The New Testament Warns Against Replacement Theology
Jun 6, 2016
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The Islamization of Bethlehem can be seen by one of the many mosques now found in the city. Muslims feel compelled to build wherever ancient Jewish and Christian sites are found throughout ancient Israel.
Replacement Theology teaches that God’s covenant with the Jews ended with Christianity. The Church has replaced Israel in God’s plan; the Jews are no longer God’s chosen people, and God does not have specific future plans for the nation of Israel. Instead, the Christian Church is God’s chosen people. And in the New Testament, after Pentecost, the term, “Israel” refers only to the Church.
Covenants given to Israel, and the plans, purposes and promises of God to Israel are now fulfilled exclusively in the Christian Church. It follows that many of the promises that God made to Israel must be spiritualized. When it speaks of Israel being restored to the land, this really means that the Christian Church will be blessed.
The fruits of Replacement Theology (also known as supersessionism – from the word “supersede”) have been the foundation of almost two millennia of Jew-hatred known as anti-Semitism. Its doctrine has enabled fallen man’s evil instincts to enjoy unlimited acts of horror, terror and extreme violence towards the Jewish people.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of episodes rooted in historical Jew-hatred have manifested themselves under the guise of this doctrine – for example, the infamous Spanish inquisition when 200,000 Jews were expelled from Spain by the Catholic Church. Ten’s of thousands were slaughtered, purposely drowned in the sea, or their bodies ripped open after rumors spread that Jews who were fleeing had swallowed their gold and silver items.
Even today, the “blood libel” fiction claims that Jews kill children to drink their blood on Passover. Internet bloggers this Passover accused Jews of killing Palestinian children to mix their blood with their matza.
Replacement Theology played a prominent role in Hitler’s plans to extinguish the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; he comfortably appropriated the Church’s anti-Semitism down through the ages, which rose to new heights through Martin Luther’s demonization of the Jewish people.
IT STARTED 1900 YEARS AGO
The truth is that Replacement Theology was already spreading its tentacles even during the Apostle Paul’s lifetime. Paul strongly refuted this doctrine in Romans chapter 11. Arrogance and false teaching against the Jews was taking root among the new Gentile Christians and Paul warned them against this evil.
Paul made it clear that God has not deserted the Jews, and it was incumbent upon the Gentiles (i.e. the nations) not to boast nor be puffed up against the Jewish people even though most had not accepted Yeshua as their Messiah:
I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not… God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. (Romans 11:1-2)
And if some of the [Jewish] branches were broken off, and you [Gentiles], being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. (vs 17-18)
THROUGH ISRAEL’S FAILURE CAME SALVATION
Secondly, Paul explains that through the failure of the Jewish people, the Gentiles have received salvation through the Sacrificial Lamb of God who died at the hands of the Roman government at the demands of the Pharisaical religious leaders.
An amazing parallel in the Old Testament is seen in the life of Joseph. His brothers hated him, thought to kill him, and then gave him to the Gentiles to be rid of him.
Through that terrible offense, Joseph became the second ruler of the Gentiles (Egyptians) and also saved his own family who, when they recognized Joseph, humbly and in sorrow acknowledged their sin.
Furthermore, Paul revealed that the day is coming when the Jewish people will return to their God, and through the revelation of their Messiah, they will continue to bless the world.
I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! … Now if their transgression is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fulfillment will be! For if their rejection is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? (vs. 11-12,15)
Paul actually warns that a contemptuous attitude towards the Jewish people risks themselves being cut off.
Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. (vs. 20-21)
A PROMISE ONLY GOD COULD MAKE
Then comes Paul’s reinforcement of the promise in the Old Testament that the Jewish people will one day be redeemed. The promise is found in a Psalm that all Israel sang on their way up to Zion for the annual holy feast days.
O Israel, hope in the Lord:
For with the Lord there is mercy,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
And He will redeem Israel
From all his iniquities. (Psalm 130:7-8)
Paul confirmed this promise in Scripture that gives every Messianic Jew in Israel and abroad hope:
And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be uninformed of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
The Deliver [Messiah] will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins. (vs. 23-27)
Paul again recognizes the fact that most of our Jewish people are not yet in a personal relationship with the God of Israel through the Messiah, Yeshua, but insists that God has still elected or chosen the Jewish people because of his promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob:
Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. (vs. 28-29)
SO THE HISTORICAL CHURCH HAS BEEN SPOTLESS?
In my mind, the most ridiculous aspect of the Replacement dogma is the absolute blindness of any person who thinks he or she is without sin, not to mention the believing corporate Church over the last 1900 years. Has it acted righteously and without sin? There is no more pharisaical attitude than this.
Think about this concept – that the Church has replaced Israel because of Israel’s sin and rejection of God. The history of the Church is so incredibly full of sin, violence, and evil, that a person has to be in deep dark blindness to be unaware of the Church’s own historical wretchedness. Sexual abuse by Catholic Church leaders, perfidy of Protestant wars, hatred, greed, and so much more. How much clearer could the Bible be than to let the world know that all – Jews and Gentiles – have sinned and come short of the glory of God!
Of course, there are godly people in the Church, past and present. But if God has forever forsaken His chosen people because of their sins, how could He not forever forsake the Church for all its sins as well?
God has not forsaken Israel. Some 6,400,000 Jews now live in their ancient homeland. And, among our Jewish people, the number of Messianic Jews is growing exponentially!
In parallel, there are countries like China and in South America where the same phenomenal growth with Christian conversions is taking place. Because of God’s mercy, all of us are looking forward to a last-day world awakening both among Jews and the nations!
For as you [Gentiles] were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their [the Jews] disobedience, even so these [Jews] also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you [Gentiles] they [the Jewish people] also may obtain mercy. For God has committed them all [Jews and Gentiles] to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all [Jews and Gentiles]. (vs. 30-32)
The dogma of Replacement Theology has probably brought more sin and evil to the world than any other Christian doctrine.
THE NEWEST BRAND: FULFILLMENT THEOLOGY
And yet, in these last days its heresy has expanded into a newer version of anti- Semitism.
Called Fulfillment Theology, now it’s not the Church that replaces Israel but Yeshua Himself!!! The argument goes like this: Since Yeshua fulfilled in His life all the redemptive work, his promises to the Jews including the Promised Land is null and void.
What a travesty and hodgepodge of God’s word! Yeshua didn’t come to replace Israel. Yeshua came to redeem Israel and all who are grafted into “Israel’s Olive Tree.”
Have all things been fulfilled? Obviously not. Yeshua has not yet returned for His bride as the Bible promises. Peter explained what was yet to happen on earth before the Second Coming of the Messiah when he spoke to the Jewish people who had gathered around him after a lame man was healed by the power of Yeshua’s Name. He told them:
Repent therefore and return that your sins may be wiped away… that He may send Yeshua, the Messiah appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. (Acts 3:19-21)
PALESTINIAN LIBERATION THEOLOGY
Yet, can you believe? Now Palestinians’ Liberation Theology careens even farther from the core truths of the Bible, if that were possible.
This theology denies the words of Yeshua when He said, “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:18)
It denies the words of Yeshua who said, “Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles [i.e. the nations] until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” Luke 24:21
It denies the promise Yeshua made to the unbelieving Jewish leaders when he said,
“For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’” (Matthew 23:39)
It denies the greatest promise to Israel: “All Israel shall be saved.” (Romans 11:26)
There isn’t a single mention of Philistines, Palestinians or Palestine in the New Testament. But Israel is mentioned 78 times. Judea 46 times. Samaria 12 times. Galilee 64 times. Jews and Jewish 173 times. Yeshua’s Jewish genealogy is listed twice, as a son of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob whose name God changed to Israel.
Palestinian Liberation Theology has been born out of hatred and jealousy of the Jewish people, reinforced and buttressed by Islamic theology.
This Palestinian Christian Theology meshes perfectly with Islamic theology concerning the extinction of the Jewish people and the dispossession of their promised land.
Now a growing list of influential ministers and ministries in America and Europe has embraced the lie – names wellknown to you if I listed them. And they are pulling many Evangelicals into their theological web. They are doing great harm in their attempt to destroy the State of Israel. But in the end, according to the Scriptures, the damage will be much greater to themselves.
GOD’S ARAB PEOPLE
I must always add that God loves the Arab people. He sent His Son to die for the sins of all the Arab people in the world. Satan has stolen God’s gift of salvation and replaced it with a religion that stands for murder, hatred and forced conversion.
How utterly tragic to be born into this theological prison, with no possibility to have a personal relation with the God of Israel through Yeshua, King of the Jews. Yet we keep hearing of incidents around the world where Yeshua is appearing to Muslim individuals in dreams and visions, resulting in their turning to the One True God. We must earnestly pray for and love Muslims, and do all we can to bring them the truth.
How would you like to be born a Syrian, a Libyan, a woman in Afghanistan, a boy soldier snatched by Boko Haram? How about being one of the millions of sex-slaves under the charge of Mohammed’s followers?
Disaster will certainly happen to the Palestinian Christians if a Palestinian State is created. According to all polls, Hamas will win the elections in the West Bank if elections are allowed. Ask the born-again Christians in Gaza about their freedom to follow their Lord there. They won’t be able to tell you much – for fear of their lives.
This article originally appeared in Maoz Israel Report, June 2016 and reposted with permission.
Shira has lived in Israel since 1967, where she became an Israeli citizen. She has worked as a director and producer of documentary films. One project, “Dry Bones," a film on the prophetic significance of Israel’s rebirth, is acclaimed around the world and was seen by Golda Meir. In addition, Shira has written for many publications concerning the Messianic Jewish Movement and the Christians’ part in Israel’s spiritual resurrection. She produces the monthly Maoz Israel Report, providing a prophetic, political, and spiritual perspective of current events in Israel.