Replacement Theology| Replacing the Old Creation With the New Creation
As we have seen, many Old Testament prophecies spoke of Israel’s ultimate destruction (Isaiah 65-66; Daniel 9:27; 12:7, etc.). This proves that nationalistic Israel was never God’s ultimate purpose. He promised a new heaven and new earth, only after Israel was destroyed (Isaiah 65:6-19). The new creation was the focus, not Old Covenant Israel. So, ask yourself: Which is better, the Old or the New Creation? When we realize, as proven in this series, that Israel and Torah were considered the “Old Creation” that was, from the very beginning, destined and determined to pass away so that the eternal New Covenant Creation could come into existence, then all claims about a negative “replacement theology” disappear. The New Creation was always the goal, fulfilling the purpose of the Old, and allowing the Old to vanish. This was, as we have seen above, the “good news” that Jesus referred to when he said “this gospel of the kingdom must be preached into all the world, as a witness to the nations, then comes the end.”
This forces us to reconsider the power of Galatians 6:15: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.” Bruce, although he still posited the full arrival of the New Creation in the future, commented on the force of Galatians 6:15: “In the old order of the law, where distinction between Jew and Gentile was of fundamental importance, it mattered greatly whether a man was circumcised or no; now, it is totally irrelevant” (F. F. Bruce, New International Greek Text Commentary, Galatians (Carlisle, Eerdmans, Paternoster, 1982)273).
Galatians 6:15 falsifies Pentecost’s claim that God was concerned with Abraham and not Torah. Where did circumcision come from, from Torah, or Abraham? Patently from Abraham (Genesis 17). Even though the Abrahamic Covenant, including circumcision, was given 400 years prior to the giving of the Law of Moses, it is undeniably clear that the covenant of circumcision was subsumed into the Law of Moses– maintaining that Abrahamic Covenant under the umbrella of Torah. Circumcision was not “the Law of Moses” distinct from the Abrahamic promises. The Law of Moses incorporated the Abrahamic Covenant into Torah. Thus, there was an organic unity between the Abrahamic covenant of circumcision and Torah, but, the Abrahamic promises would not and could not be fulfilled under or through Torah (Galatians 5:20-21). Those promises would be fulfilled at the end of Torah, when the Abrahamic Inheritance would be given (Galatians 4:1f).
So, in Galatians and all of his epistles in which he discussed circumcision, Paul made the astounding and revolutionary claim that circumcision avails nothing. This was not a statement about simply the passing of the Law of Moses. The nullification of circumcision was a direct commentary on the Abrahamic Covenant! Thus, for Paul to say that “circumcision avails nothing” was a stunningly revolutionary way of saying one of two things:
1. The Abrahamic Covenant had failed and was being set aside– which, in Pauline theology was patently false and not even comprehensible (Romans 1:25-29), or,
2. That to which the Abrahamic Covenant pointed (and typified) was now becoming a reality, and the typological, foreshadowing symbols of the Abrahamic Covenant, i.e physical circumcision, was now coming to fruition! But, with the fulfillment of the type and shadow, the shadow was always intended to pass– through fulfillment.
In Galatians, Paul posits the inheritance– the Abrahamic inheritance – at the end of Torah. The law had been given as the “guardian” to deliver the Abrahamic blood line to the time of the reception of that which Abraham looked, the heavenly city, the heavenly “father land” (i.e. the New Creation) of Galatians 6:15!
The fact that the New Testament writers anticipated the passing of the old system and the arrival of the new – along with the nullification of circumcision – shows that Old Israel was not God’s determinative purpose. The OT prophets went so far as to say that the time was coming when the old world would not even be brought to mind, in comparison with the work that God was going to do (Jeremiah 3:14f; Isaiah 434; 65:19f; cf. John 4). These hardly strike one as predictions of the re-establishment of that old world. We will explore that in our next installment, as we refute the Dispensationalist’s false charge of Replacement Theology.