Replacement Theology: Fact or Fiction? by Rabbi Mordecai Silver
I would like you to read the following article with an open mind and heart. The issue of Replacement Theology is a source of contention between not just those in the church who advocate this position, but between non-believing Jews and with Messianic Jewish believers in the Messiah Y'shua. This position extends not only to the issue of the church replacing Israel but to the issue of following the 'Law' or better to the point, Torah.
I would like to offer the following: Mattithyahu - Matthew 5:17-18: "Do not think that I came to destroy the law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to complete. For truly, I say to you, till the heaven and the earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall by no means pass from the law till all be done." "Proverbs 28:7 says: "He who keeps the law is a discerning son."
All has not been done. Not until the Messiah Y'shua returns the second time and sets up the Messianic Kingdom after the present heavens and earth are replaced. Yeshayahu - Isaiah 65:17: "For look, I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembered, nor come to heart." Isaiah 66:22 "For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make stand before Me, declares Adonai, so your seed and your name shall stand." "Rev. 21:1 "And I saw a renewed heaven and a renewed earth, for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea is no more."
All of this is part of prophetic Scripture. Until all of this is completed the Torah will stand. It will not be done away with. Je.31:33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people." Heb.10:16 "This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds." [b]
To simplify the Brit Chadashah - New Testament by saying all we 'need is love and grace' is doing a great dis-service to our G-d. The love and grace that Y'shua teaches about is part of the Tanach (Old Testament) and specifically the Torah. De.6:5 "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." Le.19:18 "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD."
You cannot gain salvation through works of the law, but you are called to follow the Torah as it is the cornerstone of all that we know to be good and what is not good. Ex - Shemoth 24:12 says: "And Adonai said to Mosheh, Come up to Me on the mountain and be there, while I give you tablets of stone, and the teaching and commands which I have written, to teach them." Romans 3:20 "Therefore by works of law no flesh shall be declared right before Him, for by the law is the knowledge of sin."
For man to say that he does not need the Torah is to say that he has achieved perfection. We have not! Romans 3:31 "Do we then nullify the law through the belief? Let it not be! On the contrary, we establish the law." Romans 7:12 "So that the law truly is set-apart (holy), and the command set-apart, and righteous, and good."
To say we are all one in the Messiah Y'shua is true, but it also states that there are many parts to the body and each part is different but each has its purpose and the goal is to work together as one. 1Co.12:12 "The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ."
We are all part of the body of Messiah but we each come to Him in a different way. 1Co.12:20 "As it is, there are many parts, but one body." If this were not true then why do we have so many different denominations in the church and various organizations under the banner of Messianic Judaism? But we hold one thing in common, we all worship G-d and believe that Y'shua is the Son of G-d and our Messiah. 1Co.12:25 "So that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other."
To say that the Ten Commandments are still in effect but that the rest of Torah is not needed picks apart the Scriptures and we take what we want to and cast aside the rest. 1Co.12:22 "On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable." Is this not casting aside Y'shua? Is He not the Torah and indeed the entire Scriptures Old and New? Is He not the author of the Word of G-d? Is He not the Word of G-d? 1K.8:56 "Praise be to the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses." Jn.1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
Are all the festivals of G-d fulfilled? No! Not until Y'shua returns and all things are brought to completion will this be fulfilled. Are we not called to take the 'whole counsel of G-d?' Does Scripture tell us to take the cousel of G-d by taking what suits us and cast the rest aside because it does not suit us? Jb.12:13 "To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his." Is.11:2 "The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him-- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD--"
To the Gentile believer the Scripture says this in Acts 15:29 "That you abstain from what is offered to to idols, and blood, and what is strangled, and whoring. If you keep yourselves from these, you shall do well. Be strong!" These are the only four things given to the Gentile who wants to believe in Y'shua. Nowhere does it lay Torah on the Gentile unless they willingly accept it. Acts 15:17 says: "So that the remnant of mankind shall seek Adonai, even all the Gentiles on whom My Name has been called, says Yahweh who is doing all this;" and in verse 18: "Says Adonai, who has made this known from of old." And we read in verse 21: "For from ancient generations Mosheh has, in every city, those proclaiming him-being read in the congregations every Sabbath."
What this meant was that the Shaliach's - Apostles knew that in order to learn about their new found faith that the Gentiles would need to go to the synagogues where believers gathered in order to find out about this new faith of theirs. So in doing that they would hear the Torah being taught.
If Israel is the church, then is it the church that will undergo the battle of Armegeddon? Is it the church that has survived over 5700 years despite being sent into exile time and time again. Show me where any other nation being taken from their country for hundreds of years has returned to that land still remaining intact as a people with their unique customs and traditions intact. Devarim - Deu. 32:21 says: "But I make them jealous by those who are no people, I provoke them with a foolish nation." Again in Romans 10:19 "But I ask, Did Yisrael not know? First Mosheh says, I shall provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation, I shall enrage you by an unwise nation." Then again in Romans 11:11 "I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Let it not be! But by their fall deliverance has come to the gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy."
That does not sound like G-d throwing away the Jewish people. If this were so, then why is it that Jewish people are coming to salvation in the Messiah Y'shua day by day , hour by hour, minute by minute AND they are still retaining their Jewishness?
Does the church truly believe that it is Israel and the inheritor of the promises made to Israel and the judgements? Or does the church take only the good and throw the rest on the Jewish people? If Israel does not have a place in Scripture today, then how did that little nation defeat its Arab neighbors in the six-day war? Through the power of hasatan? Romans 9:4 "Who are Yisraelites, whose is the adoption, and the esteem, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the worship, and the promises."
It is the same law for everyone. In Vayikra-Lev 24:22 "You are to have one right-ruling, for the stranger and for the native, for I am Adonai your Elohim." G-d has a plan for the wild olive tree branches (the Gentiles) and a plan for the natural branches (the Jews). These things are tied to the Land of Israel and to the Jewish people. Ro.11:17 "If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root." Ro.11:23 "And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again." Ro.11:24 "After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!"
If Israel and its people have no place in G-d's plan then I guess that the Word of G-d is a lie in what it just said about them. Mt.10:6 "Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel." Mt.15:24 "He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." Mt.18:14 "In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost." This last Scripture does not talk about the church or the Christian. They did not exist when Messiah Y'shua spoke these words. Why is there so much focus on Israel today? And it grows day by day. That is a fact, not theory.
Why do the Scriptures command us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem? Just to give us something to do? I think not. I could go on and on, but I hope that you see my point. I am not here to insult anyone or put anyone down, but I am trying to make you open up your eyes so that the light of the knowledge of Messiah will enter in. Learn about the Hebraic Roots of Christianity. You will learn so much. If more was understood about the Judaic Roots of the faith in Y'shua more would be understood about what the Scriptures truly mean, especially the Brit Chadashah. It was written by Jewish believers, not Christians.
The Shaliach's (Apostles) did not know what Christianity was. Rav Sha'ul did not invent it as some claim. He was an Orthodox Torah Observant Jew ALL his life. If he was not why did he take a Nazrite vow under Torah? Why did he have Timothy circumcised? Just to please some Jewish believers? We know by Sha'ul's writings that he did nothing to please man only G-d.
Learn about the Hebraic Roots, stop trying to change them It's history and it is documented. Whose authority is greater, Y'shua or man's? Tehillim - Psalms 1:2 "But his delight is in the teaching of Adonai, and he meditates in His teaching day and night." I am a Messianic Jewish believer. I live my life according to Him. I am a Torah Observant believer. I try to imitate my Messiah as much as I can and we know by Scripture that he lived according to Torah. How could He do otherwise, He wrote it! I try to teach my Christian brothers and sisters, but I do not make them change from where they are in their walk with the L-rd if they do not want to. So why do they feel they have to change me. Why do they want to push out all that is Jewish about the Christian faith and all that is Jewish about Y'shua and the Shaliachs?
G-d has a purpose and a plan. This involves the Jewish people, Israel and Christians. Remember what we said earlier. We are different but we all have a part in the body of Messiah. These are His words not mine. The time is short. Work for the Kingdom as you are called. Don't work against it.
Devarim-Deu 17:19-20 "And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, so that he learns to fear Adonai his Elohim and guard all the Words of this teaching and these laws, to do them, so that his heart is not lifted up above his brothers, and so as not to turn aside from the command, right or left, so that he prolongs his days in his reign, he and his children, in the midst of Yisrael."
*Scripture ref. from the NIV and 'The Scriptures'