bible refs

Replacement Theology or Supersessionism

WHAT IS REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY OR SUPERSESSIONISM

Replacement Theology is simply a newer name for Supersessionism that has been in use for a long time by theologians. There are two ways of interpreting the Bible and those ways make a distinction of Christ ruling physically on the earth during His kingdom or a non-earth rule of His kingdom from heaven. This article covers a few of the references used by replacement theology or supersessionism. There are many more but this is more than enough to show their errors.
Some say that Israel, meaning the people and the land, have been replaced by the Church in the purposes of God and the Church is the continuation of Israel to the exclusion of the Jewish people and the land.
Others say that since Pentecost in Acts 2, the word Israel now refers to the Church.
Others say that the promises and covenants given to Israel have been taken away from the Jews and given to the Church. However, the Jews are still subject to the curses.
Others say that without entering today's church through repentance and the new birth the Jewish people have no future, hope, nor calling in God's plan.

Those who believe in Amillennialism and Replacement Theology or Supersessionism, believe that Christ is now ruling from heaven His kingdom here on earth and that the Church is the kingdom of God. To arrive at this conclusion they must use an allegorical or spiritualized view of scriptures. In other words, scriptures don't mean what they actually say but one must think of an allegory to replace the meaning of a passage. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines allegorical as "having hidden spiritual meaning that transcends the literal sense of a sacred text." For one example, Supersessionism says that the word “Israel” in the New Testament must be replaced by the word “church”.

Allegorical Interpretation: is a method of interpreting scripture used to replace Israel with the church. Those who wanted to replace Israel with the church and say that the Jews were no longer God's chosen people, resorted to this method since one can make scripture say nearly anything they desire. This was the method that brought in the anti-Semitism of the church. With this method the real meaning of any passage is disregarded in favor of the allegory. This method has resulted in many false churches and beliefs.

On the other hand, those that believe that Jesus Christ will eventually come to the earth physically and rule for one thousand years and then comes the end are known as Premillennialists. Premillennials take the Bible exactly as written, literally. All prophecy to this date has been fulfilled literally and there is no reason to assume future prophecy will be different. When the Protestants came out of the Catholic church during the Reformation many continued to believe the Catholic teaching that the church is the kingdom of God. If the Bible is interpreted literally then church is in the kingdom of God but is not “the” kingdom of God. In addition, if we believe the Bible means what it says, then it must be interpreted literally and one finds that the word “Israel” in the New Testament means Israel and not the church.

Many pastors use scripture to give encouragement and direction to their congregation by applying all Bible references to the Church. For example, if the reference is to the Church, the reference is applied literally. When the Bible refers to the Jews, Israel, Zion, Jerusalem, or refers to God's chosen people the passage is not explained literally but spiritualized or allegorized and made to apply to the Church. Many teach this way not realizing they are preaching and teaching replacement theology or supersessionism.

Replacement theology or Supersessionism says the Israel that returned to the land in 1948 is not the Israel of the Bible. God is finished with Israel and now the church is God's people. To say this, Amillennialism, that teaches Replacement Theology or Supersessionism, uses a nonliteral interpretation called an allegorical interpretation and takes a few verses out of context to change the teaching of scriptures. This is one reason false teachers use amillennialism with its replacement theology. If one uses a literal interpretation of scriptures it is difficult to change the meaning of God's Words.

In the early church, there was a slow shift from premillennialism to amillennialism beginning in the second and third centuries. This shift to amillennialism remained true up to the reformation. This was a shift from the belief in a literal kingdom, with Christ reigning physically on earth, for 1000 years to a spiritualized kingdom of unlimited duration with Christ reigning from heaven over a kingdom (the church) on earth for an undermined time period.

The allegorical or spiritualizing method was later developed by Origen. This method was promoted by the biblical school in Alexandria, Egypt. It was founded by Pantaenus in the second century and was later led by Clement of Alexandria and Origen, his pupil. Origen (185-254 AD), using the allegorical method of Philo who was a Jewish Platonist, is the one that developed a systematic interpretation and used it to develop his doctrinal positions. Later Augustine would give up his view of Premillennialism.

Why did this shift in interpreting the Bible occur? The early church was composed mostly of Jewish believers and as the church spread through the Roman Empire it became composed of Gentiles more than Jews and the Jewish beginnings of the church diminished. The church became more anti-Semitic, Jesus had not returned, and this made adopting amillennialism with it's allegorical and spiritual method of interpretation much more favorable since they could then say that God was finished with Israel and that the church had now replaced Israel in God's plan. If we take the Bible at face value it will lead to a belief in a literal one thousand year reign of Christ, physically, on the earth which is, today, called premillennialism. If we use amillennialism to interpret the Bible allegorically we destroy the sense of God's Word. Nothing then means exactly what it says and there is no way to find exactly what it means, whether it is prophecy or non-prophecy. With a literal interpretation, we find the Bible is correct from beginning to end and there is little chance to distort its meaning.

ARE THE COVENANTS CONDITIONAL OR UNCONDITIONAL

THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT

God's covenant with Abraham shows that He is not finished with Israel. The Abrahamic Covenant founds the nation of Israel and confirms the Adamic promise of redemption, Genesis 15:1-18, and is associated with The Dispensation of Promise. The call of Abraham is in Genesis 12:1 and Acts 7:3. We see God instructing Abraham to take his family and leave Ur and go to Canaan, Genesis 12:1. It is an everlasting covenant promised to Abraham and his seed, Genesis 17:7.

The Israelites have not kept the covenants with God, but He promises that they will one day turn to Him as their God, Zechariah 12:10-14; Romans 11:26-27. The Abrahamic covenant is foundational for several other covenants and we should take notice of several things. There are national promises given to Israel, there are personal promises given to Abraham, other nations will be blessed or cursed depending on their attitude toward Abraham and his seed, and there is a promise of universal blessing through Abraham that is fulfilled through Christ.

Is the Abrahamic Covenant an unconditional covenant? Some say no but let's see what the Bible says. In Genesis 12:1 Abraham was given one condition and when he went to the land of promise he was given the promise of possession of the land, and this was given as “an everlasting covenant,” Genesis 12:7. After this, there were no more conditions imposed on Abraham and the promise now depended only on God keeping His Word. The Bible declares the covenant to be eternal and it is therefore unconditional:

Genesis 17:7 declares the covenant to be an “everlasting” covenant.
Genesis 17:13 says “an everlasting covenant.”
Genesis 17:19 says “an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.”
1 Chronicles 16:17 it is confirmed to Jacob and Israel “as an everlasting covenant.”
Psalms 105:10 it is confirmed to Israel “for an everlasting covenant.”
Hebrews 6:13-18 God confirmed the covenant by an unchangeable, “immutable”, oath.

In Leviticus 26:31-45 we see that judgment will come to Israel because of her sin against God. But it also says that Israel will be restored when she acknowledges her sin and this is because of the covenant that God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God is talking to national Israel and this can not be applied to the Church.

THE LAND (OR PALESTINIAN) COVENANT

It is also clear through the “Land Covenant” that God is not through with Israel. We can find the Land Covenant recorded in Deuteronomy 30:1-10. This covenant was made with Israel after they had wandered in the wilderness for forty years, and that was just before they were to enter The Promised Land, the land that God had promised to Abraham and his posterity. God had previously reminded Israel that if they obeyed the Mosaic Law, He would bless them and warned that disobedience would bring His cursing on them, Deuteronomy 28:1-68. The Land Covenant contains some special promises to the nation of Israel and will not be completely fulfilled until the millennial reign of Christ.

If we go back in time we see that Ishmael, the half-brother of Isaac, and his descendants, were to be a great nation but they are not to possess this land. So Ishmael's descendants are not a party to this covenant and this is the root cause of all the conflicts against Israel today, Genesis 21:18. This land covenant was made with the 12 tribes of Israel after their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness and guarantees their return to the land, Deuteronomy 30:1-9. This is an unconditional covenant and guarantees their return to the land, Deuteronomy 30:2. This covenant promises that Israel will be brought from all nations back into the land of their fathers, Deuteronomy 30:3-5.

In May of 1948, the people of Israel began returning to the land that God had promised them (today they are still returning) and it is to be Israel's for an everlasting possession, Genesis 48:3-4. Much of this covenant has yet to be fulfilled and will be complete in the Millennial reign of Christ when He sets up His kingdom in the last days. This covenant can't be applied to the church. It pertains to those who were scattered among the nations who will be brought back to the land possessed by their fathers.

Some claim that God fulfilled the land promises to Israel during the time of Joshua. Israel has never occupied all the land that was promised them in the Abrahamic Covenant, Genesis 15:18-21. In Joshua's time, they were only given the land that had been promised to Moses. However, long after Joshua's time, King David tells us in Psalm 105 that the land promise is everlasting and has yet to be fulfilled. Zechariah also looked for the restoration of Israel to the land, Zechariah 10:9-12; 14:1-21. So amillennialism with its replacement theology or supersessionism, and their allegorical or spiritualization of the land promises have to be abandoned.

Even in today's world, many Christians believe in Replacement Theology or Supersessionism. They see the restoration of the nation of Israel in 1948 as an accident and Israel has no spiritual significance, even though the Bible tells us that Israel will be restored to the land. This is the reason so many churches are anti-Semitic, saying that Israel is occupying Palestinian land. It should be noted that there has never been a Palestinian nation that occupied the land, it has from the time of Joshua been the land of Israel.

The Davidic Covenant

The Davidic covenant tells us that God is not finished with Israel. The Davidic Covenant is found in 2 Samuel 7:5-19 and establishes the perpetuity of the Davidic family and kingdom over the whole earth; to be fulfilled completely in and by Christ.

This covenant was also confirmed to the Virgin Mary, and it can be seen that it is Christ who is the seed and coming King, under the Davidic Covenant, Luke 1:31-33. This covenant is mentioned many times by the prophets who interpret it literally, Jeremiah 23:5-6; 30:9; 33:15-26; Isaiah 9:6-7; 16:5; 22:22-24; 55:3-5; Amos 9:11-15; Zechariah 12:7-13:1; Hosea 3:4-5. The Psalmists also interpret it literally, Psalms 18:50; 89:3-; 89:20-37; 132:11-18. In Psalms 89:20-29 we find that the Davidic Covenant is used to establish God's kingdom on earth.

Using the allegorical method of interpretation of replacement theology and supersessionism they claim Jesus is at this moment sitting on Davids throne in heaven and this fulfills the Davidic covenant. One has to even stretch their imagination to make the allegorical method say this. Nowhere does the Bible say that Jesus is now sitting on David's throne.

The throne of David, meaning the kingdom of David, will be restored as is promised in Amos 9:11-15 and the people of Israel will be restored to the land. That would exclude Jesus ruling on David's throne from heaven. Not only will it be restored and the people of Israel restored to the land, it will have a descendant of David, Jesus Christ, ruling over all Israel, Jeremiah 30:3-10; Ezekiel 37:15-28; Hosea 3:4-5. At that time Israel will exercise authority over all the world, Genesis 12:3; Isaiah 9:1-7; 11:1-13; 45:22-25; 49:5-7; 55:1-5.

Then in the New Testament, we have James using Amos 9:11-12 to say that the Gentiles did not need to submit to circumcision to obtain salvation, Acts 15:13-21. James knew from Amos 9:11-12; Isaiah 42:6; 60:3; Malachi 1:11 and others that Gentiles would share in ruling when God restores the house of David. Since God has not yet restored David's Throne, Jesus cannot be sitting on it, as replacement theology and claim. Notice that this is a rebuilding of that which was fallen down, the ruins supersessionism are to be rebuilt. James tells us that God planned to visit the Gentiles to take out a people for His name, nothing is said about replacing the church, Acts 15:14.

The church was not founded until Acts chapter 2. James and the apostles were beginning to learn what the church was. Nowhere in scriptures is it indicated that the church will replace or fulfill the promises to Israel but as James was pointing out Acts 15, the church will share the millennial blessings and doesn't need to replace the Jews.

The New Covenant

The New Covenant tells us that God is not finished with Israel, Jeremiah 31-33. It is God's promise to convert Israel and restore her to the land and bless her. It should be noted that Jeremiah had predicted that the day would come that God would make a new covenant with Israel, Jeremiah 31:31-37. So this New Covenant is with the nation of Israel, Hebrews 8:6-13.

Jesus came to fulfill the law before he did away with it on the cross, Matthew 5:17-18. To "fulfill" means to satisfy, finish, end, make complete, or cause to expire. The law was only a shadow of things to come, and when the real thing came, the shadow was no longer needed, Colossians 2:14-17. God made a New Covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, Hebrews 8:6-9, and this is clearly not the church. Notice, this “New Covenant” is with the house of Israel and Judah and not with the Church. God never made a “formal” covenant with the Church.

Jeremiah 31:35-37 tells us of the of national Israel being re-established and in the land. When Ezekiel tells about the restoration of Israel he refers to the land as the land of Israel, Ezekiel 11:17; 20:38, 42; 37:12; 38:18-19; 40:2; 47:18 Jeremiah also tells us that this covenant is an unconditional covenant, Jeremiah 33:19-26.

Replacement theology or supersessionism says that all the covenants are symbolic and have been fulfilled. However, if God doesn't keep his unconditional covenant promises to Israel, as Replacement Theology or Supersessionism tells us, there is nothing to keep Him from not keeping His promises to the Church. However, God will keep His covenant promises to Israel and to the Church. In Matthew 23:37-39 Jesus said the Jews would not see Him again until they say “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

One of the purposes of the tribulation is to bring the Jews back to God. It is then that they will all be saved and say “blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.” Jeremiah also tells us in Jeremiah 33:25-26 just how long it will be before God does not keep his promises. Jeremiah 33:25-26 says, “Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.” Anyone can know for sure that God has not gone back on His covenant promises to Israel in these verses. Since the laws of heaven and earth still exist God will still honor his promises to restore the nation of Israel. Therefore, He has not and will not give up on Israel as replacement theology or supersessionism claim. If Israel is without hope and God has finished with them then the Church is also without hope.

WHEN DOES THE MILLENNIUM BEGIN

According to replacement theology or supersessionism, the Millennium began at the first coming of Christ in the first century, when He was born into the world. It was then that His kingdom was established on earth and Jesus is currently reigning as king over his kingdom from heaven right now. Jesus will never physically reign over a kingdom on earth. It is further claimed that He defeated Satan and therefore restrains Satan's power on earth. Of course, these things contradict God's Word.

This teaching contradicts Revelation 20:1-3 which tells us Satan will be bound for one thousand years, shut up in a bottomless pit, and it isn't mentioned that Satan is restrained, as replacement theology or supersessionism claim, but it clearly states he will be unable to deceive the world. Sadly, Satan is still deceiving the world today and will continue to do so until Christ returns to the earth and then Satan will be unable to deceive the world until the end of the thousand year period of the Millenium.

Replacement theology or suppersessionism claim Jesus is ruling over His kingdom now and the tribulation period is occuring today. At the return of Jesus, He will defeat the nations of the world, resurrect and judge the saved and the unsaved at the same time sending them to heaven or hell. This contradicts the biblical time schedule of the judgments of God and therefore, cannot be true. These judgments of God are for different subjects, at different times, in different places and cannot be mixed together as one judgment as replacement theology and supersessionism claim.

Because they believe this they would have a difficult time saying the Lord's prayer and meaning it because it says "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.", Matthew 6:10; Luke 11:2. Since they claim the kingdom of God has already come, they can't honestly say a prayer asking for the kingdom to come. However, their teaching on the kingdom of God is in error and Christians can certainly pray for God's kingdom to come, which would be Jesus Christ returning physically and setting up His kingdom on earth.

HAS ISRAEL BEEN REPLACED BY THE CHURCH

The Jews have never been replaced by the Church because of their unbelief, Romans 3:1-4. God states again in Romans 11:1-5 that God has not cast away the Jews but has always reserved a remnant down to this time. Isaiah tells us that this remnant is preserved so that God can bring a remnant to salvation, Isaiah 10:20-22 and Romans chapter 9 through 11. The salvation of this remnant of Israel will occur at the end of the Tribulation when the remaining Jews will turn to God and accept Jesus as their savior, Zechariah 12:10. This saved remnant will go into the Millenium in their fleshly bodies and will comprise the nation of Israel in which God will fulfill the promises that were made to them, Isaiah chapters 60-62. This will then be the nation that God blesses over all others, Zechariah 8:22-23.

A verse that could be taken out of context or isolated by using an allegorical interpretation is Matthew 21:43, “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” It would first appear that God is finished with Israel and that Israel has been replaced by the church. As we look further down to Matthew 23:29 we find that Israel would not see Him till they repent, so God is not finished with Israel and therefore the church has not replaced Israel.

Throughout the Old Testament, we find repeated references to the fact that a remnant of Israel will be saved. One of those is Isaiah 10:22 which says, “For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.” Therefore, God is not done with Israel. This is also confirmed in Zechariah 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.” This happens at the end of the tribulation period and then Jesus Christ returns to the earth physically to set up His kingdom.

Romans 2:28-29 - “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”  The word Gentiles means everyone but the Jews. If we look at the church we find that it is composed mostly of Gentiles but those Gentiles outside the church, in the world, are not saved. Likewise we can look at all the Jews and must relalize that the same applies to them, some are saved but not all. Paul is saying here that the true Jew is one that is not only a descendant of Abraham but one who is circumcised in the heart (saved) and loves God. Paul isn't saying that an unsaved Jew is not Israel but the true Jew (a descendamt of Abraham and saved) is the Israel of God. Nothing is said here that a Christian is a true Jew and the church is Israel. Such views have to be added to and read into the text.

Paul continues in Romans 9:6 - “Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.”  Paul is answering how God's promises to Israel can be reconciled to her present condition of rebellion. He is saying that a Jew is not saved simply because they are Jews, physical seeds of Abraham. Jews benefited having the law and the covenants but being born a Jew doesn't save them. They do not inherit the promises of God through the law of Moses. They still, as Abraham did, have to have faith in God, Romans 9:6-8. Paul had already said this in Romans 2:28-29 (see above). So today we have the saved Jews that are part of the church and then the lost Jews that make up the nation of Israel. This verse doesn't say that a Jew is not a Jew nor an Israelite is not an Israelite. Paul is saying that a true Jew or Israelite is saved, and they are not saved by being a physical descendant of Abraham. There is nothing in Romans 9:6-8 that says the church has or is replacing Israel nor does it say anything about true Israel consisting of New Testament Christians. Replacement theology says the first Israel in this verse is the church. This is simply read into the passage by replacement theology and suppersessionism.

Amillennialism with its replacement theology or supersessionism says that the word “Israel” in the New Testament should be substituted with the word “Church”. If we substitute the word Church for Israel in Romans 10:1 it makes the Bible a lie. Romans 10:1 “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” If we substitute “the Church” for the word “Israel” we make the Bible a lie since the Church is already saved.

Next, look at Romans 11:25 which says, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” If we substitute the word "the Church" in place of Israel it is the church that is blinded, which would be a lie.

Then look at Revelation 7:4 which says, “And I heard the number of them which were sealed: [and there were] sealed an hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” Clearly, if we substute the word “Church” for “Israel” this becomes a lie. So we can see that we can not substitute the Church for Israel in the New Testament. Only those who use a spiritualized or allegorical method of interpreting scriptures do this but the literal method presents the truth throughout the Bible.

Up until the time of the New Testament the church did not exist. It was a mystery, which is a previously unrevealed truth, Ephesians 3:3-0; Colossians 1:26-27. When Christ came the church was a new concept, one in which Jesus said he would build His church, and was still future. This would make it impossible for the church to be the New Israel. Jesus said to Peter in Matthew 16:18 “upon this rock I will build my church”. Since Jesus declared He would build His church, He could not have had it replace Israel.

When Christ came the church was a future entity and the apostles were learning what it was and how it was to function. Then in 1 Corinthians 10:32 the apostle Paul tells us that there are three separate groups, Jews, Gentiles, and the church of God. Since he mentions the Jews separately from the church it shows that the New Testament church has not replaced the Jewish nation.

Amillennials with their replacement theology or supersessionism believe the church has replaced Israel and we are now living in the thousand year reign of Christ and the tribulation. Other views, such as Dispensational Premillennialist believe that the thousand year reign of Christ is a physical reign that will occur in the near future, after the tribulation period. Which is correct? Are we now in the thousand year reign and God has permanently rejected Israel and given all promises to Israel to the church?

The word "ekklesia" used of the New Testament church is used of the entire body of those who have been redeemed during the present Dispensation of Grace. This includes all of the redeemed from Pentecost, at the descent of the Holy Spirit, to the descent of the Lord into the air, Acts 2:47; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. The church was born at Pentecost and Israel had already existed for many centuries. Jesus said in, Matthew 16:18, “I will build my church” indicating that it was yet future. So the church cannot have replaced Israel. The church that was born at Pentecost is called the “Body of Christ”, Colossians 1:18, and one gets into the body of Christ via baptism by the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12:12-13.

Additionally, we are all baptized into one body by the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12:12-13. This body is not an organization but it is an organism similar to the human body. Believers are placed into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit and placed where God wants them, not where a believer wants, 1 Corinthians 12:18, 24. All members of the body are necessary and even the weakest is necessary, 1 Corinthians 12:22, to the Head of the body and to all other members of the body, 1 Corinthians 12:21. Each member of the body is in union with the Head (Jesus Christ) and if one member suffers, all other members suffer with it, 1 Corinthians 12:26.

Christ said he would build His church in the future, He was not building it at that time, He said I “will” build, Matthew 16:18. If there was a church before the death of Christ it would have been an unredeemed church, and a church before the resurrection of Christ would have been a church that did not have the indwelling Holy Spirit and therefore the members could not be baptized into the body of Christ, John 20:22, and a church before Christ ascended would have been a church without a head. For the body to be complete Christ must first be exalted to the right hand of the Father, and all things put under His feet, Ephesians 1:20, 21. Then it would be given to Christ to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, Ephesians 1:23. Clearly, this can not be the church replacing the nation of Israel.

Some say the church is the kingdom of God, which is an error. The church is a part of, or in the kingdom of God, but it is not the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God includes all moral beings of the Old Testament, the New Testament, and those saved during the tribulation, all those who willingly subject themselves to divine authority, Hebrews 12:22-23. The church consists only of those that are redeemed during the dispensation of grace so it cannot be the kingdom of God nor a replacement for Israel.

John the Baptist came preaching that the kingdom of Heaven was at hand, Matthew 3:1-2. Jesus also preached the gospel of the kingdom, the kingdom of Heaven is at hand, Matthew 4:17, and sent His disciples to the Jews to preach that the kingdom of Heaven is at hand, Matthew 10:7. The Jews rejected the kingdom and it was postponed, not done away with. God has not forgotten or changed His promises to Israel. (see Romans 11:1–2; 11:11; 11:23; 11:26; 11:29).

The church is compared to:

  • a house, 1 Timothy 3:15
  • a body, 1 Corinthians 12:27, 12:1; Ephesians 1:22-23.
  • a temple, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17.

However, the church is never compared to a kingdom. Although Christ is the Head of the church, Ephesians 1:22, 4:15; Colossians 1:18, He is never mentioned as the King of the church. The Church's relation to Christ is that of a bride, Ephesians 5:23-25; Revelation 21:2. The church is not a continuation of the Jewish religion.

The kingdom of God is taught throughout the Old Testament and was not a mystery to the Old Testament believers. A mystery in the Bible is a truth that was hidden and not revealed until the New Testament, Ephesians 3:3-5, 9; Colossians 1:26-27. In Ephesians 3:1-12 the one body of Christ is that the Jewish and Gentile believers were united into this one body and was designated a mystery. Another mystery was the Holy Spirit indwelling every believer, Colossians 1:24-27. In Ephesians 5:22-23 we have the church as the Bride of Christ being called a mystery. Even the rapture of the Church is called a mystery in 1 Corinthians 15:50-58. These mysteries separate the church and Israel.

Jesus indicated that there would be something called the church between the cross and the crown but did not say when it would appear nor what it would be like, Matthew 16:13-15. The mystery mentioned in the New Testament was that which was to come in between the sufferings and the glory of Christ, which was the church, 1 Peter 1:9-11. This mystery of the church was first revealed to Paul, Ephesians 3:1-6, in which he mentions the dispensation of the grace of God. Paul said that in other ages it was not made known to men but that it is now revealed to the apostles and prophets by the Holy Spirit. Also that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs and of the same bodies and partakers of His promise in Christ. So it is clear that the church was unknown to the Old Testament patriarchs and prophets and that the Gentiles were to be saved, Romans 9:24-26. This new thing, the church, would be composed of both Jews and Gentiles.

One of the purposes of this dispensation of Grace is the gathering out of the church, Acts 15:14. While the church is a called out body, it is not a national body but consists of people from every kindred, people, tribe and nation. Israel is a called out body but it is a “National Body” composed only of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, known as the Jews, Israelites, Hebrews, etc.. Remember also that Israel was chosen in Abraham from the foundation of the world, Matthew 25:34 while the church was chosen in Jesus before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 1:4-6.

Israel is not the body of Christ but the church is, Ephesians 1:22-23. Christ could not be the Head of the body until He had been raised from the dead and was seated at the right hand of the Father, 1 Peter 3:22. It can also be seen from 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 how the body is formed. It is the baptism of the Holy Spirit that places a believer into the body of Christ so there could not be a church until the day of Pentecost, Acts 1:4-5; 2:1-3. It is also seen that the church will be caught out with the dead in Christ rising first and then those believers that are left alive on earth will follow, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. Then Christ must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet, 1 Corinthians 15:22-28. What happens to those believers that were caught up? They are changed and put on immortality and will receive an incorruptible body, 1 Corinthians 15:51-53.

One can see the difference in Israel and the church in Galatians 6:16. This reference does not support the false claims of those who teach replacement theology, that the church has replaced Israel. The Israel of God here is the believing Jews in contrast to unbelieving Jews which are called Israel after the flesh, 1 Corinthians 10:18. Paul teaches in Ephesians 2 that there is a remnant of Israel that is mixed with the Gentiles during this dispensation of grace to make up what is called the church. It is also noted that in the book of Acts Israel mentioned twenty times, and the church, mentioned 19 times, are always kept separate so there is no basis for replacement theology claiming the church has replaced Israel.

If Israel and the church are combined into a single group, such as the church, then the promises for Israel in the Old Testament can never be fulfilled but the replacement theology says they are spiritually fulfilled by the church. This combining of Israel with the church removes the need for the future restoration of Gods people, Israel, that they would one day be the head and not the tail, Deuteronomy 28:13. In addition, God promised the “nation” of Israel that they would inherit the land forever, Genesis 17:8, and obviously this has not happened yet.

In Daniel's prophecy in the Old Testament, Daniel 9:24, of the “Seventy Weeks” it can be seen that at the 69th week there is a gap before the seventieth week begins. The church, not known to the Old Testament believers, exists during this gap and it is called the church age, Ephesians 3:1-6. After this gap comes the seventieth week and just before this seventieth week the Church is caught up in what is called the rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. This seventieth week is called the Tribulation and at the end of this seventieth week all Israel will be saved, Romans 11:26-29, and then Jesus Christ will return to the earth physically, Acts 1:11; Zechariah 12:9-10.

Daniel 9:24 tells us that “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” This is in answer to Daniel's prayer petitioning God about the Jews and Jerusalem. Therefore “thy people” would clearly indicate Abraham's physical descendants. The seventy weeks of years show a clear distinction between Israel and the church. The program of the present age, the calling out of a people from every nation to form the church, is nowhere in view in this prophecy, contrary to the teaching of replacement theology or supersessionism, that claim the church has now replaced Israel. Israel's rejection of their Messiah postponed the kingdom, but that doesn't mean the promises to national Israel where canceled.

Some of the differences in the Church and Israel:

THE CHURCH

ISRAEL

Was born at Pentecost, Acts 2
Israel began in approximately 1911 B.C.
The church benefits from the covenants with Israel
God gave the covenants directly to Israel, Jeremiah 31:31-32.
The church is not a nation. It is composed of believers from all nations, Romans 10:19; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 2:11-22; 3:6; 3:15
Israel is a nation composed of direct descendants of the Jewish peoples, Psalms 147:20
Is entered by a spiritual birth, 1 Peter 1:23
Entered by a physical birth, Genesis 17:6-8; Romans 9:3
Under grace, Romans 6:14
Under Law, Exodus 20:2-17
Jesus is head of the church,
Ephesians 1:20-23; 4:15; 5:23
Jesus is Israel's Messiah,
John 1:41; 4:22-25
Christ gave birth to the church, Matthew 16:18
Israel gave birth to Christ, Revelation 12:1-5
Is the Bride of Christ, Ephesians 5:22-23
Is the wife of Jehovah, Isaiah 54:5; Jeremiah 31:32
Will be rescued by Christ at the rapture, John 14:1-3
Will be rescued by Christ at the end of the tribulation, Matthew 23:37-39
Christ is the Head of the church, Ephesians 5:22-23
Christ is the King of the Jews, Isaiah 33:22
Engaged in spiritual warfare, Ephesians 6:10-20
Engaged in physical warfare
Believers are priests, 1 peter 2:5; 2:9
Israel's priests came from tribe of Levi and the line of Aaron
The church is to be built up, 1 Corinthians 14:5; 14:12; 14:26 Ephesians 4:12; 4:16
The Kingdom of Israel is to be set up, 2 Samuel 7:12-16
Citizenship is in heaven, Philippians 3:20-21
Citizenship is on earth, Matthew 6:10
Relates to the day of Christ, 1 Corinthians 3:16; Philippians 1:6; 1:10; 2:16
Relates to the day of the Lord, Joel 2; Zephaniah 2.
Sacrifice of Christ on the cross, Hebrews 10:10-14; 1 Peter 3:18
Animal sacrifices, Leviticus 1-7; Hebrews 10:11
Receive resurrected bodies at the rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58
Resurrected at the beginning of the millennial kingdom, Daniel 12:2; John 11:23-24; Revelation 20:4-5
Judged at the judgment seat of Christ after the rapture, Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10
Judged at the end of the tribulation period, Ezekiel 20:33-44
Membership is by spiritual birth, John 3:1-9; Titus 3:5
Membership is by physical birth.
Presently grafted in, Romans 11:17-25
Set aside temporarily, Romans 11:1-16
Promised no land, 1 Peter 2:9-11
Promised a land, Genesis 15:18-21
Has only believers in true church, 1 Corinthians 1:2
A mixed multitude of believers and unbelievers, Romans 9:6
The New Testament is about the church while all scripture is for the church, 2 Timothy 3:16; Romans 15:4
Governed by the Mosaic Law, Psalms 147:19-20
Holy Spirit indwells all church age believers, 1 Corinthians 12:13, permanently, John 14:16.
Filled Old Testament believers selectively, Joel 2:28, and temporarily, 1 Samuel 16:14; Psalms 51:11
Received Christ, Acts 2:41; 10:43-48; 16:30-33
Rejected Christ, John 1:11; 11:47-53; Acts 2:22-36
Looking for the rapture, Titus 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Looking for the revelation of Christ, Joel 2; Zachariah chapters 12-14
Will escape the Tribulation, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Will go through the Tribulation, Matthew 24
Circumcision without hands, Colossians 2:11
Circumcision Genesis 17:9-27; Romans 4:9-12; Ephesians 2:11-12
Some are saved
None are saved
Jews and Gentiles are involved
Only Jews are involved
No distinction of Jew and Gentile, Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 2:13-16
Distinguishes Jew and Gentile, Matthew 10:5; Romans 15:8-9
Has heavenly promises, John 14:1-3; Philippians 3:20; Colossians 1:5; 1 Peter 3:18
Has earthly promises, Matthew 5:3-9
Farewell address to the church, John 16:12-13, in the Upper Room Discourse, John 13-17
Farewell to Israel, Matthew 24:15; 24:20, in the Olivet Discourse, Matthew 24-25
It's temple is a heavenly temple, 1 Corinthians 3:16
Earthly temple, 2 Samuel 7:13
Death of Christ is a foundation stone, 1 Corinthians 3:11; 1 Peter 2:5-8
Death of Christ is a stumbling stone, 1 Corinthians 1:23; Romans 9:30-33



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