Has the Church replaced Israel?
To answer this and many other questions concerning Israel in Bible prophecy, we invited as a special guest on our television program Christ in Prophecy radio host Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries, located in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area. Jan’s “Understanding the Times” radio program broadcasts nationally on more than 800 radio stations! Being a Messianic Jew, Jan holds many unique insights into God’s prophetic plan for the nation of Israel.
A Replaced People
Dr. Reagan: There are two theologies in Christendom today that are very, very destructive to the Jewish people. One is called Replacement Theology, and the other is called Dual Covenant Theology. Let’s first take a look at Replacement Theology.
Nathan Jones: Jan, I get your e-newsletter every week. I love your newsletter, by the way. It seems like in many editions you bring up the topic of Replacement Theology. It’s the burr under your saddle, so to speak. Can you tell us about Replacement Theology and what it is?
Jan Markell: We first have to travel way back to the Early Church to discover Replacement Theology’s origins. This doctrine teaches that the Church has replaced Israel. All of the promises given to Israel, which are legion, are transferred to the Church. But, not the curses. We don’t want to even consider the curses.
What then do we do with passages like Romans 9-11? Do we ignore the Bible’s teachings that the Church has definitely not replaced Israel, and that God still has a plan in the works for the salvation of the Jewish people?
Replacement Theology has been a huge contributor to anti-Semitism. It certainly contributed to the Holocaust.
Our preachers have to be very careful when it comes to denigrating God’s divine working with the Jewish people. If not denigrating, our pulpits remain silent on Israel’s importance. Personally, I think the Church should honor Israel once a year on the nation’s rebirth anniversary, rather than cursing her by saying she’s been replaced by the Church.
What kind of a covenant keeping God would displace either the Jew or the Christian? He doesn’t do that.
Nathan Jones: One of the biggest objections I hear from people who write in to our ministry, they claim the Jewish people are not believers in God. They say the Jews are hostile towards Christians. Therefore, why should we celebrate, or just acknowledge even, Israel?
I don’t think they understand where we’re coming from. We’re not talking about believing in the purity of Israel as a nation today, rather we are talking about the Israel as a holy nation that God will revive at the onset of the Millennial Kingdom. That’s when Israel becomes the honored nation of the world. The remnant of Jewish people who survived the Tribulation because they believed in Christ become a priestly people during Christ’s earthly kingdom. That’s the Israel we are looking forward to, right? What the regathering of the Jews will become. Today, much of Israel calls themselves Humanists, and some are definitely anti-Christian. That fact tops the reasons why a number of Christians have adopted Replacement Theology.
Jan Markell: I would agree that’s why many Christians have adopted Replacement Theology, stating the hostility the Jews have towards Christians. But, we must remember that there is a remnant of Jews today who do believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and they are growing in numbers and they are coming to faith in Jesus, almost faster than any other category of people.
Dr. Reagan: The Bible says point blank, over and over, that God is going to regather the Jewish people in the end times in unbelief. That is exactly what He’s doing. The Jews are gathering in unbelief, just as the Bible prophesied.
One time I went to the theological library at TCU in Fort Worth, Texas. The university possesses a huge theological library. I looked at the books where preachers had preached all the way through the Bible from Genesis to the end. The library ran commentaries volumes long. I looked to see what the sermons had to say about Romans 9-11. Do you know what almost all of them said? They did not consider Romans 9-11 as literal, but merely as just a parenthesis, and they move right on to chapter 12.
Look at what the Bible says in Romans 11:1. The Apostle Paul spoke, “I say, God has not rejected His people, has He?” And what does the Church say? “Yes!” But what does Paul say, “May it never be! God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.” It’s no wonder the Church hates Romans 9-11.#God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! Click To Tweet
Jan Markell: Could it be possible that the Church isn’t prospering today because of it’s disdain for the Jewish people? Could a denial of God’s end times work to and through Israel possible play into the Church’s slow decline in the West?
Dr. Reagan: I believe as Genesis 12:3 teaches, where God promises, “I will bless those who bless Israel, and curse those who curse Israel.”
Jan Markell: The Western Church is in a terrible state right now. Sure, we do have remnant churches holding on to the truth, but so many churches have fallen into lukewarm teachings.
Dr. Reagan: I find the average Christian has no idea that the Holocaust was a culmination of Christian anti-Semitism. Martin Luther himself in his last publication wrote about how one should deal with the Jews. He advised Christians take the Jews’ property away, place them into camps, and destroy their Torah scrolls.” Luther provided the very blueprint Hitler rose to power using as he quoted Martin Luther.
Jan Markell: People find that hard to believe about Martin Luther, but it is the truth of history.
Dr. Reagan: Very early on the Church took the position that the Jews were the Christ-killers, and because of that, we must reject them as a discarded people group. God has rejected them and He has washed His hands of them, they argue.
Jan Markell: And, sadly, even up to this day. I know through my other Jewish relatives that many, many Jews don’t trust Christians. The reason is because they’re afraid of this kind of blow-back. They are worried that Christians are going to steal their Jewish identity away from them. I often hear from Jewish friends, “This is our identity. We’re not taking your Christian identity.” But, being a Jew for Jesus is the fulfillment of our identity.
Nathan Jones: To be Jewish is to finally accept Jesus as Messiah. Messianic Judaism fulfills the Jew to be all they can be, so to speak. Like you are, Jan.
Dr. Reagan: The Bible explicitly teaches that God still loves the Jewish people. He still has a purpose for the Jewish nation. By the end of the Tribulation a great remnant will accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Jan Markell: All that remains of Israel by the end of the Tribulation will become saved.
The Rise of Messianic Judaism
Dr. Reagan: Just think of all the Jewish believers today. In fact, when the Six Day War occurred in 1967, there was not a single Messianic congregation in the entire world. During the late 1960s, right after the Six Day War, a great movement of the Holy Spirit occurred. Young Jews from all over America and around the world turned to Jesus, accepted Him as Savior. Messianic congregations began to be established. People like Joel Chernoff began to record Messianic Jewish music.
The 60s began an amazing movement by the Holy Spirit among the Jews. I think that Messianic Jews today stand out as the first fruits of the remnant. I think what they are doing is sowing the seeds now, such as through all their publications aimed at their fellow Jews. They are sowing the seeds that are going to be reaped during the Tribulation.
Jan Markell: I actually worked for the seventh Messianic congregation on the planet some 34 years ago. Only seven existed on the planet at that time. Now there are thousands of Messianic congregations all across the world!
Dr. Reagan: I went to Lexington, Kentucky to hold a meeting in 1981. A guy called me up and he said, “You ever been to a Messianic congregation?” I said, “I don’t even know what that is.” He offered, “I’ll take you to one.” Because I had traveled up there a day early, I had the time. So, he drove me up to Cincinnati. I had no idea this congregation stood out as the very first one established by the Chernoff family.
Upon arriving at the Messianic congregation, I stood astonished to encounter a whole room full of Jewish people. The rabbi got up and preached from Isaiah 53. People stood up for prayer, and the rabbi prayed for them. Then he said, “The Lord has blessed us through His Word. He has blessed us through His prayer. Let’s now bless the Lord.”
All of a sudden I heard all these “Bam! Bam! Bam!” sounds. I looked around and witnessed people putting their folding chairs up against the wall. Then this rhythmic music started. Somebody grabbed my hand. Before I knew it, five circles formed with people all dancing around. Well, I didn’t know the steps. The woman next to me must have weighed about 300 pounds, and I was afraid she was going to step on my feet!
That was my introduction to Messianic Judaism. I often said I have never found anyone as enthusiastic about the Lord as Messianic Jews, unless it is a Catholic who has discovered grace.
In the fifth and last segment of our interview of radio host Jan Markell concerning the miracle that is the nation of Israel, we’ll ask her if the Jews can still be saved under the Mosaic Law apart from Christ.