The Heresy of Replacement Theology
This heresy goes back to a long line of “Early Church Fathers” beginning in the second century and was greatly popularized through Augustine by the third century. Augustine's writings were given the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur by the Roman Catholic church. Protestants, such as Luther carried the heresy of Replacement Theology out of the Roman Catholic church, and his anti-Semitic writings were some of the most malicious rants, whose bitterness against the Jews defiled many (Hebrews 12:15). It is no wonder that the nation that produced Luther also produced Hitler. During Nazi Germany almost all Germans were “Christian” and was comprised of about 20 million Roman Catholics and 40 million Protestants from three major sects, the Reformed, the Lutheran, and the United churches.
Calvin, while not as vitriolic as Luther, also brought Augustine's anti-Semitic drivel out of Rome. His religious DNA affected his followers producing the Reformed or Covenant Theology sects of Christianity which hold no future for the people of the “God of Israel” (Jeremiah 24:5-7). Sadly, today there are many other “Protestant” believing sects who have been infected by this anti-Semitic indoctrination finding themselves on the side of Muslim clerics and Roman popes.
This heresy will increasingly manifest itself until the time when it will reach its pinnacle during the “Time of Jacob's Trouble” (Jeremiah 30:5-7, Daniel 12:1, Joel 2:1-2, Matthew 24:15-16, 21-22) when Antichrist, another anti-Semite, worse than Antiochus Epiphanies or Hitler, will arise on the scene and “make war with the saints” (Daniel 7:21-22). In the Revelation we find out who is really behind this anti-Semitic persecution of the Jews down through the centuries and it is none other than the arch enemy of God and His people, Satan. (Revelation 12:13-16, 17; 13:7).
Replacement Theology rejects “dispensationalism” and calls those who have popularized this doctrine, such as Scofield and Darby, heretics. While these two may have popularized what has been referred to as “Dispensational Theology”, the doctrines thereof were always available within the pages of Scripture for the ardent student to glean. However, their exposition may only have been developed recently because that is the way God said things would unfold. When it was revealed to the prophet Daniel the things which would take place through the course of history and the things pertaining to the time of the end, he was told, “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased... And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” (Daniel 12:4, 8-10)
The prophetic utterances of Daniel were to be sealed up until the latter times and would be unveiled according to God's plans. The sufferings of the Messiah and His resurrection from the dead, although plainly spoken to His disciples was not fully comprehended until after His resurrection from the dead (Luke 18:31-34). “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.” (1 Peter 1:10-12)
After the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Jews were scattered and many killed beginning in AD 70 with the destruction of their Temple and their scattering among the nations was brought to completion by the Roman armies in 135 AD. In subsequent centuries many came to the false conclusion that God was done with His people Israel, and transferred all of their promises to the Church. However, as the centuries went by and history began to unravel, the prophetic future of Israel was not brought into focus until certain events of recent origin prompted the Jews to return from their Diaspora beginning after WWI. This initiated a fresh study of the prophetic portions of Scripture. Was this not what the prophets had said all along? Was this not confirmed by our Lord and His apostles, how that the Jews in the latter times would return to their ancient homeland?
There came the time when Jesus knew that His hour had come when He should suffer and be glorified, being raised from the dead, then ascend back into heaven to the right hand of His Father. When this became imminent, and the Jews rejection of Christ became more openly manifest, He began to reveal the future of His people Israel. He told them armies would surround Jerusalem and it would be made desolate (Luke 21:20, Matthew 22:7), their temple would be destroyed (Luke 21:5-6), and many would “fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24)
He told them, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Luke 13:35) Jerusalem, their temple, their house, would all be laid desolate because they did not recognize the time of their visitation (Luke 19:44). Many would die by the edge of the sword and others would be led away captive into all nations UNTIL...
It is quite clear from the Word's of Christ that the nation Israel would NOT be cast off forever (Romans 11:23-24). Nevertheless, the times of the Gentiles must be fulfilled first before they would see their Messiah again. The apostle Paul would state, “that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11:25). God had long ago (over 2000 years before) scattered the Gentile nations across the face of the earth into their various places of habitation after their rebellion at Babel, leaving them to go their own way (Ephesians 2:11-12, Acts 17:26-29, 30-31). Although God overlooked their ignorance and left them off to their own devices, there was a future promise that one day Light would come to the Gentiles in the form of the gospel.
Nevertheless, since that time, when the Gentiles were forming the nations of the world, God made a covenant with Abraham and his descendants with many irrevocable promises concerning the land of Canaan (Genesis 48:4), an everlasting Kingdom where the seed of David would rule over the house of Jacob (Luke 1:32-33), even the promise of the Messiah who in the fullness of time came to redeem them which were under the Law (Galatians 4:4-5).
The precise date of the coming of the Messiah was foretold in Daniel's amazing prophecy of the Seventy Weeks (490 years) (Daniel 9:24-26). Daniel was told that there would be 483 years, from the going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:4-7, 8) until their promised Messiah would arrive on the scene. This was precisely the date when our Lord Jesus Christ presented Himself as their King and promised Messiah (Luke 19:35-44), but a few days later was rejected (John 19:5-6) and “cut off, but not for himself”. For us He was “cut off”, when He died for our sins. Not only did He bear our sins in His own body on the tree, He rose from the dead according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Within a few decades, after it was clear that Israel's repentance was not forthcoming, the Roman armies came and “destroy[ed] the city and the sanctuary” (Daniel 9:26).
This is all history now, but there was still “one week” (7 years) left hanging in the balance. “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for ONE WEEK: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:26-27)
Herein lies a parenthesis, a gap if you will, between verse 26 and 27, between the 483 years and the final 7 years that were determined upon the holy city Jerusalem and Daniel's people the Jews. This is the same gap that Jesus made when quoting Isaiah (Luke 4:18-20, Isaiah 61:1-3), who, of course, "rightly divid[ed] the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). This final week would be played out at the end of time AFTER the Lord gathers out of the Gentiles a people for His name. And to this agree all the prophets.
Many Jews were saved when Christ came into the world, but they were just a small remnant. For the most part, the nation Israel rejected Jesus Christ and in ignorance crucified the Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2:8, Acts 3:13-16, 17). But after that He rose from the dead, and by many infallible proofs showed Himself alive to His people Israel (Acts 1:1-3), He ascended back into heaven. The gospel was proclaimed to the Jew first, but then to the Gentiles (Romans 1:16) after it was evident that the Jews would not repent. The gospel was to be preached first in Jerusalem and spread out from there (Luke 24:46-47).
Although the disciples did not fully comprehend the next phase of God's dispensation, they were to wait in Jerusalem as Christ gave them instructions. “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 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. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:6-9)
The Jews would not see Him again UNTIL they would cry, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”. Jesus had come in the name of His Father, but they would not receive Him (John 1:11; 5:43). He said, “The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.” (Luke 17:22) But He promised to return. First for His bride, the church (John 14:1-4), before He would “restore the kingdom to Israel”. It was not for them to know the “times and the seasons” as they had a more important task of taking the gospel to the ends of the earth.
Paul reiterated this decades later when he wrote, “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18; 5:1-3) Paul reemphasized this to them again in his second epistle (2 Thessalonians 2:1-10), teaching them that the rapture would precede the Day of the Lord.
The rapture (“caught up together... with the Lord”) would take place before the Day of the Lord begins. The Day of the Lord would begin with darkness, wrath and tribulation (Isaiah 13:9-12, 13, Zephaniah 1:14-17, 18, Ezekiel 30:3, Joel 1:15; 2:1-2, Deuteronomy 4:29-31), the Day when God will return and deal with the nations and His people Israel. The prophet Joel had much to say about the Day of the Lord, and there can be no doubt that during this time of great tribulation He will be dealing once again with Israel after their worldwide dispersion (Joel 2:18-19, 23, 26-27; 3:1-2, 6, 8-9, 11-14, 16-17, 20-21).
Israel would be born again (Isaiah 66:5-14). But she must first travail in pain before she will cry out for deliverance of the Lord Jesus Christ (Zechariah 13:9, Jeremiah 29:11-14, Romans 11:26-27). When the Lord came the first time He came preaching “deliverance to the captives” (Luke 4:18). He was the only One who could deliver them from their sins and the wrath to come on the unrepentant. He longed to gather them, but they “would not” (Matthew 23:37-39). So the kingdom would be postponed as the King ascended back to His Father until they go through the time of “Jacob's Trouble”. This is presented as “a great wonder in heaven” in the book of the Revelation 12:1-4, 5-6.
So, the time came, because of the nation Israel's stiff-necked rejection of Christ, that God would now set the Jews aside and move on with His program, His new dispensation, to be a Light unto the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:1-9; 49:6, Acts 13:46-47; 26:22-23). But does this mean He is done away with the nation Israel forever? No! The apostle Paul asked, “Hath God cast away his people? God forbid... God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew... Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” (Romans 11:1-5) Today those who are saved, both Jew and Gentiles, are being incorporated together into the body of Christ (1Corinthians 12:12-13, Ephesians 2:11-22). But one day, the “times of the Gentiles” will be fulfilled, and the church will be caught up into heaven to be with Christ. Then shall He return again to deal with His people Israel during the final “week” of Daniel's prophecy. This is what Peter told the Jews after Pentecost.
“But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:18-21)
For now the Jews, that is, the nation Israel, would be set aside until the latter days. “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days” (Hosea 3:4-5).
This is the Scripture that James quoted confirming that God was not finished with Israel. “Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” (Acts 15:14-18)
For the first time God visited the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius (Acts 10-11), which was to the astonishment of the Apostles. In the parenthesis between Daniel 9:26-27, Christ would build His church, the bride of Christ. After He takes out of the Gentiles a people for His name, He will catch them up to heaven to be with Him. Today this is what happens in Marriage. When a man takes his bride, from that day forward, she goes by his name. After He has taken a Bride, a people for His name, they will be carried away to be with Him on their honeymoon. After the church is raptured, Daniel's final 7 years will commence to deal with the Jews and their holy city. The rapture will trigger the “day of the Lord”. After this He will restore the kingdom to Israel as we have heard, “After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up” (Acts 15:16).
This is nothing different from that which we were told right from the very beginning, when Christ was brought as a babe to the Temple in Jerusalem. A man named Simeon, who was waiting for the consolation of Jerusalem was there, to whom it was revealed by the Spirit of God that he would not see death until he had seen the Lord's Christ. And when he had seen Jesus he said, “For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel... Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel” (Luke 2:25-35). Israel would fall but she will rise again. Paul said, “For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” (Romans 11:15) They shall fall, but the result will be the reconciling of the world that God so loves (John 3:16), but after He has taken out of the Gentiles a people for His name, those dead bones shall live (Please read Ezekiel 37:1-28). This is marvelous in our eyes!
Many lies have infiltrated the church in these latter times. It is sad to see that this anti-Semitic replacement theology is one of them, but then, we should not be surprised, as it is this false doctrine that will aid in deluding the world with the Antichrist's final solution. And this is not the first time that the enemies of God have said God has cast off the nation Israel that they should no more be a people of God. “Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.” (Jeremiah 33:19-26)
We could present hundreds of Old Testament Scriptures that make it very clear that the nation Israel, the physical descendants of Abraham, known as the Jews, have a peculiar place in the eternal kingdom of God. God said He would do away with all nations but not Israel. “For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.” (Jeremiah 30:11).
Although the Lord punished His people Israel for their transgressions and scattered them among the nations, yet He promised, “And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 26:44, Jeremiah 31:10-12)
God made an unconditional covenant to give the land of Canaan to Abraham's descendants, his physical seed who came out of Egypt (Genesis 15:1-21), which is the nation Israel (Genesis 12:1-3; 35:10-12; 1 Chronicles 16:13-36). It was based on the promise of God. Their rebellion does not annul the promises of God (2 Timothy 2:13), rather she would be judged for her sin, and restored when she repents (Consider Leviticus 26:14-45).
“Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 31:35-37)
The Replacement theologians have about a dozen pet Scriptures, but when read, considering the whole counsel of God we will find that in no way does it even hint, that God has replaced Israel with the church. They do not say that a Christian is a Jew and that the church is Israel. Nowhere does it state that the church is going to inherit the earthly promises to the twelve tribes of Israel. The Jew that is lost is still a Jew, Israel in his lost condition is still Israel, so “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God” (1 Corinthians 10:32). Today, the Lord Jesus Christ is still building His church out of both the Jewish and Gentile nations.
When God judged Israel and led them captive by the Babylonians, they never ceased from being a nation. When the Romans destroyed their city and they were led captive into all nations, they never ceased from being a nation. And after 2000 years we have seen them brought back into their homeland, reborn as a nation (after the flesh), before our very eyes. And although they faced five major wars since that time, against insurmountable odds, they could not be moved because God had promised (Jeremiah 24:6-7).
“Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.” (Jeremiah 31:10)
Today, it is not only Israel that are dead in sins and trespasses, corpses full of dead men's bones. Jesus said YE must be born again. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8) And one day soon, the Lord shall breathe life into the nation Israel when she is brought back into the land and repents (Ezekiel 37:9-12, 13-14).
The whole earth is under the curse of sin and the shadow of death, and for those looking for redemption, who thirst for righteousness, Jesus says “Come unto me” (Matthew 11:28-30, John 7:37-39). God has given Him a name above every name (Philippians 2:5-8, 9-11). Jesus Christ is Lord, and there is none other name whereby one can be saved (Acts 4:10-12). Believe on Him and you shall have life through His name (John 20:28-31; 1John 5:11-13).