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Christian Friends of Leket Israel

How to fight the pernicious idea of Replacement Theology

There is a theology that wants to distance us from Jesus, see God as a Promise Breaking God, and blind us to the greatest Miracle God is performing in the world today.

It is the toxic, unbiblical, ideology known as “Replacement Theology”.

Here are it’s claims,

  • God’s words are not meant literally, but allegorically
  • God has broken His everlasting promises to the Jewish people
  • God has cast aside the Jewish people in favor of the Church
  • There is nothing special about the Jewish people or Israel

Let’s look at the harm these beliefs do to us as Christians.

It opens the door to a flood of unbiblical beliefs

Think about the assaults on God’s truth we often hear. How God’s creative power should be denied in favor of Atheistic Darwinism. That the meaning of “Man” and “Woman” in the Bible is up for debate. Or that there are many paths outside God’s Word to Salvation. What do they all have in common? They need us to see God’s truths not as literal but as mere metaphor in order to sneak in these harmful ideologies. They ignore the Golden Rule of Scriptural Interpretation.

“If the literal sense makes sense, seek no other sense – otherwise you get nonsense.”

Replacement Theology is the ultimate example of that. For replacement theology to work, it needs us to see God’s most basic promises were just changeable figures of speech. In denying the central role of the Jewish people in God’s heart it needs us to redefine many of the hundreds of verses filled with God’s love of Israel like these,

“He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.”
Zechariah 2:8 NKJV

“For you are a [a]holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.”
Deuteronomy 7:6 NKJV

Critically, God instructs us the promises are forever,

“Blessed be the Lord your God who delighted in you to set you on the throne of Israel; because the Lord loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness.”
1 Kings 10:9 NKJV

“For the Lord will not reject His people; He will never forsake His inheritance.”
Psalm 94:14 NKJV

From the perspective of Replacement Theology these promises are now meant not for the Jewish people but for the Church. This is a groundless, unscriptural view which requires one to simply ignore what is clearly written in a matter of fact way and twist its meaning into something else. Once we are comfortable with such a counterfactual reading of scripture how much easier does it become to fall under the sway of all the other unbiblical beliefs floating around in our worldly culture?

It wants you to see God as a Promise Breaking God

Is our God a Promise Keeping God? Can we be secure in His promise of salvation? Can we know He will always love us?

Yes!

But if God’s Word is easily changeable then what does that say about God and His promises to us?

Can we be secure that the words of John 3:16 are eternal and unchanging if the words of Genesis 12:3 and countless other verses showing God’s love of Israel can be changed on a whim?

Replacement theology is a rot in a Christian’s walk with God. It causes us to see God’s love for us as conditional and changing. It wants us to feel insecure, and an insecure faith is a fragile one. It is a faith made of sand.

By opposing replacement theology and affirming God’s love of the Jewish people we are protecting the solid foundation of our walk with God. It allows us to see God as He is, a source of safety and stability in a tumultuous time.

Replacement Theology doesn’t want you to know the roots of your faith

We are firmly rooted in God’s covenants with the Jewish people. This rootedness is a strength for Bible believing Christians. Those who endorse replacement theology are blind to these truths. God’s words to the Apostle Paul were quite clear about our strong rootedness in God’s Covenants.

“For if the first fruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, 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.” Romans 11:16-18 NKJV

As we know it doesn’t make any sense for the branch to fight with the roots and yet this is what many Christians have done through the ages. This lack of rootedness has a negative impact on our walk with God. Do you want to know Jesus as well as you can? Of course. But there are many details of Jesus’ life hidden by replacement theology. For example, when the woman with an issue of blood came to Jesus we read in the Bible she “touched the hem of His garment.” But it was not some random bit of clothing she touched. Jesus was clothed in the “fringe” God commanded Jewish men to wear,

“You shall make tassels on the four corners of the clothing with which you cover yourself.”
Deuteronomy 22:12 NKJV

The garment was a “Tallit”, its edges were “Kanaph”, meaning “Wings” and it showed God’s covering protection of the Jewish people. It was also a symbol of a Jewish man’s authority, he would receive it at his Bar Mitzvah upon becoming a man.

“Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings”.
Psalm 17:8

In reaching out to Jesus’ garment she was showing her faith not just in Jesus, but in the abiding covenant God had made with the Jewish people. Perhaps she remembered the words of the prophet Malachi,

“But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings”
Malachi 4:2 NKJV

It also showed that Jesus lived as a Jew, and almost every second of His life was lived in accordance with the Torah. He was – and is! – the living Torah. This is just one of many, many details of Jesus’ life that make much more sense to us when we understand the Jewish traditions of the first century. This understanding can draw us closer to our Jewish roots and the Jewish people.

It makes us an arrogant branch fighting the root

God commands us to be a support to the Jewish people but replacement theology encourages the opposite.

It encourages us to become arrogant. In Romans 11 Paul warns the Gentile Christians – three times – against this arrogance.

“Do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.”

Romans 11:18 NKJV

“…Do not be haughty, but fear.”

Romans 11:20 NKJV

“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant 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.”

Romans 11:25 NKJV

Sadly many have failed to heed God’s warning. We see for many centuries Replacement Theology has led Christians to have this unbiblical arrogance, in defiance of God’s Word.

Church father John Chrysostom for example said their prayers are as “the braying of donkeys” and that the Jews are “fit only to slaughter.” Other Church Fathers, from Saint Jerome to Augustine had a similar arrogance and hate of the Jewish people.

Centuries later Martin Luther took replacement theology to its natural conclusion when he demanded cruel persecution. He wrote the following in his hateful screed “On the Jews and Their Lies”,

  • “First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools … This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians …”
  • “Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed.”
  • “Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.”
  • “Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb …”
  • “Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside …”

It blinds you from seeing the most dramatic miracle God is performing in the World today

Just for a moment think about all the negativity and uncertainty you see in the news. Will gas prices go up? Will the economy continue to falter? Will the border crisis ever be resolved?

I’m sure those questions give you anxiety. It seems like no one is at the helm, that things might only get worse with time.

But then I hear a word in the news, “Israel.” That one word can change everything.

When I hear it I am reminded of the redemption God gave the Jewish people. That yes there was suffering in the Holocaust, that things can get bad, but even there God’s hand is present. His love and promises delivered the Jewish people against all odds to the Promised land.

It’s like God’s promises to us isn’t it?

Replacement theology tries to blind you from this relief, but with a Bible based world view hearing news from Israel, even troubling news, can be a source of security and hope. Just as Israel is a source of safety and hope for Jews, God allows it to be one for us as well.

It isn’t the covenants God made in the past which make me feel secure, it is the power of God I see in the world today, in Israel.

Go forward knowing Israel gives us so much to Christians

Israel isn’t just the only democracy in the Middle East. It is not just the only place Christians can live safely.

It is the Apple of God’s Eye. It is proof of His eternal love of the Jews and us as Christians.

I encourage you to help other Christians learn that, and effectively fight the influence of Replacement Theology where and when you encounter it.

 

Ray MacDonald

Director of Christian Connections

Leket Israel: the National Food Bank

4 thoughts on “How to fight the pernicious idea of Replacement Theology”

  1. Will not enter a church which teaches replacement theology. Romans 11. From the history of Christianity they have been persecuted. It will soon be illegal to go to church. The ones left open will be government backed. You will only be able to preach on certain subjects. The church will reach full circle , meeting in each others homes or in the fields etc.

  2. I had not heard of replacement theology, how sad it is. Thank you for that, will add those souls to my prayers.
    I do however have issues with you re; Saints Gerome and Augustine, and John Chrysostom, powerful Catholic saints and doctors of the Church. Pope Frances, however is another matter, he is a problem for us with his changes made.
    Thank you for your article, God bless and keep you.

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