Should the Abrahamic Covenant be interpreted literally or spiritually?

Those Christians who hold that the Land of Canaan is the everlasting possession of the Jewish people are sometimes denigrated for interpreting the scripture "literally." The truth is that Christian Zionists are not literalists or spiritualists (the allegorical method of interpretation); they are contextualists. Scripture should be interpreted based on the nature of the context. If the context is literal, then the verses in the context should be interpreted literally. If it is spiritual or figurative, then it should be interpreted accordingly. For instance, when Jesus said, "I am the door," the context is clearly figurative and needs to be interpreted as such.

  • Literal interpretation of the Abrahamic Covenant accords with some 46 scriptures. Each of these passages confirm God's promise of the Land of Canaan to Abraham's descendants. The promise of land was repeated to Isaac and then to Jacob (Gen. 50:24); the Sinaitic Covenant (Mosaic Covenant) required obedience in order to dwell in the land (Deuteronomy 28:1-2,13,38-58); the Hebrew prophets foretold of exile from the land (Jeremiah 5:19); and they promised a return to the land in fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham (Jeremiah 16:14-16)
  • Replacement Theology spiritualizes or reconstructs the Abrahamic Covenant, invalidating the promises made to the Jews and appropriating them for the church. This theology, which denigrates the Jewish people as cursed and rejected by God, has been the root of Christian anti-Semitism and persecution of the Jewish people for centuries.
  • Fulfillment Theology is a term often used today by theologians to avoid the expression "replacement theology." Other titles that have been used include "enlargement," "expansion," and/or "transference" theology. All of these theologies hold the same basic premise as "replacement" theology: that the church is the new or true Israel.