A Reminder for Believers: The Church is Not Israel

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Rabbi Eric Tokajer

Since the beginning of the recent war started by Hamas against Israel, I have been blessed to see so many believers in Yeshua (Jesus) rise up to pray for and encourage Israel as she fights against her adversaries. However, I also saw many people who proclaim to believe in Yeshua repeating the anti-Semitic tropes of replacement theology.

Some “believers” said and wrote somewhat hidden anti-Semitic things, such as, “While I pray for the people of the State of Israel during this conflict, I know that the real Israel is the church.” Others openly proclaimed that the church is the real Israel, or new Israel, while the nation Israel and the Jewish people today are the “synagogue of Satan.” 

If this sounds angry, it is because I am angry. I am not angry because I am Jewish. I am not angry because people said something that hurt my feelings. I am angry because these statements are lies of the devil intended to divide believers in Yeshua. I am angry because the very people who should be travailing in prayer for their brothers in Israel are praying for Israel as if Israel is no longer important to G-D, as if G-D’s people and the Land G-D made a covenant with are distant neighbors with no real relevance to them or their faith.

After all, they have been taught in their church that “G-D divorced Israel” and has a new bride—“The Church.” I am angry because the above statements are completely contrary to the Bible, and in truth, the belief in replacement theology will result in the acceptance of the anti-messiah and costing souls to be lost. 

However, the truth is that the very existence of Israel, the restored nation of Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people, is in reality the single greatest proof of the existence of G-D. Without her restoration as a home for the Jewish people, many end time biblical prophecies could not be fulfilled. Before the events in Israel of 1918, 1948 and 1967, bible scholars had to “spiritualize” the prophecies in order to try to explain the words of the prophets concerning the end of days.

So many biblical prophets spoke of events happening in Jerusalem and around Israel, yet before the restoration of Israel as a Jewish homeland, it was easy to question the accuracy of the Bible, and if the Bible wasn’t true, then the G-D of the Bible didn’t exist. It is because Israel was born in a day, as we read in Isaiah 66:8-10:

“Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her children. ‘Will I bring the moment of birth, and not give delivery?’ says Adonai. ‘Will I who cause delivery shut up the womb?” says your God. Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you who love her. Rejoice for joy with her all you who mourned over her.’”

Once one realizes that Israel’s rebirth is the greatest proof of the existence of G-D and the truthfulness of the Bible, they can understand that the second greatest proof of the existence of G-D and the truthfulness of the Bible is non-Jewish people believing in the Messiah of Israel, Yeshua. After all, every non-Jewish person who believes in Yeshua is part of the prophetic fulfillment of G-D’s promise to Abraham, as we read in Genesis 12:3:

“My desire is to bless those who bless you, but whoever curses you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

Notice that when G-D made this promise to Abraham that all of the families or nations of the earth would be blessed, it doesn’t say “by you,” it says “in you”. This “in you” is the key to understanding the importance of Israel and the role that non-Jewish believers in Messiah have with the Jewish people. 

Paul, who is known as the apostle to the nations, understood what these words meant when he wrote “you once were excluded from the commonwealth of Israel” in Ephesians 2:11-13:

“Therefore, keep in mind that once you—Gentiles in the flesh—were called “uncircumcision” by those called “circumcision” (which is performed on flesh by hand). At that time you were separate from Messiah, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Messiah Yeshua, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah.”

Notice Paul said the non-Jewish believers once were excluded from the commonwealth of Israel. Common sense tells us that if they once were excluded, then through faith in Yeshua they have now been included. 

Paul also wrote in Romans 11:16-17:

“If the firstfruit is holy, so is the whole batch of dough; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off and you—being a wild olive—were grafted in among them and became a partaker of the root of the olive tree with its richness …”

Notice that Paul says three things in this verse: first, that the root of the tree is holy. Second, some natural branches were broken off (not all natural branches). Third, wild olive branches were grafted onto the tree and became partakers of the root.

So, we clearly see that the non-Jewish believers, who some call “The Church,” do not replace Israel and the Jewish people. Rather, they are grafted by faith into Israel and the Jewish people. So, as the headline says, the Church is not Israel; it is grafted into Israel. 

As Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:4-6:

“There is one body and one Ruach, just as you also were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one immersion; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Just remember that Yeshua’s prayer speaking to His Jewish disciples was that we would be One as He and the Father are One. Every promise in the Bible from Abraham on was made to the descendants of Abraham, the people Israel. As we read in Galatians 3:

“And if you belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham’s seed—heirs according to the promise.”

So, when you pray for Israel, don’t pray as if you are praying for the ex-wife of your husband, because that is how the enemy of our souls wants you to pray. Instead, pray for the protection of the very Tree into which you have been grafted.

Eric Tokajer is the author of Overcoming Fearlessness, What If Everything You Were Taught About the Ten Commandments Was Wrong?With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, #ManWisdom: With Eric Tokajer, Jesus Is to Christianity as Pasta Is to Italians and Galatians in Context. Visit his website at rabbierict.com.

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