Replacement Theology: It’s Not True – Part 4
By Steven J. Hogan
One of my purposes in teaching eschatological prophecy is to help you see the plans God has for your life. Way too often we trudge through life, lost in our own little worlds, and we don’t see the big picture. And it’s God’s word that enables you to know why you are really here, what life’s all about, and where you are going. In particular, it’s important to understand God’s prophetic word as it relates to your future, and the future of the church and of the Jews. It’s also important to see that God’s plans for the Jews directly relate to God’s plans for the church. And there’s no doubt that seeing God’s plans for the Jews gives you a bigger, better and more comprehensive picture of God’s plans for the church.
But there’s a problem in that many people, both Christians and non-Christians, believe in an error called Replacement Theology. This is a lie the devil has foisted upon the church for over 1900 years now, saying that God negated and nullified His Old Testament promises to the Jews about their land, salvation and King, and then to some degree, gave them to the church. But the church did not replace Israel when it came to God’s Old Testament promises. I have shared many arguments from God’s word, proving that His promises to the Jews are still valid, and will be fulfilled in the future. Today, I will share a few more.
1. Christ Himself Affirmed That the Promises to the Jews Are True. Luke 24:44 – “All things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Jesus Christ told His disciples that all things written about Him in the Old Testament were to be fulfilled, things related to His suffering and His glory, to His first coming and His second coming, and to His reign over the world.
Jesus came to visit His frightened disciples, for He wanted to reassure them, and give them evidence that He was the Messiah, the Savior and the King. And so what did Jesus do? He immediately goes to God’s word, to the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. These Bible passages had much to say about Jesus, about who He was, what He had done and what He was going to do. This must have been a most enlightening Bible study, for here’s Jesus, God in the flesh, opening up the Word, using it to instruct and confirm His identity and purpose, and thereby encourage His disciples.
Jesus uses the phrase “all things”, to say that He was going to share “all things” about Himself with the disciples – He was going to tell the disciples what the Word said about Himself. This would include His relationship and dealings with the Jews, that He was their Savior and coming King. This verse helps us to see that God’s promises to the Jews have never been negated, but that they’ll come true in connection with His plans for the Messiah. You can’t separate the truth about Jesus from God’s promises to the Jews. Since Jesus was affirming the truth about Himself, then He was also affirming God’s promises about the future of the Jews. Jesus will be the Savior of the Jews, and He will be the King of the Jews. For example, look at Psalms 47, 67, 72.
I want you to notice that Jesus tells us the same thing in Matthew 5:17-18 – “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter stroke shall pass from the Law until all is all is accomplished.” Do you see that? Jesus is coming to fulfill the Law and the prophets. And all that is predicted about Him will come to pass, which, as I just said, includes all things as it relates to God’s promises for the Jews.
It’s 2017, and we now live in the end times. At the end of this church age believers will be raptured, unbelievers will be judged, a remnant of Jews will be saved, and Christ will begin His reign over the Jews and over the world. Especially at this time in history, might we see that “all things which are written about Me” are true and will come true. Might we not be “foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken.” Luke 24:25. Let’s pray that God opens our “minds to understand the Scriptures.” Luke 24:26
2. God’s Character Demands that He Carry Out His Promises to the Jews. If God, in His Word, says something is going to happen, and then He backs down or changes His mind, or somehow says that’s not what He meant, then that’s a terrible blemish on His character, for He would not be truthful, but He would be lying. But God cannot lie, otherwise He would not be God, for God is always truthful and holy. You must understand that God did not lie when He communicated His promises to the Jews about their future. In fact, if God has lied about His promises to the Jews, then maybe He has lied about His promises to the church. If God’s “forever” and “eternal” promises to the Jews aren’t true, then maybe Christians don’t really have eternal life. But we know that’s not true. God did not lie! He has always told the truth, to the Jews and the Christians! “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” Numbers 23:19. “Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar.” Romans 3:4.
Another important aspect of God’s character is His faithfulness, which means that God will carry out what He has promised to do. In His Word, God predicts that many things will happen, and because He’s faithful, then He will most definitely bring them about. The best chapter in the entire Bible that declares God’s faithfulness is Psalm 89, for there we read about His faithfulness eight different times. And what is God going to be faithful to do? He will faithfully fulfill His promise to David, that one of his descendants will be the Christ, and will forever reign as King over the world. Psalm 89:2-3 – “I have said, ‘Lovingkindness will be built up forever; in the heavens You will establish your faithfulness. I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant, I will establish your seed forever, and build up Your throne for all generations.’ ” Now it is 2 Samuel 7:13-16 that originally gives us this promise, but it is Psalm 89, along with other passages, that repeat it and reestablish the fact that it will be fulfilled. “My faithfulness and My lovingkindness will be with Him, and in My name his horn shall be exalted.” Psalm 89:24. Indeed God will be faithful to His Word and His character – you can count on Him to completely carry out His promises to the Jews, to the church, and to you. “The Lord God will Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom shall have no end.” Luke 1:30-33
3. The Gathering of the Jews to Israel Proves that God’s Promises to Them Are True. The Jews first came to their God promised land around 1400 BC. They lived there for about 800 years, but because of their terrible sin, they were taken captive and exiled to other countries. Then after 70 years, a remnant of Jews returned to their land. A little over 500 years later, Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, and then was raised in Nazareth. During his 3 ministry years, He traveled throughout Israel, and then He died in Jerusalem for our sins, but was raised from the dead. Shortly before Jesus died, He predicted the departure of Jews from Jerusalem and their return to it (Luke 21:24 – “They (Jews) will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled”). Lo and behold, about 1850 years after Jesus said this, Jews from all over the world started to come back to the land of Israel. Jesus’ prophecy about the Jews was 100% right. He told the truth, and we have been seeing His prediction come true right before our very own eyes.
But it’s not just what Jesus said in Luke 21:24, it’s that many Old Testament prophets, from around 740BC-490BC, had already predicted this second gathering back to Israel. Isaiah 11:11 – “In that day the Lord will reach out His hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of His people…” Jeremiah 32:37-38 – “I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in My furious anger and great wrath. I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. They will be My people and I will be their God.” Ezekiel 36:26 – “I will gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land… I will give you a new heart and spirit.” Ezekiel 37:21-23 – “Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land… and one King will be king for all them… and they will be My people and I will be their God.” Hosea 1:11 – “Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together and appoint themselves one head and they shall come up out of the land; for great shall be the day of Jezreel.” Micah 4:6-7 – “In that day, I will assemble the lame and gather the outcasts, even those whom I have afflicted. I will make the lame a remnant and the outcasts a strong nation, and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on and forever.” Zechariah 8:7-8 – “I will save My people from the countries of the east and the west and bring them back to Jerusalem and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.”
It was in 1867 that JC Ryle, one of my favorite prophecy teachers, spoke about the return of Israel to their land. He believed what these Old Testament prophets had already predicted concerning the future of the Jews. From his book, Are You Ready For the End of Time?, and in his chapter titled, “Scattered Israel to Be Regathered”, he says, “Out of the 16 prophets of the Old Testament, there are at least ten in which the gathering and restoration of the Jews in the latter days are mentioned.” He goes on to say, “There is one common remark that applies to them all. They all point to a time which is yet future. They all predict the final gathering of the Jewish nation from the four quarters of the globe, and their restoration to their own land.” Here is this godly man, living at a time when the Jews were still scattered all over the world, and when the vast majority of Christians believed there was no future for the Jews. But JC Ryle was convinced of God’s truth regarding the future of the Jews, and he was right. Therefore he rightly and boldly preached that the Jews would be gathered back to their land.
Well, it was about 15 years after JC Ryle was teaching these things that the Jews started returning to their homeland, just like God said they would. From all over the world they came, and they kept coming, and they kept coming, and they kept coming back to their land. What’s so amazing and so sovereign of God is that all these prophecies about the Jews coming back to their land have been coming true, just like He promised in His Word. For over the past century, we’ve been seeing the fulfillment of God’s Jew gathering prophecy.
Since around 1880, the Jews have been returning to their land, from a few thousand to over six million strong. This is truly a miracle of God! Nothing like this has ever happened before, where a people group this prominent, have been defeated, taken from their land, dispersed all over the earth, and have then come back to their own land, and that after over 1800 years being apart from their land! But what’s really incredible is that the Jews returned with their same language, same culture, same religion, and same identity. This is unbelievable! Indeed, this has been a work of God, for the predictions from over 2500 years ago have now been coming true, and no one can deny it. If you don’t believe this, then google “Israel.” Or, better yet, go to Israel and see for yourself what God has done, how He has miraculously brought back millions of Jews to the promised land.
Now many people still say God’s future plans for Israel are no longer valid. Then why are the Jews back in their land? Did they just come back for no reason? Is it a fluke, sort of a strange phenomenon that has taken place? Is this something that happened that was beyond God’s control? Is there any meaning to their return to Israel? Of course there is. Plain and simple, this is God’s work, and the fulfillment of His promise to the Jews that He’d bring them back to their own land. The prophets’ predictions have come true just as they had written them down. And so we’ve been seeing this amazing journey back, this incredible and seemingly impossible event taking place with regard to the Jews. Back in 70AD, they were defeated, scattered, and taken captive to the nations. But now they’ve come back to their country. This is a flat out miracle of God – the likes of which has never taken place before. Ezekiel says it this way – “As I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone (the present)… and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army (the future).” Ezekiel 37:7-10. Let me encourage you to read all of Ezekiel 36-37, the most descriptive chapters in the Bible about the return of the Jews back to Israel.
But why have the promises about the Jews’ coming back to their land now come true? Because God wants to get His end time plans going (Daniel 12:4,9). Because God wants the church age to come to a close, and then send His Son back to earth (Matthew 24:4-31). And because the Jews returning to their land is the precondition that needed to be met so that the rest of God’s promises to them could come true. (Ezekiel 37:21-23). Since God has brought the Jews back to their land, then surely He will fulfill the rest of His promises to them. And when you look at the entire context of the aforementioned verses about the Jews gathering back to their land, it’s obvious that they were coming back so that God’s promises to them about their King, their land, and their salvation would also come true.
It’s important that you see the connection between the fulfillment of God’s promise to the Jews about regathering to their land, and the fulfillment of the other promises He made to them. You can’t separate the Jews’ return to Israel in these prophecy passages from all their other promises – they go together. The regathering of the Jews is one of the greatest proofs there is that God’s promises to the Jews are still true, and will, in the near future, be fulfilled. It all fits, it all makes sense, it’s God’s Word. The Jews are now back in the land, and therefore God will soon begin to carry out the rest of His Old Testament promises to them.
4. New Testament Jewish Prophecy Passages In Conjunction With Church Prophecy Passages. There are many New Testament prophecy passages that talk about both the Jews and the church. I am not, at this time, going to write them all out, but I encourage you to look at them yourself. Here, I will only mention them, and then make a few observations.
First, there’s Matthew 24:9-26, and verses 9-14 are about the church, and verses 15-26 are about the Jews. There’s Mark 13:9-23, and verses 9-13 are about the church, and verses 14-23 are about the Jews. There’s Luke 21:12-24, and verses 12-19 are about the church, and verses 20-24 are about the Jews. There’s 2 Thessalonians 2:1-9, and it’s about the church and the Jews. There’s Revelation 7, and verses 1-8 are about the Jews, and verses 8-17 are about the church. Finally, there’s Revelation 12, and verses 1-6, 13-16 are about the Jews, and verses 10-12, 17 are about the church.
Here are some observations:
a. These are all passages about the future. Now I know they may be metaphorical in the minds of those who misinterpret prophecy portions in the Bible. But the truth is, these prophecies are about the end times, about what will be taking place in the future with regards to both the Jews and the church; and they will literally and completely come true, and it will be soon.
b. God’s work with the church is in the same time frame as His work with the Jews. The fact that these Jewish passages are adjacent to these church passages is significant. It is obvious that God’s work with the Jews in the end times is coinciding with and in conjunction with His work with the church, and that God will not do His prophetic work with the Jews apart from His prophetic work with the church.
c. You can’t say that the prophecies for the church will be fulfilled, but not the prophecies for the Jews. If these passages about the church will be fulfilled, then won’t these passages about the Jews also be fulfilled? Do you think, like some, that there is no future for the Jews? If not, then why in the world are these Jewish passages sitting right next to these New Testament church passages? And why all this Jewish talk in these verses? Why does it talk about the abomination of desolation in Jerusalem? (Matthew 24:15). Why does it talk about the trampling of Jerusalem until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled? (Luke 21:24). Why does it talk about the Jews trying to escape the clutches of the Antichrist during the last half of Daniel’s 70th week? (Revelation 12:13-16). Why does it talk about the newly built temple in Jerusalem? (2 Thessalonians 2:4). The reasons are obvious. Because God will actively be working with the Jews in the end times, and his promises and His plans for them will be carried out and fulfilled in the same general time period as His work with the church.
d. The fact that the Jews have been returning to Israel means we’re in the end times. God’s prophetic work with both the Jews and the church is in high gear, going full speed ahead. It won’t be long before many of the predictions, promises and plans with regards to both the Jews and the church will be fulfilled. You need to see and understand this, for it is undoubtedly and unquestionably true. Now is the time to know what God’s word says about these days, to wake up from your sleep, to be alert, to be aware of what’s going on in the world, and to know how you should then live for the Lord.
The evidence in the above end time passages clearly shows us that God is now working with the church and the Jews. The verses in these important prophecy passages prove to us that God’s plans for both the Jews and the church will be carried out. Once the church is raptured, then God’s wrath will be poured out upon the world, and then the Jews will be redeemed. Jesus Christ will then begin His reign over the world, with both Christians and believing Jews.
But what’s the conclusion? Let’s look at Romans 11:33-36. Some say these great, glorious and God exalting verses are the conclusion to Romans 11, that great chapter about the salvation of the Jews in the end times. Some say it’s the conclusion to Romans 9-11, three chapters primarily about the Jews and the gospel. Some say it is the conclusion to Romans 1-11, the greatest passage in the entire Bible speaking about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news that is for both Jews and Gentiles. Regardless of what you believe, we know that the work of God, the grace of God, and the love of God for His people, both Jews and Gentiles, brings Him great, great glory. “O, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God… For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”