The Replacement Theology Challenge Today

Daniel C. Juster, Director

A dear friend works in a church connected to an apostolic leader who has just published a book that argues for replacement theology. As most teachers who hold to this very wrong theology, he does not like to call his theology "replacement" but "fulfillment."

According to this view, the church is the ongoing meaning of Israel. It is the fulfillment, and ethnic Israel is no longer the elect nation of God. My friend asked me to help him respond. In reflecting on this I thought it worthwhile to write something new on this for all of you. I hope it aids your understanding for both your teaching and your prayers.

A Brief History Of Replacement Theology

The Apostle Paul anticipated replacement theology when writing to the Roman Christians. There were already attitudes towards the Jews that could lead to this false teaching. Paul notes in the strongest terms that the covenants and the promises still belong to Israel (Romans 9:1). He even asserts that Israel, which has not embraced Yeshua, is the elect and beloved for the sake of the Patriarchs. Paul concludes the argument with this ringing affirmation: "The gifts and call of God (to Israel) are irrevocable." (Romans 11:28, 29) One wonders how Paul could have been clearer, as well as how one can still support replacement theology in the light of these verses.

The Church Fathers

The Church Fathers saw the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple as the ultimate proof that God had once and for all rejected Israel as the elect nation. Even though some taught that at the end of this age the Jews would believe, they still held to the belief that the Jews were never again to be the elect nation or to return to their land. An allegorical method of interpretation developed in order to maintain this view. Christians were taught that the promises concerning Israel that had not yet been fulfilled should be allegorically applied to the church. This did violence to the text because it rejected the natural reading of the scripture in context. The meaning was "spiritually" divorced from the intention of the author and the understanding of the intended audience.

Text after text about Israel's ultimate re-gathering to the Land and the ultimate glory that would be received were twisted to mean something else. The justification was that the New Testament speaks of the Church in terms that were used for ethnic Israel in the Hebrew Bible. However, these texts do not speak of Israel's replacement but rather that the Church by analogy, has parallel meaning to Israel.

The Reformation And The Puritans

The Reformation gave us interpreters who interpreted scripture in context; in a natural and straightforward manner. This led to the Puritan interpreters writing many books and articles asserting a positive future for ethnic Israel as God's elect people. Increase Mather of Harvard wrote a book on Romans 9-11, and interpreters like Elnathan Parr and Samuel Rutherford made strong pleas for the Jewish people. Some even predicted a return to the Land. This was the case with the great poet-theologian, John Milton, in Paradise Regained.

The classic apologetic textbook written by Joseph Butler in 1732, The Analogy of Religion, argued for the Jewish return to the land of Israel. The preservation of the Jews and their return to the Land was one of his arguments proving the truth of the Bible. Lutheran Pietists, Anglicans, Moravians, Methodists and Baptists made this view the consensus of the British Church of the early 19th century. John Nelson Darby in the mid 19th century, founder of Dispensational theology, developed his theology in this context. He agreed that Israel was elect and had a positive future but also added some strange distinctions in defining dispensations or ways of God's working in different ages. Many replacement teachers in the Evangelical world today claim that those who believe in the election of ethnic Israel are Dispensationalists; this is a very wrong claim.

While we can point to the above positive historical trends, both Catholic thought and classical Calvinist thought maintained its replacement orientation, the latter having left Puritan interpretation. However, the Evangelical world in America largely went Dispensational and saw the theology of Israel in the context of Darby's theology. This weakened their argument with replacement teachers.

The Post Holocaust Re-evaluation

After the Holocaust there was a very strong re-evaluation. The positive influence of Karl Barth, who in his Church Dogmatics wrote passionately on the continued election of Israel, influenced the mainline Protestant re-evaluation. Though replacement theology was not seen as logically anti-Semitic, it was perceived as a factor in allowing anti-Semitism to exist. Denomination after denomination rejected replacement theology in official documents and claimed that the Jewish people were elect. This led to a very positive feeling for Israel. Finally during the Vatican II Church Council, the Roman Catholic Church became the largest Church body to officially repudiate replacement theology and give ringing affirmation to the continued election of the Jewish people as distinctly chosen from all nations. This is now enshrined in the "New Catholic Catechism" and many other documents.

Replacement Theology is Re-asserted

Unfortunately, replacement theology is again rearing its ugly head. The mainline denominations have turned from Barth and his followers who gave us Neo-Orthodoxy and a higher regard for the biblical texts, though not an Evangelical high view of scriptural inspiration. With greater relativism taking hold, they were now subject to Arab propaganda. Palestinian mainline Christians, advocates for replacement theology, have brought mainline denominations to a point where they still hold to some tepid level of election for the Jewish people while turning against Israel and rejecting the present return to the Land. There has been unnecessary Palestinian suffering, but the relentless propaganda goes beyond any justification and has now produced an anti-Israel bias in these denominations.

In addition, in the Charismatic and Evangelical worlds, we find a new replacement theology growing up. Some professors at Wheaton College, the bastion of Evangelical education, are affirming replacement theology. This is of great concern to me. Yet, the bulk of the Evangelical world maintains a strong place for ethnic Israel in its theology, both from Dispensationalists and non-Dispensationalists like me.

Replacement Theology in Judaism and in Secular Jewish Thinking

Startling as it may be, there is a kind of Jewish replacement theology in Reform Judaism and secular Judaism. The former no longer holds that the Jews are uniquely elect but that all peoples are equally chosen. If so, the universal election of all people replaces the view of the Jewish people as uniquely elect. All cultures have value and Judaism simply is said to be our culture. Secular Judaism has its own replacement view since no one is elect! These are very dangerous views and undercut the survival of our people. They undercut our courage and the reason to strive to survive as a people.

How Can People Be So Blind?

In a day when God is amazingly fulfilling prophecy and bringing our people back to the Land according to Ezekiel 36:24 and preparing them to receive the New Covenant, this replacement teaching is terribly unfortunate. It robs the Church of its glorious role in making Israel jealous. It steals our rejoicing in the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. In a day when the saved remnant of Israel is growing steadily in numbers and quality, how can there be such blindness? May replacement theology die! We hope that the Church will see the truth and will show support in prayer and finances for the great move of God among our people.

By Daniel Juster


Dan Juster leads the overall ministry Tikkun International. Donate to Tikkun International.

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Comments:
08:22 04Apr08 anonymous -
I appreciate your informative article providing an overview and historic perspective to replacement theology. Regretably, some in the messianic movement exhibit a subtle trait of superiority in assuming because they have a torah-observant lifestyle, they have gained more favor with God compared to those who live otherwise thus replacing Evangelicals. We have lost a sense of God coming to save the world in each side of the body of Messiah perhaps; each side seeking the lost for their respective perspective. It plays out in creating division between those who do the big 3,(observe Shabbat on Saturday, maintain dietary strictures, and observe the Levitical feasts), and those who focus on their God-given liberties as a result of being justified by faith alone. Perhaps replacement of any kind is a defense mechanism to ensure continued survival and existance which in reality only serves to thwart one's hopes.

08:55 04Apr08 anonymous -
I have experienced replacement theology in the church for many years on smaller scales because the truth is not taught in the church. The Jewish roots of Christianity are minimized and little understood. Christians forget that Jesus was Jewish. There tends to be a pride factor of the Christian over the Jewish people. I make these statements as a Messianic Jew for the past 25 years. I maintain my Jewishness in a replacement theology atmosphere.

09:11 04Apr08 Alan Kirkham -
You don't say who this 'apostolic' leader is, or what church, but I would say your friend needs to find another church. You cannot submit to a leader who holds such views.

10:35 04Apr08 anonymous -
The LORD called me 6 years ago to share Yeshua with my Jewish friend and then later to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. I was completely blindsided by this call; I had no idea why, what, how. I was a member of the Presbyterian Church USA - a lukewarm Laodicean like many others. Since then, I have been educated by numerous Messianic Jews who I believe are bringing truth back into the Ekklesia. Not only is Israel being restored but the Ekklesia right alongside of her. Just as Jews brought truth into the world the first time, so they still continue to fulfill their mission to be a light to the nations. Gentiles planted their own tree about 1700 years ago but in this day, we are seeing the spirit of Elijah grafting the wild branches back into the Jewish root again. I am reading the book by Daniel Gruber "Copernicus and the Jews". Just as in the day of Copernicus, many folks refused to give up their belief in a faulty system of the planets revolving around the Earth, so today many cling to a false unbiblical worldview where the "church" is the fulfillment of G-d's plan. The Ekklesia (the assembly of called out ones both Jew and Gentile) is supposed to be G-d's instrument in bringing about G-d's plans and purposes for the salvation of the world. Instead in thinking the "church" is the fulfillment, the church is thwarting G-d's purposes. G-d's plan is to bring Jew and Gentile together, and the church has historically worked toward the opposite end. If there are those who are intimidated by the biblical Jewish lifestyle, study Torah (the very Words of God) and then determine what lifestyle we gentiles are called to lead. Are we goats who have a mind of our own or sheep who want to follow the shepherd? What did Ruth do? What did the aliens living among the Israelites do? What did G-d command them to do? May G-d bless you all, and may the religious leadership in Israel soon say "Baruch Haba B'Shem Adonai!"

10:42 04Apr08 Evangeline Sasaguchi -
I continually pray for the salvation of the Jewish people.

10:42 04Apr08 Bob Colver -
Daniel, you have upated the problem well, concerning the facts presented in Dispensational theology which exhalts the rapture and places the coming triumphal restoration of the Messianic Movement in Israel to a "post tribulation event". Acts 3:21 destroys Dispensationalism, but they are to blind to "see" the evidence. G-d is too jealous for Israel and the Jewish people, not to allow "life from the dead" to mean what it says. The book of Romans and the hundreds of verses in the Old Testament scream out for vindication of the Salvation of Israel in this generation, so eloquently spoken by Asher Intrater at the "Starting The Year Off Right" conference at Glory of Zion Ministries on Jan. 3rd 2008. The word the Lord just spoke to me; "A better word for Replacement is Misplacement Theology". Daniel, you made me a believer at the Atlanta Kingdom of God Congress in 1990, and many thanks.

10:47 04Apr08 Dr. Richard Lawson -
I think part of the problem regarding an understanding of the place of Israel vis-a-vis the Church lays in the fading acceptance of dispensational theology. As you stated, the restoration of Israel is a teaching one can trace throughout Church history. However, currently many see this as a teaching unique to dispensationalism. This is unfortunate as dispensationalism is a rather new system, dating from the 1840's while the uniqueness of Israel predates our Lord's nativity. The Church would be well served with a clear "uniqueness of Israel" statement separated from dispensationalism.
My first post-seminary ministry was as an assistant pastor for a converted Jewish pastor. I remember his comments regarding this issue. Why would Christians want to claim as exclusively their own the promises given to Israel? The promises to the Church are far more glorious than anything given to Israel.

11:25 04Apr08 anonymous -
Romans 11 is so clear, it begs the question "How can believing Gentiles who have the Holy Spirit embrace replacement theology?" Replacement theology is a deception that the enemy needs to have in place. Many believers are deceived, and they have not understood the MYSTERY that Paul explains in Rom. 11:25. In fact, Paul expresses concern that we are ignorant of the mystery, and if we are ignorant, it will result in conceit. "Israel has experienced a hardening in part - UNTIL THE FULL NUMBER OF GENTILES HAS COME IN." Upon return from my second trip to Israel last year, I have been telling people: "if you know any Gentiles who are not saved, you better pray and witness to them NOW." I could see that the veil is being removed from the eyes of Jewish people, and when the full number of Gentiles has come in, Paul says: "And so ALL ISRAEL WILL BE SAVED..." quoting from Isaiah - an OLD TESTAMENT prophecy, as we Gentiles call it.
Hello!?! To embrace replacement theology is to reject explicit scriptural explanation of how God worked to bring in the Gentiles at all! When He's done with us, He will save ALL the Jews. In the meantime, it is astonishing to see God at work bringing His people in His nation to salvation and faith in Yeshua. You are forerunners in His redemptive work before the second coming of Yeshua! Blessings on you and your ministry!

11:30 04Apr08 Eliza from Central New York -
God bless Dan Juster and all who take his uncompromising stand on the truth. Our local Messianic Jewish congregation faces incredible apathy from the churches and more than a little resentment from some of them because of this poisonous heresy. Thank God for the individual non-Jewish followers of Yeshua who stand with us and support us, overjoyed to find the Jewish roots of their faith.

11:47 04Apr08 Andre Tavares -
R. Juster, did your article hint that replacement positions are related to Israel's condition in History? When Jews were broken, as in the second century EC, the Church rejected them because of Israel's dishonour; when the efforts to evangelise Jews failed throughout Middle Ages, even by force, they were reckoned as pariah and "godforsaken". Not at all, but between XVII and XIX centuries Jewish condition and role in Western culture were growing (mainly in England, Netherlands, Germany and Denmark) - I am thinking what this has to do with positive Puritan views of Jewish people - even earlier in XVII century. At the end of XIX century, with anti-Semitic feelings increasing, the success of "apostate" Jews had to be explained: how can they prosper without Jesus? I guess dispensationalism gave an theological "answer".
The Holocaust changed things because it was perpetrated by the Christian World (not Ancient Rome), so it was necessary to recognize the guilt and reaffirm Israel's position as G-d's people and elected one, like a excuse I say. Also the modern Israel State showed Jewish "actuality" and importance - and made sense in the Dispensational scheme.
However, when Israel's enemies arose and started a ideological and information guerrilla war accusing Israel, the "left wing" Church fell back before political correctness pressure, and denied or diminished her relations and support for Israel. The "right wing" Church, once more, chose replacement theology by Dispensationalism as a palliative: we believe in Israel's election to a earthly role as G-d's mundane agent; Israel will survive by G-d's providence and Church can't and/or must not (or little) concern in this issue but to concentrate in saving souls and preaching the Gospel.
In this context it is curious that the Vatican has recently supported Israel politically - maybe because the Pope knows that the enemies of Israel are enemies of the Church too.
I think Dispensationalism is a sophism and a distortion of Brit Hadash's teachings, as you said. I read your article in a '89 MISHKAN issue about positive aspects of Dispensationalism (as its positive view and place to Israel), and although you criticize it, it is not clear to me if you perceive some value in it ... (and I really learn and respect your position), because I suppose it is a "false positive". Finally, is it an anachronism to recover Puritan view and teachings to our days without risk of another sophism?

11:57 04Apr08 Amy Hocking -
Romans 11

12:05 04Apr08 Jennifer Smee -
I have often thought that the story of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan has a great "picture" of Jewish-Gentile relationship as overseen by the "teacher" (Annie/ Holy Spirit figure). When Annie wants to teach Helen to sign in order to open a world of communication up to her, she has to take her away from her familiar enviornment. Helen is upset and doesn't want to learn from Annie. She doesn't know what it all means anyway. Annie decides to get Percy (a young household slave-boy) and a piece of cake. She teaches Percy the sign for cake and then feeds him cake. Helen can smell the cake and is jealous of Percy receiving the attention and sweets from Annie. To further tempt Helen, Annie seemingly pushes her away when Helen attempts to participate while she is busy with Percy. Of course this serves to make Helen "demand" to be taught the sign and have the cake that goes with it. It is cause for delight to the "teacher" that her student has finally expressed a desire to learn to communicate. Just a wonderful picture of the "jealousy" we Gentiles were meant to portray. It is a priviledge to be grafted into your beautiful tree. I do not know if my few words convey the richness of the scene. I could not tell you how deeply it has moved me. I recommend watching it for yourself( there are at least two great film versions) if you have not. You will be blessed.

12:14 04Apr08 anonymous -
I am an evangelical Christian and a Zionist. I have a strong love for the Jewish people. Our Lord has placed me in many positions to gently witness to these wonderful people. My question: I am so confused - Are ALL Jews saved both (Old and New testament) because they are the chosen ones OR will only a remanant be saved at The End Times?
Recently, a Christian friend declared we don't have to witness to the Jews because they are all saved in the end anyway because they are the chosen ones. I've always believed that unless you have faith and believe that Jesus is the Messiah, Yesuha, God's son; you will not have eternal life.
I asked my Messianic Jewish friends and I really didn't get a clear answer. I take this VERY seriously. Can you PLEASE clarify this for me. I would so appreciate this. I so want my Jewish friends to be with me in Paradise.

  -- Dr Juster replies: I did a long paper on this topic for a conference some weeks ago. It is available on a UMJC-Kesher Web site, I think. Basically, I argue that the Abrahamic Covenant provides access for Jews but not automatic salvation. Furthermore, the condition of our people and the teaching of Scripture is such that we should not be optimistic about the salvation of anyone without an explicit response to the Gospel and bringing forth good fruit. However, at the end of this age, the Jewish people living, will as a whole nation, embrace Yeshua. That is the massive consensus of exegetes.

12:17 04Apr08 Roger Staley -
Two years ago I found out that a close friend of mine, who prior to my salvation had witnessed to me, believes in Replacement Theology. Since then I have really struggled in my relationship with him. He now refused to discuss Scripture, taking as he says "the high road", as he does not want to get into Scriptural arguments with me. He has found that he can not justify his beliefs using Scripture alone so he avoids any detailed joint study of the texts. I think of Matt 5:19 and apply it to him. The text is referring to the breaking of the Torah and teaching others to do so, it says they will be called least in the Kingdom. He is a believer, yet in error, and I don't see God disqualifying him from the Kingdom.

  -- Dr Juster replies: That is right. This is a "least in the Kingdom" issue for one in the Kingdom. However, it is sad that there is such closed mindedness that he will not just read the numerous texts in context with you. Then what does the text say?

13:00 04Apr08 Todd -
I didn't realize that there was growing movement with this theology. It just doesn't make any sense that a believer could read his bible and arrive to that conclusion. Believers need to be reading their bibles and not rely on someone else to teach them about the Word of God. In John 14:26 Yeshua said "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you". I am not saying that we don't need teachers but we need to search the Scriptures to test everything that is taught to us and ask our Helper from our Father to lead us. I know so many believers today that say they are too busy to read or to spend time with the Lord each day. It saddens me because I think a lot of people will stand before the Lord and say "but I did all these things in Your name", but the Lord will say "Depart from me for I never new you". We as His bride need to be praying for Israel more than ever. I wish people knew that it is all about LOVE, this is the most important thing to remember. All through scripture God screams that He wants us to choose Him (Love Him with all our hearts and to love His children as we love ourselves).

14:40 04Apr08 Bill Bledsoe -
Question re: Replacement Theology. In Psalm 80, God refers to Israel as the Vine. But in Jeremiah 2, God says that Israel has become a wild (alien - Amplified version) to Him. Then in John 15 Jesus calls Himself the TRUE Vine. Would not this mean that ethnic Israel MUST accept Yeshua as their Messiah and KING since it seems Yeshua says that HE is True Israel ?

  -- Dr Juster replies: I can only say that it is not helpful to over push metaphors to literal meaning. Yes, Israel needs Yeshua and needs to abide in the Vine, but at the same time Israel remains chosen as a nation though not in Yeshua explicitly according to Romans 11:28,29.

15:10 04Apr08 Charles Reece -
Unfortunately, Dr. Juster, for the past 2,000 years, we Gentile Christians have been fooled with the false propaganda that God has "done away with" the Israelite people as a "chosen race" and that "jewishness" has no "place" in the Body of Messiah. Since God's original Hebraic "version" of Christianity has long been stripped of its "Jewish roots", and has been infiltrated with paganism, and pervaded with the alien Greek ideas of Western Civilization's Hellenism, it is no wonder that Gentile Christians continue to err - in spite of Romans 9, 10, & 11 - in thinking that God has "forgotten" about Israel; with the tragic consequence of the Gentile believers continuing in dividing themselves according to "denominations", and thus cannot come together in true unity of the Faith; since Gentile believers continue to MISTAKENLY read the New Testament through Western/Ancient Greek "eyes" - INSTEAD OF correctly reading the Scriptures from the original ancient Middle Eastern/Hebraic point of view. Even when Gentile Christians are asked to explain to "unbelievers" the reasons for denominational divisions within the Body of Christ, they have no idea that the false anti-Semitic doctrines of Replacement Theology [i.e., the Church "supersedes" Israel] and Anti-Nomianism are the two leading causes for the Gentile Church, during the Protestant Reformation, having divided itself into a multitude of isolated sects, independent congregations, and separate ecclesiastical bodies - all because these European "believers", down through the centuries, DID NOT learn the New Testament from the original ancient "Hebraic" point of view; but instead, were reading the Gospels and the Epistles from their own Western frame of reference; and thereby causing themselves all kinds of problems in trying to understand and interpret a "Holy Writ" whose linguistic, historical, and cultural background was deliberately suited by God - for a people, such as His "own", who happened to be Middle Eastern, in general; and Israelite, in particular. Since the Lord Himself had ordained the Children of Abraham - being Middle Eastern and Hebrew - to be the primary bearers of the "Oracles of God", then it should be no surprise that our Creator, "Yahweh Elohim", would have His oral and written instructions for Mankind, to come primarily out of this SAME region of the Middle East - i.e., "Palestine"; where, through the Lord's will, Abraham's descendants - unto this day - have always resided for nearly four thousand years.

  -- Dr Juster replies: I do think there are signficant Jewish Roots in the churches, but often veiled. This includes some holidays, Temple rooted furniture and liturgy with the Psalms and more, but there is much that causes this veiling.

19:19 04Apr08 anonynous -
Dear Church of the Living God, please read Romans 9-11 with an open heart. God showed me truth as I had never seen it before. I had been taught from my youth that the Church had taken the place of God's people Israel. As I made a study on Isreal in relationship with God throughout the Old Testament, and His Son Jesus Christ (Yeshua) in the New Testament, my heart was opened to truth, I could feel the depth of God's Love for His people Israel. It won't be long and their eyes will be open with Yeshua's coming, that excites me!

19:34 04Apr08 anonymous -
My whole family (except a sister and I) have Jewish roots and a long history of Christian workers and missionaries. But ... they believe in the 13th tribe which I know is a branch of replacement theology. Fortunately for me, I seem to have missed this family trait, but no insufficient about it to discuss with them. Are you able to clarify it for me?

  -- Dr Juster replies: Some years ago John Powledge did his masters thesis on this when he was a student with Messiah Biblical Institute. The 13th tribe refers to the conversion of the Kazars. John Powledge is today a Colonel Chaplain with the US Army in Iraq. Generally, he argued that the demographic evidence simply does not support the idea that Jews are mostly 13th tribe people.

00:59 05Apr08 Mary Bryant -
In the 1980's, I heard replacement theology and rejected it after a time, even though I heard it from an anointed teacher. Reading in the Word about the promises of God's everlasting covenant with Israel led me to believe that replacement theology was error. I trust that many will listen to the Holy Spirit as the Church revives. Your teaching is a blessing to the Body of Christ. Thank you for communicating the truth. Blessings in the name of Yeshua. 06:39 05Apr08 Apostle Amani Tshimenga -
He who believes the replacement theology is blind in his mind. God Himself is comparing his covenant with Israel with the laws governing the motion of Sun, Moon and celestial bodies. The covenant will last as long as these celestial bodies motion last. The trouble of all this, is that most teachers are not established by our Lord for his ministry. They claim themselves to be ministries as only by men's will and not with the agreement. There are some evidence occuring after centuries of time and these are proof evidence of lasting relationship between God and Israel. The re-gathering of Israel to his land is one of these proofs. I am sorry I cannot present my arguments in a correct english because I speak merely french. I believe Holy Ghost make you understand what I want to mean.
Apostle Amani, DR Congo

10:54 05Apr08 a sister in Christ -
My sister sent this article to me and has given me a couple of your books. I have homeschooled my 4 children since 1994 and I have worked very hard to pick and choose the materials they study from simply because much of reformed or Calvinist teaching does have this replacement theology in it and I did not want my children to be taught these lies.
In reading through the scriptures together there are so many promises and covenants that God made to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that are so clearly made and understood. God would have to be thought a liar in order for this "replacement" theology to be true and since HE is not a liar nor ever could be, the replacement theology clearly shows itself to be what it is: complete and total error diametrically opposed to the Word of God. It is false doctrine.
I do love my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who believe this false doctrine and they have done much good in bringing others to Christ but I grieve at the way they mislead so many to believe that God's promises to Israel, to the people and with regard to the land, are not relevant for our day and age. I pray that they will repent of this false doctrine and as they read and listen to the news and realize that truly "Jerusalem is a cup of trembling" for all nations of the world today. I pray the error of this belief will flee from their hearts and minds. Thank you for speaking the truth.
Dave Hunt of the Berean Call is doing a wonderful work in trying to show this doctrine for what it truly is. I am grateful for what he has taught me and others using the scripture to show this doctrine as being false.

11:10 05Apr08 Daniel Lang -
The gospel preached to Abraham is "in thy Seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed." And the Deed is one and the Seed is Hamashiach: Yeshua of Nazareth is ha Mashiach. This interpretation is true and sure. God loves all men without partiality, of Yudah and of the nations (Gentiles). For the purpose of God to be accomplished Israel had to be blinded. Through their unbelief faith went to the nations. But God has not forsaken His people. For though they were partially blinded through the time of the Gentiles, now in this last time, "all Yisrael shall be saved." And thus the gospel preached to Abraham be completed, "in thy Seed ALL THE NATIONS SHALL BE BLESSED" equally without partiality. Whether you be the natural olive branch or the wild olive branch, boast not in yourself, O man. For only one is worthy of all praise, it is the Lamb of God, Yeshua.

15:05 05Apr08 anonymous -
Thank you for continuing to inform. We must all realize that God is not and will not be finished with the Jews until the His glorious Second Coming. As believers, we must rejoice in the return of the remnant of Israel--it means our Lord is close at hand!!

21:11 05Apr08 Ken MacNeil -
Very thorough! Although replacement theology has occasionally reared its ugly head for me, I have encountered more Christians asserting the passing of Torah. The so called "Grace" that has supposedly replaced Torah, has been suported by misinterpreting the book of Galatians. If you find the time and inclination I would love to see your explanation to this. Toda.

  -- Dr Juster replies: This false theology is always a concern. It is addressed in my book Jewish Roots but we may be able to schedule an article on this in the future.

10:32 06Apr08 John R. Peacher -
The Creator of all things both seen and unseen is aware of the false teachings and attitudes of major Christian denominations. In His time He will cast them aside. A simple word from His throne and all false teachings will come to nought. This is a time of decision for the people of planet earth. Hearts are being revealed and exposed for what they believe and desire. Is His desire being fulfilled or do we have agendas of our own? One man anointed of God parted the Sea! One man anointed of God called fire from heaven! In the near future two Witnesses from the heavens will do likewise and bring to nought all of the plans of man that are opposite of God's plans. It is time to awaken and rend the heavens that His Kingdom of righteousness and truth expose the lies of the enemy over the centuries. A new day approaches. The glory of the LORD WILL cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

21:32 06Apr08 anonymous -
I appreciate this because the facts are true and biblical; the underlying assumption, however, worries me a little ... not too much, just a little :). I guess I get a little curious and skeptical whenever I see a lot of negative focus and teachings coming out at the same time the Lord is energizing a movement or revelation/revival with a powerful and positive message such as the Church stepping into a fulfillment of scripture. I'm sensitive to it because I feel that the heart of prophetic discussions about the Church fulfilling prophecies in scripture that in the text refer to Israel is inclusive of all who are saved in the end times, including Israel. The Lord is really revealing some awesome powerful stuff in parallel to what Israel went through and will come into - such as crossing the Jordan and what that means for the church coming into promises God has for her and leaving Egypt and how that applies to the church today overcoming a lot of slavery and bondage to major sin and ultimately stepping into a place of victory and purification - as the Lord is coming for his pure and spotless bride, etc.
It seems, occasionally, the heart of all this teaching and attention to replacement theology stems from more of a critical, hurt and bitter place. And if not that, certainly reactionary. We definitely need watchman on the walls to call people's attention to clear error being taught. However, I feel that the attention being given to replacement theology error in the Messianic movement towards all non-Messianic believers is often misplaced because the majority of charismatic and evangelical believers know that all God's promises about Israel still apply to Israel (This is True - it really is). I think that the Messianic movement is partially a little hurt by watchman who have called attention to the error of going back to a circumcision of the flesh (required sacraments, diets, etc.) when the true circumcision and religion is of the heart and solely based on our relationship and friendship with Yeshua alone. I believe a majority of Messianic believers know this but have become hurt by a lack of understanding from the other side. So now we have a reaction to the other side when it comes to those who Truly Love and Stand with Israel and the rest of the Christians. I think it comes in the form of an assault on what is perceived as a slight to Israel and the promises due her. Most true lovers of God, Christians, regardless of their denomination, love Israel and believe all that is prophesied about her will come true. Some really need to hear this message. For many, it's really not an issue that needs pressing because we are already with you.

  -- Dr Juster replies: For one think as I noted, but could not expand in the article, many promises have additional application to Christians because they are also the children of Abraham in Messiah. I call this addition theology and it gives place to all the dimensions you share. However, replacement is still an enormous problem and in a moment I will share why. However, do note that salvation and being centered in Messiah does not require physical circumcision at all, but being part of the ethnic-national destiny of Israel still requires it. It is foundational in the Abraham covenant that establishes the identity of the people. As for replacement theology there is a massive problem in these regards.

  1. Among Arab Christians and other Christians in Muslim countries there is great embrace of replacement theology. This may be so as to avoid persecution and what we call the Stockholm syndrome identifying with the persecutors view point.
  2. Secondly, though many church bodies have affirmed that the Jewish people are still elect, the idea that the land is promised to them is spiritualized so the Jews are not replaced but the land promises are. This is a pervasive problem of partial replacement seen in a recent statement of Evangelical leaders calling for Palestinian justice.
  3. In the Charismatic world, due to the influence of the North West US and such writers as Kevin Conner and Dick Iverson, there is still a sad emphasis on replacement.
I do not see things as positively as you, but thank God for the massive numbers that are with us on this.

10:54 07Apr08 Herb Nye -
There seems to be a confusion and perhaps it is my own. As I read scripture, the church has existed since at least Moses' time. The Church is "the assembly", of which the Jews have always been a part. The distinction I read in scripture is between Jews and Gentiles. The church cannot replace the Jews. The New Testament apostles never made a distinction regarding the church and it being Jewish or Gentile. Both Jews and Gentiles were described as being a part of the church. Even by New Testament account, assuming the assembly of Moses' day being a different group, the church pre-dates any gentiles being added to it (Acts 2:47). As I read it, Gentiles have simply (but wonderfully) been given fully access to the assembly. I oppose replacement (or fulfillment theology) but let's use biblical language the way it was used in scripture. It is the replacement theologians who believe the church is a gentile thing. Not scripture or us.

14:47 07Apr08 Susan Foster -
The word "church" is not in the Messianic Scriptures (NT). The English word church is translated from the Greek work Ekklesia. The word ekklesia is all the way through the Septuagint, which is the Hebrew scriptures translated into Greek. The translators of the NT should have translated this word to be congregation, assembly, or meeting just as done by the translators of the Septuagint. Taking into account that the word "church" first entered English translations in the 16th century, it is not surprising that a new word would have been used since the church had been anti-Judiac for about 1200 years. There is no church in the Bible! So the Jews have never been members of the church. They are the People of God in the Hebrew scriptures.
Someone wrote that most Christians support promises to Israel. I don't know where she lives, but I personally do not know any Christians in mainline denominations who support Israel or even have a clue what is now going on in Israel. They do not care or know anything about Church History. I believe, as Dr. Juster states, that replacement theology is very, very serious error! I believe that mainline demoninations (NCC and WCC members) are the congregations of the Adversary spoken of by Yeshua to the church in Philadelphia in Rev. 3:8 - Those who claim to be Jews but who are not. I am a docent at the Virginia Holocaust Museum. Most people know nothing about the history of the Church. They have no idea about how the anti-Semitic ravings of Martin Luther were exactly to the detail carried out by the Nazis on Kristallnacht November 10, 1938, Luther's birthday. The Holocaust was allowed to happen in Christian Europe becuase of the centuries-old teaching of "Contempt of the Jews". This is all due to replacement theology and amillenialism (they go hand in hand).
My teenagers attend a Christian school where, in a daily Bible course, OT promises to Israel are regularly stolen by the "church". Teachers never mention national and current-day Israel. Why? I have to set my kids straight at home. And, no, I am not a member of any "church". I am aligned with the Messianic community because I am grafted in, as the scriptures teach.

23:12 07Apr08 Vivian Kovene -
Amen brother!!! The Lord's word is truth and all men be found liars. (That may be miss quoted but it's close) But He will reveal His truth to those who seek Him and wake the eyes of their hearts when it is Him they seek. He can only heal the vision of the blind when pride isn't in the spit and the mud. He is love, His word is from Gen1:1 to Rev. last period and people should believe all of His thoughts not just the ones their pride accepts.

10:09 08Apr08 Herb Nye -
I truly am sorry Susan (Foster), my intention was not to upset you. You may come across people like me who do not associate themselves with the theologies that may be responsible for exchanging the word assembly with the word church. I suppose the great number of translations we use today create the possibility for confusion. When I was using the word church I was using it as the English translation for "ekklesia" as most of the translations I read do. I was most specifically referring to Dan Juster's statement, "It robs the Church of its glorious role in making Israel jealous." found in his last paragraph of this article. It is not the church (or ekklesia) that brings the Jewish people to a place of jealousy, but the gentiles (or the nations). Romans 11:11 And, as I mentioned, Acts 2:47 makes it clear that the Jews who were followers of Jesus and a part of the "ekklesia" long before any gentiles. In fact, I don't believe the Jewish followers of Jesus thought they were joining anything, but rather, they were walking in the fulfillment of promise. Romans 11 is referring to a national status of being broken off, and yet God reserved an elect remnant. (Paul was one of many) And you also are among that elect remnant for which I am glad. And one day soon God shall graft in His people once again.
I am truly sorry you live in community where replacement theology is prevalent. I want you to know that I come from a city in Ontario, Canada where the Jewish community is largely pleased with the relationship they have with followers of Jesus and have publicly honoured those followers for their care for the Jewish community. Most of the evangelical churches reject replacement theology here.

13:06 08Apr07 David Adeola -
Thank you so much for this article which will be a great resource for me to use in further teachings to highly placed and influential ministers who are sadly still embracing replacement theology. May the Lord remove the blindness from their eyes in Yeshua's name. Amen

13:30 08Apr08 anonymous -
This is an excellent article. Not only does replacement theology need replacing! With the truth! The church as a whole in the U.S. is receiving a major overhall in many areas! One recently is being discussed is the walls of prejudice being torn down between ethnic groups, for the church to arise as ONE NEW MAN! This is a great challenge to Americans and the Lord is definitely shaking all that can be shaken at this hour!

10:37 24Apr08 Jack -
Whenever I hear somebody say to me something about replacement theology, then I always ask them in this order the following questions: "Does God change or is He the same yesterday, today and tomorrow?" The answer from Bible believers is invariably "Always the same." Then I ask: "Was there a Christian church in the Old Testament?" Answer is usually: "No!" "Is the Book of Jeremiah in the Old or New Testament?" Those who know anything about the Bible say: "Old!" "Then what is Jeremiah 31:35 - 37 trying to say?"
Jer 31:35-37 Thus saith Jehovah, who giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, who stirreth up the sea, so that the waves thereof roar; Jehovah of hosts is his name: If these ordinances depart from before me, saith Jehovah, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith Jehovah: If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, then will I also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith Jehovah.

01:14 26Apr08 Joseph Johnson, MA, MDiv -
Just a side note, before this gets out of hand, the term "church" is the Anglicized form of the Scottish "Kirk," from the German "Kirche", from the Greek "Kuriakos" (also found in the Septuagint). It simply means "that which belongs to the Lord." Hence, the church (read Heb. "adah" or "kehilah") has been since Adam, with various covenantal administrations. It is this people / congregation that is called or identified as "Israel" in the TaNaKh.
The Bible distinguishes between elect Israelites and those that are not (see Rom. 9.16), that is, the children of the promise and those like Esau, are children of the flesh. Since the promise is Yeshua Himself, those (as Rav Sha'ul says in Galations 3) with the faith of Father Abraham -- whether Jewish or not -- are the sons and daughters of Abraham, for if we have been baptized (en tou christou) "into Messiah" we are the children of Abraham and heirs according to the promise (which comes by faith alone apart from the Torah). Shalom.

06:05 13Nov10 Connecticut Puritan -
Why are the Jews returning to Israel and why has every attempt that their Arab / Muslim enemies have made to push them into the sea failed? What the world does not understand is that God exists and that he keeps his word. His honor is at stake here. God made promises to the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - the Abrahamic covenant. This is the covenant outlined in Genesis 12:01-07 that God made with Abraham. In this covenant, God promised to make Abraham (and his descendants, the Jews) a great nation, and to bless those (Gentiles) who bless them (the Jews) and curse those (Gentiles) who curse them (the Jews). This covenant was made with Abraham and his seed after him (the Jews) and it involved both the Jewish people and the land of Israel. (See Genesis 13:14-17, 15:18, 17:7-8, 17:21, 35:9-12 - and Psalm 105:8-11). This covenant was open ended (eternal), and was not conditional on the Jews' performance, contrary to what the Replacement Theology folks may claim. Rather, it was conditional upon the performance of the Gentile nations in their interaction with the Jews. This covenant is still in effect today, and the Supersessionist Christians, the Muslims, and the hard left would do well to take it seriously. The Replacement Theology of the Supersessionist Christians in effect makes two claims: 1) that God is not truthful and will not keep his promises made long ago to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and 2) that God is not sovereign and his capability for action is dependent upon the performance of sinful human beings (i.e. the Jews failed in their assignment, so God cannot help them), or in other words to put it bluntly God is a liar and God is impotent (ineffective, powerless, helpless). To the contrary, God is truthful, honorable, and sovereign, and will keep his promises to both Jews and Christians. The whole world is clamoring to see Jerusalem divided and covenant land in Samaria and Judea taken away from the Jews and given to the Palestinians (Edomites). Ownership of Jerusalem and the land of Israel by the Jews or the Palestinians is not the real issue here. At the core of all this controversy is the real issue of God's honor. The Supersessionist Christians, the Muslims, and the hard left are out to prove that God lied to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but as we know from Titus 1:2, God cannot lie. When the smoke clears after the next Mideast war - the Psalm 83 / Obadiah / Isaiah 17 war "Operation Israeli Freedom" - and Israel is the only one left standing, God will have vindicated the honor of his holy name, and will be called truthful, having kept his promises made to the Patriarchs long ago. God will continue to defend Israel during the final two wars thereafter - Ezekiel's war and the Battle of Armageddon - because the honor of his holy name depends on it (See Ezekiel 36:22 &23, Ezekiel 36:32, Deuteronomy 9:05 - and God's summary of the entire situation, Ezekiel:21-29).


Also in this issue of the newsletter:

Eitan Shishkoff: 60/60 Vision
Moshe Morrison: Birth Pangs 60 Years In
Abigail: Behold How Good And Pleasant It Is ...