Newton’s third law of motion states that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This principle also manifests itself in politics, in war and in religion.
The intelligence community uses the term ‘blowback’ to describe an analogous dynamic – the unintended consequences, unwanted side-effects or repercussions of a black operation that backfires. Replacement Theology (an anti-Semitic expression of Christian theology that raised its head in the 2nd Century A.D) is such a black operation, and it has triggered massive, unintended and world-shaking spiritual blowback for the entire planet.
The Samaritan narrative
The foundation stones of Replacement Theology were being laid as the Kingdom of Israel crumbled under Assyrian blows (see 2 Kings 17). The Assyrians transferred a conglomeration of conquered peoples from Iraq into the central mountainous region of Israel (today’s West Bank). They settled in that area and became known as the Samaritans. They synthesized a new form of Judaism which replaced the Jewish people’s central biblical role, instead inserting the Samaritans as the lead actor.
Then the king of Assyria invaded the whole land…and carried Israel away into exile to Assyria…The king of Assyria brought men from Babylon and from Cuthah…and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the sons of Israel…At the beginning of their living there, they did not fear YHVH … So one of the priests…came…and taught them how they should fear YHVH. But every nation still made gods of its own and put them in the houses of the high places which the people of Samaria had made…So while these nations feared YHVH, they also served their idols – their children likewise and their grandchildren. As their fathers did, so they do to this day (2 Kings 17).
In Yeshua’s day everyone understood that “Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.” The Samaritans hated Israel and believed that God had replaced the Jewish people. The Samaritan woman at the well said to Yeshua, “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship” (John 4:20).
Yeshua answered the Samaritan woman very clearly. He did not say that the land was given as a joint inheritance to Jews and Samaritans alike, or that Jews and Samaritans would one day be restored into a common family co-sharing the Promised Land. “You worship what you do not know. We worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:20, 22).
Samaritan Replacement teaching proclaimed that the Samaritans (and not the Jews) were the real sons of Jacob, and that Nablus/Neapolis (and not Jerusalem) was the real city that God had chosen. This contemptuous attitude was a cursing of the Jewish people. It brought a curse onto the Samaritans which continued throughout history (see Genesis 12:3).
Replacing the Jewish olive tree
A hundred years after Yeshua, the spiritual understanding of Samaritan believers in Yeshua was still darkened by the powerful effects of Replacement Theology. Justin Martyr, a Samaritan Father of the Church, was perhaps the first influential Christian theologian to trumpet Replacement Theology’s anti-Jewish teachings. In his “Dialogue With Trypho, A Jew” he spoke down to the Jewish people:
- “They are…your Scriptures, or rather not yours, but ours”
- “We, who have been quarried out from the bowels of Christ, are the true Israelitic race…The seed of Jacob now referred to is something else and not, as may be supposed, spoken of your people”
- “For the circumcision according to the flesh, which is from Abraham, was given for a sign – that you may be separated from other nations, and from us, and that you alone may suffer that which you now justly suffer, and that your land may be desolate, and your cities burned with fire, and that strangers may eat your fruit in your presence”
The Apostle Paul had warned the Gentile believers in Rome one hundred years earlier, “Do not be arrogant toward the (ed. Jewish natural) branches…Do not be conceited, but fear… nor be wise in your own estimation” (Romans 11:18, 20, 25). He also proclaimed: “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness … For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:18, 21).
The spiritual concrete was hardening among Gentile Christians. The pattern had been decisively set. Replacement Theology was a marriage between pagan Gentile anti-Semitism and devilish twisting of Scripture. It was not a union made in heaven, and its fruit would eventually reveal its unholy origins.
Replacement Theology in Arabia
Only 300 years after Yeshua was born, anti-Jewish Replacement teaching had won the day. The ‘Good News’ preached by the Church had become very bad news for the Jewish people. This new Gentile gospel was a message of hatred and contempt, and it was directed against the very Jewish people who had first preached the message to the nations.
This toxic teaching seeped across the Middle East into Arabia, where it was thirstily absorbed into the bosom of classical Islamist teachings. But now the jihadi warriors did Christendom one better. They not only taught that Allah had rejected the Jews. They added a further step – Allah had rejected the Christians as well. This massive spiritual blowback validates the truth taught in Genesis 12:3 – that God’s blessing and cursing will rest upon the Gentiles based on how they treat the Jewish people.
Islamic teachings proclaimed their new truth to the Muslim community:
- “Truly, you will find the strongest among men in enmity to (ed. Muslim) believers – the Jews and those who are al-Mushrikun (i.e., Christians, pagans, idolaters and polytheists)” (Quran, Surah 5:82).
- “So when the (Jews) exceeded the limits of what they were prohibited, we said to them, ‘Be you monkeys, despised and rejected’” (Quran, Surah 7:166).
- “Those (Jews) who incurred the curse of Allah and his wrath, and those of whom he transformed into monkeys and swine” (Quran, Surah 5:60).
The blowback from Christian rejection of the Jews turned out to be Islamist rejection of both Jews and Christians. This dynamic has been stamped on the Middle East through jihadi colonization and imperialism, and today it shapes modern political attitudes toward the Jewish people and the Jewish state.
The blowback from Replacement Theology is virulent today in Europe. Islamist preachers and foot-soldiers brazenly prophesy that the day is soon coming when Shari’a (Islamic jurisprudence) will be the law of the land in Europe and America. They publically proclaim that the world Caliphate will raise its black banners and its green flags over the entire Western world. In this dark vision, Christian Europe will yet bow before a triumphant jihadi army, it is vowed, even as Iraqi, Syrian, Egyptian and Libyan Christian face persecution, rape, beheading and slavery at the hands of Islamist forces and groups.
There is a price to be paid when Christians nurse from a poisonous and anti-Semitic baby bottle – one which rejects the Jewish nature of the spiritual tree into which the body of Messiah has been grafted. The Apostle Paul taught, “(The Jewish people)…are the natural branches (who will) be grafted into their own olive tree” (Romans 11:24). The tree of faith in Messiah Yeshua is a Jewish tree, and all who join themselves to the Son of David are grafted into a mystical connection with the Jewish people – whether they know it or not.
Replacing the State of Israel
The malignant effects of Replacement Theology are shaping current international political discourse. This comes from the merging of two different streams – Christian and Islamist. Christian Replacement Theology does not allow a physical restoration of the Jewish nation to their homeland, while the Islamist view of history says that, since Israel has been conquered by the armies of Muhammad in 638 A.D., the Jewish patrimony now belongs eternally and by divine right to the world of Islam.
This denial of continuing Jewish right to their own homeland has been successfully marketed across the planet by the PLO, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Arab League. Their efforts have met with a fair amount of success. The United Nations, the European Union and the Quartet have all swallowed the Replacement agenda hook, line and sinker. Two recent examples of this are UN Resolution 2334 and U.S. Secretary of State Kerry’s televised address. Both dovetail with the Islamist Replacement position and accept its perspectives as indisputable fact. From their vantage point, Palestine is Arab land and belongs exclusively to Arabs.
The Islamist perspective is that the whole land of Israel must be retaken by Islam. So-called ‘moderates’ in the PLO agree but with cosmetic changes. They say that half the land must return to the Palestinian Islamic movement immediately, and that then the other half of Israel will be conquered in stages.
The words of the Hamas Charter (1988) (www.acpr.org.il/resources/hamascharter.html) leave no doubt as to the ultimate Islamist goal:
- “The Islamic Resistance Movement (ed., Hamas) draws its guidelines from Islam” (Article #1)
- “The Islamic Resistance Movement…strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine…Allah is our goal, the Prophet our model, the Qur’an our Constitution, Jihad our path and death for the cause of Allah our most sublime belief” (Article #3)
- “The Platform of The Islamic Resistance Movement: Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates itas it had eliminated its predecessors”
- “Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: ‘The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! This will not apply to the Gharqad, which is a Jewish tree’ (cited by Bukhari and Muslim)” (Article #7)
- “In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad…We must imprint on the minds of generations of Muslims that the Palestinian problem is a religious one, to be dealt with on this premise. ‘I swear by that who holds in His Hands the Soul of Muhammad! I indeed wish to go to war for the sake of Allah! I will assault and kill, assault and kill, assault and kill’ (told by Bukhari and Muslim)” (Article #15)
President Obama’s end-time vision, expressed in an address at the Islamic al-Azhar University in Cairo (the world’s pre-eminent Muslim authority) is that “all of us have a responsibility to work for the day when…the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslim.” The President’s vision is Replacement Theology with a twist, since Islamic scholars and activists would declare any view which champions the sharing of Jerusalem with Jews or Christians to be an apostate position.
The Scriptures actually state that the land of Israel is a gift to the nation of Israel alone (Ezekiel 39:25-29; 48:29), and that unfriendly Gentiles who settled on those territories over the ages will have no inheritance there (Ezek.36:1-15; Neh. 2:20). President Obama’s last days vision may sound nobly inclusive to some, but it actually stands in opposition to God’s word.
Replacing the Replacement Theologians
The Last Days vision of the Hebrew prophets describes God’s focused priority on the Jewish people.
- “He has done mighty deeds with His arm. He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble. He has filled the hungry with good things and has sent away the rich empty-handed. He has given help to Israel His servant in remembrance of His covenant faithfulness as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever” (Luke 1:51-55)
- “As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old, salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us; to show mercy toward our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He swore to Abraham our father; to grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear” (Luke 1:70-74)
- “As in the days when you came out from the land of Egypt, I will show you miracles. Nations will see and be ashamed of all their might. They will put their hand on their Their ears will be deaf. They will lick the dust like a serpent, like reptiles of the earth. They will come trembling out of their fortresses. To YHVH our God they will come in dread and they will be afraid before You” (Micah 7:15-17)
- “Therefore all who devour you will be devoured and all your adversaries, every one of them, will go into captivity. And those who plunder you will be for plunder, and all who prey upon you I will give for prey. For I will restore you to health and I will heal you of your wounds, declares YHVH, because they have called you an outcast, saying, ‘It is Zion; no one cares for her!’” (Jeremiah 30:16-17)
Replacement Theology’s mocking of the Jewish people is a historical injustice. It is destined to inherit the wind. The boasting of theologians and politicians against the Jewish people and their restoration to their own homeland will also wither and be blown away by desert winds. But God’s good word of restoration will be the wonder and the praise of the whole world:
- “I will rejoice over them to do them good and will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul. For thus says YHVH, Just as I brought all this great disaster on this people, so I am going to bring on them all the good that I am promising them” (Jeremiah 32:41-42)
- “It will be to Me a name of joy, praise and glory before all the nations of the earth which will hear of all the good that I do for them, and they will fear and tremble because of all the good and all the peace that I make for it” (Jeremiah 33:9)
How should we then pray?
- Pray for clarity and revelation for spiritual leaders in the body of Messiah – that the poisonous roots of Replacement Theology would be exposed and forsaken
- Pray for believers worldwide for clarity and revelation regarding deceptive Islamist Replacement roots regarding the land of Israel
- Pray for the protection, strengthening, revelation and salvation of the Jewish people, and that they may lean on Him who can keep them from all evil and all destruction
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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