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The Replacements, Israel, and Bible Prophecy

An Israeli flag flies high in Tel Aviv, December 28, 2010.
An Israeli flag flies high in Tel Aviv, December 28, 2010. | (Photo: Reuters)

As Israel celebrates its 70th birthday this year, it's only fitting to call attention to a distorted end-time teaching that has been spreading like gangrene through the church in recent years. It's time to sound the alarm regarding the false teaching that is replacement theology.

I came to know the Lord at a very young age. I started reading a Bible I found one day and couldn't get enough. I read stories about prophets, giants, kings, and the Savior. Early on in my reading, even in my young mind and spirit, I noticed a clear pattern. The God of the Bible had a people. His people have their beginning from a promise He made to Abraham. He gave His servant Moses the Law they were to live by at Sinai. He picked a shepherd boy to be a king and his son to build His holy temple. Over the centuries, God's prophets exhorted, warned, and lamented for their nation and people. Ultimately from this people, as prophesied by Jewish prophets centuries earlier, would come the Savior of all humanity. This obvious pattern was woven throughout the Bible. Even as a boy it became clear that God has a very special purpose for the nation of Israel and the Jewish people. In light of that biblical truth, let's explore the growing tide of replacement theology that has crept into evangelicalism.

When I use the term the replacements, I'm referring to individuals, organizations, and denominations who have espoused supersessionism which is popularly referred to as replacement theology. I'm certain many of our readers know the meaning of the term replacement theology. For the benefit of our new readers and brevity, I'll give you a very basic definition:

Replacement theology (supersessionism) is the teaching that the church has replaced Israel in God's plan. Certain Bible prophesies and promises clearly pertaining to Israel are re-routed and transferred to the church. Oftentimes, the promises meant for Israel get spiritualized and explained away as pertaining to the church now. The end result is a distorted view of what the Bible plainly teaches about God's plans for Israel. A growing number of evangelical leaders are deceived or willingly deceiving others regarding sound end time prophecy teaching.

When you examine verses referring to the church and Israel in their proper context, you will have a sound biblical understanding that God has different and distinct plans for both. We have been in the church age from its birth in Acts chapter two until now. During this time, God has primarily focussed on the church. Once the church is caught up to be with the Lord, His divine plans for Israel will commence in their entirety. Even now we are beginning to see the pendulum swing and the world's attention focused on the Middle East and certainly Israel.

You cannot take one verse of scripture, isolate it and come up with your own interpretation. In short, you cannot hijack promises that were clearly meant for Israel and plug the church into those verses.

In their teaching, the replacements often spiritualize what God most certainly meant as promises for Israel. In their teaching, the replacements will often assert that Israel is no longer God's chosen covenant people because of Jewish unbelief or national sin. Oftentimes the replacements will be asked questions such as, What about Israel? Should Christians support Israel? Is the Israel of today in God's plan? The general answer the replacements give is: This Israel (the one now in the land) isn't that Israel. They will tell people that Israel has forfeited its promises and God's focus is exclusively on the church from now on. Some of the most prominent names in evangelical circles have sought to diminish the role of Israel in their teaching and preaching. Many of the teachers who promote replacement theology are often doctrinally flawed in other areas and certainly as it relates to teaching sound end-time Bible prophecy or they simply ignore it altogether.

Many of them assume that God has replaced Israel and the Jewish people because of their collective blindness regarding the Messiahship of Jesus. These teachers are either ignoring or distorting Romans 9-11 because it clearly teaches that God isn't finished with Israel and He has a remnant chosen by grace. This is no place for spiritual pride because, but for the Grace of God, we would all be spiritually blind. Moreover, growing numbers of our Jewish friends are coming to saving faith in Jesus in our day.

Romans 11:30-31 For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy.

One of the primary ways the Lord reaches lost people is through end-time Bible prophecy. People are walking through this life without hope and they want to know what is going to happen. Thankfully we know the one who has what they are looking for. The Lord knows the end from the beginning. We can rest assured that this same God will fulfill His promises both to Israel and the church as He has before.

Biblically speaking, some of Israel's darkest days are ahead. Christian support for Israel is vital and necessary. God still loves the Jewish people and it is our ministry position to reach as many of them as possible for the kingdom. We long to see Jews and Gentiles (including Muslims) come to saving faith in Jesus.

Know that God has distinct plans for the church and Israel. Remember while many of the replacements are scoffing or negating the importance of end-time Bible prophecy, we have an opportunity to use it to point lost souls to Jesus.

Howard Green is founder of Concerning The Times, which is a Bible teaching and evangelistic ministry whose focus is proclaiming the gospel to the lost and exhorting believers through End Time Bible prophecy.

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