One of the most damaging aspects of Replacement Theology (the false belief that God has replaced Israel with the Church) is how Scripture is viewed — especially the prophetic books.
As early as the 2nd century, decisions were made by early Church fathers, like Origen, to begin teaching much of the Old Testament as an allegory or symbolic meanings. From their point of view and the current events of 2nd Century, God had “obviously” rejected Israel and was punishing Israel for “killing Jesus,” proven by the Roman destruction the Temple in 70 AD and the final crushing defeat of the Bar Kochba revolt in 135 AD. If God was finished with Israel, they needed a way to explain the 2000 plus references to Israel or Israelite that is found in the Bible. The solution was to teach Israel as a parable where the people or places don’t have much importance aside from communicating specific aspects of God. This began one of the most demonic doctrines in Church history that allowed, encouraged, and justified Christians to turn a blind eye toward the murderous persecution of the Jewish family in the last 1800 years. This was not a representation of Yeshua’s heart towards his kinsmen.
Today, to continue to believe that God is finished with Israel and that His promises to her are void is to simply ignore modern history and tangible facts of the last 70 years, most of which have happened in our lifetime or our parents’ lifetime. The modern wars of Israel are packed with stunning miracles that parallel Old Testament battle accounts and the land itself is responding to Israeli sovereignty. This theology is often still argued until one visits Israel and finds that the prophets’ actually meant what they said — God will again restore Israel to their land, the land will be cultivated and the waste cities will be rebuilt. It’s happening right now.
The most repeated promise throughout the Old Testament is that God will return His people to the land that was promised them. Isaiah 27:6 says “In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout, and they will fill the whole world with fruit”. It’s happening — Israel exports 1.5 billion fruit and vegetables annually. Isaiah 35:1 says the desert will bloom — it’s happening as vast greenhouses are exporting millions of flowers annually from the Negev desert. It’s not poetic, it’s tangible.
Yeshua also taught us this literal interpretation of prophetic scriptures. In Matthew 24:1-2, Yeshua’s disciples came to Him and pointing out the beauty of the temple and His response was stunning.
Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”
Less than 100 years later, we find in Jospheus’s writing that this word was literally fulfilled when the roman emperor gave the order to “demolish the entire city and the Temple” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 7.1.1). Jesus’ word of what was to come was literal, not figurative or allegorical.
God did not give us the Scriptures to be confusing or argued over. He gave it to lead us in the right way and not to be taken by surprise. When we take Israel out of the Bible, there are large portions of Scripture that do not have proper context. When we read it as it is written with the nation of Israel and Abraham’s descendents taking a primary role, there is a complete storyline and unfolding purpose of God in the earth.
If the last 70 years have shown us anything, it’s that the Bible IS true, God does keep His promises, and that the “prophetic scriptures” regarding Israel are not so mysterious and hard to understand — they are literal. Today, Israel is showing us what God has plainly described to expect in these days to bring glory to Himself, and for the world to see. For those that are watching, it’s happening exactly as the prophets said.