It is quite unique how truths of the Bible crush promoters of false doctrines when the whole counsel of God is laid out from the Scriptures with common sense and simplicity. It has been long held that the Bible is its own best commentary, and that rings true because the author does not contradict Himself, nor forgets what He has said elsewhere.
Taking for granted that what the “early church fathers” figured out as truth may well be the most detrimental assumption possible, unless those early church fathers are those who were the first hand witnesses who walked and talked with Jesus in person.
Building a theology on a pre-conceived idea of how it ought to be from Man’s point of view borrows from the philosophy of Cain, who decided that he had a more practical way of sacrificing to God than did Abel.
In searching out Bible truth one must never let the integrity of God’s character become less than at the very highest level. That He can never lie, nor change or repent from a promise He has made, that He already knows the end from the beginning of mankind’s existence, that He is the Creator of all things—these are fixed and certain and infallible in His nature.
There is a strong intensity in man to try to override God’s strategy because their way seems to make more sense. Such was the case when Jesus began to disclose the plan that He was to be taken captive and killed, as told in Matthew 16:21-23.
Peter took Him aside to reassure Him that they would not let that happen to Him. But Jesus, looking Peter straight in the eye, says, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Earlier in that chapter it was evident that “flesh and blood” cannot identify with the things of God unless the Spirit of God discloses them to man. Some seem to hear the sounds of that “other voice” and strike off on a tangent of their own making, such as did L. Ron Hubbard, a writer of science fiction and western novels who invented the religion of Scientology, or even Joseph Smith or Mohammed, as well as Jim Jones who led his “koolaid” drinking followers to their deaths in Guyana some years ago.
Within the boundaries of Bible context, however, are some who seem to gather their robes about themselves in smug certainty that they have all the truth on their side of an issue that is contrary to the whole counsel of God. One of such definition is the subtle but much embraced “replacement theology” theory.
Because Jews rejected Jesus, they say, God has turned away from His promises to Israel and given them to the church. Mainly it is that promise to restore them to the land of Palestine that was given to Abraham and his physical descendants. Physical land was promised to physical people and forever.
First of all, it makes God out to be a liar and changeable in His character. Secondly, it is evidently not so, for who is it who is in the land of Palestine now, established as a sovereign state—Israel, by a decree of all the nations?
Thirdly, if God actually did reject them in favor of the Church, why is the Church not there in that land and in control, and why is the Church—those who believe in that theory—maintaining that the land should be in the hands of the Palestinians, not the Church?
The promise of God and His reasoning is stated multiple times in the words of the prophets. Ezekiel 36:23-24 is one such context:
“‘And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord,’ says the Lord God, ‘When I am hallowed in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.’”
It is not for those disobedient people that He has done it, but for His own holy name’s sake, that the nations might know that God is one who keeps His promises. His word is good. But what of those who are calling God a liar by their “replacement” theory? I abhor the thought that my fellow human beings, academically intelligent as they may be, could also be so thoughtlessly lacking in common sense!
That is a strong statement, but I say it without apology. When Jesus confronted the “knowledgeable” religious leaders of that day, He did not allow their “leaven” equal status with the truths He expounded. Such was His challenge in John 5:39-40:
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”
Jude, also, in his short epistle, uses a strong word to admonish us when he says we are to “contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints.” The word, “contend,” is not a passive, compromising term, and in these days of multiplying false prophets and teachers who deviate from the Word of God, it is imperative that the faith, that body of truth called the Word of God, which was once delivered to the earliest of the saints, be fully disclosed.
There are other tangents of theology that make the Scriptures practically meaningless. What those who believe that the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation were fulfilled in the first century or earlier are so deceptive that the devil could well be sitting back , laughing with glee.
They tell me that the devil was chained in the bottomless pit when Jesus was crucified. That position has to be taken, apparently, because they also believe that the millennium also began back then or when Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70.
It may be that they take the quote from Hebrews 2:14-15, but that passage does not tell us that the devil is bound in any way:
“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
The apostle Peter, who wrote his first epistle about AD 60, spoke of the devil as alive and well and operating with great exuberance, as he wrote in 1 Peter 5:
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
Now this was Peter’s understanding about thirty years after the crucifixion of Jesus. Someone is promoting a false doctrine about Satan being bound in the bottomless pit, and I do not believe it is Peter. In a chronological flow of events, the chaining of the devil in the bottomless pit for the duration of the thousand years happens after Christ’s coming to the earth at the end of the seven years of tribulation.
The thing that would bring the devil great glee is that he would not be blamed for all the evil that is being expressed on the earth at this time. If it is so, as those folks believe, that Jesus is ruling the earth during “this millennium” from His throne in heaven, then who is to blame?
Or more directly, if Jesus is ruling “with a rod of iron” in the millennium, as the Bible says He will, how effective is He against the current evilness? Now we have reached the point of blasphemy in regard to those beliefs.
When a person operates on a base of lies and deception, truth and reality will invariably box him in. Here is another place where truth and reality quietly slam the door on an out-of-place event that is so placed to support a false claim that prophetic events all came to pass in the first century.
When Daniel spoke of the coming “abomination of desolation” regarding the invasion of the holy place by a usurper, it was future. When Antiochus Epiphanes slaughtered a pig in the holy place in the second century BC, it was not a fulfilling, for Jesus also spoke of it as a future event in Matthew 24:15-16:
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”
Daniel pinpoints this invasion of the holy place by the Antichrist in the middle of that week of the covenant that is confirmed. At this time in the year 2016 no covenant has been confirmed for seven years, so it is still a future event.
However, the promoters of the first century theology maintain that the holy place was desecrated when the city of Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed in AD 70. But there is a problem they did not think of when developing that theology.
When on the cross Jesus said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit’”and breathed His last, Matthew reports that the veil in the temple was torn apart, from top to bottom, as an earthquake rocked the city. “Torn from top to bottom,” apparently by the hand of God to open up the holy place to the whole world!
That place was no longer sanctified, set apart where only the high priest could go only once a year and not without a blood offering. So where did God go? In three days and nights Jesus rose from the tomb and was among the disciples forty days. Then ten days later came Pentecost and the miracle of the Holy Spirit coming to indwell the believers!
The Lord God had found a new holy of hollies, the spirit of the believer. Paul writes this, in 1 Corinthians 6:17, “But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him,” and follows it with this in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who isin you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
So what is this telling us about that first century theology? It is totally empty and meaningless, for God was not in the temple at AD 70. He had vacated that holy place decades before, and Titus and his army were intent on getting the gold from between the stones of the temple, just as Jesus had said they would.
He had told the disciples that not one stone would remain upon another at a coming time of destruction (Matthew 24:1-2). Truly that desecration of the holy place will occur in the rebuilt temple half-way through the seven years of tribulation when the then Satan-indwelt Antichrist becomes the eighth head of the beast, then personified in that one who is headed to perdition (Revelation 17:10-11).
And so it is that the Word of God is its own best commentary and the whole counsel of God leaves no loose ends with which deceivers can be deceptive. Thank you, Lord, for Your Holy Word!