In Vatican City on October 10th 2010 the Pope Benedict XVI opened the Synod of Bishops’ Special Assembly for the Middle East at St. Peter’s Basilica. The synod is taking place at the Vatican from Oct. 10-24 under the theme: “The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness.”
Speaking for God, the Pope said of the Promised Land is “not of this world” that Israel is not an earthly kingdom. His words are not surprising as the Roman Catholic Church has led the way in promoting the supersessionsist (replacement theology) heresy and denying national Israel’s place in God’s plan. One unfortunate consequence of this error is that it has made it extremely difficult for Jews to take seriously the claim that Jesus of Nazareth is Israel’s Messiah. The Pope’s eisegesis was recorded last Sunday:
He reveals Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (cf. Ex 3:6), who wants to lead his people to the “land” of freedom and peace. This “land” is not of this world; the whole of the divine plan goes beyond history, but the Lord wants to build it with men, for men and in men, beginning with the coordinates of space and time in which they live and which He Himself gave them.
This is utter nonsense as the Biblical narrative is centered on a real material plot of land. Of course, this has political and theological overtones as the Vatican’s position has consistently been that Jerusalem cannot belong to just one state. It is my view that the Pope’s theology blatantly files in the face of biblical revelation. Jesus in Luke 19:42 and Paul in Romans 11:25 explain that Israel is blinded nationally for the church age. Temporarily blinded not replaced.
In Romans 9, 10, & 11 Paul’s purpose was to explain Israel’s future. If you simply read that sequence of chapters, replacement theology is absurd. The gentile church is clearly described as “grafted into” not replacing Israel. Paul makes this abundantly clear:
As regards the gospel, they [Israel] are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. (Rom. 11:28–29)
I wonder how Paul could have made it any clearer than irrevocable?
Furthermore, the Pope’s homily is a harbinger of the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7) otherwise known as the great tribulation (Mat. 24:21). Jesus said that Jerusalem would be occupied by gentiles until the times of the gentiles are fulfilled – just prior to his second coming.
“They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Lk 21:24)
- This is a prophecy of the Diaspora, which occurred in AD 70. The Romans spread the Jews all over the known world, selling many as slaves. This is a matter of undisputed record.
- When Jesus says “until” that clearly infers that one day Jerusalem will be back in Jewish hands.
- Thus it is an inferred prophecy of the reformation of Israel in 1948 and the reclamation of Jerusalem in 1967. Jerusalem certainly was under Gentile control until 1967, the fact that is now largely under Jewish control and the far reaching spread of the gospel is sure sign that the times of Gentiles are nearly fulfilled.
So where does this leave the supreme replacement theologian Benedict XVI? One wonders how the description of the Antichrist “dividing the land for a price” (Dan 11:39) escapes the attention of Catholic exegetes. Even more, the prophetic warnings about dividing God’s land in Joel 3:2. Note that “those days and that time” clearly refers to the “day of the Lord” that Christians understand as the second coming of Jesus Christ. It is also noteworthy that God refers to it as His land.
For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land, (Joel 3:1–2)
I shudder to think how the Pope’s theology will stand on that day.