The Problem with "Fulfillment Theology" Regarding Israel
Director Nic Lesmeister of Gateway Center for Israel refutes "fulfillment theology," the claim that Jesus HImself has replaced the Jewish people in God's covenant promises to Israel.
This video appears inUnhealthy Theologies Regarding Israel
You’ve probably heard the term replacement theology. Maybe you’ve watched one of our videos where we talk about it or read one of our papers. This is the view that the church, the Christian Gentile Church, has replaced Israel as God’s new covenantal people for the sake of world redemption. And of course, we refute that as absolutely wrong, and most people today do as well because there’s a Jewish state with Jewish people in it. How can the Gentiles just replace another group of people that still exist to this day?
Well, there’s a further synthetic theology that I think is an attempt to lessen the blow of replacement theology, and it’s called fulfillment theology. This is the view that instead of the church replacing the Jewish people, Jesus replaces the Jewish people. And it’s absolutely wrong, and it’s just as equally unhealthy as replacement theology. In a sense, it treats Israel as like a postman or woman, where they’re carrying this covenantal responsibility, this package to a certain point of time, essentially just to get us to Jesus. And once Israel gets Jesus on the scene, it’s no longer necessary for them to be covenantally attached to God.
Well, this undercuts the whole biblical narrative because God made specific promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob about specific things – about the fact that the land of Israel is covenanted to him, and he gave it to the Jewish people. So if Jesus fulfills all of these promises, then what’s the point of Revelation saying that Jesus, the Messiah, is going to return to Jerusalem? Why not return to Dallas or return to New York City or Johannesburg at this point? It undermines the faithfulness of God. It undermines his covenant promises to believe that Jesus fulfilled every distinct promise that God made to the Jewish people. It’s untrue and it’s unbiblical, and it really assassinates God’s faithful character.