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by tzadikguy

This past Shabbat we learned about Supercessionist Theology and the reasons why the theology is not Scriptural.

Before diving into any definitions or explanations there are some imperative truths that need to be reiterated. The first being that the Tanach {Torah, Prophets, and Writings} says G-d is the G-d of Israel. The phrase “the G-d of Israel” is found about 199 times in the Tanach alone. Another indisputable truth, according to the Bible, is that Jew’s are “the L-RD’s people”. They are the chosen people of G-d and He chose to bestow them with the task of bringing the Torah to the Nations. Even the Apostolic Scriptures refer to Israel as the people of G-d:

“24By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.” Hebrews 11:25-26

G-d did not chose Israel because of their character, He chose them because of His character. Israel may have been disobedient, and rejected HaShem but they are still His people. HaShem has the ability to transform any situation and ensure the glorification of His name.

Now for the definition of supercessionism. As one may gather the word means to “supersede” or replace something. Hence the reason supercessionism is a synonym of “replacement theology”. What exactly do supercessionists believe is being replaced? Unfortunately the answer is Israel. This would be the same as saying that the President of the United States must now have Icelandic citizenship. Previously, a higher authority granted the honor of serving as President of the United States solely to American citizens but now a “new” high authority transferred the honor to Icelandic citizens. Everyone would have a discrepancy with such a ludicrous idea, but somehow it seems logical if such an occurrence involved Israel. Within this fictitious theology lie 3 reasons for why Israel has been replaced.

  1. Punitive – Basically, Israel has been punished for their disobedience and HaShem’s blessing has been given to the Church. Martin Luther was an advocate for this type of supercessionism.
  2. Economic – Israel is no longer needed. Their service and purpose is over and it is now the Church’s chance to shine. Justin Martyr perpetuated this idea.
  3. Structural – The Old Testament is relegated and the New Testament is elevated which downgrades the theological importance of Israel.1

The common theme in each case is somehow the Church replaced Israel. According to David Novak, #1 New York Times bestselling Author, the New Covenant is either:

  • An extension of the Old Covenant. (What we should believe)
  • An addition to the Old Covenant. (soft supercessionism)
  • A replacement of the Old Covenant. (hard supercessionism)

Which option makes more sense? Why would G-d change His mind about Israel being His chosen people? He is a G-d that changes not. Why would He bother spending all that time with the “Old Covenant” if He was just going to relegate it? There is no evidence in Scripture proving G-d demoted the Old Covenant {Tanach} and established a New Covenant {Apostolic Scriptures}. In fact Revelation 7:4-8 lists all twelve tribes of Israel. The Jews would not be worth mentioning in end times prophecy if they had been replaced. Even in the last book of the Scriptures Israel was still written about. In addition, the first time the phrase “New Covenant” is mentioned is Jeremiah 31:31. That is in the Tanach! Clearly the “New Covenant” is not the Apostolic Scriptures because it is mentioned before they were even written. All scripture is given by the inspiration of G-d. It all works together and does not contradict itself. His word is perfect.

We must be very careful to understand the root of certain theologies. Supercessionism or “replacement theology” seeks to usurp the promises given to Israel and place the blessing on the church. The root of the problem and the birth of such a theology is quite obviously antisemitism. It is not Biblical and it is a blatant degradation of the Jewish people and their birthright. Sooner or later people are going to have to come to grips with the fact that it is to the Jew first, then the Gentile. Our calling is to be grafted into Israel and be obedient to the words of HaShem.

1The God of Israel and Christian Theology (Fortress Press, 1996), R. Kendall Soulen. Quoted by Calvin Smith. <http://www.calvinlsmith.com/2009/09/consulation-paper-christian-view-of.html&gt;

Notes, and references were recorded and collaborated in this post courtesy Joseph Squicciarini’s presentation of Supercessionism.


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