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Not All Israel Is Israel Part 1

Is “replacement theology” becoming the newest fad among Christian?  Lately I run across more and more Christians who claim the Church has replaced Israel as God’s people.  The sad thing is that most of them don’t know why they believe what they claim. As I dig deeper speaking with these individuals, they all share the same defect – they are sadly deficient in their knowledge of the Jewish Scriptures.

For those who teach Israel has been replaced by the Church, Romans 9:6 is an essential verse in their arsenal. On the surface, the verse can be confusing.  Rebirth of IsraelThe verse reads, “For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.” It’s like saying, “Not all players wearing a LA Dodger uniform on the field at Dodger Stadium and sitting in the dugout are really Dodgers.”

The replacement theologian would say, “Not all Jewish people who are wearing the Jewish uniform and sitting in the Jewish dugout are really members of the team.  In fact, the real Jews consist of members of the Church who have placed their faith in Jesus as the promised Messiah.”

Replacement theology can be very confusing.  If you follow their line of thinking, in some passages “Israel is the Church” and in other texts, “Israel is the Jewish nation.”  Israel keeps switching leagues.  Sometimes they are in the National League; then at other times they are in the American League.  I don’t know who to root for because I don’t know who is who.

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Just Published! Jesus or Yeshua: Exploring the Jewish Roots of Christianity

Today ScriptureSolutions  published a new booklet written by Louis Lapides. This brief  book can be found for Kindle at Amazon.

Jesus or Yeshua: Exploring the Jewish Roots of Christianity

Jesus or Yeshua: Exploring the Jewish Roots of Christianity by Louis Lapides

It came to no surprise to me that when I first became a Jewish follower of Yeshua, I was going to have a cultural crisis trying to fit into a Gentile Church.  I lasted a few months before I started asking inevitable questions, “I’m Jewish. Jesus is Jewish. His first followers were Jewish. The New Testament was written by Jews and a lot of the concepts they discussed have a powerful Hebraic background.  Then why is Christianity so “not-Jewish”?

Jesus or Yeshua: Exploring the Jewish Roots of Christianity provides the reader with some of the findings I came upon as searched for answers to my questions. For me a lot of the issues were resolved when I studied the origin of most of the terminology used by Christians when describing their beliefs and practices.  When I was growing up attending Hebrew school in preparation for my Bar Mitzvah I never expected that Rabbi Printz would tell me that the mass practiced by the Catholic Church across the street from our temple was actually based in the Jewish Passover.  Nor was I told that baptism has it’s origins in the Jewish practice of immersion or mikveh used when Gentiles would turn from their paganism and convert to Judaism.

Attending a church for me at age 23 was a shocker as I describe in my opening chapter.  Here is a sample section from that chapter that will give you an idea of what Jesus or Yeshua: Exploring the Jewish Roots of Christianity is all about.

Here’s a shocker . . . Jewish people don’t feel at ease in a Christian church. The first time I attended a Protestant congregation, a Southern Baptist one, I couldn’t avert my eyes from the 10-foot tall stained glass mosaic of Jesus looming behind the pastor. I imagined for a few moments the man from Galilee was about to step out of the window, float over to my pew and ask whether I noticed the “Jews Not Welcome” sign at the church’s front door. “Of course,” I would respond, “But Jesus, aren’t you . . . .?”

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Who is the Seed of Abraham? CATC 2012 Part 1

At the recent Christ at the Checkpoint conference in Bethlehem, an array of pro-Palestinian Christian speakers shared their thoughts on the current status of the Palestinian Christian  Church, their opposing views to Christian Zionism and their own theological stance commonly known as replacement theology.  Munther Isaac, Instructor, Vice Academic Dean and Choir director at Bethlehem Bible College, delivered a message entitled, ” A Palestinian Christian Perspective” in which he referred to himself both as a person of Arab descent and since he is a follower of Jesus, claimed to be one of the “seed of Abraham.” Then in his message he took a theological leap to refer to himself as part of Israel, the true spiritual Israel.

The belief that Christians are members of the seed of Abraham is nothing new in Christendom.  While several verses are found in the New Testament referring to followers of Jesus as the “seed of Abraham,” most evangelicals commit a theological error by referring to themselves as the “true Israel.” 

It is my contention no verses exist in the New Testament can be found  where Paul or any other New Testament writer refers to Gentiles as anything other as “gentiles.”  Listen to Paul in Romans 1:5:  Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes fro faith for his name’s sake. Then again in Romans 11:11: 11 “Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.

In Romans 11:11 Paul makes a distinction between Gentiles who follow Jesus from Jewish people or members of the nation of Israel.  In Romans 11:13 Paul speaks to gentile converts to Christ and refers to them as “gentiles” and not spiritual Jews or members of spiritual Israel:  I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry.

Once again Paul distinguishes Gentile followers from the Jewish people in Romans 15:27: They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.  (more…)

The Palestinian “Tent of Nations” Controversy

Rich Stearns, president of Christian relief organization World Vision had spent a memorable meal with Palestinian Christians and 30 American pastors and church leaders in a cave west of Bethlehem. After the half mile hike to reach his destination at the top of a hillside, he was greeted by a sign that read, “We refuse to be enemies.”

The West Bank section of land where this Christian gathering took place is a mere 100 acres. However, its Palestinian residents, the Nassars have turned their property into an touch point for demonstrating to evangelical American Christians how unfairly Palestinian Christians are being treated by Israelis.

Here is a video made three weeks ago by Porter Speakman Jr, director of pro-Palestinian Christian film With God on Our Side about Nassar family. This video was recently aired at the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference at Bethlehem Bible College in Bethlehem.

The Nassars claim they have owned the land since 1916, and according to international law, the territory does not belong to Israel, but to the Nassar family. Currently, according to World Vision President Stearns, the parcel of land is surrounded by 50,000 Israeli settlers, “living on similar land confiscated from other Palestinian families.”

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