Supersessionism - Part VII
At the close of World War II, it was discovered that more than 6 million Jews throughout Europe were destroyed in the Holocaust. On Nov. 20, 1947, in Lake Success, New York, the United Nations General Assembly adopted, by a vote of 33 to 13, the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine’s proposal to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.
Secretary General of the U.N., Trygve Lie, called it the “first round of positive achievement.” The British refused to participate in any collective effort to enforce the U.N. resolution and would not terminate their mandate of the land until May 15, 1948. This encouraged the Arabs to believe they could undo the will of the UN.
The subsequent years of war that Israel would face were birthed during this period. Had the Arabs accepted the partition plan in 1947, an independent Arab Palestine would have been created. Instead, Israel had to fight for her life to become a nation in 1948. Wars continued in 1956, 1967, and 1973. When military efforts by the confederation of Arab-Islamic nations failed, a new strategy was implemented—“Land for Peace.” This idea originated with U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. It only exasperated the problem. The reality was, and is, that Arab-Islamic countries seek Israel’s annihilation and not a lasting peaceful co-existence. This lines up with Bible Scripture, as found in Psalm 83:4: “They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.”
REPLACE OR DESTROY
God has supplied us a magnificent witness to His Word by regathering the scattered Jews from around the world back to Israel. In previous articles in this series, we mentioned the fidelity of God to His covenant promises made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David. There are many Scriptures that promise restoration—Deuteronomy 30, Isaiah 2; 11; Ezekiel 36-37, Zephaniah 3, Zechariah 14, Matthew 19:28, 23:39; Acts 1:6, and Romans 11—to name a few.
Supersessionists have not made a compelling argument that the church is the new Israel and the church now fulfills national Israel’s place. Michael J. Vlach said, “The primary error of supersessionism is this: In their desire to emphasize the unity on salvation that Jews and Gentiles have experienced, supersessionists have mistakenly concluded that such unity excludes a special role for Israel in the future. But salvific unity does not erase all the ethnic functional distinctions. Gentiles are now partakers of Israel’s covenants, and national Israel will be saved and restored with a role of service to the nations.”
PROMISE OF GOD
God used Israel as a sign of His faithfulness and mercy. In Jeremiah 31, the Lord makes it clear that He will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
“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” (Jer. 31:31-33).
One of the outward signs of the new covenant is Israel! The promise for us to eternally benefit from the new covenant is God’s everlasting promise of Israel’s existence! Israel’s confirmation by God is as secure as His solar system:
“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 forever. 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. 31:35-37).
In order to better understand the depths of the previous verses in Jeremiah, we must look at what the new covenant is—it is the God-man Christ Jesus! Another scriptural signature of God is found in Psalm 72:5: “They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.”
All reverence and honor is given to Him, Jesus the Messiah, now and forever. When you see God using his everlasting creation in comparison to His eternal promises, that is His signature! God made it very clear that should Israel disobey Him, He would not cast them away. Instead, He would punish them by scattering them among their enemies. While in captivity, they would not be utterly cast off from God. When they would repent, then God would restore and restore them according to the covenants that He made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob:
“If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against Me, and that also they have walked contrary unto Me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember My covenant with Jacob, and also My covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised My judgments, and because their soul abhorred My statutes. 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. 26:40-45).
In Psalm 89, the faithfulness of God is revealed toward the seed of David. The seed of David is Jesus Christ, Messiah. Although the psalm speaks of David and his natural seed, we must understand that it also speaks of Messiah. The Davidic covenant reveals the lineage of Messiah, Jesus Christ. In this psalm, we again see the signature of God. As I close this short series, please read the next verses and see the faithfulness of God to His promises. He will not forsake Israel. As a nation, at the conclusion of the times of the Gentiles, they shall be saved and restored. As for now, both Jews and Gentiles can be saved by grace through faith in the One, Jesus Christ, Messiah.
“But My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him: and in My name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. He shall cry unto Me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Also I will make him My firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and My covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven. If his children forsake My law, and walk not in My judgments; If they break My statutes, and keep not My commandments; Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless My lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer My faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of My lips. Once have I sworn by My holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before Me. It shall be established forever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah” (Ps. 89: 24-37).