Posts Tagged ‘replacement theology’

Most of the people I know subscribe to the theory that the Nation of Israel blew it’s chance at the brass ring with the crucifixion of Christ and therefore were cast aside as ‘the Children of God’. I grew up with this belief that we are the new Israel, we are the new children of God. I was taught there probably will be some Jews that accept Christ as the Messiah and will be saved but Israel, collectively as a nation, screwed up big time. I also was taught that Revelation is to be taken allegorically, because of the first verse of Revelation 1: THE Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, (NKJV) The religion of my youth believes that the word signified (using signs) in that first verse means that Revelation is a book of signs and therefore to be taken wholly allegorically. In addition, I was taught that Revelation was basically significant only to the 1st century Christians because it was about the destruction of Jerusalem that took place in 70 AD by the Roman Army under the leadership of Titus 1.

This puts what I was taught into the category of replacement theology even though I had never heard of that term until recently. Apparently, the idea of replacement theology was first espoused by second century church leaders such as Justin Martyr even though the writings of his predecessors inform us that they didn’t subscribe to the theory of replacement theology. By the fourth century, the writings of church leaders such as Augustine (Catholics refer to him as Saint Augustine) imply an increasingly anti-Semitic viewpoint and embraced replacement theology and that viewpoint continued not only with the Catholic church, but also with the reformation movement, so today most of the protestant religions hold this view.2 According to replacement theology, this means that all the blessings and promises God made to Israel throughout the Old Testament and any mention of them in the New Testament are allegorized. To substantiate the theory I was taught as a child that we are the new Israel, verses such as the one below in Galatians are used to offer proof. Galatians 3:28-29 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (NKJV) They say this means any reference to the heirs of Abraham and Israel now means Christians. So, does this verse prove that replacement theology is in fact correct?

As I was growing up I was taught by my mother to read the bible daily and I was taught the book of Revelation has no bearing in our lives because it only applied to the New Testament Church and the hardships they encountered during and after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Why have it in the scriptures at all, then, I used to wonder? I was also taught that the Old Testament was a ‘good old history’ of a people that blew their chance at the brass ring. Using that philosophy as a benchmark of interpretation of the bible, a lot of pieces just didn’t fit and coalesce with me as I read the scriptures. I also realize using replacement theology forces you to not only allegorize Revelation, but much of the rest of the New Testament as well. Also, because that viewpoint creates disorder in the pattern and orderly nature of the progression of the scriptural nature of our existence as outlined by God (as I now see as I look back), it was explained to me at that time that much of the bible has to taken on faith if it doesn’t make sense to the reader. I therefore equated the religious teachings of my youth to pounding square pegs into round holes to try and make them fit, and when they didn’t fit…”oh well, that’s one you take on faith”. That didn’t really fly with me and the more I asked questions, the screwier the explanations got from the bible school teachers and church leaders to the point I was politely asked to stop asking these questions (you, know, just take it on faith).

It is my opinion, if you really believe in Replacement Theology, you need to tear Romans chapter 11 out of the bible. No, that’s being too generous…you need to tear the rest of the book of Romans out of the bible along with Hebrews and also the reference to Israel’s blindness in Luke 19:42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. (NKJV). An explanation of the passage in Luke by Paul, along with additional gems of information, come from Romans 11:25 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. (NKJV). According to Strongs, the word until in the bible is an interesting word that always means a temporary condition of time, followed by a succeeding  event. That definition, in itself, means that the blindness of Israel is not a permanent condition.

Also, we need to look at the history of the Jews since the destruction of Jerusalem. The fact that there are still Jews existing in the present day to talk about is nothing but miraculous. A quote taken from The Miracle of Jewish History say it very well, Over three hundred years ago King Louis XIV of France asked Blaise Pascal, the great French philosopher of his day, to give him proof of the existence of miracles. Without a moment’s hesitation, Pascal answered, “Why, the Jews, your Majesty, the Jews!”3 If Israel has been condemned by God, and there is no future for the Jewish nation, how do we explain the supernatural survival of the Jewish people over the past 2000 years despite the many attempts to destroy them? How do we explain why and how Israel reappeared as a nation in the 20th century after not existing for 1900 years? Why are they still in existence if their ticket on the train to glory has expired? If you accept the fact that the Jews still survive and are back in the Holy Land is nothing short of miraculous, then how can you accept the theology that Revelation is not about the Jews. I agree it says up front that is a book of signs. It is also a book of specific time periods, specific events and specific locations. If we start allegorizing complete books because they contain signs and symbols, that changes the whole complexity of the books of the prophets in the Old Testament.

Luke 19 tells us God placed blindness up the Israel as a nation because of their lack of attention to prophecy that had been laid out of them four centuries earlier by Gabriel in Daniel 9 when he gave Daniel the exact day the Messiah was to present himself as King in Jerusalem. As I read the history of Israel, I read about how God set them up as his people, performed miracle after miracle in their behalf, and how they continued to turn their backs on him. With Gabriel’s revelation to Daniel, God did everything short of screaming in their ears about preparing for the day of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Some of the Jews were prepared for the day and welcomed him with celebration, but Satan, of course, was hard at work behind the curtain with the Jewish leadership trying to work his wiles to thwart God’s plan and the Jewish religious establishment corporately ignored the prophecy given by Daniel five centuries earlier, thus cascading the nation of Israel down the path it is currently on. I think of the passage in Romans 11 you read earlier where it talks about God casting away his people and explaining that he has blinded them until the fullness of the Gentiles in verse 25. The prophet Hosea gives reference to how they will turn back to the Lord when he says that they will seek his face when they acknowledge their offense in this end-time prophecy, in fact the whole book of Hosea is about this subject. Hosea 5:15 I will return again to My place Till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.” (NKJV)

I have a personal comparison, (in my mind at least). We have a few simple rules in our house based on morality and respect. Our oldest daughter in her late teens decided she didn’t have to follow our rules. First we talked to her a few times, then the serious punishments started, we took away some liberties, took away her car, and finally we kicked her out, or ‘cast her off’. We didn’t stop loving her and we kept an eye on her from afar to make sure we could be close in case of a catastrophic event. We had friends keeping their eyes on her also just to make sure she remained OK. She eventually got off the drugs, saw the light and asked her mom if she could come back home. Her mom said she could if she was ready to follow the rules. Our daughter acquiesced and asked for forgiveness, demonstrated her sorrow and came home a changed person. So she, in her own way, ‘sought our face and asked our forgiveness’ and we welcomed her back. My wife and I are extremely fallible people with probably more faults than good areas and patience is not one of our points of shining glory, but when it comes to our children, we find the patience. Our Lord’s patience is incredibly infinite as demonstrated by the history of Israel and humanity in general…it would have to be, for him to still accept someone like me after my history of turning my back on Him and his Son and His followers before I asked for salvation a few years ago.

I personally feel that one major reason the US hasn’t been judged by God yet, is our alliance and protection of the Nation of Israel as God decreed in Genesis 12:3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”(NKJV) In this time period of Israel’s blindness I kind of see the USA as a sort of thug, hired to help protect his recalcitrant children from the evils of the world “until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in”. As long as we act as the friends and protectors of the miraculous State of Israel, I believe we will be spared judgment. I pray regularly to God, thanking him for giving me the grace I don’t deserve and the mercy He imparts for not giving me what I do deserve. I also pray he do the same for my country.

So what about replacement theology? I think if you accept the Bible as a holy, integrated message system from Our Lord that flows and weaves a history of his grace, redemption and salvation for his children, real and adopted, then Replacement Theology doesn’t hold up. If it’s not an integrated message system, then the veracity of the scriptures start to fall apart. With the same token, if you allow the text to speak to you as Christ and the apostles did (and in my opinion, they are fairly reliable examples), and if you accept the scriptures as the integrated message of Our Lord, then you need to believe that the bible “says what it means and means what it says” and that the blindness of Israel until the ‘fullness of the Gentiles come in’ means exactly that; a specific length of punishment for the first children of Yahweh that will end when Christ comes for the Church, and body of Christ is taken up.

God Bless, Jim

Revised 02-2-20

1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem_%2870%29

2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supersessionism

3 excerpt from “History News Network” by Benjamin Blech http://hnn.us/articles/38887.html