Furthermore, they built their eschatology [their theology of End-Time events] (doctrine of future things) and ecclesiology (doctrine of the church) on the idea the church has replaced Israel in the plan of God. [A personal note: I was in Bible School when the conflicting ideas of Replacement Theology and what the Bible taught began to strike sparks in my own heart and mind. I could not tell which was the way to go, whether to believe the covenants God made with Israel were everlasting, or somehow the Church had replaced Israel because they had somehow messed up too badly for God to forgive them again. I must have thought I was the only one with this conflict, for I didn't mention it to my teachers or to the other students. Been there, done that? Well, in my ignorance I fell prey to confusion over these two contrary views, and didn't know how to resolve it at that time. Gradually, God taught me in years following that his Word is the final word on the question that was festering in my heart. I ceased being schizoid about Israel's place in God's master plan. I came to accept wholly what God's Word said about Israel. Yes, many things Israel had exclusively were not Gentile Christians like myself to inherit and enjoy--but I saw that God was big enough to deal with both Jews and Christians separately, even if many Jews were converting and were Christians too. The re-established nation of Israel was also a fact that replacement theology could not sweep away. What to do with Israel? I was given a trip. I went to Israel, and was tremendously blessed, by God, through miracles happening to me of a number of kinds. I was baptized by His command, given a new name, a Jewish name in fact, by Jesus. I received prophecy just for me and my life about what the Lord was going to do with me after I obeyed and got down into that muddy old Jordan and was baptized, though I had been telling everybody right up to that time I would never do it, since I had been baptized in Minneapolis the year before. Israel was the scene of a turning point in my young Christian life, because of what I learned and was blessed with there by the Lord's hand on my life, and the Word itself later convinced me Israel was still in God's plan.
Most importantly, I came to see it is impossible for Replacement Theology to explain away Romans 9 and 10, and Chapter 11, particularly where Paul writes, "I say then, has God cast away his people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew...".
Replacement Theology has to either ignore, or completely disagree with Paul writing under the direction of the Holy Spirit as he penned the whole monumental book of Romans. You cannot pick and choose! Either he wrote those words and they are God's truth, or he didn't write them, and if he wrote them, then he is a liar!--Ed.]
If you were to remove Replacement Theology from these churches today, their entire system of eschatology would collapse. Why? Because if God has NOT replaced Israel (as we believe), then you must handle all the passages dealing with the Tribulation and Millennial Kingdom as being literal with a future fulfillment. Suddenly the primary justification for developing Amillennialism or Postmillennialism is eliminated.
Replacement Theology allowed the church to believe it is the fulfillment of the Messianic Kingdom. Over time, it fomented widespread hatred and violence [take note of this! anti-semitism is an evil fruit of the heresy of Replacement Theology--Ed.] against the Jewish people; and, unfortunately, its consequences are still with us today. [Showers is so right! What happens to Jews when they are no longer viewed as God's Chosen People. They are trashed, are they not? But the consequences of doing that are very grave; those who curse Israel, or molest and mistreat them in any way, are cursed by Almighty God! Care to put down the Jews now without thinking twice about it? I would think twice, if I were someone still holding to Replacement Theology! This is a very serious matter, not just a splitting of theological hairs as you may see now from just these few paragraphs of the article that God views haters of Israel with eyes of a Judge who must punish them. But read on!--Ed.].
THE STATE OF ISRAEL
The existence of the State of Israel is problematic to Replacement Theology. Yet it fits in perfectly with The Friends of Israel's dispensational understanding of God's plan for history. God has a different plan for Israel than for the Gentiles [it took me time to see this and accept this, but I accepted it when I realized the basic fact is true that God is big enough, surely, to deal with the destinies of the two entities, without a conflict, without any problem to Himself! Human beings, being so limited in mind, have a problem maybe stretching their theology to include both in God's master plan, but with God nothing is impossile, for He only is infinite in all his power and abilities--Ed.].
God said, "I will take you [the Jewish people] from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land" (Ezek. 36-24). For us, the existence of modern Israel fits right in with what God said He would do; "Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone,and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land" (37:21). God is doing what He promised, and we are privileged to live to see it [that is an understatement too, as we ought to be overjoyed, jubilant, and almost besides ourselves to see this prophecy fulfilled in our lifespan on earth. I was six years old when Israel was reborn! I wasn't aware of it, but Israel would someday make a major impact on my life. What would I be like today without Israel? Only time will tell, but I suspect I would be greatly impoverished and stunted, spiritually.--Ed.]
Unfortunately, Replacement Theology even causes godly men to perceive Israel as the major probem in the Middle East.
[In the account, Showers now cites some major Christian leaders by name whom he greatly respects but they espouse Replacement Theology--John Piper, pastor of Bethelehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, R. C.Sproul, Jr. of Ligonier Ministries, Knox Theological Theology, founded by D. James Kennedy, Hank Hanegraaff, of the radio program, The Bible Answer Man. They are just a few among so many today, so we will pass over them here. We will give their articles at the end of this article, so you may check them out yourself.--Ed.]
Typically, people in the Replacement camp side with the Palestinian Arabs, who are against Israel, and blame Israel for the troubles in the Middle East. Perhaps most troubling is what is taking place in European churches today. Anti-Semitism is mushrooming, and clergy and laypeople alike are openly claiming the State of Israel should never have been established. Their fallacious reationale is that Jewish people do not believe in Christ, so they should be punished by being stripped of their country.
It is not anti-Semitic to believe the church has replaced Israel. However, it is anti-Semitic to use Scripture to justify contempt for the Jewish people and to repudiate Israel's right to sovereignty. Historically, it has been difficult for those in the church to subscribe to Replacement Theology and avoid anti-Semitism [theygo together "like a horse and carriage"?--Ed.]
Today it is the Replacement churches that are rising up against Israel and calling for divestment and action against the Jewish state. This has been the historical pattern. What does God have to say?
"Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for alight 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 from before Me, says the Lord, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever" (Jer. 31:35-36).
God says that only if the sun, moon,and stars go out of existence will Israel also cease--not before. However, if the sun, moon, and stars disappear, not only would Israel cease to exist, but the Gentiles [and the Replacement churches!--Ed.] would also.
God told Israel, "I have loved you with an everlasting love (v. 3) and "He who touches you touches the apple of His eye" (Zech. 2:8). If God so loves Israel, it is our obligation to do so as well.
Ezekiel 36 explains why God will restore Israel. Here is the crux of the issue:
"I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the countries; I judged them according to their ways and their deeds. When they came to the nations, wherever they went, they profaned My holy name...But I had concern for my holy name...I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. And I will sanctify My great name" (vv. 19-23).
God will restore Israel for His name's sake--for His glory. This point differentiates what we believe as dispensationalists from what those in the Replacement camp believe--those who hold to Covenant or Reformed Theology. Reformed/Covenant Theology contends history's ultimate purpose is man's salvation. Dispensational Theology contends history's ultimate purpose is man's salvation. Dispensational Theology contends the ultimate purpose is God's glorification. God certainly gets glory through salvation, but the Reformed/Covenant view places the primary focus on humanity. God's glorification places it on God. God will do what glorifies Him the most, and He tells us restoring Israel will sanctify His great name. He also tells us His covenant that gives Israel--the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob--the land of promise will last forever:
"He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth. He remembers His covenant forever, the word which He commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac, and confirmed it to Jacob for a statue, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, "'To you I will give the land of Canaan as the allotment of your inheritance'" (Ps. 105:7-11)
God could not have made Himself any clearer. If you have a desire to build a relationship with people in the Jewish community, you must understand Replacement Theology and the impact it has had on the church and Jewish people who have lived with a 2,000-year legacy of anti-Semitism in the name of Christ. This is what they know. Jewish people need to know there is more than one type of Christian and that there are Christians today who donot believe that God is finished with the Jewish people. He will restore them and make them a glorious nation for His name's sake because He loves them; and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
John Piper, "Israel and the Middle East," Desiring God Resource Library, March 7, 2007
Replacement Theology is really saying: "WE GENTILES ARE BETTER, MORE OBEDIENT THAN THE JEWS, WE HAVEN'T BECOME SUCH IDOLATORS, SUCH COVENANT-BREAKERS AS THE JEWS, THEREFORE WE SUPPLANT THE JEWS AND THEIR RIGHT TO THE LAND UNDER THE COVENANT, AND INHERIT ALL THE PROMISES GOD GAVE TO THE JEWS!"
CONSIDERING THE LAST TWO THOUSAND YEARS OF THE GENTILE CHURCH, THIS IS ABSOLUTE BOSH! EVEN IF WE JUST CLAIM THE CHURCH OF THE REFORMATION AND FROM THAT TIME ON TO THE PRESENT, WE ARE SHOWN TO BE COVENANT-BREAKERS AND IDOLATORS!
Isn't that the kind of idiotic, underlying pride that animates and festers beneath the pious sounding phrases of Replacement Theology? "We urge prayer for Israelis and Palestinians, for peace between them," while declaring that Israel as a secular state has to divine right to land and has taken it by force away from the Palestinians (though historically there are no such "Palestinians" as a people and nation, because the name "Palestine" was a fiction created politically by Rome. Affter crushing the revolting Jews with its legions, Rome renamed Judaea after its ancient enemies, the Philistines, in order to eradicate even the name of Judaea.). Israel was never Philistia, though large parts at times were sometimes overrun by Phlistine armies and the Israelite people either fled were made captive. But though Israel ultimately conquered and absorbed the Philistines, the Romans took the name of this extinct people and nation and applied it Israel/Judaea as revenge. Today the name is thought to be legitimate and authentic, though it never was. If the name Jew or Isralite means nothing, why do Replacement Theologians claim to be "true Jews" and "true Israel"? Why not "true Palestinians"? Since they stand with the Palestinians over against the Israelis, they ought rather to take their name, but I doubt the terrorist-ruled people called by that name will like it if they too are trated as Replacement Theologians treat and trivialize the Israelis and Jews! Imagine, if Communist Chinese started calling themselves "true Americans"! That would be patently absurd, and it will never happen. But Replacement Theologians do not blink as they call themselves "true Jews" and true Israel."
We need to pray for those that hold this deceitful and heretical view, as it damages their souls in a very real way, and has eternal consequences. It is Satanic, as Satan was a perfect angel once in heaven but pride grew in him concerning his beauty and giftings, and sin was birthed in him, and when it was full-blown he became Satan the fallen angel and adversary of God. This theology is based on man's innate pride, which was seeded there by the enemy of our souls. Show me a man who does not have pride, and that man is in heaven, not on this sin-drenched, Satan-ruled, prideful earth! To even think that another man, whether Jew or Gentile, is a worse sinner "than lily-white I," that is the worst arrogance and egotistical pride imaginable. When I read the remarks made in the articles espousing Replacement Theology, it is horrible pride speaking while dressed in bishop's robes.--Ed.