The Controversy Concerning
A Rock of Offence Special Commentary
We begin this commentary with some
recent statements made by Jan Markell,
founder of Olive Tree Ministries
concerning Israel and the Church.
“To Christians, the coming of Messiah is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ”.
“Religious Jews are more excited about Messiah’s return than Christians are. Muslims are more anticipatory about their Mahdi’s return than are Christians about Jesus’s return. This shows the deplorable state of the church today that is ‘majoring in minors.’ They have their finance seminars and marriage conferences but have shoved the idea of the Lord’s imminent return not just to the back burner, perhaps to the back yard.”
“I am not so sure that in my lifetime I will see more than a remnant of Christians this anticipatory for the Lord’s return.”
“In my lifetime, the biggest change in the church is the switch of church loyalty from Israel to the Palestinians. This is called ‘Christian Palestinianism.’ Before the state of Israel was born in 1948, most evangelical churches embraced ‘Christian Zionism.’ They were loyal to the state of Israel even before it was formed.”
“Today the religious left and others have swung support away from Israel to an ‘invented people,’ the Palestinians. Yasser Arafat was a superb salesman and sold the world on the idea that the Palestinians had their land stolen. Arafat was an Egyptian and there was no Palestinian people. Yet today much of the world believes the Jews live in ‘occupied territory’ rather than God-given land. This is the biggest change in my lifetime. I cannot believe what I am seeing. If the church were functioning properly, this confusion would never have happened, but the church shredded maps of Israel 25 years ago when it decided to be politically correct rather than biblically correct."
[End of Markell Comments]
In his teaching "The Evil of Replacement
Theology" Dr. David Reagan of Lamb and Lion
Ministries makes the shocking observation...
"The terrible truth that Christians do not like to face, and which many are unaware of, is that the Holocaust was the product of 1,900 years of virulent Christian anti-Semitism."
"...Satan hates the Jews with a passion. He hates them because God provided both the Bible and the Messiah through them. He hates them because God called them to be His Chosen People. He hates them because God has promised to save a great remnant of them. He hates them because God loves them. Satan is determined to destroy every Jew on planet earth so that God cannot keep His promises to them."
[End of Reagan Comments]
The following simplified definition
of Zionism is provided by Webster's
“Political support for the
creation and development of
a Jewish homeland in Israel.”
Various reference sources claim that the word “Zionism” was first used by Nathan Birnbaum around 1890 – and by Theodor Herzl during the Zionist movement in 1896. But today, this term carries many different meanings; both political and religious. Due to the complexity of this subject we will limit our discussion to its original intended meaning, while attempting to examine how it’s misused by falsely religious people and groups. Specifically, our commentary is restricted to how the term “Zionism” is used by those who embrace Replacement theology - as a way to oppose those who “rightly divide God’s Word”, as Paul commanded in 2 Timothy 2:15.
According to Webster’s Dictionary the original goal of the Zionist movement was to establish and develop a Jewish homeland for Israel, which did not exist in 1890. However, in 1948, everything changed when the state of Israel reappeared on the world stage after disappearing in 70 A.D. during what Bible scholars call; the Diaspora. The destruction of Jerusalem and the persecution of the Jewish people were prophesied by Christ some 40 years earlier shortly before His crucifixion.
The re-establishment of a Jewish homeland was a dream for generations of displaced Jews since the Diaspora. Yet, various Christian churches and groups shared an interest in this event for a different reason. According to Bible prophecy, the re-birth of Israel in the Middle East is an important “time marker” that appears shortly before the return of Jesus Christ. God’s promise to return the Israelites to their homeland was made hundreds of years before Christ’s earthly ministry as revealed by the prophet Ezekiel.
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 - Emphasis Added)
Jesus indirectly referred to
this same promise by saying;
"Now learn this parable from the fig tree (The fig tree is 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)
There are many critics within Christendom who attempt to cast doubt and discredit this promise given by God to the Israelites. But contrary to these opposing voices, the promise remains in Scripture as an example of God’s faithfulness and a prominent time marker for end time events.
It became historical fact
on May 14th, 1948.
Why is this miraculous truth under such an attack? It disproves a major denominational doctrine called Replacement theology (also known as Supersessionism), which exists within the institutional Christian Church.
Replacement theology (Supersessionism) teaches that when the Jewish people crucified their Messiah, God eternally rejected the entire nation of Israel - and replaced them with the Christian Church. Devoted followers 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 Christian Church”. We find it interesting that this theology strangely strips Israel of all divinely promised benefits and blessings, but allows her to keep the curses. Disguised as fundamental Bible teaching, Replacement theology condemns the Jewish people as “eternally cursed and rejected by God”. It persuades its followers to redirect and superimpose the references in the Bible pertaining to original Israel - upon the Church which is now declared to be “the new Israel”. This theology essentially rewrites Scripture and perverts God’s promise to re-establish the Jewish homeland as spoken by both Ezekiel and Jesus.
When you begin to examine
various doctrines taught
throughout the world-wide
Christian Church, Replacement
theology, in one form or
another, is found almost
Replacement theology and its countless variants has spread throughout Christendom and tends to use the label “Christian Zionist” as a way to marginalize believers who “rightly divide” Scripture as Saint Paul commanded in 2 Timothy 2:15. Rightly dividing God’s Word involves keeping the two different covenant programs of “Israel and the Church” separated (or “rightly divided”) - and opposes any Bible interpretation method that attempts to illegally mix these vastly different programs together. According to the New Testament, those who practice rightly dividing Scripture will always;
- Acknowledge Israel’s continued place in the purposes
- Acknowledge Israel's future salvation as described
in Romans 11:25-26
- Acknowledge Israel's right to the land God originally
promised them in the Middle East as described in the book
of Genesis and the prophetic writings of Ezekiel
- Work to expose the widely accepted yet perverted
theology that “replaces Israel with the Church” - or
teaches that the Christian Church is now
"the new Israel".
One obvious lesson to be learned from the life of Jesus is how the accepted religious establishment of His day publically claimed to support God’s principles and teachings, while privately opposing them. The very ones who claimed to have the highest level of devotion to God – were the same ones who persuaded Pontius Pilate to crucify God’s Son. Many assume that when certain modern-day Christian leaders make a certain statement or declaration – it must be true because they claim to speak for God. This especially applies to Roman Catholicism, which continues to distort Scripture and insist that the Pope possesses the same authority over the Church as the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, very little has changed since Jesus walked the earth. Claiming to speak for God - and truly representing Him are two very different realities according to Scripture.
In a general sense, the present-day leadership of the world-wide institutional Church continues to take a position contrary to the “rightly divided” Scriptures - while establishing itself as “the voice of God to the masses”. A popular methodology is often used to accomplish their goals. When a particular teaching or belief is to be discredited - it is given a name or label. The label is then applied to those they want to marginalize or discredit. This is the way "Zionism" (or Zionist) is used by some churches. It’s an age-old tactic known as “guilty by association”.
A majority of the institutional Christian Church hierarchy have convinced themselves that Replacement theology, which seeks to erase Israel from the pages of Scripture (and God’s purposes) - is rock-solid Biblical truth. Yet, from Genesis to Revelation, God reaffirms that Israel remains in His redemptive plans despite His judgments involving their previous sins. As we discuss elsewhere in this study, Israel’s place is secured through an “everlasting covenant” with Abraham in the early pages of Genesis (the first book of the Bible). Through this everlasting covenant (or an eternal agreement that cannot be broken) God promised Israel a carefully defined land package in the Middle East to be their official homeland (as discussed throughout this study).
Contrary to popular denominational
teachings this specific promise of
land was not made to the Christian
Church - even though the Church will
eventually benefit through their
redemptive relationship with the
Lord Jesus Christ, who is also;
the Jewish Messiah.
Due to the seriousness of this subject, we feel it’s appropriate to repeat the following statements given as a warning to the Church by Paul concerning the nation of Israel and its people.
"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)
“For I do not desire, brethren, that you (Christian believers living today) 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. And so all Israel will be saved ...” (Romans 11:25-26)
For emphasis, it’s also appropriate,
once again, to review the statement
made by the prominent English preacher;
"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!"
As Spurgeon stated (and Saint Paul affirmed in Scripture), anyone who honestly studies the Bible will acknowledge that Israel has not been eternally rejected by God and continues to hold an important place in His purposes. This is especially true concerning the central role she plays in Bible prophecy and end-time events which take place shortly before the Second Coming of Christ. Yet, an influential majority (but thankfully not all) of the modern-day Christian leadership (on both the Roman Catholic and Protestant sides of the isle) rejects this view in various ways - and labels those who believe such things; “a Christian Zionist”.
- IF YOU BELIEVE... that God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham and his offspring (the Israelites) as recorded in Genesis chapter 17.
- IF YOU BELIEVE... that God was serious when He said that He would bless those that bless Israel, but will curse those who curse (set themselves against) Israel. (Genesis 12:3)
- IF YOU BELIEVE... the prophecy in Jeremiah 31:35-36, where God promised that Israel would never cease to exist.
- IF YOU BELIEVE... the “Dry Bones” prophecy from Ezekiel 37:11-14, where God promises to bring Israel back into the land He originally gave to Abraham and his offspring. (This prophecy was recently fulfilled in 1948 after nearly 1900 years of being scattered among the nations.)
- IF YOU BELIEVE... the famous Messianic prophecy from Zechariah chapters 12 & 13, where God states that the Israelites will; “Look on Him whom they pierced (speaking of Jesus their Messiah). Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve For Him as one grieves for a firstborn.” They will then say … "What are these wounds between your arms?
Then He will answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends (a reference to His crucifixion).’”
- IF YOU BELIEVE... the parable of the fig tree spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ in Mark 13:28-33 concerning the “putting forth of its leaves” as representing a prophetic sign and warning that His return is near. (The fig tree is the Biblical symbol for the nation of Israel.)
- IF YOU BELIEVE... the declaration Jesus made to the woman at the well - that He is the Jewish Messiah. (John 4:19-26)
- IF YOU BELIEVE... the words of Jesus, when He said “Salvation is of the Jews”. (John 4:19-26)
- IF YOU BELIEVE... Paul’s warning to the Church concerning the error of thinking that God had permanently cast away his people, the Jews … and will therefore keep His Word to them based on an everlasting promise, where all of Israel will be saved. (Romans 11:1-2 and Romans 11:25-26)
- IF YOU BELIEVE... Daniel’s “70 weeks prophecy” is directed at Israel in the last days - because God told Daniel that the prophecy was specifically given to “thy people” – and Daniel’s people were the Israelites.
…Then those who embrace the false
tenants of Replacement theology
considers you to be 'a Christian
Zionist' because they believe that
God has rejected Israel and replaced
her with the Christian Church.
An Obvious Problem
Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jesus and Paul - along with the rest of the early apostles – would all be discredited as “Zionists” according to the corrupt definition taught by Replacement theology. For this reason alone all Christians living today should place themselves in agreement with these holy men of the Bible – and ignore the critics.
When a fellow Christian labels you a “Zionist” it’s usually not meant as a complement. The term is sometimes used (but not always) as a way to malign or cast doubt on beliefs involving the Biblical re-establishment of Israel in the Holy Lands. It’s often used by those who embrace the toxic principles of Replacement theology, which redefines God’s Word. This theology attempts to persuade others (especially new and inexperienced Christians) to believe that God says things about Israel from the pages of the Bible that He does not say – by using His words “out-of-context”. Paul sometimes referred to religious teachings that result from this popular practice as, “doctrines of demons” - and said that these teachings would be both common and popular in “latter times” or the last days. (1 Timothy 4:1-2)
Replacement Theology and
the “Final Solution”
During World War II (1938-1945), certain prominent German officials used a variant of Replacement theology to morally reconcile the Holocaust – with the Bible. As a result, over 6 million Jews were murdered because the perpetrators convinced themselves that this wicked program was God’s judgment on the entire race for their sin of crucifying Christ. In this dangerous and delusional environment, Scripture was twisted and rewritten (or redefined) to transform a genocidal government program - into an act of God. Adolf Hitler was Roman Catholic and, for this reason, his program called “The Final Solution” was perceived by Jews living in that day as being sanctioned by Christ. Yet, the German leadership was operating under a false “doctrine of demons” – and not the doctrine of Christ. This is why many Jewish people today reject and even despise Christians - and the Christ they represent. Jesus said that many “false Christ’s” would come in His name (Matthew 24:4-5, Mark 13:5-6, Luke 21:8). Yet, during the days of the Holocaust – the tragic error was to believe that this false Christ, who was bringing judgment and destruction upon the Jews - was the real Christ.
We should remember that Germany’s “Final Solution” was designed to eliminate all Jews from existence. It was a planned extermination of an entire race of people. Today, a majority of the global Jewish community (but thankfully not all) continues to believe (and are constantly reminded by their religious leaders) that this genocide was performed under the authority and approval of the Christian Church. This is how “doctrines of demons”, ultimately designed by the devil but presented as Bible doctrine, work to discredit our Heavenly Father and derail His purposes.
These evil and wicked religious
doctrines can easily be made to
look as if they come from the
pages of the Bible (and thus from
the mouth of God) by manipulating
and abusing its context.
Martin Luther's Failure
We sometimes quote German theologian Martin Luther in our writings. Church history refers to him as “The Father of the Protestant Reformation”. During the beginning stage of his ministry, Luther correctly followed the Grace-based New Testament teachings of Saint Paul. But, in the final years of his life a strange and radical change occurred. He departed from Paul’s theology and increasingly became anti-Semitic and openly hostile toward the Jewish race. As a result, Luther started to include many bitter and hateful statements in his writings. Christian historians speculate that Luther's growing hostility toward the Jews, which was not present in the earlier part of his ministry – came from his friends and ministry associates, who also believed these things and influenced his thinking.
We mention this unfortunate situation for a reason. During the war-crimes trials, various government and military officials attempted to use Luther’s anti-Semitic statements to justify their actions in the Holocaust. Their testimony is now part of the historical record. We should remember that Martin Luther was not only a German, but also a respected historical church leader - which is why they specifically used his writings in their defense. This gives us yet one more example of the persuasive (and demonic) nature of Replacement theology, which attempts to rewrite and redefine Scripture. If someone of Luther’s stature could be misled, so can many inexperienced modern-day Christians. Additional information is available at the following link:
Our Position on Martin Luther
Today, some 70 years later this same evil practice of twisting Scripture is, once again, gaining momentum. After the defeat of Hitler's Germany in 1945, many who continued to embrace the agenda of the “Final Solution” changed the name of their doctrine and migrated to the United States. Some infiltrated mainline Christian denominations seeking leadership positions. If that wasn’t bad enough, they trained their children to follow in their footsteps. This could be why we are witnessing, on a global scale, a resurgence of anti-Semitism, much of which masquerades as orthodox and fundamental brands of Christianity – just as it did in Germany during WWII. Unfortunately, it’s now being empowered and encouraged from some of the highest ecclesiastical offices (but thankfully not all) in the institutional Christian Church.
For a more indepth study of this
subject - additional information is
available at the following link:
Avoiding the Error of Replacement Theology
Final Thoughts and Clarifications
The Rock of Offence ministry supports the re-establishment of the nation of Israel, or what some critics like to call 'Christian Zionism' ... simply because it represents a major fulfillment of Bible prophecy. However, this one event that took place in 1948 has two Divine objectives. The first objective is to return the Jewish people to the land originally promised to Abraham and his offspring - the Jews. The Second objective can only begin after the first is firmly in place ... and involves a judgment for rejecting and then crucifying their Messiah; God's Son. In the Bible, this judgment is known as "Jacob's Trouble", which involves a period of seven years the Bible refers to as; The Tribulation.
Many who claim to love and support Israel often ignore the fact that they have not, as a nation, repented from rejecting the salvation of Jesus Christ their Messiah ... who is "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world". As a result, they continue to embrace the Mosaic program of Old Testament Law that uses animal sacrifices to atone for sin. Yet, God now declares that His Son Jesus - known as "The Lamb of God" - was the final sacrifice that not only fulfilled, but also ended this program ... as far as He is concerned. However, the Jewish people and their leaders continue to reject God's great salvation, which places them (and the rest of the non-Jewish world who made the same decision) under the wrath (or judgment) of God that takes place during the Tribulation.
According to Bible prophecy ... shortly before the Tribulation begins (and the physical Second Coming of Christ that follows), we will see the Israelites take possession of their Divinely promised land for the first time since Jerusalem and the 2nd temple was destroyed in A.D. 70. The destruction of Jerusalem and the 2nd temple initiated something theologians call; the Diaspora - or the final scattering of the Jewish people throughout the earth.
The Diaspora recently came to a
conclusion when Israel, once
again, became a nation in 1948.
Then ... just as the Tribulation begins in earnest (Note: Some Bible scholars think this is around 70 years from the time Israel was restored as a nation in 1948), religious Jews will re-institute the program and rituals (including animal sacrifices) of the Mosaic Law. This will eventually require the building of the third Jewish Temple, described in Bible prophecy. According to the Temple Institute headquartered in Jerusalem, the third temple (now existing in modular form) can be assembled in just a few months. The altar, where animal sacrifices are offered, was recently (as of December 2018) unveiled in a ceremony in Jerusalem - where over 70 countries were invited to attend. According to the Temple Institute, and for the first time in over 1948 years - everything is ready. This includes the recent possession of an extremely rare and unblemished red heifer, whose ashes are required to sanctify the new temple. The one event that sets this whole process in motion is the actual building of the third temple in Jerusalem.
Students of Bible prophecy who are watching these prophetic events have a good reason to be excited. Scripture reveals that these are all signs that point to the promised return of Jesus Christ. Yet, many who consider themselves to be 'friends of Israel' tend to ignore some important facts. The building of the third temple, resumption of temple rituals and especially animal sacrifices to atone for sin ... all confirm that Israel has not repented and continues to reject the salvation of their true Messiah; Jesus Christ - also correctly referred to by Messianic believers as Yeshua HaMashiach. As a result of His Son's finished work at the cross, God not only rejects these animal sacrifices - but now considers them to be an abomination. This means that Israel is insulting the very God they claim to worship. While we can get excited about the significance of these events - we must also remember that the practices connected to the third temple represent a rejection (or a refusal to accept) the salvation Jesus Christ came to provide.
This is why the individual Saint Paul refers to as "the man of sin" (also known as anti-Christ) is now operating 'behind the scenes' and will likely be the driving force behind the building of the third temple. We should remember that the word 'anti' does not mean "opposite to" - but "instead of". As a result, the anti-Christ will seek to replace Christ's finished work at the cross with a substitute or counterfeit. The temple and its religious practices represent a rejection of the salvation provided by God's Son ... and is therefore the perfect substitute the anti-Christ will use to deceive many. This includes, in its early stages, the Jewish people who will be tricked into accepting him as their true Messiah. Since they rejected their real Messiah when He came the first time - they continue to look for someone else. As a result, Israel will, at first, receive a false messiah ... or what Scripture calls; the anti-Christ.
This is the delicate balance
that all true Christians must
On one hand, God requires all Christians to honor and support (and not curse) the Israelites as His "chosen people", understanding that their rejection of Christ did not cause Him to permanently 'cast them away'. This unpopular truth is clearly stated in the following warning given to the Church by Saint Paul in Romans chapter 11:
"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 Jews) stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? (Romans 11:11-12)
"And if some of the branches (the Jews) were broken off, and you (Christian believers living today), 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 (which is Israel) supports you. You will say then, “Branches (the Jews) were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you (Christian believers living today) stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches (the Jews), He may not spare you either." (Romans 11:17-21 - Emphasis Added)
“For I do not desire, brethren, that you (Christian believers living today) 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. And so all Israel will be saved...” (Romans 11:25-26)
However, we must also recognize that Israel continues to exist, according to God's Divine plan, in a temporary state of apostasy that won't be resolved until the judgments of the Tribulation take place ... also Known as "Jacob's Trouble". In Scripture 'Jacob' refers to Israel - and not the Church. We can certainly warn about the apostasy, but we must never think, as many now do, that the apostasy gives Christians the right to condemn or curse those whom God has eternally chosen as 'His people'.
This is why our ministry will always agree with God - and support the Israelites as His covenant people despite this temporary apostasy. However, our support does not necessarily mean that we agree with all decisions or actions of the modern-day Israeli government or its religious leaders.
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