In these days of Political Correctness, ancient paths have been abandoned for the confusion of rocky roads. Identity theft has absconded with biblically rooted gender roles, and the distinctive callings of men and women have morphed into muddled manifestations of sexuality and relationship.
Fuzzy perceptions about the callings of men and women often accompany fuzzy perceptions of Jew and Gentile. Many in the Body of Messiah today fit that definition. The anti-Semitic Theology of Contempt (commonly known as Replacement Theology) turns a fog machine on the irrevocable calling of Israel (see Romans 11:28-29), surgically removing the Jewish people from their own prophetic promises. Instead, Gentile Christians insert themselves into Hebrew promises while throwing the Jews off the bus. Like some cheap spaghetti Western movie, Israel is left standing alone, abandoned in a cloud of dust.
What is sobering is that this highway robbery is not only being carried out by the usual suspects – Greek/Russian Orthodox, Catholic and Reformed Christians. Pilfering the promises of Jacob has become standard practice in some charismatic and prophetic circles by who officially espouse positive attitudes to Jacob’s children.
Let’s consider some components of this latest twisting of Scripture.
Vive la différence!
In the Garden of Eden “God created man in His own image. In the image of God He created him. Male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). In Genesis 5:1-2 God calls these two the title ‘man’ (or ‘adam’ in Hebrew).
- The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So YHVH God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept. Then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. YHVH God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:20-24).
Woman’s origin is from man. The two different sexes are created to join together and become one flesh without losing their God-given identities. This joining was created to be without shame or darkness (“And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed”; Genesis 2:25). Indeed, this union is described by Solomon as embodying the “very flame of Yah” (Song of Songs 8:6; Shalhevet Yah in Hebrew).
The argument for cross-dressing
Paul describes Messiah Yeshua’s relationship to His followers in mystical terms, as that of a Groom to a Bride, drawing on Genesis 2:24 for illustration: “Messiah also … loves, nourishes and cherishes the church [‘church/kirche’ is the Germanic term; ‘ekklesia’ the Greek term; ‘edah’ [congregation of witness[ or ‘kehilah’ [gathering] is the Hebrew term] because we are members of His body. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Messiah and the church” (Ephesians 5:29-32).
In this sense all believers in Messiah Yeshua are part of the Bride of Messiah:
- Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready (Revelation 19:7)
- And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband (Revelation 21:2)
- Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb” (Revelation 21:9)
- The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost (Revelation 22:17)
If a male believer in Yeshua decides to publicly wear women’s attire, and argues that he should do this because he is ‘the bride of Christ,’ most followers of Yeshua would conclude that this dear brother is sadly off course (at least in his exegesis of Scripture). To be part of the Bride of Messiah does not make men into women. It does not remove beards from the faces of men, or change their Y chromosome count.
- Men and women have God-given gifts and callings, God-given differences. Faith in Yeshua does not blur or remove these differences. It does not give men the authority to call themselves women, or vice versa.
The Body of Messiah contains Jews and Gentiles, males and females. Believing men still may have beards. Women don’t. Jews remain Jews and Gentiles remain Gentiles. And there is God-breathed unity in this diversity.
The calling to be Jewish lasts a long time
Is being Jewish a temporary appendix that eventually gets removed when everyone gets spiritual? Some think so. But Paul had a different take on this: “From the standpoint of God’s choosing the Jewish people are beloved for the sake of the patriarchs, for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:28-29).
- Becoming a believer in Yeshua (the Jewish Messiah and the Son of David) does not make Jews into Gentiles. Neither does it make Gentiles into Jews. Paul explains that Gentile who become believers in Yeshua actually enter into new territory – Jewish territory – without becoming Jews.
“You were at that time separate from Messiah, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God (in Greek, atheists) in the world. But now in Messiah Yeshua you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Messiah” (Ephesians 2:12-13).
Gentiles who believe enter into an estate called the ‘Commonwealth of Israel’ (Ephesians 2:12-13) while still remaining Gentiles. It may be helpful to picture what this means by considering the British Commonwealth (today known as the Commonwealth of Nations – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commonwealth_of_Nations).
Today there are 53 nations who are participants in the British-based Commonwealth of Nations. The overwhelming majority of these nations are not genetically Anglo-Saxon in origin. Indeed, the majority are not Caucasians at all. Yet the Headquarters of the Commonwealth is at Marlborough House in London. The working language of the Commonwealth is English. And Queen Elizabeth II is the titular Head of the Commonwealth.
- When Gentiles enter into the Commonwealth of Israel through belief in Israel’s Messiah Yeshua, they do not become Jews. Their DNA does not change. But they do enter into a Jewish framework and into a Jewish context. Many of the dynamics here will become increasingly clear in days to come.
What does change (at least what should change, provided that everything is healthy) is that Gentile believers shun any previous arrogant boasting against the Jewish branches. They whole-heartedly embrace God’s abiding love for the Jewish people and His irrevocable calling on them (see Romans 11:18, 20, 25). When they run across prophetic scriptures given to the Jewish people which speak warmly of Jacob’s ongoing and future destiny, these Gentile believers proudly and wholeheartedly affirm those scriptures as applying with priority to Israel – and only then make the application of these same principles regarding God’s heart to themselves as Gentile believers.
Robbing Jacob in the name of Jesus
When Gentile believers take prophetic promises which actually apply to the Jewish people, and instead apply those promises to Christians (never mentioning that these promises have ongoing prophetic validity for the Jewish people), what is happening is what my dear friend Bob Jones once called ‘the abominable snow job.’ It is a new form of Replacement Theology, albeit with charismatic and prophetic glitter. But the identity theft remains the same. Jewish promises are morphed into Church promises, and the Jewish nature of those promises is treated as unimportant.
This dynamic of treating the Jewish nature of these promises as unimportant is the very thing the God of Jacob was homing in on in Genesis 12:3. “The one who scorns/ignores/belittles/laughs at you, him I will curse” said YHVH. The Hebrew verb form used here is meqalelecha, from the root qalal which means ‘to consider as superficial or as of little account, to treat with contempt; to make light of; to view as being a small matter” (Lexicon In Veteris Testamenti Libros, ‘Qalal,’ pp.89-90, ed. L. Kohler, W. Baumgartner, Leiden, E.J. Brill 1958, p. 840).
- When Gentile believers take Jewish promises, remove all Jewish reference to them, and then declare that these are promises for the primarily Gentile Body of Christ – that is a living example of VRT – Virtual Replacement Theology. Treating biblical promises to the Jews as a light or bothersome matter does have real consequences.
On your walls, O Jerusalem
Isaiah 62 is one of the most significant passages for prophetic intercession regarding the Jewish people. Over twenty times in verses 1 through 8 the Jewish people are given specific prophecies of physical and spiritual restoration. The land of Israel and its capital city Jerusalem are underscored. The Gentile nations will recognize YHVH’s hand of restoration on Israel. The Land of Israel will receive God’s delight and be called “My delight is in her’ (Heftzibah in Hebrew). In this passage intercessory watchmen are appointed to call out to the God of Jacob day and night until all the Jewish promises and destiny over Jacob’s children are fulfilled. The prophet concludes that neither Jewish grain, Jewish wine nor Jewish promises will be given as food and drink to those who would replace Israel.
- For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet until her righteousness goes forth like brightness and her salvation like a torch that is burning. The nations will see your righteousness and all kings your glory. And you will be called by a new name which the mouth of YHVH will designate. You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of YHVH, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. It will no longer be said to you, ‘Forsaken’ (Azuva in Hebrew) nor to your land will it any longer be said, ‘Desolate’ (Sh’mama in Hebrew) But you will be called “My delight is in her” (Heftzibah in Hebrew) and your land, “Married” (Be’ulah in Hebrew) For YHVH delights in you, and to Him your land will be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons will marry you. And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you. On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen. All day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind YHVH, take no rest for yourselves, and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth. YHVH has sworn by His right hand and by His strong arm, ‘I will never again give your grain as food for your enemies, nor will foreigners drink your new wine for which you have labored’” (Isaiah 62:1-8)
The Bible has hundreds of these Jewish-focused passages. Let’s be artisans who will not be ashamed when our handiwork is tested (see 2 Timothy 2:15). Let’s treat these Jewish prophecies fairly, honestly and with humility. Let’s not steal the children’s bread and leave them starving (Matthew 15:26).
Let’s fix what’s broken
The way to get these things back on track is not that difficult. It only takes:
- Receiving revelation from God about this error, through His Spirit and His word
- recognition of the serious nature of this new form of Replacement Theology
- heartfelt desire to honor God and His ways by honoring Israel according to the Scriptures
- taking concrete steps to honor and prioritize Israel even as we delight in God’s love for all nations
How should we then pray?
- Pray for your spiritual leaders to receive revelation about God’s heart and strategies here
- Pray for concrete steps in these matters to be taken by godly teachers, preachers and pastors across the globe
- Pray for the raising up of Ezekiel’s army speedily and in our day
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the very practical enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do.
In Messiah Yeshua,
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