…It makes God to be a liar, not true to His word, not one who does not ever change his mind! The character of God is acknowledged in Numbers 23:19, where He declares, “For God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should repent. Has He said and will He not do [it], or has He spoken and will He not make it good?” Now before you charge me with taking this verse out of context, let me ask this question about the verse: What is ever contextually limiting to the eternal character and nature of God?
Starting from that basic realization, let’s look at the promises that some folks are saying were conditional and have been cancelled, as to the Jew. In this article I want to connect the dots to what I believe has allowed that conclusion to have been reached and propagated by an increasing number of Bible teachers.
The promise and the curse as to Abraham and his descendants:
Genesis 12:2-3: “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Here God makes two promises that are unconditional—one, a blessing and one, a curse; that is, they are not dependent on how Abraham or his descendants perform. And then, a third promise that reaches out to the whole world and is fulfilled in the coming of Christ and His subsequent sacrifice on the cross for the sins of mankind. This one certainly is not dependent on the performance of mankind! It’s worth noting, I think, that the possibility of the promise of a curse to those who “curse Abraham” might well apply to those who have chosen to reject the Jewish race, denying their legitimate existence and relegating them to the ash-heap of history—in spite of the obvious realities of current events. (Just a troubling thought, eh?)
The promise of God to Abraham and his descendants as to the land:
Genesis 13:14-18: “And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: ‘Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.’”
Note carefully that here God tells Abraham that He gives this land in its totality to him and his descendants FOREVER! It is interesting that God compares Abraham’s descendants as immeasurable as the dust of the earth or the stars of the night sky (later), so that day or night, Abraham would be reminded of His promise. And here, too, we can see no evidence of it being a conditional promise, just forever!
One might point to the time during their wilderness trek when it appears that God got so fed up with the rebellion of the Hebrew people that He offered to destroy the whole nation and start over with Moses (Exodus 32:1-14). Verse 13 reads like this, as Moses responded to Jehovah: “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give to your seed, and they shall inherit it forever.” FOREVER!
(There’s that word, forever, again!) To get this into perspective, look at the statement James made of God’s foreknowledge at the conference in Jerusalem many years later: “All His works are known to God from eternity” (Acts 15:18). So, why did God make this totally human-like offer to Moses? Given that the record shows that God is eternal and knows all things, he must have been testing Moses that his resolve to lead this people to the land of promise might be open and firmly committed before himself and Jehovah. There can be no conclusion that the God of the universe can be overwhelmed and defeated in respect to His plan that was formed before time began. There can be no conclusion that God would fall to the level of the man He created and now was exhibiting total depravity.
We might also recall that later on in that trek Israel upset Moses with their complaints that he disobeyed God and struck the rock without His blessing. For that, Moses was denied the privilege of leading Israel into the land of promise. The God of truth and justice, then, does not have two sets of motivating qualities, one for Himself and one for mankind. God was not struggling with the possibility of changing His mind about Israel; He was testing Moses, that Moses was personally committed to leading the people, no matter what they would do.
If this is a hard concept to embrace, that God was testing Moses’ level of commitment, consider what God’s motive might have been when He commanded Abraham to take his son of faith, Isaac, up to Mount Moriah and sacrifice him as an offering to God (Genesis 22).
But let’s go on to God’s stated position on whether or not He has rejected the Jews, based on their rejection of Christ, the Messiah, as is the reigning contention of this faction today. The fact that God scattered the Jewish people around the world for their rejection of His lordship was decided long before their Messiah was rejected. Look at what Ezekiel wrote in Ezekiel36:18-19:
“Therefore I poured out My fury on them for the blood they had shed on the land, and for their idols with which they had defiled it. So I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the countries; I judged them according to their ways and their deeds.” God scattered them over the world for profaning His holy name before the heathen and living lives of such total depravity.
Recall now what He promised Abraham in Genesis 13:15, “…For all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.” Now, see why He is bringing them back to the land: “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went’” (Ezekiel 36:22).
So, where is the conditional promise, that Israel must be obedient or God will cancel His commitment? In that strange and eerie encounter with God, recorded in Genesis 15, God says this: “In the same day Jehovah made a covenant with Abram, saying, I have given this land to your seed, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates….”
In the time of Jesus’ ministry the land of Israel was controlled by Rome, and it had not been in their control for years. It would not be controlled by Israel until some future date. That very last question the disciples asked Jesus was, “Lord, will you restore the kingdom to Israel at this time?” Jesus answered with this: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own authority” (Acts 1:7). And He directed them to their engagement in the Great Commission, to declare the gospel around the whole world.
Here Jesus introduced the age of grace, when God would “take out of the Gentiles a people for His name” (Acts 15:14 and Romans 11:25), “And Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the nations until the times of thenations is fulfilled.”
When Israel was declared a sovereign state by the United Nations on May 14, 1948, it seems to me that God was answering the disciples’ question and fulfilling that open-ended prophecy that Jesus offered. With hardly any delay, Israel’s enemies began their enraged offensive to destroy them from the face of the earth. Yet, against all odds, Israel has survived and even taken hold of more territory that God has said is theirs forever, including a vital presence in Jerusalem.
To the nay-sayers, to the haters of Israel, to the embracers of the doctrine of replacement of Israel by the Church in His promises, I merely want to ask this question: Who brought the Jews back to their land from around the world? Would God deny them His promises and yet bring them back to the land? Could it possibly be a work of the devil? (Oh, I forgot—you contend he has been put in the bottomless pit until your idea of a millennium runs its course!)
So, who else is left to have brought this very evident reality to pass? There is no one else. God has proven Himself to be no liar. His statutes and His promises stand firm forever! It is a scary thing to label God a liar, either directly or indirectly. By saying He changed His mind about His promise to Israel, when His promise is forever, makes Him identified as a liar in the reality of that doctrine. If one believes God is not true to His Word, Satan has you right where he wants you, just like it was in his first encounter in the Garden with Eve: “Did God really say….” And that believer falls prey to every wind of doctrine that comes down the trail, as we can see in their scramble to try to fit the truths of God’s Word into a meaningful flow that would support their erroneous doctrine.
Consistent with God’s faithful promise to Israel is Zechariah’s prophecy of the coming recognition by the Jews of Christ, their true Messiah that gives us the true perspective on the issue: “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10).
The heavy, overriding and fearful result of this replacement doctrine is, if you can believe that God would change His mind about Israel because of their sinful disobedience and rejection of Him, what would keep you from believing He could turn from the Church because of its apostasy? That would shipwreck your faith. If we must rely on our performance, where would any of us be? I endorse the Apostle Paul’s declaration: “I do not frustrate the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain” (Galatians 2:21).
Proponents of Replacement Theology, think on these things as you plan your next gathering in Bethlehem, or elsewhere, to show your support for the enemies of Israel. God’s curse surely rests upon you.