Replacement Theology – what does it mean?
The reason the Church at large has missed the fact that the Bible’s focus is totally centered upon the nation of Israel, is due to the doctrine of Replacement Theology, which for centuries has permeated every facet of Christian teaching. This is also the reason why the Church has failed to understand ‘Mystery of the Kingdom of God,’ which Our Savior so powerfully outlined to His ‘chosen’ disciples in many of His parables. This mystery involves the bringing together of Christians and Jews, who between them represent the Two Faces of Israel.
Christian Church teaching for over 1,700 years has embraced ‘Replacement Theology.’ What does replacement theology mean? What exactly is its doctrine? According to this doctrine the Church rivals Israel by claiming that she is the “New Israel of the Spirit” superseding the “old Israel of the flesh.” It is a claim which stresses the Church’s superiority over the common Jew! This incredibly arrogant claim of the Church found its legal expressions in the “Codex Justinian,” *which subsequently spawned the Inquisition, the Crusades, as well as multiple expulsions and pogroms of the Jews, who were seen as the Christ killers! Today we see this theory manifest itself by calling for “even-handedness” in the Arab/Israel dispute. According to this theory, the Jews are held solely responsible for the murder of Christ, the Christian Messiah, and consequently, all of God’s promises to ‘physical’ Israel have been cancelled, as they have been transferred to ‘spiritual’ Israel – i.e. the Church. *Codex Justinianus, 529 A.D. – included legislation about religion. Numerous provisions serve to secure the status of Orthodox Christianity as the state religion of the empire, uniting Church and state, and making anyone who was not connected to the Christian church a non-citizen. (Wikipedia.org/Corpus_Juris_Civilis).
Many of the early Church Fathers were anti-Semites
The Church fathers were immediately faced with the problem of making their theory fit with literally hundreds, if not thousands, of prophecies and inspired statements in the Bible that refer to the ultimate “Restoration of Israel.” Even though the contexts in which many of these inspired statements are set clearly indicate reference to a ‘literal’ and ‘physical’ restoration of the Whole House of Israel, they attempted to rationalize this by ‘spiritualizing’ them away. The Torah (the first five books in the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) is primarily designed as a way of life. The influence of Hellenism i.e. Greek thinking became a major cause for anti-Semitism in the Christian church. Many of the early church fathers were virulently anti-Semitic in their thinking. By way of illustration, just look at a few of their comments:
(Replacement Theology is a Destructive man-made theology. The Bible does not support nor teach such a doctrine.)
Justin Martyr (100-165 A.D.), claimed that God’s covenant with the Jews was no longer valid and that the Gentiles had replaced the Jews in God’s redemptive plan.
Ignatius (Bishop of Antioch in early 2nd century), wrote that anyone who celebrated Passover with the Jews, or received emblems of the Jewish feasts, was a partaker of those who killed the Lord and His Apostles.
Tertulian (one of the most influential writers of the second century), in his “Against the Jews” treatise blamed the entire Jewish race for the death of Jesus Christ.
Origen (185-253 A.D.), accused the Jews of plotting to kill Christians. Origen was the one who introduced the allegorical interpretation of the Bible, where anything that spoke of a literal kingdom of Israel established here on the earth was seen as allegorical and was consequently spiritualized away. He taught that in the Scriptures the curses applied to the Jews, whereas the blessings applied to the Church, which was the ‘new’ Israel of God that had ‘replaced’ the literal Israel in the plan of God.
Eusebius (263-339 A.D.), taught that the promises and blessings of the Bible were for the Christians and that the curses were for the Jews. Like the others he declared that the Church was the true Israel of God that had ‘replaced’ the literal Israel in God’s covenants.
John Crysostom (344-407 A.D.), was yet another bishop at Antioch, and the greatest preacher of his day. His oratorical skills were such that he was known as “Golden Mouth.” He said that there could never be forgiveness for the Jews and that God had always hated them. He taught that it was the ‘Christian’s duty’ to hate the Jews. According to Crysostom the Jews were the assassins of Christ and worshippers of the devil.
Augustine (345-430 A.D.), taught that the kingdom of God was not literal but spiritual. He taught the kingdom was present, not future and existed only in the hearts of men.
If you accept Augustine’s writing, and the writings of the other Church fathers, you, like millions of Christians around the world, believe that you are now living in the millennial kingdom of God on earth, which is the Church. Furthermore, many of you also believe that you are already living as a citizen of the New Jerusalem, which is spiritual. You also believe, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that the devil is effectively bound, and that the mother church is establishing God’s rule over the earth. For centuries the Church has tried to impose its own interpretation on Scripture. The Bible, however, is a book about Israel, and Israel alone! Its entire text revolves around the covenant the LORD GOD (YHVH), the Holy One of Israel, made with a specific people and nation. This immutable and eternal covenant involved the promise of actual land here on the earth, i.e. the Promised Land.
One of the best expressions of this ‘Replacement Theology’ is made by Dr. Robert Reymond, a highly respected systematic theologian from the United States in his article featured in the “Sword and Trowel” publication. He writes as follows:
‘All God’s land promises to Israel in the Old Testament are to be seen in terms of shadows, type and prophecy, in contrast to the reality, substance and fulfillment of which the New Testament speaks. We Christians, as members of Christ’s Messianic Kingdom, we are the real heirs to the land promises of Holy Scripture, but in their fulfilled character in the heavenly hereafter.’
The mindset of the Church has been conditioned by a Greek/Hellenistic mindset, a tendency that was intensified by the ‘so called’ Enlightenment with its preference for the abstract over against the particular. Yet, the books of the Bible are uniquely concrete and historical.
The problem with this reasoning is that it tends to view the God of the Old Testament as being somehow different from the God of the New Testament. In some three thousand instances in the Hebrew Scriptures, and a further fourteen hundred instances in the apostolic writing that we refer to as the New Testament, the word ‘God’ is used, but always it is a reference to a particular God: the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The problem is that Christians tend to read the Bible from a Greek point of view, and consequently they lose sight of the fact that the Scriptures in both the Old and the New/Renewed Testament refer to the God of Israel, WHO IS THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMMORROW.