Replacing Replacement Theology – Part 1
Do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you (Romans 11:18).
Replacement Theology has been part of the Church’s interwoven fabric for most of our history, making it very difficult for many Christians to renounce. However, it is more than a small error in the doctrine that began late first century; it is a devised plan by God’s enemy to deceive his creation to keep them from His covenantal blessings “to the Jew first,” and also to the world (Romans 1:16; 2:10). The enemy is still asking, “Did God really say…” (Genesis 3:1).
I will explain further by defining replacement theology. This theology is really a philosophy, which considers its wisdom equal to that of God’s wisdom. It makes harsh judgments such as dealt with in Zechariah 1:14-15: “I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion. But I am very angry with the nations who are at ease; for while I was only a little angry, they furthered the disasters.” God did not need the church to condone and further the chastisement of his own child. Furthermore, replacement is the church’s assumption that she took Israel’s covenants and blessings while rendering Israel cursed forever. Founding fathers of the Christian church took note of the destructed and dispersed nation of Israel and assumed the prophetical scriptures regarding her return and rebuilding were symbolic of the glorious Church. The Church acted in an assumption that she was helping to establish the Kingdom of God. There was no love of Christ in those actions, but pride and tyranny that has rendered much need for repentance. Even the great reformer, Martin Luther, misunderstood the scriptures and spoke of the Jewish people as dogs.
Christianity began from Biblical Judaism and the Hebrew scriptures. Jesus kept the Law. Some say Christianity was basically a sect of Judaism, much like the Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, and Zealots. Jesus’ followers met in synagogues and observed Sabbaths and the Feasts. In the beginning, accepting Gentiles into the faith was a major conflict among the Jewish believers in Jesus. James and his Jerusalem council had to establish the regulations for Gentile believers to be accepted among the entirely Jewish followers of Jesus—the first church (sometimes referred to as a sect of “The Way” or Nazarenes). The Jerusalem council told the Gentile believers to “abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well” (Acts 15:29). The Apostle Paul rebuked Peter for prejudices against the non-Jewish Christians (Gal. 2:11-14). It is obvious that we had a very Jewish beginning.
The separation happened over time. The Great Jewish Revolt and destruction of the temple (AD 70) caused separation between the two groups. The Roman destruction of the temple and murder of so many Jews caused the Christians to question if the Jewish covenant transferred to the new establishment of the Christian church. Scripture would soon be interpreted symbolically, meaning that prophetical end-time prophesies regarding the re-establishment and building-up of Zion would become the blessings for the church (Psalm 102:16; Isaiah 2:1-3; Jeremiah 30:3; 31:23; Hosea 3:5; Zech 8:3, etc.), and that God was finished of the people birthed through Jacob. The Church became the spiritual children of Abraham exclusively.
After the revolts, the next two centuries created a seemingly irreparable divide so wide that its hatred created murderous contempt. The feelings were mutual. Christians were “pagan” and Jews were “Christ killers.” Each feared the other would contaminate the Holy Scriptures, and themselves. The pogroms, isolation camps, and inquisitions only complicated an already designed evil strategy to stop God’s eternal plan that will end with the redemption of the Jewish people and the sheep nations worshipping the same God.
Today, many of the mainline denominations are not open to renouncing Replacement Theology. I have found two reasons: ignorance and prejudice. The first group is somewhat naïve people that have found a sense of personal liberty through the life of Christ and have accepted what has—and has not been—taught them without a personal study of the scriptures. This has, at times, been expressed in the teaching of Supersession Theology (Replacement Theology), which says that the New Covenant supersedes the original covenant. The prejudiced group is generally pro-Palestinians and against the Jewish people. They take up causes that require the Jewish people to leave the land promised to them by God. Many will use forums such as “Christ at the Checkpoint” to advance the cause. It is my opinion that they developed a theology based on propaganda and lies rather than a pure study of the scripture.
Church prejudices began with the second generation of the church that became primarily Gentile. Our “founding fathers” of the faith (after the apostles) wrote hate speeches and did much harm toward the Jewish people that infiltrated the foundation of the church; those like Marcion, Polycarp, Chrysostom, Augustine, and Heraclius. Luther, in my opinion, did the most harm even though he was successful in founding Protestantism, which broke the church free from Catholicism. Generations after him took on his mindset expressed in one of his books called, On the Jews and their Lies: “A base, whoring people…no people of God…their boast of lineage circumcision, and the law must be accounted as filth.” I’ve often pondered how good can come from a man who can also equally render evil, and people accept both as a revelation from God. If people had read and understood the Bible, I don’t think such deception would have been established as doctrine.
I can speak for Christian history: our hearts became as hard as our rules that governed the new way of “Christian” life, which did not resemble Christ’s likeness at all. The once well-connected Jewish root became so severed that nothing about worship for the one true God resembled the way Jesus worshipped. The first-century church that evolved into the Roman Catholic ritualistic worship of dead saints and payment for sins for accepted remission had deep seeded Greek pagan likenesses. The church worshipped on Sunday, celebrated Christmas and Easter to be opposite of anything Jewish. (Historical writings tell of a purer worship through the Baptist and a few other sects. Church history is an interesting study that I only briefly mention in generalities in this writing.)
We do not go back into our history far enough to consider how much of our rituals were established in order to condemn Judaism. The church has assumed that God intended to “Keep the Sabbath holy” on the day of one’s choosing, fulfilling Romans 14:5 (Ex. 31:16). Instead, many set aside the first day of the week for rest and worship. The Feast of Pentecost is barely mentioned in our services, with the understanding that we celebrate Pentecost every day since the fulfillment through the giving of the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room (Acts 2). Even though the Feast of Tabernacle will be observed throughout the Millennium (Zech. 14:16-17), most Christians have not even heard of this Feast. We are looking for our Messiah’s return, but do not know that it fulfills one of the fall feasts! I say this to help the Church understand that we can be better at what we do by understanding the heritage of our Jewish scriptures.
The Gentile dispensation is coming to a close: the final act will highlight the Jewish people back in her Land and their salvation (Romans 11). During the Millenial Reign, we will worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at His eternal throne in literal Jerusalem with The Son of David by His side (Psalms 48:2; 89:28-29; Isaiah 16:5; 62:1-7; Jeremiah 3; 17:25; Ezekiel 43:7; Amos 9:11; Acts 15:16; Revelation 3:12; 21:3).
Written by: Robbie Coleman
Co-authored and edited by: Tommie Coleman