Thanks for the email. I have no problem with the above quoted scriptures and they probably don't need explaining. It is a clear teaching of scripture that with the national rejection of Jesus, God moved from the nation of Israel to another 'nation' - the church so that salvation would come to the gentiles. However, and it is a big however, "God is not a man that He
should lie, nor the son of man that he should change His mind!
" Current rejection doesn't mean rejection forever! God doesn't change His mind concerning the things He has promised - and that includes the things promised to the nation of Israel. I do not agree with the ‘replacement theology’ that you believe in. I do so for the following reasons:
It goes against the New Testament teaching concerning the issue.
Paul lays it all out quite clearly (in my mind anyway) in Romans 9-11. He explains their previous position as God's chosen people, their current position as 'hardened in part', as 'branches that were broken off'... But he certainly doesn't leave it there as though that is how it will be forever. Look at some of the following quotes:
Rom 11:11-12 "Again I ask: Did they (nation of Israel) stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!
So there current position of having 'stumbled' isn't a fall that they won't recover from. In this current age, their transgression (rejection of Jesus) has lead to grace for the world... but Paul anticipates a time when greater riches shall flow from their fullness (ie when they are restored and God's promises are fulfilled for them...this is the Messianic Kingdom).
Paul goes on to say that
Rom 11:23 "And if they (nation of Israel) do not
persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in
He follows this by saying that not only can it happen, but it will happen! Paul didn't want us (the gentiles) becoming proud thinking that Israel has been rejected forever so he wrote:
Rom 11:25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.
So Israel current hardening is UNTIL the full number of the gentiles have been saved. After that, God will again return and fulfill His promises to them as a nation. Paul says:
Rom 11:26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
This is a quote from Isaiah 59:21-22 and Jeremiah 31:33 - Both speak of the future blessings for Israel. And in quoting this Paul shows us that Isa 59:21-22 is about the nation of Israel. There is no reason to suddenly think the next verse in Isaiah 60 isn't!
This part is important...
11:28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they (nation of Israel) are enemies on
your account; but as far as election is concerned, they (nation of Israel) are
loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are
God's gifts and his call are irrevocable! He will not, and does not, change His mind about those He calls. 'All Israel' is not going to be saved because of their faithfulness but because of God's. So, while presently Israel is against the gospel (not all but as a generalisation) because the patriarchs and the promises to them (the covenants made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) God will still prove Himself faithful. Now how this comes about is a whole different matter... and it won't be easy for Israel. I have included a study I wrote which goes into this briefly.
Even after Jesus' resurrection, the disciples still wanted to know WHEN the kingdom would be restored to Israel. (Acts 1:6-7) Jesus didn't say 'do you still not understand? God has rejected Israel forever!' Or anything like that. He simply said that they didn't need to concern themselves with the timing that the Father had set for this. It wasn't a dumb question. It was a very valid one. And Jesus in his answer showed that the Kingdom for Israel would come, but that he had other plans before that!
2. It goes against Old Testament prophecy concerning the nation of
For example, look at the prophecies found in Ezekiel in chapters 36 and 37. In these passages, the Hebrew prophets foresaw the following:
Israel’s sinfulness and apostasy (36:16-18)
Israel’s dispersion amongst the nations (36:19-21)
Israel’s re-gathering back into the land of Israel (36:24)
God’s blessing of Israel under the new covenant (36:26-27)
God would make his name known amongst the nations through His kindness and fulfilled promises to the nation of Israel (36:23, 36)
Ezekiel 37 shows that the nation of Israel will be gathered back into the land in a state of unbelief first of all and after that God will give them spiritual life. These prophecies and countless others are literal prophecies. The nation of Israel was dispersed amongst all the nations starting in 70AD. They were literally re-gathered and became a nation again in 1948AD. It would be a mockery of bible interpretation to then say that the rest of these prophecies don’t apply to the nation of Israel. Clearly they do. And they show that the nation of Israel shall come into the new covenant and the Kingdom they were always promised.
Other prophecies such as Zechariah chapter 12 show that the nation of Israel will look to the one they have pierced and they will be cleansed in one day. In fact no amount of ‘spiritualization’ could make the prophecies of Zech chapters 12 and 14 mean anything other than the nation of Israel. And these passages, which have not been fulfilled yet, show that God is going to protect, cleanse, and install his Kingdom there.
3. It goes against New Testament prophecy
New Testament prophecy such as Matt 24 and the book of Revelation show that the nation of Israel plays a key role in the end times. God has not finished with them but will fulfill his prophecies and be faithful to His own name.
4. It goes against the character of God
Rom 3:1-4 “What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God. What if some did not have faith?
Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be
true, and every man a liar.
This, for me, is one of the most important points. For to believe the God will not fulfill His promises to the nation of Israel – or to say that God has taken His promises away and given them to other people, casts great doubt over both the character and sovereignty of God. It says that He will not do that which He promised to a people – or possibly cannot do what He promised. Both of which are untrue!
Listen again to what he said through Ezek 36 which we looked at before –
Verse 22-24 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel,
that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you
have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I will show the holiness of
my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you
have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares
the Sovereign LORD, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.
You believe that because of Israel’s sin and unfaithfulness, God has replaced them with the church and God will not fulfill His promises to them as a nation. (Such as your example of Isaiah 2 where you took a clear prophecy of Israel’s future in the Millennial Kingdom and apply it to the church.) But look at what God says above – it isn’t because of Israel’s faithfulness, but Gods that leads to God fulfilling his promises to that nation!
On another issue, have you ever wondered why Paul wrote Romans 9-11? I mean, Romans is the most theological of Paul’s epistles concerning salvation, righteousness, and our life as a Christian. In the middle of this he writes three chapters about Israel! Why? Because in the passage before this Paul says that nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God. (Rom 8:28-37) At this point however, the logical reader would think ‘but what about Israel? How can we trust God will be faithful to His word if He has just ‘cast off’ the nation of Israel???
This question is basically expressed in Romans 9:6 – ‘has God’s word failed???’ The next three chapters show this is not the case. Not in this current age where there is still a remnant within the Jewish people that have faith, and not in the future when AFTER the full number of the gentiles have come in, God will return and save the nation of Israel. WHY? Because God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable!!!! (Rom 11:25-29) God never changes His mind over those He calls, and that includes His call to the nation of Israel.
Your system of belief where God is not faithful to His word I could never accept. Again, this is not personal. I don’t even know you. It is simply the system of belief I can’t stand.
5. It is based on an incorrect assumption on Rom 9:6
‘For NOT ALL who are descended FROM Israel ARE Israel.’
Hal Lindsey, in his book ‘The road to holocaust’ (please, if you get a chance, read this book and tell me what you think) says the following concerning this passage –
“There are certain factors in this context which must be carefully observed. God DOES NOT say, ‘NOT ANY who are called Israel are Israel’, but rather, ‘not ALL who are called Israel are Israel.’ The context is ONLY dealing with the question of who among physical Israel is true Israel. The contrast is between believing Israel and unbelieving Israel, not Israelites and Gentiles. The only point that the Holy Spirit is developing here is that there has always been a spiritual Israel among the physical Israel who are called the remnant.”
Derek Prince also has a book called ‘Israel and the church” in which he shows that there is not one passage in the Bible where the name Israel is applied to the church. He clearly shows that in saying ‘for not all who are descended from Israel as Israel’ Paul was limiting the name Israel to the Jewish believers, not widening it as you would do to include all gentiles who believe.
I hope some of this helps. To interpret prophecies and passages concerning Israel and apply them to the church can only end in confusion.
There are also plenty of helpful articles here by Dr Thomas Ice:
Hope this helps. All the best.