Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
“Thus says the Lord God, „Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; […] They shall live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons, forever; and David My servant shall be their prince forever” (Ezekiel 37:21, 25). Modern Israel is 62 years old today. It was on this date—May 14, 1948, when against all odds, the world witnessed the rebirth of a nation—a sovereign fulfillment of millennia old prophecy. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement that captures the essence of all that is Israel: “On this Independence Day we mark two of the Jewish nation's miracles: The miracle of revival and the miracle of building. The miracle of revival, because I am not familiar with any other nation in history that was scattered all over the world and lost control of its destiny but still managed to return to its homeland and rebuild its sovereignty there. The other miracle is building: What we have built in this land since the State of Israel's inception. Israel is quickly becoming a regional economic superpower and a global technological superpower. In this world of knowledge in the 21st century our possibilities are endless: In science, medicine, technology and art. In each and every field, the forces of genius within our nation break out and create a magnificent country. We are not here by chance. We are here because this is our land. We've returned to our land, to our city - Jerusalem - because this is our land, this is our city.” Israel is a nation whose history is like no other. And it is painfully clear God’s promises to her are eternal and irrevocable. Indeed, Israel is a thorn in the side of those who believe her to be an accident of modern history, particularly to those who hold to the heretical position known as Replacement Theology.
Replacement Theology originated early on in church history, shortly after Gentile leadership took over from Jewish leadership. It teaches that the Christian Church has replaced Israel in the purposes of God. In other words, Israel (the people and the land) forfeited their position as God’s chosen people because of their unbelief. Therefore, the Jewish people have no future, no hope, and no calling in the plan of God. Furthermore, the promises, covenants and blessings ascribed to Israel in the Bible have been taken away from the Jews and given to the Church, which has superseded them. However, it has always amused me that those who hold this heretical position are quick to claim replacement of Israel as God’s chosen people, but insist the Jews are still subject to the curses found in the Bible. The hostility of the early Christians towards the Jews is reflected in the writings of the so called early Church Fathers. For example, Justin Martyr (c. AD 160) in speaking to a Jew said: "The Scriptures are not yours, but ours." Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon (c. AD 177) declared: "Jews are disinherited from the grace of God." Tertullian (AD 160-230), in his treatise, "Against the Jews," announced that God had rejected the Jews in favor of the Christians. Such statements reflect theological and spiritual arrogance. Paul wrote, “For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardness has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Rom. 11:25). Clearly, God is not finished with Israel and the Jewish people!
There are 77 references to Israel in the New Testament and none of them refer to the Church. Try replacing the words, "the Church," where Israel is mentioned and the passage is rendered unreadable and silly. Psalm 105 has a seven-fold affirmation of God's promises of the Land to Abraham. This is an everlasting promise, as was Genesis 12:1-3. Last time I checked, “everlasting” meant everlasting! Jeremiah 31:35-37 speaks of the everlasting nature of God's promises to and for Israel, the Jewish people, which is as sure as the sun that shines by day and the moon and stars that glow in the night. Last time I checked, the sun still shines and the moon and stars still appear at night. The end-time prophecies, which speak of the return of Israel to the land and its restoration, have overwhelmingly been fulfilled in Israel and the Jewish people in the past 120 years. (See, Isa. 11:11-12; Ezek. 37:1-14; Ezek. 36; Ezek. 35:1, Isa. 43:5,6; Jer. 16:14-16; Isa. 60:9-11; Isa. 49:22-23). It has always amazed me that one could turn a blind eye to the overwhelming scriptural evidence in support of Israel and God’s everlasting covenants with the Jewish people. Thankfully, Replacement Theology will not thwart God’s plan and purpose for Israel and the Jewish people! “From the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Rom. 11:28-29).
You are welcome to leave comments and you don't have to necessarily agree with me. However, I expect a civil tone and charitable spirit. We can disagree with one another without being disagreeable. "Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt." (Colossians 4:6)
Striving to glorify God by becoming more like Jesus.
Copyright 2023. All rights reserved.