Have all of God’s promises to Israel been taken from her and given to the Church?
Part 2: Has the Church Replaced Israel?
Many movements or belief systems today hold to the belief that the Church has replaced national Israel. This is commonly known as Replacement Theology. They argue that God’s covenants with Israel were conditional, and that when Israel rejected her 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 has been around for a long time.
God’s Promises to Israel
The basic problem with this whole line of reasoning is simply that God’s covenant with Israel through Abraham was unconditional. It is true that God set forth consequences if Israel walked away from God. It is also true that the Hebrew Scriptures refer to God’s chosen people as “stubborn” and “stiff-necked,” regularly turning their backs on God.
Consequences for Disobedience
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.
A Promise Keeper
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.
God will Never Abandon Those who are His
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 place themselves in a position clearly reserved for Israel.
Israel is the only nation on earth ordained and established by God. He has a special plan for national Israel, and throughout the Old Testament His unending faithfulness to the Jewish offspring (as a nation) despite their rebellion is repeated over and over:
For neither Israel nor Judah has been forsaken by his God, the Lord of armies
although their land is full of guilt before the Holy One of Israel (Jer. 51:5).
Psalm 89 explains that God will keep his promises to Israel through David:
I will maintain My favor for him (David) forever, and My covenant shall be confirmed to him. So I will establish his descendants forever, and his throne as the days of heaven. “If his sons abandon My Law and do not walk in My judgments, If they violate My statutes and do not keep My commandments, then I will punish their wrongdoing with the rod, and their guilt with afflictions. But I will not withhold My favor from him, nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. I will not violate My covenant, nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David. His descendants shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before Me (Psalm 89:28-36).
For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlasting favor I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer (Is. 54:7-8).
For You have established for Yourself Your people Israel as Your own people forever… (2 Sam. 7:24)
You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth
And called from its remotest parts,
And said to you, “You are My servant,
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.” (Is. 41:9)
Perhaps the ultimate proof that God has not rejected Israel is seen in
Rom. 11:26-27: and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is My Covenant with them, when I take away their sins.”
I don’t see how God could have made it any plainer that He will never abandon or forsake the nation of Israel. His name and reputation are at stake. To believe that God’s covenantal promises to Israel have been transferred to anyone is to claim that God has gone back on His word, and, therefore, cannot be trusted.
As I see it, those who claim that Israel has been rejected by God are, in a sense, cursing Israel and opening themselves to being cursed by God as per Genesis 12:3.
And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
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