I have been writing for Breaking Israel News for over four years and a good part of my work involves connecting with pro-Israel Christians. When dealing with any group, there is a tendency to see them as a monolithic entity when, in fact, any group is a collection of individuals. This is certainly true of Jews. Haredim appear as a sea of black but they are actually a collection of beautifully hued neshamot (souls).
The same is true of Christians and I have been informed that this is especially true today when so many Christians are involved in developing their beliefs. When I was younger and living in America, I never heard the term “Yashua” as a reference to Jesus. And evangelicals connected with Jews in order to convert us, not to help us in our miraculous and prophesied return to our homeland.
But times change and people change with it. SOME people and only some times. I was very blessed very early on in my career to have Tommy Waller come down off his mountain to meet me in Jerusalem in order to give me a personal lesson on replacement theology. He told me that when the Temple was destroyed and the Jews went into exile, it was clear to the Christians that the Jews had dropped the ball, canceling out the covenant. They took it upon themselves to pick the ball up in order to keep God’s light in the world. As he explained it, replacement theology sounded reasonable and even honorable. I was perplexed that he was actually horrified at what he was telling me.
Under Tommy’s tutelage, I finally understood that replacement theology was not a good thing but I still did not understand how evil it was. Replacement theology was the basis of all the anti-semitism Jews have suffered for 2,000 years. I certainly did not understand how replacement theology has left Christianity a stunted and deformed set of beliefs.
I recently drove home from Jerusalem with the most remarkable people that I saw as manifestations of prophecy. While driving past the Dead Sea, I mentioned that there are now sinkholes on the shore that are filling up with brackish water and are brimming with fish. I remarked that this was Ezekiel’s prophecy coming to life. The man (who has rejected replacement theology) stated that the fish described by Ezekiel were “believers.” I love that man but I had to point out that at that very moment, he was looking at fish and not at believers and the fish were indeed described by Ezekiel.
As a result of needing to replace Israel and the covenant in Scripture, Christians can no longer read the Bible as a narrative of actual events nor can they understand the prophets as referring to actual things to come. They have turned God’s word into an allegory with no connection to their world. They have disconnected from God in order to write the Jews and Israel out of the Bible.
I recently came to understand that the Vatican cannot remain standing after the Third Temple will be built. That is not intended as a threat and I do not say this lightly. There are and always have been many lovely Catholics and priests who exemplify self-sacrifice in the name of God. But the basis of Catholicism is replacing the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, with the pope replacing the Kohen Gadol (high priest). The Vatican itself is modeled after the temple in almost all of its details and customs. The word ‘Rome’ replaced the word ‘Jerusalem in the Bible. Jews wandering the streets of the exile were an unacceptable in-your-face refutation of that reading of the Bible and since you could not erase the Bible it was far more convenient to kill the Jews.
But when the Third Temple once again stands in Jerusalem, how will the Vatican cope with such a glaring exposure of their lies that they are the Temple? Even for Christians, it is hugely challenging to be confronted by modern Israel. On one hand, it is a physical and undeniable manifestation that God’s word is eternal and active in the world. On the other hand, it is a physical and undeniable reminder that God’s covenant was with the Jews and is still very much in place today.
But there are Christians (not Catholics) who are unwittingly addicted to this farce called replacement theology. There is a concept in Christianity of the Temple of the anti-Christ and it is the basis of much of the Christian rejection of efforts to reestablish the Third Temple and the Sanhedrin. I was shocked to learn that until the mid-1800’s, it was clear to all Christians that the temple of the anti-Christ was the Vatican. For some reason, this theology shifted and the Temple of the anti-Christ is believed by many Christians to be the Third Temple that was prophesied to be an essential aspect of the Messiah and modeled after Solomon’s Temple.
The need to cope with the theological difficulties posed by the existence of Israel has forced many Christians to twist their beliefs into forms that contradict both the Bible and the New Testament.
I recently encountered a group that follows a man claiming to be the Messiah. But that is not what bothers me. They claim to be one of the lost tribes. Their claim requires them to cite star-signs and other very confusing proofs to their heritage. Any attempts by Jews to say that the Bible describes the tribal identity as being the result of genealogy are met with cries that the Jews who are trying to protect their heritage are “anti-Semites.” They consider themselves to be the rightful and true members of the covenant. This is replacement theology on steroids. They have physically replaced the Jews and entirely erased the heritage we died to protect and were blessed to retain. Personal identity is subjective but when it moves into the realm of claiming a status that usurps the claim of another, personal belief is not nearly sufficient.
But it was precisely their Christian belief that drove them to what is perhaps the most egregious form of replacement theology (if there are worse forms, I pray that I will never see them).
The encounter left me feeling exhausted and almost despaired. But only almost. The most well-adjusted and happy Christians I have met are the ones who embrace the existence of Israel. They understand the covenant exists but they want to forge a new covenant that Includes, even passes through, Israel and the Jews. There are many Christians like that and I praise them for coping with what must be a theological challenge. I must trust that their Christian faith has instilled a greater belief in love and brotherhood, a house of prayer for all nations than it did in religious exclusivity.
They have decided to put aside many of their basic concepts in order to connect with the prophetic process unfolding in the Promised Land. And I have to put aside my idea that Judaism is far superior to any other religion. Solomon built the Temple on the premise that everyone’s prayers were needed in Jerusalem. Unless I want to return to a “religious lifestyle” in exile, I must accept my Biblical role; to act as the emissary for the nations when they come to Jerusalem, to carry their sacrifice into the courtyard where the Kohen will raise it up to God.
These encounters with Christians are always challenging and frequently leave me feeling broken. But some are the most inspiring experiences of my life. I am not such a warm and welcoming guy but some of the Christians I have met are my family in every way except birth. The wandering Jew has finally come home and, as a direct result, is no longer alone.