Replacement Theology Or Fulfillment Theology? – #24
We need to keep before the eyes of the reader that the NT writers all unequivocally affirm that their eschatological hopes, their hopes of the kingdom, resurrection and salvation, was not, in any way whatsoever, different from what God promised Israel in Torah. They did not have a hope for the church as opposed to, or different from, the hope of Israel. And they affirmed that Israel’s promises were being fulfilled in Christ and his body.
We are focused on the book of Acts in demonstration of this truth. For a discussion of other NT texts in which the writers cite key OT eschatological prophecies and affirm their fulfillment in Christ and the church, see my video series, “Some Great Old Testament Prophecies and Their Fulfillment.” (Contact me to purchase). You will be amazed at how emphatically the NT writers affirm the fulfillment of Israel’s Old Testament kingdom prophecies.
Acts 3:19f – All the Prophets Spoke of These Days
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.””
Note that Peter reminds his audience of the prophetic declarations and predictions of “the restoration of all things.” The prophets that he has in mind were “Moses, Samuel, and as many as have spoken.” Peter was clearly looking for the fulfillment of God’s Old Covenant promises made to Old Covenant Israel.
Notice that Peter did not say, “Brethren, I realize that our hopes and promises of the kingdom have been postponed for the time being, but, one day, by and by, after God removes the church, He will get back to fulfilling our prophecies.” There is not a hint of a clue of postponement, delay or failure.
Not only did he not speak of postponement or delay of the kingdom, he said that all of those OT prophets “foretold these days.” Those are the days in which Peter was speaking! We know this because he specifically posits the prediction of Moses, the prediction of Jesus, and then, in he likewise cites God’s promise to Abraham to bless the nations. Clearly, Jesus was the fulfillment of the prediction of Moses, and he appeared in Peter’s “these days.” Jesus was the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham, and Jesus had appeared in Peter’s “these days.” Thus, it is patently untenable to suggest that Peter had some far off, unknown, protracted “these days” in mind! He was undeniably speaking of his generation, the generation that witnessed the appearing of Jesus. This is confirmed by a quick look at John the Baptizer.
Notice that Peter referred to the “restoration of all things.” This was the eschatological hope of Israel. What is important to see is that Jesus identified John the Baptizer as Elijah, who was to “restore all things” (Matthew 17:10-12)! In other words, the OT prophets of Israel foretold the restoration of all things. That restoration of all things would be and was, initiated by John as the promised Elijah. John patently appeared in Peter’s “these days.” Thus, Peter’s reference to “these days” cannot be a delayed, protracted “these days.” It referred to the first century generation. For an in-depth study of John and the promised Restoration of All Things, see my book, Like Father Like Son, On Clouds of Glory.
So, here is Peter, inspired apostle, declaring that the OT promises to Israel, about the coming of the prophet like Moses, blessings of the nations through Abraham’s seed and the restoration of all things, were all being fulfilled! Keep in mind that these were “kingdom promises.” These were “salvation promises.” These were eschatological promises made to Old Covenant Israel, and there can be no denying that they were being fulfilled! How could Peter have affirmed that Jesus was the fulfillment of the OT promises to Israel of the prophet like Moses if the NT writers and speakers believed that Israel’s promises had been postponed? He most assuredly was not affirming a replacement theology! Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham, to Moses, to Israel!
So, Peter did not preach some kind of failed replacement theology, saying that God’s promises had failed and were being postponed. No, he did not preach or affirm replacement theology. He proclaimed fulfillment theology!
For a fantastic study of the book of Acts, as the story of the fulfillment of God’s Old Covenant Promises made to Israel, see my 52 lesson series, “Acts and the Restoration of Israel.” You will never look at the book of Acts in the same way, and you will realize that the NT writers believed and proclaimed fulfillment theology– not replacement theology!
More to come!