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09/01/2002 - Zionism in Bible Prophecy - Part 9 Replacement Theology



Zionism in Bible Prophecy - Part 9

Replacement Theology

Date: 09/01/2002

Issue No. 168

This will be the final bulletin of this series, and we will attempt to tie everything together that we have shown up to this point. There is much that we will summarize. We will assume you know much by now.

It is commonly taught among prophecy teachers that in 1948 the nation called “Israel” was the fulfillment of the biblical promises to Abraham and all the prophets. We have attempted to show that this is not so. The nation called “Israel” is the fulfillment of a different set of prophecies in the Bible.

First, it is the fulfillment of Matt. 24:32, where Jesus prophesied that the cursed fig tree would again bring forth leaves at the end of the age. This was the same fig tree that Jesus cursed in Matt. 19, saying, “Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever.” This tree will not bear the fruits of the Kingdom, because that calling is reserved for the other fig tree, the one bringing forth the good figs in Jer. 24.

There are two fig trees of Judah. The tree bringing forth the evil figs, Jeremiah says, are those who refuse to submit to the judgment of God according to the law of tribulation. The tree bringing forth the good figs are those who submit to God’s judgment and (in the prophet’s day) go to Babylon.

This basic problem in Judah continued and was very evident in Jesus’ day, where the majority of the people preferred a military messiah to throw off the yoke of Rome that God had imposed upon them. Jesus came as a Prince of Peace, however, and those who accepted Him were of the good fig tree that brought forth good fruit.

God then brought judgment upon the evil fig tree of Judah in 70-73 A.D. The Christians, however, escaped that judgment. God used the Jewish religious leaders of the evil fig tree to drive out most of the Christians by persecution described in the book of Acts. In this way, the good figs from the good tree were sent abroad into a type of captivity, much like Daniel and others had gone into captivity in Jeremiah’s day.

These Christians as a body formed what is called “the Church.” It was actually the good fig tree of Judah, whose Root was Christ (Rev. 22:16). To this tree were engrafted peoples of all nations, each producing its own good fruit, and each sustained by the life of Christ. Soon these other nations outnumbered the Judahites. But it was still a Judah fig tree.

Hence, the Church never replaced Judah; it always WAS Judah. The only possible replacement that might have taken place was if the good fig tree replaced the evil fig tree in carrying the promise of the Kingdom.

The Church in later centuries began to think of itself as having replaced the fig tree, for it forgot that the very trunk of this tree was Judah. This was how they developed “Replacement Theology.” But they were wrong. They replaced nothing.

God considers the Church to be true Judah. This is what Paul tells us in Rom. 2:28, 29, where the apostle tells us who IS a Jew (Judean) and who is NOT a Jew (Judean). These are God’s definitions, even if the world thinks otherwise.

The Law of Sacrifice

In Lev. 17:1-4 the law tells us that if anyone makes a sacrifice and does not bring it to the place where God has chosen, he would be “cut off from among his people.” In other words, he would lose his citizenship status in his tribe and nation. He would be exiled.

It was necessary that Jesus be the Sacrifice for sin and that the priests perform this sacrifice. This was prophesied in the law. The Romans did not crucify Jesus, for the law must be fulfilled, and God never authorized the Romans to kill the sacrifices.

The Levitical priests had to do this in order for it to be an acceptable offering that did not violate the law. For this work, we can thank them. This is not meant as a word of blame or condemnation. However, the law tells us that anyone who does not apply the sacrifice of Christ in the proper manner is cut off from Judah.

Our bodies are the true temples of God (1 Cor. 3:16). Those who brought Jesus’ blood and sprinkled it upon the altar of their hearts (Heb. 10:22) were NOT cut off from Judah.

Those who refused to do this, having no faith in His blood, were cut off from Judah (in the eyes of God). The issue, then, is not whether or not the Jews killed Christ, but rather what they did with His blood.

It is the same for all men, for there is no difference. We must all be saved in the same manner by the same Messiah. If anyone says that there is more than one way to be saved, he has departed from the faith. If anyone says that a Jew, by virtue of his race or religion of Judaism, is already under grace and is saved by virtue of the old covenant, he has departed from the faith.

Let me be as plain as possible, so there is no misunderstanding as to where I stand on this issue. Judaism does not worship the God of the Old Testament. The God of the Old Testament was Jesus Christ in His pre-incarnate state. To reject Jesus is to reject Yahweh, for Exodus 15:2 says,

2 Yahweh is my strength and my song; He also has become my Yashua [Joshua, or Jesus].

Judaism can only produce bad figs, for it is the evil fig tree in Jer. 24, and it is the fig tree that Jesus cursed in Matt. 21:19. The way is open for all men, including Jews, to be engrafted onto the good fig tree. But they must accept Jesus as the Messiah first. When they accept Jesus, they are removed from the unproductive tree and engrafted onto the fruit-bearing tree of God’s Kingdom.

The evil fig tree will NEVER bring forth the fruits of the Kingdom that God requires. Only the true Judah fig tree will bear fruit from whatever type of branch is connected to it, whether a “natural” fig or an engrafted branch from a different type of fruit.

Some people think this to be inflammatory and accuse me of driving a wedge between Christians and Jews. Am I to apologize that Jesus Christ and the cross is a stumbling block to the Jews? I did not make it so. I am not the one who formed two fig trees, one good and one bad. It was God’s decision to separate men into two categories: believers and unbelievers. Whether we like it or not, the wedge is already there, and I have no power to remove it, even if I so desired. My only mandate is to agree with God and to bear witness to His Word.

To remove this wedge would be to re-unite believers with unbelievers, to make both trees one again. There are many who now do this, saying that a Jew is saved by virtue of his race or religion, apart from Christ.

Is this shocking? Surely only a tiny minority of Christians would say such a thing! No, as of August 12, 2002 this is the theological position of the United States bishops of the Roman Catholic Church.

Jews Saved Apart from Christ?

You may read their entire statement online at: http://www.usccb.org/, which is the website of the “United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.” Click on “What’s New” and scroll down to the seventh article entitled: Reflections on Covenant and Mission.

This article was issued by the National Council of Synagogues and Delegates of the Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

The article gives a history since the Second Vatican Council’s declaration in 1965 called Nostra Aetate. It says,

“The post-Nonstra Aetate Catholic recognition of the permanence of the Jewish people’s covenant relationship to God has led to a new positive regard for the post-biblical or rabbinic Jewish tradition that is unprecedented in Christian history.”

In other words, this new teaching is unprecedented. Even the disciples did not teach this.

“Knowledge of the history of Jewish life in Christendom also causes such biblical texts as Acts 5:33-39 to be read with new eyes. In that passage the Pharisee Gamaliel declares that only undertakings of divine origin can endure. If this New Testament principle is considered by Christians today to be valid for Christianity, then it must logically also hold for post-biblical Judaism. Rabbinic Judaism, which developed after the destruction of the Temple, must also be ‘of God’.”

Here they have challenged God to either destroy Judaism (and the Israeli state) or leave it alone and let it be validated as being “of God.” This is huge. Watch what God does about this. The article continues,

From the point of view of the Catholic Church, Judaism is a religion that springs from divine revelation. As Cardinal Kasper noted, ‘God’s grace, which is the grace of Jesus Christ according to our faith, is available to all. Therefore, the Church believes that Judaism, i.e., the faithful response of the Jewish people to God’s irrevocable covenant, is salvific for them, because God is faithful to His promises.”

This is saying that if a Jew is merely faithful to Judaism, then he is saved. They reason that God made an “irrevocable covenant” with the Jews, so that regardless of whether or not they accept Christ, they will be saved by that covenant.

Are they referring to the old covenant under Moses? If so, then they are saying that the law has the ability to save men. But Paul makes it clear that all have sinned (Rom. 3:23). Can any man receive justification apart from Christ? Will Jews be justified by their works, while the rest of “us gentiles” have to be saved by faith in Christ? If this is how a Jew is saved, then no Jew has ever been saved in all of history. The “doers of the law” are certainly justified (Rom. 2:13), but because all have sinned, the law must condemn all men without exception (Rom. 3:19).

To say that Jews are saved by the works of the law is to condemn all Jews, not to save them. The Catholic teaching here may mollify the Jews, but they are merely confirming them in their unbelief and to certain judgment.

I, on the other hand, do my best to warn them of the judgment to come, both at the Great White Throne and also the more immediate judgment that will surely come upon the Israeli state. They may not like to hear this, but who is their real friend?

Paul says in Galatians 1:13 how he acted as a member of Judaism in good standing:

2 For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure, and tried to destroy it.

In Gal. 4:25, Paul says that the children of the old Jerusalem are in bondage. But apparently the Catholic Church has decided to leave the Jews in their bondage. Paul also said in 1 Thess. 2:14, 15,

14 . . . for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, 15 who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men.

The article continues,

“This statement about God’s saving covenant is quite specific to Judaism. Though the Catholic Church respects all religious traditions and through dialogue with them can discern the workings of the Holy Spirit, and though we believe God’s infinite grace is surely available to believers of other faiths, it is only about Israel’s covenant that the Church can speak with the certainty of the biblical witness. This is because Israel’s scriptures form part of our own biblical canon and they have a ‘perpetual value . . . that has not been canceled by the later interpretation of the New Testament’.

“According to Roman Catholic teaching, both the Church and the Jewish people abide in covenant with God.”

I can understand if the Church does not know the difference between the Jews and Israel, because God was responsible for causing Israel to be “lost sheep.” It was necessary in His plan for Israel to be lost, even as Joseph was lost and presumed dead until his revealing in the end. However, to say that God’s “saving covenant” was given to the Jews in the ancient past, and that this saves them even if they continue to reject Jesus Christ, is rank heresy.

It is not that this is really a new doctrine. In fact, the same article explains that it has been pushed by Prof. Tommaso Federici for the past 25 years. The article says,

“He argued on historical and theological grounds that there should be in the Church no organizations of any kind dedicated to the conversion of Jews. This has over the ensuing years been the de facto practice of the Catholic Church.”

Really? So for the past 25 years the Catholic Church has considered Jews to be already saved, so long as they are faithful to Judaism, which hates Jesus and rejects Him as Messiah? Well, it is about time that they make it public. Let us keep reading:

“. . . the Church must bear witness in the world to the Good News of Christ, so as to prepare the world for the fullness of the kingdom of God. However, this evangelizing task no longer includes the wish to absorb the Jewish faith into Christianity and so end the distinctive witness of Jews to God in human history.”

Let me see if I understand this correctly. The Church thinks that if a Jew accepts Christ, he loses his status as a Jew, and if all Jews accepted Christ, then this would “end the distinctive witness of Jews to God in human history”?

Perhaps we ought to admonish Jesus’ disciples for following Jesus. Perhaps we ought to chastise the 3,000 who were converted on the day of Pentecost. Perhaps the Great Commission did not include Jews at all. Perhaps Paul erred greatly in preaching in the synagogues. Perhaps Peter himself was wrong in being a minister to the circumcision. We continue reading:

“Thus, while the Catholic Church regards the saving act of Christ as central to the process of human salvation for all, it also acknowledges that Jews already dwell in a saving covenant with God. The Catholic Church must always evangelize and will always witness to its faith in the presence of God’s kingdom in Jesus Christ to Jews and to all other people. . . .

“However, it now recognizes that Jews are also called by God to prepare the world for God’s kingdom. Their witness to the kingdom, which did not originate with the Church’s experience of Christ crucified and raised, must not be curtailed by seeking the conversion of the Jewish people to Christianity.”

We thank the Catholic Church for clarifying their heresy in public. My opinion, of course, has no weight. So I will simply quote Peter, whom the Catholics name as their first pope, who said in Acts 4:10-12,

10 Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. 11 He is the Stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the very corner stone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.

This was spoken to the high priest of Judaism (4:6). It is evident that the Church today is NOT the same Church as it was in the book of Acts. What happened to the Church is the same as what happened to the Old Testament Church. In both cases their traditions made void the law of God.

The Church tells us that God has continued His covenant with the evil figs and that the divine law did not really cut them off from among their people for refusing to apply the blood of Jesus Christ to their heart altars.

The Church taught Replacement Theology for a thousand years, where the Church supposedly replaced the Judah tree. But now the Church teaches Replacement Theology in a new form—that the evil figs of Judah have replaced the good figs.

If the promises to the Fathers in Israel means that Jews are saved apart from obedience and apart from accepting Jesus as the Messiah, then that covenant is far better than the New Covenant under which the Church operates. Under the New Covenant, men are required to follow Jesus to be saved, and therefore, they say, the vast majority of humanity are doomed to hell. But how fortunate is the Jew, who is under a better covenant than we, who can reject and even hate Jesus Christ and still be saved by following the traditions of Judaism!

If that were true, it would have been far better for Jesus to have never come. Judaism should have remained the one true religion, and men should simply have converted to Judaism.

One might ask, “What if a person converts from Catholicism to Judaism? Does his conversion grant him a special privilege of salvation that Catholics do not enjoy?

God’s Promise to Esau Fulfilled in 1948

We have shown in past bulletins the history of Esau, whose descendants were called Edom, or Idumea, and sometimes Mount Seir. Edom was conquered and absorbed into Judaism in 126 B.C., as any encyclopedia affirms.

From that point on, Judah took upon itself the responsibility to fulfill both sets of prophecies—one for Judah, and one for Esau. One cannot read Obadiah without seeing that the Kingdom of God will be taken from Esau and his violent men and given to the children of Joseph.

This is what is about to take place.

Judah was the cursed fig tree. It could not return to the old land while under the iron yoke that God imposed upon them. The iron yoke could not be removed until and unless the people repented of their hostility against the God of the Old Testament, Jesus Christ (Lev. 26:40-42). This they have not done. Hence, they still remain under the iron yoke, regardless of their conquest of Palestine.

However, God (through Isaac) had made a promise to Esau that he would one day receive the dominion mandate, because Jacob had stolen it from him (Gen. 27:40). This is why God allowed the Zionists to win the struggle in 1948.

In 1948 God fulfilled this obligation to Esau through their descendants who were absorbed into Judaism. The Jews were unable to take Palestine under the banner of Judah, but they were able to do so under the banner of Esau. That is why the Zionists took it by violence and theft. That is the character of Esau.

It is my belief that Esau’s descendants were given the land and even the birthright name of Israel for one complete Jubilee cycle of 50 years from 1948-1998. At the point, they became responsible to declare the Jubilee, for this is the responsibility of those who would take the name of Israel. They failed to do this.

Jesus then sought fruit on this tree for 3 years, even as He did during His earthly ministry (Luke 13:7). This went from 1998-2001.

Yet, like the first time, intercession granted a fourth year in which to dung the tree (2001-2002) to see if it might yet bring forth fruit. This fourth year was 2001, but by Hebrew time, it began at the Feast of Trumpets in 2000. That was the day Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount and deliberately ended the peace process. God is using the Palestinians to dung the fig tree, with their uprising. It is all to no avail, for the Zionists do not know the laws of dung, nor do they know what to do with it when it is thrown at them. (See my book, The Laws of Wormwood and Dung.) This tree, then, will not bring forth fruit.

We have now reached the end of the fourth year. I believe that the destruction of the Israeli state is imminent. Zionism is about to eat of the violent fruit that it has sown.