2.63. Replacement Theology

The view that Israel, having rejected her Messiah Jesus, has been permanently cast aside by God in favor of the Church. The Church is considered to be the “New Israel” and OT passages written to the nation Israel are reinterpreted and understood as being fulfilled by the Church “spiritually.” OT passages which set forth curses for disobedience to God retain their literal meaning and are applied to Israel. New Testament passages which describe the Israel of God (Gal. Gal. 6:16) and all Israel (Rom. Rom. 9:6) are often misinterpreted as describing the Church rather than a strict subset of Israel (the believing Jewish remnant). “Historically, ‘the word Israel is applied to the Christian church for the first time by Justin Martyr c. A.D. 160 in his Dialogue with Trypho, where the church is equated with ‘true Israel’ (not labeled ’the Israel of God’ as in Gal. Gal. 6:16).”1 “The New Testament uses many metaphors for the church that the Old Testament uses of Israel. They are both called a bride, or wife (Hos. Hos. 1:2; cf. Jer. Jer. 3:20; Rev. Rev. 21:2+), a family household (Ps. Ps. 107:41; Jer. Jer. 31:1; Eph. Eph. 2:1); a flock (Isa. Isa. 40:11; cf. Ps. Ps. 23:1; Luke Luke 12:32; Acts Acts 20:28?29), and a vineyard or vine branches (Isa. Isa. 5:1?7; John John 15:5). But the Old Testament never speaks of Israel as God’s body. That is a distinct and formerly unrevealed figure for God’s people in the New Covenant. Christ’s church is His present reincarnated Body on earth.”2


1 Peter Richardson, Israel in the Apostolic Church (Cambridge, England: University Press, 1969), 1., cited in Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1995), 128.

2 John MacArthur, Ephesians: The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1996), s.v. “preface.”