Did the Church replace Israel as God’s chosen people? Is the Church present-day Israel? No. Israel is Israel. The Church is the Church, just like America is America…at least it was the last time I checked.
When we say the “Church” who are we talking about? The “Church” is the worldwide body of believers of all ages, some of whom sleep in the ground. This is the Church of God…which consists of people whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. There is another definition of "church," that “local church” on the other side of town, or the one you attend. There was a local church in Corinth, there was one in Thessalonica, one in Ephesus, one in Philippi, and so on. There are several “local churches” in your town but these are not the type of church I'm referring to here.
In some denominations there is a false doctrine called Replacement Theology, (also called Supersessionism), which means that the Church has replaced (or superceded) Israel as God’s Chosen People. Attention, the Church has not replaced Israel!
Replacement Theology has not only led millions of Christians astray over the years but it has encouraged persecution of Jews through the centuries, including the Holocaust.
God has neither rejected nor replaced Israel and the Jewish people. His covenant with them is unconditional and non-transferable. God’s covenants and promises were never based on Israel’s good behavior, but were based on God’s faithfulness toward His people. Although the Jewish people have suffered the consequences of breaking God’s Laws, as we all do, they have not been replaced or rejected. Romans chapter eleven makes this quite clear.
When Jesus came to Earth, did he establish a new religion? Did he do away with the old Jewish religion? Matthew 5:17, Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. Note: The expression, “the law” refers to the first five books of the Old Testament (the Torah in Hebrew or the Pentateuch in Greek), and “The Prophets” refers to the last seventeen books of the Old Testament (five major and twelve minor).
No. Jesus did not establish a new religion, but He did fulfill it! To fulfill means to: 1. accomplish, achieve, complete, realize. 2. execute, discharge, observe. 3. meet, answer, fill, comply with. 4. end, terminate, conclude.
Romans 10:4, For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
If a man were to complete a painting…as he applied that last stroke of the brush he would be completing it. The painting would be finished. The painting would be ended, but not destroyed. Now we have a new painting, but not a new religion; not a new God.
When Jesus fulfilled the Law and the Prophets He did not destroy them but He did end the idea that a man could become righteous simply by obeying the Law. The story of God does not end with the Old Testament, as the Jews would have us believe, but the story of God is eternal, and goes on and is never ending. In the New Testament we have the fulfillment of Old Testament prophesy.
In Jesus’ day, the truth that God had given to Israel had evolved from the Faith of God into the Jewish religion, Judaism. It had become a religious system of strict do’s and don’ts; shalt’s and shalt nots. If a person violated one of these strict rules the religious police would haul him before the Sanhedrin where he would be judged and then beaten. The Sanhedrin had evolved into powerful, self-serving, rich, upper-class politicians. (See my blog posting, What Does the Term “Jew” Mean?)
God commissioned Israel to witness to the Gentiles, but they refused to witness to the “gentile dogs,” and the record of Jonah is a good example of that. Should we witness to the Jews? Yes.
Genesis 12:1-3, Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. All families!
Genesis 22:16-18 (Abraham again), And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. All the nations!
Genesis 28:13-14 (Jacob...Israel), And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;
14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. All the families!
Isaiah 42:6, I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; Light of the Gentiles.
Isaiah 49:6, And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. Light to the Gentiles.
Acts 13:44-47, And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.
45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy (note), and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.
46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. The light of the Gentiles!
Romans chapter eleven would never have been written if the Church had replaced Israel.
Romans 11:1-11:36, I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,
3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. (The remnant refers to believing Jews. The election of grace refers to all believers, Christians; this includes the remnant, believing Jews.
6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election (all believers including the believing remnant) hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (See Romans 9:6)
8(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.
9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompence unto them:
10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway. (this is a quotation from Psalms 69:22-23)
11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? (for some yes; for believers, no.) God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. (See Acts 13:45)
12 Now if the fall of them (Jews) be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: (because…)
14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation (To copy the Gentiles) them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. (Save some of them? Through Paul’s ministry God might save some of them.)
15 For if the casting away of them (Them = Israel, non-believing Jews, throughout the rest of this chapter) be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy (the firstfruit here is Jesus and the lump is Israel): and if the root be holy, so are the branches (the root here is God and the branches are the rest of the tree, which is Israel).
17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree (believing gentiles), wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root (God) and fatness (blessings) of the olive tree (Israel);
18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, (remember…) thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. The church is not Israel and Israel is not the church.
19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.
20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
23 And they also, if they (Israel) abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.
24 For if thou (believing gentiles) wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these (Israel), which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?
25 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. (the fulness of the Gentiles refers to the end of the ‘times of the Gentiles’ at the end of the tribulation period, when God returns to dealing with national Israel.)
26 And so all Israel shall be saved (see Romans 9:6): as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
28 As concerning the gospel, they (Israel) are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they (believers) are beloved for the fathers' sakes.
29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
30 For as ye (believing gentiles) in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their (Jews) unbelief:
31 Even so have these (Jews) also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. (Gentiles should try to witness to them.)
32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all (the rest of the world).
33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counseller?
35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.