In the previous letter, we discussed how human love based on Divine values is eternal. If human love based on Divine values is eternal, then surely the Divine love is eternal. The Christian Church, however, developed a doctrine which claimed that the Divine love for the People of Israel is not eternal. This doctrine is known as “Replacement Theology” – the belief that the Church has replaced Israel as the recipient of the Divine love and promises of redemption. According to this theology, the People of Israel also lost their right to the Land of Zion and will always be in exile. While part of the Christian world no longer believes in Replacement Theology, another part of the Christian world still believes in this theology, including the Russian and Greek Orthodox Churches, some liberal Protestant groups, some Evangelical groups, and some Catholics.
Although the founders of the Christian Church included our Sacred Scriptures in their bible; their belief in Replacement Theology caused them to ignore all the verses within our Sacred Scriptures which state that God has an eternal relationship with our people. For example, King David proclaimed to Hashem, the Compassionate and Life-Giving One:
“You have established for Yourself Your people Israel as a people unto You forever, and You, Hashem, have been a God for them.” (II Samuel 7:24)
Our Sacred Scriptures also reveal that the Divine love of Israel is eternal, and the following Divine proclamation to our people can serve as an example:
“And I have loved you with an eternal love; therefore I have extended loving-kindness to you. I shall yet rebuild you and you shall be rebuilt, O Maiden of Israel; you will yet adorn yourself with drums and go forth in the round-dance of the joyful.” (Jeremiah 31:2,3).
Replacement Theology led the Christian Church to teach that our people were condemned to eternal wandering, thus, the Church ignored the many biblical prophecies which reveal that God will redeem our exiled people and bring all of them home to Zion at the dawn of the messianic age. The following prophecies can serve as examples:
“And Hashem, your God, will return your captivity and have compassion upon you, and He will gather you in from all the peoples to where Hashem, your God, has scattered you. If your dispersed will be at the ends of the heavens, from there Hashem, your God, will gather you in and from there He will take you. Hashem, your God, will bring you to the Land which your ancestors took possession, and you shall take possession of it; He will do good to you and make you more numerous than your ancestors.” (Deuteronomy 30:3-5)
“Hear the word of Hashem, O nations, relate it in distant islands, and say, ‘The One Who scattered Israel will gather him in and guard him as a shepherd does his flock.’ For Hashem will have redeemed Jacob and delivered him from a hand mightier than he. And they will come and sing joyously on the height of Zion; they will stream to Hashem’s bounty – upon grain, upon wine, upon oil, and upon young sheep and cattle; then their soul shall be like a well-watered garden, and they shall not continue to agonize anymore. Then the maiden shall rejoice in the round-dance, young men and old men together; I shall transform their mourning into joy, and I shall comfort them and gladden them after their grief.” (Jeremiah 31:9-12)
Yes, the Church taught that we were condemned to wander forever, but the following Divine promise stresses that when all the exiles of our people return to the Land of Zion, we will dwell there forever: “They will dwell on the land that I gave to My servant Jacob, within which your ancestors dwelled; they and their children and their children’s children will dwell upon it forever” (Ezekiel 37:25).
Replacement Theology was one of the major causes of Christian hatred of our people. Author David Brog, who has written about those Evangelical Christians who are rejecting this old Christian theology, offered the following explanation of how this theology led to hatred of the Jewish people:
“Once the Jews were thus removed from God’s love, the door was opened to man’s hate. And this was a door through which generation after generation of Christians walked.” (Interview with David Brog on National Review Online, May 22, 2006)
The preachers of this theology ignored the various passages within our Sacred Scriptures which stress that the continued existence and future growth of the People of Israel is for the sake of the world. An early example is the following Divine promise to our father, Jacob:
“Your offspring shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall burst forth westward, eastward, northward, and southward; and all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.” (Genesis 28:14)
A later example can be found is the following Divine promise to our people regarding our role in Zion during the messianic age: “Nations will walk by your light” (Isaiah 60:3).
The believers in Replacement Theology who persecuted and murdered members of our people also ignored the Divine warnings to the nations that they will be ultimately be held accountable by God for this bloodshed. An early example of this warning can be found in the following prophetic message of Moses:
“Sing O nations, the praises of His people, for He will avenge the blood of his servants; He will bring retribution upon His enemies, and He will appease His Land and His people.” (Deuteronomy 32:43)
A later example can be found in the following Divine message which the Prophet Jeremiah conveyed to our people:
“Israel is holy to Hashem, the first of His harvest; all who devour him will be held guilty; evil shall come upon them, spoke Hashem.” (Jeremiah 2:3)
At the dawn of the messianic age of spiritual enlightenment, the nations will finally recognize the universal and spiritual role of our people; moreover, those among the nations who believe in Replacement Theology will finally acknowledge the ongoing and close relationship of God with our people. As the Prophet Zechariah proclaimed regarding the dawn of this new age:
“Thus said Hashem, God of the hosts of creation: In those days, it will happen that ten men, of all the languages of the nations, will take hold, they will take hold of the corner of the garment of a Jewish man, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’ ” (Zechariah 8:23).
Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen