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The Model for the Messianic Community
A Brief Overview of Replacement Theology
For those who are not familiar with the term “Replacement Theology,” it is the heretical teaching that God, Who cannot lie and Who never changes, has arbitrarily cancelled the “everlasting covenants” that He made with Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya`akov, and with “their descendants forever,” and has transferred those promises to the Gentile “church.” This is a lie straight from the pit of Hell that is particularly detestable to all Believers in Israel’s Messiah because it makes God a liar, and makes the Bible just another book of legends and fables.
When God selected Avraham to be the one through whom He would work out His plan of redemption, He made a series of “everlasting covenants” with Avraham, his son Yitzchak, and grandson Ya`akov. These unconditional covenants included these provisions:
“I will make of you a great nation.
I will bless you, and make your name great.
You will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you.
In you will all of the families of the earth be blessed. …
I will give this land to your seed [descendants].”
[This includes all the land from the western border of the Nile River in Egypt to the eastern border of the Euphrates River in what is now Iraq.] (Genesis 12:1-7; cp. Genesis 22:15-18)
God later confirmed that covenant to Avraham’s son Yitzchak …
… and to his grandson Ya`akov, whom God later named Yisrael (Gen. 32:28).
Ya'akov went out from Be'er-Sheva and traveled toward Haran. He came to a certain place and stayed the night there, because the sun had set. He took a stone from the place, put it under his head and lay down there to sleep. He dreamt that there before him was a ladder resting on the ground with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of ADONAI were going up and down on it. Then suddenly ADONAI was standing there next to him; and he said, “I am ADONAI, the God of Avraham your [grand]father and the God of Yitz'chak. The land on which you are lying I will give to you and to your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the grains of dust on the earth. You will expand to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. By you and your descendants all the families of the earth will be blessed. Look, I am with you. I will guard you wherever you go, and I will bring you back into this land, because I won't leave you until I have done what I have promised you." (Genesis 28:10-15)
After Ya'akov arrived from Paddan-Aram, God appeared to him again and blessed him. God said to him, “Your name is Ya'akov, but you will be called Ya'akov no longer; your name will be Isra'el.” Thus he named him Isra'el. God further said to him, “I am El Shaddai. Be fruitful and multiply. A nation, indeed a group of nations, will come from you; kings will be descended from you. Moreover, the land which I gave to Avraham and Yitz'chak I will give to you, and I will give the land to your descendants after you.” (Genesis 35:9-12)
God later made specific provisions that Gentiles could also participate in these covenants, but only by becoming part of the holy community of Israel.
“When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God. … I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt. … You shall thus observe all My statutes and all My ordinances and do them; I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:33-37, NAS)
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover: no foreigner is to eat of it; but every man's slave purchased with money, after you have circumcised him, then he may eat of it. A sojourner or a hired servant shall not eat of it. … All the congregation of Israel are to celebrate this. But if a stranger sojourns with you, and celebrates the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near to celebrate it; and he shall be like a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person may eat of it. The same law [i.e., the entire Torah] shall apply to the native as to the stranger who sojourns among you.” (Exodus 12:43-49, NAS)
Until several years after Pentecost, the only way for a Gentile to enter into fellowship with the Messianic Community was to be circumcised and “convert” to Judaism. The Messianic Believers who were Pharisees felt that the Gentiles should also be required to obey not just the written Torah, but the Oral Tradition as well. However, the Shliachim [Apostles] (who were all Messianic Jewish Rabbis) deliberated the issue and came to the conclusion (through the guidance of Ruach HaKodesh [the Holy Spirit]) that since the act of circumcision did not play a role in the salvation process (as evidenced by the fact that Ruach HaKodesh had already indwelt hundreds of uncircumcised Gentiles), it would no longer be a required part of the “conversion” process. They also ruled that it would be too great a “culture shock” for a new convert to Messianic Judaism to be required to immediately fully Torah-observant to be accepted into the holy community.
They therefore arrived at an acceptable compromise position. If the newly-converted Gentiles would refrain from those activities that the Jews considered particularly reprehensible (abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality), there could be immediate fellowship while the Gentiles gradually were taught to walk Biblically halakah (according to the teachings of Moses as recorded in the Tanakh [the Hebrew Bible], not according to the oral traditions) as they participated in synagogue life and learned how to live a fully Torah-observant Jewish lifestyle (Acts 15:1-29, with particular attention to v.21).
This continued to be the pattern for the Holy Community until approximately 311 CE when Emperor Constantine decided to make “Christianity” the official religion of the Roman Empire, forcibly uniting “church” and state. Everybody who was then born into the empire was also born into the “church.” Retaining his title of Pontifex Maximus as head of the Babylonian Mystery Religion in Rome, he also claimed the right to be the “head” of the “church.”
Because everyone born in the Empire was also born into the “church,” Gentiles soon became the “ethnic majority” in the “church.” In 325 Constantine convened the Council of Nicea, which none of the Jewish bishops were invited to attend, at which the “church’s” new “official position” on the “church’s” relationship to the Jews was published over Constantine’s signature:
“We ought not therefore to have anything in common with the Jews, for the Savior has shown us another way. And consequently in unanimously adopting this mode, we desire dearest brethren, to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jews. How can they be in the right, they who, after the death of the Savior, have no longer been led by reason but by wild violence as their delusion may urge them? It would still be your duty not to tarnish your soul by communications with such wicked people as the Jews. It is our duty not to have anything in common with the murderers of our Lord.” [The Nicean and Post-Nicean Fathers, p. 54]
The “adopted” children of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya`akov had effectively stolen the birthright of the natural-born children, and had now driven the natural-born children out of the Holy Community. It was the Council of Nicea which took their birthright from Israel and gave it to the Gentile “church.” In 325 CE the “church replaced Israel in God’s plan” — but God had nothing whatsoever to do with it!
Replacement theology is particularly detestable to Jews because it is the theology that many government and religious leaders have used for over 1700 years to excuse their attempts to exterminate the “Jewish vermin” from the earth. It is the excuse for every atrocity that has been committed against the Jewish people from the Inquisition to Hitler’s “final solution.” It says that God, Who hates divorce, has divorced His bride and married another. (Isaiah 49:18; Isaiah 61:10; Isaiah 62:5; Psalm 60:5; Psalm 108:6; Psalm 127:2; the entire book of Hosea)
The large portion of “the Church” that either supports or actively promotes the concept of Replacement Theology needs to stop and consider that if God can arbitrarily cancel His covenants with Israel, He can just as easily cancel any “covenants” or “promises” that He might have made with “the Church” [though a careful study of the Scriptures will reveal that He has never made a covenant with anything called “the Church”], and “the Church” would therefore have absolutely no assurance of salvation.