Throughout the history of the Christian church, there have been many harmful doctrines introduced into the church. One such harmful doctrine is known as Replacement Theology. It states that believers in Jesus Christ have replaced any physical nation of Israel and its Jews as recipients of all promises and covenants given to ancient Israel. Because Israel rejected God, his son Jesus Christ, and embraced apostasy, all blessings previously meant for Israel have now fallen to the Christian church. Those who cling to this belief also think that God’s kingdom has nothing at all to do with physical things like land and that all prophecies concerning Israel are purely symbolic, speaking only of spiritual things. So wherever Israel is mentioned in the Bible, especially the Old Testament, all one has to do to get the real meaning of the scripture is to substitute the word “Israel” with the word “church.”
Replacement Theology is believed to have been introduced into Christendom by Augustine in the 5th century and spread through Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox churches because they all placed Augustine on a pedestal. It is because of this doctrine that some churchgoers are anti-Jewish, anti-Israel, and anti-Biblical (although they would probably never admit out loud in certain company that they don’t agree with the Bible). In our postmodern world, those who cling to Replacement Theology in churches shore up their beliefs with the following arguments:
1. The nation of Israel is not a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy based on their understanding of Romans 2:23-29 where Paul states a true Jew is one who worships God in his heart as opposed to one who is focused on outward appearances. Since Israel is a secular state, in their opinion, it has not fulfilled prophecy.
2. The 1947 partition of the land by the UN was illegal: The acquisition of the land violated Hague Regulations and the UN Charter by acquiring territory by force.
3. The State Of Israel has created chaos from the moment it was birthed and has promoted everything from terrorism to Communism to America’s debt.
4. Old Testament laws about distributing land to Israel no longer apply based on Hebrews 7:11-12.
5. There is no longer a division between Jews and Gentiles based on Ephesians 2:11-15.
6. Jesus did not come to establish an earthly kingdom based on John 18:36.
7. Christ was focused on the heavenly, not the earthly based on Hebrews 12:22-29.
For point #1, the current nation of Israel is, in fact a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. Yes, the majority of Israel is secular, but there are an impressive number of Jews in Israel who believe in Jesus Christ and therefore are true Jews according to the definition of what a true Jew is in Romans 2. Just because they are outnumbered by false Jews doesn’t give anyone the right to wipe them out. Even Jesus spoke in his parable about the wheat and the tares that the tares should not be pulled out until the harvest, which refers to when Christ will sit on his throne to judge all men at the end of days. God said in Isaiah 10:20-22 and Zephaniah 3:12-20 that there would always be a remnant of true believers in the midst of the physical nation of Israel.
In Amos 9, the Lord calls Israel the sinful kingdom and talks about punishing them, but after their punishment comes the blessing that “[b]ehold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.” Amos 9:13-15
This is literal land spoken of in this prophecy and God promises that once Israel is in it, they would not only prosper, but they would REMAIN in it. He also confirmed this through Ezekiel in Ezekiel 36:5-15 when God was upset by the idea of the Gentiles to distribute his land that he promised to Israel as if they owned it. God then went on to promise that Israel would no longer be bereaved of having their own people dwelling in their land and he would cause them to prosper in their land. Thus far, he has fulfilled his prophecies through Israel. They have been fruitful in their land and the whole world has benefited from many of their inventions and products such as voice mail, the first computer anti-virus technology, and the cell phone. God can use anyone he chooses to fulfill his prophecies and in 1947-48 he used the UN. He does not care about UN directives and regulations. He does what pleases him, since he is sovereign, and is not going to allow laws set up by men to stop his plans.
Regarding point #3, Israel is by no means a perfect nation and the majority of Jews in Israel are sinful. Some Jews are guilty of committing great evil. But this is hardly a premise for doing away with the nation. The United States is the poster child for the production of pornography, the illegal drug trade, killing unborn babies, and international corporate greed but we argue and fight against those who want to destroy us. Both Russia and China have been responsible for the violation of human rights and have done more than any other nations to spread Communism, but no one is calling for their annihilation. Many Islamic nations violate women’s rights and commit various atrocities, but we’re not trying to wipe them off the face of the Earth. So why is it that Israel should be treated any differently?
Point #4 is taking Hebrews 7 out of context. Hebrews is making the point that the Mosaic law has no bearing on a man’s relationship with God. There is no longer the need for the law or a Levitical priesthood since God’s grace by faith in Jesus Christ replaces it. It has no application to the fact that God said Israel would be established as a nation in the earth.
With regard to point #5, there is no distinction in God’s spiritual kingdom between Jews and Gentiles when they become believers in Christ, but this does not apply to how God sets up nations in the earth. We still have Chinese Christians in China, Korean Christians in North and South Korea, Latino Christians in the nations of Central and South America, and Nigerian Christians in Nigeria, so what’s up with the argument against having Israeli Christians living in a state of Israel? It’s pure nonsense!
Points #6 and #7 just highlight the fact that Jesus was not trying to establish a nation on earth where his followers would segregate themselves from the rest of the world. We are truly citizens of a spiritual kingdom, but we are allowed to live anywhere God allows us to live on Earth. Just because Jesus did not come to reign as a physical king of the present earthly nation of Israel does not mean that Israel has no right to exist. Israel exists because God promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that their physical descendants would dwell in the land forever.
So since it is clear that Replacement Theologists have not rightfully divided the word of truth, it becomes quite easy to expose the true intentions behind their arguments. One such intention is that they are simply looking for any justification for their hatred of the Jews and are happy to twist God’s word to encourage themselves in their hatred. Another intention is that they covet Israel’s land. Religious organizations clinging to Replacement Theology think they have a right to the lands where Jesus walked because they think of themselves as being Jesus’ true successors. They see the Israelis as standing in the way of owning land that belongs to them, so they come up with all types of arguments to make the Jews look as evil as possible. But God makes it clear in his word that he intended those lands for the physical Israel (i.e. Jews) and it’s only when Christ returns with his saints that he will establish the land as the possession of all of his followers even if in the meantime the Antichrist will eventually broker a deal for all interested parties to share Jerusalem.
By their actions, they show themselves to be hypocrites. They, on the one hand, claim that God’s kingdom is purely spiritual and has nothing to do with land ownership or physical places while, on the other hand, they seek to possess physical land to use that physical land to promote themselves as being valid. So really they aren’t only concerned about spiritual things as they claim. Replacement Theologists are unknowingly adding to the worldwide hatred of Israel which will lead to the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, such as Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38-39, and Revelation where it talks about all of the nations of the Earth rising up together in an attempt to annihilate Israel.
If Replacement Theology were really a godly doctrine, it wouldn’t ignore what was said about Israel as a nation by the apostle Paul in Romans 11–
I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. …Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. …
And if some of the branches [Israel] be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches [Israel]. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches [Israel] were broken off, that I might be grafted in.
Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. …
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. …
As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes.
–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–