(This is a re-edited combining of two articles previously posted to my blogspot site.)
Several months ago I read the following question:
“Lets say hypothetically Israel the nation was wiped of the map. What would that mean to everyone?”
This is my answer to that question:
It should mean nothing to those who look to the truth of God’s word instead of to the world’s political map.
Israel as nation WAS wiped off the map for almost 2000 years – and was restored in 1948.
Their long absence from the map is one of the reasons for the creation of replacement theology. With Israel gone, the church needed to give meaning to the many scriptural promises made to Israel, so they assumed that the church had replaced Israel in God’s plans.
They overlooked the clearest meaning that Israel’s existence did not depend on man’s political “realities”, but on God’s promise. And HIS promises are kept and fulfilled according to HIS timing.
Even if the present day political nation of Israel is wiped off the map again, it would merely mean that Israel will be restored to the land again at some future point in accordance with the prophetic promises given by God.
We should not confuse today’s political nation of Israel with the Israel of God. God’s Israel takes into account people descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob no matter where they live. Despite the creation of the nation state, the majority of Israel remains in exile. One day that exile will end and God’s Israel will be totally returned to the land He promised them and they AS A COMPLETE NATION will recognise their Messiah, Jesus and will enter the new covenant through faith in Him.
Replacement theology (mentioned in the answer I gave above) has become a very popular viewpoint in the church today
Two of the proof texts favoured by the promoters of replacement theology are:
Rom 2: 28-29 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit
Rom 9: 6-8 For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.
But to use those texts as support for their theology, the replacement promoters need to totally ignore the clear context of those texts.
Regarding Romans 2:28.
Go back several verses and you will read in verse 17:
“ Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God…”
It is specifically addressed to Jews who were trusting in their blood heritage and their relationship to the law. Paul was saying their heritage was not enough. It was not addressing gentiles and saying they have been made Jews through “circumcision of the heart”. It was addressing Jews, saying that MORE than heredity and law observance were needed to be part of God’s people. An inward change worked by the Spirit is necessary.
Regarding Romans 9.
When Paul writes “not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.” He is referring to a faithful remnant of the descendants of Abraham Isaac and Jacob.
The statement is excluding SOME of those descended from Israel – it is NOT a statement intended to include others who are not descended from Israel.
It is not a statement that redefines what Israel means. It is a statement that refines what Israel means.
It does not shift the identity of Israel from one group to another – it narrows down the identity of Israel from a wider inclusive ethnic group to a smaller specific section of that wider group.
It pinpoints the faithful remnant AMONG the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is not transferring attention outside of those descendants.
It’s like saying that not all born into a Christian family are Christian – only those who have their own faith in Jesus.