Sunday, May 19, 2024

Covenant Theology Positions on Replacement Theology

Stan Feldsine -

This list of quotes was complied by my friend Ian A. Hicks, who had posted it on his Facebook Page. It contains quotes from Covenant Theologians that show their position that the church has replaced Israel, and that the church is now the recipient of blessings that belong to Israel. His document is reformatted and reprinted here with his permission.


Bruce K. Waltke, Kingdom Promises as Spiritual, Systems of Discontinuity, in Continuity and Discontinuity: Perspectives on the Relationship Between the Old and New Testaments, ed. John S. Feinberg (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1988), 274.

...hard fact that national Israel and its law have been permanently replaced by the church and the New Covenant.”

Bruce K. Waltke, Kingdom Promises as Spiritual, Systems of Discontinuity, in Continuity and Discontinuity: Perspectives on the Relationship Between the Old and New Testaments, ed. John S. Feinberg (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1988), 275.

The Jewish nation no longer has a place as the special people of God; that place has been taken by the Christian community which fulfills God’s purpose for Israel”.

William E. Cox, Amillennialism Today, (P&R Publishing, Phillipsburg, NJ, 1966), 45-46.

We come now to study the biblical relationship between national Israel and the Christian church. The historic Christian teaching holds that national Israel was a type or forerunner of the church, and that the church replaced Israel on the Day of Pentecost. This view holds that God made two sets of promises to national Israel national promises, and spiritual promises. All earthly promises to Israel have been either fulfilled or invalidated because of disobedience. All spiritual promises are being fulfilled through the church, which is made up of Jews and Gentiles alike. The first advent of Christ completed Israel's redemption, and manifested the Israel of God (the church referred to in Galatians 6:16).”

Geerhardus Vos, Reformed Dogmatics, (Lexham Press, Bellingham, WA), 1140.

With the incarnation and Christ's finished work of satisfaction, Israel's national calling has been terminated. That would even have been the case if Israel in its majority had not rejected the Savior. Even then it would not have been more than the first in the line of Christian peoples, a part of spiritual Israel. For according to the repeated witness of the New Testament, "Israelite" is synonymous with "Christian." The circumcision of the heart makes one a true Jew [Rom 2:29].”

William E. Cox, Amillennialism Today, (P&R Publishing, Phillipsburg, NJ, 1966), 49.

That the Christian church replaced Israel is obvious when one notes that the Jewish-Gentile Christian church of the New Testament is given the same titles which in the Old Testament were given to national Israel.”

Sam Storms, Kingdom Come, The Amillennial Alternative (Mentor Imprint of Christian Focus Publications, Geanies House, Fearn, Ross-shire, IV20 1TW, Scotland, U.K., 2013), 191.

There are numerous other New Testament texts that affirm the same truth (see below). My point here is simply to clarify why I see the Church as the "one new man," the true Israel of God in and for whom all the promises will be fulfilled. The promises will not be fulfilled exclusively in and for a separate "nation" of ethnic Israelites but in and for all believing ethnic Israelites together with all believing ethnic Gentiles, that is to say, in the Church.”

Herman Bavinck, The Last Things: Hope for This World and the Next, (Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, MI, 1996), 99, 102.

Chiliasm [millennialism] includes the expectation that shortly before the return of Christ a national conversion will occur in Israel, that the Jews will then return to Palestine and from there, under Christ, rule over the nations. . . . Those of the Jews who reject Christ are not really true Jews (Rom. 2:28-29). They are not the “circumcision” but the “mutilation” (Phil. 3:2). They are the irregulars, idle talkers, deceivers, who must be silenced (Tit. 1:10-11). They have killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets as well. They persecute believers, do not please God, and oppose everyone. . . . Real Jews, the true children of Abraham, are those who believe in Christ (Rom. 9:8; Gal. 3:29, etc.). The community of believers has in all respects replaced carnal, national Israel. The Old Testament is fulfilled in the New.”

Gary North, Rapture Fever: Why Dispensationalism is Paralyzed, (Institute for Christian Economics, Tyler Texas, (1993)), XII, XV.

"Similarly, Jesus told us that as members of His eternal Church, we are the heirs of the Old Covenant kingdom that God had given by grace to the Jews. The Church receives the kingdom inheritance of Israel....Obviously, this transfer of ownership from Old Covenant Israel could not skip to some future Jewish society at least 1,960 years after Jesus announced it. He told them that their kingdom would be removed from them and given to someone else, not held in a kind of deep freeze for two millennia. It would be given to a rival nation that would bring forth the fruits of the kingdom. So, we must abandon the fruits of unrighteousness."

Gary DeMar, The Debate Over Christian Reconstruction, (Dominion Press, 1988), 21.

"Unbelieving Israel has been cast out and has been replaced by the international church, those whom Jesus purchased with His own blood "from every tribe and tongue and people and nation" (Revelation 5:9)."

Nathan Pitchfork, Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology, Vol.4 (Psalm 45 Publications, 2010, Lulu Press), 14-15.

"Included in this expected casting off of shadows is the casting off of national Israel as God’s people. When God removed his Shekinah glory from the temple in Jerusalem, he was essentially signifying the taking up of his presence from Israel, so that they were no longer his special people. They were now the same as the Gentiles around them (see Ezekiel 11:23). If the reality of this casting off is not indisputably clear in Ezekiel’s vision, it nevertheless becomes manifestly apparent in Hosea 1. There God very clearly and explicitly declares that Israel will become “lo-ammi” — “not my people”. In this declaration, Israel becomes essentially the same as the Gentiles around them; therefore, immediately afterwards, when God declares that in the future Israel will number as the sand of the sea, he must mean an Israel that is drawn without distinction from a world that is, without distinction, “lo-ammi” with God. So the expected casting off of Old Testament shadows is complete enough to include the casting off of ethnic Israel as God’s people.

Nathan Pitchfork, Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology, Vol.4 (Psalm 45 Publications, 2010, Lulu Press), 15-16.

"Although God cast off physical Israel, he prophesied of a restoration of Israel. What would be the distinction between this eschatological Israel and the archetypical Israel? Israel would no longer be Israel because of birth or external laws on tablets. Instead, they would be Israel because God had written his law on their hearts, and put a new heart of flesh within their midst. (See Jer. 31:31-36; Ezekiel 36:24-28). This new Israel God would call from all the nations, choosing some who had been Gentiles to be Levites and Priests (See Isaiah 66:18-21). In fact, Paul himself clearly explains that the prophesied restoration of Israel spoken of by Hosea was accomplished when God called to himself a people from both ethnic Jews and ethnic Gentiles (Romans 9:24-26).Hence, even in the Old Testament we start to see the necessity of a change from types to spiritual realities in order to do justice to the prophecies involving future Israel.

Pascal Denault, The Distinctiveness of Baptists Covenant Theology (2nd Ed.), 131.

"Since Abraham’s physical posterity existed by virtue of the covenant of circumcision (the old covenant), when the goal of the covenant was accomplished (leading to Christ through the preservation of Abraham’s physical posterity), the covenant made with Abraham's natural descendants came to an end."

Loraine Boettner, The Millennium (Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1957), 89-90.

It may seem harsh to say that ‘God is done with the Jews.’ But the fact of the matter is that He is through with them as a unified national group having anything more to do with the evangelization of the world. That mission has been taken from them and given to the Christian Church (Matt. 21:43).”

Greg Bahnsen, The Theonomic Reformed View in The Law, The Gospel, and the Modern Christian: Five Views, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 1993), 105.

"In connection with the superseding of the old covenant shadows, the redemption secured by the new covenant also redefines the people of God. The kingdom that was once focused on the nation of Israel has been taken away from the Jews (Matt. 8:11-12; 21:41-43; 23:37-38) and given to an international body, the church of Jesus Christ. The New Testament describes the church as the rebuilding of Israel (Acts 15:15-20), "the commonwealth of Israel" (Eph. 2:12 NASB), "Abraham's seed" (Gal. 3:7, 29), and "the Israel of God" (6:16). What God was doing with the nation of Israel was but a type looking ahead to the international church of Christ. The details of the old order have passed away, giving place to the true kingdom of God established by the Messiah, in which both Jew and Gentile have become "fellow citizens" on an equal footing (Eph. 2:11-20; 3:3-6)."

Gerald R. McDermott, Israel Matters: Why Christians Must Think Differently about the People and the Land, (Brazos Press, Grand Rapids, MI, 2017), Intro, xi.

"I had been convinced that the Church is the New Israel. This meant that after Jesus died and rose again, the covenant that God had made with Israel was transferred to those who believed in Jesus. The vast majority of Jews, who had refused Jesus' claim to be Messiah, were no longer the apple of God's eye. They were no different in God's eyes from any other people who had heard the gospel and had rejected it. The old Israel was no longer the true Israel. The Church of believers in Jesus Christ had now become the New Israel. Or so I thought. This was the Christian interpretation that I had learned from Reformed theologians such as John Calvin and that was now embraced by many Christian churches mainline Protestant, Catholic, and a growing number of evangelical churches. So it was difficult for me to believe that modern Israel was a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. The fact that most Jews in Israel were either secular or religious-but-non-messianic seemed to preclude any connection between their land and the biblical prophecies. I thought that might change if one day most Jews in Israel were to accept Jesus. But in the meantime, modern Israel did not seem related to the Bible."