Who Really Are Abraham’s Heirs?
Why has a portion of the church looked to replace Israel in God’s plans in the end times? (iStock photo)
The Torah portion (in Judaism there is a yearly calendar for reading the Torah) from a few weeks ago focused on Isaac. The Lord speaks to him in Genesis 26:
“For I will give to you and all your descendants all these lands, and I will fulfill the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of the heavens and will give your descendants all these lands. By your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” (Gen. 26:3b-5).
In this promise to Isaac, the Lord affirms, that the promise to Abraham of the physical land of Israel, is meant for Isaac’s physical descendants, whom he declares will be as numerous as the stars of the sky, adding that through them, all nations on earth will be blessed.
In last week’s Torah reading, God affirms these promises to natural Israel to Jacob, Abraham’s grandson:
“The Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie, to you will I give it and to your descendants. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and in your descendants all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Gen. 28:13-14).
This is very significant for several reasons:
One man can’t be as many as the stars in the sky. Those who embrace Fulfillment Theology (a more polite version of Replacement Theology) claim that all the promises to Abraham were fulfilled in the person of Yeshua on the cross. In other words, according to one of their leading theologians, the land promises are no longer to the Jews, but to all believers. And they no longer refer to Israel, but the whole world.
There is no argument that Abraham has spiritual children—believers in the Messiah from all nations—and that the most precious fulfillment of Abrahamic promise is in Yeshua and His followers. But the promises we see here are to Abraham’s physical son and grandson and to his physical seed—which would be like the stars and spread out through the east, north and south, meaning it was not merely to one person, Yeshua, as Fulfillment theologians claim—and it clearly refers to the physical land of Israel and multiple recipients.
To Abraham, the Lord promises to make his seed “as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.”
The DNA is in—Jews are Jews. These passages also confirm that Israel will remain a significant nation in the future. Why is this important? Because there are many who claim that present day Israelis are not really Jews. The theory is that a massive group of Europeans called Khazars converted to Judaism.
The story is that the ruling class of the Khazars, who formed Southern Russia empire in the eighth century, converted to Judaism. According to this myth, the entire community of Khazars converted and their descendants now make up what we know as Ashkenazi or European Jewry—like me.
The first problem here is that only about half of Israelis are European Jews. The other half come from all over the Middle East and Africa. What’s more is that scientists have now proved through DNA tests that 75 percent of all European Jewish men come from the Middle East—not southern Russia. And biblically, Jews must still be in Jerusalem when Yeshua returns (Zech. 12:10, 14:1-4).
How can they be in Israel as Zechariah says, if the land of Israel is not promised to them and those possessing today are imposters? In Matthew 23:39, Yeshua says that the Jews will see Him again when they confess, “Blessed is He (Yeshua) that comes in the name of the Lord.” How can that happen if they don’t exist?
In addition to the dozens of promises where God says He will bring the Jews back into their own land (Ez. 36:24ff, Jer. 30) he affirms with Isaac the physical land of Israel as a gift from God: “To you an your descendants I will give all these lands.”
So the idea that the supernatural return of Jews from all over the world is really just an elaborate hoax or amazing coincidence in which God had no hand is absurd. It would have to mean that there is another identifiable Jewish group out there that has yet to claim the land—not possible.
If only the boycotters were to truly boycott. And lastly, the Replacement/Fulfillment camp claims that the Jewish people were a blessing to the world by bringing forth the Messiah and therefore, I guess, have fulfilled their purpose and are no longer needed. Another reason, as some claim, is because ofJewish rejection of Jesus (which wasn’t as widespread as some think). God has cursed Israel and cast them aside. It is true that the most powerful fulfillment of the prophecy to be a blessing to the nations was through Yeshua, however God continues to use Israel to bless the world in so many other ways.
In fact, Israel is the leading nation in the world (per capita) providing technological breakthrough in communications and medicine. Fifteen percent of all Nobel Peace Prize winners were Jewish, despite making up only .03 percent of the world’s population. After decades of worrying yearly if we would have enough rainfall, Israel now desalinates seawater and many of our cities use this for drinking water.
If all of those calling for a boycott against Israel were to truly stop using products that Israel profits from they would need to get rid of their cellphones, stop using instant messaging and should go homeopathic, because it is unlikely that receiving medical attention would be completely Judenfrei—free from Jewish influence.
You see, Paul said that that God’s calling on ethnic Israel is irrevocable (Rom. 11:29), and that was after Yeshua died and rose from the dead. Yet Fulfillment Theology says that all the promises to Abraham were fulfilled in full on the cross. Clearly Paul did not agree with this view as he affirms several times in Romans 9-11 of God’s continued love and calling on natural Israel. He even predicts in Romans 11 that the future church would seek to erase Israel’s from God’s plan. And that has happened.
No Place for Pride
Often when I write on this topic some wrongly assume that I am claiming Jewish superiority. God forbid. This is not at all about Jews being better than those from the nations—called Abraham and His descendants because of His desire to reach the nations. This is about God’s faithfulness. God’s hand on Israel is not because of Jewish obedience or righteousness, but for God’s glory.
Ron Cantor is the director of Messiah’s Mandate International in Israel, a Messianic ministry dedicated to taking the message of Jesus from Israel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). He is an author and serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua, a Hebrew-speaking congregation in Tel Aviv.
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