Jesus told his listeners, “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matt. 21:43). For many people, this verse provides the heart of “replacement theology”—the idea that the Christian Church has replaced the old physical nation of Israel as God’s chosen people and priestly nation (1 Pet. 2:9–10, et al).

Without requiring the use of the label “replacement,” this is essentially what the verse teaches. It does not mean that Jewish people can never again taste of God’s grace, it simply means that the Old Jewish way of God’s witness and work on earth—the Old Testament Temple ritual system—was being abolished. It was being abolished because it was never meant to be permanent, but only a symbol that pointed to the reality of Jesus Christ, the true Temple, the true Emanuel. Those Jews who rejected the true Temple and insisted on clinging to the Old Testament traditions were thereby committing idolatry just as grossly as any pagan ritual. The Kingdom had moved on to its greater fulfillment. Those who refused to embrace the fulfillment found themselves bereft of the true kingdom—it would be taken from them, and given to the disciples of the true and faithful people of God.

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