July 14, 2015 – Replacement Samaritans

This morning I was reading in Second Kings about Assyria and Samaria (today’s West Bank) and Judah which make up the Land of Israel.  I really wondered if those who believe they have replaced Israel in their doctrinal beliefs and mix other gods with the worship of the God of Israel really understand the ramifications of such thinking.  

Assyria was a major kingdom in the area of modern Iraq.  Two of its largest cities were Nineveh and Asshur.   Nineveh was the city to which Jonah was sent to warn of impending destruction if the people didn’t repent.  They did and were granted a reprieve.  The area was settled as early as 6000 BC and, by 3000 BC, had become an important religious center for worshipping the goddess Ishtar, modern-day Easter. 

Asshur was another large city in Assyria and was located on the banks of the Tigris River.  Asshur was also the main god of the city and is equivalent to the Babylonian god, Marduk who was worshiped for water, vegetation, judgement and magic.  

Assyria was a warring kingdom and took captives from every nation in the middle east along with countries in Africa.  After Samaria was taken captive, the Israelites living there were taken to Assyria where they eventually assimilated into the culture around them.   Those who had been taken captive  from other nations were moved into Samaria so that the land would be populated again.   They began worshipping the gods from their native nations and the God of Israel didn’t approve.   The king of Assyria, Sancheriv,  sent a priest to live in Samaria to teach the new residents about Israel’s God. Still, everyone made gods of their own and put them in temples on high places. 

“They both feared the LORD and served their own gods in the manner customary among the nations from which they had been taken away.  To this day they continue to follow their former [pagan] customs.  They do not fear the LORD.  They do not follow the regulations, the rulings Torah or mitzvah which the LORD ordered the descendants of Jacob to whom he have the name Israel with whom Adonai (the LORD) ha made a covenant and charged them,

‘Do not fear other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them.  On the contrary, you are to fear the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt with great power and an outstretched arm.  Worship him, and sacrifice to him.  You are to observe forever the laws, rulings, Torah and mitzvah which he wrote for you. You are not to fear other gods, and you are not to forget the covenant I made with you.  No, you must not fear other gods but must fear the LORD your God; THEN he will rescue you from the power of all your enemies. 

However, they didn’t listen, but followed their old [pagan] practices.  So these nations mixed fearing YHVH with serving their carved idols; likewise their children’ and to this day, their descendants do the same as their ancestors did” (2 Kings 17:33-41).

Remember that the people living in Samaria after Assyria’s invasion were not true Israelites, they were ‘new Israelites’.   They were people from other nations settling the land, people who had once lost everything to the great Assyrian empire.   Though they appeared to be Israelites, making a ‘new Israel’,  they continued to worship their gods with their pagan ways.  The God of Israel would not accept their type of worship in His Land and sent lions to devour them.   The priest sent to them came from the town of Beth-el, which in Hebrew means, House of God.  Though these people were being taught the Truths of God, His laws and His commandments from a priest from the House of God, they continued to worship with their more ‘familiar’ ways.  They lost God’s protection.  The very same people who had experienced Assyria’s genocide in their own lands and then were relocated to another land believing they could live peaceful lives were attacked again.   After three years, Samaria was captured and the ‘false Israelites’ were taken captive.  

“This happened because they did not heed the voice of the LORD their God, but violated his covenant, everything that Moses the servant of YHVH had ordered them to do, and would neither hear it nor do it” (2 Kings 18:12).

If this is how God dealt with those who looked like Israelites, but didn’t live like they were commanded,  how will He deal any differently with those who want to replace them, who mix the holy and the profane, and refuse to hear or do His Words, spoken by a Jewish Savior from the House of Bread (Beth-Lechem)? 

Eventually Judah was attacked and King Hezekiah gave the King of Asshur what he asked for in gold and silver.  Controlling Samaria and then Judah wasn’t enough for the King of Asshur;  he wanted Jerusalem too.  His armies  surrounded Jerusalem and the king mocked God in the presence of those who were at King Hezekiah’s palace and on the city walls.  It is even recorded that he had his servants speak in Hebrew, not Aramaic,  because he wanted everyone listening to understand his threats against the God of Israel.  

“Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you, because he won’t be able to save you from the power of the king of Asshur.  And don’t let Hezekiah make you trust in YHVH by saying, ‘YHVH will surely save us; this city will not be given over to the king of Asshur.  Don’t listen to Hezekiah.’  This is what the king of Asshur says: ‘Make peace with me, surrender to me.  Then everyone of you can eat from his vine and fig tree and drink the water in his own cistern; until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land with grain and wine, a land with bread and vineyards, a land with olive trees and honey; so that you can live and not die” (2 Kings 18:26-32).

When I read these verses, I saw the anti-christ promising a kingdom of peace where every man eats from his vine and fig tree.  This kingdom of peace will be somewhere else – not Israel –  a land filled with grain, wine, olive trees and honey. Is this what America was to those who settled here, a place of peace and God’s ‘new Israel’?  A place where the God of Israel would be given a type of lip service, a foundation, but worshipped in the ways of the nations that immigrated here?  A place where BOTH fearing the LORD and worshipping other gods would become customary and acceptable because of ‘freedom of religion?’   If the God of Israel didn’t allow ‘freedom of worship of other gods’ in His own land, why would He allow it in a ‘new Israel’ that takes His name in vain?

The king’s emmisary continues, “So don’t listen to Hezekiah; he is only deluding you when he says, ‘The LORD will save us.’  Has any god of any nation ever saved his land from the power of the king of Asshur?  Where are the gods of Hamat and Arpad?  Where are the gods of Shefarvayim, Hena and Ivah? Did they save Samaria from my power?  Where is the god of any country that has saved its country from my power, so that the LORD might be able to save Jerusalem from my power?’”

Now the king of Assyria’s arrogance becomes emboldened.    Who can come against him? Who?  Anyone?  Any nation of the world?  I am reminded here of Yeshua who, when tempted by the devil, refused to bow down for ANY kingdom in this world inclusive of the United States!  His Kingdom isn’t of this world and therefore, there is no kingdom worthy  to be called Israel, except Israel!

The King of Asshur begins by belittling King Hezekiah of Judah.  According to Second Kings,  King Hezekiah did what was right in the eyes of the LORD.  He followed the example of King David, his father,  by putting his trust in the LORD, the God of Israel.  There have been no other kings of Judah like him since nor any before him.  “For he clung to the LORD and did not leave off following him but obeyed his mitzvot [commands], which the LORD had given to Moses.  So the LORD was with him.  Whenever he went out to battle, he did well.  He rebelled against the king of Asshur and refused to be his vassal.  He drove the Philistines back to Gaza and laid waste to their territory …” (2 Kings 18:6-8).

Then the King of Asshur attacks the gods of Samaria and the nations.  There are no gods that can stand against his power which is truthful.  None of those false gods protected their worshippers from attacks in their native lands or even in the land of Israel.  Other gods have no real power; they are still created and still under the authority of the Creator of the Universe!  

Finally, the King of Asshur ‘taunts’ the God of Israel saying that there is no way He can protect Jerusalem from his power.  I remember going to church years ago on the Fourth of July and the altar was covered with an American flag and a photo of the current president was on top.  I knew there was something deeply wrong with that scenario.  Sometimes I believe that Christians put the USA above the God of Israel believing that this country is the greatest there ever was almost to the point of worshipping the country and its leaders rather than the One who has allowed this country to survive.  I believe both Assyria and Rome were considered great kingdoms in their day and both are nothing but archeological ruins.

The response of the people in Jerusalem is silence because the king’s order was ‘Don’t answer him.’  

King Hezekiah sent his secretaries to Isaiah, the prophet.  He tore his clothes, covered himself in sackcloth and entered the house of the LORD, the Temple in Jerusalem.   He prays a simple, but powerful prayer to the God of Israel.

“YHVH, God of Israel, who dwells above the cherubim!  You alone are God of all the kingdoms on earth.   You made heaven and earth.  Turn your ear, YHVH, and hear!  Open your eyes, YHVH, and see!  Hear the words that Sancheriv sent to taunt the living God.  It is true, YHVH, that the Kings of Asshur have laid waste to the nations  and their lands and have thrown their gods into the fire.  For those were non-gods, merely the product of people’s hands, wood and stone; this is why they could destroy them. Now therefore, YHVH our God, please save us from his power – so that all the kingdoms on earth will know that you are YHVH, God – you only”  (2 Kings 19:15-19). 

God responds to Hezekiah’s prayer.  He confronts the King of Asshur’s  arrogance saying that he didn’t just attack Zion and Jerusalem with his haughty voice, but came against the ‘Holy One of Israel’.  God was going to defend the city of Jerusalem.  And He did.  That night the angel of the LORD killed 185,000 men in the camps.  The king of Assyria returned home to Nineveh as prophesied, and one day while he was worshipping in the temple of Nisrikh, two of his sons killed him and ran off to Ararat.

God fought for Jerusalem the sake of Himself and the covenant He made with King David.  Those who lived in Samaria and appeared to be Israelites, but were from other nations and worshipped other gods, He removed from His Land and they are still in exile worshipping other gods with their children.   Only a Jewish remnant was left to take root again in the Land and bear fruit for the Kingdom (2 Kings 19:30-31).

Back to the original question.   If the United States is supposed to be the ‘new Israel’ and the church as replaced Israel as God’s people, do we think He will deal with us any less than He did the ‘real’ Israelites who lived in His Land?  Do we think we can continue to mix the holy and the profane and have an unwillingness to hear or do the Word of the Lord and continue to be blessed? or even considered God’s people?   Do we think that by being  replacement theologians that we will not bear the consequences of our arrogance and pride like the king of Asshur? Only a remnant of Jewish people lived to take root and bring forth the Word of the LORD; not a remnant of ‘new Israelites’ or replacement Samaritans. 

©2015 Tentstake Ministries

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