14 Nov 2014
21 Cheshvan 5775
“Let the Lion Roar” made a great start in alerting us to the damage caused by replacement theology (RT) so we can make the necessary changes and return to the original condition of the Church. There are some additional things not mentioned in the movie we can all do that will help mend the damaged caused by RT. These things may not seem profound in themselves, but they are all things we can do on an individual level that can help complete the Reformation.
Restore the Sabbath. Many Christians are surprised when I say this because they believe they are already observing the Sabbath on Sunday. Even some major businesses like Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby close on Sunday so their employees can attend services and be with their families, so why would I ask my readers to restore the Sabbath? I say this because Sunday is not the Sabbath. The actual day of rest that God gave us falls on Saturday, not Sunday. In the course of church history, men influenced by RT changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. One of the reasons the early Church gave for this change was the fact that the Lord was raised on Sunday, and Sunday was also the day God began the work of creation, not Saturday. The attitude of the early Church to the Sabbath can be seen as follows:
The sabbath symbolizes Moses, and Christians hope not in Moses but in Christ; the Christian does not think himself pious for keeping one day idle, but for keeping a continual sabbath. The sabbath was given for the hardness of the Jews’ hearts—(Dictionary of Christian Biography)
The fathers did not regard the Christian Sunday as a continuation of, but as a substitute for, the Jewish Sabbath, and based it not so much on the fourth commandment, and the primitive rest of God in creation, to which the commandment expressly refers, as upon the resurrection of Christ and the apostolic tradition. There was a disposition to disparage the Jewish law in the zeal to prove the independent originality of Christian institutions. The same polemic interest against Judaism ruled in the paschal controversies, and made Christian Easter a moveable feast. Nevertheless, Sunday was always regarded in the ancient church as a divine institution, at least in the secondary sense, as distinct from divine ordinances in the primary sense, which were directly and positively commanded by Christ, as baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Regular public worship absolutely requires a stated day of worship.—(The History of the Christian Church)
It is a fact of history that men changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday, but there is no Divine mandate for this change. God never changed the day the Sabbath falls on. If the Lord of the Sabbath never made the change, who are we to change God’s calendar on our own authority? As we can see from the second quote, this change resists the Jewish law since it sought to “prove the independent originality of Christian institutions.” It’s time to end this travesty and restore the Sabbath to Saturday, but this won’t be easy.
Restoring the Sabbath to Saturday may make many people uncomfortable. Saturday has a special place in our hearts, but not as a day of rest and worship. For some, Saturday has become a day of recovering from the excesses of Friday night. Others occupy Saturday with Little League practice, soccer games, shopping, and generally doing whatever we want. The original intention of God to make this as a day of rest and devotion to God has clearly been effaced. In order to restore the Sabbath (and also help complete the Reformation) we must be willing to set these things aside and make Saturday the Sabbath again. This has many advantages for those who will pursue it and no disadvantages, unless you count missing out on your former Saturday activities as a disadvantage. When we observe the original Sabbath, we are really obeying the command of God to honor the Sabbath and keep it holy (Exodus 20: 8-11). And the testimony of Scripture is clear about this; obedience brings blessing. Obedience also brings us closer to Him, can there be any higher reward than that? As we approach Yeshua’s return, God is realigning the misshapen and deformed beliefs the church has embraced in RT to its original defaults.
This course of action may not be accepted by all my readers. Many people may be loath to make this change because they want their Saturday for themselves. Some may hide under RT’s argument that this change would be counted as legalism, which is something we shouldn’t do since we are under grace. Some may just say “Saturday or Sunday, what’s the difference?” To all these objections I ask this: What’s really in your heart? Is your heart devoted to God and doing the things that please Him, or following the flawed doctrines of men who arbitrarily changed the day of rest to Sunday? Without Divine sanction, how can we ever say that changing the Sabbath day is acceptable? When we honor the Sabbath and keep it holy, it is a witness to the world of our covenant with God, marks us as a peculiar people, brings honor to God, and it allows the world to see the Father’s will is being done on earth as it is in heaven. Where is the disadvantage in any of this?
Restore the name Yeshua to the Son of God. Some people may argue that this is just splitting hairs. After all, what does it matter if we call the Son of God Jesus or Yeshua as long as we know who we are talking about? Some may argue that the name Jesus was wrongfully appropriated by unenlightened people in the past, and that it should be our job to reclaim the name and restore it to its proper place of veneration. Whatever your conviction, I won’t be dogmatic about this, but I would like to explain why I believe this has merit. The names of Yeshua and Jesus have different origins. According to Derek Frank, the trend to replace Israel:
had even gone so far as replacing meaningful Hebrew names with Gentile ones. We can only speculate about the extent of the demonic strategy that lay behind the stripping of these names. Especially because there is power in honoring the name of Yeshua, Jesus real name, which means “God is salvation.” (Escaping the Great Deception, p. 18)
The first reason we ought to restore Yeshua as the name of the Son of God because we need to end the work of RT and complete the Reformation. “Yeshua” is our Savior with His Jewish identity intact, but He became “Jesus,” who was a Savior who did not have a clear Jewish identity, which was something RT wanted. If RT had influenced Martin Luther to believe the Church now possessed the covenants and promises, he may have had this non-Jewish Messiah in mind when he believed that the Jews would “come over to us” when they heard the good news of the Gospel. On the other hand, “Yeshua” reminds us that the Son of God was Jewish, and so when we are saved, it becomes clear that we are in communion with Him, and that we are grafted into the tree of the people of Israel. In other words, it helps remind us that we go over to the Jews when we become believers, they do not come over to us.
The second reason we should consider this is because “Jesus” has become associated with many bad things in the Jewish community. RT has so altered the teachings and perception of Jesus that the Jews have now come to associate persecution and violent aggression with the name of Jesus and the church. It has hardened many Jewish hearts against the Gospel and caused them to turn away from the truth. Referring to Yeshua as the Son of God allows us to break with the past and move away from the bad things that have been associated with the RT’s version of Jesus. In this sense, Yeshua and Jesus couldn’t be more different. RT’s version of Jesus created by the church demanded forced conversions and total repudiation of Jewish identity. On the other hand, Yeshua humbly knocks at the door of our heart and allows us to decide whether we will open the door. When I use the name Yeshua, I mean the authentic Messiah of Scripture who knocks at the door; the same Yeshua who makes Jews and Gentiles into one flock. I also prefer Yeshua because it is more faithful to the original. I encourage everyone who finds value in this to begin using Yeshua as the way to refer to our Savior. Let us work together to end RT, complete the Reformation, and introduce Yeshua to the Jewish community and the world.
The sins of RT are a matter of historical record; therefore part of completing the Reformation and healing our relations with the Jewish community must take this into consideration. Even a cursory reading of history shows how the visible church mistreated, demonized, and persecuted the Jews in the name of Jesus through the centuries. The sins and errors of our ancestors are clearly part of this problem; sins committed in the past leave a legacy that can still have detrimental effects on us today and keep us from reaching our full potential. Confessing the sins of the fathers must not be confused with our personal confession when we first believed. Our initial confession forgave the sins we committed, but the entanglements of the sins of our ancestors remains in force until they are confessed and their power is broken. Don’t take this lightly; the sins of the past can be powerful influences in life as this portion of Scripture shows:
In the thirty-eighth year of Azariah king of Judah, Zechariah the son of Jeroboam reigned over Israel in Samaria six months. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, as his fathers had done. He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin.
2 Kings 15:8-9 (ESV)
If you read about the kings of Israel, you cannot help but notice that the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat are constantly mentioned as their downfall. The sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat still had an adverse effect long after he died. Not only that, it appears that unresolved sins of the past can also increase in intensity:
And Judah did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins that they committed, more than all that their fathers had done.
1 Kings 14:22 (ESV)
The only way to stop the effects of sins committed in the past is to confess the sins of our ancestors. Confessing the sins of the past is the first step to departing from them and breaking the power they have to affect us today and our posterity. The Scriptures tells us:
But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers in their treachery that they committed against me, and also in walking contrary to me, so that I walked contrary to them and brought them into the land of their enemies—if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.
Lev 26:40-42 (ESV)
When the Babylonian captives returned to the land of Israel, Nehemiah and the people confessed and broke with the sins of the fathers (Nehemiah 9: 1-38). They did not want to repeat history; they wanted to be free from the entanglements of sins in the past so they could be a holy and righteous people for the Lord. Derek Frank includes a testimony on page 106 about this also in his book “Escaping the Great Deception.” We need to confess these sins so our walk will not be affected by past sins. When we are free from the power of past sins, we can walk before the Lord and be perfect. This good witness provokes the Jews to jealousy so that they will want what we have (unlike the fruit of RT, which dives the Jews away). This helps complete the Reformation because it reunites Jews and Gentiles again in one flock, which was the original condition of the church Yeshua established (John 10: 16).
Having said all this, everything I have mentioned is within the power of every reader to perform. You must decide whether the true Sabbath will be honored in your home, whether you use the name Yeshua to refer to our Savior, and whether you will confess the sins of your ancestors and break their power. If you would like to craft a prayer to confess the sins of your ancestors, you can use the prayer of Nehemiah 9: 1-38 as a template which you can customize for your own circumstances. Pray about these things, and if Yeshua leads you, pursue these things fully.
May the Lord Yeshua bless you, my beloved.