Avoiding the Error of
By William Handschumacher
Rock of Offence Special Commentary
"I think we do not attach sufficient importance to the restoration of the Jews. We do not think enough of it. But certainly, if there is anything promised in the Bible it is this. I imagine that you cannot read the Bible without seeing clearly that there is to be an actual restoration of the Children of Israel ...May that happy day soon come!" (Emphasis Added)
-- Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) --
Charles H. Spurgeon was a popular Baptist preacher in England. His message of Christ's salvation crossed denominational lines and appealed to many in the Christian Church of the day. He preached at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London during the 1800's and influenced more than 10 million souls during his lifetime. He was commonly referred to as "The Prince of Preachers". Spurgeon's popularity did not stay in England, but migrated across the Atlantic to America. Due to the strong popularity of Reformed Theology during his day (especially in England), we offer this warning: We do not necessarily agree with all doctrine and commentary of Charles Spurgeon, whose teachings may have this theological "leaning". Yet, it is clear that he not only possessed a living faith in Christ, but also brought millions into His salvation. It is also evident that Spurgeon had a correct understanding of the importance of Israel in Bible prophecy. Interpreting the Bible with the understanding that it contains two separate and different spiritual programs involving both Israel and the Church is noteworthy. This doctrinal view is generally rejected in most modern-day "Reformed" teaching under the banner of "Replacement Theology". However, it is clear from the above quotation that Spurgeon didn't have this mindset.
On May 14th, 1948 - Spurgeon's dream (56 years after his death) and a major fulfillment of Biblical prophecy was realized when the nation of Israel was miraculously restored to the world scene. Some Theologians believe that the odds of the restoration of Israel actually occuring after the diaspora (the scattering of the Jewish people throughout the earth) of 70 A.D. - were ten million (or more) to one. Yet, God promised that it would happen contrary to a lot of popular teaching in the world-wide Christian Church. The New Testament alerts us that the reappearance of the nation of Israel is a major sign that the Second Coming of Christ is near. It is for this reason that we offer the following important and necessary commentary.
This article is an attempt to correct some common misconceptions in the church today concerning the controversial and divisive topic of Israel and the Church. Our goal is to limit our comments and cover only the important points that each and every modern-day Christian believer (and those seeking to learn more about God’s salvation) should know and understand. We are not presenting a new teaching. We are only repeating and amplifying the Scriptural position of the first century apostolic leadership of the Church, with special emphasis on the epistles of Saint Paul. When the institutional church goes astray from the truth of the Bible, as they have today, only a deep and painful repentance and realignment with Scripture can solve the problems. However, many denominations and churches may not be willing to pay the price to obtain these necessary changes that God requires.
In the studies and commentaries presented by this ministry, an effort is made to avoid criticizing various religious groups whenever possible. Instead, we focus on wrong teaching and common misconceptions that lead God’s people astray in their faith. However, in this commentary we examine a very toxic form of theology that was institutionalized by the early Roman Catholic Church nearly 1700 years ago (around the fourth century) and reaffirmed during the Council of Trent in 1563. The world was very different during this time. We didn’t have Christian churches of different denominations on every street corner the way we do now - and America didn’t exist.
In the fourth century, the Catholic Church began to dominate the religious world. Christianity was still in its early stages and vulnerable to various doctrines and influences that seemed to originate with God, but was actually created and designed by professionally trained men. If you were a church leader presenting religious doctrine that appealed to the people - along with sufficient political power and educational credentials - you could design a theology and forcibly inject it directly into the Church’s foundational beliefs. If your teaching was respected and repeated enough times, it would slowly and incrementally become tradition accepted on an equal level with the Holy Scriptures. Over time this man-made tradition using out-of-context Scripture as its defense would become “bedrock Christian doctrine”, or what some today might call “Historic Christianity”. But, just because something is old and historic – is never a guarantee that it comes from God. Jesus warned about this common, yet dangerous practice that deceptively transforms the teachings of man into doctrines of God (Mark 7:6-7).
In this commentary we seek to expose such a theology. It is now entrenched, not only in the foundation of the Catholic Church, but also in most Protestant churches as well (a topic covered later in this study). We discovered that this theology currently dominates more than 80% of Christendom (a very conservative number) - and it is often described using offensive terminology. Yet, we try to only use the same or similar wording spoken by the leading apostles of the first century church. One such leader was the Apostle Paul who wrote nearly half of the New Testament Scriptures. Since the doctrine in question is so widely accepted, our comments will offend many (but thankfully not all) Catholic readers.
Despite our strong disagreements with the core teachings of historic Catholicism, we also recognize that the Catholic Church consists of many authentic brothers and sisters in Christ. We understand that it has experienced some positive transformations since the fourth century, which includes the more recent changes initiated by the “Catholic Charismatic Renewal” (also called "the Charismatic movement") between 1958 and 1985. This movement (some call it a revival) supernaturally spilled over into the Protestant side of the church. I was personally involved in this movement, which radically changed my life - and I am not Catholic. Some Charismatic Catholic evangelists preached a "Biblically correct" Jesus-centered message. Others came to a saving knowledge of Christ through this same movement and had their lives and ministry transformed. Surprisingly, these revolutionary changes reached all the way into the Vatican at Rome. Unfortunately, the influence was not powerful enough to reverse some of the more dangerous and traditional doctrines which has plagued Catholicism since the Council of Trent in 1563 A.D. Regardless of all the good things that have recently occurred, some will still be offended by the content of this Bible study.
A Toxic Man-made Theology
One of the most dangerous influences (as if we need another one) is commonly found in most mainline denominational churches. It should be FIRST on any list of warnings about false doctrines due to its covert and lethal characteristics. Few church-going Christians even know it exists. Yet, it influences most things they hear from the pulpit. It’s commonly referred to as “Replacement Theology” or what is now called “Supersessionism”. In its simplest form, it teaches that God has eternally rejected and turned His back on Israel for crucifying Jesus Christ (their Messiah). As a result of this sin, He (God) has now permanently “replaced” Israel with the Christian Church. Replacement Theology was injected into the foundational doctrine of Christianity by a prominent Roman Catholic theologian named Augustine (between 300 and 400 A.D.). His doctrine of Replacement Theology is now almost universally assumed to be fundamental Bible doctrine within what’s commonly known as, “Historic Christianity”. Even though this influence started in the early days of Roman Catholicism, it is also “foundational” in most mainline Protestant churches. How did this happen? Many of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation came out of the Roman Catholic Church to form this new “Protest Movement” (hence the name “Protestant”) that opposed many of Catholicism's unscriptural teachings.
From around 300 to 1500 A.D., the Catholic Church was the most recognized “Christian Church” in existence. It wasn’t easy to just go somewhere else if you didn’t like their teachings. Yet, God wanted to change this spiritual monopoly because His words and intentions toward the human race were being distorted. After more than 1000 years of dominating the spiritual scene, the Roman Church had utterly corrupted itself (along with the truth of Christ’s Gospel). The apostasy is what inspired and motivated certain individuals who loved the truth to take action. Unfortunately, when they left the teachings of Catholicism, these “protest leaders” brought with them (along with some other unscriptural beliefs) the rabid and toxic doctrine of Replacement Theology (it wasn’t known by this name at the time) that originally came from Augustine’s theology nearly 1100 years or so earlier. As with many revivals and Christian movements down through history, both good and bad things can be found in their foundational teachings and beliefs. Because of the flaws in human nature, these movements are never 100 per cent “all of God” regardless of what anyone says. Yet, we believe that the Protestant Reformation, despite its shortcomings, was something God initiated.
The early Protestant movement began to take root with the heroic efforts of several notable men such as; John Wycliffe (1370 A.D.), William Tyndale (1536 A.D.) and Martin Luther (1540 A.D.). There were many others. Some were violently executed by the Church for their participation in the movement. It is believed that a large part of the original King James translation of the Bible (more than 70%) is credited to the efforts of William Tyndale who produced the first English Bible for the masses. He was executed by courts and judges controlled by the Catholic Church for his crime. Why? The Church had banned all copies of the Scriptures and destroyed any that they found. In order to maintain their hold on power (both political and religious at the time), the Roman Church did not want the public to have personal copies of the Bible, which would allow them to research and verify whether their public teachings and sermons followed the truth of Scripture. Thank God these efforts by the church leadership did not succeed. I shudder to think where we would be today if they succeeded in stopping the efforts of this movement. All these things are well-documented in church history, which is presented here to give some of the background behind the early rise of Replacement Theology.
However, it's not strictly a
"Catholic" theology anymore.
The Protestants now own this
seriously flawed doctrine
The Protestant leadership not only didn’t correct the error, but they proceeded to build whole religious institutions and seminaries established on its foundation - that remain influential today.
Replacement theology meets all the qualifications to be considered a "demonically inspired doctrine". Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not part of the inspired Word of God. It’s a dangerous man-made doctrine ...
That appears to make God say
something that He does not say.
But it’s far more evil and sinister
for the following four reasons.
According to the epistles of Saint Paul, the Bible is divided into two spiritual programs. The first is the Old Covenant program of Israel. The second is the Grace program of Christ’s New Covenant Church. (Read Hebrews 8:6-13 and Galatians 4:21-31) God warns that these two programs involving different sets of covenant laws must never be merged or unified (mixed together);
Which is why Paul warned Timothy to
always “rightly (or correctly)
divide God’s Word” - if he wanted
to preach truth and be
"approved of God"
(2 Timothy 2:15).
Replacement theology not only violates,
but destroys this Divine directive
involving the context and proper
interpretation of Scripture.
It insists that because of Israel’s sin of crucifying their Messiah, God has eternally rejected the Jewish people and replaced them with the Church. They claim - that because of this “Divine rejection”, all the Old Testament covenant laws (specifically the Law of Moses) and promises that originally belonged to Israel - now belong to and are binding upon “The Church”. It is interesting that this theology strips Israel of all Divine benefits and blessings, but allows her to keep the curses. As a result, the directive of “The First Jerusalem Council” in Acts chapter 15, where the leading apostles commanded, through an official letter - that The Mosaic Law was not binding upon the New Covenant Church - is essentially reversed.
In direct violation of the rules
governing Christ's New Covenant
program, Old Testament Law is
reinstated through the demonic
edict of Replacement theology.
This theology also perverts the tenants of Christ's New Testament salvation, which is referred to in the Epistles of Saint Paul as - a Divine gift by Grace (God’s unmerited favor - Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 6:23, Romans 8:4-8 and Titus 3:5-7 ). The perversion occurs by illegally making eternal life subject (once again) to Old Testament Law - where salvation was not God's gift - but was conditional upon the believer's obedience, behavior and merit. Unfortunately, this perverted brand of salvation doctrine dominates the modern-day Christian Church. Yet, despite its popularity the New Testament section of the Bible continues to call it a heresy.
Disguised as fundamental Bible teaching, Replacement Theology forever condemns the Jewish people as “eternally cursed and rejected by God” in direct contradiction to the Scriptures. Yet, it all fits very well in the preaching that comes from many mainline denominational churches today.
But, there is a problem. God did
not say what the supporters of
Replacement theology claim that
A dangerous early version of this doctrine was gaining popularity in the first century. It’s interesting that Paul first recognized this growing problem in the Church at Rome. In an attempt to stop the error, he made the following statement:
"I say then, hath God cast away his people (The Jews)? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew." (Romans 11:1-2)
In the prophetic Scriptures of the Old Testament, Paul’s future words are confirmed...
"Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, Who disturbs the sea, and its waves roar (The Lord of hosts is His name): If those ordinances depart (cease to exist) from before Me, says the Lord, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever." (Jeremiah 31:35-36)
God promises that Israel will cease
to be a nation forever
ONLY IF ...
the sun, moon and stars cease to
exist and the waves cease to roar.
Paul wrote chapters 11 through 13 of Romans to address the popular and growing misconception that God had permanently rejected His covenant people, the nation of Israel. He instinctively knew that someone, after he died, would turn this dangerous way of thinking into a toxic theology that would lead many astray in their faith. Unfortunately, Paul was right. Efforts in this direction started in the 2nd century. Yet, the theology gained traction in the third century and became an unquestioned bedrock doctrine of the Christian Church. For the sake of time, it is not our purpose to look at Paul’s defense from Romans chapters 11-13 in detail.
Old Testament Bible prophecy warned that Israel would reject their Messiah. Contrary to popular opinion, God was not surprised or shocked when it happened. The Bible states that, as a result of their grievous sin, God would temporarily “set Israel aside” for a season (not reject them forever) and scatter them throughout all the nations of the world. This judgment began, as Jesus said it would, in 70 A.D. with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple by the Roman general Titus. It is known by Bible scholars as “The Diaspora”. However, through Bible prophecy God also promised to “bring the Jewish people back into their own land that He originally gave them” - and promised THAT ISRAEL WOULD BE A NATION ONCE AGAIN JUST BEFORE THE END OF THE AGE at His Second Coming. The Lord spoke through the prophet Ezekiel about a future time concerning the nation of Israel:
Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, 'Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!' Therefore prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it," says the Lord.'" (Ezekiel 37:11-14)
Here’s a New Testament Scripture related to the one in Ezekiel. Jesus is speaking about the conditions existing before His return at the end of the Age.
"Now learn this parable from the fig tree (The Biblical symbol for the nation of Israel): When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it (Christ's Return) is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away."But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is." (Mark 13:28-33 NKJV)
The rebirth of the nation of Israel is a fulfillment of Bible Prophecy and God’s covenant promises to the Jewish people. It officially occurred May 14, 1948. Some theologians claim that the odds of this happening after thousands of years were literally millions to one. Despite this powerful miracle and the amazing fulfillment of a Divine promise, mainline denominational churches governed by Replacement theology refuse to recognize (and actually despise) the nation of Israel. Many claim, in direct contradiction to Scripture, that she is not the same Israel discussed in Bible prophecy. As a result, they have convinced themselves that she is divinely and eternally rejected - and should be judged as evil and destroyed. While not every church that embraces Replacement theology is this blatant about their beliefs, it does accurately represent a prevailing attitude and can be expressed in countless different ways. Here we see literally millions of denominational people who claim to represent our Heavenly Father, the giver of eternal life, agreeing that an entire race of people should be destroyed - just because their aberrant theology demands it. We should also remember that the people and their spiritual leaders who hold this dominant Christian world-view insist that they are authentic Christians and are correctly interpreting the Scriptures. They have some of the most highly trained seminary graduates in the world defending their beliefs. As a result, they use a skillfully designed allegorical (and out-of-context) Scriptural defense that overwhelms most inexperienced believers. If the reader suddenly discovers that they are part of this popular religious agenda - just know that you are aligned (the Bible calls it "part of a confederacy") with all those that our God, through Bible prophecy, warns about and condemns.
"They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more. For they have consulted together with one consent; they form a confederacy against you ..." (Psalms 83:3-4)
Psalm 83 is a prophecy about conditions that take place in the last days just before the Second Coming of Christ. Many students of Bible prophecy believe this Scripture is being fulfilled right now (Summer 2018). The leaders of Iran, Syria, Egypt and Hamas (a Palestinian terrorist organization seeking the destruction of Israel) have used (and are still using today) almost these exact same hate-filled words against the State of Israel.
The people in this “confederacy” seek
to destroy Israel once and for all.
They are not serving the God of the
By reading the rest of Psalms 83, you will find that this “confederacy”, made up of various nations, is judged by God in the most violent way.
Some try to defend Replacement theology by saying that national Israel, which now occupies the land - is a godless people and are not the same ones spoken of in the Bible. This kind of defense is nothing but religious nonsense and disinformation designed to give them an excuse for their unbiblical beliefs. What they fail to see is that the current “apostasy” of Israel, which started long before the crucifixion of Christ nearly 2000 years ago, is one reason God is bringing them back into their land in the last days.
He is about to close “The Church Age”
and begin the time of “Jacobs Trouble”
(a uniquely “Jewish” event also known
as the Tribulation Period) - where He
will judge Israel for their sin ...
For the purpose of restoring them back
to Himself as He promised in
Ezekiel 37:11-14 and Romans 11:25-26.
Sometime in the last half of the Tribulation, Israel will suddenly realize the horrible mistake they made by crucifying Jesus nearly 2000 years ago. Once again, Bible prophecy gives us a glimpse of this remarkable event.
(The Lord is speaking) "For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear them and go away; I will take them away, and no one shall rescue. 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." (Hosea 5:14-15)
"And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they peirced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and greive for him as on grieves for a firstborn. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo." (Zechariah 12:10-11)
(Zechariah 13 Verse 6) "And one will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends."
(Zechariah 13 Verse 9) "I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'This is My people'; And each one will say, 'The Lord is my God.'" (Zechariah 13:6-9)
"Truly You are God, who hide Yourself, O God of Israel, the Savior! They (the enemies of Israel) shall be ashamed and also disgraced, all of them; They (the enemies of Israel) shall go in confusion together, who are makers of idols. But Israel shall be saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation; you shall not be ashamed or disgraced forever and ever." (Isaiah 45:15-17)
Hundreds of years later the
apostle Paul confirms these
Old Testament prophetic words
concerning the nation of
Israel by saying...
"I say then, hath God cast away his people (the Jews)? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew." (Romans 11:1-2)
"I say then, have they (the nation of Israel) stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!" (Romans 11:11-12 - Emphasis Added)
On down in the same chapter
Paul continues with these
"For I do not desire, brethren (speaking to believers in the Church), that you should not 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. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is my covenant with them (the nation of Israel), when I take away their sins." 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." (Romans 11:25-29)
This Scripture should settle the issue once and for all, unless you’re one of the millions of church members programmed by your denomination to either allegorize or redefine Scriptural truth.
Once again, Replacement theology
is not some abscure belief held by
a fringe religious sect. It's a
mainstream agenda within the
world-wide Christian Church.
Paul sternly warns the Church not to make the dangerous mistake of thinking Israel is eternally rejected by God. Why? They have a unique covenant and a Godly calling that extends all the way back to Abraham in the early pages of Genesis. Paul is reminding the Church in this passage that “the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable”.
He’s reminding us that the irrevocable
nature of God’s gifts and callings
applies to both ...
The Abrahamic covenant He established
with the nation of Israel - and the
New Covenant of Christ that provides
eternal life that He established
with the Church.
The Amplified Bible presents this
often maligned Bible truth
in a clearer way.
"For God's gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]" (Romans 11:29 Amplified Bible)
A Relentless Campaign of
Our enemy, Satan, has been trying to destroy the Jews for thousands of years. He hates the race that gave birth to Jesus Christ, who defeated him at the cross. Remember that our Lord Jesus Christ is Jewish and will continue to possess that identity when He returns from Heaven as King of King and Lord of Lords. The land of Israel is His homeland. The Bible tells us that He will return to Jerusalem in the newly restored nation of Israel when the end comes. The holocaust of WW2 is just Satan’s most recent attempt to destroy the Jewish race. According to Scripture He will try again. If Iran, Russia, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Libya succeed in their current hostilities, we may see another attempt very soon (it’s now Summer 2016), which will likely ignite the fuse to a nuclear WW3. It is both interesting and shocking that these churches find themselves in agreement with this satanic agenda - and have convinced themselves that it's sanctioned by the Lord Jesus Christ. That alone should tell the reader all he or she needs to know about this misguided mainstream theology.
The dominant influence of Replacement theology is the reason many Christian denominations and their congregations oppose the existence of national Israel and are not expecting or watching for the return of Christ. They go so far as to publicly agree with the political groups (some are terrorist organizations) that desire to see her totally destroyed. They desire Israel’s destruction to fulfill the divine judgment that their false theology demands. We must continually repeat the following warning:
Their doctrine appears to
make God say something ...
that He does not say.
In the opening pages of the Bible - God gives all peoples of the world a serious warning about their treatment of Israel. Yes, Israel is currently in a state of apostasy - and the Lord is about to deal with their sin His own way. However, their current spiritual state does not somehow cancel the warning He gives in His covenant promise to Abraham and his offspring (the Jewish people).
Contrary to the teachings of
Replacement theology ...
God does not make the following
promise to the Church.
"I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 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." (Genesis 12:2-3 - Emphasis)
God pronounces a curse on all those who curse (despises or takes action against) His covenant people of Israel. Why is this important? A majority in the world-wide Christian Church are now involved in “cursing Israel" through the false tenants of Replacement Theology, which they are convinced represents authentic Christianity. And now, for the first time in her history, America is committing the same sin. Both the Bush administration and the Obama administration (spanning 16 years) went to great lengths to "publically appear" to support the Jewish state. Yet, behind the scenes, resistance and even hostility and betrayal was the norm. Anyone who claims to believe the Bible should heed this divine warning.
Replacement theology (also known as Supersessionism) arrogantly disregards and attempts to rewrite Bible Prophecy. Various theologians and other adherents within the church attempt to change the wording of the Bible by insisting that when you see the words “Israel or Jew" in Scripture - that God is actually referring to the Church. This godless practice redefines terms and claims that The Church is now “the new Israel”. When you hear Christ’s Church referred to as "the new Israel", it’s a warning that you’re in contact with this erroneous and misleading theology.
The demonic practice of redefining Scripture is accomplished by distorting or ignoring the context of the Bible.
Simply understood, Supersessionism teaches that because the Jewish people rejected and crucified Jesus Christ, God has permanently rejected Israel and "replaced" her with the New Testament Church in His overall Biblical plan for the world. As a result, Supersessionists believe that the original covenants between Israel and God are now transferred to and binding upon the Church; "the new Israel". Both Roman Catholic and Protestant elements of the world-wide church, especially those involved in the countless brands of Calvinism and Reformed theology are hopelessly corrupted by this doctrine. Once again, this is a mainstream problem that afflicts the entire Christian Church and is not some kind of "fringe" movement or sect. There are hundreds of different derivatives of this misleading theology, which may not all say exactly the same thing. Yet, the core belief that God “replaces Israel with the Church” – or considers the Church to be the same as Israel in Scripture - is always present in some form. Over the last few hundred years, this popular error (and the various systems of theology established on its tenants) is now so prevalent that many Christians and their leaders automatically redefine Scripture - combining (or mixing together) these vastly different Biblical programs. Everyone involved in this method of interpreting the Bible tends to have his or her own version of the practice, which contributes to the confusion. It’s been around so long that a vast majority of professing Christians now assume that when God is speaking to the Israelites in the Bible, He’s giving the same instructions to the Church - because they are programmed by their denomination to wrongly view the Church as "the new Israel" (or Israel's replacement).
This is a disastrous way of
interpreting the Bible because
it completely changes God’s
original intention in the
Scriptures and perverts the
principles that govern eternal
life under the New Covenant.
Once again, Supersessionism (and its countless derivatives) is not only found in most Protestant churches, but also in Catholicism and countless other Christian organizations. This man-made doctrine is not supported anywhere in the Bible, yet continues unchallenged because it is now assumed to be part of “Historic Christianity” and therefore often embraced without question. As a result, most seminaries tend to “pass it on” to their students as Biblical truth.
One shocking characteristics of Supersessionism (Replacement theology) continues to spread like an incurable virus throughout Christendom. It involves legitimizing and encouraging anti-Semitism (a hatred of the Jewish people). Anti-Semitism was the original motivational force behind the Holocaust in WW2 that killed over 6 million Israelites and another 4 million from other ethnic groups. Why is this important? A widely accepted religious agenda that appears to originate from God quietly operates within the Christian Church. It condemns the Jewish race as eternally rejected - and evil. The existence of this agenda is all some groups need to justify a religious campaign of persecution where they believe they are doing God’s service and acting with His full approval. This world-wide effort is now underway, once again. We believe that true Christian believers will refuse to be a part of this movement when they see the distortions and understand that the Bible not only condemns but also places a curse on this way of thinking.
Jesus warned his Jewish disciples about the signs that would occur just before His return at the end of the Age. We should understand that Christ's warnings about persecution in the following verses are directed specifically at Jews and the nation of Israel. It is true that Christians are also told that they will experience various kinds of persecution. Yet, in this instance Jesus was not directing his comments - which contain specific identifying characteristics - at Christian believers.
"For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many." (Matthew 24:7-11)
"These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you becaue they have not known the Father nor Me." (John 16:2-3)
IMPORTANT NOTE: Jesus used the identifying phrase “They will put you out of the synagogues...”. Synagogues are Jewish houses of worship. This is one Scriptural proof that Jesus was directing this warning at Jewish people and the nation of Israel - and not the Church. Replacement theology commonly redefines the word “synagogue” to mean “a Christian church building”, which is a gross distortion of Biblical context and injects error into its overall interpretation.
Readers should never get the idea that this commentary represents an effort to turn Christian believers into Jews - or into converts of Judaism. Such a misguided heretical movement did exist in the first century church (and continues to exist today) - and sent many inexperienced Christians astray in their faith. Readers can rest asured that we will never be part of such programs. We are attempting to warn about the failure to respect the Biblical context that both God, through the prophetic Scriptures, and the apostle Paul in the New Testament taught - concerning the vastly different programs of Israel and the Church. Once again, we remind readers about Paul’s warning to “rightly divide God’s Word". Failing to observe this directive virtually guarantees that you will go astray in your faith, while being convinced that you’re walking in truth. When we study God’s Word in context, there are two spiritual programs recorded in its pages; God’s covenant program for the nation of Israel (contained in the Old Testament) and God’s covenant program for the Church (contained in the New Testament). Both covenants are declared to be “everlasting”. The Church is currently being governed by Christ’s New Covenant (or what the book of Hebrews calls, "the second covenant") established upon better promises (Hebrews 8:6-13). This is why the Church is not under the previous covenant program designed for Israel (or what the book of Hebrews calls “the first covenant”). Yet, God’s promise to the nation of Israel to restore them back in their land, continues to be valid because it too was declared to be “everlasting”. But, as we learned in Acts chapter 15 involving the decision of the Jerusalem apostolic council - Israel’s covenant program under the Mosaic Law is not binding upon believers in the Church.
This is why it’s spiritually illegal to mix these two programs together as a vast majority of Christian churches do today. It’s the reason Paul warned his disciple Timothy to “rightly (or correctly) divide the Word of Truth” if he wanted to be approved of God (2 Timothy 2:15). Israel and the Church represent different covenants, utilizing radically different sets of laws, designed for different groups of people. As we often remind readers - all demonically inspired forms of false Christian theology (Saint Paul calls them "doctrines of demons") attempt to combine these two programs or unify them in some way. This effectively eliminates the division God deliberately placed in His Word. It creates a new perverted “Biblical Theology” that mixes the laws of both programs together into one religious system of counterfeit Christian faith.
Reformed theology, Replacement theology and Calvinism teach this "mixed together" doctrine, which is presented as fundamental Bible teaching. But, the New Testament considers this "unified theology" a heresy. The disastrous result of this practice is the creation of a “counterfeit faith in Christ” that tricks us into thinking it’s the real thing. When Saint Paul learned of the devil’s new strategy for leading Christian believers astray in their faith, one of his passions became warning churches of the danger by saying:
"Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? - unless indeed you are disqualified. (2 Corinthians 13:5 - Emphasis Added)
When we understand the danger Paul warned about, there are plenty of reasons to take his instructions seriously. Yet, most Christians today assume they have the correct kind of faith in Christ. This assumption has many unintended consequences and could prove to be spiritually lethal in the end.
We remain deeply concerned about Supersessionism (Replacement theology) because it is so widely accepted within Christendom. There are good Christian people that are not aware of the powerful influences operating in their own church congregation or denomination. Once again, this is not some fringe insignificant movement or sect. It is a powerful mainstream influence entrenched in both Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. Replacement Theology seriously distorts our understanding, not only about end-time events and the return of Christ, but also New Covenant salvation found only in God’s unmerited gift of eternal life.
One Christian pastor made these
[Quote] "...to disown, disavow or discredit the
nation of Israel - (no matter what your argument)
immediately puts you in the direct company of
people and organizations like - the KKK, Al
Qaeda, The Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah
and every other antisemitic terrorist organization
in the world. You would be in concert with every
Islamic nation and every nation that has ever
committed horrible atrocities against the Jews and
Israel. That attitude aligns you with Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad of Iran and Muhammad Morsi - the new
Muslim Brotherhood president of Egypt, as well as
Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Ladin. It is amazing
that most of the arguments I hear from so called
Christians against Israel's right to exist - are
the very same words used by hate groups all over
the world - predominately Muslim terror groups."
The previous commentary is only an
introduction to a very controversial
and emotionally charged subject.
Additional information is available
at the following links and should be
viewed as an extension of this
commentary and study.
The Controversy Concerning
Israel and the Church
Links to other ministries concerning this subject
are also provided for even more insight.
Choosing to include links to offsite information
and commentaries on the Rock of Offence website
does not mean that we agree with all the beliefs
of the authors, teachers or sponsors.
Any copyrighted work on this website is provided
under the “fair use” provision without profit or
payment for non-profit research, educational and
discussion purposes only.
The Error of Replacement Theology
Dr. David R. Reagan
The Evil of Replacement Theology
Dr. David R. Reagan
Dr. David R. Reagan
What is replacement theology / supersessionism?
Israel/Church Distinction: The 4th Foundation
By Thomas Ice
The following is a commentary from Ynet News in
Israel and provides disturbing information about
the state of the world-wide Christian Church
and the level of apostasy that exists under
May God have mercy on us.
THE CHURCHES AGAINST ISRAEL
Being Painted As Evil, Israel Has
No Right To Exist [YnetNews]
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