It seems that Replacement Theology started to raise its ugly head when the clergy class began to dictate what was to be believed by the church. Many teach that God has rejected Israel and that the church has replaced the Jews as His chosen people. All the promises and prophecies now apply to the Christian church thus Israel has no further part to play in the purpose of God according to this erroneous doctrine. As Bible-believing Christians we believe that the church is totally distinct and different from the nation of Israel and its people, but adherents of Replacement Theology, usually operating from a Reformed position and a-millennialism, have allowed their understanding to be clouded by anti-Semitic notions. Adherents to this teaching are prone to spiritualising away the clear meaning of the word of God regarding Israel. Replacement theologians usually side with the enemies of Israel. For want of a better term, they are the theological equivalents of Hitler’s Nazi party.
The restored nation
If the church has replaced Israel then all the promises and prophesies are fulfilled in her, but even a simple reading of Scripture reveals the impossibility of this idea. One has to greatly spiritualise various texts to force them to speak of the church. Proponents of this false theory have abandoned the very foundation of Bible interpretation, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness” (2 Timothy 2:15-16), and thus are guilty of tearing the Bible to shreads to support their doctrines. Being “unlearned and unstable” they “wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16).
The major problem the Replacement Theology teachers have is the continued existence of the Jewish people and the restoration of the Jewish State in 1948. If God had wanted to eradicate the Jews then He had an opportune time to do so when Hitler sought to destroy every one of them. If the Jews have no future in the plan and purpose of God, then could He not multiply the Muslim hordes to eradicate the race from of the earth? In fact throughout the centuries, right up to this present time, He has defended Israel from all who sought to completely destroy her. They have faced the Assyrians, Babylonians, Romans and Nazi Germany, so surely they ought to have been obliterated by now if the Lord was not with them! Not only have they not gone away, but hardly a day goes by without Israel being in the media. Any individual, group or nation that seeks the destruction of the Jews is under the curse and judgement of God. “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). Replacement Theology cannot account for the supernatural survival of the Jewish people over the last 2,500 years. Israel’s rebirth as a nation in 1948, and her flourishing as an independent democratic state surrounded by aggressive Islamic countries, is evidence that God is still keeping His word regarding the Jews.
The ridiculous notion
Things that are different are not the same. How can anyone confuse prophesies concerning Israel with those relating to the church? When did the Christian church ever dominate the whole of the Middle East? It ought to have done so if God’s promise to Abraham applies itself to the church, “In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates” (Genesis 15:18).
The church was created by the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and will exist until the day Christ returns to take her from the earth in what we call ‘The Rapture’. Though there is much we can learn from the blessings, curses, warnings and promises spoken to Israel, they are really only valid for the Jews. That Israel is different from the church is evident in 1 Corinthians 10:32, “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God.”
After the Rapture of the church (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) ,God will give His complete attention to the Jews. The latter end of the Tribulation Period (last 3½ years) will prepare the Jews for the Second Coming of their true Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. At which point they will eagerly receive Him, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10). Jerusalem will become the capital city of Christ’s Kingdom on earth for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-7). No wonder a-millennialists reject both Israel and the Rapture of the church!
“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. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Romans 11:25-29). These verses have no meaning or make any sense if the church has replaced Israel. Paul asks, “Hath God cast away his people? God forbid” (Romans 11:1) and states in the next verse, “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.” (Romans 11:2). Therefore it is absolutely unbiblical for any Christian to reject the Jews.
After His resurrection Jesus commissioned His disciples to go and preach the Gospel in Jerusalem and Judea, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Why do so if the Jews were rejected by God for killing Jesus? The followers of Christ knew, because they understood the Scriptures, that Israel would be restored, “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). By rejecting Israel replacement theology teachers also reject Christ and His word, “Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28.) This statement reveals that Israel will exist even into the millennial reign of Christ. Who are we to say otherwise? Surely every true follower of Christ acknowledges Israel’s place in the plan of God and ought to pray for the salvation of the Jewish people. “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved” (Romans 10:1) … “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee” (Psalm 122:6). Those who withstand and denounce Israel make an enemy of God. “For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye” (Zechariah 2:8).