Is Replacement Theology Biblical? – LIVE Q&A for November 16, 2023
Is Replacement Theology Biblical?
This idea goes by several different names.
- Replacement theology
- Fulfillment theology (the church fulfills Israel, or Jesus fulfills Israel).
- Israel is no longer a chosen people theology.
Those who believe in Replacement Theology sometimes don’t like the term; they see it as a loaded, biased term. They will often prefer the term “fulfillment theology.”
Whatever exactly you call it, Replacement Theology says, “God is finished with Israel as Israel. Of course, individual Jews can become believers in Jesus Christ just like anyone else. But God has no more place, no more plan, for Israel as Israel or with the Jewish people as the Jewish people. The Jews have no greater place in God’s plan than the Swedes or the Chinese or the Irish. The Church is the new Israel.”
Therefore, replacement theology believes that the church replaces (or fulfills) Israel in God’s plan and promises, at least regarding the promises of blessing unto an obedient Israel.
Replacement Theology has dominated Christian theology throughout the last 2,000 years. Roman Catholics strongly believe in Replacement Theology; they believe that they (the Roman Catholic Church) have indeed replaced Israel. 80%-85% of all Christians in the world belong to churches that teach Replacement Theology.
This would mean that God chose Israel, then He un-chose them.
For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.
But God specifically said that His covenant with Israel was everlasting. Those who believe in Replacement Theology really do believe that God’s everlasting covenant with Israel was cancelled in a.d. 70 – that it had an expiration date!
The many Old Testament prophecies that God made for Israel regarding their restoration and exaltation were not canceled or fulfilled in a.d. 70.
- Genesis 9:16 describes an everlasting covenant: that God would not destroy the world again with a flood.
- Genesis 17:7 describes an everlasting covenant: that God would give the descendants of Abraham a special relationship and the land of Israel.
- Genesis 17:19 describes this covenant again as an everlasting covenant.
- 1 Chronicles 16:17-18 and Psalm 105:10-11 describe again God’s everlasting covenant with Israel.
The covenant which He made with Abraham,
And His oath to Isaac,
And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,
To Israel as an everlasting covenant,
Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan
As the allotment of your inheritance,”
This isn’t primarily a matter of eschatology; it’s a matter of hermeneutics – how do we understand what the Bible says? Those who believe in replacement/fulfillment theology believe that in Psalm 105:9-11:
- Everlasting doesn’t mean everlasting.
- Israel doesn’t mean Israel.
- Land doesn’t mean land.
- Inheritance doesn’t mean inheritance.
- Jeremiah 31:35-37 speaks clearly that “the seed of Israel” shall be “a nation before” Him “forever.”
- Many Old Testament passages explain that God will bring together Israel, even referring to the people of the northern kingdom (Israel) and the people of the southern kingdom (Judah).
We believe that God still has a plan for Israel as Israel; for the Jewish people as the Jewish people. We believe this because we believe that when He chose a Babylonian idol worshipper named Abram and made a covenant with him and his descendants, God meant it regarding both the choice and the covenant. For those who believe in replacement theology, God chose Israel – then un-chose them.
Deuteronomy 30:1-6: Re-Gathering and Re-Blessing
- (1) When all these things come upon you.
Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you,
-  Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you: Under the inspiration of the Lord, Moses carefully explained the blessings and curses that would come upon an obedient or disobedient Israel. Under the same inspiration, Moses knew that all these things would come upon Israel.
- From the height of blessing during the reigns of David and Solomon, to the depth of cursing at the fall of Jerusalem, Israel’s history has been a legacy of either being blessed or cursed under the terms of the Old Covenant.
-  And you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you: God knew that Israel would be scattered and exiled, and here through Moses, God calls the Diaspora (Israel dispersed among the nations) to remember the promises of the blessing and the curse.
- (2-5) God’s promise to regather Israel in the Promised Land.
And you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you. If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you. Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.
-  Return to the Lord your God: As Israel would return to the Lord, God would bless them and  bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you.
- Of course, this was fulfilled in part by the return of the Babylonian exiles during the times of Ezra and Nehemiah. But the ultimate fulfillment of this would await the Twentieth Century, when God would regather Israel in the Promised Land. This modern regathering is a larger, broader, more sovereign, and more miraculous restoration than what was recorded in Ezra and Nehemiah.
-  From all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you: The modern regathering of Israel more accurately fulfills this promise than the return from the Babylonian exile. Today, Israel is populated from Jews from virtually every country in the world. The breadth of this promise is important, because God repeats the idea in verse 4: If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord God will gather you.
- Adam Clarke, writing in 1811, recognized that this regathering had to be fulfilled in a future time: “As this promise refers to a return from captivity in which they had been scattered among all nations, consequently it is not the Babylonish captivity which is intended; and the repossession of their land must be different from that which was consequent on their return from Chaldea.”
-  Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it: The regathering had to happen in the land of Israel. The modern regathering of Israel more accurately fulfills this promise than the return from the Babylonian exile. In the return from the Babylonian exile, Israel was still a vassal state of the Persians. But in the modern regathering of Israel, you shall possess it is literally fulfilled.
- At one time, in the early days of the Zionist movement, the British offered the country of Uganda to the Jews as a place to establish a Jewish state. If that would have happened, and if Jews from all over the world would have flocked there to establish a Jewish state, it would not have fulfilled the promise of regathering stated here and in other passages. The promise here is plain:  The land which your fathers possessed.
-  He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers: This promise was fulfilled only in the modern regathering of Israel, not in the return from the Babylonian exile. In the days of the return from the Babylonian exile, the Jewish community was small, weak, and poor. But today, under the modern regathering of Israel, the state of Israel does indeed prosper and the promise to multiply you more than your fathers is fulfilled. Israel, as a nation, is larger, stronger, and richer than at any time in Biblical history.
- (6) The spiritual regathering of Israel.
And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
-  And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart…to love the Lord your God with all your heart: As remarkable and as prophetically meaningful the modern regathering of Israel is, it is incomplete. The spiritual dimension of the regathering has not yet been accomplished.
- Today Israel is a largely secular nation. There is respect for the Bible as a book of history and national identity, but there is not, and has not been, a true turning to the Lord God, particularly as a nation
- Not even the religious or Orthodox Jews have completely turned to the Lord. Though they have had an important and precious part in God’s plan for Israel in helping a spiritual consciousness for the Jewish people to survive through the centuries of the Diaspora, they have not truly turned to the Lord. We can say this because the character and nature of the Lord is perfectly expressed in His Messiah, Jesus. Jesus said, He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. (John 12:44-45) Since the Jewish people, except for a precious remnant, reject Jesus, they are rejecting the Lord God.
But God’s promise still stands. As the final aspect of the promise to regather Israel, God will restore them spiritually. He promises to circumcise your heart, and this promise is repeated in many other passages (Ezekiel 36:26-27, Romans 11:26, Matthew 23:39).
- Some have thought that because the modern regathering of Israel has not yet demonstrated this spiritual dynamic that it has nothing to do with these prophesies. But the spiritual dynamic is properly listed in Deuteronomy 30:2-6 as the last of the blessings of regathering. Also, the picture of regathering in Ezekiel 37 – the vision of the dry bones – shows Israel regathered, and strong, before the Lord breathed the breath of His Spirit on the regathered Israel. We regard the modern regathering of Israel as a remarkable sign, and an extremely significant – but thus far only partial – fulfillment of these prophesies.
How do those who preach Replacement Theology people deal with such passages?
Basically, they replace the phrase “Children of Israel” with the phrase “people of God.” When this is done, then “Israel coming back to the land” spiritually becomes “people coming to Jesus.”
They rely on the concept of “spiritual Israel” and the “spiritual sons of Abraham” found in passages like Galatians 3:6-7, mistakenly thinking that these truths cancel out God’s prior promises to Israel – that they make the chosen people “unchosen.”
A few more words about Replacement Theology and anti-Semitism (Jew-Hatred):
- Through the centuries, the Church – institutional Christianity – has a shameful record of anti-Semitism and horrible persecution against the Jewish people.
- It would be unfair to accuse all people who believe in Replacement Theology of anti-Semitism, and they are often very sensitive regarding this accusation.
- It is true that all Replacement Theology people are not anti-Semitic; but it is also true that virtually all Jew-hating Christians have been Replacement Theology people.
- If I believed in Replacement Theology, I would be offended if someone assumed that it automatically made me anti-Semitic; but I would also take great care that I never gave anyone a reason to think it was true of me. There are some voices in the Replacement Theology camp that have scary, scary attitudes regarding Israel and the Jewish people.
Do believers enter the kingdom of God now spiritually (in Christ)?
Yes, believers enter the spiritual realm of God’s kingdom now through Jesus Christ. Here’s a good definition that captures the essence of the Kingdom of God, which resonates deeply with me, although it does not encompass every aspect: God’s kingdom exists wherever the reign of Jesus Christ is recognized, and the blessings of His reign are received.
Of course, we understand that there is a sense in which God reigns over all things right now. He is actively guiding history towards His intended conclusion, without question. But if anyone claims that the physical manifestation and clarity of God’s kingdom will not increase in the future compared to its current state, I would question their comprehension of the Kingdom of God. Therefore, the Kingdom of God is a present reality—not only in a spiritual sense, but mainly so. Yes, it’s true that believers are citizens of God’s kingdom. We are transferred from darkness to light as we enter the kingdom of God.
How did the Roman Catholic Church begin?
Blessings, Pastor David. I’ve been studying your videos on church history. Do you mind explaining a little bit more about how the Catholic Church (Rome) started and how?
In certain cities of the ancient Roman Empire, such as Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, the leaders of the church, known as bishops, became increasingly more important. In these cities, bishops had more influential leadership roles than leaders in smaller, less important cities. Among these influential cities, Rome became the most authoritative.
This process happened over a long time. The Bishop of the Christian church in Rome aimed to establish authority over the Christian realm. During the early centuries, the Roman Bishop tried to have supreme authority, but church leaders in other areas resisted and disputed this. Nevertheless, the Roman church persisted in its stance. Additionally, after the Western Roman Empire fell, the Roman bishopric was one of the few institutions with organizational structure and was significant in guiding society. This made the Bishop of Rome even more respected.
This process was based on the belief that the Bishop of Rome had control over all Christians—a concept I don’t agree with. Remember that the Pope’s main title is linked to being the Bishop of Rome. Although his followers are centered in Rome, the Bishop of Rome holds power over the entire Church, according to Roman Catholic belief.
Do faith and repentance precede regeneration (2 Corinthians 3:13-18)?
Does 2 Corinthians 3:13-18 teach that faith and repentance precede regeneration, since turning to the Lord precedes the heart’s veil being removed?
2 Corinthians 3:13-18 – Unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
I believe this passage supports the idea of faith and repentance before regeneration. This belief disagrees with Reformed theology. I don’t consider myself anti-Reformed. While I have gained knowledge and teachings from reputable figures in Reformed theology, I don’t agree with every doctrinal aspect. I disagree with Reformed theology’s claim that a person is born again before they believe. This idea doesn’t align with how the New Testament is presented.
According to 2 Corinthians 3, when someone turns to the Lord, the veil is lifted. I strongly believe that an individual cannot approach God through their own will alone; a previous intervention by God is required. I understand this prior step as necessary before belief, but not as regeneration initiated by God. According to Scripture, a person first believes and then experiences rebirth. This simple presentation aligns with how the Scriptures convey this concept. We don’t tell people to wait for rebirth and then believe because that’s not how Scripture approaches it.
Even if it were true that regeneration happens a split second before faith, that’s not the viewpoint God desires us to have. He wants us to comprehend that faith comes before rebirth. The Scripture clearly states that no one can come to the Father unless drawn by the Spirit, emphasizing the prior work God does, as well as the necessity of faith before rebirth.
Essentially, no matter when regeneration occurs, God emphasizes the importance of belief. God doesn’t tell us to gather people and declare, “Those who have been reborn should now believe.” Instead, the message is clear: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved; you will be reborn.” Understanding this sequence is crucial for grasping the scriptural perspective on salvation and rebirth.
Would you say that Covenant Theology or Replacement Theology are selfish at their core?
I wouldn’t use that term. When I think of Covenant Theology, I don’t associate it with selfishness. I just think it’s not biblical. Simply put, the fundamentals of Covenant Theology are not supported in the Bible. Their core belief is that God made two overarching covenants – one of works and one of grace – with all of humanity. However, there is a major issue: there are no explicit references to these covenants in Scripture. In other words, there is a glaring absence of any clear mention of them. God speaks of covenants made with Noah, Abraham, Israel at Mount Sinai, David, and the New Covenant, but does not mention the covenant of works or the covenant of grace.
When I read the works of Covenant theologians, they treat this absence as a minor issue, as it is not explicitly stated. In my view, this is not a small issue. It’s like an engine breakdown that makes the car stop moving. Covenant theology seems to originate from systematic theology rather than biblical theology, at least from my perspective.
I understand the value of systematic theology, but I think it should come after biblical theology. Nevertheless, when I think of Covenant Theology, I don’t think of selfishness. Instead, I view it as an example of non-biblical replacement theology.
Now, let’s talk about replacement theology. Although I respect those who follow it, I think it picks and chooses specific passages from the New Testament to nullify Old Testament promises. My stance is that Old Testament promises can never mean less than they did to their original recipients but can potentially mean more. While some may argue that certain promises are fulfilled in broader ways, such as when God gives His people the entire earth, it does not erase the significance of the original promise concerning a real land for the Jewish people. Therefore, even while the application of a promise could expand, the truth within the initial promise remains.
In summary, when I discuss replacement theology, I do not view it as selfish. Rather, I see it as a flawed method that does not correctly interpret the truth within the scriptures. That’s the perspective I hold on these matters.
Is Zechariah 12:10 about the spiritual restoration of Israel (Christ’s second coming)?
Zechariah 12:10 – And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.
The imminent return of Christ is a truth I hold dear. This precious Old Testament passage echoes the ideas expressed in Romans about the redemption of all Israel. It does not suggest that every person of Jewish descent will be saved, but rather indicates a future moment when Jewish people, as a group, will accept Jesus as their Messiah.
Even though the majority of Jewish people today tend to reject Christ, the Scriptures say that they will eventually accept Him. Zechariah 12:10 shows that God’s plan for Jewish people is ongoing and lasting, with an important role in His unfolding plan of the ages.
There might be fringe voices suggesting that mere Jewish heritage secures salvation or guarantees entry to heaven, but this notion doesn’t align with biblical truth. Salvation isn’t contingent upon ethnicity; rather, it hinges on righteousness. Righteousness is inherited through belief in God; it’s credited to those who have faith in Him, not merely acknowledging His existence. Therefore, there isn’t a separate path to salvation for the Jewish people. Salvation is obtained through righteousness by faith.
Some people believe in replacement or fulfillment theology, suggesting that the Jewish people’s role ended at a particular historical moment, whether it is in 70 AD or 120 AD. I disagree with this belief. I think that the Jewish people still play a significant role in God’s plan. Zechariah 12:10 shows that they continue to have value within God’s unfolding narrative.
How are we to approach a church member who believes that the current Israel is an anomaly? Can we consider ourselves to be true born-again believers in Jesus Christ if we hate the Jewish people and nation?
It’s possible to be a sincere Christian and hold incorrect beliefs on important matters. Generally, views on Jewish people, particularly Israel, aren’t essential for salvation, except in rare cases. Someone can genuinely be saved, having been born again, and still hold significant doctrinal errors. How should we interact with those who hold such errors? We should treat them as we would want to be treated if we were in their place. We should approach them with love, seek to persuade them of their errors, and exercise patience and understanding.
Although salvation is not at stake, treating Jewish people based on one’s beliefs can lead to serious errors in action. During the early days of the medieval church, the Pope ordered Jewish individuals in Rome to join a procession carrying their Scriptures, but he then publicly branded them as “cursed and wicked people.” This attitude of disdain towards Jews has persisted among Christians for far too long and is morally reprehensible.
The rationale behind such actions was rooted in the belief that Jews were cursed by God because of their role in Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. By persecuting and mistreating them, the church thought it was aiding their salvation. This wicked and convoluted thinking has influenced Christian practices for centuries, especially in the Roman Catholic Church and beyond.
Despite the gravity of these historical wrongdoings, I want to emphasize that it is possible for a genuine believer to hold erroneous views on crucial matters, much like this particular issue concerning the treatment of the Jewish people.
Can a believer be demon possessed?
I’m terrified, I think that Luke 11:24-26 might have happened to me. Please give me guidance, Pastor.
Luke 11:24-26 – When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.
Thank you for sharing your concern. I want to address it directly without any judgment or criticism. If someone is feeling intense demonic oppression or possession, it’s natural to feel afraid. But I want to assure you that despair is not necessary.
The victory achieved by Jesus on the cross holds immense power. The book of Colossians states that Jesus defeated spiritual beings like principalities and powers through the cross, disarming them. This also means that His triumph over all demonic forces gives you victory over them. It’s natural to worry, but there’s no reason to despair.
Simply put your trust in Jesus and His power over all spiritual forces. Pray to Jesus, repent, and request His victory to fill your life and your being. You don’t need to achieve this victory alone because Jesus already won it for you. Look to Him, trust Him, and rely on Him to defeat the demonic forces. Keep turning to Him, and you’ll find victory.
Let me say a quick prayer for you before we proceed. Lord, we pray for our friend to fully trust in Jesus and His triumph on the cross. Give them the confidence that all spiritual forces are defeated for believers, bringing them victory. Protect them from despair and guide them to seek comfort and peace in Jesus. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
It’s important to remember that many esteemed figures in Christian history have faced intense spiritual warfare. Legend has it that Martin Luther once woke up in the middle of the night, feeling the presence of Satan in his room and experiencing an unsettling atmosphere. Despite this, Luther recognized Satan’s defeat in Jesus Christ and calmly went back to sleep. He had battled these spiritual forces for so long that he knew they were already defeated in Christ. I often think about this story, hoping to have the same attitude which recognizes the gravity of spiritual warfare but trusts only in the power of Jesus, not our own capabilities.
Would you agree with Jack Hibbs and other dispensational teachers from CC that call replacement theology and any form of Preterism “blasphemous, demonic, and heretical”?
I wouldn’t use that language. I would not call it blasphemous. I believe it’s wrong, but I wouldn’t call it heretical. Replacement theology has been a tool used by the devil to incite Christian persecution against Jews. Although it’s wrong, I believe Christians can hold mistaken views and still be saved. Therefore, I use the word “heretical” only for teachings that affect salvation directly. Basically, I consider it to be an untrue and harmful teaching. The devil has used replacement theology to cause damage to Christians and the Jewish community.
What is the difference between error and heresy?
Here’s how I see these terms. To me, error means teachings or beliefs that are incorrect from a theological or biblical perspective – something that is deemed wrong or inaccurate. Meanwhile, I believe heresy refers to teachings that, if believed, could potentially endanger a person’s salvation. These are beliefs that might lead individuals away from attaining heaven or, if taught, could mislead others and result in their damnation. This distinction, at least in my own thinking, helps me categorize the difference between error and heresy.
What are your thoughts regarding churches who sing worship songs originating from NAR or Word of Faith churches such as Bethel or Elevation?
Hello Pastor David! What are your thoughts regarding churches who sing worship songs originating from NAR or Word of Faith churches such as Bethel or Elevation?
Let me provide a couple of quick responses. First, I fully respect pastors and church leaders when they make decisions for their congregation. If their beliefs differ from what I’m about to share, I respect it. I believe God guides each congregation’s leadership in determining what’s best for their situation.
I have two perspectives on this matter, mainly about songs or hymns. First of all, I support evaluating songs based on their artistry or content rather than only on the author’s personal beliefs or character. Some fantastic songs have been composed by individuals with questionable character. For instance, consider the hymn “It Is Well with My Soul,” which was written by a person whose personal life may have been unorthodox or defective.
Using songs from churches like Word of Faith, Bethel, or Elevation can be concerning because it could support their ministries through licensing fees. I’m not sure how the licensing system works currently, or whether singing a song from Bethel means directly contributing financial support to their church. This money aspect seems more problematic to me than just examining if the songs are theologically sound.
It’s crucial for pastors and church leaders to carefully assess the theology portrayed in the songs they select. Some songs from these movements may match the theology, while others may use terms that have a different meaning within those movements compared to the larger Christian community. This creates a complex issue. Ultimately, I place my trust in local church leadership to discern and navigate this matter wisely for their congregation.
If Jesus was put in the tomb on Friday evening and the resurrection was Sunday morning, how is that 3 days?
Pastor Guzik, can you speak on the timeliness on the resurrection? Jesus was put in the tomb Friday evening and the resurrection was Sunday morning. How is that 3 days?
In both the Old Testament and confirmed by ancient rabbinical scholars from New Testament times, the saying “three days and three nights” was a figure of speech that included any part of a day or night. It’s similar to when we say “a couple of days” nowadays, which doesn’t mean exactly two days or 48 hours. Instead, it’s a common expression or figure of speech. The term “X days and X nights” was acknowledged in Rabbinic Judaism to indicate any portion of a day or night.
When factoring in Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday morning, it fulfills this timeframe. This interpretation is supported by the insights found in rabbinical writings from that period. Based on Jesus’ words, he would be in the tomb for “three days and three nights.” Although some argue that Jesus was crucified on Thursday, such specificity isn’t necessary to fulfill the timeframe Jesus referenced.
How should we respond to a church leader believing and teaching Replacement Theology?
When Replacement Theology is the foundation for most presented teachings at a church…what should one do? Although it’s not a salvation issue, how do we respond to a church leader believing and teaching replacement theology?
As a church leader, if I found that the church I attend was teaching replacement theology, my decision to continue attending would depend on the available options of churches in my area. I think that teaching replacement theology is a mistake, and it would really bother me if my church did so. But if my family doesn’t have any other options nearby, I might still choose to attend even if we disagree on this.
We all know that in churches, sometimes we have to make compromises. There’s no such thing as a flawless church, as the popular saying says, “If you find a perfect church, don’t join it, because you’ll be its imperfection.” Since I strongly disagree with replacement theology, if it were being taught in a church I attend, it would likely concern me, and I might consider addressing it with the pastor. But if the pastor strongly believes in this, it’s unlikely that they would change their mind easily.
In this case, the main concern is whether there’s a better church available for my family. If there isn’t, then we might have to accept this difference in religious views and stay at the same church, even if it means feeling uncomfortable during certain teachings.