected animals, He was taking sole responsibility for fulfilling the responsibilities of both parties. In essence, He was saying that if either party violated the covenant, God would shed His blood as payment.

AS I SEE IT

God has kept every promise He has ever made. His righteousness makes it impossible for Him to do otherwise. This is confirmed in chapters 9-11 in the book of Romans. These three chapters clearly summarize God’s dealings with Israel. Chapter 9 reminds us that God chose Israel out of all the nations of the world. Chapter 10 explains how Israel rejected God by rejecting the Messiah. Chapter 11 clearly tells us that God has not rejected His people and that Israel would be saved at some time in the future. When taken in context of the preceding chapters, the apostle Paul uses this three-chapter section to show that God has not abandoned Israel, and therefore, will never abandon the recipients of his letter (the book of Romans), who were Gentile believers. These chapters reaffirm that God’s covenant with Abraham, including its promise to bless or curse, was and still is unconditional. Neither Abraham nor his descendants could break it by doing or not doing anything. If you’d like it all condensed down to one verse, consider the words of Samuel in I Samuel 12:22:

For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself.

If you’re still not convinced, God says in Jeremiah 31:36 that the offspring of Israel will cease to be a nation before Him only if the fixed order of the universe suddenly changes. It’s hard to make it clearer than that, but yet individuals, churches, and entire movements have decided to elevate themselves to a place clearly reserved for Israel. This is exactly what happened at a recent conference on Christians in the Middle-East, when U.S. Archbishop Melkite proclaimed that there is no longer a chosen people. The Vatican is treading on dangerous ground.

Unsure of your standing before God? Check out HOW TO KNOW YOU’RE HEAVEN BOUND.

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE

Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn’t much, but the reception was excellent.

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