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Replacement theology

 

I have heard differing commentaries on this subject. The main concept is that what is commonly referred to as the "church" will replace the Jewish people and Israel as God's chosen people and thereby inheritors of the land and other promises made to Abraham and his descendants. Some make very strong arguments, referencing different Biblical passages. The problem is not so much of their theology on its face, but several underlying points which cannot be reconciled with Scriptures. I will attempt to go over a variety of these points.

First, some basics; God made a promise to Abraham that all the land from the Nile to the river Euphrates will belong to him and his descendants. This is eventually continued down through Jacob (renamed by God "Israel"), then through Moses, David et al. In the end the Son of God, the Messiah will rule as its divine King. The basic argument for replacement theology is that due to their disobedience the Israelites, ergo the Jews, have been disinherited, "divorced" by God as His "wife" or "bride". A place which Biblically the Israelites held, and still holds.

At the time of Jesus' first coming, it is true the nation of Israel did not accept Him as their Messiah. However, it is stated in the book of John, of how God has blinded His people.

 

He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” (John12:40) 

 

John was not making up this commentary, he was directly quoting an even more ancient Hebrew book, that of Isaiah

 

They do not know nor understand; For He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, And their hearts, so that they cannot understand. (Isaiah 44:18)

The Bible clearly shows and confirms God has deliberately blinded His people from belief and understanding. For the preacher to claim that as a result of the lack of belief, God deliberately disinherits His people, would make God not a loving father figure but very mean, vengeful, cynical and malicious entity. Not much different from the pantheon of gods of the pagan world. Is that the way of God?

 

The very premise the preacher was making was blatantly misguided and false on its Biblical foundations. One really must think these through to their logical conclusions and not simply rely on their own prejudice to interpret the Bible, (and anything else for that matter). In this case, it is an anti-Semitism mindset and prejudice.

Consider Romans

For I do not want you, brothers and sisters, to be ignorant of this mystery—lest you be wise in your own eyes—that a partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer shall come out of Zion. He shall turn away godliness from Jacob. 27 And this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” (Romans 11:25-26 TLV))

 

Always look to the Bible to interpret itself. It clearly states the reason God blinded them in part, was for the purpose of bringing the Gentiles into the Covenants He had made with His people. This was so all people could be "one" people in Him. God did not blind His people so He could have a reason to "kick them aside" but to allow for those who were not of the bloodline to become a part of the Covenants He had lovingly made with His people. This way ALL who believed would be His people. This is the Biblical concept and teaching of "one new man" and of "Grafted in".

Part 2

Another aspect of replacement theology stems from the same underlying idea, the Jews / Israelites had abrogated the original covenants with God. As result they became disinherited and God had to replace them with the "Gentile Church" through Jesus. The problem with this is God would then have fallen into one or both of two situations.

 

1) God made a mistake in choosing the Jews in the first place, as they were unable to keep their end of the agreements. Does God make mistakes? If yes, then this argument has merit, if no, then this concept is ridiculous on its face.

 

God did not replace His people for breaching their part of the Covenants. The Jews were not "Plan A" and if that didn't work, the Gentiles were "Plan B". God was not a failure or planning on failure by having a backup plan. As Einstein stated "God does not play dice", in that God does not rely on chance and hope for the best.

 

Now some may argue it was their free will. Yes, to a point this is true, however, if it was their free will and God had to resort to a plan-B, this would mean God did not know this ahead of time. The Son of God did not come merely to rule the earth, but to resolve a heavenly battle as well. There is a bigger picture happening than what we see happening here on earth. Within the context of their exercise of free will, it is written as shown that God actually caused them (the Jews / Israelites) to be  partially blind and deaf  but only for a time, until the fullness of the Gentile (believers) are brought in.

2) The second situation, in addition to the first makes God a blatant liar.

“Behold, days are coming” —it is a declaration of Adonai— “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 31 not like the covenant I made with their fathers
in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they broke My covenant,
though I was a husband to them.” it is a declaration of Adonai. 32 “But this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days” —it is a declaration of Adonai— “I will put My Torah within them. Yes, I will write it on their heart. I will be their God and they will be My people. 33 No longer will each teach his neighbor or each his brother, saying: ‘Know Adonai,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest.” it is a declaration of Adonai. “For I will forgive their iniquity, their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-33 TLV)

 

Note, no where does it say God would replace His people because of their sins. Quite the contrary, God will forgive all their sins and make a new covenant with His people Israel. God never says He will replace His people with the "Gentiles" (the Bible uses the term "goyim" trans. "nations" referencing all who were not of the nation of Israel).

Again, contrary to Replacement Theology, the Scriptures states repeatedly God is bringing the Gentiles into His covenants with His people, Israel. That chapter continues as God reinforces this point.

 

Thus says Adonai, who gives the sun as a light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars as a light by night, who stirs up the sea so its waves roar, Adonai-Tzva’ot is His Name: 35 “Only if this fixed order departs from before Me” — it is a declaration of Adonai — “then also might Israel’s offspring cease from being a nation before Me—for all time.” 36 Thus says Adonai: “Only if heaven above can be measured and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, then also I will cast off the offspring of Israel —for all they have done.” It is a declaration of Adonai. (Jeremiah 31:34-36 TLV)

 

The Lord clearly states there is no chance of His, EVER casting off the seed of Israel (the Jews) as a people or as a nation for "all that they have done". It does not say He will save a remnant to be with the Gentiles in the future. He promises He will forgive them and they will never depart fromHim.

In the book of Jeremiah 16:19, God consoles His people with the following:

Adonai, my strength, my stronghold, my refuge in the day of affliction, to You will the nations come  from the ends of the earth and say: “Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies, futility and useless things.” 20 Will man make gods for himself? Yet they are not gods. 21 “So I will surely make them know—this time I make them know My hand and My might—they will know that My Name is Adonai.” (Jeremiah 16:19-21 TLV)

 

The Gentiles don't come "teaching" the Jews about their Messiah, but just the opposite, theycome asking to be taught about the Jewish Messiah, "Jesus / Yeshua". The Gentiles come seeking knowledge, wisdom, understanding about the one commonly called "Christ"; which in Hebrew is "Moshiach" / "Messiah" (meaning "anointed").  He IS God's Anointed, the Son of God, the "Word (of God)" made flesh. He was, is and always will be the Jewish Messiah. To be honest, if it wasn't for the Jews and the Tanak (Old Testament), Jesus would be nothing more than a raving mad man from the middle east. It's from the Old Testament Jesus is identified as the Messiah or "Christ". Jesus confirms this with His statement in the book of John 5:36

 

 “But the testimony I have is greater than that from John. The works the Father has given Me to finish—the very works I am doing—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me. 37 And the Father who sent Me has testified concerning Me. You have never heard His voice nor seen His form. 38 Nor do you have His Word living in you, because you do not trust the One He sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you suppose that in them you have eternal life. It is these that testify about Me. (John 5:36-39 TLV)

 

Jesus clearly states the Scriptures are not about eternal life but about Him, through whom we achieve eternal life.

All of the teachings of the Old Testament, the "tanakh" (an acronym for "Torah", Neviim, Ketuvim", TNK, Tanakh), speak of Jesus Messiah in some form. Jesus regularly quoted them even while dying on the cross.

 

Psalm 22 is an easy example: "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

 

One should read the entire psalm. Another striking example is Isaiah 53, the entire chapter is so Messianic and descriptive of Jesus / Yeshua, it is banned in some synagogues, removed from some Jewish copies of the Bible, (note: not all, just in some locations). The reason, it speaks too clearly of Yeshua as the prophetic suffering Messiah.

 

At no time does God ever replace His people. He does threaten Moses with the possibility but Moses, as an early type for the Messiah, pleads on behalf of Israel to spare His people, so God would not be seen as a malicious and spiteful deity. Moses even goes so far as to offer himself in place of the Israelites. This is the pattern for the future Messiah.

Then Moses returned to Adonai and said, “Alas, these people have sinned greatly, and made gods of gold! 32 Yet now, please forgive their sin. But if not, please blot me out of Your book that You have written.” (Exodus 32:31-32 TLV)

 

In the Torah, God through Moses, says He will one day raise up another prophet "like Moses".

“Adonai your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your midst—from your brothers. To him you must listen. 16 This is just what you asked of Adonai your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly when saying, ‘I cannot continue to hear the voice of Adonai my God or see this great fire any more, or I will die.’ (Deut. 18:15-16 TLV)

 

This happens in the person of Jesus / Yeshua who, as with Moses actually gives His life for His people.

Consider the words of Simeon from the book of Luke 2:25

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and pious, waiting for the consolation of Israel.  The Ruach ha-Kodesh was on him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Ruach ha-Kodesh that he would not die before he had seen the Anointed One of Adonai. 27 So in the Ruach, Simeon came into the Temple; and when the parents brought the Child Yeshua to do for Him according to the custom of the Torah, 28 Simeon received Him into his arms and offered a bracha to God, saying, 29 “Now may You let Your servant go in peace, O Sovereign Master, according to Your word. 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation, 31 which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples: 32 ‘A light for revelation to the nations’ and the glory of Your people Israel.” (Luke 2:25-32 TLV)


It can be seen, very clearly, the teachings of replacement theology, which began early on with
the Gentile "church", is at great odds with the totality of Scripture and flies in the face of Scriptures.
Gentiles do not replace Israel at anytime, but become "grafted in" as Paul teaches. Through this
process we all become "one new man" as the Bible teaches is God's desire to have when He comes to
dwell with us as Emmanuel, "God with us".


To be continued.....

Part 1

In the book of Romans, primarily Chapter 11, Rav Sha'ul (Paul who was a Jewish Rabbi "Rav" trained by the famous Rabbi Gamaliel), explains in great detail how the Gentile believers were not to feel special or that they had somehow replaced Israel. That they were in essence "grafted into" the Covenants God had made with the Hebrew Patriarchs i.e. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon et al. The Gentile believers (of which this author is one) then become a party to the inheritance promise to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David. The Book of Romans is really quite explicit and detailed in this "grafted in" analogy. Part of the letter was in response to the return of the Jewish believers back to Rome after they had been thrown out. 

 

However, a Biblical preacher from a well known Christian denomination proposed the idea that God attempted to disinherit the Jewish people at large.  He stated that only a small "remnant" would be left to then become "Christians" by believing in Jesus Christ. The main problem with that is, the belief in Jesus as the Christ is not a Gentile belief. It was started by the belief in the Jewish Messiah (Jesus / Yeshua).  This was written about and taught by Jewish Disciples (Talmidim) and spread to the Gentile world.  It wasn't until the Roman Church under Constantine that the Jewish underpinnings were deliberately removed and it began to morph into a strictly Gentile belief structure. 

 

The spreading of the faith by a Jewish Rabbi, Rav Sha'ul who was also called "Paul". The faith of which I am one, "Christianity" was, has and always will be a Jewish concept, teaching and belief system. Even the "church" world is modeled after the ancient synagogue system. Jesus, who was known then by the Hebrew version of His name "Yeshua" (meaning God's Salvation), was and still is Jewish. Judaism today is what developed from Pharasaic Judaism and teachings. It is commonly and loosely referred to as "Rabbinic" Judaism.