Myth Busters; Replacement Theology

replacement theology

Center for Tanakh Based Studies

By: William Jackson

Replacement theology “is the teaching that the Christian church has replaced national Israel regarding the plan, purpose, and promises of God”1 In theological circles it is sometimes called supersessionism or fulfillment theology.  In short, it asserts that the Jews were bumped out as the chosen people and replaced by the Christians.  For Christianity, this is a critical component, especially if one believes in the rapture or tribulation.  As we view it, much of Revelations hinges on Daniel 9:24-27 which is where the seven-year tribulation was taken.  The problems for Christians is that Daniel is talking about the Jews in the final days not the Gentiles.  Thus begs the question, is replacement theology something that is supported by God’s word, or is it a method of perpetuating the Christian religion? We will dig into both the Tanakh and Christian writings to determine an answer.

We do know that initially God selected Israel as His chosen people; Exodus 19:5, Deuteronomy 7:6-8, 14:2.  However, if one reads the New Testament, it infers that Jews were replaced by Christians as God’s Holy people.  We see this with Paul when he says

For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.  He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups.  – Ephesians 2:14-15

The “one new people” would be any Jew or Gentile that believed in the Christian messiah, or more simply said, “this one new people would be the Christians.”

As well; Colossians 3:12, 1 Thessalonians 1:4, 2:13, and Revelation 17:14 are other New Testament verses that claim the church and believers in the Christian messiah are the new chosen ones2.

moses

So, what makes a people the chosen ones(?) – a covenant.  As we know, God did make a covenant with Israel first, through Abraham 3 (Genesis 12:1-3,7; 13:14-17; 15:1-21; 17:1-21 and 22:15-18) at Mount Sinai 4 (Exodus 19–24).  However, one must note that under this covenant, there are certain blessings (Leviticus 26:1-13, Deuteronomy 28;1-14), and curses (Leviticus 26:14-39 and Deuteronomy 28:15-68).  As the prophets would tell us, Israel would receive both blessings and curses for her obedience and disobedience, respectfully.  As for Israel’s disobedience, we see punishments beginning with the Babylonian captivity in 605 BCE.

captivity

Yes, the consequences for disobedience are punishments; but this does not suggest that the covenant is broken.  God states, at the end of the curses, that He will remember the covenant He made with Israel (Leviticus 26:42, Ezekiel 16:60, Psalm 106:45).  Still many bring up Jeremiah 3:8, where God divorced Israel, but if we read the balance of chapter 3 we see God pining for Israel to repent and return to Him.

Another point to ponder is that our God does not change his mind (Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, Isaiah 44:6), and He knows the future (Jeremiah 29:11, Isaiah 46:10, Psalm 33:11).  So, the idea that our God, who sees into the future and doesn’t change, would pick a new people is ludicrous.  Even when we look at the book of Zechariah we see a future plan which includes the Jewish people.  This book talks about the Messiah to come and Israel’s prospects in the future5.  In Zechariah 8:23 it speaks about an upcoming time where, “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’”  If the Jews have been eliminated as God’s people, how could this statement of future tense happenings hold up?  Remember that Zechariah was written after the Babylonian captivity. Let’s not stop here, we need to look towards Malachi as to the conclusion of the Jews.  Remembering that Malachi was the last prophet to say anything.  He sums it up nicely by saying “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed” (Malachi 3:6). God then speaks to Israel over the next five verses explaining how Israel can recover from its’ curse.  Do we not think if God was going to break His covenant with His chosen people and pick a new people, that we would have heard about it through His prophets?

gatherIs

The Tanakh teaches the restoration of the nation Israel5 – Deuteronomy 30:1-6, Jeremiah 30-31, 33, Ezekiel 36–37, Amos 9:11-15, Zephaniah 3:14-20, Zechariah 12–14.  Nevertheless, let us return to Paul, who at the beginning of this article talked about the Christians becoming the “new” chosen people in Ephesians 2:15; “He (Jesus) did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations…”.  So, Paul says that the method of making the Gentiles His chosen people is to remove the covenant. Funny, because the Tanakh tells us in Isaiah 56:6-8; Ezekiel 43:18-27 and Zechariah 14:16, that God’s Kingdom will be reinstituted as it was before. Likewise, for those that believe in the New Testament, it appears that Paul was in contention with his fellow Christian writers who believed that the law would remain and that the Temple would be restored (Matthew 5:17-18, Luke 16:17, Acts 3:20-21, Revelation 11:19). Replacement theology appears to be a method of forcing the New Testament to work with the Tanakh.  Stealing a play from the Christian handbook in 2 Corinthians 6:14, they warn believer to not be unevenly yoked.  The New Testament does this type of manipulation to the Tanakh, because they need to carve the puzzle pieces to fit them together; because they won’t snap into place on their own.  Replacement theology is just a way to force things together that do not fit.

References:

  1. Slick, Matt. “What Is Replacement Theology?” CARM. Accessed April 30, 2016. https://carm.org/questions-replacement-theology.

 

  1. Sizer, Stephen. “2 – Israel and the Church: Who Are God’s Chosen People.” Zion’s Christian Soldiers? 2007. Accessed April 30, 2016. Page 22, http://www.christianzionism.org/BibleSays/Sizer03.pdf.

 

  1. “Jewish Roots.” The Abrahamic Covenant. Accessed April 30, 2016. http://chosenpeople.com/main/jewish-roots/267-the-abrahamic-covenant.

 

  1. Barrick, William D. “The Mosaic Covenant.” Academia.edu. Fall 1999. Accessed April 30, 2016. (Page 220) http://www.academia.edu/1370222/The_Mosaic_Covenant.

 

  1. Vlach, Michael. “12 Reasons Why Supersessionism / Replacement Theology Is Not a Biblical Doctrine.” – Theological Studies. 2012. Accessed April 30, 2016. http://theologicalstudies.org/resource-library/supersessionism/327-12-reasons-why-supersessionism-replacement-theology-is-not-a-biblical-doctrine.

 

 

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Paul Verses Torah

Peter_Paul_El_Greco

https://www.facebook.com/CenterforTanakhBasedStudies

By William Jackson

What if you were told the most influential Christian spoke against God’s word.  It would be earth shattering, almost too profound to believe.  So who is considered “the most influential Christian”.  Jack Wellman, who is the Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas probably sums up the Christian mindset best by stating “…Paul was the greatest Christian and missionary that the world has ever known and that many today are still being brought to saving faith by his writings…”1.  Sure, why not, Paul wrote almost half of the New Testament, 13 out of 27 books.  However, Paul, who was considered a Pharisee of Pharisees2, talked against Torah, God’s word.  Let’s do a comparison between the Tanakh (OT) and the New Testament (NT), to see what I mean:

 

Torah

Paul
Circumcised

Uncircumcised

Genesis 17:13 The slave born in your house and the person bought with your money must be circumcised; thus my covenant will be in your flesh as an everlasting covenant.Genesis 17:10-14, Exodus 12:48, Leviticus 12:3, Joshua 5:2-8 Romans 2:29 On the contrary, the real Jew is one inwardly; and true circumcision is of the heart, spiritual not literal; so that his praise comes not from other people but from God. 1 Corinthians 7:18-19, Galatians 5:16, 6:15, Philippians 3:3, 1 Colossians 2:11

Follow God’s Torah

Not following God’s Torah

Deuteronomy 28:1 “If you listen closely to what Adonai your God says, observing and obeying all his mitzvot which I am giving you today, Adonai your God will raise you high above all the nations on earth; Exodus 15:26, 23:22, Leviticus 26:3-13, Deuteronomy 7:12-26, 11:13, Isaiah 1:19 Romans 3:28 Therefore, we hold the view that a person comes to be considered righteous by God on the ground of trusting, which has nothing to do with legalistic observance of Torah commands. Romans 4:6; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; II Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5

Food Laws

No Food Laws

Isaiah 66:17 “Those who consecrate and purify themselves in order to enter the gardens, then follow the one who was already there, eating pig meat, reptiles and mice, will all be destroyed together,” says Adonai.Exodus 23:19; 34:26, Leviticus 11:3-19, Deuteronomy 14:12-21 1 Corinthians 8:8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. Romans 14:17, Colossians 2:20-22

Marriage

*Single (see note)

Genesis 2:24 This is why a man is to leave his father and mother and stick with his wife, and they are to be one flesh.Genesis 1:28, 9:1, 7, Leviticus 26:9 1 Corinthians 7:8 Now to the single people and the widows I say that it is fine if they remain unmarried like me; 1 Corinthians 7:26-27,32-35

 priest

*Note: Being married or single; when we study out these scriptures Paul isn’t saying God wants us to be single, but it appears that Paul needs to infuse his opinion here.  So riddle me this, “at what point does any prophet or preacher ever counter God’s mandate with his own opinion in scripture?”.  The very act of doing this minimizes God’s word.  Image if your boss at work told you to tell the employees something very important so you do it but after you state your boss’s wishes you follow it up with your own counter opinion.  For example, “The boss says there will be no overtime, but you better believe it if I have to stay late I will be putting in for overtime” how much credibility would this carry in your business. We also have to remember that Paul’s “opinion” which is almost given the weight of God’s very own words in the Christian community has inspired celibacy in many Christian sects for its Priests.  This has always perplexed me.  Maybe I am crazy but how does one get advice on marriage and family from a man who has never been married or had a family? Maybe that’s why on the other side of the aisle, there are some in the Jewish community that say Rabbis should be married3. So let us look at the Torah not Paul and in doing so we see that the patriarchs and other great Torah Champions were married.  Are we not to turn to these men as our examples?  

Jews God’s Chosen People

Jews are not God’s Chosen People

Deuteronomy 14:2 “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. Exodus 19:5, 2 Samuel 7:23-24, 1 Kings 8:53, 10:9 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. Romans 11:25, 2  Corinthians 4:3-4

st-paul-preaching-at-athens-raphael   

Paul taught that the ushering in of Christianity made the Torah irrelevant:

Romans 3:19-21 Now we know that what things so ever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Romans 7:6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.

Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

He also polarizes the new religion having one choose between Jesus or Torah.

Both-Sides-of-Your-Mouth1

Conclusion:

If you research Paul and his misrepresentation of the Torah on the internet you will find an Army of commentators telling us what Paul really meant.  Interestingly their arguments are verified as if no one holds the definitive of what Paul is really saying, just a bunch of speculation and theory.  Even the apostle Peter admits Paul is hard to understand, (2 Peter 3:16). Let me ask you this, “if a political candidate was so misunderstood would the people even allow him on the ballet?” yet since Paul, for some unknown reason, is so critical to the Christian religion many have abandon their common sense.  As a parting note let us just remember that the Christian messiah said “… let your “Yes” be simply “Yes” and your “No” simply “No,” so that you won’t fall under condemnation.” (James 5:12).

st-paul-1

References

(1)        Jack Wellman, What Books of the Bible Were Written by Paul? Christian Crier, September 4, 2014

(2)        Thomas Smith, A Pharisee of Pharisees, Catholic News Agency, September 29, 2008

(3)        Aron Moss, Can a Rabbi Get Married? Chabad.org