Watch How Bible Truth Overcomes Deception, Part 3 :: By Gene Lawley

We approach this next issue of Bible interpretation that is contrary to the very Scriptures as they are written; the words of Jude 1:3 are made more imperative. Jude wrote this, and it is clearly a worthy addition to the accepted inspired Word of God:

“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

The first topic for discussion is called “Replacement Theology” and has threaded itself into the fabric of many church denominations with the quiet approval, it seems, of their leaders. There is a lot of theological reasoning behind it, that is, the general meaning that God has replaced Israel with the church.

Those of that persuasion maintain that the Jewish people have no right to the land of Israel that was once given to the family of Abraham. What I hear is that the PLO has the right to the land, but if the church replaces Israel, how does the PLO fit into the picture? And why is some denomination of the church now holding the land instead of Israel?

Actually, there is more to it than land, for Replacement Theology seems to hang on the transmission from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant identified by the shed blood of Christ for the sins of mankind.

Did the New Covenant supersede the Old Covenant made by the children of Israel at the presentation of the law by Moses? And thus, did it leave behind the Jewish people as no longer the “apple of God’s eye”? Not so much! Faith has been the underlying thread of God’s plan for mankind since the beginning. “The just shall live by faith” is noted in the Old Testament minor prophet, Habakkuk (2:4), and is repeated in the New Testament three times. In Genesis 12, it is noted that “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Do those who want to say that God no longer has anything to do with Israel not read the Scriptures?

In Romans, Paul discusses in three chapters—9, 10, and 11—the setting aside of Israel, but only for a time, and not for all. “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Romans 11:25). “In part” leaves an open door for any Jew to accept Jesus Christ as his Messiah. When the last Gentile comes to Christ, then God’s attention returns to Israel for her judgment for disobedience in seven years of tribulation solely meant for Israel and the lost world who have not accepted Christ.

In Zechariah 12:10, we are told that the Jewish people will turn to Christ, “looking upon Him whom they have pierced and mourning for Him.” God has not replaced Israel with anyone, for He is not a God who changes His mind after making a promise. Even Paul declares that the gospel he presents is “for the Jew first, then the Gentile,” and he followed that commitment until he discovered the Jews were blinded to the truth, as Romans 11:25, above, tells us.

Likewise, in other deviations from biblical truth, people apparently start “outside of truth,” then go into the determination of it with preconceived ideas they seek to justify from the Word, as I have touched on earlier. The claim that baptism in water is required for salvation is one of such faults. Mark 16:16 is the main “justifier” of that position. It says, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Note that salvation is not available to those who do not believe.

Lack of baptism, here and in many other passages, has no bearing on one’s salvation. It is an effort of the flesh, and no entry of man’s efforts to be saved are acceptable to God. See John 1:11-13 and Romans 10:9-10, where baptism is not mentioned as a requirement.

A chronological following of the events in Revelation is intended, as Revelation 1:19 indicates in these words. “Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this” clears up a lot of questions in that book. Pre-trib Rapture is identified clearly there, as is the timing of the thousand-year reign of Christ. It seems that a desire to invent a belief or doctrine having the author’s name on it may be an underlying force that is behind such deviations from Scripture. Or, could it be that the enemy of God is always on the lookout for an opportunity to sidetrack a believer from the central truth of the Bible? That is an ongoing need for keen alertness, for these deviations will penetrate our foundations of faith…if we let them.

How are the Jehovah’s Witnesses doing these days? It may be that something has happened in their basic beliefs, for a recent copy of their “Watchtower” gave a section to the elevation of Jesus to deity and the One through whom salvation must come. In their historic position, their argument was that references to “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” in John 1 was incorrectly capitalizing the latter God name because Jesus is not God—they maintained. So you can see that there has been a great change with them if now Jesus is God, or even recognized as the sole source of salvation.

Despite all of the notable prominence given to the Roman Catholic Church, it has many man-made doctrines that are easily identified and rebuked by Scripture. Their claim of the full right of representing God in the world since the earliest centuries following that first century when the Lord Jesus and the apostles were active is based on the erroneous interpretation of Scripture. Look at Matthew 16:13 and following, where Peter identifies Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Then Jesus declares that He would build His church on that rock which Peter identified.

Identifying that rock as Peter, a small stone, and then naming him as the first pope of the church creates some real complications. For instance, Peter is not named in Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome, nor are there any scriptural references to Peter having such a position, let alone the absence of any evidence of a Roman Catholic Church existing until at least two or three centuries later. It is evident that this church is built on a mortal foundation, not spiritual.

As well, then, we learn in the New Testament, well before the end of that first century, that Peter is identified as the apostle to the Jews and Paul the apostle to the Gentiles. So, what kind of confusion does that produce? A considerable amount, for sure. Most notable of their false doctrines is that of proclaiming that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is of equal deity with Him, and a person can ask Mary to tell Jesus what to do. It is idolatry in great form. See what the Scripture says about that in Luke 1:47 from Mary’s song: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” (One of deity does not need a savior.)

Another is their claim that Mary remained a virgin for all of her life. It is an outright denial of the testimony of Scripture in several places. One of real prominence is found in Matthew 13:55, where Jesus’ family came to see Him, and the religious leaders identified Jesus as the carpenter’s son: “Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, and Joses, Simon, and Judas?” In another place is revealed that He had sisters also. In Galatians 2, the Apostle Paul named James “the Lord’s brother.”

Several other practices that are contrary to Scripture are such that they can be easily done without any spiritual connection whatsoever. A major disconnect from truth that underlies the foundation of beliefs held by the Roman Catholic Church is that the members are led to believe that their eternal destiny can be taken care of—for them—by another person as sinful as they are. Only God can forgive sins, and He will do that readily when asked by the one of a sincere heart.

When I visit a Catholic Church for a friend’s wedding or a funeral, I find two immediate things facing me—a statue of a woman holding a baby, then turning to the front, a figure hanging on a cross. Recently I realized what those images were meant to say. The first showed humanity excelling over deity in life, and the second, humanity overcoming deity in death. Thus, Mary is proclaimed as deity in charge of the Crist, and Jesus remains on the cross, not completing His purpose of justification for the true believer. Satan rejoices at the picture he has displayed to the world in his warfare with God. And that explains the deceptions of the Roman Catholic Church, which are many.

There are two “musts” in the Bible that are essential: “You must be born again” in John 3:3, and “You must worship God in spirit and in truth” in John 4:24.

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Watch How Bible Truth Overcomes Deception, Part 2 :: By Gene Lawley

Another false interpretation of Scripture of the end time is that the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D., while accomplishing all prophecies of the future, also is the time when that prophecy of Daniel, of the “abomination and desolation of the temple” was fulfilled. A careful study of Daniel’s prophecy of that event in Daniel 9:27 will place it at halfway through the seven weeks of years mentioned in the verse, that is, in the middle of the seven years of tribulation detailed in the Book of Revelation, still future at this present time.

It is perfectly clear that no Roman soldier, leader, or footman stood up in the temple while it was being destroyed and proclaimed openly, “I am God; you must fall down and worship me, now!” This was the time of God’s fulfillment of His judgment of the Jewish people to scatter them among the nations, in finality, until the establishment of a sovereign nation for them on May 14, 1948. For 1,800 years, until about 1870, the land remained desolate, unable to support habitation for lack of annual rainfall. God preserved it for the return of His Jewish people. Mark Twain visited there in 1853 and wrote that it was the most desolate place on earth.

In the Preterist’s view, then, all of the prophecies of Jesus, Paul, John and Peter, in their writings, are merely allegories and symbolism. If that is so, why did God put them in the Holy Scriptures, for what purpose? The convenience of just calling those prophecies as occurring spiritually, not physically, does not give credence to it. When Jesus expanded on Mary’s reference to an end-time resurrection at the time of Lazarus’s death, He made an unqualified foretelling of how it would be then: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25-26). Did Jesus lie about His future and ours? No!

Likewise, when writing to the Thessalonians, explaining how events would unfold at the time of the last days, Paul discussed them as actual future events, speaking of “times and seasons,” of the “Day of the Lord coming as a thief in the night, with sudden destruction” happening then (1 Thessalonians 4:16 through 5:3). How easily many are deceived by listening to a false teacher rather than seeking the Word of Truth…and believing it! The bottom line is that there will be a Rapture of the saints at the beginning of the seven years of tribulation, not afterward. (Can you imagine the struggle it must be to set those seven years somewhere around the time of that 70 A.D. destruction of Jerusalem and the temple?)

My take on the Book of Revelation is that it is written in a chronological manner, just like it is indicated so in Revelation 1:19 where the Lord told John to “Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.” Any other manner proves utterly foolish and faulty.

Outright misinterpreting a Scripture or totally ignoring its importance in identifying a clear truth of the Word is glaring evidence of intent to deceive and declare a false doctrine. One such case is that of hard-core Calvinists who claim the Scriptures teach that Christ did not die for all mankind, but only for those who believe in Christ. They tell me that John 3:16 should be read this way: “For God so loved the world [of believers] that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” First of all, “world” means people, all of them, and “whosoever,” as I have underlined, means anyone who believes is saved. “Whosoever” means anyone without restriction, and notice that if “world” means only believers, then “whosoever” contradicts that position.

The Scriptures plainly refute that position elsewhere, too. Look at 1 John 2:2, which says, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” Another verse is just as clear: “…because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:10b). This clearly is not announcing universal salvation, as some have claimed, then refuting that concept as a truth of Scripture, and rightly so. Salvation is made available; just believe in Jesus.

Romans, chapter five, delves deeply into the contrast of Adam’s sin having brought all mankind into judgment, but the sacrifice of Christ has provided a gift of eternal life that will allow man to escape that judgment. But what is it that makes a gift become personal to the intended party? It is acceptance of that gift. Romans 5:18 lays it out plainly: “Therefore, as through one man’s offense, judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.”

Finally, this quote from the Old Testament (Joel 2:32) that Paul uses in Romans 10:13 (“Whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved”) and its context locks in the truth that believing and receiving that gift of salvation is available to anyone; otherwise, whosoever does not mean whosoever, and God contradicts His own attribute of being no respecter of persons (shows no partiality). That is, as 2 Peter 3:9 proclaims, “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Thus, one who is repentant of his sins and calls on the Lord will be saved. He is the one whom God chooses, for no one will be in heaven who does not want to be there.

God’s foreknowledge tells Him who will believe, when once that person hears the gospel, is convicted of his sin, and believes. The picture the Lord gives of the two roads being traveled exemplifies that truth. In Matthew 7:13-14, He describes one way to life and another way to destruction. How is this, then, if God is not willing that any should perish? Man must choose.

Another interpretation and deviation from the truth of Scripture has to do with the supposed manner of the Antichrist’s deception of himself in Revelation 13. It has been claimed and then spread about that when John sees one head of the beast being mortally wounded, then surviving again, it is the Antichrist being killed and then resurrecting. Thus, he deceptively presents himself as the Christ to the Jews.

The truth is, first, that the only head of the beast, as a ruling regime over the world, was Rome, and it died away to return in the future as that misty, unclear seventh head of the beast. Such is acknowledged, now, that a return of that “head” is the United Europe, as it struggles to unite fully. The New World Order proclaims that future goal.

But about the perceived deception of the Antichrist, he does not need that kind of deception, for the Jews are definitely not looking for a Messiah who has nail holes in his hands, nor a wound in his side. They effectively wrote off that possibility when they cried out at the trial of Jesus, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Let His blood be on our hands and on the hands of our children!” When Daniel 9:27 comes to pass, and the Antichrist enables Israel to obtain a seven-year peace covenant authorized by the United Nations and then allows them to rebuild their temple, that is when he appears to them as one on a white horse of peace and friendship. He is the one they think is the glorified one for them.

Then, halfway through that seven-year period, which Jeremiah calls “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7), he cancels their temple worship. Then he demands that they worship him instead, and they realize their error.

In Zechariah 12:10, God says, “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.”

Presently, the Jews are not looking for a Messiah who has nail holes in His hands, but at a future time, they will be looking at Him whom they have pierced and accepting Him for who He really is. Are Preterists skipping this actual event as a “spiritual happening” and not one of mortal content while they are fixed on the coming of a “new heaven and a new earth coming down from heaven” as the next thing on ‘God’s timetable? Truthfully told in the Scriptures, it is at least 1,007 years, plus that unknown time until the Rapture, before that event of Revelation 21:1 comes to pass!

“Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20b).

Now to Part 3.

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There is a four-step study method that brings one to search the Scriptures with the diligence that Acts 17:11 portrays, and perhaps the reader has used it already. However, if it is new to the reader, following are those steps that are useful for studying a verse, a passage, a chapter, or perhaps even a whole epistle:

  1. What does the passage say? (Outline or summarize it.)
    Where else does it say this? (Search for cross-references.)
    What does it say that I don’t understand? (Write out questions.)
    What does it say to me? (What is its application to me?)