One of the Most Controversial Passages in the New Testament

Romans 11:25-36 – Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.  

This section is one of the most controversial passages in the entire New Testament. For simplicity’s sake, there are two basic broad theological views of this section, and related sections of the New Testament.

  1. Replacement theology (also called supersessionism), which is a subsection of Covenant Theology, sees the Church as having replaced Israel in all of God’s promises. Abraham began as a Gentile, was saved by grace through faith, and birthed the nation of Israel. Subsequently, whether one is Jewish or Gentile does not matter as all that matters is faith in Jesus Christ. Anyone can trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Today, the Church has replaced Israel as the fulfilment of all promises, prophecies, blessings and all references to a future restoration of the Promised Land are to be spiritually interpreted as the Heavenly Home for all of God’s people.
  2. Dispensational theology teaches that there are two peoples of God and He generally does not work through both equally and simultaneously. In the Old Testament, God worked through the Jewish Israel. Today, God is working through the Gentile Church. One day, God will remove the Gentile Church with the rapture of the saints, and there will be a return of God working on and through Jewish Israel for a massive evangelistic harvest at the end of human history before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Those holding this view look forward to a full restoration of Israel as a nation before the return of Christ.

Have you heard of either of these types of theology before and which one makes the most sense to you?

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