Irenaeus, (130-202 CE) a Greek clerk noted for counseling and helping to expand Christian communities, pressed Justin Martyr’s declarations, which we saw yesterday, into what became known as “supercessionism” or replacement theology. He espoused the view that the Christian church was the “true” or “spiritual Israel with Christians replacing the Jewish people as the chosen people. Intrinsic to his writing is that the surest source of Christian guidance is the church of Rome,
“The Jews have rejected the Son of God and cast Him out of the vineyard when they slew Him. Therefore, God has justly rejected them and has given to the Gentiles outside the vineyard the fruits of its cultivation.” (Iranaeus, Against Heresies (Book IV, Chapter 36)
It is written:
Rom 11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree,
Rom 11:18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.
Rom 11:19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.”
Rom 11:20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear.
Rom 11:21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.
Rom 11:22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.
Rom 11:23 And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again.
Rom 11:24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.
Rom 11:25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
Rom 11:26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
Rom 11:27 “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
Rom 11:28 As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers.
Rom 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Rom 11:30 For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience,
Rom 11:31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy.
Rom 11:32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.
Rom 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
Today, Abba, we repent for the harm the church fathers have done in trying to come to terms with their identity. We repent for our own pride, arrogance. and wrangling for the best seats in the Kingdom. Grant us humility and mercy to remember that “we see in a glass darkly” (1 Cor. 13:12 KJV) and help us, as we go about Your kingdom business, to honor and prefer others. Heal the Jewish wound, grant them the ability to forgive us, and cleanse ALL of Your people of iniquity for Your glory in Yeshua’s name.