Replacement theology redux

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Ransom, Jan 4, 2004.

  1. Ransom

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    This is a continuation of a sub-thread that was going on in the "Replacement Theology" thread which, unfortunately, I believe has been buried too deeply and gone on too long for me to simply add this post to the end.

    Early on in that thread, Pastor Larry wrote: "In this discussion we have to deal with explicit unfulfilled promises made to the physical descendants of Abraham." I believe the point was that since there are outstanding promises in the Abrahamic Covenant that have yet to be delivered to the physical descendants of Abraham, "replacement theology" (i.e. God's transferring his covenantal rule from the children of Abraham according the flesh to the spiritual children of Abraham according to faith) was a fallacy.

    So over my Christmas holidays, I sat down with a Bible, a concordance, and the TSK and went through all the promises made to Abraham in Genesis - systematically ordering those promises according to topic and seeking out their fulfillment elsewhere in the Scriptures, in order to determine which one(s) of them remain unfulfilled 4000 years after being given.

    Unless otherwise indicated, all chapter/verse references are taken from Genesis.

    Promises of Blessings

    Status: Fulfilled.

    Blessings are promised to Abraham (Gen. 12:2; 22:16) and to those who bless him (12:3; conversely those who curse Abraham are themselves cursed). Also, blessings are to come to the nations of the earth through Abraham's seed (12:3; 22:18).

    Paul specifically declares the last of these to be fulfilled in the coming of the Gospel to the Gentiles through Christ (cf. Gal. 3:8). The remainder are fulfilled in a general way, as seen by God's favour upon Abraham and his offspring.

    Abraham is also promised a peaceful death at a "good old age" (15:15). He lived to be 175 (25:7-8).

    Promises Concerning Ishmael

    Status: Fulfilled.

    These promises are not germane to the present point, but just for the sake of completeness I include them and get them out of the way.

    Ishmael was not Abraham's heir, but since he was Abraham's offspring, God promised that he would multiply exceedingly and be the father of a great nation and "twelve princes" (17:20; see also 21:13). These promises were fulfilled to the letter (see 25:12-17).

    Promises of an Heir

    Status: Fulfilled.

    Both Abraham (15:4) and Sarah (17:16,19) are promised an heir despite their advanced age. This promise is fulfilled in the birth of Isaac (21:2).

    Promises of Many Descendants and a Great Nation

    Status: Fulfilled.

    God promised Abraham that he would renew his covenant with Isaac and his descendants. This he does, with Isaac (26:3-5), with Jacob (35:9-15), and with the Israelites at Sinai (Exod. 20-23).

    Abraham is promised that he will have many descendants through Isaac (17:2,6; 21:12). They will be innumerable, like the stars of the heavens or the sand of the seashore (15:5; 22:17). Solomon prays to God for wisdom to rule over "a great people who cannot be numbered or counted for multitude" (1 Kings 3:8); in fact the author of 1 Kings says that "Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance" (1 Kings 4:20). Nehemiah also affirms that "Thou didst make their sons numerous as the stars of heaven" (Neh. 9:23).

    Abraham is further promised that his seed "shall possess the gate of their enemies" (22:17); the conquests of Joshua (Josh. 1-12) and David (2 Sam. 8:1-18), to name two, fulfill this promise.

    The promise to make Abraham's name great (12:2) is said to have already occurred, in Deut. 26:5, and it is restated in 2 Sam. 7:9.

    God promises Abraham that he would be the father of many nations and that Sarah would be the mother (12:2, 17:4,5,6,16). The fulfillment of this promise in the twelve tribes of Israel is self-evident - the remainder of the Old Testament deals exclusively with the nation of Israel.

    A number of promises were made that found their specific fulfilment in the Israelites' deliverance from Egypt. These are:

    </font>
    • that Abraham's seed would be "strangers in a land that is not theirs (15:13)</font>
    • they shall be slaves for 400 years (15:13)</font>
    • the nation that enslaved them would be judged (15:14)</font>
    • Abraham's seed would "come out with many possessions" (15:14)</font>
    • in "the fourth generation" they would return to Canaan (15:16)</font>
    Finally, Abraham is promised that "kings of peoples" shall come from his line. These would include Saul (1 Sam. 10:24), David and his line (2 Sam. 5:3), and of course this promise finds its ultimate fulfillment in the King of kings, Jesus Christ himself.

    Promises of Land

    Status: Fulfilled.

    Abraham is promised the land of Canaan as his possession and that of his descendants (12:7). In places this is said to be "all the land which you see" (13:14-15) and, most specifically, "[f]rom the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates" (17:18).

    Joshua conquered it:

    Some land was lost in border skirmishes during the rule of the judges, but David regained it:

    Solomon ruled over it:

    In conclusion

    All the promises given to Abraham by God have been fulfilled. None remain outstanding.

    Joshua affirms it:

    Nehemiah reaffirms it:

    So the question remains: What part of the covenant with Abraham remains unfulfilled and awaiting the millennial kingdom to be realized?
     
  2. Deacon

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    The important elements of the Abrahamic Covenant demand a future fulfillment with Messiah’s kingdom rule.

    (1) Israel as a nation will possess the land. Numerous Old Testament passages anticipate the future blessing of Israel and her possession of the land as promised to Abraham. Ezekiel envisions a future day when Israel is restored to the land (Ezek. 20:33–37, 40–42; 36:1–37:28).
    (2) Israel as a nation will be converted, forgiven, and restored (Rom. 11:25–27).

    (3) Israel will repent and receive the forgiveness of God in the future (Zech. 12:10–14).

    The Abrahamic Covenant finds its ultimate fulfillment in connection with the return of Messiah to rescue and bless His people Israel. It is through the nation Israel that God promised in Genesis 12:1–3 to bless the nations of the world. That ultimate blessing will issue in the forgiveness of sins and Messiah’s glorious kingdom reign on earth. (The Moody handbook of theology)

    Rob
     
  3. Ransom

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    It seems that when the Moody people read:

    they think it actually means:

    And why would I look through Ezekiel and Zechariah for promises made to Abraham, anyway?
     
  4. LadyEagle

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    You probably wouldn't if you were trying to reinforce your point of view. [​IMG]

    But that doesn't change the theme.
     
  5. Ransom

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    You probably wouldn't if you were trying to reinforce your point of view.

    Uh-huh . . . so Joshua says that not one of God's promises failed, and somewhere in the next 1000 years, God un-fulfilled them again?

    Give me a break. That is tantamount to saying God cannot be relied upon to keep his word.

    It is typical of Dispensationalists, when discussing a particular passage of Scripture that militates against their hermeneutic, to abandon that passage of Scripture in favour of something else that ostensibly favours it. In this case, the covenant with Abraham is found in Genesis, and you will note that none of Deacon's proof-texts were actually found in Genesis.

    It also goes against the principle of reading the Bible literally unless otherwise indicated. I thought the Dispies were supposed to be "consistently literal"? What part of "not one promise failed" renders a literal understanding impossible?

    When an inspired author in the Old or New Testament declares a prophecy fulfilled, that settles the matter. The author of Joshua declares the Abrahamic covenant fulfilled.
     
  6. Tim

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    Ransom, you are accurate in your assessment. The specific promises to Abraham's physical descendants have been fulfilled. But I think many are confused because they know that those promises contained something greater than what we see fulfilled in Joshua's/David's/Solomon's time.

    Thankfully, Paul addresses that issue in Romans 4. The greater aspect of the promises to Abraham are fulfilled in all who follow the faith of Abraham:

    Romans 4:
    Blessed is the man whom the Lord will by no means charge with sin." Is this blessing then pronounced on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. How then was it counted? When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. He received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while he was in uncircumcision, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they be in uncircumcision, that righteousness might also be accounted to them. The father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had in uncircumcision. For the promise to Abraham and to his seed that he should be heir of the world wasn't through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is made of no effect.

    So we (all believers) are heirs of the world (of which the land was only a type) promised to Abraham through Christ.
     
  7. Ransom

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    Sure the covenant with Abraham has greater import than mere promises of land. I understand that, especially from my studies of Galatians.

    However, the typical Dispensational argument is that some aspect of the covenant has yet to be literally fulfilled - that God still owes Israel a plot of real estate. My point here is that those literal promises are literally fulfilled, with none outstanding and awaiting the Millennium or any other period.
     
  8. Deacon

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    Hey Ransom, according to your first post this wasn’t a dispensational thread but a thread on whether all Abraham’s promises were fulfilled.
    I wasn’t ignoring your excellent verses in support of a fulfillment of the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant.
    It’s interesting that you quoted Nehemiah 9:8;
    Here God is proclaimed as the One who accomplishes or fulfills His promises. It is later contrasted with the Israelites who are unfaithful and stubborn. Read on…
    God’s faithfulness is contrasted to Israel’s unfaithfulness. AND DESPITE THAT, God is still faithful!
    You jabbed,
    It is not God who “unfulfilled” the promise but Israel.

    Earlier you asked:
    My answer, because they said there was more to be fulfilled. Argue with Ezekiel and Zechariah, not me!

    Rob
     
  9. Trotter

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    If the Bible only consisted of Genesis, then the arguement would be able to stand. But (last time I checked) it didn't.

    I do not disagree that those promises were literally fulfilled in Genesis, but these same promises extended beyond Genesis's time frame, and continue on into the present, as far as Israel is concerned.

    I have never gotten where people want to replace Abraham's physical descendents with his spiritual ones. I am a Christian who was born a Gentile. I am not a Jew, and have no stake in those promises made to the nation of Israel. True, many promises were of a general nature and do apply to us Gentiles, but those promises made to the nation of Israel are theirs, and theirs alone.

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  10. Grasshopper

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    Gal 3:29 says If you are in Christ you are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise.

    Are you of Abrahams seed? Is it physical or spiritual?

    Read Romans 9:6-8 and tell me who is the seed of Abraham.

    Jesus tells us in Rev 2:9 and Rev 3:8 that those who are physical Jews are NOT Jews.

    The Jews of the New Covenant are spiritual not physical. The promises made to Old Covenant Jews are fulfilled in New Covenant Jews.

    God is not going back to the shadow. He is done with the Old Covenant.

    So I ask you, are you a Jew? Are you of the seed of Abraham?
     
  11. IfbReformer

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    Hebrews 11:13 & 39-40(NIV)

    "13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth...

    39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect."

    I have seen much arguing on this thread about the promises to Abraham. This is long used tactic of Dispensationalists teachers.

    The problem is that you are going to the begining of the story(Old Testament) to reinterpret what you have been clearly told in the end(New Testament).

    It like reading a large novel. In the begining the author slowly reveals things and you think you know what is going on. Then in the end of the novel he turns you upside down and ends in a way you never thought possible.

    The Dispensationalist, does not like how the story ends in the New Testament, so he goes back to Old Testament to reinterpret the clear ending of the New Testament.

    Dispensationalist teachers take what is clearly told us in the New Testament, that there is no difference between the Jew and Gentile spiritually and in Christ, and then try and rebuild the wall of separation.

    They try and make promises unfulfilled to create a rift so they can try and separate physical spiritual jews from physical gentile spiritual jews which is what we are. That is one technique, instead of accepting the New Testaments clear chronology of the end times in passages like Matthew 24 and Revelation 19-21, they reinterpret them with Old Testament passages where God was revealing things from a "distance".

    We have all the answers the Old Testament Saints were looking for in the New Testament. Dispensationalists have only to accept them.

    IFBReformer
     
  12. Tim

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    IFB,

    A separate future plan for Jews and Gentiles is one of the fundamental building blocks of dispensationalism.

    As you point out, too bad it has no NT basis.

    Tim
     
  13. Australian Baptist Student

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    HI there, I dont log on often, but wanted to add my two bits worth here. The Old
    Testament can be seen as a love story between God and Israel. Deut 7:7-8. God loves
    Israel and His promises to them are expressions of that love. Had all of Gods promises
    to Israel been fulfilled in Joshua, why are they mentioned as still valid and still
    therefore needing to be fulfilled in later books of the Bible? (Eg Nehemiah 1:8-9)
    Deuteronomy 30 1-6. Psalm 105 8-11 show God’s promise was an everlasting one, that is, while it could be
    realized in one generation, it could not be exhausted by one generation. God
    continues to engage Israel, to plead with them to repent, to promise blessings and
    restoration etc. As to the love story, read Exiekiel 16, Hosea etc. God loves Israel, He
    yearns to do them good.
    In the New Testament, we also find this. Luke 16-17, 1:32, 1:54-55, 1:68-75. Luke
    2:32 again has God blessing both Gentiles and His people Israel. Romans 9 defines
    Israel as having been given the patriarchs, the Law and the covenants, and also
    describes them as, at present, largely unsaved (hence Paul’s unceasing anguish, and
    Romans 10:1). He likewise reads the OT prophesies of restoration as pertaining to
    Israel in Romans 9:27-29. Romans 11 states of this disbelieving Israel that they are
    not rejected by God. Speaking of this Israel, Paul defines them in 11:28 as “enemies
    of the Gospel”. Now, are the church enemies of the Gospel? Has the church
    experienced a hardening in part till the full number of the Gentiles come in? No. It is
    Israel who has been hardened (vs25) and who is presently an enemy of the Gospel (vs
    28) of whom, in between these verses, Paul writes “and so all Israel shall be
    saved”.
    Now, I happen to be an ex-gentile, now a new creation in Christ, so what does all this
    have to do with me? Given that all things were written for our instruction, and given
    the place of Romans 9-11 (directly after Romans 8), I would suggest the following.
    In God’s love for Israel, we can rejoice in it for its own sake (Israel are real people
    and God’s love for them is a real love), and because of that, we can also discover
    much about the nature of God’s love, and therefore, the nature of His love for us. Like
    Israel (Deut 7:7-8) God didn’t choose me because of my abilities, but simply because
    He loved me. Here is grace! (Imagine if my wife had married me for my money or
    looks or whatever - no security, as she will be constantly meeting wealthier and better
    looking guys - but if her choice of me was based in her love, then she can meet all the
    rich handsome guys around, I’m secure because she married me because she loves
    me.) Now, I sin, I fail and I let God down. Will God cast me aside and look for
    someone better, or, in love, will He never give up on me, love me even when I dont
    love him, be faithful even when I am not, and persevere and finally bring me home?
    The character of his love for Israel says that He will. his love, not my sin, is the
    greatest force in the universe. How does Romans 8 end? What can separate us from
    the love of God? ... No, ... nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in
    Christ Jesus our Lord!! Great theoretical point, but immediately, Paul cries out for
    Israel. Why? Because they represent the greatest challenge to his theory. Israel were
    in God’s love, they had His blessings, but now they are cast off, they killed Jesus, God
    loves the church now etc., they prove Romans 8 is wrong. But what does Paul do? He
    shows how Gods love to them continues, that his love is greater than our weakness,
    and that “all Israel shall be saved”. Hence his hymn of praise in Romans 11:33-36.
    The worst case against Romans 8 has been shown to declare the unbelievable truth of
    it, to declare the unimagined depths and riches of His love.
    THIS is the God who loves ME! And I think its great! When I fail and let God down, I
    repent and pray, hoping He wont finally cast me off as a useless deal, and then I
    remember that He hasn’t cast off Israel, and take courage.
    I wouldn’t want God to be a divorcee! No security for me if He is! But, like Paul who
    gloried in being chief of sinners, as he could use his testimony to help save others
    (sinner: “I’m too sinful for God to forgive, its OK for the others, but I’m too sinful” -
    Paul: “Let me let you about Stephan... and yet God forgave me! You think you are far
    from God? Look way behind you, thats where I was, and by His grace, He saved me,
    so your fine”), so Israel are monuments to His grace.
    I love Jesus, and so am delighted that Israel, his brethren of the flesh, will be saved
    (see Genesis 45:16). I dont feel jealous or threatened, but on the contrary, affirmed
    and secure. Equally, I delight to know that my God is faithful, and will indeed keep
    me and present me spotless before the presence of His glory (Jude 1:24). He has
    indeed loved us with an everlasting love.
    Hope this helps you see another take on the issues you raised, God bless, Colin
     
  14. Tim

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    Colin,

    Paul's point about national Israel in Romans is that they had come to a fork in the road in Paul's generation. Their choice--Believe in Christ and inherit the full measure of His promises (emphasizing the spiritual rewards of the New Covenant), or reject Him and feel the full weight of His curses.

    The phrase about "all Israel shall be saved" simply must be put into it's proper context--otherwise Paul was teaching regeneration on the basis of nationality, an idea totally inconsistent with other N.T. teaching. It's always been about a remnant, not the whole. History itself makes that obvious, biblical and beyond. Check the context of Romans 11, the emphasis is on how they are saved, not on how many. "All" as used in scripture rarely means what we often assume it to mean (remember "all the world should be taxed" as one example).

    In Christ,

    Tim
     
  15. DHK

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    No, that is precisely what Paul was teaching, and it is not foreign to N.T. teaching at all. ALL the nation of Israel (that is the remnant living when Christ comes) shall be saved. They as a nation will turn to the Christ, the same Christ which they as a nation once rejected. We don't have to change the meanings of the words to force them into our own theology.

    You are right--the whole remnant to be exact. God promised "for David's sake," that He would preserve a remnant. The promises did not stop with Abraham. They also were with David. You need to read farther than just the Book of Genesis. Many times does the Lord say "For David's sake." Some day our coming King will sit on the throne of David, and reign for a thousand years. It will be on this earth.
    The emphasis is on both. How many--all: the entire nation shall be saved. That is the entire remnant that is alive near the end of the Tribulation Period when Christ comes again. How they are saved? "They shall look on him whom they have pierced."
    Isaiah 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
    That God is Jesus Christ. They will recognize that in that day. For Christ alone can save.
    DHK
     
  16. Australian Baptist Student

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    Hi Tim,
    The question of how Israel shall be saved is a good one. Clearly, salvation by nationality is out. Israel's history does however contain group choices/events.

    Zechariah 12 -13:1 contains the clearest account of Israel's future salvation.
    12:10 "They [plural] will look on him whom they have pierced" - Conviction of sin
    "and mourn for him" repentance
    "each clan by itself" each individual feels the weight of what is happening
    "On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to cleanse them from sin" baptism.

    So how are Israel saved? By nationality or by conviction of sin, repentance and baptism [just like you and I]? That is, as a nation called to proclaim the way of salvation to the world, their whole history declares that

    1) by ourselves, we cant make it. Given every help (the Law, David, the prophets etc) we sinned and failed.
    2) the wages of sin is death, and we have had a living death for the past 2,000 years.
    3)BUT, praise God, thats not the end of the story! The free gift of God is eternal life.

    As a nation of priests, their whole history proclaims the Gospel. Indeed, the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable! John 19:33-36 shows how the crucifixion is the beginning, center and climax of Israel's national history. They became a nation in the Exodus, and, finnaly, they shall indeed look on him who they have pierced.

    Think of Joseph. Called by God to lead his brothers, they despised and rejected him, and believed him dead. Meantime, Joseph becomes a ruler over the Egyptians. But that is not the end of the story. Driven by famine (Romans 11 says we should make the Jewish people jealous of the riches we have in Christ) the brothers go to Egypt seeking food. Joseph doesn't say, Ive rejected you, the Egyptians are my people now. He waits till Judah offers his own life for Benjamin's, and then sends out the interpreter and reveals himself as their long lost brother whom they thought they had killed. Presented with a gentile ruler speaking through an interpreter, they had never realised that Joseph was their brother. So too the gentile church through history has been unable to reveal Jesus to His brethren. But finnaly, he reveals Himself, and they fall on each others necks and weep. (like in Zechariah)

    As I mentioned in my previous letter, the Egyptians are not jealous of his brothers (now maybe Jopseph wont love us) but rejoyce because they love Joseph. Gen 45:18 "come, the best of the land is yours!"

    Finally, all Jacob's household went down, just as all Israel left Egypt in the Exodus, and as all Israel shall be saved when they look on Him who they have pierced. Hope this helps,

    God bless, Colin
     
  17. Bethelassoc

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    Shouldn't we consider that Israel = "The Chosen of God" and not a nationality? By chosen, I mean the elect. (This is not a debate on election, but God knows His own.) If His promises are continuous, which they are, then there are no breaks or zigzagging from one group to another.

    Was Paul talking about thousands of years later that a remnant shall be saved? Paul wanted his own people to be saved, those he knew and loved. Otherwise, people reading what he wrote in the church might've been thinking, "Paul is crazy....how does he know these things are in the far future?" Which would then warrant the repsonse, "the remnant that he speaks of won't exist for at least 2000 years...what does that mean for the rest of the unsaved?"

    Paul knew that only some would repent (which is obvious with our people today), but he wasn't talking about in the year "2525" or whatever year people come up with.
     
  18. Tim

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    Bethelassoc,

    Your point emphasizes an important principle in interpreting the N.T.-It explains the more enigmatic passages of the Old testament for the people of that time.

    Too many today look at everything through modern-day glasses, forgetting that the NT had to make sense to the people of Paul's day.

    In Christ,

    Tim
     
  19. Australian Baptist Student

    Australian Baptist Student
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    Hi there, the trouble with this approach is two-fold.
    Firstly, it contradicts Scripture. Paul explicitly defins Israel in Romans 9 as a nationality or race - "My brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel ... from them is traced the human ancestory of Christ" and Romans 11, "I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin" This is a national definition. Again in Romans 11:11 he contrasts Israel with gentiles, and hopes for the salvation of some of "his own people".
    Oops, got to go. more later, by!
     
  20. Ransom

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    Australian Baptist Student said:

    Paul explicitly defins Israel in Romans 9 as a nationality or race - "My brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel ... from them is traced the human ancestory of Christ"

    That is Rom. 9:4-5. But it appears that you have forgotten about 9:6-8:

     

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