Modern Replacement Theologies

Replacement theology, first, is the church believing it has replaced Israel in God’s ultimate redemptive plan. From it comes the doctrine of the rapture where Israel rejects Messiah, God rejects Israel, God chooses the Church, God removes the Church from the world so He can judge Israel in the Tribulation and the Church … not sure what happens.  This is all rooted in anti-semitism and synonymous to replacement theology.

The promise to Abraham was that all nations would be blessed through him not just Israel or the Church.  The Olive Tree illustrations this promise when Sha’ul says wild olive branches who are the gentiles, the nations, will graft into the Olive Tree with the natural branches of Israel, the Tribes.  

One of the warnings to the wild olive branch is not to be arrogant over the natural branches. If the natural branches could be removed from the tree due to lack of faith, so can the grafted-in wild olive. 

The Doctrines from Wooten

There is a prophecy in Ezekiel 37 about two sticks.  One stick is for Judah; the other stick is for Ephraim and the other tribes of Israel.  These two sticks are not spiritual people, they are the national people of Israel and Judah who were divided after King Solomon’s death into the southern and northern kingdoms.  Solomon’s son Jeroboam became king of Judah and ruled from Jerusalem while his other son, Rehoboam became king of Israel, consisting of the other 10 tribes.  Rehoboam moved worship of Elohim out of Jerusalem into Shechem, modern-day Nablus in the West Bank.  At some point in time, these two kingdoms will be joined back together to worship the God of Israel as one nation under King Messiah.

Several years ago a woman named Batya Wooten wrote a book entitled Who is Israel and Why You Need to Know?   She suggested that Judah (with Benjamin and some Levites) are all the Jews in the world and Ephraim are all those who have become attached to their Hebrew roots.  She derived this idea from the  blessing that Jacob gave Ephraim that his descendants would become a multitude of nations. 

Unfortunately, this gave rise to the doctrine that those who obey Torah and celebrate the Feasts of the LORD are actual Ephramites and thus Israelites, the lost tribes returning to Torah or becoming Torah observant.   No Jew calls himself  Torah observant. They do not even know what that means.  Torah is part of their  Jewish identity as the people of God, but they aren’t ‘observant’ in that way.

From this twisted doctrine comes an identity crisis.  Either you are Jewish and from the Tribe of Judah or you are an Ephramite, one of the Tribes of Israel and an Israelite.  No gentile at any time in Scripture is called an Israelite.  Even Ruth who married Boaz and gave birth to the grandfather of King David is still called Ruth, the Moabitess.  Though she most definitely grafted into Israel through her faith, she was still known by her nationality and was a wild olive on the Olive Tree.  No one in Israel is called an Israelite today.  They are called Israelis.  If someone goes to Israel and claims to be an Israelite, they would be laughed all the way to China.  

This doctrine also negates the promise to Abraham regarding the blessing on all nations before there was even an Israel.  I have actually had Hebrew roots people tell me that if I call myself a gentile, I am a pagan.  I can’t have faith in Messiah and be a pagan.  What they fail to realize in their ignorance is  goy can be translated as ‘nation’ or ‘pagan.’  All the goyim would be blessed through Abraham while at the same time Israel was not to learn the pagan ways of the goyim.  A conundrum, I think not.   

What is the Hebrew Roots movement?  According to the definition, ‘hebrew’ or ivrit  means ‘to cross over’.  Many in the  movement say that they, like Abraham, have  crossed over from a pagan life to a life of faith in God.  That sounds nice, but they leave out the nations in their theology.  They even leave Israel out of their Hebrew roots views including Judah which noting more than subtle anti-semitism.

Yeshua says he is the root and offspring of David who was from the Tribe of Judah.  He was the shoot (netzer) that came up from the stump of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1).  So the root is Jewish not Hebrew, not Israelite, not Ephraimite. To attach oneself to the Jewish root of the faith brings great condemnation.  No one wants to be ‘Jewish.’  They don’t want the rejection or the persecution that comes with being ‘Jewish.’   Yet,  if we are to live for Yeshua we will suffer as he did and that included his identity in being Jewish.  Hebrew roots is not only anti-semitic, but it is replacement theology in a cute camouflage that breeds arrogance.

I was asked in this same conversation why it was so important that I call myself a gentile and not an Israelite.  My identity is not in Israel, not in Judah, not even in the nations, but in the Messiah.  It is the gentiles who are to make the Jew envious for their Messiah and not offend them with our ignorance.   They responded that since they didn’t know any Jews so it didn’t matter.   Apparently, they didn’t they know the one Jew named Yeshua who is their salvation!  It’s his brothers and sister to whom we are to take care of by giving them water and clothing.

Torah observant has its own duplicity of issues.  The Torah is observed to the neglect of many of Yeshua’s teachings inclusive of love, mercy and compassion. I have actually heard some Torah observant folks say the Jews don’t need Messiah because they have Torah!  Their rationale is Yeshua is the Torah in the flesh and since they have Torah, they already have Yeshua.   If that is true, then why did Torah even need to become flesh?  What about ‘all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory’ that doesn’t include the Jews?  Again I was told that ‘all’ doesn’t mean ‘all’ with the explanation that because Yeshua never sinned, ‘all’ can’t include ‘all.’  

Yeshua said ‘salvation comes from the Jews’ (John 4), but that doesn’t mean they have ‘salvation.’   The Jews need Messiah as much as anyone else.   They are more aware of Torah than even the Torah observant.  They understand that without the Temple, without the priesthood, without the sacrifices, they are lost and dying in their sins.  It will be the Jews, not the Ephramites, the nations or the Israelites who cry out for Messiah’s return.

It is interesting that in Revelation when the Tribes are listed, Ephraim is not among them.  There are some really horrible prophecies about Ephraim that would make me not want to be part of that group of nations  Perhaps the prophecies came about from these ‘last days’ ideologies when Ephraim becomes the arrogant child over Judah creating a false identity of Israelites who have a type of Torah while the Jews who have Torah don’t need Yeshua and are distanced from the very salvation they brought to the world through millennia of persecution.  Whew!  This is anti-semitism and replacement theology at its best.   And, it’s the work of the Adversary.  Decades after the Messianic Jewish movement started 1948 and continued 1967, some ugly theologies have reared their heads to divide and conquer, not the beast, but the restoration of Israel and the Jewish people.   Brave Jewish men and women returning to the Land accepted Yeshua as Messiah and began the modern-day Messianic Jewish movement from ‘out of Tzion.’  The Adversary won’t win, but he sure does put hindrances in the way of the returning Messiah.  

As the Messianic Jewish movement grew and gentiles began grafting into the Olive Tree, more gentiles entered the Messianic congregations.  Eventually most Messianic Jewish congregations became more gentile than Jewish which is exactly what happened in the first century.  However, unlike the first century, the Messianic Jews told the Messianic gentiles that they did not have to obey Torah. Many of the nations who came from the lawless church became discouraged with this concept.   In comes Batya Wooten with her book and suddenly there is a springboard for the new ideologies of Torah Observant, Hebrew Roots and Ephramites.

What happens when the gentiles become arrogant over the Jews according to Sha’ul?  They are cut off the Olive Tree of Israel that receives its living water from the root or Yeshua.  I’ve witnessed people who get so into the Torah they begin to neglect the new testament.  They say everything written in the new is found in the old so we don’t really need the new.  Eventually, they question the deity of Yeshua and eventually reject him as Messiah.  This is not a judgment over everyone involved in these movements, but an explanation of how these movements started and how they stand on a shaky foundation.

Replacement theology is nothing new, but it has been transformed.   Israel and the Jewish people will always remain God’s chosen, not the Church, not the Ephramites.  The nations will be blessed because of the faith of Abraham, not because of his Hebrew root.  The Torah is not to be observed, but written on the heart of those who have received the Spirit of Truth.  The first century church followed the Way and those of the nations were called God-fearers with faith in Messiah.  Chaos and division is not of the Father, but restoration of the two houses of Jew and non-Jew as one new man is.

©2015 Tentstake Ministries

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