COMMENTARY: The Root of Replacement Theology?

Sunday, September 20, 2015 |  Brian Hennessy

Replacement Theology (RT) boasts that the physical seed of Abraham, the Jews, forfeited their coveted spot as God’s chosen people when the nation rejected Yeshua. Consequently, God rejected them and replaced them with the Christian Church. 

Of course, Scripture emphatically refutes that teaching. Paul asks, “What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?" (Rom. 3:3). Nevertheless, RT lives on, insisting God canceled His exclusive commitment to Abraham’s family as expressed by Amos: “You _only _have I chosen from among all the families of the earth” (Amos 3:2). 

Reflecting upon the ability of RT to endure and metastasize into other teachings, I realized there must be a hidden taproot supplying life to this lie, and I think I found it. It’s the mistaken belief that under the New Covenant the definition of “Abraham’s seed” was expanded. Now anyone could be considered a descendant of Abraham through faith in Jesus, and be reckoned his “spiritual seed” – no matter what your genealogy.

 The truth is, when Paul taught that…“They are not all Israel who are descended from Israel” (Rom. 9:6), he was not suggesting the New Covenant opened the door to include folks from other lineages. He was simply pointing out there was a chosen Israel within Israel, a faithline within the bloodline. That it was only those from the line of Isaac, termed “the children of promise,” who would be counted as true descendants. Other physical offspring like Ishmael and Esau, termed “children of the flesh,” would be excluded. 

What changed then with the coming of Yeshua? Simply this: Now everyone would know who was who in the family. Faith in Yeshua would reveal it. “For it is those who are of faith who are the sons of Abraham” (Gal. 3:7). The definition of Abraham’s seed hadn’t been expanded – but reduced! Remember, only “the remnant will be saved” (Rom. 9:27).

Then how do we explain the Gentile followers of Yeshua? Who are they? Think back, didn’t God promise Abraham he would be “the father of many nations [goyiim]?” (Rom. 4:17,18) Wasn’t that what he “hoped against hope” to become?  Wasn’t that what his name meant?

Well, I believe God began to fulfill that promise when He divorced the idolatrous ten tribes of Israel’s northern kingdom and let Assyria drag them off among the nations (2 Kings 18:9-12). Yet, all the prophets promised He’d bring them back one day and reunite them with Judah (the Jews) in Messiah. 

 So where are they now?  Don’t you know? Didn’t Paul tell us, “If you belong to Messiah, you ARE Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:29)? Wasn’t the New Covenant promised ONLY to the physical descendants of Israel’s two kingdoms? (Heb. 8:8) Didn’t James begin his epistle to the whole church with the words – “To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad, greetings”? 

So I ask – who do you think all those coming to Messiah out of the nations might be?” 

Only RT nullifies God’s exclusive covenant promises to Abraham’s physical seed (from either Judah or Israel) and gives their inheritance to others. 

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