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Replacement Theology--continue


 

Introduction

There is, within much of mainstream Christianity today, a doctrine which teaches that Christianity has replaced, or superseded, Israel within the redemptive plan of the Creator of the Universe. According to this doctrine, which is traceable back to the 4th century, the Almighty has rejected, and is finished with, Israel as a collective people because they collectively rejected the Messiah at His first coming. Because of this rejection, the Almighty's original plan of salvation was thwarted and He was forced to turn instead to Gentile Christians to fulfill His purposes.

Denominations1 which espouse this doctrine-known as 'supersessionism' or 'replacement theology' whereby the Church has superseded or replaced Israel-teach that the covenant promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob regarding the nation of Israel are null and void for Israel and now apply to Christians; usually to their particular denomination. They appropriate unto themselves the blessings associated with Abraham, while interpreting that the curses enumerated in Deuteronomy apply only to the nation of Israel and the Jews. In other words, the Christian 'New Covenant' has superseded the 'Old Covenant' given to Israel at Mt. Sinai. They point to the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple by Titus in 70 C.E., and certain Bible passages, as proofs of this belief.

[1Christian denominations in the United States which teach replacement theology include: The Roman Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. Islam also teaches replacement theology; its replacement theology includes both Israel and Christianity!]

But are these teachings of Christian supersession and replacement of Israel in Biblical prophecy in accordance with sound Biblical doctrine or are they dangerous teachings which are actually in opposition to the salvation plan of the Most High? Are they clearly taught in Scripture or are they the result of twisting certain Biblical passages? What is the Biblical Truth and is the Truth actually important in this case?

The New Covenant Promises-What Are They?

Before we can determine whether or not the 'Church' has replaced Israel regarding the covenant promises of the Creator, we should probably take a quick look at what these covenant promises are. Just what are the 'New Covenant' promises that the Church has appropriated unto itself?

For a detailed examination of the 'New Covenant', please see the Elijah's Cry study, "The New Covenant." For now, suffice it to say that the writings of the Apostle Paul give us-in black and white-the definition of the New Covenant.

For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith Yahowah, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith Yahowah. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Yahowah; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them an Elohim, and they shall be to me a people. (Hebrews 8:8-10)
In the first 7 verses leading up to this passage (Hebrews 8:1-7), we see that this is in fact the Messiah-mediated New Covenant. But a close look at verse 10 shows us that this 'New Covenant' is not made with the 'Church' but rather with Israel. Search as you will, there is no other 'New Covenant' listed anywhere in the New Testament.2 The definition of this New Covenant, according to Paul, is this: the Almighty will put His laws into the minds, and write them upon the hearts, of Israel. He will be their Elohim and they will be His people.

[2 There are verses which speak of Messiah's blood as being the blood of the New Covenant (e.g., Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, and 1 Corinthians 11:25), but these verses do not actually define what the covenant is. The first covenant was also sealed with blood (see Exodus 24:8).]

Incidentally, Paul did not come up with this definition of the 'New Covenant' on his own but rather simply quoting a latter-day prophecy by the prophet Jeremiah,
Behold, the days come, saith Yahowah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith Yahowah: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith Yahowah, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their Elohim, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:31-33)
But why would the Creator choose to make His 'New Covenant' with the Israelite people? Didn't He understand that these were the very people who rejected the Messiah at His first coming? Weren't the Israelites a "stiff neck" people (Deuteronomy 31:27 and Jeremiah 17:23) who often violated His commandments in the Old Testament? For that matter, didn't the Creator pronounce curses upon the Israelites several places in the Old Testament?

Old Testament Curses Upon Israel-Historical Reality

As it turns out, the Creator did, in fact, pronounce curses upon Israel many times in the Old Testament for their disobedience. As previously noted, many replacement theologians refer back to these curses to try to prove that the Most High rejected Israel. For example,
But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate. And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. And I will bring a sword upon you that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied. And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours. And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth. And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies. And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies' lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.
(Leviticus 26:14-39)
A similar, but lengthier, series of curses is found in Deuteronomy 28:15 to 29:29, and other places in the Old Testament. Dire pronouncements by the Most High, which resulted in famines, pestilences, invasions, captivities, wholesale slaughter and seemingly endless persecutions of the Israelite people throughout history by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans, Russians, Germans, and a variety of others. Even when large-scale persecutions were not occurring, Israelites were looked down upon and were the objects of prejudice, distasteful jokes, and a variety of other social maltreatments-even within West Europe and the United States. Because these curses came to pass in such a real way, and have lasted to one degree or another for 21/2 millennia, replacement theologians point to them as proof that the Creator has rejected Israel. All in all, not an unreasonable conclusion, or is it?

Old Testament Curses Upon Israel-Rejection or Other Reality?

The problem with promoting a theology teaching that the Creator has rejected Israel is that it is contrary to Scriptures and makes the Most High out to be a liar. It can only be arrived at if one partially reads the Scriptures or takes verses out of context. When read completely, and taken in context, one finds that the Almighty in fact remains faithful to the promises He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-renamed 'Israel' (Genesis 32:28). Included in the promise made to Jacob/Israel was the following,
I am Yahowah Ehohim of Abraham thy father, and the Elohim of Isaac: the land wherein thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the Earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. (Genesis 28:13-15)
It should be briefly pointed out here that the part of the promise to Jacob/Israel that he would later spread to outward to the north, south, east, and west, was not accomplished during his own life. He did journey east to get his wives from the household of Laban, but this could hardly be argued to be a 'spreading abroad' in every direction that would result in a blessing to "all the families of the Earth." That part of the promise was fulfilled to his descendents' descendents and the subject of another study.

The Almighty later continued the Covenant with the descendants of Jacob/Israel when they journeyed in the wilderness with Moses,
Ye shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am Yahowah. If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them... For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you... and will be your Elohim and you will be my people... (Leviticus 26:2-13)
But how can these promises still be valid in light of the curses we examined earlier?

To make this determination, we must take another look at the passages containing the curses which came upon Israel (Leviticus 26:14-39). Only this time, let us read a little further and consider the entire passage in context. We continue,
If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes. And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the Yahowah their Elohim. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their Elohim: I am Yahowah. (Leviticus 26:40-45)
So we see here that after the predicted curses in fact come upon Israel, while they are in fact in the land of their enemies, that they will eventually repent and humble their hearts. The Creator states that He will then remember the covenant promises He made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel.

This reality is even clearer in the Book of Deuteronomy. The scene was Mount Ebal, shortly before Moses appointed Joshua as the new leader of the Israelites and shortly before their entry into the promised land of Canaan. After commanding the people to keep all the commandments of the Most High and to record them in stone upon entering Canaan (Deuteronomy 27:1-10), Moses then went on to make a series of predictions concerning Israel. He first enumerated the blessings that Israel would enjoy if they obeyed the commandments of the Almighty (Deuteronomy 28:1-14)-the type of blessings enjoyed by King Solomon's Israel, prior to sins of his old age. But after these 14 verses of blessings, Moses then went on for 53 verses to enumerate the curses that would come upon Israel for disobedience of the Almighty's commandments (Deuteronomy 28:15-68)-the type of curses suffered by Israel under the Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans, Russians, Germans, and a variety of others.

But in the 29th chapter of Deuteronomy, a curious statement appears which indicates that this blessings and curses applied across the ages,
Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath; But with him that standeth here with us this day before the Yahowah our Elohim, and also with him that is not here with us this day: (Deuteronomy 29:14-15)
And the next 14 verses again describe that the Israelites will fall, be scattered among the nations, and the nations will realize that it resulted from their breaking the Almighty's covenant (Deuteronomy 29:18-28). This is not simply a conditional prediction, but a definite one. Does this mean that the replacement theologians might be right? Absolutely not, if one reads a little further. Moses, in fact, prophesies that the blessings and curses will definitely come upon Israel and that ultimate repentance will also come to pass.
And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither Yahowah your Elohim hath driven thee, And shalt return unto Yahowah your Elohim, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then Yahowah your Elohim will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither Yahowah your Elohim hath scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will Yahowah your Elohim gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: And Yahowah your Elohim will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. And Yahowah your Elohim will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love Yahowah your Elohim with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. And Yahowah your Elohim will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee. And thou shalt return and obey the voice of Yahowah, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day. And Yahowah your Elohim will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for Yahowah will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers: (Deuteronomy 30:1-9)
We see here that Moses, speaking prophetically, declares that both the blessing and the curse will come upon Israel after they enter the Promised Land and that eventually they will be cast out of the Land because of their disobedience. He further declares that the Israelites will then repent and that the Creator will take them back for His people. He will circumcise their hearts, just as the New Covenant promises!
In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith Yahowah, thy Redeemer.
(Isaiah 54:8)

For, lo, the days come, saith Yahowah, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith Yahowah: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. And these are the words that Yahowah spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah... Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day, saith Yahowah of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: But they shall serve Yahowah their Elohim, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them. Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith Yahowah; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid. For I am with thee, saith Yahowah, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished... For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith Yahowah; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after. Thus saith Yahowah; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwelling places; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof. And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small... And ye shall be my people, and I will be your Elohim. Behold, the whirlwind of Yahowah goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of Yahowah shall not return, until he have done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it. (Jeremiah 30:3-24)
Unlike much of the modern Church today, the Apostle Paul was aware of the fact that the Almighty will ultimately redeem Israel on account of the promises made to the Patriarchs. His letter to the congregation in Rome urges them to be mindful of this truth,
I say then, Hath Elohim cast away his people? Elohim forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. Elohim hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to Elohim against Israel, saying, Yahowah, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of Elohim unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. (Romans 11:1-5)

I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? Elohim forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office...(Romans 11:11-13)

And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if Elohim spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of Elohim: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for Elohim is able to graft them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of Elohim are without repentance.
(Romans 11:17-29)
The Apostle Paul, unlike many of the mainstream Christian denomination of today, understands that the Most High keeps His promises and will honor the Covenant that He made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. As we get closer to the "latter days" mentioned in Jeremiah and many other prophets, the end-time fulfillment of that Covenant will become a reality, no matter which replacement theology doctrines are violated and ultimately proven to be unbiblical and contrary to the will of the Most High. Paul's statement in Hebrews 8:8-10 is Biblically sound: The New Covenant was made with Israel, and the Almighty always keeps His covenants. Israel is not rejected, but has only been under chastisement for a time, as predicted by Moses.

"But, how can this be?" one might ask. "Didn't the Jews reject and kill the Messiah, while the Christians accepted Him? Where is the fairness in that?"

Israel, the "Chosen People"-But, Just What Were They Chosen For?

In the movie, Fiddler on the Roof, the main protagonist, a Jew named 'Tevia' is contemplating his lot as one of the "Chosen People." As a poor peasant in Czarist Russia, with milk to deliver, a lame horse, and persecution by the local Czarist soldiers because he is a Jew, he looks to Heaven and asks the Almighty, "For once, couldn't You choose someone else?"

While Jews/Israelites are the subject of countless globalist conspiracy theories, most are just regular people trying to make a living. Their status as "Jews," however, puts them in a limelight that, like it or not, causes them to stand out among other people. For the most part, they eat differently than the people around them, they worship in synagogues, use Hebrew, many of them dress distinctively different; for these reasons and others, they are-in the eyes of many-just weird. They exist in almost every country of the world, but tend not to assimilate, and have a strange devotion to Israel. And why are the Israelites still a distinctive people today while the other 'ites' of their bygone days (e.g. the Canaanites, Perizzites, Amalekites, Jebusites, Hittites, Amorites, etc.) are no longer recognizable as a people? Could this be so that Moses' prophecy of Deuteronomy 29:22-28 could literally come to pass?

The Jews/Israelites were, in fact, chosen by the Most High for a particular purpose and given a particular job on the Earth.
For thou art an holy people unto Yahowah your Elohim, and Yahowah hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the Earth. (Deuteronomy 14:2)
He states that the reason they were chosen was to keep His commandments and be faithful to Him.
And Yahowah hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments; And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto Yahowah your Elohim, as he hath spoken. (Deuteronomy 26:18-19)
The Israelites were chosen to enter into covenant with the Creator and live their lives according to His will for them. In this sense, they were to be an example to the other nations of the Earth. The Messiah, who was sent "unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 15:24) proclaimed to them,
Ye are the salt of the Earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven... Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:13-16, 48)
So the Israelites, according to both Old and New Testaments, were chosen to be an example of how mankind should respond to the Creator, their Heavenly Father. He would choose them, they would obey Him in all He directs, and He would bless them. Simple concept, but man in his weakness always seemed to fall short. Adam fell short, and every man since has likewise fallen short. Even when in the framework of a nation (i.e., the Nation of Israel) he falls short and needs, therefore, a Redeemer, a Savior. And, because of his sin, even when a kinsman Redeemer came to teach men how to obey the Creator properly, He was rejected and put to death. Israel did it, and so would any other "chosen people" have done the same thing. That is who we are--sinners.

All non-Israelites should be happy that it was Israel in the 'hot seat' and not the rest of us. But instead, we forsake humility and point fingers at Israel for "killing our Lord." Why is it that the Redeemer, as He was dying asked, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34) but so many replacement theologians point a 'holier than thou' finger at Israel and believe that they would have done differently? Perhaps the replacement theologians should reflect upon the Messiah's warning,
"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." (Matthew 7:1-2)
The fact is, they would have done the same thing as Israel. Adam sinned, and so has every other human being down through history. Replacement theologians and anti-Semites beware: "Judge not, that ye be not judged."

Messiah's Mission-He Came to Die; That Was the Plan

The replacement theologians' claim that the Jews thwarted the salvation plans of the Creator by rejecting the Messiah at His first coming is absolutely ludicrous. The fact of the matter is, the Messiah came to the Earth to die-to pay the price for the sins of sinful man; "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). This is clearly demonstrable from the pages of Scripture.

First, as many Christian pastors teach to their flocks, Isaiah 53 clearly foretells the coming of the Messiah and His rejection and death for the sins of others. John the Baptist's declaration, "Behold the Lamb of Elohim, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29) indicate that Messiah would die like the Passover Lamb for the sake of others. Messiah's own words, on several occasions, make very clear that His mission was to die for the sins of others. For example,
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. Yahoshua answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the Earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.
(John 12: 24-33)

And while they abode in Galilee, Yahoshua said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.
(Matthew 17:22-23)
If one reads carefully through the Scriptures, both Old and New Testament contain numerous examples of the plan for mankind's salvation through the sacrificial death of the Kinsman Redeemer. To teach otherwise, may allow a pastor or a denomination to gain anti-Semite followers, but is completely unscriptural.

It is also necessary to point out here that Messiah could have backed out of this plan to save mankind at any time. During His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, for example, one of his followers drew a sword to protect Him. Yahoshua told the man,
Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? (Matthew 26:52-54)
Messiah Came to Die, But Are the Jews/Israelites Guilty of His Death?

Okay, Messiah came to die, but are the Jews/Israelites ultimately responsible for His death? The answer is 'Yes', but they are probably no more responsible for Messiah's death than anyone else who expects to have their sins forgiven as a result of His sacrificial death (1 Timothy 4:10). And technically, Messiah was not actually killed by the Jews/Israelites, but by the Roman soldiers (Matthew 27:27-31; Mark 15:16-20). So, both Israelites and Gentiles are equally guilty of Messiah's death-the Israelites for giving Him up to death and the Gentile Romans for actually killing Him.

But the Israelites/Jews are the focal point of the entire drama surrounding the death of the Messiah; remember, they are after all, the "Chosen People." As a matter of fact, the key figure in the betrayal of their kinsman Redeemer was a man named "Judas." Removing the final 's' (the Greek masculine singular ending), we have 'Juda', which is 'Yahuda' in the Hebrew, meaning 'Jew'. So, this was a micro picture of the larger reality wherein the 'Jew' was betraying his Kinsman Redeemer-just as the nation of Israel was doing in the macro sense. As Yahuda described it, "I have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood." (Matthew 27:4)

But given that the Messiah came to die for our sins, and the "Chosen People" were also 'chosen' to turn over their Kinsman Redeemer to be slain by the heathen, does the Almighty make a way to mitigate their guilt and to forgive this egregious sin in a just manner? As it turns out, that appears to exactly be the case. How else could the Apostle Paul make the following statement?
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of Elohim are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed Elohim, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For Elohim hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of Elohim! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
(Romans11:25-33)
So, the "Chosen People" that were chosen to obey were also chosen to reject the Messiah so that He would be crucified and thereby be the salvation for many. But even if this was the plan, we must ask whether or not the actual rejection and handing over of the Messiah was a sin. If so, what kind of sin was it? Was it a sin worthy of damnation and rejection? Or was it rather an unintentional sin of ignorance? Whatever sin it was, could they be forgiven for such a sin?

The Mercy of the Most High-Divine Providence and a Man Named 'Barabbas'

Would it make sense for the Almighty to forgive the Jewish/Israelite people for their sin of betraying their Kinsman Redeemer and turning Him over to the Gentiles to be executed? If the Messiah came to forgive sin, then they can be forgiven-especially given that they were selected to be the "Chosen People." But, we must ask ourselves if there is a legal basis for forgiveness, because Satan, the accuser, would demand it.
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our Elohim, and the power of his Messiah: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our Elohim day and night.
(Revelation 12:9-10)
Just as name of Messiah's betrayer, 'Yahuda' was no accident, the name of another figure in the crucifixion drama was no accident. That man was the other prisoner being tried by Pilate at the same time, the man 'Barabbas.'

If you look through the entire Bible, you will find that there is only one Biblical figure by that name. And one might wonder what the odds are, that the one occurrence of that name in the Bible would be at the very same time that Messiah stood trial before Pilate. That is, if any of us have ever stopped to consider the man "Barabbas' at all. But let us, for a moment, consider this man with this uncommon name.

Just as with the name 'Judas' we should first remove the final 's' (the Greek masculine singular ending) from this Semitic name. This leaves us with 'Barabba,' a name consisting of two Hebrew/Aramaic words. 'Bar' is Aramaic for 'son of' (like Simon bar Jonah in Matthew 16:17). 'Abba' is the term of endearment for 'father'. So, 'Barabba' means 'son of Father.'

The Israelite people present at Messiah's trial were sheep-like most people-who followed the lead of their religious leaders. When Pilate offered the release of one of his two prisoners, Yahoshua or Barabba, the Scriptures tell us that "the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude" (Matthew 27:20) that they should ask for the release of Barabba.

This very situation was presented in the early 1990s to a skeptical lawyer, who did not believe in the Bible, but argued that there was no legal basis for forgiving the Jews for Messiah's death. He was asked to play the role of a witness called to testify by the accuser, Satan, in the courtroom of Heaven. He was to be cross-examined by Messiah as Defense Counsel. He was reminded that hearsay would not be allowed; he could not try to infer motive, but could only testify as to what he saw. The interaction went something like this:
Defense counsel: "What did the people say when Pilate asked them who should go free?"

Witness: "They said 'Barabba' (Matthew 27:21)."

Defense counsel: "What is the meaning of 'Barabba?'

Witness: "Son of father."

Defense counsel: "Thank you, no further questions. So, the people stated that the Son of the Father should go free. Your Honor, I move for a finding of 'not guilty'."

Witness: "But wait, that's not what the people meant."

Defense counsel: "Your inference as to motive is hearsay and is not allowed."

Witness: "But I also heard them say, 'Let His blood be on us and on our children' (Matthew 27:25)."

Defense counsel: "Are you familiar with Exodus 24:1-8?"

Witness: "No."

Defense counsel: "Let's read it."

And he said unto Moses, Come up unto Yahowah, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off. And Moses alone shall come near Yahowah but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him. And Moses came and told the people all the words of Yahowah, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which Yahowah hath said will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of Yahowah, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto Yahowah. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that Yahowah hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which Yahowah hath made with you concerning all these words. (Exodus 24:1-8)

Defense counsel: "What was done, in verse 8, with the blood of the sacrifice regarding the people?

Witness: "Moses sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice on the people."

Defense counsel: "Correct. Repeat again the statement made by the Israelites to Pilate."

Witness: "Let His blood be on us and on our children."

Defense counsel: "So it would appear that with their lips, they put themselves and their children under the blood of Messiah's sacrifice. Thank you, no further questions. Your Honor, I move for a finding of 'not guilty'."
The skeptical lawyer saw the beauty of the legal defense made possible by the providential appearance in the Bible of the man, Barabba. He is now a very strong believer in the Bible and the Almighty's plan of redemption of mankind-all because of the Almighty's faithfulness to His "Chosen People."

If the Israelites Have Not Been Rejected, Do They Have an End-Time Mission?

Not only has the Creator not rejected His people and showed them mercy, but He is not finished with them either. As it turns out, both Messiah Yahoshua and the Apostle Paul, give us prophetic indications that the Israelites have a very important end-time mission left to perform on behalf of the entire Earth, namely to call for the return of Messiah Yahoshua before He actually returns to the Earth. Let us first look to Messiah Yahoshua's prophecy.

The setting was the Temple in Jerusalem (Matthew 21:23), where He was preaching. The day before, He had chased the money changers and merchants out of the Temple (Matthew 21:12-18). And on His way to the Temple this particular morning, He had caused an unfruitful fig tree to wither (Matthew 21:19). After relating several parables to the people and engaging in doctrinal disputations with several Scribes and Pharisees, He made the following proclamation:
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
(Matthew 23:37-38)
Many pastors who teach replacement theology use these two verses as proof texts that the Almighty has rejected Israel. After all, Israel's capital, Jerusalem, had in fact mistreated many of the prophets sent to them. And it does say here that their house-most likely referring to the Temple-would be left desolate as a result.

But we should probably take a somewhat deeper look into what is going on here. If we take this deeper look, and compare Scripture with Scripture, as we have been taught, a number of key points come to light. First, Yahoshua is talking to Jerusalem-and to no one else. This is not some spiritualization, but the actual Jerusalem, the one that had presided over the killings of various prophets throughout the ages.

The second point is Messiah's prophecy that Jerusalem was to have its house left desolate; this in fact occurred some 40 years later when the Romans captured Jerusalem, completely destroyed the Temple, and expelled the Israelite people from Jerusalem. But there is even more going on here.

Prior to Yahoshua's entering the Temple, He had withered a fig tree that contained no fruit.
Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. (Matthew 21:18-19)
The rendition of this event in the Book of Luke, gives us another detail that is usually overlooked by students of the Bible.
And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Yahoshua answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it. (Mark 11:12-14)
So, why do Matthew and Mark highlight the fig tree event prior to Messiah's final trip into the Temple? And why would Messiah Yahoshua wither a poor fig tree for not having fruit, when the Bible states that it was not yet the time for figs? Was the Messiah simply weak in horticulture or was He demonstrating another parable? Perhaps the prophet Hosea has the answer.
I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved. (Hosea 9:10)
So, Hosea likens Israel to grapes on a grape vine or figs on a fig tree. Perhaps Messiah Yahoshua's withering of the fig tree, and subsequent prophecy concerning Israel's 'desolate' house was referring to the earlier prediction by the prophets Joel and Habakkuk.
For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion. He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white. Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth. The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of Yahowah; the priests, Yahowah's ministers, mourn... Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished. The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; (Joel 1:6-9, 11-12)

When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: (Habakkuk 3:16-17)
Prophecies such as these, have caused some expositors to refer to Israel as the "fig tree nation." So Messiah Yahoshua's cursing of the fig tree nation and subsequent prophecy concerning Jerusalem's 'house' being 'left desolate' would appear to be bleak forebodings for the Israelites. As if this were not enough, Messiah Yahoshua then went on to forecast Israel's bleak fate even more directly.
And Yahoshua went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Yahoshua said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. (Matthew 24:1-4)
And, as previously noted, the Romans did in fact bring these events to pass. But what of Israel's status as the "Chosen People? What of the Almighty's faithfulness to the promises He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? What of this study's earlier assertion that the Israelites have an important end-time mission to carry out; namely the calling for Messiah Yahoshua's return?

As it turns out, Messiah Yahoshua gives us several clues to these 'end-time' events as well; we simply have to look a little deeper into the words He spoke, both to His disciples, and to those in the Temple a little earlier. First, we will take another look at Matthew 21, but this time to statements made to His disciples concerning the 'end-times', statements referring to a period after the destruction of Jerusalem, and a curious reference to a particular fruit tree,
And Yahoshua went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Yahoshua said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Yahoshua answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceives you... (Matthew 24:1-4)

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. (Matthew 24:32-34)
Notice here that Messiah Yahoshua refers again to the fig tree-the tree he cursed earlier-and indicates that the fig tree would again put forth leaves. Furthermore, the generation that witnesses the re-blooming of the fig tree 'shall not pass' until the end-time events He enumerated in verses 4-31 be fulfilled.

But not only in the book of Matthew do we find the end-time reference to the 'fig tree', but also in Mark and Luke, as well.
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
(Mark 13:28-31)

And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of Elohim is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. (Luke 21:29-32)
After having ceased to exist as a landed nation in 70 C.E., Israel, the 'fig tree nation', began to put forth it leaves again on May 14/15 1948, when it was reborn in a day (Isaiah 66:8) by vote of the United Nations. In fulfillment of Messiah Yahoshua's prophecy, recorded in all 3 of the synoptic Gospels, the fig tree nation has put forth its leaves and the "kingdom of Elohim is nigh at hand."

So, the Almighty is faithful and the kingdom is at hand, but what is Israel's end-time mission? Will they in fact have to call for the return of Messiah Yahoshua before He will return? To find the answer to this question, let's take another look at Messiah's prophecy declared in His last visit to the Temple, but this time, let us read a little farther.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of Yahowah. (Matthew 23:37-39)
This is indeed an interesting statement. Messiah Yahoshua seems to be stating here that Jerusalem will not see him again until they proclaim the blessing, "Baruch ha ba b'Shem Yahowah" ("Blessed is he that cometh in the name of Yahowah."). But does this mean that He will not return to the Earth until Jerusalem pronounces this blessing? As it turns out, there are a number of Bible verses which indicate this is exactly the case; Jerusalem will have to call for him before He returns.

Messiah's Return to the Earth

The coming of the Messiah to the Earth is a day much anticipated by believers in the Bible, both for observant Jews and believing Christians. His coming will usher in the Kingdom of the Most High and great blessings across the Earth. According to the book of Matthew, Messiah's coming goes something like this,
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn a parable of the fig tree... (Matthew 24:29-32)
Most Evangelical Christians believe that when He comes, His feet will first touch down upon the Mount of Olives-which is just outside the East Gate of Jerusalem-because of the following verses from the book of Zechariah,
Behold, the day of Yahowah cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall Yahowah go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. (Zechariah 14:1-4)
And then, in accordance with the prophecy in Ezekiel 43:1-9, the Messiah will enter Jerusalem through the East Gate and walk into a rebuilt Temple. Incidentally, the Islamic leaders in Jerusalem in the year 1541 C.E. bricked up this entrance to try to prevent this prophesied event. Many students of Biblical prophecy, however, believe that the earthquake in Zechariah 14:4 will make short work of these bricks in time for Messiah's triumphal entry. But back to Messiah's coming.

We saw in Matthew 24 that Messiah will come back to the Earth in the clouds of Heaven. The book of Revelation likewise declares this to be the case.
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:7)
And notice in both passages that everyone on the Earth will witness His coming; this obviously includes the inhabitants of Jerusalem. So now, let us look back to the words of Messiah Yahoshua in the book of Matthew,
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee... For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of Yahowah. (Matthew 23:37-39)
So, before Jerusalem can see Him come in the clouds, they have to make the proclamation, "Baruch ha ba b'Shem Yahowah!"

"But wait," one might say, "is this 'end-time' job of the Jews/Israelites indicated by any other New Testament verses? If it is true, there should be at least one other verse." And indeed, there is at least one other verse; as a matter of fact, there are several other verses. The first few we will explore are made by the Apostle Paul, the "Apostle to the Gentiles," in Romans 11.
I say then, Hath Elohim cast away his people? Elohim forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. Elohim hath not cast away his people which he foreknew... Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace... What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. (According as it is written, Elohim hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day... I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? Elohim forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? (Romans 11:1-15)
Paul is talking about his people, the Israelites, in this passage. He acknowledges that, just as we have seen earlier in this study, the majority of the Israelites, "the Chosen People" were "chosen" to be blinded and reject the Messiah so that He could die His foreordained sacrificial death. The blessing of His sacrifice could be spread to all believers around the World; "through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles." But let us take a closer look at the two underlined verses above, verse 12 and verse 15.

First, verse 12: "Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?"

Paul is saying here that if the "fall" of the Israelites (i.e., their Elohim-induced blindness and subsequent rejection of the Messiah) was good for the Gentiles, the "fullness" of the Israelites (i.e., their belief in Messiah) will be even better for the Gentiles and the entire world. Verse 15 further stipulates just how good the Israelite "fullness" will be.

Verse 15: “For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?”

In other words, when the Almighty cast them away for their sins and the Gentiles of the world were reconciled. When the blindness of the Israelites is lifted, and they are again "received" by the Almighty, this conversion will bring about the resurrection of the dead and everlasting life!

The book of 1 Thessalonians describes the resurrection of the dead and when this occurs,
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Yahoshua died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Yahoshua will Elohim bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of Elohim: and the dead in Messiah shall rise first: (1 Thessalonians 4:13-16)
The resurrection of the dead will occur at the return of Messiah. The Messiah will return when Jerusalem calls for Him by crying out the blessing,
"Baruch ha ba b'Shem Yahowah." ("Blessed is he that cometh in the name of Yahowah."). (Matthew 23:39)
The Kingdom of the Most High will begin and King Messiah will reign from Jerusalem.
And Yahowah shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Yahowah, and his name one... And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, Yahowah of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. (Zechariah 14:9-16)
According to Messiah Yahoshua's prophecy to Jerusalem, made during His final visit to the Temple, all of this is initiated by Jerusalem's calling for Him. All-in-all, not an insignificant end-time mission. But how should we act until this event occurs, and is there anything we can do about it?

What Manner of Persons Ought We to Be?

The book of 2 Peter gives us a warning of how things will be in the days leading up to the return of the Messiah,
This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of Elohim the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of Elohim, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. (2 Peter 3:1-14)
Four times in this passage, we find Peter reaffirming the Word of the Most High and the promises He has made, from the Creation all the way forward to the coming "day of the Lord." He also indicates that many will scoff at the Almighty's promises to their own destruction.

When theologians teach Replacement Theology-that the Almighty has rejected his "Chosen People" Israel-are they not attacking promises He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Of course, they are. And what are the practical results of these attacks on the Almighty's Word?

The fruits of Replacement Theology-in its various forms throughout history-have included intense persecutions of the Jewish/Israelite people down through history, by so-called "Christians." From Emperor Constantine, to the Crusades, to the latter days of Martin Luther, to the "Christian" Nazis, to replacement Theologians of today. Their vitriolic attacks have caused the bulk of the Jewish/Israelite people to reject their Messiah and to want nothing to do with Him.

We must ask ourselves, "In whose interest is it for the Jews/Israelites to remain blinded toward the Messiah and never call for Him? It is, of course, in the interest of haSatan, who realizes that as soon as the Israelites call for Messiah, it is the beginning of the end for him. It was he who built the wall of separation between Jewish believers and Gentile believers in the first several centuries of the Common Era. It was he, who paganized systematically-through his earthly agents such as Constantine-the Gentile believers so that their religion today bears little resemblance to the religion of the first century C.E. It is he who keeps alive the fires of Replacement Theology, as part of his effort to thwart the salvation plan of the Most High and to make Gentile Christians think that the Greco-Roman practices of their worship system are pleasing to the Most High.

What should be the focus of Gentile Christians today? The Apostle Paul states this mission in black and white in his letter to the Romans.
I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
(Romans 11:11)
But how can Gentile believers provoke the Jews/Israelites to jealousy? Currently, most Evangelical Christians hardly interact with the Israelite people. Those who do, do not provoke Jews to jealousy because their worship days, diet, manner of praying, etc., are not in accordance with Scriptural commandments and examples. Perhaps the Christians of today should follow the guidelines given in Isaiah 56:1-8, Acts 10:22, Acts 13:42-45, etc. The Gentile believers of Paul's day were not in churches observing pagan days like Christmas and Ishtar Sunday, but were in the synagogues on the Sabbath day, shoulder to shoulder with the Jews.

Many Gentile believers are going back to these Scriptural roots. Thousands are flocking to Messianic Jewish congregations and praying for the peace of Jerusalem. Messianic congregations, filled with believers in Messiah Yahoshua are springing up within Israel, preparing the ground for the eventual awakening of the Jewish/Israelite people as a whole and the day when they cry, "Baruch ha ba b'Shem Yahowah."

Will you be a part of this great end-time event?

Replacement Theology: Sound Doctrine or Doctrine of Demons?

Having examined the foregoing Biblical passages, we find ourselves again at the question posed at the beginning of this study, "Is Replacement Theology sound doctrine, or is it rather an unbiblical doctrine of demons?" While the reader must ultimately decide this matter for himself/herself, it is a question that should not be taken lightly for several reasons.

First, as we have seen, Replacement Theology makes the Creator out to be a liar by teaching that His Biblical promises made to the Patriarchs regarding Israel are no longer applicable-contrary to the clear and consistent message throughout the Bible that His Word, and His promises, are true and everlasting.

Second, Replacement Theology keeps thousands of Christians blind to the significant global events pertaining to the nation of Israel today and their relevance to the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.

Third, Replacement Theology keeps thousands of Christians from fulfilling their New Testament mandate-declared by the Apostle to the Gentiles-to "provoke [the Jews/Israelites] to jealousy" and thereby trying to hasten the return of the Messiah. Make no mistake, it will occur right on time at the time appointed by the Most High, but seeking to be part of this great end-time event is indeed a noble goal. Those who seek and work toward this goal will very likely hear the coveted judgment "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." (Matthew 25:21)

May the Most High bless and protect you as you study and pray about this issue.