They are still His chosen people.
Are we grafted in or have we replaced Israel? Romans 11. This is the question.
For hundreds of years the thought of the Jewish people remaining as the Chosen people of God has been foreign to the thinking within much of the Church. It is commonly called replacement theology in which the Jewish people are no longer the apple of God’s eye [Zechariah 2:8] but the Church is. This replacement takes many forms and is always changing in nature to cover all bases. There is nothing new in this teaching as it started as soon as the Gentile Church took control of this new movement, after they started to grow greater in numbers than the Jewish Believers.
Teachers such as Augustine who made many anti-Jewish statements which have reverberated down through Church History, to modern times and this spirit of replacement theology has continued. There have been many Church Fathers who all claimed the Jewish people had been removed from God’s blessings. Such as Justin Martyr - 100-165AD who claimed God's covenant with Israel was no longer valid, and that gentiles had replaced them. Ignatius said that those who partook of Passover were partakers with those who killed Jesus. Tertullian - 160-220AD blamed the Jews for the death of the Lord, words that have even been spoken to a Jewish girl here in Invercargill New Zealand. Origen 263-339AD He was responsible for much Anti-Semitism and accused Jews of plotting to kill Christians. Eusebius 263-339AD wrote an influential history of the church and taught that the promises of scripture were for the gentiles while the curses were for the Jews, and that the church was the "true Israel". John Chrysostom 344-407AD Preached that there could never be forgiveness for the Jews, it was the Christian's duty to hate Jews. Jerome Produced the Latin translation of the Bible, which became the official Bible. He said: "Jews are incapable of understanding scripture and should be severely punished until they confess the true faith." Augustine 354-430AD. He wrote that the Jews deserved death but were destined to wander the earth to witness the victory of church over synagogue. One Church even went as far as changing the last line of the “First Noel” from Born is the King of Israel to Born is the Emmanuel. All this was done to expel the Jewish People from their rightful place in God’s plans.
These teachings have been carried on right through Church History and even to Martin Luther. When the Jewish people refused to follow him he made many vile statements against the Jews, which I will not repeat. Luther’s teachings were the basis on which Hitler justified his stance against the Jews.
Once the Gentile Church had taken control of this new movement many laws were brought in to prevent the general public from reading and following the scriptures or anything that was seen to be Jewish. A few hundred years after the Lord’s resurrection the Gospel had been written in some 300 languages, but a 100 years later it was only in one language - Latin. This was done to take total control of the Word and anybody found to be translating the Word into their own language was put to death. For some 800 years laws were enacted to prevent Christians having anything to do with the Old Testament. This spirit continues up to now with people being removed from Churches and Organisations because they want to follow the Ten Commandments and learn about the Feasts of the Lord. [Leviticus 23:1-2]
The Jewish people have suffered at the hands of Christians for centuries in the belief that they are no longer the Chosen people and they must convert to Christianity, as happened in Spain during the Inquisition when thousands where killed whether they “converted” or not.
It is the teachings of the Church that have given birth to such teachings as British Israel where Britain is the new Israel. This has been taken from Brit (In Hebrew Covenant) and ish (People) Covenant People so from this, people claim Britain is the new Israel. However interpretation of the word British comes from a mis- understanding of the language by Emperor Julius Caesar. When he heard the word Pritanni people which meant painted people he pronounced it Britanni.
The British Israel movement started in the 1870’s within the Church of England with such claims as the Stone of Scone being Jacob’s pillow and that Britain is part of the lost tribes of Israel. This movement started at the same time as many of the cults, just when it was being promoted that the Jewish people should have their homeland again.
Today this claim has moved into many areas such as the One World Church, Armstrongism and then there is Ephraimism who claim that ALL people who come to follow Jesus are from the lost tribe of Ephraim, which of course leaves us with a problem. This leaves all those people in the world who are not from the “tribes” of Israel condemned forever. Why is the church still trying to replace the Jewish people, as it did before people could read the word, when we can be part of the blessing by just declaring Jesus as Lord? [Romans 10:9]
Then of course the Islamic world claims to be greater than the Jewish people and the Christians, and that they are the chosen people. Now we start to see what the battle is all about. It is believed to be over land but the battle is more over who gets the blessing of Jacob. There was only one blessing and this was received by Jacob and ever since people have been trying to claim that blessing for themselves. Islam claims it was Ishmael that the promise and blessing were given to and the Church is saying the promise and the blessing were transferred to them through Jesus.
Hitler knew that there could only be one chosen people and if there was another claimant then they had to be removed from the scene.
This is the reason that the world, and sadly the Church in many cases, are against and even ignore the promises of God given to Israel and the Jewish people with many siding with Islam in its claims for the blessing. Why can we not be satisfied being grafted into the promise instead of coveting the highest seat; [Luke 4:18] because if, as some believe, God has rejected the Jewish people for their actions what hope is there for the Church because of its actions of persecution, not only of the Jewish people but of its own people down through the ages?
Many in the Church claim to have replaced the Jewish people to the point that they have even gone against the Word of God, claiming the blessings and calling into question the existence of Israel. To do this is to question the Word of God. The many Orthodox Churches in Israel make the claim that the Church has to be in charge of Jerusalem for the return of the Messiah. Jesus will return not to England, America or anywhere else but to Jerusalem [Acts 1:11] where only His people can crown Him King. Jesus born in the City of Bethlehem in Judea was, is and will return as a Jew as it was stated at His Crucifixion, ‘Jesus King of the Jews.’ [Matthew 27:37]
It is time to turn to the Word of God and to remember there is a blessing in blessing Israel, not the blessing of Jacob but the blessing of God on all those who bless them. Jesus spoke several times on trying to be something we are not; let us rejoice in the Lord and accept the Word of God as truth for who we are in Him, children of God. [John 1:12]
Let us be satisfied with being grafted in and becoming part of the promise, because once we were far off but we have been brought near through the sacrifice of Jesus who died for the entire world, both Jew and Gentile. Consequently we are no longer foreigners and aliens but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household. Let us rejoice in the fact that God’s only Son died for all the world so both Jew and Gentile can walk hand in hand into the Kingdom now and forever. Ephesians 2:19
Contact: Dennis McLeod