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Replacement Theory

by Tim O'Hearn

It’s a strange thing that I have heard, and it goes against all I was ever taught about God. Somebody actually thinks that God doesn’t know everything. Somebody says that, no matter how long and how carefully God plans, no matter what He said through His prophets, no matter that He is God, a small group of the people He created can make God change His plans against His own will. Not just one somebody says that. It seems that many people claiming faith in Jesus as the Messiah believe that God doesn’t have the power to do what He says He will do.

These people advocate what is sometimes called “replacement theology.” In its basic form, this theory says that when God sent His son to this world, He intended to set up His kingdom on earth. Jesus was supposed to lead a revolt against Rome and set up a worldwide kingdom of God. However, the Jews killed him instead of following him in this plan. Because of this, God had to replace his planned kingdom with the church, until He gained enough power to place Jesus directly on the throne. But God will, in the near future (it’s been the near future for almost two millennia), set up that kingdom, and Jesus will reign on earth for a thousand years.

It is not necessary to quote all the prophecies of the kingdom. Those are accepted by the definition of the theory. It should not be necessary to point out that Jesus, himself, said his kingdom was not of this world (Jn 18:36) and that he declined a crown from the very people that replacement theologists say refused his rule (Jn 6:15). It should not be necessary to quote the scriptures that say the church is the kingdom. All that should be necessary to refute this theory is to prove God’s power.

To that end, three of the many possible scriptures concerning what God can and can not do may suffice. “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” (Ro 13:1) Are we to believe that a God who sets up nations on earth could not set up His own nation? “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” (Rev 19:6) This verse, taken from a favorite chapter of replacement theologists calls God “omnipotent.” Is He? I believe He is. Somehow it seems those who accept this form of premillennialism do not. “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;” (Tit 1:2) Paul says God can not lie about His plans. So were his promises of establishing a kingdom a lie? I think not!

I believe God was truthful in what He said through the prophets. I believe He had power to do what He said, and has done so. I believe Paul when he says the kingdom was not delayed, but that he was already in it. “Who hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” (Col 1:13) Whom else should I believe?