Many religions teach that the "church", or the body of Christ, has replaced the nation of Israel in God's plan for the ages. This is known as "Replacement Theology", or also called "supersessionism". Many religions are today teaching that Israel as a nation has forfeited their place as God's chosen nation because of their unfaithfulness to God. Thus, they fail to see the current world events in the proper perspective. Specifically, they fail to see the need for all Christians to support the nation Israel. What goes on there is of utmost importance to the rest of the world.
The replacement theology has been around a long, long time; the earliest traces of it are noted in writings of the second century AD. About AD 100, The Epistle of Barnabus states that the Jews have lost their portion of the promise. Irenaeus, writing about AD 180, wrote that they were "disinherited from the grace of God". Even Origen, a major writer during the times of the early church, based his own "replacement theology" on allegorical interpretation.
For a study on the major differences between Replacement Theology, and Dispensational Theology, read this: Differences in Doctrines.
But the question we are going to look at today is this: is this replacement doctrine Scriptural? Did God turn His back on His chosen people due to their unfaithfulness? The Bible emphatically says "NO!" Romans 11:1-2 says:
"I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew."
The biggest problem with this replacement theology is that, in order to make it work, proponents have to spiritualize parts of the Scriptures, saying that they are not speaking literally, but only figuratively.
But that doesn't make sense. If the prophecies about the first coming of the Messiah are literal, which history has proved, why would anyone think that the prophecies about the second coming would not be literal, also? Dr. David Reagan says: "If the common sense makes sense, then any other sense is nonsense!"
It is true that many prophecies of the Old Testament were indeed fulfilled in the establishment of the early church. However, it becomes obvious when you study the Scriptures that there is a difference between the promises made to Israel as a nation, and the Church today. God's covenant with Israel has never been "replaced"; it is irrevocable, and as solid as God himself.
And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. Gen. 17:7
Many people mistakenly say that the Jews broke their part of the covenant by their disobedience, and that's why the church is now the "spiritual Israel". But God's word is clear that even though they broke their part of the covenant, he would never break His!
And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD. Lev. 26:44-45
Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations; Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac; And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant. I Chron. 16:15-17
My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Ps 89:34
He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant: Psalm 105:8-10
For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee. Isaiah 54:10
As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.Isa 59:21
Yes, it is true that after their rebellion, God said He would make a NEW covenant with Israel. He even tells them when this will happen, and what will happen.
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name:
If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.
Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD. Jer. 31:31-37
Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant. Eze. 16:60
This very special covenant relationship with the nation of Israel did NOT change in the New Testament. Instead, Paul explained that there was a reason for Israel's period of rebellion: so that the Gentiles, too, might be saved!
And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. Romans 11:26-28
And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. Gal. 3:17
In fact, the promises of Jeremiah chapter 31 were repeated in the New Testament:
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. Hebrews 8:10-12
It's obvious that the Jewish people have a very special place in God's eternal plan. The Church has not replaced Israel. The church has provided a way for salvation to spread throughout the world, for people of all nations to be saved, and "grafted' into the family tree, but the tree itself was never cut down and tossed aside. And grafted branches never become the tree!
And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.(Rom. 11:17-18)
Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. (Rom. 11:19)
Why is this so important? Because Israel is, always has been, and always will be, God's chosen people. And it is necessary for us as Gentile Christians to realize that in order to receive all the blessings God has for us, we must bless the nation of Israel. From the very beginning, God's own Word says this about Israel:
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:3)
In addition, we are instructed to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, God's Holy City, in order for us to prosper. No other city on earth are we told to pray for, so it must be mighty important to God.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. (Psalm 122:6)
Below is a brief summary showing some of the distinct differences between the Church and Israel. I hope this helps you see why the New Testament Church never has, and never will, replace Israel in God's eternal plan.