Replacement Theology – 1

Did God replace Judaism or merely put it on hold?

Being a Jew was never a matter of bloodline, but of Covenant. Think of Abraham’s servants circumcised in Genesis 17, the Egyptians at the Exodus, Caleb the Kenizzite, Rahab, Ruth, Uriah, etc. It seems the Old Testament keeps throwing us examples of people “grafted in.” The only actual bloodline of any importance is the one we are given, the family tree from Abraham to Christ.

Israel’s captivity and Restoration gave us a perfect picture of the New Covenant events. The Temple and walls of the old Israel were ‘de-created’ and God Himself (the ark) died in Babylon for the sake of a new Jerusalem with impregnable walls.

Christ was the human ark. Judaism, intermarried with Roman political power, became Babylon.

My point is, the captivity was a death-and-resurrection of first century Israel (the resurrection as predicted in Ezekiel 37) in type. The first century was the antitype. Thus, whatever remains of Judaism today is like exhumed idols from the eras of Jeroboam, Ahab*, Omri and Manasseh.

It is not about blood. It never was. It is about Covenant, and there is only one of those. Despite its various death-and-resurrection renewals, there has only ever really been one covenant. There is no replacement of God’s people, only transfiguration from glory to glory.

*Remember it was Jezebel’s daughter Athaliah that almost DID destroy this single bloodline that mattered. Jehoash was the single son who escaped, an echo of Moses and a type of Christ.

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6 Responses to “Replacement Theology – 1”

  • jared Says:

    You say that “there has only ever really been one covenant” yet traditional Reformed theology has always maintained that there are two; Scripture delineates two covenants as well. It seems to me that in the first century we have a very clear picture of the “eu-catastrophic” transition from the first covenant to the second. Resurrection always brings about change, results in something different (though not altogether dissimilar) than that which preceded. To say that there is really only one covenant is to generalize the term in a way that cannot be facilitated by Scripture.

  • Mike Bull Says:

    I take your point, but Reformed theologians think like lawyers. Everything is in little boxes. The Bible isn’t built like that. God is an engineer and a lawyer but also a poet. So, we see the same patterns at different levels. I read some Christians debating about the Covenant make with Phinehas and his descendants. It was a microcosm of the greater Covenant. Same goes for the Old and New Covenants, or the two sets of tablets from Mount Sinai. Jesus took the Old Covenant into the grave with Him to make it new. So, there are two but they are one. Jesus resurrected is still the old Jesus, but better.

    Thanks for the comments.

  • jared Says:

    I think an important distinction can be made between form and function (e.g. your “same patterns at different levels” comment). But while the form of the covenants doesn’t change there is definitely an intentional separating of the “Old” and “New” Covenants in Scripture. In other words, there really is two covenants just as there are two people involved in the “one flesh” of marriage.

    That God is a poet in addition to being an engineer and lawyer doesn’t mean there are no “little boxes”; rather it means those little boxes are the most beautiful boxes. As you’ve demonstrated in Bible Matrix, Scripture has a definite structure. Not only do we need to put flesh on that skeleton we also need to make sure the parts of the skeleton are in the right order. And to make sure they are in the right order means we need to have some clear and consistent definitions so as not to confuse one part with another. We naturally bend to chaos which is why “maximalism” can be so dangerous.

    Of course, God’s goal has not changed. Earth will image heaven just as man images God and, ultimately, He will have His glory. The Old Covenant was a necessary step in the process of humanity’s maturity, like adolescence is a necessary step in the process of becoming an adult. But you can’t ever become an adult by staying in the “stage” of adolescence (I trust you will agree that age is not necessarily a determining factor in differentiating between an adolescent and an adult). And the stage of adolescence, while part of the singular process of maturing, is not the same as the stage of adulthood. To say that adulthood is just resurrected and glorified adolescence isn’t quite accurate. I hope the analogy isn’t too much of a stretch. There really is disparity between the two covenants so that calling them “one” because they are both parts of the same process injects confusion into the discussion and impedes development of the terms.

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Yes I agree. However I think we have more problems seeing the historical continuity than we do seeing the discontinuity. The old leaven was cut off, and Jesus is new leaven, but it’s still God’s kitchen.

  • Daniel Franzen Says:

    Hey. I was just thinking about this sort of thing today on my drive home from work. The covenant being what matters and not the ethnicity. I think we have such a hard time seeing all the “Gentile” Israelites in the OT because our Christian culture is so immersed in dispensational-type thinking (not strict dispensationalism, though) and post-Holocaust guilt.

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Yes – check out Jordan’s essay “The Future of Israel Re-examined.”