Does Denying the Promised Restoration of Israel… :: By Jonathan Brentner

Does Denying the Promised Restoration of Israel Undermine the Integrity of Scripture?

Much like a quarterback suddenly tackled from behind by a player from the opposing side, the claim that God has rejected Israel and replaced the nation with the church represents a blindside attack on the integrity of Scripture.

Those who say the church is now God’s kingdom not only greatly err but also cause considerable harm to the reliability of Scripture, which in turn deprives believers of their safe refuge for the perilous times in which we live.

In defense of these assertions, which I know seem extreme to some, I will start with how a group of prominent leaders in the Christian community defined biblical inerrancy in the last century.

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978)

In 1978, over three hundred Evangelicals met in Chicago and agreed to a statement affirming the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture. This was also the year that I graduated from Talbot Theological Seminary, and as I recall, the integrity of the Bible was a hot-button issue at the time. My professors assigned the reading of several books on this matter. I still have my copy of Harold Lindsell’s The Battle for the Bible, written during this time.

I am aware that a few who signed this document ascribed to Replacement Theology, the belief that God had rejected Israel and replaced the nation with the church, which represents His current kingdom on the earth and thus our inheritance of such a realm.

However, wording of the Chicago Statement refutes the symbolical interpretations of Biblical prophecy upon which Replacement Theology rests. Article VI, which upholds the inspiration and inerrancy of the words of Scripture:

We affirm that the whole of Scripture and all its parts, down to the very words of the original, were given by divine inspiration.

Article XVIII further negates interpreting God’s Word in ways that dismiss the meaning of the words found in any biblical text:

We affirm that the text of Scripture is to be interpreted by grammatico-historical exegesis, taking account of its literary forms and devices, and that Scripture is to interpret Scripture.

In the past few years, I have heard several sermons given from the viewpoint that Jesus is now reigning in fulfillment of prophecies found in passages such as Psalm 2, Psalm 110, and Daniel 7. In each case, the pastor based his exegesis of the passage more upon human wisdom rather than upon the words God inspired the writers of Scripture to record for us.

However, not only does Replacement Theology contradict the ways that church leaders in the past defined biblical inerrancy, but it also fails to measure up to the amazing record left for us by the Old Testament prophets.

The Amazing Hebrew Text

After my graduation from Talbot, I worked for an entire year at the Lockman Foundation assisting in its production of the exhaustive concordance for the New American Standard Bible (NASB). I spent the majority of this time immersed in the Hebrew and Aramaic text of the Old Testament, connecting words in the original to their English equivalents in the NASB.

Spending forty hours a week in the original text of the Old Testament not only greatly increased my love of the words of Scripture but also left the following impression ingrained in my soul:

The amazing uniformity of the Hebrew text, written over a period of many centuries by a variety of authors and prophets, is far more than enough to discredit the retrofitting of its words, with human wisdom, in order to make them support God’s reneging on His solemn promises to Israel.

At the time, I regarded my time at the Lockman Foundation as an unnecessary delay in reaching my goal of serving full-time at a church. Looking back, I regard this detour as a key aspect of the Lord’s preparation for my current ministry.

The Backdoor Assault on Scripture

During the years following 1978, the vast majority of churches identifying themselves as “Evangelical” not only stood by the Chicago Statement of biblical inerrancy but also proclaimed that Jesus would come for His church before a seven-year period of Tribulation upon the earth. They affirmed adherence to John’s account of Jesus’ thousand-year reign upon the earth as recorded in the words of Revelation 20:1-10.

For many years, belief in the inerrancy of Scripture and the pre-Tribulation Rapture remained inseparable in most churches that referred to themselves as “Evangelical.”

Sadly, such is no longer the case. Many churches today adhere to Replacement Theology even though, as noted above, it contradicts the wording of key articles found in the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy and rests more upon human wisdom than the words found in Scripture.

Does this not signify a backdoor assault on God’s Word? Rather than outright deny the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, they voice strong affirmation for it while at the same time adhering to views of future things that change the meanings and inspired intent of the words penned by its authors and prophets.

‘What’s the big deal?’ some might ask. ‘As long as a church remains true to the Gospel and its pastors carefully exegete Scripture in areas that do not pertain to future things, why should we be alarmed that it dismisses God’s promises to Israel and promotes a no Rapture future?’

I will answer this objection in the next section.

The Fruit of Dismissing What the Bible Says About Israel’s Future

Though often immediately apparent, the long-term impact of retrofitting Bible prophecy so as to make the church the recipient of God’s promises to Israel negatively impacts believers in the following four ways:

  1. It Leads Them to Greater Depths of False Teaching

Replacement Theology provides the basis for other teachings that lead those in the pews into greater depths of false teaching. One of its offspring, Dominion Theology, teaches that the church, not Jesus, will inaugurate millennial conditions to the earth. This takes the error of teaching that the church is God’s kingdom to a far greater extreme.

Despite being the most popular view of future things in churches, Dominion Theology represents an open attack on the reliability of Scripture in all matters pertaining to faith and practice.

Preterism, another child of Replacement Theology, sprang up in the 1500s in response to the Reformer’s insistence that the pope was the antichrist and the Roman Catholic Church his kingdom. Like its sibling, Dominion Theology, such an interpretation of prophecy contradicts God’s Word in many places. Both assault Scripture in ways that severely weaken its reliability in matters not related to future things.

  1. It Opens the Door to Wokeism

The acceptance that the words on the pages of our Bibles can signify something entirely different than the meaning of the words used by the authors of Scripture erodes the integrity of other passages. In this way, it opens the door for the acceptance of the LGBQT+ agenda.

If one can assert that God has rejected Israel despite Paul’s clear assertion to the contrary in Romans 11:1-2, then is it not easy to assume how others might apply the same principles of interpretation to what the apostle wrote about homosexuality? Does it not open the door for alternate interpretations of behavior that the apostle specifically addresses?

Andy Stanley is “Exhibit A” for how Replacement Theology leads to Wokeism. Though he stops short of fully endorsing the LGBQT+ agenda, Stanley’s recent statements illuminate the path for others to go there. His views on Israel and the Old Testament reveal that he’s light years away from the view of Scripture expressed by his dad, Charles Stanley:

God’s Word is absolutely true. You may not understand how God is going to bring about what He’s promised you, but He is keeping every promise that He has ever made. He will never deceive you or disappoint you, and He will never change His mind about what He’s told you.[1]

For more on how the denial of a future for Israel opens the door to Wokeism for believers, please read my blog article, Wokeism Begins With Devaluing the Words of Scripture.

  1. It Deprives Believers of the Refuge Provided for them by Bible Prophecy

Bible prophecy is the greatest source of encouragement for the perilous times in which we live.

I could not even begin to cope with all that I see happening in our world apart from what the Bible teaches about the Hereafter. Jesus is my strong tower of refuge; His Word is what keeps me sane because I know He is going to intervene in this world in the near future. He is coming soon to take me home and, after that, punish the great wickedness that’s overtaking our world.

Pastors who either remain silent about Bible prophecy or proclaim Replacement Theology deprive those in their charge of the only safe refuge available to them in these perilous times. They lead saints away from the “strong tower” (Proverbs 18:10), that of Jesus’ promises to us in His Word, to sandcastles that will soon disappear amid the raging waves of the sea.

  1. It Guides Believers to an Unbiblical Worldview

The religious leaders of first-century Jerusalem failed to connect the words of Old Testament prophecy with the person of Jesus (Matthew 16:1-4). They regarded Jesus as a threat to their status quo and refused to acknowledge or even investigate how He fulfilled the words of prophecy contained in Scripture.

We see the exact same pattern today. Many pastors regard Bible prophecy as a threat to their ministry and treat the Rapture as far too radical of an idea to even discuss from the pulpit. Because of their failure, or unwillingness, to connect the dots between today’s world and biblical prophecy, they lead those in their charge into worldviews that differ little from those espoused by those outside the faith.

Any outlook on life that ignores the Lord’s imminent intervention in our world or pushes it to the end of ages inevitably leads to an unbiblical worldview. The dismissing of the multiple signs of the end of the age inevitably leads to that of exalting earthly expectations above eternal realities (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

Denying the Future Restoration of Israel does undermine the Integrity of Scripture

The Apostle Peter wrote that in the last days, “scoffers” would appear, and such people would mock “the promise of his coming” (2 Peter 3:3-4). Jude adds that those who dismiss our hope would be the ones who cause divisions in the church (Jude 17-19). This day arrived, and clearly, it’s no small matter.

In my experience, I have found the following to be true:

Churches that designate beliefs in future things as “tertiary,” or matters of third-rate importance, are by far the most unwelcoming of other positions and thereby divisive to the body of Christ. If you persist in bringing up beliefs in Jesus’ imminent appearing in such places of worship, its pastors are more than willing to show you to the door. I have received emails from all over the world verifying this sad reality.

On the other hand, pastors who adhere to a pre-Tribulation Rapture typically do not close the door of their churches to those with differing views of Bible prophecy. When preaching about future things, they often acknowledge the existence of other viewpoints about Bible prophecy, something one never hears in churches that adhere to Replacement Theology either tacitly or openly.

The denial of God’s future restoration of a kingdom for Israel is no small matter. Although the fruit of such unbelief is rarely evident in the near term, over time, it most definitely leaves a legacy of undermining the veracity of Scripture and harming the saints in the ways noted in the previous section.

Bible prophecy is most certainly not a “tertiary” matter in the day in which we live; it’s of the utmost importance and essential to the well-being of believers.

Churches that degrade the importance of watching for Jesus’ imminent return divide the body of Christ by silencing those who hope in Jesus’ appearing.


Note: In Hereafter, It’s Far Better Than You Can Imagine, Terry James and I describe the future glory that awaits us as believers beginning with Jesus’ appearing to take us home. From beginning to end, we emphasize the jubilant joy that awaits us in Heaven. The last chapter contains twenty-seven frequently asked questions and answers pertaining to Heaven and our experience there.

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