The Church: Graft or Replacement?
Hi Friends! This is a guest post by my friend, Christian Hernandez who hails from Bogotá, Colombia! He is a young man who is a passionate lover of Israel and the Jewish people. He is the Academic Secretary of his church’s bible school (IMES, in Spanish), part of the Communications Department, and is also a dancer, intercessor, Zionist, youth leader, and is the currently Secretary of the Board of the Foundation of his church. He's also finishing his studies of Psychology at Konrad Lorenz University. Follow him on Twitter @ProfetaCH!
Look at that title. What do you think it means? If you are thinking about Israel, then you’re completely right. This article is about the misunderstandings regarding the people and nation of Israel.
“Why are many in the Church hostile against the Jews? “Why does the Church fail to preach the Good News to the Jewish people?” “Why does the Church misunderstand the work of Jesus?” “Why don’t the Jews believe Jesus is the promised Messiah?” These kind of questions arise when we talk about Israel and I want to answer them in this article.
The modern Church has been infiltrated by a concept called Replacement Theology which teaches that the Church has replaced Israel, that all the blessings given to Israel are now for the Church, and that the one who converts to the Church is saved. But the Bible teaches another belief system. Replacement Theology is a satanic theology.
1) Why are many in the Church hostile against the Jews?
The answer is very easy. Many people in the Church have a hostile mind against the Jews because they misunderstand the message of the Apostle Paul and have forgotten this declaration:
“For I am not ashamed of the Good News (Gospel), for it is power of God for salvation to everyone who trusts–to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1.16 TLV emphasis mine)
The message of the Gospel is first for the Jews, and then to the Greek! Paul put this group of people first because Jesus did it too when He said to the apostles:
“But you will receive power when the Ruach ha-Kodesh (Holy Spirit) has come upon you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and through all Judah, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1.8 TLV emphasis mine)
Jesus put Jerusalem and Judah first because the salvation is first to them, then to Samaria (half-Jews), and then to the ends of the earth, because if Israel is saved, then the world is saved because of their faith in Jesus as the Lord and Messiah.
Another reason why the people in Church are hostile to Jews, is because they also misinterpret the words of Paul when he was at Antioch of Pisidia:
“Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary for the word of God to be spoken to you first. Since you reject it and judge yourselves unfit for eternal life–behold, we turn to the Gentiles.” (Acts 13.46 TLV)
But they forget that in the next chapter is written:
Now in Iconium, the same thing happened–they entered as usual into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a large number of Jewish and Greek people believed. (Acts 14.1 TLV)
This hatred and hostility is the first proof that there’s a Replacement mindset in the Church.
Just remember this:
I say then, God has not rejected His people (Israel), has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. (Romans 11.1 TLV emphasis mine)
2) Why does the Church fail to preach the Good News to the Jewish people?
This question is related to the first one, because if the Church hates Israel, then they have no way to attain salvation.
The main failure of the Church in preaching the Good News to Jewish people is introducing a decontextualized Messiah and Savior. Paul gave us a tool to introduce the Good News to them so we can take them into the salvation of Jesus Christ:
For Jewish people ask for signs and Greek people seek after wisdom. (1 Corinthians 1.22 TLV)
If we the Church do not do things the way Jesus did, we are burning out ourselves spreading the Gospel because He first healed the sick, delivered the oppressed, and overall, demonstrated the Gospel of the Kingdom. In other words, we demonstrate the supernatural power of God before introducing the message. The verse above specifies that we must show the signs of God to the Jewish people. (This also applies to Muslim world.) The latter part of the verse does not mean that you must introduce the message first without any demonstration, the demonstration is first and then the introduction of the message.
If we the Church want to bring the Jewish people into the faith of the Messiah, then we must evangelize as He did. If He healed the sick, we must heal the sick. If He expelled demons, we must expel demons. And if He resurrected the dead, we must also resurrect the dead.
So let us meditate on this verse:
Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk just as He walked. (1 John 2.6 TLV)
3) Why does the Church misunderstand the work of Jesus?
Because of the issues we’ve discussed thus far, the Church has been blind to the prophetic fulfillment of the Feasts of the Lord, through Jesus.
First we need to understand what the Feasts of the Lord are (Leviticus 23.2, 4, 37, 44, Numbers 29.39). There are seven Feasts and every one of them has a prophetic fulfillment in Jesus:
Pesach (Passover): Fulfilled in Jesus’ crucifixion.
Matzot (Unleavened Breads): Fulfilled in Jesus’ burial.
Bikkurim (First Fruits): Fulfilled in Jesus’ resurrection.
Shavuot (Pentecost): Fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Yom Teruah (Trumpets): Will be fulfilled at the Rapture (the “catching up”).
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement): Will be fulfilled at the 2nd Coming of Christ.
Sukkot (Tabernacles): Will be fulfilled in the Millennial (1,000) Reign.
With the fulfillment of these last Feasts at hand, we understand that the will of the Lord revolves around the Feasts and Israel because Israel is His prophetic clock on earth.
4) Why don’t the Jews believe Jesus is the promised Messiah?
Jews think Jesus is not the Messiah because of the incorrect introduction of the Gospel by Christians. Because we introduce them a Greek “gospel,” not a Jewish gospel.
Now if their transgression leads to riches for the world, and their loss riches for the Gentiles, then how much more their fullness! (Romans 11.12 TLV)
We must introduce them to the Gospel in a way they understand because we were “grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree,” as is written in Romans 11.24. We must provoke them to jealousy!
I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? (Romans 11:11-15)