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Israel: Replacement Theology
One of the things I got to do on this trip [to Israel], similar but better than last year, I got to go down and spend about three hours with a paratrooper company right on the Gaza border. If you think about Gaza, which is southeast of Israel, the border comes about five miles from the Mediterranean and makes a right-angle turn and heads due south. This outfit is right on that corner. They wouldn't allow me to shoot any weapons which was a great disappointment to me. After the war last November when Gaza was shooting so many missiles at Israel, they couldn't do any more live firing near the border. Now Palestinians, or Gaza residents, are allowed to come all the way up to the border fence so they have to avoid any kind of semblance of fighting. They gave me a little demo and gave me a rundown on their weapons. Then I walked around outside their living quarters and their training area to the border and walked along within the trenches. My guide was a paratrooper in 1973. He was having a lot of fun showing me things.
Let's open our Bibles to Romans, chapter 9. I want to continue with what we were talking about last time, hermeneutics and replacement theology. Now I'm going to basically focus on some of the hermeneutics. We looked at this passage, the opening introduction to chapter 9. Now the three chapters, Romans 9–11, are the go-to chapters that demonstrate in the New Testament that God has not departed, cancelled, or abrogated His promises, His covenants to Israel. But if you don't interpret literally you're not going to come up with the right answer. If Israel means Israel, that's interpreting it literally.
If Israel is a term that refers to the Church, if Israel is a term that refers to Christianity, if Israel is a term for the Church in the Old Testament, and the Church is a term for Israel in the New Testament, then you can just about make the Bible say whatever you want it to say. This is the foundation for what is known as replacement theology. Where I'm going with this, which is foundational to understanding issues today, is how to understand a plain, literal translation. Then we're going to see how that lays the groundwork, the soil out of which replacement theology and anti-Semitism grows. It doesn't mean that if somebody holds to allegorical or non-literal interpretation that they necessarily hold to replacement theology or if they do hold to that, that they're anti-Semitic. But once you lay that groundwork of allegorical interpretation, that's the soil out of which the Holocaust came.
Its roots are in the late first century, as we'll see. Romans 9:4 and 5 focuses on the fact that the Israelites, "To whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Law, the service of God and the promises…" This is Paul talking about the Church Age. The promises and the covenants still belong to Israel. He's using the term Israel here in its Old Testament sense, referring to ethnic Israel, not some sort of spiritual Israel, not just Israelites who trust in Christ but it still belongs to Israel. Just as the Abrahamic covenant applies to all Jews in the Old Testament, thus all males, as we studied on Tuesday night in Acts, had to be circumcised because they all participate in the covenant. It doesn't mean all Jews are saved but that at a natural, physical level they are all beneficiaries of at least the earthly aspect of the promises of God.
This is also part of the Abrahamic covenant, Genesis 12:1-3. This means they were commanded to be a blessing to the world and God's promise that He would bless those who bless them and will curse those who curse them. The Abrahamic covenant is the foundation for why we believe it is important for Christians to bless Israel. There's a lot of different ways in which Christians can bless Israel but one of the ways we can bless Israel as a nation is in terms of our support for Israel. I remember hearing pastors teach about this back in the 90s and a lot of people asked, "Well, does that mean we have to approve of every decision that Israel makes?" No, that's not what it means. Supporting Israel means that you support their right to exist as a nation, their right to self-defense, their right to defensible borders and their right to own and possess that which has been given them under international law. There are going to be good policies, bad policies, weak policies, and strong policies that come out of the Knesset, their parliament, in Israel that not only may we not agree with but that many Israelis may not agree with. They have something like 16 different political parties. There's a proverb among the Jews that if you have three Jews, you have five opinions. So it's just nonsense to say that if you support Israel you validate every decision their government makes. That's not what that means.
Supporting Israel means that we support their right to exist, their right to legal borders that have been established through international law and that takes us back to San Remo in 1920 which we'd studied in the past. According to San Remo, which was signed off on by 55 nations, all of the land west of the Jordan River was to be reserved for a national home for the Jewish people. The Arabs ended up getting Jordan. They have Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. None of those nations existed prior to 1920. The previous legal owner of that real estate was the Ottoman Empire. When the Ottoman Empire broke apart at the end of World War I, then someone had to come in and designate who the new sovereign states were going to be and that fell to the victors of World War I.
They did the same thing in Paris. The four great powers, England, Japan, Italy, and the United States met in Paris and imposed the Treaty of Versailles on the Germans but part of what happened at Paris is that they had to redraw the borders for Eastern Europe: Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Germany, Austria, and the Balkan States. All of those borders were reestablished. A lot of people don't understand that even if you don't have a shooting war, it's still a war. It could be a legal war but when you win, the surveyors are going to come out, re-survey the property, draw where the property lines are and all of that gets filed down at the courthouse.
But on a larger scale, at the end of World War I, that's what happened at Paris. They sent out all the surveyors all throughout Europe and they redrew all the borders. No one questioned their right to do it. Poland, Hungary, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Belarus, and everyone in that area had new borders. They didn't have time to deal with the border situation with the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. So that put that off until they met in San Remo in 1920 and they redrew the borders and established the states of Syria, Libya, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia. It's part of the same documents that said those nations were now coming into existence with those borders.
The Arabs accept all of that part but that same document said all the land west of Jordan was to go to the Jewish people as a national homeland. But they put Abdullah Faisal as the kind of Syria. The French, who were governing under the mandate of the League of Nations knew that King Faisal had been promised a position of power and leadership by the British if he would aid them in their defeat of the Germans and the Ottomans. The British were forced to fulfill a promise to him and the only thing they could do was give him the area now known as the Kingdom of Jordan. Winston Churchill was foreign secretary at the time and had to sign off on that. He hated doing it but it was the only solution. That left everything west of the Jordan River to be a homeland for the Jewish people.
That's the only legal document that establishes legal sovereignty over that land after the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. Who owned that land legally prior to 1920? The Ottomans. No one else. The Palestinian Arabs aren't there. The only people who have ever been given sovereignty there by the League of Nations are the Jews. That's international law. The UN was supposed to defend all treaties and alliances established by the League of Nations under their charter when they first started but they didn't do it. At the same time the Israelis were so concerned and decided they'd have "a bird in the hand rather than two in the bush" so they were ready to accept just any little piece of real estate now rather than wait for something later on. So they compromised.
Everybody just ignored this legal document and it went into the files so everybody forgot about it until the 1980s. Then two different legal scholars, Howard Grief who spoke to our group [in Israel last summer], and Jacques Gauthier have done all of the detailed intricate work on pulling this information out and making it available to people. It's gradually gaining more and more of a following to understand these things. That's the legal argument as to why Israel has to right to the land.
The Biblical argument, which matters to us even if a lot of people don't care what the Bible says or what history says, but we should care what the law says. We claim to be a people who believe in the rule of law. We may not like the decisions made at San Remo but guess what, if we believe in the rule of law, that's where we're supposed to start. You can't just ignore it and act like it's not there. That's what's been going on for the last eighty years.
Because of that, we'd had all this mess as we ignored the rule of law. It all goes back to the Abrahamic covenant and God's promises. So God promises to watch out for Israel. Now that hasn't changed. As I pointed out in the previous two classes there are two basic errors that have really plagued Christianity: Replacement theology and Christian anti-Semitism. No one likes to call replacement theology by that name because it gave birth to the Holocaust. They claim not to believe it anymore but they still say the Jews aren't God's chosen people, the Church is the new people of God, and they still believe the same thing. Replacement theology got hung around the neck of the Holocaust so they don't like it. But it's coming back very big, along with anti-Semitism.
The foundation of these two things is the issue of interpretation. How do you interpret the Bible? David Cooper said, "When the plain sense of the Bible makes common sense, make no other sense. Therefore take every word at its ordinary usual meaning unless the facts of the immediate context are arguing for something else." Now that's literal interpretation. I gave you several quotes last time from non-literal, covenant theologians on how they interpret Scripture. One was from Oswald Allis, a very well-known, famous Old Testament scholar from Westminster Seminary in the first half of the 20th century where he said, "It's the insistent claims of its advocates [of literal interpretation] that only when interpreted literally is the Bible interpreted truly. And they denounce us as spiritualizers and allegorizers, those who do not interpret the Bible with the same degree of literalness as they do. None have made this charge more pointed than the dispensationalists." We are the whipping boy for everything that's wrong because George Bush sent American troops into Iraq to take out Saddam Hussein. He was accused of running foreign policy according to these dispensationalists who love and hoped every day when they woke up that the Battle of Armageddon was around the corner. That's how they caricatured us. They accused Bush of being a dispensationalist. I don't think he ever heard the word. He's from a Methodist background. They're not dispensationalists. Probably the last president who understood anything about that was President Ronald Reagan. Allegedly he read "Late, Great Planet Earth" which made an impact on him.
Allis also said "The Old Testament prophecies, if literally interpreted, cannot be regarded as having been fulfilled or of being capable of fulfillment in this present age." That's right, they can't be fulfilled literally in this present age. They're amillennialists which means no literal, thousand year, physical reign of Jesus on the earth so they've spiritualized the kingdom. The kingdom is now Jesus ruling over the Church from heaven.
If you pay attention to a lot of people they use terms like, "Well, we're going to do this for the Kingdom." I don't see a lot of that terminology in the Scripture but it's very popular among a lot of evangelicals today. It comes out of a non-literal interpretation and teaching on the kingdom. That's their view. They have a non-literal view of the kingdom. They believe Jesus Christ rules and reigns in our hearts today so that's the kingdom. We're in the Millennium. Aren't you glad? I always like what Tommy Ice says, "If we're living in the kingdom today, then I'm living in a millennial ghetto."
So we have some passages which I want to read to you. Some people think I make these things up. Isaiah 65:25, "The wolf and the lamb [notice it's not the lion here] will graze together and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent's food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountains, says the Lord." Now this is talking about Israel and the kingdom once the Israelites have returned and Israel has been restored to the land and the kingdom established. This is comparable to what Revelation talks about the curse being rolled back.
We have antagonism and we have carnivorous animals in the animal kingdom because of the curse of sin. This wasn't God's original design or intent and so now we live in a time when the wolf and the lamb, well the wolf looks at the lamb like its dinner and the lamb is just too stupid to know. They will graze together in the kingdom. Notice the wolf becomes herbivorous. The wolf will graze. There will be a change that takes place in the animals. Just like the original animals were all herbivorous and their dental structure, gastrointestinal system, everything changed as a result of the curse. But they were still wolves and lions and jaguars and whatever. How do you normally take the words that the wolf and the lamb will graze together? A wolf is a wolf. A lamb is a lamb. A lion is a lion. And a serpent is a serpent.
As most commentators point out this reiterates a parallel statement from Isaiah 11 talking about when the root of Jesse, the branch, comes forward and rules over the Kingdom. So again it's a Messianic prophecy about the millennial kingdom. In that passage we also read, "The wolf also will dwell with the lamb. The leopard will lie down with the young goat." The only time now when a leopard lies down with a young goat is when the young goat is in its belly. It continues, "And the calf and the young lion and fatling together and a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den…"
Are we to take this literally? A lot of people come to this passage and say, "Lions don't eat straw. That's absurd. The Bible must be talking about something else. We can't interpret this literally." Now I'll read from a scholarly commentary, "The New International Commentary Series on the Old Testament" written by John Oswalt. On Isaiah he writes, "With a classic set of images the prophet portrays the kind of security and safety from the result of the rule of the Messiah. The most helpless will be at ease with those who were formerly the most rapacious and violent." Notice how he shifted it. He's not talking about literal lambs or literal wolves or literal lions. He's saying the lamb and the calf represent the most insecure and helpless in a culture and the lion and the bear represent the most rapacious, the most violent members of a culture. He says, "There are three ways of interpreting such statements. The first is literalistic [a hidden pejorative in the statement], looking for a literal fulfillment of the words. While this interpretation is possible, the fact that the lion's being carnivorous is fundamental to what a lion is…"
Now where did he get that? He's portraying right away that he has a faulty view of creation. In our view God did not create lions as being carnivorous. Genesis 1 says that God created them to eat from the field. Then sin changed that. So that shows a non-literal view of Genesis as well. He continues, "Literal fulfillment of the Bible would require a basic alteration of the lion's nature." See he has set up a completely false description of what the essence of a lion is. This is just silly word games.
He says, "A second means of interpretation is spiritualistic. The animals represent various spiritual conditions and states within human beings." Where does he get that idea? Is it in the text? No, you're reading it into the text from some prior idea. "While this avoids the problems of literal fulfillment it introduces a host of other problems, chief of which is the absence in the text of any controls upon the process. Thus it depends solely upon the exegesis's correspondence where correspondence might be.
The third way of interpreting this passage and others like it is the figurative…" I love the way he parses the difference between spiritualistic and figurative. It's echoes one president and says it all depends on the meaning of "is". The details of vocabulary is where the battle rages. So Oswalt concludes, "In this approach one concludes that an extended figure of speech [nothing in the text indicates it's a figure of speech] is being used to make an overarching point, mainly that in the Messiah's reign, the fears associated with insecurity, danger, and evil will be removed not only for the individual but for the world as well."
How about Calvin? He said, "In a word under these figures the prophet speaks the same truth as Paul plainly affirm, that Christ came to claim out of a state of disorder those things which are in heaven and on earth." See Calvin is interpreting this whole thing that it's really talking about the church, He's saying that once you're saved the old sin nature, the "wolfness," the lioness, that's going to go away and everybody in the church is going to cuddle up together. That's basically what he says. He said, "It may be thus summed up. Christ will come to drive away hurt out of the world and to restore to its former beauty the world which lay under the curse. For this reason the straw will be the food of the lion."
And then in other quotes related to Isaiah 65, he brings in the idea of the Church. So he's saying this applies to the Church today. But it's written by Isaiah. So that's the problem that we see where the literal fulfillment goes. Calvin says about Isaiah 65:18, which reads "But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create." The context here is the new creation of the kingdom in the millennial kingdom. "For behold I create Jerusalem for rejoicing and her people for gladness." Now our friend Oswalt says this isn't literal Jerusalem but it's talking about the Church. Calvin says, "At first sight this might be thought harsh but an excellent meaning is obtained that the ground of joy is the deliverance of the Church." Where do we see the Church in the passage?
See, that's how many, many Christians interpret the Bible. It's through this kind of non-literal view. Incidentally, that's why they get sucked into a liberal view of interpreting the Constitution as a living document, they say it's symbolic. They've been prepared for that because they go to these liberal churches every Sunday and they've been taught this spiritualized, allegorized way of doing hermeneutics. And that was reinforced in every literature class they took in most colleges and universities.
I never could make sense of poetry until I had dear old Doctor Wyatt who had one foot in the grave. She seemed ancient but she was probably no older than I am now. But she seemed ancient when I was in college. She taught Wordsworth and Coleridge from a literal hermeneutic. She would show us pictures of the Lake Region in England and talk about their lives and talk about what was happening in their life when they wrote this poetry. All of a sudden poetry made sense because she applied a literal hermeneutic to poetry. It made it make sense.
I was brought up in a church that held to literal interpretation. That's what formed my mentality and it was why I never could understand this subjectivism in interpretation. So Calvin says this relates to the Church. Isaiah 2:2 is the last example I'll give you. The passage is talking about the Messianic Kingdom. "Now it will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains and shall be raised above the hills. And all nations will stream to it." This is talking about a new mountain of the Lord's. This is the millennial temple. There will be sort of an up thrust from the earth, the Temple Mount, and the new temple will be built on that if you interpret it literally. "And all the nations will stream to it and many peoples will come and say 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, the house of the God of Jacob that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths for the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."
Now Oswalt has three paragraphs on trying to make sense out of the word, Zion. He says it can't really be this tiny mountain in Jerusalem. It never did make sense to him. He goes on to say, "One does not need to give the actual city some sort of semi-eternal status. Jerusalem has become some sort of symbol of God's self-revelation through history. There's no life apart from Him who has revealed Himself supremely in that context." He's saying it's not talking about literal Jerusalem. Where does he get this? Calvin said that it's the restoration of the Church and that's all we need to read. Isaiah 2 is about the restoration of the church? Then verse 4 says, "And He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples and they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up swords against nation, and never again will they learn war."
This is the verse that is over the entry way to the United Nations. This states their purpose for their founding the UN was to bring world peace by beating 'swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks." By putting this Bible verse over the entry to the United Nations building, the U.N. took upon itself a Messianic mission. They are an idolatrous organization because they claim to be able to do what the Bible says only the Messiah will be able to do. So from that point, if you're a Bible-believing Christian, you should have nothing to do with the U.N. It has put itself in the place of the Messiah but then, I'm radical.
Oswalt says, "When these principles are extended to the nations, world peace can result. However the thought of producing peace on any other ground is folly. Until persons and nations have come to God to learn His ways and walk in them, peace is an illusion. This does not mean the Church merely waits for the Second Coming." Where does he get the Church here? See, they're reading the church into all of these different passages. That's the main thing I wanted to illustrate and give you an idea of how the spiritual or allegorical interpretation works.
Now where did this come from? When did this come into the Church? Well the first person to really systemize this is Origen. His primary biographer, Joseph Trigg, who writes about him says, "The fundamental criticism of Origen beginning in his own lifetime is that he used allegorical interpretation to provide a specious justification for reinterpreting Christian doctrine in terms of platonic philosophy." Okay? So basically Origen is the one who finally moved the Church away from a literal interpretation. Prior to that the Church had a mix. It's not true they were always literal. They really hadn't refined their view of interpretation so it was a mix of a little allegory and a little literal interpretation. That's why they never got that solidified.
But Origen came out of Alexandria in northern Egypt. Alexandria had become the seat of Greek philosophy. After the Roman Empire conquered Greece the seat of Greek philosophy moved from up north in Greece down to Egypt. So the focal point, the development and teaching of Greek philosophy was in Alexandria. That was where they had the Alexandrian library which was the best library in the world at the time. So Alexandria is just a focal point for platonic thought. In platonic thought the literal, physical world is not really important. What's important is what it stands for. It's just a physical representation of the ultimate ideal. What's important is the ideal, not the shadow that we see in front of us. So this affects their view of life.
If it's a fact that material things are not that important, then material pleasures in Platonism and the way it affects the monastic movement later on are related. No need to feed the body. That's evil. We need to just go into the desert, live by ourselves in a monastery and focus on the eternal things and everything will be wonderful. Greek philosophy dominated the area in Northern Africa.
Now in Antioch, the same Antioch in Syria that we've studied with Paul, was the location that stayed a center of strong, solid orthodox doctrine for several hundred years. Antioch was the seat of a literal interpretation. Those folks at Antioch emphasized a literal interpretation of the Scripture. Guess what? They were also premillennial. That also influenced all of the area up through Turkey and up through Constantinople. So those areas held to a more literal interpretation of Scripture and they were premillennial. A couple of the church fathers were Polycarp and Papias. The Alexandrians hated Papias but Papias and Polycarp were both directly discipled and taught by the Apostle John. Maybe Papias had even met the Apostle Paul. They had a literal interpretation and they were premillennial in their writings but they're hated by the Alexandrians, including Origen. They just ridiculed them in their writings according to Eusebius who also ridiculed Papias.
So Origen comes out of Alexandria and he develops this whole way of interpreting Scripture. Ronald Deprose in his book, "Israel and the Church", says of Origen, "He motivated this view by appealing to the view of divine inspiration and affirming that often statements made by the Biblical writers are not literally true and that many events presented as historical are inherently impossible. Thus, only simple believers will limit themselves to the literal meaning of the text.
What Origen did is that he said just like the individual is made up of body, soul, and spirit, every text has three meanings: the literal meaning, the soulish meaning, and the spiritual meaning. The literal meaning may or may not even be true but what really matters is the symbolic or spiritual meaning." But how do you get there? There's no control on how you get that spiritual meaning. Origen is the one who takes this after it's already been developed for probably a hundred years and he systematized it. He was brilliant. A brilliant heretic, that is. He sets the stage so that within a hundred years of his death Augustine is going to take that and systematize that into a whole amillennial, non-literal interpretation that is inherently anti-Semitic and full bore replacement theology.
DeProse also says, "An attitude of contempt toward Israel had become the rule by Origen's time [200–250 B.C.]. The new element in his view of Israel is his perception of them as manifesting no elevation of thought." In other words he's saying there nothing really valuable in the Old Testament. In the early church they began to dump the Old Testament. It's not important; it's tied to Israel; they weren't important, they were saying. They called them the "Christ-killers." They said it wasn't important to know the Old Testament to understand the New Testament. He goes on to say, "It follows that the interpreter must always posit a deeper or higher meaning related to prophecies related to Judea, Jerusalem, Israel, Judah, and Jacob which Origen affirms are not to be understood by us in a carnal sense."
In other words, there's not a literal meaning to these words. He believed they were really talking about spiritual truths that belong to Christ and the Church. "In Origen's understanding the only positive function of physical Israel was that of being a type of spiritual Israel." He means the Church, us. See there's an inherent anti-Jewishness, an inherent anti-Semitism that's already percolating by the early 3rd century. He says, "The promises were not made to physical Israel because she was unworthy of them and incapable of understanding them. Thus Origen effectively disinherits physical Israel." By one hundred and fifty years after the death of the last apostle, Israel is being cut out. This leads to what is known as replacement theology.
What I've done is shown how you move from a literal to a non-literal interpretation. Once you do that you pretty much cut your anchor cords to any kind of objective guidelines for determining the meaning of a text. This eventually led to treating all these terms, such as Israel, Judea, Judah, and Jacob in non-literal ways. So then Israel doesn't mean Israel anymore, it means the Church, and the Church doesn't mean the Church, it means Israel. This leads to replacement theology. So what is replacement theology? It is a view that the Church is the new or true Israel that has permanently replaced or superseded national Israel as the people of God and therefore, national Israel will not experience a restoration to the land of Israel or to a position of favor with God."
In this quote national Israel basically means ethnic Israel or Jews. So replacement theology basically says there's no longer anything about being an ethnic Jew or nothing significant about being national Israel but that the Church now inherits all of the promises that God made to Israel. Well, we just read Romans 9:4 that says the promises belong to Israel. This is a direct contradiction of Scripture.
Now another word that is used for replacement theology is a technical, large word, supersessionism. I wondered why they started using this but now I understand that no one wants to say they believe in replacement theology. When one thing supersedes something else, it basically replaces it. But now we have a nice neutral, academic term so we can blow smoke up everybody's skirt. Supersessionism is another word that derives from two Latin words, super which means on or upon and sedere which means when one person sits on the chair of another and displaces the latter. So one thing replaces another, so that here we have Israel superseded by the church and Israel no longer matters.
Walt Kaiser, a dispensationalist, was the president of Gordon Conwell Seminary up at Boston. He writes, "Replacement theology declares that the Church, Abraham's spiritual seed, had replaced national Israel in that it had transcended and fulfilled the terms of the covenant given to Israel, which covenant Israel had lost because of disobedience." Replacement theology's view is that the covenant with Abraham is not permanent because they killed the Messiah. That meant they lost the covenant. That ended it.
Deprose writes, "Replacement theology is the view that the church completely and permanently replaced ethnic Israel in the working out of God's plan and as a recipient of Old Testament promises to Israel. Hans LaRondelle who is a covenant theologian says, "The New Testament confirms that Israel would no longer be the people of God and would be replaced by a people that would accept the Messiah and His message of the kingdom of God." See that's their message.
So if Israel doesn't matter then it doesn't matter who's over there trying to carve out a nation on the west side of the Jordan. They are irrelevant spiritually and whatever they do doesn't matter because God doesn't have anything to do with the Jews anymore. You can see how this mentality gave rise to tacit approval of the Holocaust.
Now there are four different types of supersessionism. There's political, which is the view that there was a replacement of the Jewish people, their worship and their land by a political power that claims superior religious status, so Rome dominated and defeated the Jews, Islam conquered the land, so they are superior to the Jews. That's political supersessionism. If you go to Jerusalem, if you're walking down from the Mount of Olives, across the Kidron Valley from the Dome of the Rock, the Temple Mount, and if you get level with the Dome of the Rock which you don't necessarily see from other vantage points, right behind it you can see the two domes of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher which is about a quarter mile on the other side. The Moslems built the Dome of the Mount higher than the Church of the Sepulcher to prove Islam was superior to Christianity. They put the Dome of the Rock on the site of the Temple to show they had conquered Israel. That is a political, militant supersessionism right there.
If you go inside the Dome of the Rock you see all the scribble on the walls but it's the Arabic quotations from the Koran. All of those citations were chosen to be written inside the Dome of the Rock because they all say something about Jesus just being a man, Jesus couldn't be God, God didn't have any wives, and God didn't have any babies. The whole Dome of the Rock is a theological statement of the superiority of Islam over Christianity and that Jesus is nothing but a man. I never heard that from anyone until lately but it's there. You can find some websites that actually lists the English translations of all those citations.
Then there's punitive supersessionism which is represented by such early figures in the Church as Hippolytes, Origen, and Luther and that's the views that the Jews who reject Jesus as the Messiah are consequently condemned by God and have to forfeit the promises otherwise due to them under the covenant. It's saying God replaced them as a punishment. These are not mutually exclusive. All of these types can all be present in the same group. There's economic supersessionism which is using the term "economic" in a technical, theological sense and says that the practical purpose of the nation of Israel in God's plan is replaced by the role of the Church. This is represented by writers such as Justin Martyr and Augustine.
Then there's structural supersessionism. This is Soulen's term. He's another scholar researching on this. He believes that the de facto marginalization of the Old Testament is normative for Christian thought. The Hebrew Scriptures are considered to be largely indecisive for shaping Christian convictions. In other words, you don't really need to know the Old Testament. See how that subtly infiltrated a lot of evangelicals, even dispensationalists. You start talking to people about the Old Testament. They don't know it. They haven't been taught it so much. That's one of the reasons that I've spent so much time in my ministry teaching the Old Testament because if you don't understand the Old Testament you don't understand the New Testament.
Sadly, even within dispensationalism, many emphasize so much the truths related to being "in Christ" that they ignore the Old Testament. I knew of one teacher in Dallas, a great teacher, a great dispensationalist, but he spent forty years in his ministry teaching only the primary Pauline epistles, especially Ephesians, Colossians, and Romans, that focused on what we have in Christ. He never, ever taught the Old Testament. Well, if you don't understand the Old Testament, you can't really get your hands around the New Testament passages because they're filled with quotations from the Old Testament. You have to understand the whole counsel of God. So these are elements that still survive in a lot of evangelicalism which have their root in hostility to Israel from the very early days of Christianity.
So what are the core beliefs of replacement theology? Well, it's already 8:35 so I'll stop here. This will be a good place to start next time. We want to finish out replacement theology and then we're going to start on the rise and development of anti-Semitism and how that manifests itself today. I want to start addressing the question, "Can a person be neutral to Israel or anti-Zionist and not be anti-Semitic? Another way to put it is, "Is anti-Zionism just a mask for anti-Semitism?
I'll give you a hint. In most cases it is. Anti-Zionism when you understand history and all that is involved then you're going to realize that it's basically giving tacit approval to the destruction of Jews because you're basically saying that you don't want the Jews to have a home base, a free base, a place where they can be protected from persecution and where they can relax and not have fear that the government is going to attack them simply because they're Jewish. So anti-Zionism is basically saying, "Oh, the Jews don't need to have their own place. We can take care of them in the nations of the world where they can be safe and secure." But that isn't going to happen so anti-Zionism is inherently anti-Semitic. I don't care what some politicians say. I don't care how they try to finesse it. If you don't want to support Israel, if you don't believe Israel has a right to defend itself, and a right to their borders, and that we should help them because that's part of blessing Israel and that Israel even today is a distinct people of God and has a distinct role in God's plan, then that's a subtle form of anti-Semitism and is extremely dangerous. So as we go through this we'll wrap this up as a backdrop for understanding the importance of understanding the doctrines contained in Romans 9–11.