The New Covenant relates to the Sinai Covenant as prophecy is related to fulfillment. It does not replace the Sinai Covenant; it fulfills it. The two are related as summer is related to spring. One fulfills what the other anticipates.
‘Replacement theology’ is the name we give to the false theology that teaches that the Church replaces Israel and that the New Testament replaces all other covenants that God made with the children of Israel. Our study of the covenants shows us that such a position is entirely without ground either from the first thirty-nine books or the last twenty-seven books of the Scriptures.
It is not our purpose to refute Replacement Theology in detail here. It is enough to say that it is totally without foundation in the scriptures, and requires that God be unfaithful to His word, His promises and His covenants.
In spite of this it has been widely accepted among many professing Christians at least since the fifth century. It has become a major source of anti-Semitism in the world and a cause of darkness and lack of blessing in the church. It has provided a theological underpinning for the Spanish Inquisition, the Russian pogroms and the Holocaust in Central Europe. It has furthermore alienated the greater part of the Jewish people from the claims and blessing of the New Covenant.
The New Testament writings themselves declare that the Abrahamic Covenant is eternal and irrevocable. Paul addressed the situation of the Jewish people who do not understand or believe in the new covenant. He writes: “concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers (i.e. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.) For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:28-29).
The covenant with Israel is not revoked by any failure on their part. Similarly the Davidic Covenant (which we shall examine in a later chapter) through which God promises to set up a righteous eternal Kingdom in Israel is also irreplaceable and irrevocable.
“Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for a light by day and the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, who disturbs the sea and its waves roar (The Lord of hosts is His name): ‘If those ordinances depart from before Me,’ says the Lord then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before me forever.’…’If you can break My covenant with the day and My covenant with the night, so that there will not be day and night in their season, then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne and with the Levites the priests my ministers.’” (Jeremiah 31 35-36 & 33:2-21)
To teach replacement theology would require us to believe that God would cancel His word to Abraham and to his descendants, and abandon His promise to David. If replacement theology is true then
God cannot be trusted,
the word of God is not to be relied upon and
the basis of our faith is void.
There is no replacement whatever of the Abrahamic or of the Davidic Covenant by the New Covenant, and The Sinai Covenant is fulfilled (but not removed) by the New Covenant.
The Blessings Of Abraham
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us -for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3:13-14)
This statement from Paul is one of the best-loved summaries of the entire gospel message. Here he explains that Jesus took the cures of the Law upon Himself so that blessings of Abraham might be fulfilled.
The blessings of Abraham “In you all the families of the earth will be blessed’ (Genesis 12:3) can now come upon the gentiles because in His death Jesus has born the sin and guilt of the world. When the nations put their faith in this reality they can be reconciled with God and receive not only pardon but the Holy Spirit (New birth) and be released from the curse to be blessed with the blessing of Abraham.
If the Covenant with Abraham has ceased to exist how can we receive the blessing promised in that Covenant? If the blessings of Abraham are real and available today then the Abrahamic covenant is in operation today. You cannot believe in the blessings of Abraham without believing in the Abrahamic Covenant! If the part of the Covenant that has to do with the blessings of the Gentiles still stands then the part of the covenant that deals with his blessing of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob must still stand also!
To Confirm The Covenant Of The Fathers
“For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.” (Romans 15:8)
If there can be any doubt left of the perfect compatibility of the New Covenant with the Abrahamic Covenant Paul’s statement should be sufficient to remove all doubt. Here he states that Jesus’ became a servant to the Jewish people to confirm God’s promises given to them through the patriarchs, Abraham Isaac and Jacob. Thus the New Covenant and the ministry of Jesus confirm and do not annul the promises given to the Jewish people.
The Testimony Of Mary
It is evident that Paul saw the ministry of Jesus as confirming the promises given to Abraham and the patriarchs. This is also seen in the gospel of Luke when Mary, the mother of Jesus, rejoiced in the coming of the Messiah by describing the coming of her Son as God’s intervention on behalf of Israel to fulfill His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
“He has helped His servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” (Luke 1:54-55)
In the same chapter Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist echoes Mary’s words when he prophesies and describes the coming of Jesus as a fulfillment of the Covenant with Abraham.
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people. He has raised up a horn (leader) of salvation for us in the house of His servant Davis as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets … to show the mercy promised to our fathers, to remember His holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham” (Luke 1:68-69; 72-73)
The failure of Christianity to acknowledge this essential part of its message has had tragic consequences for Christianity and for the Jewish history.
The Jewish people have been marginalized, expelled, forced to convert, tortured as heretics, confined to ghettos, murdered in programs, and finally virtually annihilated in 20th century Germany at the hands of those educated in Christian churches and schools.
Even today their rerun to the land of promise is undermined and opposed by millions of Christian worldwide.
WE cannot afford to allow this heresy of replacement theology to continue within Christianity.