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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Hebrews 10:25 and Replacement Theology

A commonly quoted verse is Hebrews 10:25.

"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching."

It is often used in the context of imploring Christians to go to church. Whereas I fully recommend that Christians gather for prayer and worship and study and encouragement, I believe the emphasis of this verse is something quite different.

The "assembling... together" here (in the Book Of HEBREWS, remember) is the Greek word "epi-synagōgḗ." You can see the word in there, synagogue. This makes sense for Jews. In the Acts Age, Israel was expecting the time of "Jacob's Trouble" ("The Day of the Lord" was "approaching") and "the restoration of the kingdom to Israel" (Acts 1) and the return of the Lord in the clouds (Acts 1-3). None of that applies to believers of the current (Post-Acts) age.

This word is also connected with the Lord's return in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 (another passage which speaks of the time of the prophetic end being near).

Jewish believers were being encouraged to gather "around synagogue" as the end of the age approached.

In another Jewish epistle (James' letter to "the twelve tribes" Jas 1:1), we see James giving instruction for when believers met in their "synagogues." The word "synagōgḗ" (2:2) is translated as "assembly" or "congregation" or "church" in most English translations, but the context is overtly Jewish.

A synagogue is a uniquely Jewish concept. The word is used 34 times in the gospel accounts, 20 times in the Acts, 1 time in James, and 2 times in the Revelation; all Israel-centric books.

Strong adds this note to his definition of synagogue as a gathering place of Jews (as any Jew or Greek would have understood it): "by analogy a Christian church." There is no justification for this. To get this, one must try to use its usage in James, but as noted, James is written to Jews.

In the Revelation, it is used as part of the phrase "the synagogue of Satan" to describe "the blasphemy of them which SAY they are Jews, and are NOT," (Rev 2:9; 3:9). If we translated them as "churches of Satan," the charge does not change; those who claim to be Jews [Israel] and are not. (This concerns a future age, but the distinction is clear.)

This past week or so, I spent a lot of time discussing these issues with Christians who claim for themselves promises and hopes given to Israel. We need to be very careful in this area. The majority of Christians (and the vast majority of Christendom) believe the church is Israel. This is very very serious error. Even groups which used to clearly teach these distinctions have abandoned them and have embraced elements of Replacement Theology.

We must "walk worthy of the calling to which [we] were called" (Eph). We cannot do this by claiming things from other callings. Do not be cheated out of your reward by minding earthly ordinances and practices that belong to others. There is only ONE path to everlasting, resurrection life since Adam (grace alone by faith alone), yet there are different callings, hopes, and rewards.

Rightly divide (cut straight) the Word of Truth.

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