Replacement Theology| The Tabernacle of David Has Been Raised!
I cannot over-emphasize the importance of carefully analyzing the situation in Acts 15. Peter had opened the kingdom to the Gentiles by preaching to Cornelius. Peter was called on the carpet for those actions, and he explained what had happened there in Caesarea. James stood up and called attention to the fact that it was God who had, by those actions, sanctioned the inclusion of the Gentiles into Israel’s kingdom. He then gave as supportive evidence that this was what God originally intended, a direct quote of Amos 9:11. Let me give that again here:
James said (Acts 15: 10-17):
“Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.” Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles. And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, “Men and brethren, listen to me: Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: ‘After this I will return And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up; So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name.”
Amos was written at the time of, and was concerned with, the dissolution of the northern kingdom, the alienation of the ten northern tribes from “the house of David.” Please catch the power of what Amos was predicting and how James and the Jerusalem council were applying Amos’ prophecy.
Amos was anticipating the restoration of the “house of David,” the restoration of the northern tribes, under Messiah. He was saying, in different words, the same thing as Hosea who promised that in the last days, Israel would be restored under Messiah (who of course, was of David’s house!).
But notice that Amos said that the tabernacle of David would be restored “so that” the rest of mankind could then serve the Lord and receive His blessings! Do you catch that? The Tabernacle of David– the restoration of Israel– had to take place for the Gentiles to be called into Israel’s blessings! James was not saying, and Amos did not say: “Well the Gentiles have to be converted, and then after that, at some point, the Tabernacle of David will be restored, and then the Gentiles will be called in!” That turns the text on its head!
Replacement Theology and the Calling of the Gentiles– Foretold and Fulfilled!
The Tabernacle of David had to be restored “so that” all men – inclusive of the Gentiles / pagans – might call on the name of the Lord.
But, all men – “whoever believes in him” (Acts 10:43)– can now call on Christ and be accepted by the Lord (Acts 10:28).
Therefore, the Tabernacle of the Lord had been– or more accurately– was being restored.
(This is verified by the fact that as we have shown, in Romans 11:7 Paul states in no uncertain terms that the righteous remnant was already entering into the promises made to Israel, and it is also illustrated by the conversion and inclusion of the Samaritans)
For James, Peter and the Jerusalem council, the conversion of the Gentiles into the body of Christ – what we call the church – was the fulfillment of God’s Old Covenant promises of the restoration of Israel! This is a devastating blow to Zionism / Dispensationalism, and their rejection of the church as the fulfillment of God’s promises. Thus, while we can rightly reject Replacement Theology— i.e the failure of Israel’s promise and the substitution of the church due to that failure, we must affirm, with full confidence, the reality and truth of Fulfillment Theology!
Be sure to order a copy of The Last Days Identified, for a fuller understanding of the Old Covenant promises that God made to Israel, about what He would do for them– and for the world – in the last days.
Now, the consummation of that restoration would occur at the parousia, Romans 11:25-27, but that is too large of a study for here. The point is that for James and the Jerusalem council, there could be no doubt. God’s promise to restore Israel under Messiah was taking place. It was taking place in Christ, the Son of David. The inclusion of the Gentiles into Israel’s promises was proof positive. This means that the charge of Replacement Theology is totally misplaced, for Jesus, Son of David (Romans 1:4) has restored the Sovereignty and calls all men to him, just as Israel’s prophets promised. The Tabernacle of David has been restored!
More to come, as we continue our series on Replacement Theology.