By the time Muhammad was born in the sixth century CE, the errant Christian theology stating that the church had replaced the Jews as God’s chosen was well-established and permeating the air.
To those early Christian theologians their view was undeniable and well proven by the destruction and dispersion of the Jews from the Holy Land. That sad heresy has persisted throughout the centuries until today, and brought much suffering to the Jewish people by the church in the name of Jesus. This has enforced the idea in the Jewish mind that Jesus is not the awaited Messiah. It is the sin of the church.
The idea of replacement continued under the reign of the Catholic Church, and was manifested in the Crusades, expulsions of Jews from Christian nations, and the tortures of the Inquisitions, that few know continued officially until the beginning of the nineteenth century in Brazil. But the idea of replacement did not end with the Protestant Reformation, as the German Martin Luther was a devout anti-Semite, having written his infamous and virulent On the Jews and Their Lies, which was the recipe that Hitler later baked in the ovens of the death camps. The heresy continues even today among many who claim they are Christians, yet take an active stand for anti-Israel activities, such as divestment and misinformation.
Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was quick to pick up on the idea of replacement theology. But he carried it a step further beyond the replacement of the Jews, to the replacement of Christians as well. His new religion, said he, was the final revelation of God, and was to reign supreme in replacing the errors of Judaism and Christianity. His idea has since spread across the globe to encompass nearly a third of the world’s population. It is this theology that finds anathema the successful return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel after nearly two thousand years of dispersion, and a threat to the ideology of Islamic supremacy upon which it stands. That stance, coupled with Christian replacement theology, is the engine that influences much of the anti-Israel sentiment in the world through populations and in political bodies such as the UN. It is also the catalyst for the resurgence of anti-Semitism that we see manifesting around the world.
But indeed it is now a historical fact that the Jews have returned to the promised land, as predicted by Moses and all the prophets, and this realization is causing no small stir. The tiny nation of Israel persists and prospers, despite the many attempts by war to destroy its existence, and absorbs daily the threats to its very existence by those who hate perpetually. At the root of that hatred is not the question of land or political justice, which could have been settled many times over by now, but the deep-seated theology of replacement that lies at the very foundations of the Islamic world and is severely threatened by the return of the Jews to their land.
At the root of an errant theology in the Christian church, a lie planted by some of its earliest leaders has caused immeasurable suffering and damage in the name of Christ. This has put a stumbling block of pain before the Jewish people in regard to seeing their Jewish Messiah. Although those in the church are beginning to turn from this aberration, it is yet a grave sin on the part of the church and the mosque—a blight that can be removed only by the sincere repentance of both.
For God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah. Then people will settle there and possess it, the children of his servants will inherit it, and those who love his name will dwell there. (Psalm 69:35-26)
This article originally appeared on First Fruits of Zion, October 15, 2015.