The Specific Doctrine of Replacement Theology
The doctrine of replacement theology rests on five main pillars:
1. Israel (the Jewish people and the land) has been replaced by the Christian Church in the purposes of God, or, more precisely, the Church is the historic continuation of Israel to the exclusion of the former.
2. The Jewish people are now no longer a "chosen people." In fact, they are no different from any other group, such as the English, Spanish, or Africans.
3. Apart from repentance, the new birth, and incorporation into the Church, the Jewish people have no future, no hope, and no calling in the plan of God. The same is true for every other nation and group.
4. Since Pentecost of Acts 2, the term "Israel," as found in the Bible, now refers to the Church.
5. 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and blessings ascribed to Israel in the Bible have been taken away from the Jews and given to the Church, which has superseded them.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, the Jews are subject to the curses found in the Bible, as a result of their rejection of Christ.
Therefore, according to Replacement Theology, all the Old Testament promises made to Israel, unless they were historically fulfilled before the first coming of Messiah, are now the property of the Christian Church. They are not to be interpreted carnally and literally, but spiritually and symbolically.
Therefore, Old Testament references to "Israel," "Jerusalem," "Zion," and the "Temple," where they are predictive, refer to the Church. In the New Testament all these things are understood spiritually (Gal. 4:21-26; 6:16; Eph. 2:19-22; Heb. 12:22).
The attraction of this doctrine comes from the Church's past. It is historically well rooted in the Church Fathers (Origen, St. Augustine and Tertullian), Martin Luther's writings and the Reformers as we shall see below.
The Historical Roots of Replacement Theology
Replacement Theology has deep historical roots, going back all the way to the fourth century when St. Augustine(354-430 AD), officially recognized as a Doctor of the Catholic Church and others began stirring secular(Greek) thinking into orthodox Christianity. The result was a quantum step toward marginalizing literal, biblical interpretation.
The Catholic Church quickly seized upon this theological error and straightway proceeded to establish itself for the next millennia and a half as the recipient of the various convenants which God clearly assigned to Israel. That position continues today, compounded by Catholicism's vague and feigned acknowledgement of Israel and the Jews.
So powerful and distinctive was this transition from traditional, orthodox Christianity to unscriptural paths that even Martin Luther, although taking a sola scriptura stand against the Catholic Church, still exhibited a strong, anti-Semitic tendency even to his deathbed.
Much of mainstream Protestantism, although breaking with many of Roman traditions and dogma, still carries the extra baggage of amillennialism, post-tribulationism and its attendant anti-Semitism to the current day.
Todays Jewish population is thus left with only a handful of Evangelical and Fundamental Christians who follow a literal interpretation of the Bible, carefully analyzing what the Old Testament prophets such as Ezekiel, Daniel and Zechariah foretold regarding Israels future.
These are the few Christians who may still be holding back the winds of war in the Middle East, encouraging Jews to return to Palestine, thus initiating what they see as a partial fulfillment of prophecies detailed in Ezekiel 37 through 40.
As problems continue to escalate in the Middle East, that handful of Evangelical and Fundamental Christians wonder why there is no outcry or support for the Jews and their rights to the land on behalf of the so-called Protestant community.
The answer is clear when one remembers that Replacement Theology is being taught from the mainline pulpits in America as well as Europe and most who call themselves Christians dont have the foggiest idea of what the Bible really says about that area of the world and either its historical or future significance as clearly and repeatedly stated in scripture.
What is terribly distressing about the current thinking of the Replacement Theologists who now infect most of the major seminaries in America is the number of scriptural references that these Replacement Theologists must deny as literal and of necessity place in either an allegorical or spiritualistic context.
By ignoring, or more correctly, by actually setting aside the theological importance of Israel and the Jews, these Replacement Theologists assume a clear and unmistakable anti-Semitic stance regarding these entities.
Most will vehemently deny such an anti-Semitic position, but their outright dismissal of clear scriptural references amongst both the major and minor prophets of the OT clearly places them in a bad crowd - the same secular crowd that decries the current Jewish claim to the Temple Mount and the multiplicity of references in the Torah to the Kingdom reign of Christ on earth for a thousand literal years.
Many Gentile Christians interpreted the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem as a sign that God had abandoned Judaism, and that He had provided the Gentiles freedom to develop their own Christian theology in a setting free from Jerusalem's influence.
After the Second Jewish Revolt (AD 133-135) put down by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, theological and political power moved from Jewish Christian leaders to centers of Gentile Christian leadership such as Alexandria, Rome, and Antioch. It is important to understand this change, because it influenced the early Church Fathers(Origen, et al.) to make anti-Jewish statements as Christianity began to disconnect itself from its Jewish roots.
As the Church spread far and wide within the Roman Empire, and its membership grew increasingly non-Jewish, Greek and Roman thought began to creep in and completely change the orientation of Biblical interpretation through a Greek mindset, rather than a Jewish or Hebraic mindset(Augustine and Origen are classic examples). This would later result in many heresies, some of which the Church is still practicing today.
Once Christianity and Judaism began to take separate paths, the chasm became wider and wider. Judaism was considered a legal religion under Roman law, while Christianity, a new religion, was illegal. As Christianity grew, the Romans tried to suppress it.
In an attempt to alleviate this persecution, Christian apologists tried in vain to convince Rome that Christianity was an extension of Judaism. However, Rome was not convinced. The resulting persecutions and frustration of the Christians bred an animosity towards the Jewish community, which was free to worship without persecution. Later, when the Church became the religion of the state, it would pass laws against the Jews in retribution.
The antagonism of the early Christians towards the Jews was reflected in the writings of the early Church Fathers. For example, Justin Martyr(100-166 AD) in speaking to a Jew circa AD160 said:
"The Scriptures are not yours, but ours."
Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon and disciple of Polyarp(100-202 AD) declared( c. AD 177):
"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.
In the early 4th century, Eusebius of Caesaria(270-340 AD) who baptised Constantine and who authored over 45 books argued that the promises of the Hebrew Scriptures were for Christians and not the Jews, and the curses were for the Jews. He argued that the Church was the continuation of the Old Testament and thus superseded Judaism. with the early Hebrews having been not Jews but Christians who led a Christian way of life.
Destruction of Christian Witness
It is virtually impossible to imagine how much damage has been done to Christian witnessing to the Jews. Jews, in particular those in the orthodox and ultra-orthodox area, probably understand the Old Testament covenant promises better than many Christians.
Knowing God's plan to use the Church to provoke Israel to jealousy, the devil succeeded in so distorting the "faith once delivered to the saints," that the Jewish people were only too glad to reject such an idol worshiping, blood-shedding abomination.
They(the Jews) reasoned:
"How could anything that evil and malignant come from the God of Israel?"
"How could the Yeshua (Jesus) they claim to believe in, be our Messiah?
Whatever He is, whoever He was, He is not the promised Messiah, for certainly our Messiah could not or would not, inflame His followers with such hatred and evil?"
The plan of the devil was succeeding: A perverted Church persecuting the Jews in the name of Yeshua - Yeshua, the name in which the Jewish nation must believe before He can return to destroy the devil. A master stroke of evil genius! The Jewish people could never come to faith in the one whose supposed followers persecuted and killed them.
One need not wonder why it is so difficult to witness to the Jewish population when Replacment Theology is shouted from the pulpits of many mainstream Protestant and Evangelical Christian Churches in America and from most Churches in Europe.
Had the Church understood the clear message from Romans 11 of being grafted into the Olive Tree from the beginning, then the sad legacy of anti-Semitic hatred from the Church may have been avoided.
The error of Replacement Theology is like a cancer in the Church that has not only caused it to violate God's Word concerning the Jewish people and Israel, but it made us into instruments of hate, not love in God's Name.
It is difficult to imagine that such thinking can be spiritually discerned when its component parts deviate so dramatically from what the Bible clearly teaches regarding Israel.
God clearly says to Israel in Genesis 12:2-3 that:
...I will bless them that bless you and curse them that curse you.
The Replacement Theologists are clearly not blessing Israel by their theology; only God can determine whether or not their thinking resembles a curse against Israel.
Included in this group of anti-Semitic, replacement theologians are those who claim to have special interpretations of the last times, including claims of numerological and pattern processes which they claim places the Church in a position to usurp the clear covenantal promises which God made to Abraham.
In most cases these well meaning but misdirected theologians and writers have developed an impressive but highly incorrect private interpretation, clearly condemned by 2 Peter 1:20. Simultaneously, they fail to distinguish between what is called the Church or body of Christ and those who Christ calls his brethern, his nation, the "elect" or people throughout the Bible.
Even Christian Reconstructionists(John Rushdoony, Gary North, Earl Paulk, et al)have fallen into this anti-Semetic trap as evidenced from the late Reconstructionist David Chiltons book Days of Vengence where he states:
The nation that will not serve us will perish(Isa. 60:12); all the peoples of the earth will be subdued under our feet(Ps. 47:1-3 )--- (these are)promises made originally to Israel, but now to be fulfilled in the New Israel, the Church.
Reconstructionists constitute a significant portion of that group which Washington politicians and the media refer to as the Christian Right. Although other types of evangelical Christians can normally be found in this group, the Reconstructionists have assumed the intelligencia role and have actually elevated their anti-Semitic viewpoint to another level.
They not only have assumed the convenantal promises made to the Jews but espouse a highly legalistic belief structure, claiming that Old Testament moral guidelines provided to the Jews are now to be imprinted on world government, providing a total dominion over things both spiritual and civil.
This article is just too long to keep excerpting, so, here is the link:http://www.aquatechnology.net/RESURGENCE.html