Edgar C. Whisenant sold 700,000 books trying to convince people that Yeshua the Messiah was coming on Rosh Hashanah 1988. (September 11-13)
Of all the many corrective statements that could be said of this poor deceived man's predictions the most obvious is that he took the simple straight forward Word of God, and with acrobatic intellectual wisdom, made Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah say what He did not say.
"...It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority" Acts. 1:7.
"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone" Matt. 24:36.
By refusing to believe the clear words of the Bible, the Word of God, Mr. Whisenant has made the coming of the Lord of great derision among skeptical unbelievers and disillusionment among believers.
Today there is another theology that is arriving at similar faulty conclusions. It takes the simple words of the Old Testament, of Yeshua, and of Paul, and makes them say the exact opposite of what is written.
"'Behold, days are coming', declares the Lord, 'when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah...'"
"Thus says the Lord, 'If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out below, then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done', declares the Lord" Jer. 31:31 & 37.
"And thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written,
"'The deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.' From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable" Rom. 11:26-29.
Why this lengthy quoting of well known Scriptures? Because there is a theology that states that the Church has replaced Israel, and therefore God is finished with the Jewish people as far as a focus of His redemptive plan. This deception has begun to make incredulous inroads into the Fundamental and Charismatic denominations.
Replacement theology declares that in the New Testament the word Israel means the Church. Whatever promises were made to the Jews through Abraham are now transferred to the Christians. Obviously, the land no longer belongs to Israel; indeed she is an alien invader upon the Arab peoples. When the Tenach (Old Testament) speaks of the Jews returning to Jerusalem; the New Testament, according to replacement theologians, explains that this means the Christians coming to the New Jerusalem. Building up the ruined cities, means that the Kingdom of Heaven is being built up. The desert blossoming refers to the Heavenly Kingdom.
The many Scriptures then that portray Israel returning both to the Land of Israel and the God of Israel are poetic language, they say, and have been fulfilled spiritually in Yeshua's first coming.
They reason that as the sacrificial system in the temple was fulfilled in Yeshua's sacrifice; and the temple is now the worldwide Body of the Messiah, in the same way the people of Israel are no longer a physical entity, but in reality the Kingdom of God. (Answer: The Book of Hebrews says that the Law has only a shadow of the good things to come in its priestly sacrificial service (Heb. 8:5, 10: 1). Never does the Bible say the people of Israel are a shadow!)
DID GOD REVOKE HIS GIFT AND CALL TO ISRAEL?
Since the New Testament does not restate what the Old Testament foretells about the actual return of the Jewish people to the Holy Land; replacement theologians conclude Yeshua the Messiah thereby revealed God's decision to take the gift of the Land and her calling away from Israel, and give it to the gentiles forever. If one counters that Yeshua told the Jewish people that Jerusalem would be trodden down of the gentiles until the time of the gentiles be fulfilled; implying that the Jews would again possess the city, replacement theology says it is speaking of the heavenly Jerusalem of the Kingdom of God.
DO YOU KNOW HOW TO ANSWER THESE CLAIMS?
Amazingly enough, many Charismatic and Fundamental Christians are buying this theology. As the conflict in the Middle East increases; with Israel seemingly obstinate, unbending and aggressive, while Arab children refugees are constantly flashed on the TV screen, this theology seems easier to accept. It gives a possible solution to the Middle East. Perhaps Israel need not be in the Holy Land. Peace might descend on this worst of all trouble spots if the Palestinians were given their unalienable rights; i.e., the land where Israel now stands. Perhaps the Jews should look for another home.
As conditions there continue to become ever more menacing, it is our belief that a growing number of Christians will turn against the clear simple meaning of the Scripture concerning the return of the Jews to Zion and accept replacement theology.
However, this is their fatal error: Replacement theology does away with the simplicity and plainness of the Word of God. By "spiritualizing" the hundreds upon hundreds of Scriptures concerning Israel, the Old Testament becomes unintelligible. The Words of God which proclaim His promises to the Jews, the descendants of Abraham in an everlasting covenant for all generations, are no longer valid as written. They must be "reinterpreted". The Jewish people can no longer believe them.
Instead of the engrafted gentiles becoming a glorious additional fulfillment of God's promises to Abraham, these Christian replacement theologians take it upon themselves to replace the natural seed. They cut off the Jews.
Indeed Paul spoke so clearly against this very spirit when he said,
"...I am speaking to you who are (believing) gentiles...do not be arrogant toward the (natural) branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the roots, but the root supports you. You will say then, 'Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in'. Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief…And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again” Rom. 11:13, 18-20, 23.
YESHUA MAKES GOD'S PROMISES POSSIBLE!
We must emphatically state that all of God's everlasting promises to Abraham's seed are made possible through Yeshua's ratification of the New Covenant, "...I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel..." Jer. 31:31. "For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes... II Cor. 1:20.
Even though "replacements" claim that Yeshua abolishes the promises to Israel, the Scriptures themselves state that the New Covenant was made with the same people, Israel, the Jewish people.
We can only conclude that the same spirit of blindness that came upon the Jews to keep them from seeing Jeremiah's promise of a New Covenant to Israel, has now come upon those Christians who follow this doctrine.
THERE ARE NO TWO WAYS ABOUT IT
If God has transferred Israel's promises exclusively to the Christian church, its meaning can only be that He has once and for all rejected physical Israel.
But if God came to take away Israel's inheritance why did Yeshua say;
"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away, from the Law, until all is accomplished" Matt. 5:17,18. (Note: Logic says that fulfill cannot mean abolish.)
If God has turned away from Israel and exchanged her for a new nation why then did Paul say, ...God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be..." Rom 11: 1. And why does he then quote Old Testament Scripture to prove it? Rom 11:26.
If God has forever taken away the land of Israel from the Jewish people then why did God say,
"...It is not for your sake, a house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. And I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which you have profaned in their midst...For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands, and bring you into your own land" Ezk. 36:22-24.
The beauty, the clearness, the simplicity of the Word of God is torn asunder by replacement theology.
SPLITTING VERSES DOWN THE MIDDLE
Let us look at what such doctrine does to promise after promise made by God Verses must now be split down the middle: half a verse applies to the Jewish people, while the other to the "New" Israel, the Church.
"...Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; (obviously the Jews) behold, they say, 'Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.'
"Therefore prophesy, and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God, "Behold, I will open your graves...My people; and I will bring you (Christian Church? or Israel?) into the land of Israel'" Ezk. 37:11,12.
"And the nations will know that the house of Israel (obviously the Jews) went into exile for their iniquity because they acted treacherously against Me...so I gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and all of them fell by the sword.
"When I bring them (the Christians?) back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations" Ezk. 39:23,27.
"Behold, I will gather them (the Church? or Israel?) out of all the lands to which I have driven them in My anger, in My wrath, and in great indignation; and I will bring them back to this place and make them dwell in safety" Jer. 32:37.
"For thus says the Lord, Just as I brought all this calamity on this people, (the Jews) so I am going to bring on them (the Church? or the Jews?) all the good that I am promising them. And Fields shall be bought...in the land of (heavenly?) Benjamin, in the environs of (heavenly? or earthly?) Jerusalem, in the cities of (heavenly?) Judah, in the cities of the (heavenly?) hill country, in the cities of the (heavenly?) lowland, and in the cities of the (heavenly?) Negev" Jer. 32:42-44.
And on and on. These scriptures become ludicrous when they are spiritualized to mean the Church's gathering to Heaven. Some replacement theologians would then say that those Scriptures that do not seem to fit the Church must be referring to the first return from Babylon in the 3rd Century B.C., not a second one in the latter days.
But what of the Scripture that says: "Then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recover the second time with His hand the remnant of His people, who will remain, From Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath and from the islands of the sea" Isa.ll:ll.
What is more, the Scriptures have never been fulfilled concerning so many Jews coming out of the north country and all the other countries until the Jews will no longer speak of the Exodus from Egypt.
"Therefore behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when it will , no longer be said, 'As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt, but, As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them,' For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers" Jer. 16:14-15
AND WHAT ABOUT THESE SCRIPTURES?
“Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel... I will also plant them on their land, and they will not again be rooted out from their land which I have given them'. Says the Lord your God" Amos 9:14-15.
"Then they will know that I am the Lord their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land; and I will leave none of them there any longer" Ezk. 39:28.
How could these scriptures be speaking of the Babylonian return when Israel was rooted up after that, when Israel has never stopped talking about the Exodus from Egypt, when never ever has every Jew been brought home from exile? The only conclusion is that Israel would again come home, this time never to be uprooted.
THE IRREFUTABLE HARMONY OF BOTH TESTAMENTS
The grave and even tragic mistake of the replacement theologians is that they break the fundamental law of the harmony of the Old and New Testaments. The New Testament does not repeat all the promises of the Old Testament because its writers and its central characters presupposed the authenticiy and accuracy of Moses and the Prophets.
Thus, the principal error of this theology is that replacement theologians cannot bring themselves to believe in the literal truth of the Old Testament.
Again we repeat, the reason Yeshua spent little time proving that physical Israel would be living in the physical promised land in the last days, is that He presupposed that all Old Testament Scriptures were absolutely and undeniably true.
FIRST CENTURY JEWISH THEOLOGIANS MADE THE SAME MISTAKE
The Jewish people's First Century theologians also spiritualized prophesies concerning Yeshua's first coming. For example, it was written "He was cut off out of the land of living, for the transgression of my people..." Isa 53:8. But because they "spiritualized" these verses, they did not recognize their Redeemer-Intercessor.
We can surmise that they did not believe in the prophet Micah's promise that the Messiah would be born in the real city of Bethlehem, because none of the religious scholars of that day went there to check out the Wisemen's story. They didn't believe in a literal lowly Messiah riding on a literal donkey. They certainly didn't believe in the Messiah's literal death.
Today these Christian scholars who have spiritualized literal Israel out of existence are making the same mistake.
"The grass withers, the flower fades, (and so will replacement theology) but the word of our God stands forever" Isa. 40:8.
*Next month a discussion of New Testament Scriptures that the replacement theologians claim proves that Israel is replaced by the Church.
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The Beresford vs. Interior Office
of Government of Israel
This court case in which three Supreme Court judges are to decide whether or not Gary and Shirley Beresford can immigrate as Jews has not yet been concluded. The case has been brought to Israel's Supreme Court because the Orthodox elements in the Israeli government do not want to accept Jews who believe that Yeshua is Messiah into the land of Israel. The Beresfords who are a part of our congregation in Ramat Hasharon need your prayers. Israel needs your prayers, for Satan has worked hard to keep Messianic Jews out of Israel. He greatly fears the light they are bringing to that land which stands in the shadow of death. The case should be decided in October. Pray until you receive a report of victory!
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Messianic Sheep and Goat Farm
Some of our readers became acquainted with Tal and Adi Ellis when we planted 500 olive trees on their farm near Nazareth after the Shavuot Conference in May 1988.
The Ellises have struggled against great odds to plant themselves as Jewish believers in the farming community in Northern Israel.
They have bought their sheep and goats a few at a time, trying to beat the status quo quotas that the government will soon set on sheep and goat milk.
The quota for goat milk has now been set for December 31, 1988. Whatever amount of milk they are producing at that time, is how much they will be allowed to continue to produce, but no more.
A goat costs around $250 in Israel. Taxes folks! Taxes!
In the last four months since the trees were planted, people who know about the Ellis family's need have sent money for 24 goats.
They need another 25 goats before December 31, 1988 to make their herd economically viable! If you wish to donate $250 for a goat for this family of Jewish believers living in Galilee, we urge you to do so. You may send them your donations through Maoz. Every believing family or individual rooted in Israel is important to the Kingdom of God.
Also, we ask you to remember the needs of Maoz, whose ministry reaches across Israel every month.
We are actually you! What you give to Maoz is what we give to Israel. We bless you in the Name of our God, the God of Israel.
Your Co-Workers For The Salvation of Israel,
Ari & Shira Sorko- Ram
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