Replacement Theology| Zionism and the Restoration of “What?” #15
The Dispensational world seems intent on maintaining and re-establishing the shadow and removing the body. And make no mistake, as we have proven from their own writings, the Dispensational paradigm does teach that in the millennium, the church, with all of its distinctive tenets, advantages and blessings, will be set aside, and nationalistic Israel with her distinctives, will be reinstated.
Pentecost is clear for instance, in teaching that whereas in the current church age, equality between Jew and Gentile in Christ is the order of the day, in the millennium, Jew and Gentile distinctions will be restored: “Objection is sometimes raised that God has forever broken down the barrier that separates Jew and Gentile and makes them one. This view arises from the failure to realize that this is God’s purpose for the present age, but has no reference to God’s program in the millennial age” (Things to Come, referenced earlier in this series – 1980, 528).
Further, the millennialists insist that Israel’s land, city, temple, sacrifices, her Sabbaths, and even circumcision, will be re-established in the millennial age. While they insist on the restoration of all of these things, in fact, they then turn around and say, “The sacrifices of the millennial temple will not be a return to the Mosaic Law, since the Law has forever been fulfilled and discontinued through Christ” (Prophecy Watch cited earlier, 1998, 258). Pentecost concurs, “The millennial age will not see the re-establishment of Judaism” (Pentecost, 1980, 522).
Ice says that the millennial temple with its cultus, “Will not be a return to the Mosaic law, since the law has forever been fulfilled and discontinued through Christ” (1998, 258). It is surely contradictory to insist on one hand that the Mosaic Law has been forever, “fulfilled and discontinued through Christ,” and then say that the Mosaic Covenant is, “the prophetic road map” for Israel’s future restoration.
Keep in mind that Ice says that during the three and ½ years period of peace, before the Tribulation, “Judaism is revived, and traditional sacrifices and ceremonies are re-instituted in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem” (1998, 60). He then says that in the millennium, it is not the Old Testament sacrifices, i.e. not the Mosaic institutes that are restored, because the Old Law has been forever fulfilled and discontinued. Now, if Judaism is restored what was Judaism based upon except the Mosaic institutes? Would Ice affirm that the Mosaic Law is restored during the 3 ½ year time of peace before the millennium but not in the millennium? To take this position contradicts his posit that the Old Law has been forever removed, thus, suggesting two different forms of “restoration?” Of course, Pentecost likewise insists that the millennial temple will not be the restoration of Judaism (1980, 522).
Replacement Theology| Dispensationalism and the Law of Moses
Seeking to dispel the difficulties in positing the restoration of the Mosaic institutes, Ice says, (citing Fruchtenbaum), “The sacrificial system of the Millennium must not be viewed as a re-institution of the Mosaic system, because it is not. It will be a new system that will contain some things old and some things new, and will be instituted for an entirely different purpose” (1998, 258).The trouble for this view is that Jesus emphatically condemned the idea of joining the Old with the New.
In Mark 2:21f, Jesus said, “No one sews a piece of un-shrunken cloth on an old garment, or else the new piece pulls away the old, and the tear is made worse. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But the new wine must be put into new wineskins.” The idea that in the millennium some elements of the Mosaic Covenant will be incorporated and some deleted while new elements are added is a violation of Jesus’ words. Scripture makes no provision for the establishment of a quasi-restored, some new/some old, nation and cultus of Israel.
Nationalistic Israel, with her cultus was never intended to be the ultimate focus of God’s Scheme of Redemption. She was but a shadow, a foretaste of better things. The better things that she foreshadowed were the ultimate goal as we have established in this series. This is demonstrable from many scriptures many of which the millennialists claim speak of the restoration of physical Israel.
If the animal sacrifices of the Mosaic law are, “forever fulfilled and discontinued through Christ,” why would any animal sacrifices be restored? Would the fact that animal sacrifices would not be offered under Moses’ mandates make them any more effective? No, for in regard to efficacy, all animal sacrifices are equally ineffective. If the bloody sacrifices under Moses were ineffective what would make the animal sacrifices in the millennium any better? And if Jehovah never had pleasure in bloody animal sacrifices before (Hebrews 10:5f), why would He have pleasure in them in the millennium?
If the Mosaic animal sacrifices have found their fulfillment in Christ, then this must mean that the animal sacrifices in the millennium are the fulfillment of sacrifices from some other system that has not yet found fulfillment in Christ. What system of sacrifice might that be?
Ice constantly appeals to Deuteronomy 4:25f to prove that Israel must be restored in the future (Great Tribulation Debate, (Kenneth L. Gentry and Thomas Ice, The Great Tribulation Past or Future?, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1999)74f). However, if the Mosaic Covenant has been, “completely fulfilled and forever discontinued in Christ,” then Deuteronomy 4 has been removed in Christ and it is inappropriate to appeal to Deuteronomy for a future fulfillment. You simply must catch the power of that!
For the millennialist to claim that Israel will be restored to her land, with her temple and her cultus, but that this will not be a restoration of the Mosaic Law is sophistry. It is vital to see that Paul taught that Israel was being restored to “the land” in fulfillment of OT prophecy, in his day!
Paul’s use of Isaiah 49 is definitive on this. (For space considerations, I will forgo that discussion here, but it will be in the book form of this discussion).
The contradictions of millennialism become apparent in regard to the restoration of Israel. On the one hand, Ice, (1998, 60) says that during the first 3 ½ years of the 7 year period before the millennium, “Judaism is revived, and the traditional sacrifices and ceremonies are re-instituted in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem.” However, he insists that during the millennium, Judaism is not restored, since the Mosaic Law, “has been forever fulfilled and discontinued in Christ” (1998, 258). Thus, the Mosaic System–“which has been forever discontinued”–will be restored for 3 ½ years prior to the millennium, but it cannot be restored during the millennium, because it, “has been forever discontinued in Christ.” If the Law of Moses and Judaism has been, “forever discontinued,” then there surely is no place for the restoration of Judaism and, “the traditional sacrifices and ceremonies” at any point in the future!
Replacement Theology| Two Restorations of Israel?
In Ice’s scheme, there must be two future restorations of Israel. The first is a revival of Judaism and the traditional sacrifices and ceremonies, i.e. the Mosaic cultus, and the other, which is not a revival of Judaism, because the Mosaic Law has been forever removed.
So, what the millennialists claim is that Israel will be restored in the millennium, but will be radically transformed. Is this not “Replacement Theology?”It is the same people, the same land, the same city, a new, but literal temple, with the same animal sacrifices, the same Sabbaths, the same circumcision. But, in the Dispensational world, the new systems is in fact radically different from the Old– and not only is it different, it replaces the Old. Thus, Replacement Theology!
Space will not permit a discussion of the millennial doctrine of the promised New Covenant. It is sufficient to point out that the millennialists affirm that Christ did not establish the New Covenant promised by Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 37. Yet, Jesus shed his blood to establish that promised new covenant (Matthew 26:26-28). The NT writers affirm that the Old was passing away (Hebrews 8:13), and that the New was being delivered (2 Corinthians 3). The first century saints were being transformed from glory to glory–i.e. from the Old Covenant glory to the New Covenant Glory. Yet, the millennialists simply deny or discount these passages, and say that the writers were speaking of a yet future covenant, or were using the terminology of the promised New Covenant to speak of the gospel which has been given only until the “real” New Covenant can be made. The millennial willingness to ignore emphatic Biblical statements, in order to support a preconceived doctrine, is one of the most regrettable of all theological praxis. For a fuller discussion of the incredible importance of the Dispensational denial of the Gospel as the promised New Covenant, see my new book (2015): The New Covenant: Future or Fulfilled.
There is no doubt that this is a definite form of “Replacement Theology, and a close look at Dispensational theology in regard to the tenets just listed proves this.
The millennialists seek to justify a restoration that is not truly a restoration, by stating that it is not the Mosaic Law itself that will be restored: “The sacrificial system is not a re-instituted Judaism, but the establishment of a new order” (1980, 531); “There are many basic differences between the Aaronic and millennial systems” (1980, 520); “ It is to be noted that the priests who serve (in the millennium, DKP) are not taken from the whole Levitical line, for the line as a whole was set aside because of their apostasy, but are taken from the sons of Zadok” (1980, 521)
We would ask, why, if the millennialist can see that the Old Covenant predicted a “new order” with a different priesthood, a different sacrifice, a different temple, why the sacrifice and service of Jesus is not sufficient to fulfill those promises? If Israel and her cultus was, at least in some way, to be radically transformed, then why cannot the transformation performed by Jesus Christ, Israel’s Messiah, be the predicted transformation? The problem is a refusal to look beyond the shadows to the spiritual reality.
When the Dispensationalists cry Replacement Theology then, as an objection to non-Dispensationalists, we have a right to ask, once again: Does not Dispensationalism teach Replacement Theology? And the answer is a resounding Yes! They not only replace the church with Israel, but, the “replace” Biblical Judaism with a Judaism unknown in scripture! This is Replacement Theology in its worst form.