Welcome to Part Eight of our critique of Replacement/Fulfillment Theology as taught by Dr. Gary Burge of Wheaton College. We are examining statements Dr. Burge made in his talk at Christ at the Checkpoint.
Dr. Gary Burge: “When Jesus says in the upper Room, ‘This is My New Covenant,’ does this sweep up all that has gone before and bring it to fulfillment?”
NO! That is ridiculous. There are still so many prophecies to be fulfilled. If all is fulfilled, why return to heaven? Why not stay and usher in the millennial kingdom? In the book of Matthew, Yeshua Himself prophesies of more to come – the destruction of Jerusalem and His Second Coming. They may say, yes, but that is in the New Testament. I would say:
- No, it was before his words in the Upper Room, before His death and resurrection. So it is just as a prophecy from Jeremiah or Ezekiel.
- What Yeshua said is only expounding on Daniel and Zechariah. He is revealing more, but His basis is the Old Covenant prophets.
- I would argue the same about Paul’s post-resurrection prophecies, especially II Thess. 2 (regarding the antichrist and the Temple). He is simply expounding on Daniel 9. You cannot separate the New Covenant prophecies from the Old Covenant ones.
Dr. Gary Burge speaks of the fact that in the New Covenant the Abrahamic Covenant becomes what it was intended for—a vehicle of redemption for the whole world.
Amen! In the sense that God said to Abraham, “and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you,” (Gen. 12:3) and “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations,” (Gen. 17:4) and “through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed.” (Gen. 22:18) Yes, that is the greatest fulfillment of the covenant – that it would lead to the salvation of all who would be believe, Jew and Gentile. This is the One New Man.
But it doesn’t mean that once this promise is fulfilled, the other promises in the covenant are canceled. If anything, the fact that through Abraham’s seed came the Messiah, and thus fulfilled the three promises above, should strengthen the claim that all the rest of the promises are also valid—such as the promise of the Land to Israel. Israel in the Land today testifies that the Gospel is for the nations! Hallelujah! If Israel does not to return to the land, as promised, then all of God’s promises are called into question.
Dr. Gary Burge: “Those who attach themselves to Christ are Abraham’s Children.”
Again, amen! But Abraham has two sets of children. One after the flesh and one in the Spirit. The promises to Abraham refer to two groups. His natural descendants (Gen. 12:2, 22:17) and those who would believe from the nations (Gen. 12:3, 17:4, 22:18).
Just as a man may have spiritual sons and natural sons, so does Abraham. And what if some of those natural sons fall away? Are they not still his sons? Does he not still love them as the father of the prodigal son did? In fact, he would hope that his spiritual sons (the Gentile believers) would reach out to his lost natural sons (Rom. 11:11), not claim that they have replaced them (Rom. 11:19).
Dr. Gary Burge: Jesus is the one recipient of the Abrahamic Blessing (Gal. 3:14) and “the Holy Land is now the whole world and is no longer the privilege of an ethnic few. In a word the New Testament is globalizing the blessing of Abraham; earlier it had been tribal and local, now it is global and universal.”
Where in the New Testament does it say that the Holy Land is now the whole world? Burge continues to err because of one problem. He cannot see God’s grace to ethnic Israel in the New Testament. Naturally, because he cannot see this, he must come up with concepts not found in the Bible to support his claim.
But there is no hint in the New Covenant that the Land of Israel is now the world—and instead of belonging to the Jews, it belongs to all believers.
What then do we do with Isaiah 2, which speaks of the word going forth from physical Jerusalem to the nations? Does that now mean it goes forth from the world to Mars and Jupiter? Or how do we interpret Zechariah 14 that speaks of all nations coming to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles? Why can’t the Bible just mean what it says?