Wednesday, 18 August 2010
REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY IS BEHIND THE HATE ISRAEL CAMPAIGN.
It would be wrong to discuss Replacement Theology without including a Jewish perspective which ,basically, is a theologian answer to those who practice Replacement Theology against the Jews.
What is Replacement Theology? In simple terms it dates back to the year 70 when the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed for the second time. This became a crucial principle to the early Christians of that period who interpreted this as a sign that the Jews had been forsaken by their God, that God had turned his back on his Chosen People, and that they were the new chosen race. The Christian nation was perceived to have replaced the Jewish nation.
A essential part of this suppressionist theology is the replacement of the Torah and the Old Testament with the New Testament.
They did not carry both the Old and the New Testament as joint pillars of the new faith. They reject everything that bind the Jews to their faith. They turn away from the Torah, Kabbalah, and other significant teachings and documents that anchored the Jewish people in their unique belief system.
In their mind. the Jewish nation has been replaced by the Christian nation. There is no theology on which to base Christian theology except the New Testament. Canon law is based on this alone.
Christian charity replaced Jewish chesed (charity). The Jews were the first to adopt charity to others. In ancient times, charity was unknown to the heathens. While Jews sent money from around the world for centuries to a destroyed temple in Jerusalem the concept of charity was unknown to pagans and Christians. Charity, or taxes, is what you gave to the church to enable it to grow in power and influence. The rest they took in conquest.
When the Crusaders rode off to claim the Holy Land for the Roman Catholic Church it was a clear declaration of replacement theology. They may have been defeated by the Islamic army of Saladin but it was the Jews that were the main target of the invading European Crusaders. They went to conquer the Holy Land, the land of Christ, from the Jews. It was to be a sign that Christianity had replaced the Jewish nation in the Holy Land.
This point is vitally important to understand as it has echoes on what is happening today.
The dogma of replacement theology led to the claim that the Jews killed Christ. At that time this message was simple. You are either with us, or you are on the side of the Christ-killer.
Absolute dogma is a must for their faith system,
Throughout Europe, a repressive Church persecuted the Jew. Jews that were not converted were killed or, in the case of Clifford’s Tower in York in 1190, committed mass suicide rather than renounce their faith. The Spanish Inquisition tortured Jews who refused to convert and be baptized.
A lighthearted story is told of a rabbi who was forced to convert to Catholicism under pain of death. One Friday night the Cardinal was riding by the home of this rabbi when he smelled the rich aroma of a Jewish Shabbat meal coming from the house.
“What is this!”, he erupted to the Jew. “You maintain your Judaism which is punishable by death. You know it is forbidden to eat meat on Friday according to our laws. You must die for your disloyalty!”
“No, your Holiness”, the Jew pleaded. “This is not meat, it is fish”.
“Do you take me for a fool”, shouted the Cardinal, who pointed to one of his guards. “Taste this man’s food and tell me if it is meat or fish”, he ordered.
The guard tasted the meal and announced that it was indeed meat.
“Take this man away and kill him!”, ordered the cardinal.
“No, wait!” shouted the rabbi. “Surely you sprinkled water over me and told me that I was no longer a Jew, but a Catholic. Is that not so?”
The Cardinal agreed.
“Then that is exactly what I did with my meal. I sprinkled water on my plate and declared that it was not meat, that it was fish! If your water works for you, then it works for me.”
There was one unsuccessful chapter in history when Napoleon Bonaparte attempted to enlarge his empire by capturing the Holy Land. He declared that he went to liberate this land for the Jewish people. He was defeated at the battle of Acre in 1799.
Napoleon believed that the Holy Land rightfully belonged to the Jews who had been removed and replaced by force. As such, Napoleon Bonaparte can be considered an early Christian Zionist.
There are two trains of thought within Judaism regarding Israel as ‘Am Segula’, the Chosen People. The Babylonian Talmud is replete with discourse between sages. Rabbi Ramchal taught that God created the world with the Torah. There were no Chosen People at that time. God waited to see which nation would choose His Laws and stand up to the test that He would put to that nation. It was the Jews that were tested through Abraham and later Moses. According to Ramchal the nation of Israel were not the Chosen People, they were the Choosing Nation. They chose the Laws of the one God, rather than idol worship or paganism. God sealed this Covenant, this Brit.
On the other hand, Mahalal said that in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth and that the world was created for the Jewish nation. In his interpretation, Berashit (the Beginning) refers to the Jewish people. God gave the Torah to the Jewish nation. He chose us. We are His Chosen People.
Whichever of these theories is selected the one fact remains, the Jewish People are His Chosen People and no one can break this bond.
This bond had been a burden. Jews have been tested, and are being tested today. A cynical Jewish joke has one Jew moaning, “I know we are the Chosen People but couldn’t He choose someone else for a change?”
Yet the Jews stubbornly clung to their faith. Throughout the ages the Jew has been perceived as a threat to those who preach replacement theology, whether they be Catholic, Christian, or Muslim.
If anything is more of a threat to their dogma than the Jew, it is Israel.
How is it possible that despite centuries of rejection, persecution, conversion, genocide, and finally, the Holocaust, not only does the Jew continue to exist but he rises from the ashes in the miracle of the Jewish State of Israel.
For those who cling to replacement theology, Israel is a slap in the face.
It's existence defies all their teachings, all their belief systems.
They watched as Arab armies came to destroy the fledging nation of refugees. They expected the fight over Israel to be the final death throe of the remnants of the Holocaust. This would have put the final victorious nail in the coffin of any Jewish ability to claim to be the Chosen People. Christianity stood aside as Muslim armies tried, several times, to destroy the Jewish nation in the name of Islamic replacement theology. For the Christian spectators, the Arab armies were the modern day Crusaders.
The impossible happened. The Jews not only defended their tiny and tender nation, they won, and won again. Not only did they win, they emerged stronger than ever.
The nation of Israel grew, it developed, it attracted an influx of persecuted Jews from the four corners of the globe. Hebrew, again, became the national language of the Jewish state.
And Jerusalem was recaptured as the eternal capital of the Jewish people.
The replacement theologists, including those of the British Anglican Church, Presbyterians, Methodists, and others regrouped.
They began to intone pious feelings for the oppressed and the suffering, personified by the Palestinians.
They condemned Israel for all the ills of the world. The murder of Jews and decades of terrorism against innocent Israelis were excused as the justified reaction of an oppressed people.
Murdered Jews and Israelis, horrendous and inhumane acts of terrorism in the name of Allah, do not give these people pause.
On a day when the Archbishop of Canterbury was on his way to visit Yasser Arafat, he received a message to say that one of Arafat’s terrorists had killed Israelis in yet another Palestinian suicide attack in Israel. Instead of turning round and visiting the families of the dead victims in an act of condolence and sympathy, Dr.Rowen Williams continued to have tea and biscuits with the executioner.
On Arafat’s death, this pontiff confirmed the ‘abiding strength of the Anglican commitment to the Palestinian people’.
No such commitment has been given to the Jewish people of Israel.
Replacement theology lies at the deep heart of Islam. Their problem is they not only want to replace the Jew, or destroy him, they also want to replace everything, including Christianity, or permit them to exist as a subjugated dhimmi of Islamic will..
There may not be overt anti-Semitism in the New Testament but it is rampant in the Koran. The Jew is the express enemy of Islam. The Koran calls for the killing of the Jew as a holy command.
It is the hierarchy and the agressive activists of extreme Islam that, literally, call the shots and the initial target is the Jewish state.
Suddenly, Palestine in place of Israel has become a holy Muslim crusade. All the cries to battle are couched in Islamic terms and in the name of Allah. Palestinian murderers are glorified as holy martyrs. Many fervently believe that there is no finer glory than martyrdom as long as Jews and Israelis are killed to pave the way to paradise.
They all plot, plan, live, breath, and die with the burning desire to replace the evil Zionist state with the Islamic kingdom of Palestine.
What is the placement of the Al Aksa Mosque, directly on top of the ruins of the two ancient Jewish Temples in Jerusalem, if not a statement of replacement theology?
It says to the Jews that we, the Muslims, have come to replace you.
Citizens of New York and America take heed.
For the Palestinians, Anti-Semitism is their pinnacle article of faith. From the Grand Mufti al-Husseini who sided with Hitler, learned the art of the Final Solution of the Jewish Problem by visiting Auschwitz, the Jews were a nation to be destroyed. Here again is an example of Islamic replacement theology against the Jews.
Recently the Muslim Wakf, guardian of the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem, desecrated the antiquities under the Temple Mount. They bulldozed all the archeological remains of King Solomon’s Stables and Jewish artifacts and replaced it with a massive underground mosque. This archeological replacement is replacement theology. It allowed Yasser Arafat to tell President Clinton at Camp David that the Jews never existed and there was never a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
The current president, Mahmoud Abbas is a Holocaust denier, according to the degree he took in Moscow. He has also denied any Jewish heritage to Jerusalem, echoing Arafat.
The Palestinian narrative is replacement theology. Their language confuses Israel and the Jew. For them it is the same. Anti-Semitic and racist pronouncements are broadcast on their state television channels, in their mosques, at their official ceremonies, in their schools. They do not condemn Israel. They condemn the Jew.
This replacement theology is being adopted by many churches, but they disguise it in careful humanitarian terms. For both the Muslims and dogmatic Christians, the success and advancement of the Jewish nation state is an insult to their core beliefs.
As far back as 1974 Archbishop Hilarion Capucci was convicted for weapons smuggling to Palestinian terrorists. These weapons had one target, the Jews of Israel.
On a stamp in his honour, issued by Syria in 1976, the blood red Palestinian state has replaced Israel.
Archbishop Capucci participated in June of this year in a flotilla. The organizers of every Free Gaza flotilla share one burning core belief, to replace Israel.
It is not Gaza they wish to free, it is Israel.
The Christian and Catholic theologians replace Israel , the real victim of decades of war, terror, humiliation, with a rabid Islamic enemy that desires nothing more than the eradication of the Jewish nation. They do so in a perfidious manner, by portraying the aggressor as the victim and the oppressed, and the defending Jewish nation is portrayed as the criminal.
Historically, they sided with an Islamic enemy even as it desecrated one of Christianity’s most holy sites, as did Palestinian gunmen in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity in April 2002.
They side with Islamic terrorists who terrorize and kill their fellow religionists. They turn aside as their Muslim allies destroy their bibles and their churches. They do so because they believe they share a common enemy, Israel. What is this if not anti-Semitism?
There are thousands of Christians who do not share, even rebel against, this dogma. Many more are ardent supporters of Israel, based on their religious upbringing.
Christians fled Europe to escape a rigid belief that they could not share.
Many found haven in America where they spread the message of a Golden age that can only come about when the Jews return to Zion.
They feared persecution for holding beliefs that were against the mainstream church. Their principle of faith was anchored in the belief that their Messiah will not return until the Jews are redeemed to Zion, Israel. Israel today does not have finer advocates than these people who passionately share the Zionist dream. Many call themselves Christian Zionists.
There are some who are trying to fight for justice within the Methodist and Presbyterians churches. They are finding, as I did, that there is a stone wall, a deaf ear, which is not prepared to let in any conflicting opinion.
I was once invited by a couple of Christian Zionists to give a talk at their Scottish church in Edinburgh. I told them that the name of my talk was to be ‘Making the Case for Israel’. They told me, with regret and embarrassment, that their pastor refused to have me speak in his church on this subject. I suppose this was one of the first anti-Israel boycotts in Scotland. Since then, several churches have come out with anti-Israeli boycott and divestment resolutions, even as Palestinians and others are persecuting their co-religionists, while Israel is the one Middle East country with a growing Christian population.
The problem, from an Israeli perspective, is that a number of Christian and Catholic churches, as well as their NGOs, have been hijacked by the more actively theologians.
Heads of Christian churches and NGOs overlook and forgive the desecration of their holy places by Palestinians and other Islamic regimes, yet condemn Israel for protecting its citizens from decades of war and terror, mainly Islamic in nature.
There is something perverse in a Christianity joining Islamic jihad against the Jews. What is this if not anti-Semitism?
Replacement theology is steeped in anti-Semitism. When it is applied today, under the cloak of sanctimonious and hypocritical human rights concerns, it remains anti-Semitic at its core.
A Christianity that identifies so completely, and so one-sidedly, with an entity that is coming to replace them, is so utterly incomprehensible.
Yet, they do so to the core of their being, rejecting all and any appeal to open-mindedness, or even to consider the other side. Is that Christian compassion? Or is it rigid dogma?
I wrote this article in August 2010. Everything that happened since confirmed how right I was.
In late September I had a meeting at a kibbutz guest house not far from Zichron Yaakov with a group of visiting Christian Zionists. They were all ministers and members of the British Methodist Church. They were all appalled at a resolution to boycott Israel that they felt had been steamrolled through their annual convention by some of their leadership. There is a split in the Methodist Church and these worthy souls had come on a spiritual pilgrimage to Israel.
We had a prolonged and intimate conversation. We did not avoid the hard issues, and I offered help and advise as to how it may be possible to bring some light into their churches deliberations.
Toward the end of our meeting I plucked up the courage to ask them the question that had been burning inside me.
"Is Replacement Theology at the heart of your leadership's postion on Israel.?"
" Oh, absolutely!"
The reply came unanimously, as soon as I had placed the question.
Then, in October, at a Vatican Synod on the Middle East, an American Archbishop, Cyril Salim Butros, said
"We Christians cannot speak about the Promised Land for the Jewish people. There is no longer a Chosen People. The concept of the Promised Land cannot be used as a base for the justification of the return of the Jews to Israel".
It's an amazing thing when I am having my beliefs dictated to me by a Catholic priest. I am reminded of the Vatican's abysmal record during World War Two which was silent at best and collaborative with the Nazis at worst. Now they choose to speak out against the centuries old bond between the Jewish people and Israel?
For decades the anti-Semites have been forced into silence by the shock, revulsion, and conscience of the world to the Holocaust of the Jews. Now, with the passing of time and the development of the State of Israel, it is again funding it's voice.
The words of Butros are clearly against the Jews. To speak against the Jews is anti-Semitism, per se. Replacement Theology is anti-Semitism. Case closed!
The success of the Jewish state illuminates the failure of replacement theology.
The rise and rise of the Jewish state of Israel raises uncomfortable questions for the replacement theologists. If the Jew, after all his history, is still able to protect himself, build a new nation, and grow in strength, what am I? It is a question that they prefer, for now, to avoid.
The answer confirms one of the priciples of the Jews reason for being, of Israel's growing success. It announces to him that, maybe, God is protecting his people.
It justifies the view of Christian Zionists that their leaders, their church, should really be working to support the Jewish return to their ancient homeland, instead of trying to replace them.
For the Jew there is nothing but to keep the faith, stay strong, believe in Torat Emet (the true Torah), and eternal life.
Am Israel Hai !! The people of Israel live!!
The View from Israel.