Replacement theology is one name given to the idea that believers of this age replace the Jews of the Old Testament. In this theology, the Jews cease to be the people of God and are excluded from that position by the coming of Christianity. The Old Testament promises that were given to the Jews are now applied to the Christians.
Normally, replacement theology is one component of the larger system of covenant theology. On the other hand, the foundational doctrine of Dispensationalism is belief in the continued distinction between Israel and the New Testament believers (commonly called the church). Proponents of replacement theology have several proof texts such as Romans 2:28-29, Romans 9:6-8, Philippians 3:3, and Galatians 6:16. And, when these scriptures are taken exclusive of many other scriptures, they can be very convincing. Those who teach replacement theology use these verses to "establish" the concept that Israel is now the church and then go to all
the scriptures about Israel and read it as referring to the church.
However, the verses in question do not teach the replacement of Israel by the New Testament believers. They teach several important concepts; such as the truth that the real Jew is one who is not simply a Jew outwardly but also one inwardly, and the spiritual kinship of the believer today with Abraham, and the spiritual circumcision of New Testament believers. But there are several reasons to reject the idea that the physical Jews have been rejected and their promises have been transferred to the
First, this teaching ignores many other New Testament teachings which restate the promises given to the Jewish people. Romans 11:11-29 goes into great detail describing how the physical Jews have been blinded while the Gentiles have been grafted in. Yet, this passage shows that the tables will be turned again in the future. Verse 25 states, "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." The following verses tell how Israel will be saved and her sins forgiven.
Second, many of the promises to Israel were unconditional promises. They were not based on whether or not Israel remained faithful. They were based on the faithfulness of God. The passage cited above (Romans 11:11-29) states in verse 29: "For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." This verse is often applied to other things, but in context it refers to God's promises to Israel. We need to understand this, if God could take back His unconditional promises to Israel, He can take them back from us. Our very eternity is at stake.
Third, though this is not the purpose of its teachers, replacement theology makes a mockery of the Old Testament promises. Some promises seem to spiritualize quite well, but others do not. In Genesis 15, God confirmed once again His promise to Abraham of land for his descendants. It is to go from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates (Genesis 15:18). Though David subdued most if not all of this land, it was never all part of Israel. After the Babylonian captivity, Ezekiel reconfirmed a future possession of this land (Ezekiel 48:1-35). How does one transfer such a promise to the New Testament believers? The answers found in many commentaries are quite amusing. And this is just one example. There are many, many more.
For these reasons and more, I cannot accept replacement theology. God has not replaced Israel. The Jewish people will be brought back to God as taught in the book of Revelation and other scriptures. Also, the New Testament believers will receive the promises given to them. And, in the end, we will all be brought together under God's sovereign rule in the kingdom of God. Truly, His gifts and callings are without repentance.