“The Holy Scriptures cannot be used to justify the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of the Palestinians, to justify the occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands,” Monsignor Cyril Salim Bustros, Greek Melkite archbishop of Our Lady of the Annunciation in Boston Mass., and president of the “Commission for the Message,” said at Saturday’s Vatican press conference. “We Christians cannot speak of the ‘promised land’ as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people. This promise was nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people – all men and women of all countries have become the chosen people.”
I believe that the Vatican and the institution of the Roman Catholic Church as well as some other denominational churches are gravely mistaken and have embraced the “replacement theology” and are in the process of abandoning Israel.
Replacement theology also known as supersessionism teaches that the Church has replaced the nation of Israel regarding the plan, purpose, and promises of God. There is no biblical evidence that God has cast Israel aside, quite the opposite is true. God has made an everlasting covenant with Israel, in Genesis God made a covenant with Abraham: “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.” Gen 17:7
God said everlasting, not just for a certain time period. God promised Abraham that through his offspring all the nation shall be blessed i.e. the promised Messiah would come through the nation of Israel (Gen 3:17) from the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God made another covenant through Abraham’s son Isaac: “Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.” Gen 17:19
The word everlasting appears 100 times in the KJV/NKJV and if God says everlasting it means everlasting i.e. forever. The replacement theology has been around for a long time, but is contradictory to what the Bible teaches. Israel and the Church are two different entities, God has not made a covenant with the Church as He did with the nation of Israel as for example the mosaic law which was conditional and involved works.
The New Testament covenant is unconditional, no works, such as animal sacrifices or the keeping of dietary laws etc. We come through faith not by works. God made an unconditional covenant with Abram in Genesis 15. It was unconditional, God put Abram to sleep and walked among the animals and it was God that upheld the covenant without any works or doings of Abram. Please note, at that time his name was still Abram not Abraham which came later when God promised him that he would be the father of a great nation which were the twelve tribe of Israel.
Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness. We as the bride of Christ come through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. It is His righteousness that is imputed onto every believer. God’s sovereign plan of salvation. We are saved by His grace through faith. It is true and documented in the Bible that Israel disobeyed God many times, which caused them many afflictions, enslaved to Egypt for 400 years, captivity in Babylon for 70 years and much strives and wars with the neighboring nations.
They rejected Jesus as their Messiah at His first coming, which resulted ultimately in the destruction of the temple in 70 AD by Titus and the fall of Jerusalem which caused them to exist as a nation, resulting them to be dispersed all over the world. Because of their rejection of Jesus/Yahshua as Messiah, the Gentile nations became heirs, with that God fulfilled the promise He made to Abraham, that, through him all nations will be blessed: “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,…” Eph 3:1-6
God wanted the nation of Israel to be a shinning light before the pagan nations, He chose them not because they were special people but because He loved them and keeps His promises: “The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; “but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. “Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments; “and He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack with him who hates Him; He will repay him to his face.” Deu 7:7-10
Israel did not keep the commandments, and they even went in to idolatry, something the LORD hates, they failed miserably, despite all this, God has not cast them out or broken His covenant with them. Currently we are in what is called by many the Church age, which began at the time of Pentecost with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the believers. (Acts 2) God is using the Church to preach the gospel of salvation in Christ and Him alone. The Church was chosen by God for a specific time period i.e. Church age, to preach the gospel and reach the lost, the church was grafted in. (Rom 11:17)
The apostle Paul certainly did not believe that Israel was cast out by God, he wrote: “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, “LORD, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”? But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” Rom 11:1-4
God has always preserve a Jewish remnant. One of the biggest evidence of God not breaking His covenant is manifested in the re-birth of the nation of Israel on May 14th 1948. After almost 2000 years of Israel not existing, God brought them back into the land as prophesied by the Prophet Ezekiel in chapter 36. The Jews are back in the land, as one nation/kingdom not two as it was before the dispersion, ( 2 southern tribes Judah and Benjamin and the 10 northern tribes) they speak one common which is Hebrew and the shekel is their currency. Today Israel is one of the most fruitful areas in the Middle East, they are the biggest vegetable and fruit exporters in the region. Israel is on the news daily and Jerusalem with the temple mount has been a sore point to many nations and has become the epicenter of the world. Israel is surrounded by many hostile Islamic nations, and one day the war of Gog and Magog will take place as described in Ezekiel 38 and 39.
Most scholars believe that at the time of the rapture of the believers in Christ, the church age will end and will usher in a 7 year tribulation period on the earth spoken of in Daniel chapter 9. 70 weeks were determined for Israel, 69 weeks or 483 years or 173880 days have been fulfilled, from the commandment by King Artaxerxes in 445BC to rebuild the walls and Jerusalem and with Jesus riding into Jerusalem April 6 AD 32 as prophesied by Zechariah: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zech 9:9
The Messiah was cut off as prophesied in Daniel 9 i.e the crucifixion and finished work of Christ upon the cross. This leaves a seven-year/one week period which has not been fulfilled, commonly referred to as Jacobs troubles or the seven years of great tribulation. It is in these seven years of tribulation that God will once again turn to Israel and they will recognize that Jesus is their promised Messiah, and they will embrace Him as such. The tribulation period will be a time of trouble like the world has never seen before or ever will again, God will pour out His wrath upon the unbelieving world and Christ will come again with all the believers, which is the second coming, this time He will come not as a lamb but as the Lion from the tribe of Judah. Christ will judge the nations, and the once who made it through the seven-year tribulation period who did not take the mark of the beast will enter into the millennial reign of Christ here upon the earth. This is the separation of the sheep from the goats.
“I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” Rev 20:4-6
Many Jews will receive Christ as their Lord and Savior during the great tribulation, many Jews and Gentiles will have to die/martyred, but because they have not worshiped or bowed down to the Antichrist , they will be saved and enter into the kingdom of God and have everlasting life. God has not cast out the Jews, neither has He forgotten them, God keeps His promises, to us as Christians and to His chosen people; Israel. God has always preserved for Himself a remnant.
The Roman Catholic Church is wrong regarding Israel and the Bishops are contradicting what the word of God clearly states. As true followers of Jesus, we must stand with Israel and love them, they may not have yet embraced Yeshuah as Messiah, but in due time God will open their eyes. We should bless them and not cast them aside.