A Christian friend of mine once prayed that he would love the things God loves and hate the things God hates – a pretty good prayer to pray. After more than an hour of weeping, a love for the Jewish people was birthed in him. If that sounds strange, you need to keep reading…
The word ‘Israel’ is on nearly every page of our Bibles. Yet few Christians give today’s modern state a second thought.
The default position of many Christians today is that God’s ancient people and nation are irrelevant.
This position is known as ‘replacement theology’. It states that the Church has replaced Israel, so God’s Old Testament promises to Israel are now exclusively for the Church.
Israelis therefore just like any other nation. The once chosen nation and chosen people have become ‘un-chosen’.
Historically, replacement theology has fuelled antisemitism. Even the great reformer Martin Luther held racist beliefs.
Luther’s achievements are rightly celebrated, but few are aware of his treatise titled On The Jews And Their Lies where the reformer wrote that Jews are “truly stupid fools” and “blind, and senseless people”.
Luther’s hate for the Jews stemmed from his replacement beliefs. “The Jews, surely rejected by God, are no longer his people, and neither is he any longer their God,” he wrote.
Luther “advised” that Jewish homes be “razed and destroyed” and synagogues “burned down”. His work would later inspire Hitler to commit one of the worst genocides in modern history.
It’s remarkable that this same Martin Luther who worshipped a Jew (Jesus) and spent years studying Messianic Jews writings (the New Testament was written by Jewish Christians) came to the conclusion that God had finished with the Jews.
The debate surrounding whether the Jews are still chosen by God should have ended with Romans 11:29 where Paul says (speaking of the Jews): “The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.”
If the calling of God on the Jewish people is irrevocable then might we be able to see this calling at work in the world today? History reveals the answer…
Less than 100 years after Jesus’ death, the Romans kicked the Jews out of Israel and renamed the territory ‘Palaestina’ (Palestine) – after the Jews’ ancient enemies, the Philistines.
Longing to return home, Jews held on tightly to many Old Testament passages such as Ezekiel 37:1-14 where God promises to bring the Jews back to the land of Israel.
Bible-believing Christians such as CH Spurgeon were totally convinced that the above Ezekiel passage was to be fulfilled literally. William Wilberforce also supported the return of the Jews to the land that God had promised them as an “everlasting possession” in Genesis 17:8.
On 14 May 1948, the Jewish people’s near 2,000-year-old dream finally became a reality. The modern state of Israel was born and the people were reunited with their homeland.
By restoring the Jewish people to the land He gave them, God Himself entered into the debate about replacement theology. He proved Himself faithful to a 4,000-year-old promise and demonstrated that His love and plan for the Jewish people continues today.
The above often raises questions:
Does God love the Palestinians just as much as the Jews? Of course!
Does He have a plan for the Arab nations as well as the Jewish nation? Yes!
God’s great plan for salvation and the advancement of the kingdom of God on earth does not negate or replace the many Old Testament passages which prophecy how God will gather the Jews from the four corners of the earth and bring them back to the land he promised him.
Today as thousands of Jews continue to return to Israel every year, we must ask the question: Is Old Testament prophecy being fulfilled in our generation?
In order to answer this question we must do as Karl Barth instructed: “Take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible.”